Are you verified? Easy to follow instructions on how to get verified today.

Happy May! Can you believe it we’re already 5 months into 2015? Just..wow! I hope it has been fruitful and rewarding year for you this far. I never thought I’d be where I am today and I’m truly thankful for every opportunity and move I’ve taken. So here’s to keeping that momentum going!

 

Being a musician, you are essentially a public figure putting yourself, your story and your name out in the world, including on the internet and social media profiles. Protecting your name should be important to you – no public figure is immune to the possibility of someone posing as them, in person or online. While maybe you don’t feel that this won’t happen to you when you have a handful of followers, there is a reason they are following you and you mean something to them, as they should mean something to you!

 

A good start to protecting your name and brand is to authenticate and verify your social media profiles online. Some sites have to grace you with verification (Twitter, Instagram) while others you can put in a request (Facebook, Youtube).

 



Here’s the breakdown on how verification on the top social media outlets work

 

FACEBOOK
There are a couple steps to verifying your Facebook page.
1) Link your Facebook page or profile to your official website, and vice versa.
2) Complete your About section of your profile accurately. And I mean, complete it. Don’t skip sections that you can fill out.
3) Once those two steps are completed, click  here to request a verified badge. You will need a photo of your ID.

 

TWITTER
Unfortunately, you cannot request verification for your account. It seems that Twitter is the most difficult to be verified on. According to their site, they simply “encourage you to continue using Twitter in a meaningful way, and you may be verified in the future. Please note that follower count is not a factor in determining whether an account meets our criteria for verification.”

What you can do to show your account is authentic is linking your Twitter profile from your official website by including Twitter’s follow button on your website.

 

YOUTUBE
Good news. Youtube is very easy to verify your account, it takes one simply step. This video tutorial on how to verify your account shows clearly how.

 

PINTEREST
To get that pretty little checkmark by your website on your Pinterest account, you need to be able to edit your website’s HTML code. There are two ways to verify: with a meta tag or by uploading an HTML file.

Pinterest shares a step-by-step post on how to do this, plus instructions on how to edit your website HTML based on providers, including WordPress, Tumblr, etc. Click here to view and learn how.

 

INSTAGRAM
Similar to Twitter, right now only some public figures, celebrities and brands have verified badges. It currently is not possible to request a verified badge. Like Twitter, you can let people know your authentic by linking your Instagram profile from your official website (and vise versa) as well as Facebook page and Twitter account.Overall, it’s the best idea to link your social media sites every time to your website, and link your social media accounts directly on your website.

 

SPOTIFY
For Spotify, you will need 250 followers in order to verify your account, so if you don’t have that, definitely ask friends and fans to start following you. Once you have 250 followers, click here to complete the verification form. They also provide instructions on their site here to help you become verified.

 

The time you take to authenticate and verify your accounts will be a step in the right direction to protect your name and brand. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Cheers to authenticating!

Get the most out of your VA

March is here and I couldn’t be happier – it’s my favorite month! I’ll admit, I’m a bit biased since my birthday is in March. Can you blame me? 😉

As you know, in my emails to you I like to share stories and experiences working with musicians, as well as my tips and tools I personally use to help save time and money for my clients. The tasks I’m doing for my clients are probably very predictable to you by now; I’m creating graphics, scheduling social media posts, drafting newsletters, organizing documents…but every now and again, I get a response from my clients saying, “Wait, you can help me with that”?

Yes, there are some unconventional tasks that maybe you didn’t think of before to delegate (but you can!) that might lead you to get online and post a job offer for a Virtual Assistant.

Here are some tasks you might have not thought of to delegate before to your VA! And I know, I’ve done them all!

