Top 13 Tips for Indie Success

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
R- Revelation
D- Dreams

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!

Sue Mohr-
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Keith Mohr-
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Move to Shake

Move to Shake

We are going to let you into a personal secret. Change is the rule of life. Nothing stays the same. These statements ring true in the personal and business part of our lives. Just as fashions change and then re-emerge, we have seen the same thing happen over and over again in the music scene. There was a time where our conferences filled to overflowing and we had to turn people away. Our dance cards were lined up to the brim and we had a waiting list. Just as the industrial revolution changed how ‘life’ was done, the ‘social revolution’ has changed how music is done.

Yes, look around, it is a fact that people constantly need to add and subtract from what they do. Just follow the lives of successful musicians. Scroll down in your social feed. Change happens continuously.

Our slogan with Indieheaven has always been, “Let’s be independent, together”. Artists have taken that message to heart and the majority of them are now truly independent. They followed what we had taught them, which, in turn, released the need of the über, hand-holding that once was a huge part of what we did. We were paid on that ‘hand-holding’ and service-oriented system. The realization hit us right between the eyes. Our teachings were pointing right back at ourselves, we needed to re-invent ourselves. It was clear that without putting some change into action, we would turn into stale bread; or worse covered with mold. That surely would not feed the multitudes. We knew that we needed to not only find a way to fill our baskets up, but our baskets possibly needed a bit of renovation too.

Then it dawned on us. One day, while grumbling a bit to the Lord about how things were going in our entrepreneurial endeavors, He dropped this thought. “If you want to be known as a mover and shaker, you gotta move and shake.” The voice was pretty loud and boomed. Like the vocal chords of an Italian mob boss. There was no denying what we had to do.

This may seem about as deep as the shallow end of the baby pool, but there are many examples in the Bible where God instructed others to do the very same thing. Think about this. Jesus commanded Peter to get out of the boat and walk on water. Imagine, if you will, Peter responding, “Oh Lord, my legs are so very tired, and you have no idea the kind of day I’ve had on this here boat. I’m going to just sit here and let the storm ride out” Or, when the Lord told the dudes from the wedding party, “You want more wine, fetch me those jugs of water and I”ll make it so.” And the guys say back to Jesus, “Nah, that’s ok. We still have a bit of a buzz from the first couple of jugs. We’re cool.” I mean, really? The whining, the lack of passion, depression, anxiety, self-centeredness and just plain lack of moving hit us humans daily. We can keep feeding these until we are over-bloated and disappear into entrepreneur nothingness, or we can move and start shaking it all up.

Maybe it’s time to question what’s going on with your loaf of bread. Are you sitting in un-change? Not able to dream anymore? Just getting ‘stale’ by the day. Are you finding yourself waiting for action to just appear? In many encounters reiterated in God’s word, He urged and invited us to be a collaborator in the miracles that He performed. Remember when Paul was in prison? The angel said, ‘get up’ and then the chains fell off. In essence, he said, move and shake it, Paul. Even the woman that had been ill for many years had to ‘touch’ the hem of his garment before she was healed. We could go on and on. Let’s suffice it to say that God believed in moving and shaking. And, He wanted our stories to be part of History.

Create a move and shake list. If time and money was not an option, what would take your music and artistry to the place where you believe God is sending you? Ok, now take out the time and money option part, and begin to move and shake. Just a step at first, then put some hip movement into it, let it move up to your shoulders and before you know it, you are ‘moving’. Creating momentum. Not able to listen to your old excuses, because the tune of the move and shake is overpowering those thoughts.

This world was built on movers and shakers. This world changes because of movers and shakers. This world continues to grow due to movers and shakers. You are in good company. Ok, gotta go, we got some moving and shaking to do.

Creatively His,

Keith and Sue Mohr

Keith Mohr and Sue Ross-Mohr of “The Mohr Creative Group” have years of experience serving independent Christian artists, musicians and songwriters. Keith founded in 2002, the leading portal for Christian independent music. Sue Ross-Mohr founded in 2003, a creative promotions /marketing/ consulting service to individuals and companies worldwide. Also check out for more helpful info!

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Who Cares?

