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Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

Jim Rohn – how to have the Best Life Ever

Understanding How to Frame Your Creative Expertise GOOD

Again and again I see talented people with ideas they want to share – books they want to write, talks they want to give, businesses they want to launch – holding back because they think they “don’t know enough” about their topic.

“After all,” they reason, “there are real experts on this out there – and I’m not one of them.” They’re thinking about the people with advanced degrees and decades of deep experience working in the field.

In fact, that’s just one type of expert — “the specialist.” There are three other kinds of experts that make world-changing contributions, without specialist training.

You are likely one of these four types of expert, when it comes to the work you most want to do. As you read, identify which type (or types) of expertise you could bring to the projects you are currently pursuing as well as those that you want to pursue:

1. The Survivor

You’ve been through something, learned a heck of a lot along the way, and now you are on fire to share what you’ve learned. Maybe, like best-selling author Kris Carr, you lived through cancer and want to write about your path to health. Maybe, like Jonathan Fields, you’ve started a few businesses and want to share insights about entrepreneurship.

“Survivors” often worry that their personal experience is not enough to earn them credibility or allow them to make a meaningful contribution, but consider these powerful strengths of this source of authority: You have an ability to move and connect with your audience that most formal experts on your topic don’t have. You can provide inspiration and role-modeling– not just information. You have insider insights that will help you create a more compelling offering for your audience.

But, be careful, here’s where you could get in your own way: it’s easy to over-generalize from your experience to that of others. If “survivor” is your source of expertise, tell your story as powerfully as you can, and pass on your lessons learned as just that – without making claims on having the truth or the solutions for everyone. People will listen up simply because you are honestly sharing what did and didn’t work for you.

You have an ability to move and connect with your audience that most formal experts on your topic don’t have.

2. The Cross Trainer

When an athlete cross-trains,they “train in a sport other than the one that they compete in, with a goal of improving overall performance.” In our context, the “cross trainer” is the physicist who takes a look at a problem in medicine, the family therapist who writes about fixing dysfunctional teams at work. Cross trainers have deep expertise in field “x,” and bring ways of thinking from field “x” to bear as they look at field “y.” Business leaders Whitney Johnson and Clay Christensen each apply theories on business development to personal development. Tom Ford applied his expertise in fashion design to cinematography when he created the stunning film, A Single Man.

Cross trainers make interdisciplinary connections and drive innovation. They see the blind spots of the conventional thinking in the field they’ve turned their attention to.

However, if you are a cross trainer, here’s where to watch out: you may miss seeing how insights from your field of expertise are not applicable to your new topic. For example, many MBAs have hindered nonprofits by assuming that all the planning tools and metrics used in a business should be applied to nonprofits to make them more efficient.

For cross-trainers, the charge is to be bold in asking provocative questions and making interdisciplinary leaps, but humble about the applicability of anything across fields. Focus on starting new conversations and prototyping cross-training-based solutions without assumptionsabout what will in fact apply across fields.

3. The Called

Then there are those people that dive into a project out of a sense of calling. They feel an inner, mysterious sense of “this work is mine to do.” Jessica Jackley felt outraged that conventional charity didn’t empower the poor to help themselves, and out of a persistent frustration with that status quo, and a sense of calling, began developing, now the world’s largest microfinance platform.

The called bring many gifts to their work.  They have sustainable passion. They have vision and – perhaps most important – ardent dissatisfaction with the status quo where insiders may have become resigned.

The challenge for the called is to trust their sense of calling. That is particularly difficult when they can’t find a logical reason why they’re attracted to a project, or qualified for it. The called generally feel that they don’t have what they need – and they aren’t who they need to be – to complete their calling.

Their charge is to start anyway in whatever partial way they can. They also need to gather mentors to fill in knowledge gaps –those who support (and aren’t threatened by) an outsider bringing new ideas and vision.

The challenge for the called is to trust their sense of calling.

4. The Specialist

In our culture, this type of authority is most validated and embraced. The specialist has formal training (degrees, certifications) or lots of work experience in the area of their project. They might also achieve their specialist knowledge by conducting extensive research on their topic.

Brene Brown, a professor of Social Work spent years conducting research on shame and vulnerability and now speaks and writes widely on these topics. Dr. Harriet Lerner honed her expertise with hundreds of clients in her private psychology practice before writing her best-selling books on our emotional lives.

The pluses of this kind of expertise are many: specialists have a sense of the standard industry knowledge on their topic. They have the benefit of industry networks. Because they’ve seen so many examples over the years, they can tell apart the trends and the outliers.

