If your music isn’t going to sell, wouldn’t you like to know sooner rather than later? Is there a way you can rapidly release music at less risk to test the market?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share what a Minimum Viable Product is as well as how The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship came into being and who it’s for.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship
  • 00:50 – The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship
  • 01:46 – Minimum viable product
  • 04:46 – An offer that converts
  • 05:05 – The inception and development of The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship book
  • 08:16 – What is The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship about?
  • 11:28 – Creating a series of Essential Guides

Transcription:

It’s The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship. I’ve been holding up this book a lot in videos lately. I don’t know what’s up with that. I do want to make you aware of the book so it’s good in that sense.

Anyway, what is this all about? Why would you want it? Who cares?

Last year I came out with The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship, and that sold very well. I actually got a really great response for that book as well, which is something that surprised me because here’s kind of the secret behind that whole book – most of the content was already written before I put it out. It was on the website. It was on MusicEntrepreneurHQ.com.

I had written this guide on what it meant to be a musicpreneur or music entrepreneur here in the digital age. What I did was I took that content, I edited it, I updated it, I revised it. I added an introduction and a conclusion. I curated a few more blog posts, and voila, that was The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship.

The feedback has been far better than I ever anticipated. So much so that I thought, well, this is what I would call a minimum viable product. If you haven’t heard of that term before, if you don’t know what an MVP is, a minimum viable product is like the least amount of content you need to make something that people would buy, or people would be interested in.

That’s a good concept for you to know as a musician to learn this whole thing about minimum viable product because as musicians we tend to obsess over perfection, getting something just right, making sure the vocals are in tune, making sure the guitar sound right, making sure the drums are exactly as we want them to be in the studio.

And then that often ends up being relegated or delegated to a producer or an engineer and sometimes musicians do it themselves too, right? I’ve certainly produced my own tracks.

We obsess about all these things not realizing that maybe 80% is good enough to get a feel for what people think about it. 80% is maybe not enough to get on the radio, to get in front of influencers, to get your music in front of a major label or anything like that, but it’s enough to get a feel for what people think about it.

They might go, “Hey, this is great. I love this.” Or they might go, “This is all right.” But the thing is if you got it 80% of the way there and people didn’t like it then you didn’t waste a ton of time and energy and money. You still wasted some of your resources. I still wouldn’t say it’s a waste because everything is a test and experiment anyway as an entrepreneur, as a musician, as a creative.

In some capacity, practically everything is an experiment. I’ve experimented with a lot of things. Trust me, a lot of them didn’t go well.

But there’s that extra 20% to take it to 100%. That 20% probably would cost you more in time, and resources, and energy, and everything to get your product perfect. If nobody likes the product, what was the point in spending all that time and money and energy on that? No point, right? So that’s the whole thing about a minimum viable product.

Guess what? The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurshipdid well as a minimum viable product. That was enough. It was straight to the point. It was no BS. There wasn’t a bunch of extra stuff in there.

There wasn’t just rambling incoherent text, which I hate about some books anyway. I love reading books. It’s just that some books go on and on and on about nothing. They’re not talking about anything. They’re saying a lot and not getting any kind of message across. I’m sure you’ve experienced that as well.

I just want to make you present to that fact that you can do that too. You can create a minimum viable product. Put it out there. Test it. See how people respond to it. If it’s good, you can iterate on it, make it something better or something like it. If people don’t like it then you can make kind of a bigger adjustment based on the feedback that you’ve been getting.

For me though, with The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship, I found a winning formula. I found something that works well. Something people would want and something that people will buy. It’s an offer that converts, which is awesome. That’s something to be excited about, right, when you find something that works, something that people want?

I was then approached last year with the idea of creating The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship. I was approached by a friend and a colleague and a mentor, just a really wonderful person.

He said to me, “You know, we’re going to get this creative community started and would really love you to put together a book, maybe rearrange the content you already have in The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurshipand make it into The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship.” And that’s how this came about.

Now, I didn’t just merely rework the content that was in The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship. I could have done that. I actually wrote everything from scratch. The content that I wrote again is actually available on the blog. That’s a little secret. Maybe you knew. Maybe you didn’t. You can find most of what’s in this book on my blog as well as on Medium.

If you’ve been following along, then you know that I’ve been doing quite a few experiments over on Medium as well, which is another social network. Just a place where you can take your blog posts and syndicate them. Or, you can even create fresh content for Medium, which is something I’ve done before too. So, it is content that you won’t find anywhere else, some of the things that I’ve created on Medium.