1. Dispute charges on a bill or invoice – Have you ever gotten an invoice that you felt was incorrect or not sure why you received it in the first place? Save the headache of being on the phone and on hold and have your VA contact them to find out the information you need to know. Most of the time, as long as they disclaim that they are your assistant and have the information from the invoice in front of them, they can find out why charges were made. Note, sometimes it does require you to be the person on the phone as your assistant is probably not a verified user.
2. Set up new accounts – online and off  – When I first started working with one of my clients, she admitted to hating to have to create a profile online or start an account online, which had to happen for her to apply to gigs or complete certain goals. It was overwhelming for her to keep signing up for more accounts and then manage and maintain them. Well, when we started working together, she was then able to pass off that task to me and not stress about another account to sign up for.

3. Personal purchases – Need some flowers sent to a friend but your schedule is nonstop on the road? Struggling with gift ideas for a friend? Your assistant can spend the time coming up with ideas and even place the order for you.

4. Receive mail for you – This is something I actually do frequently for my clients. One in particular travels a lot, almost every weekend, so sometimes we direct important documents being mailed to him to be sent to me since I am in my office every day. It ensures that things were sent and if needed, can be stored safely, instead of him wondering if it made it to his mailbox.

5. Something else? Just ask. – Almost every week I’m doing something new that I hadn’t done before for my clients, from mixing audio before submitting to a licensing company, or calling up a health insurance company to explain their benefits. If there’s something you need done and you don’t have the time or just don’t want to do it, ask your assistant to take on the task.

Every VA is different in what services they are willing and able to do, but you don’t know if you don’t ask. Bottom line, their role being there to support you in your business and your life, most tasks you will ask of them is to be expected.

Let them help you take time off of your hands to do less what of you don’t want to do and more of what you need and want to do for your career.

Cheers to delegation!

No gig is too big or too small for this.

These past few weeks were a force to reckon with…let me just begin with this…Have you ever agreed to do a show without any sort of written agreement? DON’T. Do not ever think you don’t need one.
 
Yes, I’ll admit, most gigs go by without a hiccup. You agree to terms, you show up, and you get a check handed to you right away. Everyone is happy. However, what if you finish your job and have a great, exciting performance, realize when you get home miles away, after the fact, that you were never handed your check?
 
Believe it, it happens to some of the top musicians in the industry. I’ve seen it. I’m still seeing it, and particularly this month I experienced a horrifying situation.
 
A performance was agreed upon in good faith with a long time colleague of my client. They had done programs like this together before and worked together for years so there was much trust built. All positive. My client wrote an email with all the terms to substitute for a full-on agreement, as no one felt it wasn’t necessary (It might be relevant for me to tell you now that no payment terms were given in this email.)
 
The concert came, went absolutely wonderful. They sold many tickets and my client had a great visit. His colleague helped every step of the way to make it a great performance.
 
After the event, my client didn’t receive the check. Why? OH, the venue has to process the payment first and then he can get paid, said my client’s friend.
 
After a month, payment wasn’t still received.
 
Another week went by, and that’s when I was asked to step in and ask my client’s colleague about why payment taking so long. He responded to me, explaining that unfortunately, he wouldn’t be able to pay for another 2 months, that it was just a crazy time, that it was the soonest he could, that he still had to process the payment from the venue….get a sense of what’s happening here?
 

 
It made me and my client clinch, but we now had it in writing when payment would be made. Also, again considering the relationship, a little shaken but still strong, my client agreed to waiting.
 
Then, the new deadline was approaching, and there was no word, nothing, nada. After me having to reaching out again, he says as if there is no issue at all, “Of course, I will send the check! Right away! Yes!”
 
I was optimistic – finally, a sign that he will send the payment! My job was done, I thought. If only I had remembered who we were dealing with….Another 2 weeks went by, and no payment was seen.
 
After harassing him on the phone, email, AND Facebook, demanding him to overnight the payment right away, he finally responded, and said the best he could do was send HALF of the payment. I requested that he document the receipts so I knew I could trust that he sent it. I felt silly doing it, but it was the only way I could ensure that he would actually send it. I’m going to have to do it again when he is able to pay the second half next week.
 