Continuing my series of uplifting blog posts lately (seems like it!:) This question popped into my mind after realizing something very important for anyone who is a creative, driven entrepreneur such as myself.

Who Cares?

What a tough question to ask yourself. I mean, c’mon…everyone should care about what I am doing, right?

Well.. wrong.. the bottom line is this.. There is so much information and content laid out before us every single day that it is impossible for us to ingest it all. Especially online. What we do ingest we rarely, truly care about, or want to investigate further, and even less we ingest that we’ll share on our wall, twitter, pinterest, vine..etc..etc..etc.

We are kidding ourselves if we think anyone outside of our immediate family and super close friends care about what we are doing.

And the faster one realizes this truth, the faster one can get over it and get on with it.

So, how do you make people care about what you are doing?

Jeff-CWC-PicLet’s look at the recent ALS Cold Water Challenge and how it took the world by storm. A guy comes up with the idea, videos a few cold water challenges, contacts the media, the media spreads the word, the video goes viral, then others take up the challenge, and off to the races it goes. Last I heard over 100 million dollars has been raised, and billions of gallons of water wasted:)

It was the fact that 1 person cared about raising money for ALS that got the snowball rolling. It was like a match setting fire to a bone dry pine forest. All it took was that 1 flame to ignite the entire forest.

Once people saw others on video doing the cold water challenge, herd mentality took over and everyone started videoing themselves and challenging others.

Brilliant I tell you.. just brilliant marketing! This is what is called “cause marketing” and this is the way you get people to care.

When it comes right down to it, we must give people a reason to care. No one is going to care more about you than you. So, take what you care about and tell others about why you care, what you are doing about it, and how you and them can do it together.

I’ll be discussing this topic and much more in my upcoming course called “Indie University.” It’s a series of conference calls where I’ll share everything I know about music ministry, business, and life in general. I’ve been at this a long time!

So, check it out at Indie University. It starts up September 8, 2014.

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The other day, I sent out an email blast to indie artists and songwriters on my email list. I was sharing about what we offer through Indie Impact Promotions, and my new online course for Christian indie artists, Indie University.

In that email, I asked everyone how it was going in their music and mission. I was hoping to hear back from some who I could then engage and serve. I did hear back from some, letting me know what they were up to and how they were progressing. That made me happy, to learn they had not given up. I see so many artists giving up these days, and I have mixed feelings about it. In one regard, I see it as a great winnowing of chaff that needed to be burned off in order for new growth in the fields. On the other hand, it made me sad that many are not seeing growth and progress and are laying down their gifts and talents and for some, their call.

Here is one reply I wanted to share, anonymously of course.. But read what this person wrote to me. I’ll share my thoughts below.

Thanx for the email! As far as my music stuff goes, I’ve not been doing much. Haven”t written anything in over 12 months–havent really been inspired. There are times when i think about participating in your CCM exposure program. Yet my songs are not yet “commercial ready” quality. I need to do more remixing. But, since I’m not doing anything musically, there is no justifiable reason to put anymore effort into the songs. Things might change if I were to stumble upon someone with whom I could collaborate with. 

Wow.. very interesting reply. This artist has basically given up. They have what they think is mediocre content (at least they are truthful in their self evaluation, which is a plus).. so they are hesitant to promote it. (I totally understand and agree) They admit they need to do more work at it.. but then follow it up with they aren’t doing anything with their music, so they can’t justify working on it and bettering their craft and content. However, they leave the door open if they “stumble” upon someone.

This poor person is stumbling, and that mades me sad for them. I can’t imagine going through life stumbling around, drifting about, wafting in the wind, just hoping to go in any direction. However, I do understand where they are coming from.

There is a lack of work here, and lack of faith. It really takes both to see an increase in whatever it is we want to do or need in our lives.  I totally get that as well,  I have to make decisions daily  in order to take care of everything on my plate. Sometimes I just want to bury it all, and drift myself.

The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) came to my mind after reading their reply. It sure appears they have buried their talent, desires, dreams, ambitions, goals, hopes…. Not sure if it is because of fear, or laziness, or lack of desire. Maybe all 3. Maybe they just don’t know how to go from Point A to Point B.

