Thinking Like A SHARK – Lessons From Daymond John Applied To The Music Industry

There’s a lot to be said for using entrepreneurial books in order to grow your bands name. The latest one I’m reading is Daymond John of Shark Tank’s text, Rise And Grind. In it he addresses something he calls his ‘Shark points’ which I think are a great way to look at how you market your band moving forward in an extremely competitive space. They are, Set a goal, Homework – do yours, Adore what you do, Remember you are the brand, Keep on swimming. I wanted to share a little bit about what I have taken from that and what you can take from that in order to help develop your band and work on turning it into something bigger and hopefully more meaningful. Now I’ll be clear – following the shark points is not easy. In fact it might be the hardest goddamn thing you ever do, but my experience with them suggests that they can help you to be a better and more successful person.

So let’s talk about setting goals. There are all sorts of ways to do this as a band. It can be to play a specific venue, it can be to sell a certain amount of CD’s or draw a certain amount of people, or it could be to sign with a certain agent, open for a certain band – whatever. The point being, make these goals clear. I talk to bands every day who outline their goal as just wanting to ‘be bigger’ and ‘draw more’ these aren’t clear goals. If you have clear goals and you break these goals down to micro goals then you are going to get somewhere meaningful. If however you simply keep your goals vague then you are never going to get anywhere! Make sure that you understand what you want and then you can easily sit down and act on it in a way that actually helps.

This ties straight into the idea of doing your homework. If you have a specific goal then doing your homework to get that goal is going to be a lot easier. If your goal is simply to ‘be bigger’ you are going to read a variety of useless articles that leave you more confused than when you started. However if your goal is ‘draw more’ then you can read some articles on human interaction and figure out how to apply those to get people to come out to your shows. I know that that can sound hokey but even the biggest bands I know still spend time trying to win fans over one at a time and when they do that they find themselves seeing even more success. You can study for a specific goal, if your aims are too broad then you won’t have anywhere to begin learning.

So now let’s talk about adoring what you do. This one can be really tricky since obviously not only is a lot of the music industry kind of sucky but also a lot of the hard labor involved is rough. I get it. It’s truly unfortunate. You need to constantly remind yourself why you are doing this. You need to constantly remind yourself what makes this worth it to you and you need to remind yourself why you got into it in your first place. Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden talks about the importance of invoking that inner 15 year old. You need to bring that same passion to the stage that you did when you were a kid just going out and playing talent shows and the like for the first time. This is not an easy thing when there’s 7 people and your a thousand miles from home, but those seven people will notice if you make a point of showing you adore what you do.

Something I see a lot of bands struggle with is remembering that they are the brand. This takes a lot of forms. Frequently it’s the band members not realizing that if they don’t exist on social media then people are going to have a hard time wanting to follow them when they come to shows etc. Other times its the band not realizing that if they are drunken assholes then everyone will perceive them as such and once they have a rough reputation then they are going to have a hard time getting booked. Conversely the bands who are super friendly and professional, give their friends free merch and take the time to show they care are going to get a much stronger reputation and build themselves up as a band who people go to not just to trust but also to help elevate in the scene.

Now we embrace the final point – keep on swimming – this can be a rough one. A lot of people want to give up after a little while when they don’t get traction even though it’s entirely possible their big break is around the corner. Odds are it isn’t, but if they keep pushing then it eventually will happen. Of course this doesn’t happen for everyone. I’m not going to sell you bullshit. What I will tell you though is that if you keep on going, navigating the struggles of the day to day and attempting to constantly elevate your brand and help push for more and greater visions then folks are not only going to pay more attention to you but help you to succeed. Longevity gets you far in this industry and you’d be surprised at the amount of ‘old heads’ who have only been doing this for five years.

Long story short – this is just an acronym to be sure but it’s an acronym (Well, technically an acrostic) that I think touches on a lot of the core themes of this blog. Acrostics and acronyms are great because they are easy ways to boil down key pieces of information and I hope I was able to do that for you here. If you remember your Shark points and you follow through on them then you are going to find a lot more success than your peers. You are going to find yourself rapidly developing and building towards something helpful. Sure this can in many ways just be another filler article, but if you adhere to the points you will find yourself growing.

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