As my client and I are discussing our frustrations, it’s clear that we are both thinking that we wish that even the simplest of terms, especially including when payment was due, were agreed to in writing. Even the most seemingly trusting people out there can easily screw you over! And the worst part about it is that it’s completely preventable.
 
Sometimes the biggest mistakes and negative situations can be a great blessing in disguise. Let this story be a lesson for any performance, big or small, have a written agreement on file. It protects everyone and avoids confusion and frustration. Most importantly, it avoids valuable time wasted on chasing payments and the energy spent doing so.
 
So, with your next concert or gig, draft up an agreement with all the terms laid out, including when and how you’ll get paid for your services, and ask the presenter to sign it. If an agreement feels too formal, put it in an email and ask them to say they received and agree. Simple as that, and you can go to bed that night knowing you are protecting yourself a little better. A small, forward step to improving your business. Trust me, you’ll be saving hours and hours of energy and follow up afterwards when things don’t go smoothly.
 
As always, have a wonderful rest of your weekend and see you next time.

 
Cheers,

Let’s take care of this now.

Today’s post comes from a huge project I have begun to tackle for one of my clients this week. Recently we teamed up with a service to help us promote the selling of a live set recording, right after the show. It’s a fantastic service, we were all really excited to set up some targeted email marketing to people in the area where the concert was and to where my client’s largest fan base is located.All was going smoothly until we took a closer look at the list of emails that were being pulled up when we searched for certain cities within our list. People living in completely different cities AND states than what we were searching for were showing up! It was bizarre! A search in Los Angeles or the state of California shouldn’t be pulling up people in Vermont or Las Vegas. It was clear right away that the list required some…maintenance.

 
It turns out that the initial import of the list, the people’s information of city, state or even country weren’t imported correctly. Therefore, every entry from that point was also  incorrect. Needless to say, our ‘target marketing’ was nonexistent and it frustrated everyone on all sides.

 
Now that we are aware of the problem, we’re taking steps and cleaning up the list. Correcting 1000s of contacts to ensure each of their location is correct will easily take 3 or 4 hours, even for the most tech savvy. If you don’t have someone on your team to take care of the maintenance of your list, that will mean a lot of valuable time of yours taken up. Valuable time that could have been avoided from day one.

 

Your newsletter list is one of the most important tools you have to promote yourself and your art, so it’s crucial to have the list updated and correct. So don’t let it run loose and get out of control!
 

Here are some ways you can ensure your list is where you need to be AND to avoid taking time going back and cleaning it up.
 

1. Initial Set Up – If you are new to building your newsletter list, don’t hesitate to ask for help from day one. All CRM sites are going to have support and step by step instructions on how to upload your list / add names. You want to make sure you get it right from the beginning.

 
2. Decide what’s important – You can ask for lots of  information on a person to add to your list. You can ask their gender, age, phone number, etc..this list goes on. Here is where you want to decide on what’s important. Do you care what city they are in or just their state? Do you want to know their birthday so you can send out happy birthday emails each month? Obviously, don’t go crazy and ask for their life story, but make it a point to get the information you need. In most cases, the three most crucial items are email address, city and state. You can target certain cities or states with promotion that way.

 
3. Stick to getting that information. – Be a stickler to getting that information from people who sign up for your list – whether in person or online. If you get a list of signups after a show of just names and emails, put them under the city the show was at. That is your best bet at target marketing them later.
 

4. Make it easy for people to get the most accurate information. – If you really want to know someone’s email, city / state and birthday, ask for it! Include it in your sign up forms everywhere. Also, if you’re able to use your own or borrow an iPad for people signing up on the go, do it so you can include the information you want on your form! Leaving it out or being lazy about asking for the information will only slap you in the face later.
 

I know that this may seem tedious, but remember that taking those extra few minutes to ask for their city or adding the form field to your sign up forms will result hours and hours avoided spending on cleaning up your list. Make it work and make it work for you.

