I have been doing music for many years. It took me three to five years to turn it into something that is flourishing.
I was reminded this week of the importance of planting seeds. I contacted a studio in 2016 about mastering on Instagram. I loved their music and messaged them to see if I could have a shot at an album.
Crickets.... for 2 whole years. No response, just silence... until today......
The studio messaged me back and said, "Somehow I missed this message, so sorry, I would love to send you a mix for you to master". Two years later, they responded.
Do you see this? So often we think that when we hear silence or that we see nothing, that it's a personal attack on us or that nothing is happening. The tapes turn on in our head, "I'm not good enough, no one wants to work with me, no one is seeing these messages, this is a waste of time, I should get a job, this is way too hard"... and the tapes continue in our head.
But another way to look at this is to see it as planting seeds. When you plant a seed it goes away. It gets buried, it's in the earth. You don't see it for months. During this time of what appears to be silence and nothing you still have to nurture it.... and then one day... you see a sprout. When you see that sprout you have to pay attention and take care of it.
Once a seed has grown into a plant, you still have to take care of it.
So many people miss this part. Once the plant is grown, it requires even more resources to keep it alive. It's not the finish line, it's the starting point of what could be a long lasting relationship if it gets the food and attention it needs.
During the early years of my music journey, I didn't understand how business worked. I didn't understand that you needed to have a super longterm view of your company and career in order to make it actually become that... a career.
In order to have longevity you have to plant seeds. I have said it before and will say it again, there is no shortage of work......
People literally don't know you exist in your industry.
The majority of people I work with or mentor want everything fast. They want a career in a year. They want to dump all the miracle grow they can to speed up the process. They want to work with their favorite band in year one. While this could happen, most likely it will not.
The key to self-employment is to..
make sure everyone knows who you are, what you do, and where they can find you.
If you focus on these things, you will be one of those people who has a career. This is called planting seeds. You may get a "no" from 9 out of 10 people, but those 9 know that you at least exist. The seed is planted. If I can testify to anything it's that those 9 people who said "no", around 20% of them come back over the years and send me work.
Maybe they had a bad experience, maybe their current mastering engineer is on a break, too busy, family emergency, rates go up, leave the industry.. and the list goes on of why people come back to me. What was once a "no" becomes a "yes". The seed I planted was dormant but now has the right conditions to grow.
So when you plant seeds you have to be working the soil and making sure it has the right conditions to actually grow. If I go back to 2016 with that studio, I can see that I didn't follow up with them. This is something I changed right around that time. I began to follow up with everyone multiple times.
Following up is like working the soil, giving it what it needs to grow.
Now, I follow up with people that I feel like I am a good fit for, over and over again until I get something. I work the soil. I pay attention to it. I do everything I can to make that seed grow.
Sometimes growth happens fast and sometimes growth happens slow, but either way... it's all growth if you're being attentive and active.
Be encouraged by this. Plant some seeds, nourish them, and when they grow, know that you are just getting started. Seeing the fruit of your labor makes it all worth it. Trust me.
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