I’ll be covering this and so much more in my Indie University series of educational/motivational classes starting up September 8, 2014. Check it out. Maybe you are like this artist, who simply needs to know you are not alone, that you are struggling for direction, or worth, or who knows what and needs to hear   it from a “professional” there is a way to be more effective and accepted.

Indie University won’t be only about improving ones art, it will also be about the renewing of the heart. I hope you will join us!

Keep up the excellent Faith-Work!
Keith Mohr

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There Shall be No Promotion Before It’s Time

Today, I was having a discussion with an indie artist who was interested in promoting his music through my Indie Impact promotional offer. (we send a blast out to our entire email list letting them know of indie artists they may not be aware of.)

After reviewing his content (video/song/pics/website) it was apparent this artist was not ready to tell the world to take a look at what he can do. (remember Stuart from Saturday Night Live??).

Here’s what I shared with him:

DSC03030 (640x480)As an independent artist/songwriter, You only get 1 shot at people. Think of it like opening up a bakery and selling your cakes..if you skimp on the good stuff and have inferior ingredients, or if you have a microwave mindset and dont let the cake fully bake, people won’t eat more than a nibble. They’ll then set the fork down, walk out, never come back, and tell their friends to never go to your bakery, and out of business you shall go. (unless they are your family or in your church:) Here’s the bottom line.. We think God will make our cakes taste good to people because He loves us..and He does love us.. but like Meatloaf sang…”He won’t do that.” God loves us, but until we give people whom we have no relationship with a reason to love us, they won’t even care about us.

I know that may come off a bit harsh, but you may know from my years of having my own conferences in Nashville (CIA Summit), teaching at the Christian Musician Summit, writing columns for Christian Musician Magazine and CCM Magazine that I have my finger on the pulse of indie success and I call it like I see it.

Bottom line is this, God has called me to be an encourager. I encourage you (and myself) to take a good hard look at what you are producing and putting out there for consumption. It’s vitally important to have your content not create discontent. (I may have even made you discontent with my content here, if so, let me have it!)

I’ll be teaching about this and much more at Indie University, my conference-call course where I’ll share everything I know!

Check it out and register today! You don’t even need to leave home. School starts September 8, or on your own schedule!

===> Click HERE to learn more.

Also, let me know how you are doing! I’d love to speak with you about YOUR music mission and if you are content with your content:) Just contact me via the contact form  and we’ll make arrangements for an “on the house” 15 minute consult with me.

Keep up the excellent faith-work!
Keith Mohr
Mohr Creative Group

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Rings of Influence

I have been thinking alot lately about “rings of influence.” It’s like a Bullseye, with your innermost core being the red center, and outer rings radiating from the center. Relationships in the inner core are those who you know the best, and those who really know you. That could be family, business associates, and close friends. Going outward from the center, the next ring would consist of those you know, but not very well, and those who have a working knowledge of you. Next ring would be those you do not know, but those who know about you, like a fan, or people who learn about you. For example, I have on my email list about 75,000 people. They all know about Indieheaven, many know who I am, but I do not know most of those people. And outside of that ring would be the rest of the universe. People you do not know, and those who do not know about you.

I encourage all who read this to create your bulls-eye and determine who falls into what ring. Here’s why.. I have been sharing with one of our Indieheaven members the importance of influencing the innermost core and how to balance it with trying to influence people in the universe. As good a tool the internet is, it has provided an incredible vehicle for artists types who tend to have a “visions of grandeur” M.O. to invest a large portion of their time trying to impact the universe and gain “friends.” This has proven to be a time wasting venus trap to artists as they neglect those in their inner core. It goes along with the “bigger is better” mindset artistic types have, when in reality, better is better.

I shared this information with our member, I will refine this as I have time, but you should get the concept of influencing your core and rings of influence.

“It is important to act local, but think global. God can do whatever God wants to do with us, but I am a firm believer that it is up to us to create the momentum that He then takes and multiplies. I am glad you are impacting your community! This is also wise, because as you impact and enrich those who are in your inner core and inner ring of influence, they then share about you to their inner cores, and it spreads out like ripples on a pond. Imagine throwing a handful of rocks into a pond and seeing the ripples of influence emanating from each stone. The key is that each of the stones in your hand must be inner core relationships. The greater the influence you have in your inner core relationships, the larger the stones and the larger the ripples.”

