This is a great discussion and I think we all understand that Derek is not saying NOONE will EVER help you because every single one of my fellow authors on this blog are helping artists in our own way by being here…
Two types of artists: Complainers vs. Doers
His point is if you want to make it you need to be willing to help yourself first and only after that will others help you. I wrote my book based on this and this alone there are two types of artists. complainers vs. doers / negative vs. positive attitudes / builders vs. idlers / artists that are willing to takes responsibility vs. ones who are angry and entitled.
When the complainers call our office we look around at each other with dread… The conversation is demanding and negative “Can you hook me up with a booking agent if I hire you? Will I sell more albums because of you? etc…and their negativity is infectious. We want to get this type of artist OFF of the phone as soon as possible.
The exact opposite rings true for the doers - they get a lot more time from us because they want to help themselves and they are willing to do whatever it will take. I do not believe what @alan says in the comments about becoming a baker…. To be a baker you do not need to open a bakery. You need to bake delicious cookies and share them with just one friend, then continue to share the cookies - that’s how famous Amos did it … He took cookies to business meetings and everyone LOVED them. They took meetings with him because they wanted the cookies. He launced his baking career by giving something and while being helpful in return - he was being generous and compassionate by asking what can I do for you? How can I help you? and everything came out of that attitude It’s the artists that can understand its not all about me me me that will break Dereks paradigm How can I help others with my gifts? That will get you MUCH farther….
Everyone Is Out There To Help You
What if you took the attitude that: Everyone is out there to help me if I can help them? Maybe not by giving you $500,000 and a major booking agent but perhaps by giving you a link to a useful article online, 10 minutes of their time on the phone, or an amazing conversation at a music conference. These things will only come if you are willing to give first.
An artist we work with named Wil Deynes happens to work as a mac computer tech expert when he is not performing. Since Cyber PR is a mac shop Wil called me up and asked me if he could trade me his IT services in exchange for some mentoring in the music business. He would come over and trouble shoot our macs at night after work and while he was doing that I would brainstorm ideas on how he could get further with his music career and I helped him get a booking agent! If he had called me on day one and said: “Hi can you get me an agent?” he would have been one of countless others that I couldn’t help.
Another artist who I have blogged about here on Music Think Tank John Taglieri called me YEARS before we ever worked together and said “Hey I managed to get myself 45 interviews last year and a lot of them were from small online publications. Would you like the list of sites and the names of the editors for your data base?” “Um , Yes I would!” We had a meeting and because he gave me those names I gave him more names and years before I worked for him in an official capacity he became a friend.
How Can You Be Helpful?
My advice - make a list of what it is you can do to help others and approach people from that context not from the me me me and see what opens up. I am not suggesting that everyone has IT skills but what do you have to offer? Sometimes just buying someone a Starbucks can get you really far… and keep in mind that none is going to help you unless you can help yourself by understanding how to help others first.
I invite you to share your stories about how you have helped someone else and what has opened up for you in that context….