 
Have a great day (stay warm east coast!) and see you next time.

Cheers,

What I learned from my clients.

I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday and are enjoying the first week of December. I didn’t stay in one place for over a week, traveling and juggling a ton of things both in personal and in work. Which brings me to an announcement….next Friday I’m going to be moving to Port Charlotte, FL! It is bittersweet to be leaving the Big Apple, however, I am very excited for the new adventure in 2015 and I know I will never truly leave New York. I’ll be back! 🙂

Today’s post comes from a very personal realization about how I analyze any goal. Honestly, right now for me, I’m struggling largely with allowing myself to dream big. Being trained to work like an admin, I am constantly hashing out the details of everything I need to do; making the lists, checking them off and narrowing my vision hugely on the little things.

I’ve recently noticed something about myself. When my client tells me a goal, or even a dream, I have somehow trained myself to go straight to this thinking process: “okay, well, that’s great, but it’s going to take a, b, and c and I just don’t know if we can get to b, but maybe if we do this”….etc. I completely miss the point! I completely fail to ingest the goal!

What is a result of that? When the tasks to complete to get to that goal don’t turn out exactly how I wanted, I get flustered and sometimes those thoughts of ‘give up’ start flowing in my brain. In the end, I feel frustrated because maybe I haven’t even grasped what the goal means. 

I’m realizing now that it might be because I don’t spend enough time focusing on the end goal. I don’t focus on what I’m truly trying to accomplish, whether it’s personal or business.

But, with my line of work, I’m realizing the artists I work with have the opposite train of thought – which is something I truly admire. My clients call me telling me of how a meeting, or performance, or a studio session has inspired them to write an album, start a new group, revamp their brand, etc.! And do you think they are thinking of the steps it takes to get there?? Hell no! Not right away at least! And you know what, it’s something I could learn to embrace myself.

It’s all about growth when you are trying to accomplish anything. I love the quote, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop.” by Confucius. It is so true!

So let’s say, you’re an artist you wants to master your instrument, which is a very strong goal in your mind. You can visualize yourself performing in Carnegie Hall or Madison Square Garden. However, committing to your craft is a struggle for you. You’re struggling with the steps to take you there. You are having difficulty practicing daily and committing to the instrument. I get it, I have been there.

If this is truly your passion, you will wither find a way or find excuses. So, if you want to find a way to make your instrument a part of your daily practice, take small steps to make it happen.You know: DREAM BIG, but start small. If you try to run a marathon before you’ve run a mile, you are going to overwhelm your mind and body, right? So, yes, keep that focus on the visual in front of 100s of thousands, but commit to the daily small step to get you there. It’s not a waste of time when it contributes to your ultimate goal.

As for me, I’m taking these big dreams one small step at a time. Even with small assignments thrown my way, I’m working to adjust my thinking to start with focusing on the large goal and what it will mean in the long run, THEN let’s get to a, b, and c, and maybe d. This way, when the day to day gets difficult and I don’t get things done how I envisioned, it doesn’t feel as disheartening – the BIG goal is still there to aspire and look to! I’m looking forward to taking this and running with it.

I hope my struggle helps you break down yours and help you begin and stick to a daily commitment to make your dream happen.

Next time you hear from me, I’ll be writing from the sunshine state! Hope you have a wonderful weekend and see you next time.

Cheers,

5 things you’re forgetting when planning a tour.

I hope you are staying cozy and warm – the winter bug has hit us and it’s already a nasty winter in my opinion. I’m just not built for this cold weather and kudos to you if you are!

I am fortunate enough to work with a tour every Christmas and it is always so fun to put together. Fun and stressful, yes, because you are trying to keep yourself organized with every presenter that you are talking to. This year, I’m managing a 16-date tour that spans across the nation, and boy am I glad this is the second time around tackling this tour. 