I also shared this, after they lamented that it is difficult to get people to engage and comprehend their mision.

“I understand where you are coming from, but it is what it is. I still run into this every single day, and I have been hammering away at my mission non-stop 80 hours per week at least since 1997.

We’re always going to run into credibility issues with people. People simply are very closed minded to new things. It is our job to win them over. To convert them into our kingdom, so to speak. And that happens by word of mouth. Look at the way Indieheaven has grown. I do not go out and approach artists who are outside my core of influence and try to convince them to join Indieheaven. I wait until they come to us, and then… then they are in our outermost ring of influence. They come to us because our inner core has told them about us and shared that we are a valuable resource, or because we treat people with respect and tell them the truth, etc.. Whatever the reason be, it is through word of mouth that people come to us. When they come to us, I spring into action.

You need to do the same thing. Look at the relationships in your life and determine who fits into what ring. It is a great exercise to do regardless. Then, figure out ways to impact those inner core people. Then, radiate out from there. This is also biblical. Look at how the disciples spread the gospel message. They started in the town their leader was killed in.. where people knew what had happened. They passionately and excellently shared the message, and people were converted. They then radiated out from there. That is how it spread. As time went on, the messengers used the technology of the times to share the Gospel message. We must use the technology available to us to spread our message, which really is the Gospel message, just delivered in our own special way because of our content.

Same goes for our missions. We start with those who know us, we focus on them. We do however, have this incredible tool called the internet, which allows us to get our content into a worldwide medium. We cant neglect that, but we should not focus on that. I would say 75% inner core, 25% out side your cores would be a good ratio of where you place your focus.”

Get started on doing your mission better, and the bigger will come!
Keep up the Excellent Faith-Work!
Keith Mohr

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The Path of Least Resistance

I love to fly. Sitting inside an aluminum tube as its wings bounce up and down from turbulence is enough to bring any person closer to God. I find flying to be a very spiritual experience. I pray non-stop! I also love looking out the window. Seeing the earth from 37,000 feet brings a new perspective. As I viewed the earth passing below on a recent flight, the “Still, Small Voice” spoke to me. I thought about the path we take as artists, musicians and more importantly, as human beings. I heard the phrase, “path of least resistance.” I pondered this phrase for the better part of my journey.

KP-Meandering RiverFrom my vantage point high above the earth, rivers appeared to weave back and forth. They meandered as if they weren’t sure where to go. This added many miles to their journey when they could have had a straight shot to their destination. Some meandered so much that they cut themselves off and formed an “Oxbow Lake,” which was filled with stagnant water.


el-chorro-caminito-del-rey-los-gaitanes-gorgeFurther into my journey, I noticed one particular river somewhere near the Rockies that was straight as an arrow and appeared to have a strong current. The river cut right through a huge mountain range! It was a river with certain direction, sure of its destination and determined not to be stopped. I was impressed by that river!

What does “path of least resistance” mean to you?

I decided to ask our members on what they thought about this phrase. The following is a sample of responses I received from this diverse group of artists. I hope their sharing speaks to you as it did to me.

The path of least resistance is best if an artist is trying to go through, instead of around, that which opposes him. Water is a great incessant force on Earth, eventually eroding everything in its way. The “path of least resistance” is not the same as “the path of least effort.” The work of the Holy Spirit is like powerful water wearing away rock and mud of the Flesh eventually becoming weary worn and succumbing to death. Only the Spirit can do the eternal work of God, not the Flesh. It takes Man ages to learn this phenomenal geological process that most assuredly, though slowly, moves mountains. Sadly, believers in Jesus want to use TNT (Their Natural Talent) to explode earthly terrain rather than remaining patient and allowing the persistent agency of the Living Water to chart the course. The Door is the path of least resistance, but we must first overcome beating our head against the proverbial wall before we find rest in the Lord. My head still hurts from this pounding lesson.

