Don't Be The Studio That Does This…
There's a thing that I've noticed amongst all my conversations with studio owners that have made less than $1,000 from their studios and the trend that I see amongst all of these people is this: They are overwhelmed, they are spread thin, and they don't know what to do.
They are trying to do literally everything.
As a result of that, they are getting absolutely nothing done.
- They're trying to do paid advertising.
- They're trying to build a website.
- They're trying to get their logo made.
- They're trying to get business cards made.
- They're trying to go to networking events.
- They're trying to do social media.
They're trying to do all of these things and they have no traction in any of it, so they are left without any real results.
They're not sure why it's not working, they're really overwhelmed, and they have no plan for what to do next. Or, even worse, what happens is people see all of the things they should be doing and they get overwhelmed. They get paralysis by analysis.
They don't know what to do, and so they do nothing at all.
If any of this sounds like you, then this is the article for you because I'm going to cover the eight things that you can safely and completely ignore if you have earned less than $1,000 from your studio.
Let's Get To It
All of the things on this list today are things that are not inherently bad. As a matter of fact, they're probably good in most cases.
But, they're not quite right for you at this stage in your career.
If you are taking these things on and you're implementing these things in your business, they're really doing nothing more than distracting you from the real work you need to do. These are things to consider in the future, but they are things you can safely ignore right now.
Distraction #1: Logos
A logo seems to be the first thing that most studio owners (or really, most new business owners) jump to when it comes to starting a new business or starting a new brand.
I know in my life, really, I've started several businesses of all different shapes and sizes, and the first thing I tend to jump on is the logo. This really is more of a distraction by procrastination.
You feel like you're getting things done when you get your logo done, but at the end of the day, to break that $1,000 income barrier in your studio, you don't need a logo.
As a matter of fact, I would say completely ignore the logo until you've crossed that threshold because, until you have made the $1,000 mark, it's just a distraction you're using to procrastinate.
You might be thinking, “well, I can't reach out to people and I can't network with people. I can't get any clients until I have a logo, right?”
That's just an excuse you're going to give yourself, so count this as my permission for you to ignore the entire logo thing until you've broken that $1,000 threshold.
That doesn't mean you always will ignore it, but that doesn't mean you don't ever have to have a logo for your studio.
This is no knock on you if this shoe fits, but almost all entrepreneurs that I have met, including myself, will use the logo as an excuse to not get starting doing the things you really need to do in your business.
So item number one, completely ignore the logo.
Distraction #2: Business Cards
This is something that people jump on immediately, just like the logo thing.
They get the little pack of 500 business cards printed out and shipped out to them. Then they finally have their business card, they're a real business.
That's not the case. It's really a distraction.
Business cards are something that I personally don't have myself, and I think you can get a really long way without having any. But, that's not to say you shouldn't ever have them.
If you have made less than $1,000 in your studio, ignore it. Do not get business cards. You do not deserve them yet.
I say this because I don't want you to focus your effort, time, energy, and money on things that are not going to really make a difference in your business yet.
So, distraction number two that you can completely and safely ignore right now: business cards.
Distraction #3: Your Website
Often these first three things, especially the website, are the first three things that any entrepreneur, tends to want to gravitate towards when creating a website.
In some businesses, it's completely essential. In the studio world though, I don't think a website is going to make or break your first $1,000.
As a matter of fact, I think it's a distraction that you should completely ignore.
This is something, again, that's great for the future.
I 100% recommend that every studio have a website after they've crossed that $1,000 threshold.
Until you hit that magical $1,000 number that shows that you are truly serious about this, you have some amount of traction, you've had some clients, and now it's time to start taking things seriously, ignore the website.
I know many studios, by the way, that have crossed the $10,000+ mark without a website, so it can be done.
While I don't recommend getting that far into your career without a website for your studio, I do think you can safely ignore your website until you break $1,000.
Distraction #4: Social Media
Social media is something to completely be ignored for any new studio owner.
Before you start sending me hate mail, I do recommend having a business Facebook page for your studio or for your brand (or for whatever you do).
This is a great alternative to a website as a way for people to contact you.
But, past the point of setting everything up and having a way for people to contact you, and maybe posting a new piece of music from your portfolio every week or three, ignore it.
Anything past that is a waste of time, a waste of effort, and a big distraction on what really matters in your business.
If you Google everything about content marketing, social media marketing, and digital marketing, or if you look up YouTube videos on the subject, you will see all sorts of crazy formulas. They're going to mention all these things where you post three to four times a day at specific hours or you post every single day of the week.
This is something that will be a massive distraction for you if you pursue it.
It's not going to bring in a bunch of leads for you right now, and this is not the lowest hanging fruit for your business right now if you've had less than $1,000 of income from your studio.