There’s so much to handle, so if you are tackling a tour yourself, you WILL overlook a few things. However, until you get a tour manager or assistant to help you plan the logistics, don’t take the “It’ll take care of itself” attitude. Trust me, hotel reservations, meals and shower facilities just don’t take care of themselves.

We all know about load in, soundcheck and showtime, but here are a few details you may be forgetting when you’re advancing a show that will make all the difference.

Early check in for the driver – Being on the road, playing a show every night, being exhausted, you’re not going to want to wait for that annoying 3pm check in time at a hotel when you arrive at the next stop, and you especially shouldn’t make your driver wait after an overnight haul. Call ahead and push the hotel for early check in. Explain why you need it and they will usually take care of you if you call enough in advance (2-3 weeks out is best!).

Credit Card Authorization forms – Another detail with hotels, if you’re paying ahead for anyone’s hotel room, be sure to request to fill out a Credit Card Authorization form so that when they check in and you’re not there, there are no issues.

Dietary Restrictions – Unless your bandmates  advertise to everyone on Instagram that all they eat is bacon, you’ll want to find out who in your band has any dietary restrictions. You don’t want to ruin a run of shows for someone who is vegetarian with no options to eat.

Merchandise – If you are selling CDs or other merch for an entire month of shows, that’s a lot of merchandise! For example, we’re shipping most of the merchandise to the first venue to hold and then take it away with us on the bus when it arrives. We had to make sure that they had the space to store all the boxes we will send and also if they could help us transfer it to the bus. Don’t forget to plan the logistics of your merchandise. How will each venue get the amount it needs? The earlier you plan this, the better!

Transporting Large Instruments – If you have anyone on in your band with a large instrument (think Bass), are they going to be able to fit it in the van or bus? Can you take it on the train or do you need an extra ticket? Is flying it in your budget and doable? Definitely check in with your bass player on what they are comfortable doing.

This post was inspired by just one phone call with the tour manager of an upcoming tour on what our last few snags were to take care of, so you can see, that even the people doing this for years can leave things out. But with a team and support, you can be ensured that with several eyes on one project, everything will get handled.

Cheers to you, hope you stay warm, and have a wonderful weekend.

This drives me CRAZY!

How are you doing these days? I missed you last weekend, but for a good and happy reason. One of my clients got happily married and I was honored to be a part of the wedding. Everyone flew into Atlanta for the weekend and since both of the parties came from musical families, the dinner, the wedding, all of it was such a musical and beautiful event. It was truly a fairytale and I’m so happy for them.

These past few weeks a lot of change happened for me, both in business and in my personal life, but it’s all moving towards the direction for me to be the best assistant I can be to my clients. I’m focusing and diving in deeper in the music industry to start working in the booking world, not just the administrative side. I’m really excited for myself and also for you! The stories are only going to get better, I’m sure, working with agents, presenters, venues, students, teachers and more.

All in all, I’m working to get all my ducks in a row so that I can move efficiently and effectively in my work day, along with these added responsibilities. I’m all about organizing and making my work day go smoothly – this means prepping and making sure I have what I need to do my job. It feels really great to take care of that part of my business and also for my clients.

It got me thinking, most of the time, we throw ourselves in our projects and fail to tend to the backend of those projects. For example, you know you need to pitch for a hole in your tour in the northeast area, and you start running off those emails to presenters, but you start forgetting if someone responded or if you even sent that email. And that’s perfectly normal, but it’s overwhelming and takes up precious time when you are trying to remember everything you’ve done. And I’m not here to let you feel overwhelmed. I’m here to help you save time so that you can focus on what makes you happy in your career: your music, your projects, whatever you do that makes you feel connected to your art.

