FUCK YOUR EDIT BUTTONS

There was a time in our lives when we didn’t see what friends had for dinner, scored on their biology tests, ran their half-marathon, posted a song, a funny meme, a photo of their cat, someone parked in the bike lane, a misspelled sign on the window of the local bodega, the cat from said bodega, their review of the new episode of that cool TV show that’s not on TV but a streaming service, their disdain for streaming services, their rant about cancelling their streaming service, their love for sports, their hatred of people that love sports, and the video highlight of some great athletic feat by someone in a high school, college, or pro event that everyone will watch for 3.4 seconds.

We didn’t read 18 articles about 18 different subjects before getting out of bed, like consuming three newspapers, 4 morning shows, and an hours worth of talk-radio (the comments and replies) before we even put on pants.

The soundtrack to our commute or shower or morning walk was limited to the music we owned, or the MP3s we downloaded to our portable device. Now we have the option of every piece of music ever recorded, and 60K new songs are uploaded to Spotify alone every single day. Hurry, it’s Bandcamp Friday – here’s 900 gentle suggestions from everyone about what you should check out and it will only take you 3.2 years to listen to 30 seconds of the first 329 links.

People could call us on the phone. Or send us a letter.

I have five email inboxes, three Asana inboxes, a Basecamp, and two Slacks to watch throughout the day. I’m probably forgetting one or three others.

Our meetings used to be limited to conference rooms. Now my face appears anywhere there’s a smart device and wifi. We’re experts with webcams and microphones and lighting and sound dampening, but fuck if anyone can provide a god damn agenda in 2022.

Am I the old man yelling at the cloud? Fuck yes I am. I’m tired.

KEEP CALM, FUCK OFF

Is there a better example of “the show must go on” than this?

Via NPR

There was a missile attack SEVEN MILES from the track, but the teams and organizers met for hours and decided to race anyways.

A MISSILE ATTACK.

I could hardly work on January 6th, 2021 during the fucking insurrection, yet the work world couldn’t stop. “Please ignore the attack on the Capitol building, answer emails, get on that Zoom call.”

Another example of everyone going “this is fine” and carrying while the entire world is in flames, sometimes literally.

TAKING LOTS OF SHOTS

I’m a big proponent of “don’t figure it out, find it out.” I probably got that from years of watching Seth Godin and Gary Vee videos, so if I didn’t properly give credit there, that’s why.

People have told me I was smart for “finding my niche” by helping busy independent music publicists with their admin, reporting, website update, and social media work, but really I just had a good friend who got laid off and started their own company and needed someone right away. A few years later I got another client doing the same thing. Three of those in total, doing various tasks and duties M-F.

I didn’t “figure out” that direction or market, and I’m not actively expanding that, as in; I’ve turned down clients in the past year for that work, because I found out there’s better pay and less hours involved in the email marketing world.

That’s something else I sort of “stepped into,” but it was also from a friendship forged in the late 90s, so I’m won’t feel guilty about that. And I’ve been doing various sorts of email marketing since 2011 or so, too… from email newsletter for Artists & Fleas and my own Skull Toaster project, where I sent over 1,000 emails (they were numbered).

Lots of tips and hacks online about “gain a skill, get a customer, earn six figures a month,” and I guess some people can manage that, but to me that sounds like a fantasy. I mean, the route I went isn’t the correct answer, either, but still.

All that to say – don’t figure it out, find it out.” Keep doing lots of things, all the time, and make sure you’re having fun doing them at least, or finding some fulfillment out of them. Email newsletters for me are fun because you get to see tangible results, like open rates and REVENUE, so your results may vary.

Still – take a lot of shots, and see what lands, I guess.

WORKING WITH HOLD TIGHT

I’ve been working with the fine folk at HOLD TIGHT since late last year, but now it’s official:

Over the last couple of years we’ve developed a variety of flexible offerings, including approaching newer media (YouTube reactionaries, Twitch streamers) and building our digital marketing wing – headed up by our legendary Darren Gosling.

The next natural step was to build email marketing into our marketing operation, so allow me to introduce the lovely Seth Werkheiser, who’s joined us as a freelance email marketing executive.

Seth might already be a known face to some of you. He’s been writing about music since 2001 and co-founded Noisecreep in 2008. He’s behind the commendable Metal Bandcamp Gift Club and – along with Hold Tight – works with MNRK Heavy (formerly eOne Heavy), and leading US PR agencies.

Read the full announcement here.

QUIET BUT STILL BUSY

While I haven’t been blogging, I’ve been doing a handful of stuff.

I set up an official site for Goodnight, Metal Friend, my “sleepy time metal music” project. I used Notion and Super, plus a theme that I bought from somewhere I can’t remember, but I love it.

https://goodnightmetalfriend.com

Since I’ve been somewhat better with my doom scrolling, I’ve had the time to source all the music for hour long mixes on a weekly basis. So it’s not that I found the time, I just used it differently.

Speaking of using time differently, I’ve started live-streaming on the Blast Radio app, which has been a lot of fun. Twice a week I get on there and make up some dark-ambient chill music in real time.

Then, since I’ve been making these hour long tracks, I trimmed them a bit and made some edits and now they’re also a release on Bandcamp.

With all that, I started a Goodnight, Metal Friend newsletter, here.

