How Close Is The End Of The Year?

Posted on November 1, 2010

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Now that Halloween has come and gone, the holiday season is rapidly sneaking up on us and this is typical down time for performers and working musicians as family priorities and holiday celebrations seem to occupy a lot of the next two months.

During this down time, it’s great to wrap up some of the untied laces in this present year. A fitting end to old ties brings a clear new 2011 to your door. Lets consider some things, say – 10 of them, we can get in motion for a fresh and positive New Year.

1. The Follow Ups!

Did you make any promises in the past year that you haven’t fulfilled? Promised to send that reviewer a CD and forgot? Was going to spin off a copy of the press kit for your uncle who knows a guy in the biz? How about that interview you promised the kid down the street with the music blog.

Great chance to clear your plate, look over the past and revisit some of the plans that fell through. There could be hidden benefits to it that you can’t see yet – do it.

2. Look at the things you said that if you did them, they would work! Did they? If they didn’t, now is a good time to drop those things from your daily life, or decide if you need to add more effort to them. You were going to write a press release every month. Did it work? Did you ever write a third one after no responses came from the first two? Either get rid of the stale concepts or commit to their success, but dragging old luggage into the new year is a heavy weight to bear.

3. You will be talking to a lot of faces over the holiday season, many whom you don’t see until the season rolls around. This is a great time to focus on your social speaking skills. Be prepared to talk about your band and its successes. Think about key elements of the band’s career that make good conversational pieces and be prepared to talk about them. These are typically going to be the same answers you would give in an interview so use this time to hone your conversational chops.

4. How is the physical shape going? Didn’t make the gym every couple of days like you had good intentions to do? As the year draws a close, start getting the physical up and consider what you may be eating over the next couple of months too. Curb the desire to chow down and kick up the desire to hit the elliptical machine. See if you can get into the New Year 5 pounds lighter.

5. Review the social networks you have had all year. Has Facebook become a bunch of people who just send you Mafia Wars invites? Chances are, you realize that Facebook means absolute shit as far as marketing and PR go. Think about trimming the fat and focusing on things that will actually get you paid customers in the door of your show. Review what hasn’t worked and think about how to enter the New Year with things that will work.

6. Make a good list of people who have been tried and true supporters of your work. Be sure as the holiday giving season comes in that you give them the thanks and gratitude they deserve. Make your Christmas card list now and send them out hand written and signed. It makes a big impact!

7. Take a few hours at the computer, or better yet – with a notebook and write down all the resources and tools for success that you have at your disposal. Make a list of the ones you wish you had. Compare the two and find what will really benefit you in getting to the next level and maybe someone wants to help you with that for a holiday gift. When your aunt and Uncle ask what you’d like for the holiday, asking for a tuner, some cables or a few sets of strings is nice – but think of the things you could use that you typically don’t go out and get on a Saturday an hour before the show. Ask them for business cards – you can get them made at GotPrint.com for about 20 bucks. How about new band photos – find a reasonable photographer and ask them to kick in on that! What else could help you get on your way to better marketing? Think about it.

8. You’ll have down time. Update that website with an overhaul. Offer new band pics, new tracks to hear or download. Get the news from last January off the page and update it with current events. Send out emails about how the past year has been for the band and invite people to see the latest news on the revamped web pages.

9. Try to focus on the time you’ve spent watching sports highlights and Family Guy and think about how spending some of that wasted time furthering your career could be a great trade-off. Read some books on getting ahead. Try the Art of War, great tactics for success of mind there. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The Tao of Pooh. Maybe just some good articles on performing and writing. Beef up the chops in your mind gears as well as he ones in your wrists.

10. Over all, be sure to know and honor your values as a musician. Think over the past year about the things that sucked, and what you could have done to make them better.  That time you were angry and blew your top you probably said the most powerful thing you would ever regret – but the New Year is just ahead. Think about how you promised to strive to be better, perform better, play better, write better and act completely non-douchy. If you can identify moments you didn’t honor your own personal commitment, good news … the end of the year is just around the corner and the New Year is yours for the making. Get to it!

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