• Phil McDonald

Start with the end in mind.

As we begin a new decade you can't help wondering what lies ahead, as well as trying to fathom where the last 10 years went. Well, I am anyway. It's that time of the year when we're encouraged to make resolutions, usually to do with living a more healthy life and of course, we look at our music careers and think about setting goals.

There are lots of different ways you can go about this, some people make a list of things they intend to do and tick them off as you go. Other people may have some vague plans for the year ahead, maybe get that EP recorded, maybe play that venue which has been getting a lot of attention in the local media. We're all at different stages of our careers and have different things we want to achieve. This year I'm trying a different approach. Last year I started out in January with a simple goal in mind. I wanted to double the business at my studio. I figured this was an attainable goal, and it was measurable throughout the year. This was a sensible approach as a few other "loose" goals I set, I came nowhere near achieving.

So this year things are going to be different. Not that 2019 was negative, I just wished I'd approached everything from the same viewpoint. This year I will. The first thing I've done is looked back at the preceding 12 months and focused on what worked. Things that didn't go so well are in the past, I know what I did wrong and I'm leaving them there, in the past. This year, I'm looking forward to the end of the year first and asking myself, how did I achieve that?

Simply put, I know where I want to be at the end of 2020, what the goals are and what the outcomes should be. But the more important thing is, how am I going to get there? I've mapped this out and by sticking to the roadmap I've drawn up, I'm confident I'll get there. You can apply this yourself in the coming months. Let's say, for example, your plan is to get your EP recorded - You can sketch out a plan -

1. You're confident the songs are as good as they can be.

2. Research studios and gather opinions from other musicians you know.

3. Decide on a budget. (and stick to it)

4. Work out what extra musicians you need and do you know suitable people?

5. Plan a provisional release date.

6. Decide on a distributor.

7. Start looking into marketing and promotion.

8. ......(Add other points as necessary)

The advantage of taking this approach is you have a step by step plan which, providing you stick to it, will see you over the line. However, if you just say, "I'm going to release an EP this year" the chances are you won't. (I speak from experience!)

I think this is a great time of year when we can let go of the past 12 months and be positive, looking ahead to the coming year as a blank canvas where we can paint any picture we like. By starting with the end in mind you'll have a much better chance of success and you'll know not just what you want but how you're going to get there.

What are your ambitions and goals for this year? Feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading.

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