I interviewed Joan Pope for the HEAVY METAL EMAIL newsletter.

CLOSE MONDAYS sent out lots of email campaigns for MNRK Heavy, Death Row Records, and Hold Tight.

I’ve Been shifting a lot of that work from “helping busy independent music publicists” towards the DTC email marketing world by way of automation (Airtable and Zapier and Front) and delegation (moving things to Time Etc.).

Definitely shifting gears towards “I do ecommerce email marketing for heavy metal labels.” Hire me and let’s make tens of thousands of dollars a month, cool? seth@closemondays.com

PLEASE MAKE YOUR THING

Success or making it isn’t black and white, yes or no. For every success we see on a magazine cover there’s years of back story. Of “failure.”

For every video with 3 million views there’s a legion more with 174.

Those 174 are no less valid. They’re just as important, and we need to keep making them.

The world needs videos and songs with “low play counts” in the same way we need street art – it is PERMISSION.

It is a sign from the universe that says anyone can do this, so you should try it.

BECOME WHO YOU ARE

Saw this randomly on LinkedIn, and felt this in my bones.

Thinking back, 15 years prior, while working a desk as an Executive Assistant at Interscope Records, I’d regularly email a Music Industry curated jobs list to a small group of colleagues and friends of friends. The “Riggins Recruiting: Job of the day” sent (1) job daily that was passed along to me from other assistants and hiring managers at Universal Music Group and around the industry.. This wasn’t a business, it wasn’t even a hobby. It was just what I did and loved doing. “Riggins Recruiting” became me.

My advice, in 2022 just become who you are… forever evolve, take calculated risks, improve processes, deliver results, help your friends and friends of friends BECOME. Don’t be afraid to be your true-self and switch up your career every now and then.

Tony Riggins from LinkedIn

I love the rouge nature of sending a regular email out to connect. To serve. To just help.

“Become who you are,” which is something I’ve been very intentional about in the last few months. Being self-employed, you’re on your own with trying to shift your focus. Started Heavy Metal Email in October, and just two months later change is in the air, and I love it.

The focus in 2022 is more email marketing work. Serving growing bands and artists, helping them reach their audience directly, and lessen their reliance on the house of cards that we call social media.

GET COMFORTABLE

I don’t care what you do, or what style of music you play, ever performance can destroy a venue.

You’re on stage, you’re an artist commanding a room, I don’t care – you own that moment in time.

We still have our words, and 4K video cameras in our pockets.

Music videos move people to tears. Simple words, expressions. Honesty can bring a person to their knees.

Not everyone. But some. Our magic isn’t for everyone, but it’s meant for the realm we’ve conjured without even knowing.

We’re royalty of a kingdom we can’t even acknowledge because the world wants us to sit in rows and check off the right boxes.

Some of us are meant to command rowdy biker bars, while others own a stuffy work meeting.

A lion is less fierce in the arctic, so stop wondering why you don’t fit places.

DO YOUR BEST WHERE IT COUNTS

Remember, all the “growth marketing” stuff you see on socials about companies who struck gold – they had EMPLOYEES working on that stuff non stop. It’s okay if you’re small biz or project doesn’t compare. You’re doing the best you can.

There are teams of people, with DEGREES, in marketing and stuff, getting paid six figures. That’s what they’re supposed to do.

You make hand bags, or sell donuts… a few tips and tricks and hacks can’t hurt, but it’s not magic. If everyone could do it (they can’t), they would (they don’t).

Like, think you need to hop on Tik Tok but still can’t manage to email your best customers twice a month? Maybe work on that first. Yes, fancy named digital currency is cool. So are dollars, and CRM tools.

BURN AWAY THE BURN OUT

I’ve been reading a lot about burn out, probably because everyone is fucking burnt out. The thing that makes me the most sad is burning out from things that we control.

Like, I talk weekly with a friend that I made from the Akimbo Freelancer Workshop. We bounce stuff off each other constantly, and one of the big focuses is outsourcing. Getting things off our plate. Giving ourselves the permission to be the boss who takes two hour lunches.

Obviously the various stresses and demands of freelance work can make it hard to take that two hour lunch, but… if you don’t design your ideal work situation, others will. It will be ideal for them.

Emails at all hours. Phone calls. Ridiculous deadlines.

The best busy work is no busy work at all.

Sure, that sounds hippy dippy dream talk, but fuuuuuck it – a person has to dream, right?

It’s the whole “saying no,” thing, which I’m sure you’ve seen all over the internet. The act of saying no is basically saying yes to other things – yes to free time, yes to other work, yes to not working at all!

A while back I said “no more transcribing.” I had done 100s of hours of audio transcribing for writers. It was okay money, but the work required absolute focus. If you lose focus, it’s hard to get back on track. Toss in bad audio, and other work on your plate, and it just got to be too much.

So I said no. Could I have used the money? Of course! I could still use that money!

But saying no to that work gives room for the work I want to be doing (and it’s working).

Saying no to clients with ridiculous deadlines, unreasonable availability, low pay, high stress – that’s the shit you say no to.

Stripping away of the stuff that depletes you that makes space for the time to go outside for a walk, or take a two hour lunch.

So don’t manage your thing – your business, your blog, your music – with what everyone else is doing – make it fit how you want to live.