The downside? Specialists often get stuck in inside-the-box thinking. They can also get distracted with the politics of their field or in debates about minutiae. To avoid that, specialists must talk regularly with colleagues from related but different disciplines, and seek out rebels and dissidents at the margin of their fields, listening to their perspectives with an open mind.


Immeasurable contributions are lost because many of us think that #4 – formal training/work experience – is the only kind of legitimate authority. We usually don’t hold that belief when it applies to other people – we are thrilled to read that nonfiction book based on someone’s personal journey or to listen to the interesting TED talk by a cross trainer. But for ourselves? We think we don’t know enough.

To be sure, specialists are extremely important. We benefit enormously from living in an age when there is so much information available, when formal education is becoming more and more accessible, and when there are people with deep, specialized knowledge. All of that is invaluable – but it is not the only kind of value.

Identify which source – or sources – of expertise you bring to your current project. Leverage its strengths. Most of all, trust that it is enough – not because it enables you to know everything, but because it enables you to make the contribution you are uniquely qualified to make.

How about you?

How have you successfully framed your expertise?

Tara Sophia Mohr

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Tara Sophia Mohr is an expert on conscious leadership and the creator of the Playing Big leadership program for women.  You can download her 10 Rules for Brilliant Women Workbook here.

How To Succeed In The Music Industry On Your Terms

How To Succeed In The Music Industry On Your Terms

Disclaimer: First of all, let me make this clear. I’m not trying to say that making it in the music industry is easy, or that everyone who reads this will become a chart success. The aim of this guide is to help you define what success means for you personally, and look at what you’re willing to do to reach your goals. I’ll also touch briefly on creating a business plan to achieving your goals and more.

Hopefully the information in this guide will give you a clearer path, and increase the likeliness that you’ll get where you want in the music industry. Again though, nothing is guaranteed, and it’ll essentially be down to your drive, your level of talent, your marketing and business knowledge, the amount if time and effort you put in and the like.

If you’re not willing to put the work in, don’t expect to succeed in the music industry! – Tweet This

Now, with the disclaimer out of the way, let’s look at the steps you can take to succeeding in the music industry. 🙂

Define What Success In The Music Industry Is To You

Before anything else, you need to decide what your personal definition of success is. The reason for this is simple; if your idea of success is becoming well known in your country for being a talented musicians, you’ll need different steps to achieving that than you would if your aim was to earn a full time living from music.

So what is your final end game? What do you want to achieve? If you’re not yet sure, here are some common outcomes which a lot of musicians aim for. I’ve also included a (extremely generally) look at what’s needed to reach these goals:

  • Aim to play good music you and your friends will enjoy.
  • Aim to become well known at a local level. (Requires a lot of work).
  • Aim to become well known at a national scale. (Requires a lot of work and luck).
  • Aim to become well known at a international scale. (Requires a lot of work and a lot of luck).
  • Aim to earn a part time living from music. (Requires a lot of work).
  • Aim to earn a full time living from music (Requires a lot of work).
  • Aim to become wealthy from music (Requires a lot of work and a lot of luck).

Feel free to mix and match your goals as you need. For example, it may be your aim to be well known in your local area and earn a full time living from your music. This is an achievable goal if you know what you’re doing.

While it’s easy to assume that most people would want to become internationally well known and wealthy from their music, that’s not always the case. As someone who regularly talks to musicians all around the world, I’ve seen that different people want to achieve different things, and everyone has their reasons for their end goal. So no matter what your end goal is, be sure it’s clear in your mind and we can move forward.

Determine What You’re Willing To Do To Succeed In The Music Industry

This is where the whole ‘on your terms’ bit fits in.

So now you know what you want to achieve from your music career, the next steps is deciding what you’re willing to do to achieve these goals. No, I’m not talking about who you’ll sleep with to get to the top (I do not recommend this). Instead, you need to decide if you want to achieve your goals strictly through your personal brand as a musician, or if you’re willing to use your musical skill in other ways to pad out your income and get you better known.

Let’s say the goals in your music career are mainly driven by money. Making a part time living is something I feel most musicians with talent and good marketing knowledge can achieve. That said, only a % of those people will go on to make a full time comfortable living from their music alone. It is achievable, but it’s a lot harder than if you were to also use the talents you’ve acquired from the music industry for other forms of earning.

For example, if you were to start teaching up and coming musicians how to sing, rap or produce, you could earn more than you would from just playing gigs and selling songs alone. Teaching wouldn’t get in the way of you playing gigs; gigs are generally performed later at night, while your teaching lessons would likely be in the day. Furthermore, if you was to teach via a online video course for example, after you’ve created your product you wouldn’t have to actively be there to teach each new person that came along.