A part of my job as an assistant is to find ways to make recurring tasks go smoothly and also make it easier for them to know the status of projects or inquiries. This was a lot of on the job learning when I first started working for musicians, but I learned quickly. I noticed that certain people, like presenters advancing a show, asked for the same things, or that my client would always ask for me to find and share a link of his latest interview. That’s when I found my biggest pet peeve. I hated having to ask the same questions or asking for the same documents. I learned quickly to build myself folders of important information that I should always have handy. It was when I started working with other team members I learned that these folders have to be sharable and communication in checklists had to be accessed. Simple business process. For musicians!

So I put together the most common things I do for my clients and how I keep them and myself organized in the process, starting with press inquiries, contest submissions, and booking inquiries.

1. Press Inquiries – I’ve gone through this again and again, it’s so important to have your press items together in one place. Have it available online to send a quick link and also have it in a folder of Google Docs as a back up to share with you assistant if someone needs a quick photo or be resent a bio. Need guidance on what you need in a press kit? Read my blog post here on building your best press kit.

Once you have the tools to give the promo items to inquiries, you’ll want to have a checklist built to follow the process of the inquiry whether it’s an interview, feature, listing or preview. Include in the checklist:
–Media Outlet Name
–Type (blog, newspaper, video, etc.)
–Interviewer Name, Contact
–Date of Interview (add a column to make this confirmed or completed)
–Date of publication (when will it be posted or printed?)
–Link to feature (if it’s not online, have it scanned and hosted on your website.)

2. Contest Submissions / Booking Inquiries – I’ve put these two together because a lot of time, they are looking for the same things. It’s safe to say you can pull what you need from your press kit for most contest submissions and booking agents asking for your info. In addition to those press items, have a document ready with your past performances. Many times they ask when the last time you performed in the area and how it went. You’ll want to have that handy. Same with contests – most conferences that my clients have applied to ask what conferences they’ve done before. Presenters don’t have a second to waste when they are looking for talent so you want to be quick to respond and give them answers quickly.

Once you have your items, keep the inquiries organized in a similar manner as the press inquiries. Build a way to organize the many inquiries or submissions you make.

Include:
–Festival/Conference/Venue Name
–Booking Contact Name, Email, Phone
–Dates (Pending or confirmed)
–Status (Emailed, Followed Up, Second Follow Up, Offer Pending, Confirmed)

You won’t have to think about who you’ve contacted in the past, keep you updated on who the contact is that venue or festival AND will let you know when to follow up.

Yes, this takes a few minutes to set up, but once it’s done, you won’t have to take the time to remember if you’ve responded to someone or if that interview you did was posted yet. And it’s important because being a musician today is hard enough, you don’t want an ounce of overwhelm or frustration to add to your day. That’s definitely the last thing you need.

Is there a common or recurring task you need help keeping organized? Let me know by hitting reply and I can help you build an effective process to make it go smoothly and effortlessly. Some things that come to mind are social media promotions for shows, and traveling, but if you have a special task in mind, let me know and I’ll include it in next week’s newsletter.

I hope this inspires you to organize the backend of your career – once it’s done, you’ll be thankful for it later.

Have a great weekend and see you next Saturday.

Cheers,

fionazsig

Don’t let hiring frighten you.

Happy [belated] Halloween! Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year; I can never get enough of it. I hope you had a great celebration yesterday (and maybe you even have some more for tonight). I know I’m biased, but I’m pretty sure my pooch had best costume at the party. Check his adorable version of a wizard! 🙂

On to business, shall we?

In my working with musicians, I’ve learned that not only is it difficult to find a great virtual assistant, it’s difficult to find a virtual assistant with experience in the industry. Let’s face it, you can’t just hire ANY virtual assistant to help you – you might need someone in the US, or more specifically, in your time zone. You might want someone who has experience in the music industry, or maybe you want someone who wants to learn so you can train him or her (I’ve seen either work out for someone). Whatever you may be looking for, you may need some help knowing where to look for the right person to add to your team


Well, here are the best online sites from my experience to find the right VA for you.

1) Elance.com – I personally have found clients through this service, and continue to find qualified candidates for teams for my clients through this site. It’s free, it’s simple, and it’s not just for freelancers on temporary projects. I’ve personally seen long term working relationships come out of this site.

