Getting the grant is only the first step

It’s exciting to tell an artist that they have received a grant.

Especially their first one.

There is nothing like that feeling.

The Government is giving you money to record your music!  The way YOU want to do it.

However, one thing I’ve seen many artists fail to realize is that getting the grant is only the first step.

The music? That’s the easy part.  At least it should be because that’s the fun part.

The challenge often comes with completing the grant.

I’ve seen artists struggle with this step time and time again.

I’ve even seen artists have to send a cheque back to the grant organization because they failed to complete the grant properly.

Oftentimes this will be an artist that has just received one of their first grants.
Its usually not a big grant – not the 10,000 album grant or the 15,000 marketing grant.

It’s often a demo or showcasing grant – roughly 1500.

These artists want to move on to the bigger grants.

But one thing that I think is –  How do you think you can handle 15,000 when you can’t handle 1500?

The cold reality is – they can’t.  At least not yet.  They aren’t ready.

I’ve received over 200 grants and one of the key reasons is my track record.

How do you get more grants?

Take it step by step.  Complete it on time or ask for an extension – and then complete it.

Become a success story by maximizing your grant.

Then you’ll be on your way to receiving more..




Successful People

successful people meme

The only thing I like more than coming up with ideas is sharing them with others.

I find that when I share them with the right person, they get inspired as well, and it fires both of us up.

But on the other side, sometimes I share an idea and someone will respond “Okay, so what’s in it for me?”

Immediately my energy level comes down.  I don’t have as much excitement.

Part of me thinks – they just don’t get it.

But a bigger part of me is disappointed.

To me its scarcity versus abundance.

When you say “What’s in it for me” you are thinking scarcity – there is not enough to go around so you have to focus on yourself.

When you think abundance, you are thinking – lets go harvest the fruit so that we can continue to build a bigger farm.  You realize that the possibilities are endless.

I try to surround myself with people that help others and that are in a positive mood.  It tends to rub off, and I want some more of that hypeness!



You don’t have enough bad ideas…

Heard this from Seth Godin while attending the Arch Angel summit last year in Toronto.

For Seth, success isn’t about having good ideas its more about not having enough bad ideas

 “You don’t have enough good ideas…no, you don’t have enough bad ideas.”

It’s counter intuitive.  Why are bad ideas important?

I think it comes down to the left and right parts of the brain.

The right part is creative.  It brainstorms.  It thinks of possibilities of why it will be successful.

The left part analyzes.  It criticizes.  It thinks of why it won’t work.

We need both parts, but in the creative process we need the right part the most.

We need to think of possibilities.  We can hone those possibilities in later.

I’m glad that I learned this lesson in creative writing class in high school.  I learned the power of stream of consciousness writing.  Each morning our teacher would have us write for ten minutes without editing or stopping.  As a rapper, I do this when I freestyle.  My best freestyles aren’t at the beginning of the rap when I’m thinking about things, but rather half way thru the rap.

As a songwriter it means acknowledging that you have to write bad songs to get to the good ones.

As a comedian it means working out bad jokes in order to find the ones that get the big laughs.

In either case its about generating ideas, not evaluating.  That comes later.

But its not just generating ideas.  It’s about acting on them.  Its about accepting that you will make mistakes, and that these missteps are necessary on the way to success.

Sometimes you have to take an “L” to get to a “W”


I get at least 100 emails a day.

Oftentimes more.

I’m not alone.  Many people, especially those in business receive over 100 emails a day.

It can be intimidating opening your browser to find hundreds of unread emails.

What makes it worst is when you take a day off.  Suddenly 100 emails turns into 200 which can quickly turn into 300.

When I take a business trip for a couple of days and am away from my computer most of the time it isn’t uncommon for me to amass over 1000 emails.

Are they all important?

Of course not.  Out of that 100 maybe 20 are.  Another 20 are quick responses.  But at least half of them are junk.  Some are blatant junk, others are emails being sent because I am on a list.  Half of the time I don’t know how I got on the list, but I’m on the list.

That’s when I realized a powerful button – unsubscribe.

I began to unsubscribe to these sites that send me emails a few times a week.  They aren’t important, they aren’t urgent.  They are barely relevant.

I like a good deal, but I don’t need Groupon and Buytopia emails in my inbox everyday.  I rarely – if ever – purchase anything from them.

I’ve only started doing this but I’ve already seen a change.  My emails are down each day.  I look forward to hitting the unsubscribe button so that I can lower that amount.

