We always need to be taking our work to the next level, but do you know how? Sometimes we see the end goal and it’s hard to pin point the step by step program to getting what we want. So here are some tips on leveling up.
First things first, you need to sit down with yourself or your team and come up with some goals and ways to reach those goals. This is different for everyone. The next level for someone might be performing at local shows or opening for a headliner. The next step might to be to book a tour or take a trip to somewhere you have friends and are able to network. Maybe the next level for you is to be a great networker, so figuring out where your skills can improve and come up with exercises to develop them. Maybe it’s getting your image and stye together. Maybe it’s scheduling a photoshoot, ordering merchandise or reaching out to sponsors. There’s a million ways to take your art to the next level, but it all depends on where you’re currently at.
TO DO LISTS:
Having goals is great, but you can’t just stop there. For each goal you have, you should come up with at least 10 tasks that can help you achieve it. Tasks are things you physically do to put your end goal into motion.
- If your goal is to model in photoshoots regularly, then a few things on your to-do list would be to search for photographers in your area through friends or social media and set up meetings with them, scout for shoot locations, as well as gather outfits and props you might want.
- If your next step is to order merchandise, you must come up with designs, choose a wholesale company, pick the items you want to print, get a quote, save up money for the production costs, and build a page on your website to sell said items.
- Or perhaps you want to book a tour, which takes a lot of focus. You’d need to make a route, timeline and agenda for your tour, reach out to and make connections with event producers, venues and performers in those areas, figure out your travel arrangements, find a graphic designer to create flyers, and all of that takes money, which you should be saving. Then there’s other questions: Do you have artists touring with you? Do you need merchandise or swag to take on tour? Will you schedule appointments with professionals in the area to establish connections and opportunities for your next trip to their area?
Now I want to focus on the personality traits of highly successful people that you will need to take your art to the next level. Drive, self-reliance, patience, integrity, passion and confidence are qualities all successful people have. People aren’t born with these skills, though, they had to develop them. So you have the passion, now what…
Attention to detail is something that will set you apart from your competition. Are making sure your plan is laid out and you’re covering all your basis? Departmentalize each part of your career and create an action plan for each area. That will ensure you’re not missing moves.
Confidence is huge. This is how it works: unconfident people will look up to people with confidence and confident people will brush off unconfident people. You don’t want a very important person not noticing you or ignoring you because your lack of confidence is showing. Stand out, look good, be likable and be sure of who you are.
Many of us have started from the bottom but as your success grows, stay humble, stay low, blow like hootie. Hah, I’m just joking about the last two but stay grateful because gratitude is the key factor to attracting more positive opportunities to you.
Without networking, you won’t go as far as you would like to. You need to make connections with local movers and shakers and continue to network your way into the world of bigger and bigger players. Remember there is only six degrees of separation between you and everyone who is already living the life you desire.
In order to get what you need from someone, you must have two abilities: the ability to make them feel like you’re truly interested in who they are and the ability to bring value to their lives.
People will instantly take a liking to you if you are seriously interested in the person you’re speaking to (or at least make it seem that way by asking them questions about themselves). Ask questions that help you understand their social influence. What’s their passion? Do they go to school or are they actively working in the field of their passion? What is a challenge they’ve encountered in that industry? This last one is a powerful question that can lead to communication with this person beyond your first meeting. It also allows you the chance to bring value to their life, whether it was advice a mentor gave you or an article you recently read. Then you can follow up with that person on social media or email with an article you found that is relevant to the conversation you had. This will also help people remember you.
When you get to the point in the conversation where the person you’re networking with asks you about yourself, be specific. (because, yes you need to TALK LESS & LISTEN MORE for people to truly like you.) Prepare your elevator pitch that clearly explains who you are, your accomplishments, what your goals are, how you’ve been working towards them and what you still need. If you don’t know what an elevator pitch is, you need to… so Google it!
The idea of networking is to have memorable conversations with as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Being memorable is achieved through quality conversation, being interested as well as interesting and, most importantly, having the ability to make them feel good while you’re speaking. Part of that is learning the art of a graceful exit, which can often be done by asking for their contact information (a business card or a social media handle.) Then saying “Perfect, it was a pleasure meeting you. I’ll be in touch soon.”
Now, you need to remember who THEY are. After you meet someone, write a note in your phone with the date and who you met so you can follow up with them in a week, or less if you committed to that. Another thing that goes hand in hand with this is creating a VIP list and using your online calendar to set reminders to reach out to them. Maybe it’s once a month, once every two months or couple times a month, either way, make sure to check in with your network, share an interesting article you read the pertains to a conversation you had with them, see how they’re doing or ask about their most recent travel. You can move that list into a spreadsheet with tags or labels such as; event producer, artist manager, booking agent, company owner, venue owner, publicist, blogger, etc. Consistently working your network and nurturing those connections will be invaluable to you.
Don’t be thirsty. Don’t hand people business cards when you first meet them. Save that for the end of your conversation and ask for their card. Don’t spam peoples DMs with your “Please listen to this link”. Don’t invite them to your next show before you make them feel like you’re interested in what they do. Truth is, to get people to really fuck with you, you need to listen more than you talk.
RITUAL RECIPE FOR SUCCESS:
There’s a great ritual I’ve been doing for years now that I want to share with you. I sit down and dedicate some time to writing a list of my end goals; everything from what kind of people I want to be surrounded by to where I want to end up when I’m 30. If I want something, I write it down. I store all of these sheets of paper in a safe place and I come back to the list in 3 to 6 months. What I realized after years of doing this is I often find many of the things on my list have become a reality. I see what I’ve accomplished, what I still need to put more work into and by that time I have new goals. They say that putting your ideas down on paper is powerful. You’re moving the idea from inside your mind into physical existence. Plus this evaluation is important to have with yourself on a regular basis.