2) Send out posting through a university – More specifically, a university that has a music business or strong music program. New York University, Columbia College (Chicago) and Full Sail University are 3 that offer Music Business or Music Management degrees. Offering a virtual assistant job to students who are passionate and interested in the music industry can be very attractive. (Hey, that’s how I found myself here!)

3) Certified VA sites – Skip Indeed.com and Craigslist, you are in for a headache. Save time for the quality applicants and post on VA certifying sites, like VANetworking.com or IVAA.org. Experienced and qualified VA’s are listed there every day. Plus, you can find some there that have experience in the music industry.

These are my highly recommended places to start to find a great VA who will be qualified for what you need done. I hope this will give you a headstart on the search for the right assistant for you!

Have a great rest of your weekend, and try not to eat too much candy!

Cheers,

I didn’t think I could get it all done.

Well, how have you been? I hope all is well in your world. The past two weeks I had some unexpected travel come up and get in the way of writing to you, which I think you can understand does sometimes happen with life. Including a few stops in the east coast, I also visited the west coast of Florida. Considering the weather is cooling down here in New York and pea coats are out already, I could not complain about visiting the south where they enjoy warm weather year round. I’m definitely more of a summer than a winter kind of girl!
 
Because of traveling, my weeks were shortened, and to my genuine surprise the workload became selectively overwhelming. I say that it was a surprise because as an assistant responsible for keeping others organized and supporting them, I keep myself very organized with checklists, online tools to keep me on schedule and also take steps to be sure I keep my health in check. But something about the shortened weeks made me feel, and I’m being open and honest here, like I wasn’t able to get what needed to be done. It was not a great feeling.
 
You make goals for yourself to complete and when it doesn’t happen, frustration steps in, making all of it even more stressful.
 
I can imagine you feel this overwhelming feeling sometimes, wearing many different hats when running your own music career. For example, you have a show coming up, but you don’t just have to practice, you have to prepare a set list, get the band together, plan a rehearsal, let your fans know, pay tour band, promote, and that’s not even including the little things.
 
However, I did not let overwhelm shut me down like it sometimes can inevitably do. I took steps to help me get through that feeling and I was able to accomplish what needed to be done.
 
Here are a few tips that I used that you can implement right in the moment of overwhelm to get you out of it and back on track.
 
1) Prioritize your time – When I was feeling overwhelmed, instead of avoiding the work, I wrote down what absolutely needed to be done so that I could see exactly what my tasks were, instead of letting my brain just keep thinking of everything. This helped clear my head. Here’s a second tip: Add an estimate of how much time it will take to complete that task.

For example:
Reserving a hotel – 10 minutes
Putting together a set list – 20 minutes,
Dropping off a box at the post office – 40 minutes.
 
From there, you can see really clearly how to break up your day and get it all done.
 
2) Delegate what you can – I had to take a lesson from myself and delegate some of my tasks to a friend when I couldn’t be in two places at once. Delegating also doesn’t mean an assistant helping you, but also services/softwares to help you. Automatic reminders, pick up or drop off services can start to become worth it when your to-do list is at the max.
 
Next time you feel overloaded, take a look at what needs to be done and if you really need to be doing that, or if someone else could be doing that for you.
 
3) Take a break – Some people see this as avoiding the workload, but if you haven’t stepped away for hours, or haven’t eaten, the effects of not resting can make everything worse. Your brain and body needs a break from time to time in order to function. If you haven’t eaten, take 20 or 30 minutes to step away and eat. Take a walk around the block. If you meditate, take the time to do it to alleviate the stress.
 
I don’t recommend doing chores or personal errands – this still feels too close to work and doesn’t give your brain or body the break it needs.
 
These tips will help you the next time you feel overwhelmed with running your career and the many hats it requires you to wear. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that these overwhelming moments are temporary and eventually will pass. And you can learn and grow even more from those moments.
 
