Musicians are the ultimate entrepreneurs. They set out to build a brand and make a living with their passion. Often times, they will go through years living in poverty-like conditions in an effort to persue their dream. How do I know this? I used to be one. I set out with a dream to be a career musician before college. I learned along the way how to develop marketing plans, build websites, make sales calls, entertain business partners and fans, and more things than I probably ever learned in college. It is that desire that lead me to the web itself long before there were massive websites, or even many websites for that matter. As a musician I taught myself how to entertain a crowd, write lyrics, and to dig deep inside myself to fight the basic fear of rejection. You learn to put your all into building a dream inside your head of what life can be.
Business for entrepreneurs is the same thing. Today I went with family to the Currier Art Museum to see an exhibit with backstage photos and behind the scenes footage of great artists of the 60s through today. I watched as these musicians like the Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Chet Atkins, Frank Zappa, the Rolling Stones, and the Beastie Boys all were desperately trying to do something they only first saw in their dreams. The photos of these now legendary musicians reminded me that everyone starts somewhere. No one is born into greatness and we all have to work for it. Even those we regard as legends were at some point nobodies to the general public. What is it then that drives some to remain anonymous and others to be revered?
I have boiled it down to three basic elements: the ability to dream, the ability to act, and the ability to persevere.
These musicians were all willing to dream of what they could accomplish. When we are young this comes easy, but as we grow older it becomes harder to dream because many will push you to conform to their expectations of life. It takes courage to keep dreaming. Never be afraid to dream as this is the key element that without it, action and perseverance would not exist.
These musicians were then willing to take action in pursuit of that dream. They created a definite plan to create a career. This plan included writing music, recording, and performing. All of these elements could have been a stumbling block. Writing music can be a difficult task as it is deeply personal. Recording an album takes a great deal of money (or at least it used to before digital recording), which requires business connections. This then forces them to look at how to best accomplish their dream without giving up too much control (this is akin to a startup looking for funding). Then they need to perform the music in order to build a following and sell their music. The performance must connect with the audience and persuade them to take action. This is no different than an entrepreneur working to obtain their first customers and then build their business.
Finally comes perseverance. This is the ultimate determining factor of success. The musicians who gave up when others criticized at any step had no chance. Those who were willing to forge ahead and ignore the critics atleast had the chance of success. The ones who created the right mix of talent and branding were a step further. The ones who reach legend status were able to not only do the first two steps, but they successfully converted large masses of consumers into raving fans. This is no different than the lines of customers waiting for the newest Apple Devices.
So the next time you feel like you are struggling to reach the next step in your business or even where to start, remember that we are all just people struggling to do something we believe in with the hopes that others will listen and accept us. In order to be legendary, you have to show up each day and put your entire heart out there. If you can do this successfully while dreaming and taking action then you are almost sure to find success if not at least find satisfaction.
Have a great day!