Creative people who have not yet realized their dream of “making it in the business” must always be wary of those who would prey upon those dreams.
When you're on the outside looking in, you're often willing to take any chance if it appears that it will move you closer to your goal.
Many of us on the “outside” probably feel like we would “bear any burden, pay any price” to realize our dreams. Trust me, I've been / are there.
People in marketing realize this, and tailor their offers to tug at your psyche.
Now this does not make marketing people bad people. It's their job to design campaigns to be effective and make offers that you can not resist.
All it really means is that you should carefully assess any offers before parting company with your hard earned money.
If you're a struggling singer songwriter like me, it's very tempting to plunk your cash down on the latest program that is guaranteed to get your songs heard by the “right” people. And after all, is not that really all that we need? To be heard by the “right” people, and they'll surely hear that we're an excellent and describing talent, and we'll be signed up immediately … right?
Now, that's not a bad proposition, if the company making this offer to you is actually able to deliver on their end. And you have confirmation that the “right” people have indeed given you a hearing. But caution is warranted.
And even with the changes in the Music Industry which have leveraged the playing field tremendously for operating independently, there's still the lure of getting signed by the big operation that has significant resources for marketing, advertising and promotion. After all, if no know that you exist, how will they ever hear your music.
So, my advice, always take a moment of pause. Evaluate everything and make sure that it's really applicable to what you're trying to accomplish. Read the small print. Determine if what you're being offered has a refund policy if you're not satisfied with the product or service.
Do not be in such a hurry to reach your destination, that you allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Many of us believe that the world is just waiting for us to arrive, and we just need to make our presence known and the rest will be history.
The reality is closer to what an attorney told me long ago, and I did not want to hear this at the time. He said that “making it” was like winning the lottery. And everyone does not win the lottery. The point was that you need a lot of factors to line up, beyond talent or creativity.
Now, there are a number of definitions of “making it”. At the time we were talking about the big record deal / big star / pie in the sky version of “making it”.
Things have changed now to the point where you can “make it” more or less on your own terms, but you still have to reach an audience. You still have to compete on an entertainment landscape that includes movies, tv, sports, video games, racing, tractor pulls, etc. People have lots of options to choose from when it comes to how they spend their entertainment dollar.
You'll need to provide a convincing argument as to why they should spend their dollar on you as opposed to other choices. And often, if you're an independent, you'll have a higher hurdle to clear.
And understanding that the hurdle is high, can lead us to taking risks without fully evaluating their effectiveness. Even offers from reputable companies or organizations deserve satisfactory to determine if their offer is a good fit for what you're trying to accomplish and will actually move you toward your goal.
Ask yourself if you really need that new instrument, or software, or whatever – if you determine that it's essential to your plan, then sometimes it's a worthwhile investment. But maybe your current assets will do the job just fine, and you should spend your resources elsewhere if at all.
Dollars and sense do not always come hand in hand. But often the lack of one will surely cost you the other.