There are plenty of income streams you could tap in which are music related, but which don’t involve your personal brand as a musician. Other examples include songwriting for others, doing backing vocals for other musicians, doing skits for people in need of them (isn’t restricted to other musicians) and the like. Think about who you can help with the talents you have, and provide a service to them.

With regards to becoming well known in the music industry, do you want to achieve that strictly by making music, or are you willing to get known for other things which could in turn boost your profile and allow you to promote your music from there?

Sometimes, the most effective path is to create a larger brand which isn’t just focused on your music. How do you go about doing this? Well, think about what fans of your music genre are also into, and target one of these interests.

For example, if you make music in a genre where a lot of the listeners are also into skateboarding, could you capitalize on that in some way? If you can skateboard to a good level and compete in televised competitions, great, there’s another way for you to reach more people and showcase your music to a targeted audience. If not, could you start up a skateboarding related blog or podcast? Maybe covering the events that happen, reviewing the best skateboards, or interviewing well known boarders.

As you showcase your face and build up a relationship with your website / podcast visitors, be sure to leave links to your music on the site, in the podcast, in your videos and the like. Your music will fit perfectly into the feel of what you’re offering, and get new fans of your music along the way.

This is just an example, you can find things relevant to your genre no matter what kind of music you make. The formula is this:

  1. Find another popular interest shared by a lot of people in your genre.
  2. Build a platform (e.g. blog or podcast) which covers that side of thing. I suggest making a website first, then if you also want a podcast doing that after.
  3. Incorporate your face and music into that new platform of yours so people know you made the site and also the music on it.
  4. Cross promote your website / podcast and your music.

One of the reasons this works great is because you’re creating your own platform to showcase your music. If you set your blog or podcast up so that the brand name is related to the interest rather than you personally, you’ll get more people checking it out simply because it’s something they have an existing interest in (even if they’ve never heard of you before). Then once they’re paying attention, you can now introduce yourself as the creator, and at some point introduce them to your music. You can also use this platform to build credibility and build connections you couldn’t as an up and coming musician.

As you can see in both examples, by doing more than promoting yourself as just a musician, you can open up other opportunities to both earning more and getting more exposure. This isn’t a path that everyone will want to take, but it is a option, so it’s worth thinking about.

Creating A Business Plan For Success

Next up, you’ll need to create a plan of action. After all, it’s one thing knowing what you want to achieve, and it’s another thing getting there.

As I mentioned earlier, it’d be impossible for me to map out every stage of what you need to do in this one article. That said, here are some pointers which will hopefully get you moving in the right direction.

First of all, you need to work out what steps are needed to get where you want to be. You’ll find help discovering what kind of steps you’ll need and help with achieving these steps both via the hundreds (if not thousands) of guides on Music Think Tank, as well as the hundreds of guides I’ve written on Music Industry How To and other sites. So have a look around, a see what you need to do to get started on your chosen path.

Next up, you’ll need to set S.M.A.R.T goals for each of these steps. S.M.A.R.T will allow you to come up with a realistic plan of actions you’ll need to follow to achieve your goal. That guide I linked to is one that will help you with this side of things, and will help you form your overall business plan.

If you’re struggling to put a business plan together and want some guidance with what you should be doing next in terms of your music career, you may want to check out my ‘next steps’ program.

Work At Achieving Your Goals

Once you’ve defined what success is to you, you know what you’re willing to do to achieve that, and you have a business plan ready to be followed, there’s only one thing left to do: putting in the work to making yourself a success!

Be under no illusion that it’ll be quick and easy; it’s rarely either for the majority of musicians. Music isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Real work and hours are needed to ‘stand above the noise’, being talented alone isn’t enough to earn from music or get your name out there.

Be prepared to put in as many hours as you can every week, and to sacrifice some of your favorite TV shows and other hobbies in exchange for getting your music out there.


I hope this guide has given you a better idea of what success is to you, and given you some ideas on ways in which you can go about achieving your goals. As with any business, clearly defined goals are needed to know where you’re heading. Add to that hard work and putting in the time, and you’ll increase the likeliness you’ll reach where you want to be tenfold.

If it’s your aim to make money from your music career, you may want to check my free report on doing just that. In there I look at why many musicians fail to make a income from their music (hint: it’s something that can be worked around when you know what the barrier is). I also look at other related issues and give relevant tips and advice.

