The Rule of Five

Many artists cdespair routinely about how hard it is to succeed in this business: Things have really dried up since the economy went south.  The phone stopped ringing.  There are 500 unsold CDs in the basement collecting dust, and the damned record label fails to advertize it adequately.  A competitor adopted a gimmick, and now unfairly receives most of the work. Nobody values quality art anymore, and—

 STOP!  I think I see the problem.  You’re not following The Rule of Five. 


Take five pro-active steps every day that promote your cause

That’s it.  Mail a press kit.  E-mail a colleague.  Invite a contractor to lunch.  Phone a past client. Update your website.  Design business cards.  Reconnect with a mentor. Write a blog post. Mail a press release.  Create a newsletter. Just do something!  Well, actually, five things.

The Rule of Five doesn’t have to take long. 10-15 minutes before breakfast can suffice. Or a few quick tasks scattered throughout the day. Consistency, and not necessarily time spent, is the key.

You can even take off a day off per week.  And heck, let’s throw in a fortnight of vacation per year.  That leaves around 300 days, times 5 actions per day, or 1500 promotional efforts per year.  If you’re willing to make that kind of commitment, things will go better.  Much better.  I guarantee it.

If you don’t know exactly what to do, there are scores of marketing texts available.  My book The Savvy Musician, for one, is filled with marketing suggestions and techniques galore.  (And here’s a bonus: reading about this topic counts as one of your five daily steps!)   You’ll figure out what to do along the way.  The important thing is that marketing momentum is established and maintained.

Products don’t sell magically.  Careers don’t take off on their own.  If things aren’t going well, there’s one likely culprit.  You’re not marketing.  Or at least not enough.

No more excuses.  No more pointing the finger. No more procrastinating.  Stick with The Rule of Five!


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  • Thanks for the advice David, this is very achievable. Breaking it down into five simple steps seems to lower the daily bar, but in actuality is raising it significantly in the long term.

  • Love it! It’s not about doing a massive blitz every once in a while. It’s a little bit every day. Every day, that’s the kicker. 🙂 We need to take responsibility for how, when, and why our products sell.

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