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February 24, 2013

Step 9: PLAN each step of your development

I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 
10,000 ways that will not work.
- Thomas Edison

It's a cliché that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. As we discussed in the intro, just by having big goals and writing them down, you are more likely to succeed, and with careful planning you can get there sooner and make sure that every step is an advance. Goals are important, but the more detailed those goals are, the more likely they are to be achieved. Effective goals are expressed using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym:

Specific - have a clear outcome associated with each goal;
Measurable - have a clear way to know when you have reached the goal;
Achievable - make sure your goals can actually be achieved;
Realistic - set goals that you are likely to be able to succeed at; and
Timely - have a deadline for achieving them.

For example, setting a goal to "record my first album" is an important step, but this is better expressed as "record in a professional studio and release an album of 11 songs via CD Baby within 12 months". This sets much clearer parameters for the goal and it is simple to work out whether you have actually succeeded. You can also tell whether you have partially reached your goal.

The next step in planning is to break down big plans into smaller ones. To achieve the goal above, you have to write, say, 20 songs within six months; rehearse them and perhaps record demos in you home studio within 9 months; book studio time and complete recording and mastering within 10 months; designed cover art and produced printing proofs within 11 months; and receive manufactured hard copies two weeks before your 12 month deadline. Each of these is a SMART goal within the bigger goal, and each can be broken down into weekly and daily goals.

You also have to make sure each step is properly resourced. You need a list of the resources you will need for each goal and the resources available to you. Budget to make a small profit with every step rather than risking it all in one expensive gamble - that's what the big labels used to do. Try to exceed your expectations at every step. Take your time. No long career was built on 15 minutes of effort, so don't beat yourself up if the goals don't come easy.

Finally, be prepared to fail, learn, adjust and improve next time. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn, improve, and get it right next time. Life's a journey, not a destination, so make sure you check out a few dry gullies and dead-end streets along the way. You just might have the most fun in unexpected places.

Step 9 Exercises

Revisit the goals we talked about in Step 1. Choose one of your medium-term goals (2-5 years) and write it as an SMART goal.

  • Make a list of what each of that goal is going to require:
  • How many songs/tunes will you need?
  • What instruments or equipment?
  • How many other people?
  • What facilities?
  • How much cash?
  • Where will you find each of these things?
  • Who can help you get them?
  • How do you get in touch with those people?
  • When will you need them?

Exercise to take home

Begin to write a plan using this template:

Vision statement

Short term goals

Long term goals

Pros/cons analysis

Resources needed

Action plan ...

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Posted by DrHuge at February 24, 2013 10:44 AM
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