Have you ever felt overwhelmed? What steps do you take to handle the stress? I’d love to hear from you how you balance your sanity and everything that comes with being a musician and entrepreneur. I know it’s not always easy.
 
Have a great rest of your Saturday!

Cheers,

 

One thing you should have down as a musician-entrepreneur.

This week, my client was traveling every other day to a new state, so there were a lot of logistics to handle and details to take care of. During the week, I would get emails saying, “We need this!” or “Did this get sent to the pianist?” or “Who’s picking us up?” This was definitely him wondering what has been done / what hasn’t been done. I answered his questions, letting him know an itinerary is coming his way with these answers, but it got me thinking – I’d really like to avoid him feeling like he doesn’t know where his day is headed.

This showed to me that he expected his itinerary sooner than I was giving it to him. Maybe now he wants it a week before, whereas before, he was content with having the itinerary a few days before. It was clear that expectations had changed, without the communication.

So, I asked him if he wants me to send itineraries sooner and after a yes, I knew from there that he’d rather see an incomplete itinerary with all the information I had planned so far a week ahead, and then update him as details fall into place – driver’s names, added appearances, etc.

I realized in that moment, that him being his own CEO, him being a musician-entrepreneur, that he is wanting a better way to find his team (including me) accountable for what he assigns us.

Say for example, you hired an assistant (go you!) to help with your logistics or advancing shows or posting on social media. You make the next step and delegate them a task.

A few days later, are you wondering if it was done? A panic can set in and you ask yourself, did they do it? did they event start it? is it complete?

What to understand here is that as a musician running your own career, you have to hold your team accountable for what tasks they need to complete. Every manager does this, and you have to wear that hat!

Truth is, being clear on expectations and managing your team to hold them accountability saves you loads of time and most of all, your energy and stress.

For example, your publicist sends a weekly report on Friday afternoons, and does it EVERY Friday afternoon. You now know that if there are any new leads for press or if there is a new feature, they will be sure to let you know then. And if you want it sooner, you know to ask if it’s not Friday.

Expectations are clear, what’s in the report is clear, you don’t even have to think about all the questions that might come into your brain of “Will they send this?” “Did they send this?” “did they talk to the New York Times?” OR waste time following up or asking them these questions.

So to save YOU time and energy, here are some quick tools that I use myself to hold a team accountable.

1) Set your expectations and make them clear – Give deadlines and be detailed as much as possible. Otherwise, how can you expect results when you want them and how you want them?

For example, instead of saying, “Please proofread my blog post.”, instruct with “Please proofread by blog post by tomorrow morning if possible and email me when you’ve done it.”

This way, your assistant knows when you’d like it done and how they should let you know it’s done. This saves a lot of headache in the future.

2) Ask them to send a report – If you’ve set them on a task to do research or you simply want to know what they did that week, let them know you’d like a report on the results and set how many a week and when that works for both of you. Every Thursday afternoon, every morning, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Doesn’t matter, this is up to you.

3) For small tasks, ask them to send you a quick reply when it’s done – For tasks they can handle in the day, like checking voicemails or emailing someone back for you, ask them to send you a quick “done” or “complete” when they’ve done it. Ask them to do it the first time and for all future tasks like that and you’ll never ask again.

4) Ask them to build a checklist – This is really helpful for things like advancing a show or coordinating travel. Ask them to build a checklist that can be shared with you (Google Docs!) and to keep it updated with what has been done as far as advancing a show or booking your travel. You can go in and see what has been done and not have to waste a) time following up and b) energy/stress on wondering if it was done. See my post a couple of weeks ago about checklists!

Do you have other ways you hold your team accountable? I’d love to learn from you, too – just hit reply to share.  If you are just starting to build your own team, or have had a team and want to make them even better, keep these tips in mind when holding them accountable. Everyone will be happier in the end.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Cheers,

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