This book came together by really creating an outline. That was the first thing I did. I had a journal and I created the outline. I said I want 12 sections. And here are the 12 sections that I want to create. Once I was clear on that, I just turned every one of those sections into a blog post. That’s how I broke it down once I had the outline. And then I began writing each of those sections while also publishing them.

And, of course, something you should know about my process is once everything goes into the book, I still read it over and over and over again. In fact, what happens is I will submit the manuscript when I feel like it’s reached that point of being good enough, 80 to 90% of the way there.

I will get it up on KDP, which is Amazon’s self publishing platform. And then I’ll have them send me an author copy. When the author copy shows up, I get to see what the book looks like. Does the artwork work? Is it fitting properly? Are the dimensions correct?

And then I also look at the text on the inside and I go, “Is this readable? The message I am trying to convey, are there any awkward sentences? Am I missing a comma? Am I missing a period?” I will just go through it and edit it and make sure it’s up to snuff.

And then I will resubmit the manuscript one last time to KDP once I’m happy with it. And then the book comes out. That’s my process. First, I’ll get an author copy sent over. Look it over. Make some last-minute notes on the whole thing. And then, I will submit it to KDP to have it published and out there.

I’ve said a lot about the self-publishing process. I actually haven’t said a lot about the book yet.

The book itself is obviously there not just to help creative entrepreneurs but to help creatives in general and artists of all types to be able to create something and do it more efficiently and do it more effectively and then share their work with the world. And then of course, ultimately sell it.

You might be wondering what making and selling your neon yellow tiger means, which is the subtitle of the book, right? I don’t actually have an eloquent explanation for this yet. A number of people have asked me already what exactly that means, but it is about finding your niche. It’s about going into a niche that isn’t overcrowded, where there isn’t a ton of competitors already. Making something, a piece of art. Sharing it with the world and then becoming a dominator in that space. You can dominate that space if nobody else has created anything in it.

Now, if you do a Google search, you’ll see for yourself. You can search for neon yellow tigers and it will come up with lot of results, but the so-called results there’s really none showing like a legitimate… There aren’t too many legitimate neon yellow tigers out there. So, if you want to dominate that neon yellow tiger space you could do it.

Now, I’m not suggesting that’s what you do. I am suggesting that you find a niche that isn’t overcrowded and then dominate it. A niche where there is a demand and then go into it and hit it with everything you’ve got. That’s the concept behind the book.

There’s a lot of ideas, there’s a lot of tips, there’s a lot of suggestions, there’s a lot of advice, and there’s a lot of examples in this book of people who are doing well in creative entrepreneurship. I wanted to make sure I was citing and mentioning examples of people who are doing well in that space. That’s something you’ll find in this book.

It really is a little bit of a buffet. You can kind of take it or leave it because to be perfectly honest there are some slightly conflicting or contradictory advice in the book.

Before I get asked and interviewed – although I’m sure I will at some point – before I get asked, the whole idea is you can think of it as a buffet. You can take what you want. Just because you can take everything doesn’t mean you want to take everything.

I myself I don’t eat seafood. So, if I went to a buffet… And I do love Asian buffets by the way. If I go to a buffet, I’m not necessarily going to eat the seafood. I’m probably not going to touch the seafood. If I’m feeling adventurous, I might try just a little something but that’s not what I’m going to go for.

I’m probably going to go for the spring rolls and the rice and the dumplings and maybe some soup or some noodles. That’s more of my speed, so that’s where you would find me at the buffet.

Same thing with this book. I think most if not all of it is applicable and helpful but if there are things that you don’t find helpful, just toss them. Just throw them out and go like, “Okay. This point earlier makes more sense to me than this point that was mentioned later in the book.” And that’s how I take it.

This is really exciting to me. One of the reasons is because it’s sort of started creating a bit of an ecosystem.

What I want to do now is publish many more “essential guides”. Just to give you an idea, I haven’t revealed this elsewhere but I’m thinking about creating The Essential Guide to Community Building. That’s project that’s sort of getting into the works.

I was already going to be working on a book about growth hacking for musicians. I think I will turn that in to The Essential Guide to Growth Hacking for Musicians.

Another title that I’m thinking about is The Essential Guide to Crowdfunding. The Essential Guide to Personal Development for Musicians.

This really opened up a whole new world. At some point, I’ll probably register a domain name and put all those books up there as well. Might be like EssentialGuideBooks .com. And then continually update and revise those books and add new content to them as we see fit and necessary for the whole project, and of course based on the feedback you give us. That’s a huge part of it.

David Andrew Wiebe

Founder & CEO at The Music Entrepreneur HQ
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a performance schedule with Long Jon Lev and Adrenalize. If you'd like to be notified whenever the blog is updated, click here to subscribe.
David Andrew Wiebe