Listen up. Everyone out there who is playing in a band. Listen up. Everyone writing songs hoping to land on the Billboard Top 100 singles charts, listen up. All of you traveling the country with your guitar, performing in small clubs, listen up. Are you ready for success? If success came and knocked down your door tomorrow, would you be ready? Would you know how to act? How to respond?
Probably not. Truth is, most new small businesses fail because they did not prepare for success. They open their doors to the public and begin to prepare for failure. When they become successful, they aren’t ready.
Did I just describe you? Sure you think your band is killer and your songs are amazing, but how deep does that talent go? Is your band exceptionally exciting live? Is there a “star” in the band? Are people leaving the show talking about how impressed they were or are they talking about going out for some burgers?
Artists like KISS, U2, Aerosmith, Dave Matthews, and Prince haven’t stood the test of time accidentally. THEY ROCK! Their live shows rock and their songs rock and there is a star in every act. Their talents run deep and their appeal, deeper.
These are artists who took their time developing and writing material. They did not rush into it. By now, everyone knows the story of how many live gigs Dave Matthews Band played before labels ever noticed them. Or how many small clubs KISS performed at before they were discovered.
By the time success reached out to these artists, they were ready. They had a solid plan. They had a killer performance. They wrote strong songs. They played and played and played and build a strong fan base. Then and only then did they begin to attract industry pros.
These artists (and many others too numerous to mention) were serious, focused, and determined to succeed. Are you? Do you have the goods? Can you deliver them? Remember, there is no timetable for achieving success. And remember, too, that there are all degrees of success.
To some, only reaching the very top of the charts is success. The ultimate success, perhaps, but it is what many strive for. To others, garnering a large fan following to release an indie CD that makes a profit is success.
Some prefer plying on weekends, guzzling down a beer or two and getting ready for work on Monday morning. That is also success if that’s your plan.
The point here is, that success can be achieved by everyone if you know how to go about it and if you are ready for it when it comes. Laziness is terminal. Be focused. Work hard. Never settle for second best. Reach high. See what others who are successful have done to achieve their success. Ask the advice of others more knowledgeable than you. In short, be prepared in EVERY area. Be professional. Think of your plan as professional and not amateurish.
And above all else, NEVER GIVE UP. Like I said, there is no timetable for when success comes. But when it does, will you be ready for it?
Kenny Kerner is the author of Going Pro: Developing A Professional Career in the Music Industry published by Hal Leonard Corporation and available at all bookstores.