Jo-Na AEG headshotThe New Year provides a fresh start and more importantly, another year for you to get it right. You desire to finally get your music seen and appreciated by millions right? I mean, It’s great. You’ve spent hours on the production, you’ve saved money, perhaps had a crowd campaign to fund the album. Now, you’re ready to finally get it out there and appreciated by the millions of fans you know will love it. I get it…

However, let me ask you one question? After you’ve created the art, what else have you done to ensure your career is on the right track for this new year? So many artist get caught up in the creation of the music (as they should be while they are creating) however, once it’s complete they have no plan, strategy, team or brand to ensure the music reaches the millions of followers they desire.

Well, it’s time to stop approaching your career with an “I’ll get to it” mentality. All we have is the present moment and it’s time to stop wishing and start LIVING your dream on your terms. Yes it’s possible to be a superstar or simply create a sustainable career but it requires a new plan of attack.

Here’s are the top 5 things that will help you create an unstoppable career in 2014:

1) Have amazing music

There is no way you can survive in the music industry without it. That means, great lyrics, great instrumentation, high quality sound and mastered to perfection. NO excuses. Remember last week? The only way you’re going to stand out is to create the type of music that does. Period.

2) Have a incredible brand

If you’re going to be successful in today’s time it’s no longer just about the music. You need to connect. We live in a society that’s controlled by the Internet and people expect transparency. Also, they don’t latch onto chaos. If you don’t have a brand that’s clear, consistent, authentic and connects, your career will not reach the heights you hope it will. It will actually become harder for you to make meaningful strides. Who are you? What do you stand for? What’s your music about? What’s authentic and incredible about you? Take some time this year to create answers to these questions. Your fans will not get behind chaos so creating a foundation for yourself will help you connect with your music and your fans better. It will also position you as an artist that has their S$#@ together!

3) Craft a business foundation

Yes I know you may feel like business makes you uncomfortable. You’re an artist right? Well, you’re going to have to get over it! There’s no way you can do this and be empowered around your career without embracing the fact that business is a huge part of it. You can no longer afford to stick your head in the sand when it comes to learning what business entity you should have or how to create a yearly plan. It’s not an option to be uneducated in this area so you need to invest in getting guidance to help you achieve an empowered stance on this part of your career. Being an entrepreneur is essential! Meet with a CPA to determine what’s the best entity for you based on your specific tax circumstances and your career expenses.

4) Have a team

I know you’ve heard this more than once. Yes, you need other people to help you execute your dream. However, you need to know how to manage them and in what order to add them to your team. Start with an assistant. Once you know how to effectively communicate and delegate (very important skills for a CEO) then you can start to add other team members as you grow and you have an increasing need for them. Starting with an assistant will allow you to focus on creating music, revenue and exposure generating activities verses setting up your hootsuite posts or sending emails.

5) Understand and Implement marketing

Just like you need to know who you are and what you stand for, it’s just as important to know how to communicate that to your audience on a consistent basis. This means investing in a consistent look on your website and all your social media platforms and regularly sending emails to your audience. People are not going to follow you if they feel like you only come around when you want something from them. If you notice, the biggest stars feed you content all year before they ever ask you to buy an album, product or concert ticket. It’s all about what you can GIVE not what you can get. The “get” will come.

I know that sometimes all these tasks can feel like you’re climbing a brick wall, however it’s only as hard as you think it is. Our mindset will determine how far we go in our lives and if you have a mindset of “Yes it’s time let’s do this” you’re going to have an incredible career AND music. The entire package is what will allow you to snatch the crown from Queen Bey’s head. So what are you waiting for breakthrough in 2014!

Jo-Ná A. Williams (@JWilliamsEsq), Esq. is a business attorney and coach for musicians.

(Legal stuff: this article is for information purposes only. It does NOT replace the advice administered by a licensed attorney in YOUR state based on your specific situation. I know you wouldn’t assume I was your lawyer cause your mama “didn’t raise no fool.” But mine didn’t either, hence the disclaimer!)

12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.


Looking for more advice on how to monetize your music? Check out Part 9 of Cyber PR’s free course, Social Media House! Click the picture below to get started.

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