If that is you, completely ignore social media, and save that time and effort for the things I'm going to be talking about later in this article.
Distraction #5: Paid Advertising
This is one of my favorites because this is the one that people seem to gravitate towards when they're struggling to find clients to work with.
Any studio under $1,000 of total income would say that they struggle with finding enough clients to work with, and in the back of their head, they think that they can just “market” their way to success.
If you are struggling to get clients and you're under $1,000 of income, paid advertising is nothing more than a waste of time and a lot of money.
Any money you put into at this point in your career is most likely going to be a waste, and that's because to reach that $1,000 threshold takes very few things, and paid advertising is definitely not one of those things.
If you need more info on this, I have an entire article about this.
That is an article about why most studios fail, and it has nothing to do with marketing. If you don't believe me–if you don't think paid advertising is a complete waste of time for early-stage studios–then go read that article and I guarantee your mind will be changed.
Distraction #6: Pricing
This is one that I see a lot of questions about. Specifically, price optimization. That is the distraction I want you to avoid.
If you are early in your career, you should not be worrying about what you can charge or how to get the most out of your clients.
You shouldn't be thinking about “should I double my prices, should I charge $100, $150, or should I charge per song or per day?”
It really doesn't matter. It's a distraction at this point.
Your entire focus should be…
“How can I over-deliver for every single client that I work with?”(The very few that you have.)
“How can I over-deliver so that they are going to be clients for life?
“How can I under-promise and over-deliver?”
The catch is that you have to charge something and it has to be reasonable.
You're not gonna charge $10 a song and reach $1,000 of income any time soon. If you're in the range of $50 to $100 to $150 range per song or per day, that's a good, safe bet. You don't have to worry about getting the absolute most.
Don't worry about extracting value from people, worry about adding value to people.
The only time you should start worrying about pricing is once you're past the $1,000 threshold.
“Should I charge per song or per day? should I do $50 or $100 or $150? Should I start asking for budgets?”
All of those things can come later, but for now, those questions strategies are a complete waste of time, effort and focus.
The goal at this point is NOT making the most money you can.
At this point, your goal should be making your clients as happy as possible.
When you're at the $1,000 threshold, then you can start worrying about these other things. Until then it's a distraction, it's a waste of time, and you can safely ignore price optimization.
Distraction #7: Your Niche
If you listen to The Six Figure Home Studio Podcast (hint, hint) you know we talk about niching down all the time.
Niching down is a fantastic tool for increasing your income and increasing sustainability in the home studio world.
It's all about finding your little niche…your little place to live long term.
It's great for people who are at a certain level.
But, if you have less than $1,000 of total income from your studio, it is way, way, way too soon to be worrying about a niche.
You don't need to worry about focusing on metal bands, hardcore bands, EDM, or hip-hop, or just mixing or just mastering. You don't need to worry about doing a podcast studio or a vocal-only studio.
All of these things are distractions for you if you're at $1,000 or less of income from your studio.
Once you get past that point, I 100%, wholeheartedly, am behind you finding a niche, or niching down as we call it. But until you reach that threshold of $1,000 of earned income from your studio, niching down is not the move to make.
The fact is…you don't know what you're good at yet. You don't know what kind of clients or what kind of niches are attracted to you. You don't know what you're really going to enjoy.
You might think you have all the answers, but you never will until you've put in the work and tried a lot of different things.
It's okay to be a generalist and to do everything when you're at this early, early stage of your career because the last thing I'd want you to do is to focus on a niche that is not right for you.
Until you've been able to really play the field, to see what it's all like and see what it all entails, niching down too soon is going to do nothing but limit you.
So again, if you are less than $1,000 of income from your studio, you can safely ignore niching down.
Distraction #8: Gear
And finally, number eight. Gear.
Specifically, buying more than $1,000-$5,000 worth of gear.
Anything past that point is a waste of time, effort, and money that you should be spending on other areas of your business.
If anything, you should just be holding on to that money as an emergency fund or saving it up instead of spending it on gear.
In my own studio, I started with $5,000, which is honestly more than I would recommend for most people.
But, I earned $30,000 in my first year with $5,000 of gear. I actually probably made my first six figures total with about $5,000 or $6,000 worth of gear.
Now, I don't recommend you go that far with it, but if you have $1,000 of gear, you do not need to worry about gear until you've crossed the $1,000 income threshold. If you have $5,000 of gear, you definitely don't need to be worrying about gear until you've crossed the $1,000 income point.
If you already have that much gear, then I will bet you $1,000 that that is not the thing that is holding you back from breaking the $1,000 threshold.
There is a lot of other things you can focus on, which I'm going to talk about in a second.
If you have $1,000-$5,000 of gear, and you've earned less than $1,000 from your studio, do not put another penny into gear until you have done the other things that you should be doing in your business.
