I might get called out for this one because it’s something I’ve struggled with for a while – and that is precision. Even as a kid I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just be ‘good enough.’ But now that I am in the professional world I have to worry about this a lot more since I’m no longer fretting about my grades and whether or not my parents are going to make me cut my hair but rather the entire future of various companies, brands and bands. As I’ve been learning (Oftentimes the hard way) over the past few months, precision is crucial if you’re trying to move forward in the music industry. It’s not fun, but it will put you a cut above the competition, and, in my case at least, it helps me to sleep better at night. If that’s not reason enough to go all out then I don’t know what is. Once you prove how precise you can be, things only get better.
Most people are not precise. In fact – most people don’t care at all about precision because they’ve spent their whole lives working stupid dead end jobs that don’t really matter, for people who also don’t care about precision. But if you want to move forward, you need to use a reputation as a precise, accurate individual to prove that you are capable of something greater. Most of this isn’t that hard either. It just requires simple steps, like a more clear approach to how you phrase emails, the kind of confirmation you get and the amount of follow up phone calls you make. If you can prove that you are doing all of this, then people are going to be willing to give you more money because they see that you care, and you want to make sure everything was done to the fullest possible extent.
Here’s the beautiful part of it. If you become ‘that guy,’ the most dependable person in the room, the one who when people have something they don’t want to worry about, forward the project on to then you ARE going to make more money and be able to do more cool stuff. Not just that, but you are going to become indispensable, and people are going to trust you more. Eventually you become such a part of the machine that you can’t help but rise in position. Why? Because like I just said, everyone depends on you. Once you are ‘that guy’ they will have no choice but to let you rise. You have them all by the balls and they were the ones who let you make sure you got an extra firm grasp. It’s kind of funny how life can work out that way sometimes, isn’t it?
I’m not trying to paint this as a nefarious thing. If you are that guy, the hustler who is always precise then the company is going to rise alongside you. Remember, 5 percent of the people do 95 percent of the work. That’s not because they are better or more intelligent, jut that they show up to work and they want everything to be right all the time. These are the people who get the cool gigs and who are able to take lavish vacations in Jamaica, because even in Jamaica they will be spell checking promo packages and verifying that tour schedules are precisely locked down and set up in a way that is amenable to everyone, from local promoters and PR all the way to the record label and management company. This way, one person will be able to bring up everyone around them, not just themselves.
As we’ve discussed before on this blog, if you’re only in it for you that’s not going to help anyone. You need to realize that by being aforementioned ‘extremely dependable guy’ you’re going to be working a lot of extra hours that not a lot of people are going to realize you are putting in. Not at first at least. A lot of the things that come from being a precise person end up manifesting themselves easily in your life, they just take time. You learn that you need to spend time double checking everything and dealing with the perpetual gray hairs that something as stressful and fast moving as the music industry can be responsible for.
Full disclosure, I’m in the midst of setting up a tour right now and it’s gray hair-tastic. I also have a band sleeping on my floor and need to clean my apartment before a massive networking party taking place here Friday night. I’m screwed. But guess what, people have come to trust and depend on me, so I have no excuse but to step up to the plate and deliver. There is a lot of stress you have to deal within the music industry, but the more precise you are the more you will be able to offload it and build towards a better future for you and your friends.