We recently shared this information at the Christian Musician Summit near Seattle, WA in November 2015. Here’s our notes!
“Top 13 Tips for Indie Success”
Keith and Sue Mohr aka “The Indie Mechanics” have served thousands of independent artists and songwriters over the past 20 years. Keith and Sue will share their “Baker’s Dozen List” list of must do’s and dont’s to take your music career from 0 to 60 in no time flat! Find out what they are in this can’t miss class!
1- Discover Who You Are and your passion. What is the desire of your heart? Do you feel called? Why?
When you know who you are, it is more apparent to those who don’t know who you are, because your content will be more refined and defined. Knowing who you are focuses your content. Having defined content makes you more professional, and guides the consumer towards you instead of confusing them and driving them away.
A desire of your heart is as important as a calling, but they are different.
A desire is something you want to do, a calling is what God wants you to do.
How do you know the difference? You won’t probably know right away.
Calling is like fruit a farmer harvests and desire is the seed.
The acronym W-O-R-D can help determine a calling
W- The Word of God
O- Others may speak into your life and affirm a calling
2- Bloom Where You Are Planted
Be a whale in a fishbowl, not a minnow in an ocean.
Many feel they must move to Nashville or even the USA for God to use them (or to feel they are of use to God). What the issue really is, is that the person thinks it will be easier for them to “make it” if they relocate to where they think the action is. They come to Nashville, end up realizing it’s no different than their own town, and usually end up working a menial job, or moving back to their own town and starting over building their reputation. It’s a big waste of time and can break the heart and spirit of the creative.
It is best to stay where you are, serve your church, your community, YOUR WORLD.
You don’t need to save the World, Jesus has that taken care of already.
3- Act like Kirk and think like Spock
Star Trek fans know that Kirk was an emotional rollercoaster. It was way over the top drama with Kirk, but he had great and creative ideas and took huge risks that paid off big time. Spock on the other hand thought things through, determining what was “logical” after he examined all the data. Both are needed in order to be a successful creative. Kirk is creative, Spock is all business.
4- Play Catch with God
Inspiration is like a ball that is thrown to us by God. In order to catch the ball, you must see the ball. If your eyes are not on God and are elsewhere (your self, or your wants), you will not see the ball coming and the game of catch is over. But if you see it, catch it, and throw worship back to God, the game continues, and the more you catch and throw, the better your get and the more God unleashes creativity to you.
5- Bigger vs Better
Most want to get bigger, meaning being more successful, more popular, make more money, acquire more assets, etc. Most times, this mindset leads to frustration, disappointment, bitterness, and never being satisfied. I say instead focus on getting better. First, being a better disciple of Christ. When you focus on getting better instead of being bigger, God sees this, and releases blessings, opportunities, and greater creativity.
6- Persistence + Resistance = Definition
This is what I called “The Creativity Equation.” If you do something often, overcome things that try and keep you from doing it often, you will see increased growth and refinement. Ask any bodybuilder what I mean, and they will tell you. Ask any successful songwriter or any activity that requires skill, and they will say this equation is right on.
7- Be Ready, Willing and Able
If you want to see growth in your music as a songwriter, or artist, you must be ready, willing, and able. Ready to move forward once things start happening, willing to put in the time and effort in to being ready, and able to be in a position to be willing and ready. Otherwise, you will not grow as fast as you desired.
8- Create Momentum
Do something every day that is related to your musical ambition. This could be writing a new song, answering email, finding an opportunity, knocking on a door. Momentum is like rabbits. Put a few together and you get way more. Momentum breeds momentum.
9- Don’t Be A Lone Ranger
Being by yourself can lead to isolation, loneliness, or even worse. It’s good to get together with other creatives and engage in real life community. Hanging out on Facebook or other social networking site is not real community. Be independent… together!
10- Have Rational Expectations
An investor can only see a return if they invest wisely. Going to the Lord with capfuls of work and thimbles of expecting Him to overflow you with blessings is not rational. God does His miracles when we first go into faith inspired action.
11- Be ready for rejection
Not everyone will get what you are doing. Get over it and get on with it. Don’t dwell on those who don’t lavish you with praise Don’t let rejection turn into anguish. Look at rejection as a learning experience and carefully take into consideration why you are your content was rejected. Then, fix the issue.
12- Be Good!
It’s very difficult for Christian creatives to self-evaluate their content. Try and obtain critiques and evaluations from a professional, or someone who is not emotionally attached to you. People generally know what is quality and what is not. Performance and craftsmanship matter. Conversely, do not get hung up on perfection. Be more concerned about excellence than perfection. We’ll never be perfect but sure we can be excellent.
13- Have fun!
What an awesome honor and privilege it is to create with the Creator! Don’t take that lightly, be serious about what you are doing and want to do, but also have fun doing it! When something is not fun, it becomes a curse, not a blessing. Give your ambitions over to the Lord, be willing to sacrifice it if He asks you to. Be content with what God is doing, yet set realistic and achievable goals.
You can do it, with God’s help!
We hope you have been encouraged, challenged and inspired by this class and notes.
Feel free to reach out to us if you need help in your music mission!
Keith Mohr- firstname.lastname@example.org