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Nine Steps to Your Success

Here's what could be preventing you from moving past a mediocre career By Jeffrey P. Fisher
Want to move past a mediocre career into a thriving, exciting, and moneymaking business? Here are nine reasons preventing you from being the success you want to be ... and what to do about them so you can build and sustain your career at the level of success you need, want, and deserve.

1. You're not mentally prepared. What does success mean to you? You must prepare your mind for both the demands and rewards of success. Surely you believe that your success is inevitable if you work hard and persist. Nobody hands it to you on a silver platter (and who would want that, anyway?). Solid determination and an interminable will to succeed are two crucial characteristics you must cultivate. If you are lazy or looking for an easy way out: Stop right now. This isn't for you. This article is for people who want success and are willing to put the time, energy, money, effort, patience, skill, and talent to the task.

2. You're not technically proficient. Are your skills, image, presence, promotional material, and other factors showcasing your best work? If not, you need to concentrate on improving your technical skills in these four areas:
  • Writing skills
  • Oral presentation skills
  • Business skills
  • And, of course, your specific talent

    3. You must be able to communicate effectively. Writing promotional material and delivering sales presentations are crucial to your survival. You will be meeting with clients by telephone and in person. You must learn to explain your business in ways they'll understand and that let you sell yourself, your ideas, and your stuff. If you can't communicate effectively, you are doomed to fail. You must understand the intricacies of these skills, practice using them, and ultimately master them.

    4. You don't understand the real problem. It's unfortunate but there are quite a few creative people out there who just don't get it. They concentrate on production and not selling. While gear is cool. And production is fun. It's all a masquerade for what is really happening. The key to succeeding in any business is promotion: Getting your products and services into the hands of those who need and want your offerings and who have the means to pay for it. As my friend and fellow creative, Harlan Hogan, points out: "The real work is getting the work. Don't make the mistake made by most who fail. The need to promote well is crucial to your success.

    5. You don't have the necessary promotional material. No matter what part business you pursue, there is one constant. You need your demo, biography, picture, sales letters, brochure, news releases, contracts, and other collateral material designed to promote you and your work. No business can succeed without this necessary material. You can't exist with just a demo and stack of sticky notes.

    6. You're not committed to success or willing to do what is necessary for it. I believe you can have anything in the world, just not everything. To be the success you envision, you need to sacrifice something, give something up. You can't have a full social calendar, and a full-time job, and a family, and a side-line and devote your full energy to each. Something's gotta give and you must decide what it is going to be. That may seem cold-hearted. Surely this is America. And the American dream is to "have it all!" Unfortunately, many well intentioned people have failed miserably or even gone to an early grave while chanting that anthem. You must first decide what it is you want and then concentrate on getting what you want.

    7. You haven't planned how and what you are going to do. Have you scrutinized your competition, considered your promotional gambits, studied the many options available to you, and determined a plan of action? You've set your goal. And committed your resources of time and talent to attaining your success. Now you need a specific plan of action. This doesn't need to be some fancy doctoral thesis. Start with this simple format: Here's where I am. Here's where I wish to go. And here's how I plan to get there.

    8. You haven't determined how to measure your success. What does "making it" mean to you? I followed a local band that kept pursuing a record contract. For years they played all around town and bars, festivals, parties, even touring regionally. Unfortunately they missed the success right in front of their noses. They had a loyal following, many paid gigs, and sold merchandise, including their own CD's for profit. Still they spent energy trying to get the elusive record contract and ignored the success they had already achieved. Eventually it all caught up to them. Members left and life went on. While I think the record deal was a noble goal, they spent too much energy on it and ignored the tidy little business that was waiting outside their door. So though they had a plan, they never adapted to changing circumstances.

    9. You haven't put in place a means of reviewing these steps. Don't make the mistake of thinking about these steps once and then filing them away. You need to periodically review these steps and determine what is working . . . so you can keep on doing it. And what is failing . . . so you can fix it FAST. Take time out from your endless pursuit to reflect on what you did, are doing, and should do. It can sometimes be a sobering experience or a wake up call. But often it's a good feeling with a sense of focus and accomplishment. Pride. Good for you. Now don't let that stop from reviewing your past, learning from it, and applying what you learn to either changing or staying on course.

    Though I've been a little tough with you so far, I hope you appreciate my candor. I designed this advice to help you succeed. That's what you want. That's what I want you to have. All you need to do is apply this knowledge to you own particular situation.

    About the Author
    Jeffrey P. Fisher works from his project studio providing music, audio, video, writing, consulting, training, and media production services. He writes about music, sound, and video for print and the Web including six books: "The Voice Actor's Guide to Home Recording" (with Harlan Hogan, Artistpro.com, 2004), "Instant Sound Forge" (VASST/CMP Books, 2004), "Moneymaking Music" (Artistpro.com, 2003), "Profiting From Your Music and Sound Project Studio" (Allworth Press, 2001), "Ruthless Self-Promotion in the Music Industry" (Mixbooks, 1999), and "How to Make Money Scoring Soundtracks and Jingles" (Mixbooks, 1997). He teaches Digital Audio Production and Advanced Audio Production at the College of DuPage Multimedia Arts department in Glen Ellyn, IL. His music CD, "Atmospherics", along with his two-volume, buy-out music library, "Melomania", showcase his musical vision.

    Also, Jeffrey co-hosts the Acid, Sound Forge, and Vegas forums on Digital Media Net (www.dmnforums.com). For more information visit his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com or contact him at jpf@jeffreypfisher.com

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    Jeffrey P. Fisher is a Sony Vegas Certified Trainer and he co-hosts the Sony Acid, Sony Sound Forge, and Sony Vegas forums on Digital Media Net (www.dmnforums.com). For more information visit his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com or contact him at jpf@jeffreypfisher.com.

    Related Keywords:business, marketing, promotion, Jeffrey P. Fisher

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