(Note from TuneCore: The post below is from TuneCore Artist Cary Pierce, a member of the band Jackopierce. You can catch the original post on Cary’s blog. Make sure to check back on the TuneCore blog next week for another post from Cary!)
Invest In Yourself
By Cary Pierce
(This is an excerpt from a book I am working on about being creative for a living. I will post a new chapter every Friday.)
(dollar Origami came from super cool site http://www.boredpanda.com/cool-dollar-bill-origami)
Quit waiting for your ship to come in. Start sending ships out.
GIVE YOURSELF A RECORD DEAL OR A publishing deal – don’t just wait around for it.
By writing this book – I’ve “given myself a publishing deal.” I have a computer to write on and I know I can use blurb or lulu.com to print my books for very little money or release it as an ebook.
When it comes to your time, don’t go invest in a bunch of stuff you don’t like/love or believe in just because you think it will make you money.
Start small. Go slow. It’s ok. Warren Buffet is a huge proponent in investing in what you know and taking your sweet time.
You can invest a lot of your most valuable resource (your time) on your own terms. You can work on what you want, when you want – without someone over your shoulder – wondering when they’ll get their money back.
Some people love having the pressure of using other people’s money. I do not.
My best investments – with returns off the charts – have all been investing in myself or my endeavors.
I have invested in the stock market, in restaurants and in real estate and by far, my best investments have been in the things that I do – mainly songs, records and merchandise.
People like doing business with busy people. People are not attracted to “needy” people. It’s ok to be diligent, persistent, but if you come off as “I really need this money” it’s just not attractive. It’s not a place of power. The least attractive people are the ones who feel they can’t start anything until they’ve raised money.
Do what you can in the interim. Build. They often come. And “they” tend to come when you’re so busy, you really don’t have all that much time to deal with them.
Jackopierce was never out to get a major label deal. Then one day, a Dallas band (Patrick Pike’s “Sister 7”) was getting a record deal through a Nashville attorney, Jim Zumwalt. Zumwalt had been talking a lot with Sister 7’s local distributor, Crystal Clear, and asked them if there were any other artists in Dallas worth checking out.
Crystal Clear told him that their biggest seller, by far, was an acoustic duo called Jackopierce. It just happened to be that JP was playing in Nashville that weekend. We were asked to put Zumwalt on the guest list and we did. The only problem was – the show was so oversold that they would not even let him in the front door. Zumwalt had to come around back to meet us in the alley right before we went on stage.
We were not some band that sent him a demo hoping to get “discovered.” We were not chasing him around town to get a record deal. We were out there quietly investing in ourselves, building our fan base, one city, one college campus at a time. We were selling CDs and t-shirts, making a living and growing along the way.
Zumwalt found out about us and he came after us. It was simple math for him – we had sold over 45,000 copies of our three independent CDs and were selling out shows all over the country. This was a no-brainer for him to take to the major labels. We got offers from several labels (and had a blast being courted by them**) but decided on signing with Larry Hamby at A&M Records in LA. Later we also signed a deal with Warner Chapel Music Publishing.
People like doing business with busy people. People want what they think they can’t have or might lose. It’s just the way it is.
Quit waiting for your ship to come in. Invest in yourself and start sending those ships out.
**side story: our first LA “courting trip” was to visit with MCA (now Universal) Records. They flew us out and put us up in the Universal Hilton (near Universal Studios). They informed us at check-in that we had a $250 per day spending account on the room. We were beside ourselves. The hotel was really nice! And here we were – in Los Angeles being courted by one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world! Once Brady (our manager), Jack and I got into the room, we got a call from Ron Oberman (the MCA A&R guy that was trying to sign us) to set up a time and place for dinner. When I picked up the phone, he asked, “Cary – what are you doing in Brady’s room??” Brady’s room? It turns out he had gotten us each our own room room with $250 per day to spend. We were even more beside ourselves! Good times!