I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed (and seen in some folks close to me) is the attitude that “since this is my ‘calling’ I don’t have to work at it; God will take care of everything”. While I certainly would agree that God has His eye on us and cares for us and will supply all our needs, we are certainly expected to use and “exercise” the various gifts we’ve been given. (I think of the parable of the Talents). Whether those gifts are in music as far as talent and ability or if those gifts are in something like management, or promotion, etc. (to keep things in a musician/band context). I think to sit back and wait on something to be thrown on our plate when we should be out there moving our ministry forward (and praying daily for discernment to know how that is best approached) is not something that is pleasing to God.

The PLR is very much a spiritual issue. It is instilled into every one of us simply due to our Adamic nature. At the root is selfishness and discontent. Look at the garden scene, God said do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do…ok you get it! Oh yeah, there was one don’t! (ONE DON’T!) Where did we choose to hang out? You see it was suddenly appealing and fogged over all the beauty and wonder of the perfect environment God had just put His magnificent finishing touches on. PLR is PMR really! The path of “MOST” resistance. Throughout the Bible God has dealt with man in terms of “DOMAIN”. We continually conduct new surveys on God’s measurements. I believe we all need to humbly beseech the God of domain, and honestly ask, should we be so bold, Lord, what is the domain of this ministry? Am I staying within your measurements for it? Once we hear His clear domain, or calling, along with it’s measurements, we then work the field with passion, always keeping in mind whose field it is, perhaps then He may extend some boundaries, but even if He does not…? We don’t look to the left. We don’t look to the right. We plow straight ahead! We work the fields! This world is affected by PLR in the direct form of laziness. Whatever we do, I guarantee that there is a right way, and a wrong way, and no in between. A sold out abandonment to mediocrity is what God is looking for in artists. He is a God of detail and integrity! He is a God of order and structure. He is the God of the long way around…The way that holds up when put to various tests.

“If I just had a label behind me, things would be so much easier and I’d make it.”
I find it interesting – no, maybe sad is a better word – that many indie artists think of going for a label deal as the path of least resistance, when it is actually full of resistance. I know artists who’ve lived here in Nashville for 10+ years, still pursuing the illusive ‘label deal’. Doing the indie thing on the side; and they say it like they have a scarlet letter on their chest. Not even realizing that they’ve been doing ‘it’ on their own, or could do it even bigger and better than they are on their own.

“I have to do this on my own because it’s easier, and so I can get there first…unless you can help me get there faster.”
Another path is the competitive one. Why? Because it leads to isolation and a ‘what can you do for me’ approach to creative relationships – even relationships in general. I don’t mean competitions; I mean competitive from within. I only know this is a path because I deal with this one myself. Artists are so afraid that someone is going to get the better gig, be better than they are, meet the ‘right’ person before they do, write the ‘hit’ song before they do, that we become islands. The only time we let someone onto our island is if we see a potential benefit to us.

“I need to do this with other people because I need community and I don’t really care who gets where, as long as I can help someone along the way.”
What so many indie’s don’t see is when a group of artists pull together, amazing things happen. Indieheaven is a perfect example this. Gig sharing, creative collaboration and relationship we wouldn’t trade for anything. Without that, this would be a lonely journey we are all on.

When I started making music I thought; “OK no problem, I’ll just write some good songs and get them recorded and send them to record labels. They’ll love me, because I’m awesome of course, they’ll sign me and take care of everything.” Woohoo, success made easy! This was my path of least resistance. In fact it sounds like a path of NO resistance. As you can see, following this path didn’t exactly work out. It didn’t end where it was supposed to. In fact, it never even started. It’s like trying to run through a brick wall, then backing up and trying it again and again expect different results. This is an interesting paradox. I tried to “make it” by finding a way that required little to no work from me. Seems like that would be the easiest path doesn’t it? The irony is, that if you can’t move forward on that path, isn’t that the path of MOST resistance! When I stopped expecting a free ride and got off my butt and started working for myself, my career started to move forward. So it stands to reason that the harder you work the more you move forward, and technically, the less resistance there is.

