“Thinking you can just ain’t good enough.”

- Shel Silverstein, “Where the Sidewalk Ends”

By Loren Weisman

“I will make it in this business because I believe in myself. I have the drive and determination to be a success. Plus, I have great songs and an amazing band!” Hey, while we are here, let’s add, “I’m smart, talented and, gosh darn it, people like me.”

Reality check, people: it takes a lot more than drive, determination, a positive attitude and believing in yourself to make it in the music business. I’m not saying you don’t need those things. They’re helpful, but they are only one small piece of the whole.

Talk is cheap

If song or artist is good enough, they will be found. Bullshit.

If you just believe it will happen, it will. Bullshit.

If you just know it’s going to happen, it will. Bullshit.

Talk is cheap and, unfortunately, talk is currently taking the place of action. Many artists put all their energy into the determination, the drive and the attitude while they forget to do the actual work to make their dreams real.

I am all about positive attitudes and believing in yourself, your dreams and your goals, but you have to do the freaking work in order to achieve them. Too many, and I mean WAY too many, seem to forget that. Without doing the work, you’re just living in a dreamland.

Mixing the drive with the direction

You want success? Then do the work and make it happen. If all you got is talk, determination and belief, then keep your day job. Stop talking and start acting on your dreams.

Think of the positive attitude and the determination as fuel. All those nice happy elements have their place, but without the action, they’re like gas in a parked car. It takes clear direction, it takes a solid plan, it takes consistent work and it takes an engine and a driver to turn the key and move forward.

Gas on its own is just fuel. A dream on its own is just a dream. It takes commitment and effort on the worst and hardest days, not just the easiest, to work your ass off in order to make your dreams the reality.

Too many people also claim that they know exactly what it takes to make it in the music industry. But if you have all of the answers, if you have it all figured out, why aren’t you where you want to be?

It takes the right direction. It takes the right approach, a clear plan of action and an approach that will fit you, your situation and your goals. If you are working off of models of artists from 20 years ago, I guarantee that you will not have the same results of those artists.

This also goes for all the studios, the producers and the engineers that you talk to that claim you have the best stuff they have heard in years. Now, it may not be all of them, but a lot of them are giving you the compliments you want to hear so that they can get the business and cash they need.

Will power, positive attitudes and drive can hurt as much as help

If you spend all your time talking about it and not doing it, you are not moving forward. Be positive, but then use that energy to push you to do the work: call a venue back to inquire about a booking, make sure you get a sample of a song out everyday, etc. That’s showing the drive and determination by applying a plan and executing it.

Plans and workloads

Establish an effective plan and stick to it. If it has to change, then change it for the right reasons and not because you are tired or you don’t want to do the work. Learn from books and other artists who are doing it the right way and getting the right results now.

Work on the immediates, such as internet postings, song samples, sending emails or press packs for reviews, posting pictures, doing online sales, giveaways, etc.

Reach out to other venues, bands and artists. Research labels, touring companies, booking agents or talent buyers.

See more at Music Think Tank

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