This daily journal came from a promise. Right before Memorial Day 2009, I met with my business coach Joe Stumpf. I shared with him my total burn out in my business of 20 years. Frustrated by what my life had become, I promised to get up at 5:00 AM every day, meditate and journal and focus on bringing passion back into every aspect of my life, my work, my family and my personal growth. Instead of going to work every day and having a PITY PARTY, I have decided to have a PASSION PARTY.
You would think after 7 self-produced and released jazz records I would have learned my lesson
but actually each experience has taught me different lessons.
This album started as a thought:
would be great entertainment to have a jazz band fronted by three
singers who could do Andrew Sisters-style 3 part harmony AND also sing
in various solo styles. The show would consist of an evening of jazz
and blues, covering the history of vocal jazz styles from the '40s
So the Jazz & Blues Revue was born, initially as a once-a-year special event.
Then after 4+ years of performing clubs and concert halls
there was another thought:
Why not make an album of this material that really captures the talents of this group?
is not so easy. A first-class recording of 13 songs with a 9-piece
group including 3 singers would definitely cost time and money to
produce and release.
In January 2014 I started researching the possibility of using crowd-funding to make this dream happen.
On June 1 we launched our Kickstarter campaign to raise $18,000 to make the recording.
On July 10 the campaign ended,
and over 250 fans had pledged over $20,000.
Two weeks later, with recording budget in the bank, the band went into the studio and started recording.
Even after dealing with everyone's summer vacation schedules the tracks were all "in the can" by Labor Day.
On September 6 the mixing and mastering process began, along with designing the CD package.
On October 1 the final master, plus all the album artwork went off to DiscMakers, to press the album.
And now 1000 copies of the Jazz & Blues Revue sit in my garage, ready to market.
The Jazz & Blues
Revue is now 35 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign: Four days left in one of the largest "passion projects" of my life.
We just hit $15,891.It
feels like an amazing achievement, but we still have $2,109 to go to meet our
goal.And, since Kickstarter is an
"all or nothing" fundraising site, we have to still hit the $18,000
number or it all turns to dust.
Are there moments of panic? Absolutely.Is there fear and embarrassment?You bet.But there is no time to waste on doubt and false evidence
that appears real.It is time for
Our project will be ending on Friday July 11,2014 at 2:00 PM in the afternoon, and I know it will be
successful.Why do I know?Read these last lessons I learned
during the process:
I am not a big fan of positive affirmations - I think there
is a fine line between always being positive and being delusional.But I think it is important to
surround yourself with positive, like-minded individuals, so at times like this
listening to Brian Tracy, W. Clement Stone or Jack Canfield can't hurt.My favorite book to listen to this week
is "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield, the founder of the
"Chicken Soup For the Soul" Books. I listen to it while I drive, and
I always come home with a new idea to promote our campaign.
2.It's Time To Delegate
We are the smartest. We are the best.We are unique.Only we know how to talk to our
fans. Time is running out - it is time to lose this lie.A lot of what you do to promote
yourself (emails, tweets, Facebook posts) could easily be delegated to a
minimum-wage employee with some simple directions.So what are you waiting for?
What is your highest and best use during the next 5 days?
(HINT: It is item #3 on this list).It is time to hire a friend or a high school or college student to work
for minimum wage, sending one last email to everyone in your database that has
not donated to the campaign yet.
3. The 5 Most Likely People
If you are like me, you have been putting off the difficult
"fundraising" phone calls.Time's UP! People want to get on board your project, and they are just
waiting for a little nudge from you.Who are the 5 best/most financially well-off of your fans?Who's missing from the people that have already gotten on board?Make a list of the 5 most likely people to donate at a high level to
your campaign and then call them first thing in the morning.The missing money is just waiting for
you to ask.
Bigger is not always better.
Sometimes bigger is just bigger.
Look at GM. Look at Chrysler.
at Six Flags - this company grew to be the biggest operator of
amusement parks in the US. They declared bankruptcy a couple of weeks
There is a difference between getting big and playing big.
You can buy things to get big -
- Playing big is an internal game.
You can consume things to get big
- Playing big is a state of mind.
You can acquire things to get big.
- Playing big builds on your unique ability.
Today I choose to play big. I was not put on this earth to play small.
Playing small does not serve me or others. I can shine my light, turn on my high beams. I have so much to give!
I love to play big, surrounding myself with people that help pull me up to the next level.
Marianne Williamson said, "And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same".
And if I can't play big here, well it must be time to find a better playground!
The Jazz & Blues
Revue is now 27 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign. Yesterday we
crossed the $11,000 mark on our way to the $18,000 goal.We are 62% funded, and with only 13
days to go the pressure is on.
My back is aching from too many hours on the Internet,
sending emails, posting blogs, sharing in groups.But I feel a sense of calm.The events of the last week have made me more certain that
we will reach our goal in the next 2 weeks.
Part of actualizing the result is having a complete vision
of the final product.This week I
interviewed (and booked) a Grammy-award winning studio in Los Angeles for the
recording session, started confirming the musicians and the album art. As they
say, "What you think about you talk about, and what you talk about you
bring about." The more complete the picture, the easier it is to bring it
Four weeks in, and more lessons:
1.Engage - engage - engage
Remember that people are not just buying a product; they are
participating in an experience.Our
job is to engage people in the process of creating the project, raising
awareness of WHY we are doing what we are doing.Continuing to write this blog, sending a personal thank you
email to each backer, and posting regular updates on Kickstarter are all part
of that process.The most
"out of the box" idea: Posting short videos on YouTube, answering
people's question about the project (Here is one I posted, answering the
question "What ARE you going to do with all this money?"http://youtu.be/ven1RG2yFak
Next week's video is going to be a visit to the recording
As Captain Pickard on Star Trek says "Make it so -
2.One more time to go wide, and then we have
to go deep, and ASK
I had read that when you do a
Kickstarter project there is usually a lull in donations in the middle of the
campaign, and we have experienced that this last week. Next week is the first
of the month, so it is time to send out my monthly newsletter to the whole
database - one last blast to remind people to get on board.After that, with 10 days left it will
be time for the final push. This will involve real targeted marketing.
There are people in our database that we know planned to
donate, and they have not done it yet.Some people are waiting until the end, so they can be the
"hero" and come to the rescue.That time is now!
There are people that we know that have the financial
capability to donate at a sizable level if they choose to.Its time to reach out to them, and actually
ask them to pledge at one of the higher levels - as an executive producer or to
hire the band for a future event they may be planning.Someone really famous once said, "Ask
and it will be given to you", and my Uncle Moe once said, "If you
don't ask, you don't get!"
3.Keep the energy up
We have a new slogan, posted on the refrigerator:
"All I ask of you is to greet each day with a level of
exuberance never before witnessed by mankind."
If Einstein can distill the theory of relativity down to
e = mc2,
then I know that the most compicated ideas must have
a root formula that is simple
and easy to comprehend.
Today I was reminded of Jack Canfield's formula for success.
He wrote a nice big book about it which you can spend days reading,
Or you can just remember this simple formula:
It is not the events that happen to you that dictate your life.
If you take ownership of what happens,
if you take responsibility
(in other words, you OWN your response to the events that happen)
then in the long run you control the outcome.
It is the way you RESPOND to EVENTS that creates the OUTCOME.