If your aim is mainly about getting known, you’ll also want to check out my free ebook on marketing (this is different than the previously mentioned ebook so get them both). This is one that’s already helped over 1000 musicians get a better idea of what music marketing is all about, and got them up and running with putting the process into affect.

If you found this guide useful, please share it with your fellow musicians and friends. You can do this by sharing it on your social profiles, or by linking to it from your site for people to follow. I’ll be back with another guide soon. 🙂

Shaun Letang.

The Future of Music Marketing: Direct-to-Device

The Future of Music Marketing: Direct-to-Device

Digital marketing has only been in its current form for the last decade. Despite the application of digital marketing within various industries, the majority of initiatives and campaigns have focused on the idea of direct-to-consumer (or within music as direct-to-fan). The focus lies solely on cutting out the middleman and reaching consumers directly. The current conventions of digital marketing within the music industry focus on basic direct-to-consumer tenets but these ideas are now beginning to become obsolete. With the rise of hardware-focused technology such as the smartphone, the relationship between an artist and fan is facilitated through their devices. The new way to reach fans will be direct-to-device. A Real Meet and Greet Reaching fans in decades past was simple because there wasn’t a technological barrier. Fans were able to go to a local record store, buy an album and connect with the artist through their music and their cover art. The anticipation of finding out what an artist was like was emoted through interviews, television appearances and fan magazines, which told you what your artist’s favorite color was. Fans were able to connect with their favorite artists and support them through items such as zines. The Riot Girl music movement of the Pacific Northwest found its strongest support in zines from around the country between its two epicenters, Olympia, WA and Washington, DC. The scene quickly spread across the country by and large due to the network of fans. Marissa Meltzer offers her take on how the word of the Riot Grrl scene spread in her book, Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution In Music (22). “In those pre-Internet times,” she wrote, “word spread through the punk community via zines, letters between pen pals in far-flung music scenes and bands going on tour.” As Internet use became more prominent amongst fans, the way artists used technology to communicate with their fans changed the scope of how music is sold. Introducing Topspin In 2007, Topspin launched their direct-to-consumer software, which was available to artists by invitation only. Topspin introduced the concept of direct-to-consumer to the music industry using their easy-to-use software comprised of a central dashboard. The suite of software offered tools such as an email for media widget, allowing fans to enter their email address for access to an exclusive piece of content, such as an MP3. Topspin took a simple idea and suite of tools and was the first company to make them for the artist instead of the record label. By utilizing the technology the company provided, artists were able to market their music directly to fans. They could offer music and fan packages directly to their super fans. With the email tools, they were also offered a chance to educate themselves on email marketing. As the old model of distributing music was disrupted, artists such as Eminem, Brian Eno and the Beastie Boys used Topspin to release their music. When Eminem released his last record, Relapse, he had a few special packages that were offered to fans on his website. They were able to choose from special packages, which included limited run t-shirts, special memorabilia from the album and prints autographed by the rapper. One of the most successful features offered by Topspin was the ability to use their technology to bundle certain packages and sell them directly to fans, as was the case with Eminem’s album release campaign. As artists increasingly used Topspin, they were able to cut out the label directly and sell their music on their own. With this sort of power, the artists are able to communicate directly with fans through their music. However with the rise of artist applications, the way an artist communicates with their fans is changing yet again. Artist Applications As the focus of digital marketing switched to direct-to-consumer initiatives, there was a shift in how artists communicated with their fans online. Suddenly the need to be on social networks such as Myspace, Facebook and Twitter were a main focus of digital marketing teams. Artist focus was directed to two areas: their websites and their social networking profiles. The focus shifted to fan aggregation and retention within both areas. Content management systems such as NING or WordPress offered artists ways to upgrade from static websites and offer fans ways to not only communicate with each other but with the artists directly. By allowing fans a central portal to communicate, their audiences were all pooled into a location where they could effectively promote upcoming initiatives such as tours or album releases. As more and more artists shifted focus to their social networking profiles, the need to be able to creatively promote their initiatives became more relevant. Fans were looking for new and innovative ways to hear and share their favorite artist’s music. Innovation came in the form of one off applications, which supported a certain marketing driver for an artist’s campaign. While there are many artist application examples to choose from, the execution and originality of the use of these technologies is key. When Slash from Guns ‘N Roses was about to release his last album, Apocalyptic Love, there were standard tools used to market the music such as Topspin. The originality behind the use of his marketing campaign came in the form of an application called, Slash360. The application was developed by Mativision and showcases both the music from the album and provided the fan a compelling interactive element: a 360 degree view of Slash in the studio with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators performing tracks off of the new album. This sort of application use case as both a native application for iOS and a creative way of engaging fans with the use of a mobile application was a great way to showcase the future of mobile marketing. Most of the application use cases audiences are familiar with are the standard artist application which is basically an extension of their website. These native applications really have no use other than the power to send push notifications to their audiences. If artists or their digital marketing teams, were more willing to extend themselves beyond the basic applications they would be able to participate in the new form of engagement and leave the stale ideas behind. As artist-to-fan communication evolves beyond social networks, it is crucial for digital marketing to shift its focus to the future of music marketing: direct-to-device. Snapchat, WhatsApp, and More? Data is the most valuable asset to an artist. It can help show them who their fans are, where they are located and the amount of them who actually engage with their content and purchase items from them. Since data is so valuable, marketing initiatives, which focus on how to collect these data insights, are increasingly valuable. As social networks such as Facebook close off access to valuable data, the value in driving traffic to the artist’s central point of information their website is becoming more prominent. Distribution points such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, are seen as places where you post content to either engage with artist specific content (Youtube videos for example) or links to blog posts on the artist’s website. A way of collecting valuable data besides on an artist site is through either partnerships with applications or partnerships with platform service providers through specific marketing initiatives (a campaign with Creative Allies for a poster promotion for example). Snapchat is the perfect application for the multi-tasking and short-lived memory of the millennial generation. Their audience takes snaps of themselves and sends them to each other with the promise of the content deleting itself automatically after a certain number of seconds. With the release of their new Stories features, the application is allowing artists to focus on the content of the messaging with their audience. For example, an artist could debut 15 seconds of a new single through the application without worrying about a fan sharing it online because of the unique deletion feature. WhatsApp is another example of an application with significant data collection and massive distribution. The application, according to their Crunchbase profile, is a “cross-platform mobile messaging app, which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS.” By partnering with a messaging application, an artist would have the ability to directly communicate with fans through their smartphones, which is the future of marketing for both music and every other industry. An artist could directly communicate with fans through the application without ever having to go through Facebook or Twitter again. As more and more fans use their mobile devices for every facet of their lives, a marketing campaign should take into account the new way of communicating. An artist with the ability to send push notifications to an audience they have specific information about will be a more effective way to promote an album. If you had the ability to geo-target push notifications based on a fan’s location, the messaging and data would be more complete. An artist with deals within applications such as Snapchat, WhatsApp, and other popular mobile applications will have the ability to distribute their content more effectively to a fan’s device. A device they have with them for the majority of the day and something they use in their daily lives. The ability to have such deals in place is something few artists are really taking advantage of and using to message their music. There has been a lull in the past few years within the digital marketing field. Everyone uses the same tactics to sell music to their audiences with a comparable number of sales each time. As the technology of applications and devices advances, marketing tactics should shift to the consumer’s behavior with their device. The future of music marketing is direct-to-device.

