It has become apparent to me as a working musician and writer, as I rub shoulders with business people of different types, that the most successful people in business, whether they be buttoned-up suited types or wacky artistes, have an amazing (if not particularly exciting) secret…
They are really organised.
I know, boring huh?
I wish this were otherwise – but this post is going to be about stuff like “CRM” and “To Do Lists” not more exciting, sexy buzzwords like “being remarkable” or “creating blue oceans” – but you should read on regardless if you want to be a kick-ass creative-type.
Actually, before we leave the sexy stuff like “being remarkable” behind, let’s just remember this: whether we are naturally inclined to organisation or not (I am not), there is no denying that getting one’s ducks in a row will actually enable you to do and create amazing art – and to sell it effectively too.
How do I know this to true? Well via my incredible powers of observation that’s how. When reading about independent musicians, on a local and an international scale, I have noticed time and time again that those who are doing well are either:
A) very organised themselves
B) managed by others who organise them
Given that, if you are reading this, you likely don’t have an army of hard-working elves to get everything lined up for you while you frolic naked with Unicorns and water nymphs, let’s concentrate on point A.
How To Get Organised (And Why This Is A Good Thing)
Firstly, let’s clear up a misconception commonly held by creative types: getting organised does not automatically destroy your creativity. In fact, it will help you to be more creative and more successful at marketing your creative output. So dump the idea that you have no choice but “muddle through” if you are to succeed as an artiste of whatever flavour.
Now do this:
A) Dream – this is the bit that creative people are good at. Take some time out and dream in great detail about what you want and what you intend to make happen. Don’t worry about how just yet, just be clear on what it is you intend to achieve and spend some time visualising it. Commit to returning to this visual aspiration regularly, it is something enjoyable that you should indulge in frequently which is also useful in that it clarifies your intent (and possibly calls down magic ju-ju to help you along).
B) Write It Down – note out your specific goals on paper or in some sort of electronic document that you will find easy to constantly reference. If you feel comfortable, stick it up somewhere you can see it every day and re-read this aloud to yourself as often as possible, preferably every day.
C) Write An Action Plan – if you feel that you can, write a whole business plan, but if you do not feel that this is something you can handle then write out an action plan which is basically a list of actions that you need to take to make your dream goals happen. Write them all out as they come to mind then order them down to what you are going to do next, as in now, today, straight up.
D) Start Moving – this is where the rubber hits the roads – you MUST get busy crossing items off your action plan or To Do List.
From here things start to get complicated and messy so at this point I would recommend that you think about using a Customer Relation Manager (CRM) or similar so you do not lose track of everything you are doing and who you have talked to. If you have a decent amount of money at your disposal then you could get something custom made up out of Saleslogix or something like that. However if you are a mere mortal creative like the rest of us then you might be better off using something less expensive like Zoho.
If this seems altogether too complicated then at least try using a To Do List organiser. But at the end of the day, if you are technology shy, you can just stick to pen and paper. It doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is you get organised, take massive action NOW and then do your level best to stay organised.
This will put you miles ahead of your competitors in no time – and God knows I wish I had believed this when I was in my twenties … but then again – maybe I wouldn’t have had so much fun