There’s something beautiful about a new year beginning. While I don’t put a lot of stock in New Year’s resolutions, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to start new, wipe the slate clean, and conquer all that went undone the year before. But if it were as easy as simply wanting it, we’d all be super successful megastars already, right?
Still, the formula for success, in 2018 or anytime, isn’t terribly complicated — it just requires a little persistence. As a Soundfly Mentor working closely with artists to build their futures, there’s nothing I love more than watching someone succeed, seeing their hard work pay off, and their efforts recognized. That’s why I’ve put together this list of five ways to set yourself up for success in 2018.
1. Get Real About What Happened in 2017, Then Let It Go
Look, you can’t face the future if you don’t learn from your past. There’s a lot of value in looking back on the previous year and getting honest about what worked and what didn’t.
It can be tough to admit that we fell short in some areas, but by looking at what happened, why it happened, and asking yourself what could have been done differently, you can begin to put together a plan for how to tackle those goals next year — or, if they aren’t working, drop them completely.
Then, once you’ve had time to thoroughly observe and create a plan of action moving forward, let it go. Just as harmful as not learning from your mistakes is beating yourself up about things you can’t change. Do what you can to learn, make a plan for moving forward, then take a deep breath, and let it go.
2. Create Your “Made It” List
So many artists talk about getting famous and “making it,” but so few know what that actually means to them. So ask yourself, what do the terms “making it” and “success” really mean to you? What is it that you want to get out of this? What are you doing all of this for every day?
This isn’t the time to be vague. Don’t just say “to make enough money to survive off my music.” Figure out exactly how much money you’d need to quit your day job and then start brainstorming multiple musical revenue streams. If your goal is to get signed by a label, don’t just leave it there — figure out exactly which label(s) you’re trying to target, what all their artists have in common, and perhaps what it might take to get on their radar.
The more specific you can be with your goals, the more manageable they become. It also keeps them feeling real and attainable enough that you can feel yourself working towards them.
3. Be Clear on What This Year Is All About
Is this the year you take your band on tour for a month? Or is it the year you focus on networking? Maybe it’s the year you play two shows a month and finish out the year with a sold-out show at your city’s iconic venue.
Your year should encompass more than one goal, but by establishing a “theme” to the year, it will become easier to effectively brainstorm, plan, and subsequently execute all the steps needed to make that happen. I sometimes ask my mentees and clients whether they plan on having a “recording year” or “touring year” to point them in the direction of choosing their priorities. Specifics = getting things done.
4. Create Quarterly Goals
Quarterly goals help you get closer to your main goals. If your overall theme this year is to network your butt off, then your first quarter goal should be to meet five new promoters, and then figure out how to do that on a weekly basis. Do this for every quarter, and the months and weeks within that quarter.
Don’t get too crazy with how many mini-goals you create — you want to keep it manageable, after all. The more manageable the goals, the more likely you’ll be able to stick to them and feel good about yourself when you check them off your list.
5. Envision Your Future
There’s something to be said for people who have a vision board of all their wants and desires. Having a constant reminder of what you’re working towards can be incredibly helpful, especially when you’re sending your 20th email of the day or doing some other incredibly daunting (but necessary) task.
During the most stressful days, it can be difficult to remember why you’re even working so hard. Take five minutes a day in the morning or before bed to envision everything you’re aiming for; keep your eye on the prize and in your mind.
If you play in a band, openly communicate those goals together on a regular basis as well. Having that reminder can get you through some of the toughest times, and keep you moving forward towards your dream career.
Good luck in 2018!
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