5 areas where musicians can get MORE by doing LESS

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Downsizing for DIY musicians.
Striving independent artists want MORE.

More listeners, more money, more opportunities, more recognition.
But there are a few areas where you could actually benefit by doing less.
If “downsizing” sounds scary, just think of it as streamlining.

How to clear the mental clutter, make things simpler, and free up time on your calendar.
Having trouble focusing on what’s most important? In this article, I’m giving you permission to…

1. Use less gear
Imagine how many more gigs you’d be excited (and qualified) to play if your load-in and soundcheck time was cut in half.

Over the years I’ve gone from being in a band where I was responsible for bringing 3 keyboards, 2 guitars, 3 amps, a pedalboard, and an accordion, …

… to just me with an acoustic guitar, a few harmonicas, and ONE pedal.

Yes, one pedal — the VoiceLive 3 Extreme by TC Helicon — has replaced everything in my pedalboard. Once upon a time my pedalboard consisted of two loopers, overdrive, distortion, delay, tremolo, a small pre-amp to convert the line-level of my vocal mic, and on and on and on. Now I have ONE pedal that handles ALL of that, plus provides me with a whole new set of vocal effects options.

Even if it’s a gig where I have to bring a portable PA, my setup is FAST compared to the old days — thanks to streamlining my gear. And I did it in a way where I didn’t feel like I had to compromise the quality of the sound or expression. My tools are different than they once were, but the simpler my setup, the more mental space I have for everything else a performance requires.

Compare that to some friends of mine who have a band with so much gear they really can’t accept gigs unless they’re the headliner. It’s impossible for them to rush on or off stage, so opening slots are tough sells, and they also need to leave their gear set up during the opener’s set.

They’re great, and their music sounds cool — but I bet they’d sound just as good (and play way more often) if they used half the gear.

Do more with less.

2. Quit your side projects
Community. Networking. Expression. Collaboration. 

All good reasons to do the typical musician thing of being in twenty bands at once.

But stop.

Or at least cut back.

Of course there are benefits to having multiple projects at once, but if you feel stretched, scattered, and stressed, it’s time to PRIORITIZE and put the bulk of your energy behind the music that’s most important to you.

Do more with less.

3. Stick to ONE style for your brand / image / social pics
Are you posting black & white photos one day and testing color filters the next? Do you apply absurd emojis one minute and then get super serious all of a sudden? Are you smiling in some photos and scowling in others?

There’s no rule against showing off your many sides, and certainly platforms like Instagram give you many different ways to be expressive, but that doesn’t mean you need to USE them all.

If you find yourself spending too much time posing for, editing, and posting pics, or scratching your head over whether the text in your post should be sarcastic or sincere, maybe it’s time to simplify your life for a few months (or even a whole album cycle); choose ONE approach, and apply it to ALL the images, essays, and posts you create.

Do more with less.

4. Be on fewer social platforms
Speaking of your social stuff, you’re probably neglecting your presence on SOME platform, right?

Haven’t tweeted in weeks? No new YouTube videos in over a month?

Wherever you’re slacking, ask yourself WHY.

If you don’t see yourself picking up that slack anytime soon, maybe consider going ALL IN on the platform(s) you ARE active on.

You don’t have to close the other profiles down; just make it clear you’re treating them, at least for the time being, like antiques warehouses. It ain’t where the party is happening right now.

Do more with less.

5. Have smaller goals
Or even FEWER goals!

You know what I’m getting at.

When you dream too big, you don’t take the smaller steps to get from here to there, usually because the dream is so vague (GET FAMOUS) that you don’t have any idea where to begin. It’s tough to turn a dream into a reality without concrete plans.

Also, when you’re trying to conquer the whole world at once (videos, playlists, tours, new music, merch sales, social…) you’ll stretch yourself thin.

Achieve one thing at a time. Build from there.

Do more with less.

Feeling streamlined?
Okay, now that your life is simpler, have fun putting more of your energy, time, budget, and focus towards the most important aspects of your music-making.

Lemme know how it goes.