Let’s go back to the brick wall. So you’ve rammed into the brick wall over and over and have decided to try something different. Get some knowledge and make a plan to get your music out there yourself. That brick wall has become something more like a big boulder, Hard to push but still able to be rolled forward. Pretty soon after you gain more knowledge and more experience, the boulder gets smaller and smaller. Note that sometimes you’ll have to roll the boulder up hill and sometimes you get to roll it down hill. And, the boulder never goes away all together. YOU always have to be the engine that runs YOUR career. Major label artists didn’t just get a big break. They had to work hard to get where they are. Their boulder may be a bit smaller than yours but so what! Keep rolling!

What an incredible group of deep thinkers! We all need to stop on occasion to think about the path we are taking. Are we meandering or seeking the will of God, which is like that river flowing, sure of its destination? With the Holy Spirit acting as our current, the path becomes more clear and straight, with the power to break through any obstacle.

Until next time, may your field of dreams be lined with work down first and faith down third.
Keith Mohr

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Count The Costs

So, you want to be a CCM artist? Awesome! There is nothing more gratifying than creating and performing music and seeing people’s lives changed. I think it’s great to aspire to inspire, but you better get ready to perspire and keep the fire! Ask anyone who has a music ministry and they will tell you it is hard work, and that 99% of the time you are working to create material and secure engagements. 1% of the time, you are on stage doing that thing you love to do!

Since 1997, I have worked with literally thousands of emerging artists in their music mission, founding and operating Most of the artists I come in contact with are hobbyists, who enjoy getting out there every so often to crank up the band, or share a song. Nothing wrong with that! Some are more serious artists who are doing it full time. I have the utmost respect for artists who are full timers, because it is incredibly hard to get to that point and sustain a full time music ministry, especially these days!

It has never been more difficult to make it happen in a Christian music ministry. In the old days, the cost of doing business, er…I mean ministry was far less expensive, with the exception of creating quality music. These days, a savvy musician with chops and technical skills can produce great sounding music with a MacBook pro and Logic. I know, because that is what I use in my studio! On the flip side, gas just hit $4 bucks a gallon (I wonder where it will be when you read this article?) and diesel is at $5. My good friends from the indie band “Bread of Stone” have a wonderful Prevost tour bus that has a 200 gallon tank and gets 7 miles per gallon. Do the math! These guys are out there doing it regardless of the costs, and  the Lord continues to provide! Now that is work and faith my friends!

I asked members of Indieheaven ( if the cost of doing their music mission has impacted them and how they were overcoming this obstacle. 

“We did lose a gig because of gas prices. They knew we were coming from two hours away, but the second I asked for gas reimbursement, they couldn’t get rid of us fast enough!  I was even willing to negotiate a little, but their attitude was like, “Ok, we can’t accommodate you, thanks for your interest–bye!”  LOL.  Guess we’ll just stick closer to home for a while.”

“Yes, the guys in my band have started asking from more money to cover gas expenses….ouch. That means that I am having to charge more at the venue or pray harder that God will provide more….as He always has and as He always will.”

 “It impacts the number of musicians and the scope of what I’ll do to some degree, but by and large I just realize that the ministry will take in a little less cash from the gigs and the honorarium will basically go towards paying the other players who support me.  All CD sales go to the ministry and a percentage of the honorarium.  If folks can’t go, I don’t necessarily say no, I go acoustic and change up the setlist, but not the point.  The other thing I do is try to get a full weekend booked.  That way one event pays for the expenses, the other helps support the ministry.”

You can see these artists have a balanced outlook on the costs of accomplishing their mission and have a plan in place to deal with it. And that is good! It is important to count the costs before striking out on a mission. Starting out in a music mission these days should not be taken lightly.  Count the costs my friends. It is far less expensive to do your ministry local, instead of traveling far distances. It’s also the way an emerging artist can create a local base of fans and supporters. I see too many artists who spend too much time on the internet trying to influence people on the other side of the world, and neglect their own communities. Act local, think global. I am a big proponent of impacting people who are in your immediate sphere of influence and let them talk about you to others, instead of you spending time on the www tooting your own horn to people called “friends.” This is a subject for another article!

Do yourself a favor, make a list of what you think it will cost you to accomplish your music mission, and then multiply it by 10 and that will be the real cost. It’s not for the faint of wallet. For those who are smart and seek council from others who have been there and done that, they will  learn  to maximize their investment and see the most return. For those who fail to plan, their plan will probably fail. Be smart, be wise, and most of all, be realistic about what you can invest and keep your expectations in line. It will help you to not be discouraged when things don’t happen as fast or the way you thought they would happen.

