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.

Keep Taking Shots

From @fortelabs:

My advice to almost every creator: you’re being way, WAY too strategic

Until you’re making a million dollars on the internet you’re in beta

Take all the time & energy you’re spending strategizing and iterate as fast as you possibly can

Every piece of content is a shot on goal

You can practice your jump shot everyday, but until you get into some pick up games every day, you’re missing out on valuable lessons.

That’s something I’m going to stress in my HEAVY METAL EMAIL community – make a plan, and send an email every week to your fans.

Ship something every month. Send that newsletter. If you want to write music, you don’t pick up your guitar once a month. You spend time with it everyday. You don’t get better at taking photographs by spending all your time on camera sites and forums – you’ve got to get out there and make some photos!

There’s a time for book learning, but there’s also a time for rolling up the sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

WEEKLY LOOP for SEPTEMBER 12, 2021

Everything is a loop, it seems. We keep making the same mistakes, the same choices, the same levels of misery. Happy Sunday!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CTlLe7iDHbv/

LIKES

  • “I just cannot accept that my dad’s life or anyone else’s is a fair price to pay for our “back to normal,” @Amber_Coffman
  • “9/11 hits different riding up on 700k deaths no one cares about,” @Mollyissilly
https://www.instagram.com/p/CTplApgIznu/

WORK LIKES

  • “Now when I feel overwhelmed by work I take 2 deep breaths and say, “this is what you dreamed of. That’s what this work is for. And if this specific job isn’t it, we won’t say yes to this again,” @aundrelarrow
  • “The next big recruiting platform in tech is the 32 hour work week,” @gabe_g2i
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSt-iGELsCY

MUSIC LIKES

  • “*wakes up, puts on old school metal tee* man I love this band. wonder if their singer thinks the Moderna vaccine is a plot to inject microcomputers into the bloodstream,” @mountain_goats
  • “The label I work at had ITS BUSIEST YEAR EVER in 2020 and that momentum has carried,” @turnbullet666
  • “If you’re an artist, you will be an artist no matter what. I don’t think you have a choice,” Jasamine White-Gluz via @HandDrawnDrac
  • “When you focus on building your own shit, all the doors that were once closed start opening organically,” @Breezyb215
  • “You’d be surprised how many people are willing to pay $10 for an album when given the opportunity,” @BigSto

I moved Metal Bandcamp Gift Club back to it’s old school, Yahoo style layout. If you have a birthday and love giving gifts (and sometimes getting gifts), you should check it out.

stopped using Whoop after just five months. There was nothing wrong with it, but my head needs less numbers and things to feel guilty about these days.

May your week be filled with good food, and cool evenings on porches.

Before Giving Yourself Over to Your Job

From an interview with Harper’s Bazaar Digital Director Nikki Ogunnaike:

“My friend Joe Holder is very much of the school where he believes there are all sorts of products that people are buying and reaching and searching for to do their wellness practices, but there are things like stillness, meditation, religion, fresh air, and vitamin D. And I don’t knock anyone — do whatever you need to do to center yourself. But in my own life, making sure that I do something for myself in the morning before I have to give myself over to my job.”

‘Nikki Ogunnaike Wants You to Unfollow Anyone Who Doesn’t Bring You Joy, at The Cut

Even with my years of talking about productivity and using all the cool tools, my morning routine doesn’t exist. Some mornings I just stumble through, other mornings I rush to complete a task that I put off from the previous workday.

The idea though, of “making sure I do something for myself in the morning before I have to give myself over to my job.” The idea that we really do give ourselves over to our jobs, even when working remotely. That’s a real thing. A different headspace.

Spend the Money

From ‘WHEN TO SPEND ON YOUR BUSINESS,’ from my “day job” (which is Close Mondays):

I didn’t sign up for Basecamp at $100/mo so I make better to-do lists for myself. I signed up so I could assign to-dos for other people, so I could back away from the daily busy work and look ahead.

