Recently I met a woman who I have known about for a few years but for all kinds of silly reasons we never met. We finally changed that and I am thrilled to introduce you to Suz who is also known as The Rock/Star Advocate. If you don’t know her and her work that needs to change. She is a mindset coach and a #BadassWoman and she has written a new book that powerfully breaks down everything you need to build your fan base and keep your head on straight while you plan your next steps. I love actionable books (hello Music Success in 9 Weeks!) and this one is a MUST have.
The Rockstar Life Planner’s Suz Paulinski (The Rock/Star Advocate) Talks to Ariel Hyatt
(And her book is so good I threw her a book launch party in NYC)
Tell us about your background and your journey to becoming The Rock/Star Advocate
Rock/Star Advocate: I was a part of the inaugural class at Drexel University’s Music Industry program. We were a graduating class of 40 students, which was great because we were able to shape a lot of the curriculum. I also help found Mad Dragon Records, which still runs today.
I worked at Atlantic and Warner while I was a student and then I graduated early to start as Astralwerks Midwest Sales Coordinator and National Street Team Director. After 10 months or so I realized that job wasn’t for me and I wanted to pursue the legal field, so I left to become a paralegal.
After a few years of failed attempts to run a business with my college roommate, I went back for my Masters in Psychology at Queens College and that’s when I realized that mental health is so rarely, if ever, addressed in the music industry.
We glorify the rockstar life and the 27 club, and we perpetuate this “sleep when you’re dead” mentality, ignoring the real issues like Post Tour Depression and extreme burnout.
With The Rock/Star Advocate I teach the importance of self-care and better time management skills.
What was it about working with musicians that led you to believe they needed their own yearly planner?
Rock/Star Advocate: It’s so funny to me that I get this question all the time.
I think creatives are incredibly underestimated when it comes to wanting to be organized and focused. Musicians want to be on top of it all but they’re rarely given the tools. Again, it’s not part of the rock n roll narrative they’re taught. But when given the right tools they can make it happen.
I love planners but I was frustrated that I couldn’t find any with areas to track & plan social media, monitor my profits & expenses, and focus on building connections with new contacts. So my good friend Alyssa B. Jackson and I are big spreadsheet nerds and we decided to create one ourselves.
I love that you ensure artists prioritize self-care into their plans – Can you give us some examples of what that actually means?
Sure thing! Self-care is often thought of as naps and vacations. But it’s really about making sure you exercise, eat right, and listen more to what your body is telling you. It’s counter-intuitive, but if you’re stuck on a song, go take a break. You’ll actually come back and finish faster than if you sat there trying to force it. So each week there’s a spot to declare how you will make time for self-care that week and what that will be. There are also areas to track your habits and reflect on what still needs work. That is what the brand Rock/Star Advocate is about.
Organizing for a whole year feels so overwhelming – how do you get artists to take the first step?
Rock/Star Advocate: We know it can feel overwhelming and that’s exactly what we want to avoid, so unlike other planners, we’ve made sure to included built-in breaks throughout the planner so you don’t take on too much planning at once. We also give tips on planning in pencil and explain why it’s important to plan ahead, even with so many variables and unpredictability. It’s like a planner & lesson in goal setting all in one!
I find that most artists really don’t plan for social media and fan growth. How do you incorporate these important things into artists already jam-packed schedule of playing, recording, booking, rehearsing, etc?
Rock/Star Advocate: Yes, I’ve noticed the same thing! So we included templates that I already saw success with past clients. We keep it simple, as you well know it doesn’t need to be complicated! Each week we prompt users to go check each channel and write down how many new followers they’ve gotten and we’ve provided space for them to jot down themes/ideas for that week’s posts while marking off which channels that post will go on, so even if you don’t schedule your posts you’ve got a sense of what you can promote in the moment.
What is the biggest mistake you see artists making when it comes to planning?
Rock/Star Advocate: I call it the shiny object syndrome. Some opportunity comes along or someone else suggests the new best way to do something or new best channel to use and they drop everything to go check it out.
The planner addresses this.
We try to get artists thinking and reviewing their goals on a weekly basis so they can assess if the way they’re spending their time is serving their goals.
Either they need to refocus or their goals are changing and they need to stop and reassess.
You talk about realistic, relevant, & attainable goals – can you give some examples of what these are?
Rock/Star Advocate: Many have heard of SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed – and that’s basically what we mean. Not, “I’m going to sell 10k albums this year,” when you have 100 followers, and not, “Be successful,” because what does that mean? So be realistic and define what your goals mean, and we walk you through that process in the planner.
What is THE question you wish you were asked for interviews but don’t get 🙂
Rock/Star Advocate: Oh good one! Hmm. I never get asked, “what are your goals?” Haha, so I will say that I would like to grow the planner into a fuller line of time management tools and courses over the next two years and eventually expand my message of self-care to other branches of the entertainment industry.