In Summary, Avoid These Distractions
To wrap all this up, if you have earned less than $1,000 of income from your studio, you can safely ignore:
- Business Cards
- Your Website
- Social Media
- Paid Advertising
- Niching Down
Those are all distractions for you right now. And again, none of those things are inherently bad, but they are nothing more than distractions for those of you that have earned less than $1,000 of income from your studio.
What You Should Be Focusing On
You should be focused on four things, and only four things right now, in your career.
Focus #1: Education
Education is something you should never really let up, especially this early in your career. You're probably not getting clients for one of two reasons.
Reason number one is that you're not very good at what you do (just being real here).
Most people at that income level are not quite where they should be skill-wise, and so they will continue to struggle to find clients until they get their skills to the point where people are willing to pay them.
Reason number two is your mindset.
People don't understand that they are capable of doing certain things, they're beaten down, they have no self-confidence, and they don't know, how to interact with people.
A lot of this comes down to reading books and articles, watching YouTube videos, and reading blog articles about mindset, as much as skills, because those two things go hand in hand to getting you past that $1,000 point from your income.
Focus #2: Your Relationships
These are the people in your surroundings: your friends, your family, your acquaintances, and your co-workers. They are all people that are going to help bring clients to you in the future.
These are also the people who will help connect you to other people that will help improve your career…Other audio engineers, other professionals in your area, other people that can help improve skills, and other mentors.
At the end of the day, your relationships are one of the most important pieces of your business.
If you have absolutely no roots dug into your city, you have no connections, you don't know any people in this industry who are musicians or other audio engineers, then relationships are really where you can move the needle.
If you don't have any of those relationships yet, that should be one of your main focuses.
Focus #3: Lead Generation
If you're a new studio or if you have no real income, less than $1,000 of income, then nothing's going to change if you don't have potential projects coming in the door.
Those are called leads. A lead is someone who is going to record soon or going to need your service soon.
You have to go out there and find those leads yourself.
There are a lot of other ways you can do this, like cold outreach, networking, referrals, and nurturing your existing relationships.
Paid advertising is also a method you can use, but again, that's one you should ignore until you hit the magic $1,000.
There are a bunch of different ways you can do lead generation, but at the end of the day, that is the third thing you absolutely have to focus on if you haven't broken that $1,000 threshold.
Very few projects will simply fall into your lap at this level in your career, so it is 100% your responsibility to go out and generate leads.
Focus #4: Sales
The fourth and final thing is sales.
You can spend your days generating hundreds of “perfect” leads, but if you can't turn those leads into customers, it will be a very long and hard road for you.
You need the confidence, ability, and know-how to turn someone that is maybe interested in working with you…someone who needs your services but doesn't quite know you yet…and understand how to turn them into someone who trusts you with their babies.
They worked the entire last year or two on these songs, or maybe even their whole lives.
They hold it close and near and dear to their hearts, and now they're potentially hiring a stranger to work on these songs as a producer, or a mixing engineer, or mastering engineer, or a composer.
If that's you, you have to be able to understand the psychology of sales (which goes back to focus #1: education).
If you don't understand the sales process, this takes some education, it takes some trial and error, and it takes some experience.
The good thing is, it's okay to be bad at sales.
You have to be bad before you can become good.
But, you have to understand that if you don't focus on sales, or if you don't know how to sell your services to people, it's going to be a very difficult road ahead.
A lot of times your portfolio will speak for itself. If you're great at what you do, that's really 90% of it, but at the end of the day, that final 10% is really what will get people off the fence of recording with you, or with your competitor down the road.
Next Steps You Can Take
Again, the four things to focus on first are education, relationships, lead generation, and sales.
If you want to go more into depth with any of this, I have a free workshop just for you.
Head on over to TheProfitable.Studio to sign up for it!
You can sign up for that workshop, and I will cover three of the most important things for your studio.
The first I cover is lead generation.
I teach you a method that you can repeat every single week, every single month, and every single year to generate leads for your studio. It's will be extremely important if you're trying to break that $1,000 mark for your studio.
The second thing that I teach in the workshop is how to sell people.
That is, how to turn someone from a stranger into a customer. I teach a very specific framework called The Needs Discovery Analysis in this workshop.
The third thing that I teach in the workshop is how to get a fair rate for what you're doing.
I'm not talking about how to maximize your pricing. I'm not talking about how to get the absolute most you possibly can to extract from someone.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, you should be thinking about over-delivering, not extracting value from people. What I teach is how to get a fair rate for your services so that you can break that $1,000 mark.
If you want that to join the FREE workshop, it's at TheProfitable.Studio.
It's a 90-minute in-depth workshop and it covers a lot of the things that I didn't get to cover in this article, including mindset, sales, and lead generation.
Until next time, happy hustling and thanks for reading!