The Future of Music Marketing: Direct to Device



          #BREAKINGNEWS: Rapper MRNES & EDM Producer PAUL PICASSO have formed an EDM/TRAPSTEP GROUP “Yo!TrapMidi”


EDM producer Paul Picasso and Jersey MC MRNES join forces to create an EDM/Trap Step group called YoTrapMidi. To form the group wasn’t a hard task since they’ve previously worked together on many of MRNES’s hiphop tracks. They both have fallen in love with the Trap World and feel they can take it up a notch and make some amazing tracks together.


Trap music is a music genre that originated in the early 2000s from Southern hip hop and crunk in the Southern United States. In 2012, a new movement of electronic music producers and DJs emerged who began incorporating elements of trap music into their works. This helped expand its popularity among electronic music fans.

Labeled as the “new dubstep”, trap music continues to expand its popularity. The music was initially dubbed simply as “trap” by producers and fans, which led to the term “trap” being used to address the music of both rappers and electronic producers., Instead of referring to a single genre, the term “trap” is used to describe two separate genres of rap and dance music.

No matter your views on Electronic Dance Music, there is one thing for sure – it never fails to keep things interesting in this ever changing industry. The new movement seems to be Trap EDM, or to put it simply, “Trapstep” and it may be blowing up faster than the entire scene itself. If you are not familiar (and I don’t blame you) it’s pretty simple. Imagine all of the wubs, womps, build ups, drops, etc. you surely are used to hearing by now but throw in a looped Gucci Mane or Meek Mill beat with an overwhelming amount of random ad-libs ping ponging through your speakers. That’s trapstep.


YoTrapMidi will be releasing their first EP together self titled YoTrapMidi. Coming soon. Look out for it!!!