It’s hard to grow your operation if you’re always in your operation. You need to be able to hop on a 30 minute video call without being worried that you’re inbox is overflowing.

You need to be able to shut things off and go get food without the entire world burning down.

Most People Haven’t Heard Your Album

It’s okay to not have a brand new album on Bandcamp Friday, or ANY FRIDAY. There’s a lot of people in this world who’ve still never heard your album. There’s people that still haven’t heard Metallica’s “black album!”

So talk about the thing you do on social media. Don’t hide it. It’s not “gross” promoting your work. You don’t roll your eyes when you’re painting, doing another vocal take in the studio, or delivering your final design concept to a client, so don’t you roll your eyes when 99.9% of the world doesn’t even know it exists.

You are the caretaker of this art, and it’s not going to market itself. Be proud, include a link, send it to some friends. Don’t hide the potential joy of someones life for another minute.

Also…

I posted this video on Twitter, which has a shelf life of about 10 minutes. Blink and you’ll miss it. And without paying up, most of my followers won’t see it anyways.

But the video lives here, on my own site. We’re all renting on social media, but our websites are our homes. Two months from now it’ll be near impossible to find the original Tweet I made. It’ll be a lot easier for someone to find this video via a link, on the open web, and via search engines.

Daily Loop #36

Got stuck in the snow close to my house. Had to shovel out my car, with no gloves. At one point I was laying flat on my back, staring up at the stars, and realizing the absurdity of everything.

I ate some cookies and shook my fist at the universe, but life is short, so I got working on this loop.

For this one I stacked three audio clips from my Instagram feed, and then sampled it. Enjoy.

LIKES

“I just don’t understand how kindness and gratitude is such a big ask of managers,” @brianne2k

Marie Enger via @so_engery

target from Norah Lorway on Vimeo.

Video above by Alex Green from Pexels

Stop Handing Out Flyers

There was a time when we didn’t spray a firehose of images, videos, and words into our eyeballs for multiple hours, every day. Around the clock.

During that time we still made albums, published magazines, made videos, and everything else.

The thing I hear a lot, if we abandon social media, is how will we be found? How will our music get heard? How will our videos get watched?

Look, they will.

Back in the day you’d hand out flyers for the show you were playing that night. Put the flyers in the local music shop. Hand them to anyone wearing Chuck Taylors or a nose ring.

Social media is where you hand out flyers, but at a certain point you gotta head back to the venue and play a show.

We’ve all bought into the 24/7 social media marketing life style, heading both directions; both as the consumer and the advertiser.

But there comes a time when you gotta put the phone down and work. You’re going to have to miss that meme, or that person who did the thing, or that random video.

Trust that the wonderful people in your life will send you some of the highlights. Also be okay with missing shit.

Like, how many memes have you missed when they first came out? Then you discovered it three months later. Still funny, right? Great. What’d you lose? Nothing.

Get into your studio, your space, put on your headphones and make your art. That’s the thing that people will discover three months from now. That clever Tweet or funny IG story is nice and all, but it’s gone in a day. Poof.

Put your top stuff on a site. Your writing, your photos, your music, your whatever. Give it a home where people can find it. And keeping filling it up. Keep adding. Make it your home.

People will find you when they find you, and it’ll probably be for your art, the magic you bring to the world.

Photo by Mick Haupt from Pexels

Daily Loop #25

It’s Monday, again. A weekly reminder that our weekends are no longer filled with rejuvenating times with friends, new experiences, random encounters, and spontaneous adventures. Nope! All gone.

So turn on your computer, dial into the internet, and let’s just pretend everything is normal.

The main riff in today’s Daily Loop was played on my bass, which I converted to MIDI notes.

LIKES

“Some days, I really hate this shit. Like really fucking hate it on an extra level. Today is one of those,” @georgehahn

Video by Camilo Calderón from Pexels