By removing the clutter you can get more done in less time.  And solve (well at least partially) the challenge of staring at the inbox.


I’m Canceling My Gym Membership

I’m heading to the gym today.

I’m going to workout, but I’m also going to cancel my membership.

I’ve been going to this gym for a year.  I chose it because its the closet gym to my house and one of the main barriers/excuses/procrastinations to not working out is when your gym is too far.

I make use of my membership.  I go.  Well, I try to go as much as I can but I’ve been on the road a lot the last few months so I may only go a couple of times a week or ten times a month.

But that’s not the reason why I’m canceling the membership.

I’m doing it because I don’t like the vibe there.

It’s sloppy.

Sure, usually I am greeted with a hello by the person behind the desk as I wave my fob and sign in.

But then I see the management.  Two managers that have not so much as said ‘hi’ let alone give me a head nod and smile.  It’s almost like they purposefully avoid eye contact.

That’s not like how it was supposed to be.  When I joined I met Joe.  He convinced me to sign up, but I didn’t need much convincing.  His energy was infectious.  Why wouldn’t I sign up?

I’d see him when I was working out and we’d talk.  Not a long talk – we were working out, but the quick just-the-right-time-in-between-sets kind of talk that makes you push thru the next set.

The other problem is the promotions.

There are posters on the wall offering deals if you sign up by March 31st.  It’s June 27th as I write this.


Then there are the weights.  There is a sign that says “If you aren’t strong enough to put back your weights after you are done, please ask one of the ladies and they will assist you.”  The first time I read that I laughed a little.  Maybe a little inappropriate, but they were making their point.  But then I didn’t see people put their weights back, more so than any other gym I’d been to.

When the members, and the staff don’t value keeping it organized – how can I?

Maybe the final straw was when I asked the manager about the personal training program.

I was interested in a personal training package that could give me a new workout plan.

He took down my name and number.  Didn’t get a call.

I followed up on it, still never heard from anyone.


So I’m cancelling my membership.

It doesn’t mean I’ll stop working out.

I have a suitable home gym.  I like to jog outdoors.  I like my P90X and T25 videos.

I may have watched them countless times, but one thing never changes:

They always are hype and full of positive energy.

One thing that I’ve learned is that for me – being surrounded by hype people that are full of energy is one of the top qualities of a gym.

Harder to give it your best when you aren’t surrounded by good energy.


Saying No to Dough

One of the hardest things to do as an entreprenuer is saying “no” to money, but not only do you have to do it, sometimes it is a sign of success.

As a performer, I set my own rates.  I try to find the sweet spot.  A rate that is fair and competitive.  Go too low and people don’t expect quality.  Go too high and gigs are too few and far between.

But my situation is also unique.  I’m a motivational speaker that speaks to youth.  It’s something that I would do for free if it wasn’t my job.  But it is my job.

Sometimes I will get a potential client say “Can’t you do it for the inner city kids? We don’t have a lot of money.”  I empathize with the situation, and will often make a deal, but then I am also reminded – the principal on the phone isn’t taking a pay cut working at this school.  They are being paid in full.

Recently I received a low ball offer.  It came with an “Is there anything you can do?”

I countered with something that I felt was fair.

They didn’t respond and eventually moved on – possibly choosing someone else.

My first thought was to second guess myself -“Maybe I should have taken what they offered?”

But then the phone rang.  Wasn’t the booking but was a peer and someone who is a mentor to me.  Ironically they went on to tell me a similar situation that was happening to them.  I hadn’t even brought it up.

The difference?  He was getting paid a lot more in comparison to what I was.  And he was still turning it down.

When I told him my situation, he responded without pause “Sometimes you have to turn it down.  You have to.”

I know longer second guessed myself.  I realized I had made the right decision.

Sometimes you can offer a deal, or a discount, but in the end, you need to stay firm with what your rate is.

A good customer will be come a client and will respect the rate.






Clean Slate

It happens every time I come home from a trip.

My inbox is overwelming.

It makes me want to avoid even looking at it.  But I have to, because it continues to grow and grow.

Sometimes its coming home from a business trip.  Sometimes its a vacation.

But either way, I’m refreshed and rejuvenated and want to attack new business.

At this time, I have to remind myself – old business before new.  I go through all of the emails and all of the messages, voicemails and letters before getting on to the new.

I know that when I have a clean slate I’m that much more effective at going after new opportunities.

It takes some work, and some effort, but its always worth it.