Figure Out How to Figure it Out

Nov 20, 2023

What I have to say today is not very profound, but it is massively important. It is simple. Today we figure out how to figure things out. When we don’t know the answer, we go find it. I wanted to talk about this concept because, simply, people ask me a lot of questions. A lot of “how do you do xyz types of questions.” How do I release a song, how do I get into sync licensing, how do I make money online with my singing?  

You do all of these things the same way. The same way as you somehow successfully arriving at that new restaurant for a date. You get from point A to point B by figuring it out. On the surface, this is incredibly obnoxious advice, I know. But it’s important. If you’ve ever asked me a question, I might have given you a helpful answer based on my experience, and that’s great! One way to figure something out is to ask someone who probably knows. If I’ve ever answered your question with, “figure it out,” I’m sorry, blame my mom...

When I was younger and I heard a new word I didn’t know, I’d ask my mom what it meant. Then I’d get frustrated because she refused to tell me the answer. Instead she’d hand me a dictionary. I’m 36 years old now, and most of us are at an age where no one is just giving us the answers to the hundreds of questions we have per day. That’s why even though I do want to share lots of helpful information and answer questions when I can, I wanted to discuss how to expand on the information I give you. I want to teach you how to use the dictionary, not just define the word for you. It’s like the old parable, I won’t give you a fish but I’ll teach you how to fish. 

But not every answer is in the dictionary. Figuring out bigger things like how to get our singing careers off the ground, isn’t simply just getting from point A to point B, like finding that restaurant in google maps. Sometimes we have to actually draw the map ourselves. 

So here we go, we’re now topographers in new territory, and we’re going to make our own map. And just like you’d usually type in your destination into google maps, we’re going to start with the destination in mind as well. 

The question is, “How do I… insert end result?” Google is your best friend, and you’re about to find a bunch of blog postings basically titled with the answer to your query. Youtube and Reddit are also our best friends in our research phase. 

I warned you what we’re talking about today isn’t exactly profound, but it’s really life changing stuff when you think about it. When you can declare that you want to do something you don’t know how to do, and that you will figure it out, you absolutely will. This simple, boring, yea yea yea concept changed my life forever when I started taking action with it. 

When I was asked to record vocals for someone in exchange for money, and I then asked the question, "well how do I get more gigs like this? How can I get paid to record vocals for more people?" I began my search and my life was never the same. I took it even further when I started asking how else can I earn a living singing. 

Way too often we look at these end goals like some fluffy illusive thing that exists for some people. We know it does exist because we see others doing it, but maybe they just got lucky. Maybe this is really for them and it’s not for me. I guess that’s just not my destiny cuz I don’t know how to make it happen. If you have thoughts like this, YOU are the one who is not proactively figuring it out. 

I think those are just fleeting thoughts though, I don’t think we actually believe them. Otherwise we would not be here trying to figure this thing out together. You are here because you are actively figuring out how to build your singing career. Maybe you’re only dipping your pinky toe in the water, and that’s ok, it’s a start. But you are on the path, and you’ve stumbled upon a fountain of answers. Only you know if it’s time to jump in completely or continue to just sneak glimpses of your reflection in the water. 

So far we’ve discovered google, reddit, youtube, and asking a knowledgeable friend. also known as chatGPT will also help you massively. You can ask it for advice! I did ask it how to make money as a singer online and it gave me a lot of cool ideas!

It’d be really helpful from here to get organized. Last week's article was about productivity and getting things done, but that’s only helpful if we know what we’re doing, TODAY we’re asking, “what if I don’t even know what goes on my to do list.”

So start with a total info dump. Grab an old fashion pad and paper and as you start with your googling, or as you’re on the phone with a friend, write down all the scattered info and todo’s you think might be important to your conquest. Don’t write down a whole article, just the things you can judge are necessary. 

Your map will be easier to read if you then start categorizing things and it starts to look more like an outline. Depending on what you’re figuring out, you may have a section for just the Creative stuff, the music part, then you might have an Admin section, and a Marketing section. You may break those big sections into smaller segments too like: 

  1. Marketing:

                a. subcategory instagram

                b. subcategory email list

                c. subcategory blog postings

Maybe you’ll be surprised to find that as you start thinking about what your map would look like, you actually already do know what some of those milestones are. You can take the macro view of these big sections to inform new research. For example if your big question was “how do I release a single?” and you’ve already sectioned out your categories of your map, you can now start zooming in. You’ll want a section titled Money. Now start finding answers to, how will this song release make me money? This is when you learn about all the different types of royalties, where you have to register your song to get paid. You might even start thinking outside the box and ask, “well how else could this song make me money,” THEN you’re speaking my language. 

But I’m not on here today to tell you what google is. That isn’t my point. I’m inviting you to be inquisitive. 

I didn’t have zero success for 12 years of making music because the music industry failed me, I unsuccessful because I never asked what I needed to do to succeed. It might sound ridiculous, it might sound like “duuhhh,” but seriously it was a massive epiphany to realize I never asked how music was ever going to pay me. For 12 years I never asked. I just wrote my songs everyday, endlessly, for no one to hear but my roommates and the inside of a hard drive. I just assumed that if I didn’t quit songwriting I would eventually make something happen. But I really wasn’t even trying. It might have seemed like I was trying - I was trying really really hard to do something, but it was going nowhere because I never set an intention of where I wanted it to go. 

So sit with this, have a serious think. Are there questions you need to be asking? Are they so obvious you feel silly pointing them out to yourself? Cuz that’s how I felt. I began my quote unquote "music career" without ever asking how it would pay me, and so it didn’t. 

So many of us have beautiful dreams but we cannot be tunnel vision to them. We have to eat food too, and that does take money. Your dreams of sharing your music with the world can be coupled with selling merch. You’re dream costs money, and life costs money. So if you’re stubborn like I was, allowing yourself to be a starving musician, let’s change that now. You know there are ways to monetize your talents, so which one should you take advantage of first? What first step can you take by the end of this week? 

If you’re still stuck and not sure, you could always print out my Master List of 35 Revenue Streams for singers, and start by just circling the ideas that resonate with you. 

By the way, yes you can make money singing live, but I emphasize the streams that don’t require it cuz that’s where my expertise lies. There are enough coaches out there who’ll tell you to be a corporate, wedding, cruise ship singer, and they can tell you how to do it. I like to work from home in my underwear and decide my own schedule. So take a look at that list, it’s free. 

If you need more help, There is a full work book for purchase that helps you decide on 3 revenue streams you want to go after, and a templated action plan map to get you on your way. 

So let’s figure out how to figure things out, and be creative in your thinking.

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