All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘community service platforms’

Got Harmony? What Makes A Successful Artist?

noteCollaborating 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.

That’s harmony.

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?


Patagonia, Competition and Your Personal Brand:How to Best Co-exist


patagoniaWhen I was a practicing attorney, it felt to me like everyone was  in constant competition with one another.  I was competing with other attorneys for billable hours and clients. There was a feeling of competition for jobs and accolades.  And of course, there was competition for “stuff”. You know- cars, clothes and friends.

I was fortunate to practice in Washington DC and have lots of wonderful colleagues and friends around me. So the impact of competition wasn’t so bad on me.  Yet, it was the nature of the game. Or so I thought.  It wasn’t until I had left the practice of law for several years that I started to really see things differently.

Fast forward 10 years later.  Now, as part of personal brand development of professionals, I take a very different stand on competition.  I want all clients to stay in their current careers.  I reexamine competition for them to be able to do so effectively.

I believe that if we really know how we are unique and different, then no one is competition.  Everyone is complimentary.  This serves to reduce the stress of competing.  It also serves to elevate our self-confidence and open our eyes to creative thinking and “being”.

One of my favorite quotes on competition comes from environmental scientist, Donella Meadows.  Meadows profoundly stated, “…Yes, the earth says compete. But leave enough for your competition… Don’t annihilate….We are not in a war, but in a community…”

Case in point is the privately held company Patagonia.  It was profiled in Fast Company Magazine recently.  Run by CEO, Rose Marcario, a practicing Buddhist, the company is referred to as a paradox of sorts. Why?  The company has ad campaigns stating, “don’t buy our products”. Yet in recent years Patagonia’s profitability and operations have grown.  How is that possible?  Well, in order to save resources on Earth the company values consumption based on your needs.

Guess what else?  Patagonia freely shares it’s expensive R&D findings with its’ competitors. Why? As Marcario puts it so eloquently in her Fast Company interview, “Here, you can have our intellectual property because at the end of the day this will be better for the planet. If you guys (competitors) adopt it you can scale more, because you’re way bigger than us.”

And that’s called co-existing in a community, profiting AND having a fabulous personal brand (Marcario) and business brand (Patagonia). That’s what integrity in business looks like.

So what does this mean for you?  Well, stop and consider:

– How much does competition drive your life? Does it feel healthy or obsessive?

– If you are ultra competitive, how do you show up as a personal brand to others- attractive or otherwise?

– What’s one step you can take to shift your way of “being” to view competition differently for yourself?  Don’t wait to do so. Start now so you can transform your life, career and brand.


Collaborative Personal Brand Building


I see lots of personal brands fail for a very simple reason: people tend to be competitive instead of collaborative. Period. End of story.  While this may seem silly on its face, it is a sure way to ruin your personal brand value and perception.  Not to mention, it is a very easy way to lead an unhappy life and not resonate with anyone.  After all, stop and think about how many people you know who are “successful”, yet lonely.  I often think about what is must be like to reach the “top” and be alone.  It can’t feel good.

In her fantastic book, The Soul of Money, global activist and fundraiser, Lynne Twist, devotes much time to this very topic of collaboration versus competition.  While the focus is on our relationship with money, Twist really drives the point home that those who collaborate more than compete have more quality lives, and thus stronger and more quality personal brands.

Twist points out that the “…idea of scarcity and competition are just the way it is, is no longer even viable science.”  Twist sites evolutionary biologist, Elisabet Sahtouris who notes that, “Nature fosters collaboration and reciprocity.  Competition in Nature exists, but is has limits, and the true law of survival is ultimately cooperation.”  Twist goes on to write that while the Earth does involve competition, it is in bounds and is not about annihilation, but instead about taking what we need and leaving enough for your competition to live, too.

As I often try to get my clients to see, there is NO competition if we all really “get” how unique we are.  Once we see this side of ourselves, then collaboration becomes the norm- and that’s a fantastic personal brand.  As Twist references, “…You’re not in a war; you’re in a community”.  Take this from me, a person who comes from a war-torn country of origin.  We’d all be better off if we remembered this point- always.

So next time you are presented with a quandary, or a decision to make, consider:

-what is driving your decision? 

– are you coming from a place of collaboration, sufficiency and true cooperation? OR

– are you coming from a competitive place, where jealousy reigns and your personal brand value and self-confidence is low?




How Well Do You Give Back?


Nothing is more important than feeling like we’ve actually made a difference in someone’s life- someone who may not have all the “things” and blessings we have.  From a personal branding perspective, helping others makes us feel good, which generates the “joy” component of the personal brand.  This “joy” is what attracts others to you- and your business.

In all our corporate work with clientele, we develop community service platforms for the business brands.  This involves actually working with each assigned employee to discover their community service niche and how that fits in with the company brand and goals.  As each employee goes out there and does community service, the morale within the office improves, as does sales and the overall brand quality of the business.

Sadly, we often only stop and think about community service and giving back during the holidays.  I guess the holidays seem like the appropriate time to help others.  However, it is always the appropriate time to help others and strengthen your personal and business brands.

So stop and think for yourself:

  • Are you doing community service now? If not, why not?
  • Where could you give of your time?
  • Does this particular community service highlight your business brand at the same time?
  • Can you include your family?
  • How much time can you spare?  (Notice, I said time and not money!)


Want To Charge More For Your Services? It’s All In The Packaging!


As part of the personal branding programs we offer businesses, we often review fees for services and suggest an increase in fees.  Often a fee increase is absolutely justified given the personal branding work the client has done to themselves and their businesses.

As service providers, clients often wonder how they could possibly justify an increase in their fees.  They seem stunned that in “this economy” why would anyone pay us more?  We’re always stunned by how little businesses value their quality work product and personal brand recognition and growth.

So how can a business possibly raise their prices?  And, why would anyone want to pay you more for your services?  The answer is a simple one.   It’s all about how a business packages their services.  And by “package” I do not mean the pretty red bow on the box or in business terms, your logo or slogan or colors.

By “package” I mean how you “own” and represent your service offerings and their worth to your prospects.

So Company “A” offers legal services to their clients.  They don’t spend much time with prospects explaining their offerings and benefits in relations to the client needs,  nor do they get out into the community to relate to their client base.

Company “B” offers the same legal services as Company “A”. However, Company “B” has done their personal branding work and knows that their services are in line with who they are and their talents in that particular area of the law.   Their unique selling propositions as people have been built into the service offerings and the manner they are offered.  Company “B” knows where to network and do community service in order to stand out as unique with their legal services and offerings. They also know how to explain these unique traits to prospects and referral partners so that they sync up with prospects and referral bases’ realities.  In other words, Company “B” has an attractive package for their legal services.  Therefore, Company “B” has earned the right to legitimately increase their fees- they can justify their value and bring a quality of service to their clients based on the increased fee and then some.

So which are you, Company “A” or “B”?

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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.