- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Money’
I have a person very close to me who likes to throw money at situations and people. Let’s name them “Pat”. Over time I’ve noticed money gets thrown around when Pat is trying to: 1) avoid a negative/painful situation (“I’ll buy the birthday gift, you go hang out with the birthday gal because I don’t want to see her”) or 2) be more loved (“I’ll buy lunch to apologize for making you come meet me where I want to each lunch”).
So in the famous words of the Beatles, if love is all we need and if money is the root of all evil, then what gives with Pat?
While we all tend to stretch for relief and love in our lives by “solving” things with money, what does it really do to your brand?
First, you must have self-awareness to look at the situation in the first place. If you can’t step back and observe yourself throwing money at others, then you can’t start to see anything differently.
Throwing money at people and situations in order to get yourself in a better position and your brand better loved does NOT work. Why?
Even if people end up taking your money, we can all sense your desperation in doing so. It devalues your brand instead. No one wants to support, much less be around, desperate people. Think about it: when was the last time you bought any product because you pitied the company? Never, I suspect.
Need more examples? Look at Uber. Uber and Lyft spent over $8 million in a very few short months in Austin. They were trying to get voters to shoot down Austin’s proposed fingerprinting rules for drivers. Uber bombarded voters with phone, text, emails and calls. Some voters were truly scared and creeped out by the level of intrusion.
In the end, Uber and Lyft lost the fight. And they lost $8 million. That’s what happens when you throw money at it. No one was more sad over this result than me. I used to Uber/Lyft all around Austin on my monthly trips. Now I’m stuck with yucky cabs or the kindness of colleagues and friends.
What about Uber and Lyft’s brand?
Some would say the companies are so big, it really doesn’t impact their brands. Ok, so maybe there’s no fiscal impact. However, in the court of public opinion it’s different. In the informal interviews I’ve done with locals in Austin, there’s very little love for Uber or Lyft. When you mention either brand name, most people I’ve talked to shrug, squint and reply rather nonchalantly. That’s what you get when you have enough money to throw at people in order to get your way.
So let’s summarize what we learned in first grade: Money does not get you your way. If you do get your way, you have no respect with it. Your brand stinks.
What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
- When have you strong-armed others with money to get your way?
- Did it work? Why did you really throw money at it?
- How can you stop and have self-awareness of when you are throwing money at something?
Collaborating over the years with various artists on their individual brand development, I have seen a very familiar- and somewhat sad- pattern.
Musicians are brilliant people- generous, creative, exciting, excited, eager and fun.
Yet, there are two camps. First, there’s the group with hang-ups around their art.
The biggest issue is the subconscious belief that they have to be poor. Maybe it’s the belief that to be a true artist, you have to be poor- like a darvish. Whatever the reason, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy often. Although not many artists will say it aloud (because it’s not conscious), the thought that holds them back is, “we’ll never get paid”.
Then there’s the second camp of musicians and artists. Those established and financially successful one who do get paid and do make money- lots and lots and lots of money. These successful artists very consciously see their art and music more through the framework of “how do I best run a business”. This mentality is smart and effective….if not taken to an extreme. What do I mean?
Well so often for “financially successful” artists, the money becomes TOO much of a motivator- at the expense of their true art and gift and talents. The art becomes more like a business, money-making machine. The result? The artist forgets their real passion and purpose and drive and joy in creating music and art.
So what if I told you there is a happy medium- that there must be a happy medium that works towards the highest good?
My goal is to change how the music industry, and each artist, sees their value and contribution as an artist. It can’t all be about the money, despite what our commercialized world tells us. But then again, an artist can’t pay his rent without money either.
So what’s the happy medium? In my expertise developing sincere and successful artists’ individual brands, it comes down to one word: harmony.
I’m talking the kind of harmony where each artist recognizes their brand is about an ebb and flow. The harmony of running a successful business and knowing you deserve to get paid- that you must get paid for your beautiful art. Yet, also a harmony in never forgetting who you really are, what your music and art represents and staying focused and true to your reason and message as an artist.
What does that look like? It looks like a full house at your next gig where the audience is exactly who you want to play for- those with whom you resonate best, those for whom you wrote your music, those who get you and appreciate you and your artistry. The audience is filled with those who make you happy and allow you to express yourself in a way that is natural and meant to be.
So what does this mean for you? Stop and ask yourself:
-Are you creating value? All the way from your set content (lighting, wardrobing/visual branding, and your scarcity model (how often you play: weekly, quarterly- how long each set is).
– Are you still feeling self-expressed or does it seem like the business has run away from you?
I was working with a client who was fed up. He was so frustrated with why his brand was not consistent. Well, rather he was upset with why his personal brand was not consistently generating more business for him. When I asked him what he wanted his personal brand to “say” about him, he went off on a tangent that ultimately led to his confession. He wanted MORE RESPECT from others. Very honest of him, and interesting.
Well, who the heck wouldn’t want to be respected? What respect signals is that we all want to ultimately be wanted and loved by others. That’s fair and a good goal. However, we can’t force people to respect us and thus, love us. It just doesn’t work that way. It took my client a long time to “get” this notion. I mean, we all “get” it, but to really “own” the concept is another thing.
As Lynne Twist says in one of my all-time favorite books, “The Soul of Money”, the concept of sufficiency means that we believe that there is enough for everyone to have “some” and that no one has to go without. There is plenty of abundance available for us all. We just need to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have. In this way, what we have (and thus want more of) grows.
So what does this have to do with you getting more respect? Well, you can’t force others to respect you. You can’t force them to love you. You can’t get respect by feeling inadequate and entitled to it. That’s a nasty personal brand. It doesn’t work in business or in personal lives.
The only way to get respect is to first GIVE and expect nothing back in return. I know that notion may be cliche’ sadly. However, it is the only way your personal brand (and business/career) thrives.
So stop and think about the last time you did something for someone just because it was the kind thing to do. Where you expected absolutely nothing in return, but got a ton back in return. The positive stuff you get back (business, clients, referrals, money, love) doesn’t even have to show up from the original recipient of your good deeds. It just shows up because you had a strong personal brand and you gave. You just have to accept it and be grateful.
Now go out there and generate a fantastic personal brand by just giving.