God provides for our needs if we are earnestly seeking Him and doing His will. Be sure to take the time to find out what His will is for your life. It is the most important investment you can make, because if you are pursuing a music ministry without the Lord’s blessing and endorsement, there will be a high cost to pay. Make sure you are not going after something that is based on blind ambition and vain conceit. I see this out there every now and then, and it breaks my heart because I know there will struggles, trials, disillusionment, disappointment, bitterness, and eventually burn out coming down the road. 

Remember, seek God first and keep Him first in your music mission. Make service the keystone of your ministry. Work hard at it and pray hard for it, and do not settle for mediocrity. In everything you do, do it with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your ability. 

Until next time, may your field of dreams be lined with work down first and faith down third. 

Keith Mohr
Keith is president of, a resource for independent Christian musicians, bands, worship leaders, songwriters and more!

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Are you Fishing?

Ive been thinking about this lately.. I have been working with indies since 1997.. and I see a lot of the things they do to try and “make it..”

I had this analogy come to me, and wanted to share it.
It has to do with fishing.

Artists tend to bait their hook with their music or their content and cast it out as far as they can throw their line into the deep water. They are hoping to catch a whale. The big fish.. the one fish that will feed them for life! The elusive humpback record deal, or whatever is the flavor of the moment that represents progress in their music and career.

So, they throw their line out 1, 2, 3, 4 X, or for the stubborn ones, many more times.. they reel the line in and nothing… nada, zippo, no whale.. so they put down their rods and stop fishing. They are done fishing, and go onto hunting, or something else..

Meanwhile, if they would look down at their feet, there are thousands of smaller fish, minnows mind ya.. all swimming around within arms reach.. and next to them is a net. But the net is not as easy to use as the rod and they can’t land the whales with a net. So, they let the net lay there, and the minnows swim off..

If they would only realize the minnows represent people, and the whales represent the music industry, and that minnows TASTE better than whales, they are sweeter, more tender..and they can feed you a good long time.. See, minnows are the way to go in this music industry climate..Gather the minnows, and in time, they will collective become much larger than the whale.

So, I encourage you to cast your net close, gather the minnows, and forget about the whales..

Make sense?
Keith Mohr

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If things aren’t happening…

I have some thoughts on why things may not happening the way you may have hoped they would. I see this in my own life. Take a good close look at your life and mission and see if anything resonates with you.

Reason #1- There is sin in your camp.
God will not bless activities or persons who have unresolved sin and unrepentant hearts. if you are blatantly sinning, and I mean sin of any type, not just the biggies, do not expect the Lord to blow open the doors for you. It goes against His character.

Solution #1- Get right with God.
Time to get on your knees and confess your sins to the One who already knows you are a sinner. Once you confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and then STOP the activity. Just say no to sin, resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Reason #2- Your motives are not pure
God will not bless activities or persons who are conducting an activity purely for selfish motives and personal gain. You cannot psyche out God, no matter how hard you try. He knows our hearts, our thoughts and our motives.

Solution #2- Die to Self
Get on your knees once again and ask God to forgive you of your selfish desires and motives. Confess your sins, ask for forgiveness and then STOP the activity. Die to self each day, seek to serve others without selfish motives and make certain your activities provide blessings for others.

Reason #3- Your content is not good
This is where it gets more subjective, but the reason why many do not see things happen the way they hoped is because they simply are not creating content of excellence. Good is subjective, but most can tell the difference between bad, good and great.

Solution #3- Get better!
Strive for excellence in all you do, and when you are satisfied with the results, that is the time to continue striving. Do not settle for mediocrity. Seek constant and never ending improvement. Always seek to learn, continue to do, and above all else, ask God to provide you opportunities for improvement. Stretch yourself creatively. Study those who are successful and pattern yourself after them. Read bios of people who have changed history. Study companies who went from good to great. Learn about artists who are seeing success and see how they made it happen.

I hope this is encouraging to you. Let’s continue to improve and be more effective ambassadors for Christ!

keep up the excellent faith-work!
Keith Mohr

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