[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Angela Mastrogiacomo, founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR.]
I get it, you’re strapped for time. And yet, in between the 9-5, the gigs, the daily little curveballs life throws at us, you’re trying to figure out how to make time to actually grow your career. Not just doing the maintenance stuff that keeps you relevant and in the eyes of your fans, but the things that take you from broke musician trying to make ends meet, to whatever your view of success is—signing to a label, touring nationally, or simply making enough to pay your bills while doing what you love.
We all have an ultimate goal in sight, and working towards that every day is a crucial difference between those who find success and those that don’t. Otherwise, you’re just treading water, trying not to drown in the day to day.
So, how do you do it?
Step One: Get Organized
The first thing you need to do is figure out what you actually want.
So first, decide on your one big goal for the next 6 months or so. Really get specific here. It can’t just be to sign to a label or make money or have more streams. If you want more streams, give me a number. If you want more fans, tell me WHY you want more fans, what does that mean for you.
Then, I want you to think about all the things you have to do to make that happen. The point isn’t to overwhelm yourself, it’s to get it all out on paper so it’s not swimming around in your head distracting you.
For instance, if your goal is in July to release a new album, you would know that in order to make that happen you have to: find a studio or get prepped to self-record. Create artwork and accompanying merch. Hire a publicist. Create anticipation through social media.
That way, you know exactly what you’re aiming for and your goal doesn’t feel arbitrary.
This first step is really all about getting crystal clear on what it is you want, so that when we move on to steps two and three you can execute it.
Step Two: Put the Pieces Together
Step two is where you put the pieces together—sort of like a puzzle. So, try to visualize a puzzle. You have it all in front of you, all the pieces, and now you just have to start picking them up and seeing which fits best with the other. It’s that simple.
Going back to the first example, if you’re looking to release a new album in the next 6 months, you’d ask yourself “ok what needs to happen?”
Once you’ve brainstormed the options (as mentioned in Step One) you can put them in order. What needs to happen, in what order, to accomplish this big goal?
Step Three: Set a Time to Make This Happen
If you only have an hour a day, let’s make it count. This is where you’ll create your calendar and carve out where you have time to do this. Maybe it’s every day at 5pm. Maybe it changes. Look at your commitments and where you have a free moment—if you’re really struggling to do that, I’m going to encourage you to get creative here. Use your lunch break. Get up an hour earlier. Figure it out, and make it work. Then, actually schedule that time into your calendar. This is a distraction free time so when this time comes around i want phone off, full focus on your task.
Step Four: Actually Do It!
Ok so now you know exactly what you’re working towards and when you’re going to do it—time to put it into action!
This is where you get laser focused. Remember, this time is not where you do all the maintenance stuff on your music career. Yes, things like checking email or posting to social media are important but that’s not what this hour is about. This hour is about GROWING your music career. And some days that might mean using your hour to schedule a week’s worth of IG posts, or batch a few newsletters to your email list, but primarily this is to be used for the things that get you closer to your larger goals, rather than those that keep you working IN the business. For example: mapping out a tour, figuring out finances for an upcoming release, researching opportunities, networking.
That’s why step one is so handy—because if you know what your one big goal is, you can always ask yourself “does this task get me closer to that goal?” and if the answer is no, it does not belong in this hour.
Bonus tip: Where to find an extra hour a day
Firs things first: identify where you’re losing time unnecessarily. We all do this. For me it’s making meals. I always underestimate how much time it takes. For you it might be getting ready or commuting. So identify the things that are taking up way too much that can easily be outsourced or cut altogether.
For instance, if you’re getting hung up on creating your website, hire a friend, or just start super simple like Squarespace.
If you waste time making meals, start to meal prep every Sunday.
Lastly, make the most of the time in between. For instance, use otherwise empty space like a commute, exercising, doing the dishes, etc to do things like take calls, catch up on podcasts, or brainstorm new ideas.
And don’t forget—a little accountability goes a long way here. Facebook groups are great for this as are masterminds and group coaching. The more support you have and the more you’re surrounded by others going after the same high-level goals as you are, the more success you’ll have.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, American Songwriter, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and gone on to sign to major labels and tour nationally. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.