One of the very first things my business 101 professor talked about was the importance of goal setting in a business. I was in my second year, having just switched into business from music, so while the rest of the class was chatting away ignoring the professor, I was a little more focused on making sure that this program was right for me. I think it turned out alright, since 3 years later here I am, with 8 days of class left before I’m done with the degree. It’s worth noting that things in business that I think most about are the things covered in that first class, those opening concepts are the ones that have really stuck with me.
Setting the right Goals.
It’s easy to set goals, we do it every day without really even thinking about it. But when you are starting a business (which is what you are doing if you’re starting a career as a musician) it’s important to set the right goals. You have to be really honest with yourself about what you can do, and wether or not you will put in the effort to do it. It’s important that your goals be clearly defined, achievable, and have growth potential. Goals are an integral part of moving forward and if we aren’t accountable to ourselves for failure in meeting our goals, then there’s really no point in even trying to start setting them. Without goals, you might get lucky and through a series of unforeseen circumstances blunder your way into success, but if you set realistic goals and actively work towards them you will slowly work your way up as each goal gets progressively farther from your starting point.
So, how do we clearly define our goals?
We do this by being very specific. Write your goals down, mark them on a calendar. I usually have several goals going on at once, things like ‘by (insert date) I want to increase my (number of followers, plays, views, etc) by (insert reasonable number)’ and if I don’t hit that goal I give myself more work to do. The first time I tried something like this it failed miserably, so as my punishment I had to record a cover a week every week for 3 months. The punishment was directly tied to the goal, by doing all of those covers I dramatically increased my play count beyond what my initial goal was, and as a result each goal that I set now is significantly higher than the one before it. The biggest thing for me was making the punishment something that I’d still enjoy doing, and by broadcasting on all my social media platforms ‘Hey, I’m doing this covers project for the next 3 months’ I was suddenly accountable to someone for actually following through.
How do we know our goals are achievable?
I talk about this subject a lot with friends, other musicians, other business students, etc. And something that almost always comes up is the question of ‘How do we know our goals are achievable?’, and it’s really a question that only you can answer. For me, setting a goal of getting a million views on a youtube video is completely unachievable right now, but for you, that might be average. When I’m working with goals that are measurable by numbers, I’ll take the average of what I get and add 15% or 20% as my goal. It pushes me to work towards something, and even if I don’t reach the goal I’ll have tried harder for having the goal there. Sometimes things just completely flop, we don’t even get close to our goals, and that’s fine, it does happen and it will continue to happen. But if every project you work on falls significantly short of the goal, you might want to reevaluate the goals you set and think about wether they’re realistic or not.
How do we know wether we have more growth potential or not?
This is easy! We always have more growth potential. This ties back in with keeping it realistic, ‘I want to be the most famous musician in the world’ doesn’t really leave you any growth potential, nor is it an overly realistic goal. The big thing with this, is to make sure that the goals we set leave us in a better position than we started in to work towards farther goals. I’ve found (for me anyway) that I need to always have a few goals that I’m working towards. Right now I’m working on plans for my first album, plans for an EP, and planning gigs and other recording projects to fill the rest of my free time. Each of these goals will help me reach (hopefully) a bigger audience than what I currently have access to, and they will all put me in a place to work on newer, bigger projects.
Thanks for reading, see you next week.