Monthly Archives: November 2011

Are You A Self Made Musician?

I started this site several years ago with the idea of bands helping bands in order to further their own careers while helping build the music scene at the same time; this is where the name the Indie Band Alliance comes from.

Over the past few years I’ve attempted to share what I’ve learned as a musician performing cover songs as well as writing and performing original music; later followed by business and marketing tips I’ve also discovered along the way. I’ve published and shared a few different reports – first the Indie Band Insights report and then the 1,000 Fan Formula not to mention a few others that have only been available as bonuses or to my list of subscribers.

After all this time I had a bit of a eureka moment where I was able to sum up exactly what it is I want to do and help others with. The tagline for this site at one time was “Earn a Living Making Music” – which was what I was trying to promote, but I finally was able to condense it to three simple words: self made musician.

So what is a self made musician exactly?

First of all, I liked the fact that it was simple and was reminiscent of the phrase ‘self-made millionaire’ – implying that if you’re a ‘self-made’ anything – you’re considered a success, which is never a bad thing. The other thing I like about it is the phrase ‘self-made’. This further implies that whatever success you currently enjoy is squarely due to your own efforts – not winning the coveted ‘rock star lottery’ or being chosen by some ‘music industry official’ that you’re worthy of having a career in the music business.

Self-made seems to imply all that without the somewhat grease-monkey aspect of the words “Do It Yourself”.

Meanwhile “Indie” or “Independent” has a lot of baggage with it as well. Some people think “indie” is only a particular style of music, not the fact that the band happens to not be signed to a record label – major or otherwise.

So I realized that I wanted to work with and foster a community of self-made musicians; these musicians in term would eventually form bands that could benefit from forming alliances – a.k.a. the Indie Band Alliance that I was originally envisioning when I started this site. So I’m course-correctly along the way and am now focusing on dealing with reaching out to and helping others (myself included) become self-made musicians.

Awesome – after more than four years I finally have my audience figured out.

The next step is that I want to help them with actionable content. There are whole slew of blogs out there that aim to help musicians online. Some offer the latest on the music industry, others offer vague bits of advice or strategies that may have worked for themselves or others, still others offer motivational type content that leaves you feeling good but no surer about your individual direction.

My goal is to offer valuable advice, insight and training that you can apply to create a sustainable career with your music while at the same time keeping it all as simple as possible. There is an overwhelming amount of ‘stuff to do’ for musicians these days in order to ‘make it’ and I know many musicians would rather just play their instrument or write music as opposed to being chained to their desk learning about social media, websites, email auto responders, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and ll the rest.

Believe me, I hear you.

So while some sites out there want to impress you with their knowledge by offering to sell you multiple DVDs worth of valuable information, or by offering 12 week programs where you need to invest upwards of 5 hours a week – I’d rather not intimidate you with the overwhelming amount of stuff there is to learn to be able to succeed.

So I thought long and hard about what are the fundamentals that a musician needs to embrace to become truly ‘self made’. I came up with four:

  1. Creativity – The source of your music, talent and ultimately the products or services that you’ll sell.
  2. Marketing – The people your music or performances are for and how you let them know that you exist.
  3. Business – The means to which you plan to build a sustainable income from music so that you can create on your own terms.
  4. Mindset – The ways of thinking that will ensure your success while boosting the other three main elements of creativity, marketing and business so that you can truly become a self made musician until the end of your days.

This is what I’m going to share with you under the name of the Self Made Musician – for starters on this site and we’ll see where it takes us. I feel that this is the evolution of all my previous work – specifically my Indie Band Insights report. I recorded a podcast that will explain how I came up with the four elements of C + M + B + M ,  drop me a line in the comments below if you agree or disagree with my ideas behind the self made musician.


Fast Forward To Fame | Cari Cole

Fast Forward To Fame's creator: Cari Cole

There’s a launch going on currently for a 12 week coaching program called Fast Forward to Fame by Cari Cole that I thought I’d share with any readers who haven’t already heard about it. I’m a little late in sharing the details, as a week back or so Cari had a bunch of prelaunch videos and downloads that appear to have gone offline as I write this.

Cari is yet another person out there that is looking to help musicians today make the most of their music career via music business coaching, and one of the things that I love about her prelaunch material I checked out last week is that she talks frankly about money and how important it is for musicians to wrap their head around how to make it and how to get the roadblocks out of their way to attracting more money into their lives.

I also love how she’s upfront that you need to have a handle on the business end of things if you want to make a go of it as an independent artist today.

Having said that – I’m not overly keep on the word ‘fame’, but that’s just me. I think there is a substantial amount of people who think they want fame and use music as only a vehicle to get it.

However, since Cari is upfront with what her program is about (everything from the business, productivity and motivation to making your website work for you) I can forgive the fact that there’s the word “fame” in the name of her coaching program.

Anyway, her program is open but there are only a few spots. I think it’s worth checking out her Fast Forward to Fame site to see the video she made that shares some great advice while revealing more details on what her program is about.

Here’s the (non-affiliate) link:

From what I can gather, Cari started out as a vocal coach and has broadened her horizons to go far beyond that. She’s also an artist herself – but you can find out more at her site.

Now, she’s not giving away her expertise for nothing, it’s definitely not cheap. I also question her math when it comes to what a newbie artist gets paid per gig ($500?) which certainly isn’t true in my experience – and may not be true for you – but could be the standard in New York City where Cari operates her business.

I’m not promoting her as an affiliate because I know nothing about her and have only just checked out her launch material. However, I think she’s sharing some great free content so you have little to lose to check it out and see if it works for you.

Fast Forward To Fame logo

Lastly, before you invest money in any training – do a gut check and ask yourself a few tough questions. Are you going to dedicate the time to focus on the program and give it your all? Cari Cole mentioned in her online question and answer session that her students should expect to spend 4 to 5 hours a week on the material. That’s a pretty small price to pay to invest in yourself and build a sustainable music career – but many will still end up drawn to watch the TV instead.

Which one are you?

The program starts November 15th, 2011. So depending on what you have going on in your life – now might not be the right time. Also, this coaching is recommended for artists that already have their own music and are looking for guidance on how to get it out there; if you’ve never written a single song or never performed in front of a live audience – this training is probably a few levels over your head.

Check it out and share what you think – is Fast Forward to Fame by Cari Cole for real?