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8 Ways to Double Your Studio’s Income This Year

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Whether you’re a small home studio or a massive commercial studio, one thing is the same …

It’s getting harder and harder to stand out in this crowded industry.

These days anyone with a laptop and a pair of headphones can call themselves a “producer”.

The thing is, a LOT of these “laptop producers” put out great work.

For some, the unfortunate side effect is that pricing is becoming a race to the bottom.

For others, they’re learning that it takes more than audio skills, expensive gear, and/or fancy facilities to stand out.

It takes an entrepreneurial mindset.

Looking at your studio from an entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t take away from the importance of audio skills, people skills, or even your nice gear and facilities (if you have those).

The mindset shift is looking at all of the pieces and how they fit together in order to stand out in 2019 and beyond.

Those who learn how to become an entrepreneur AND a producer (AKA Entreproducer) are the ones who will have the most success over the next decade.

The massive guide you’re about to read is a combination of two things:

1. What I learned from my own mixing career at 456 Recordings — I’ve somehow been able to earn over $100k per year since 2014 mixing heavy metal.

2. Some of the major insights I’ve seen while running The Six Figure Home Studio — with a mailing list of over 40,000 people, and a Facebook community with over 5,000 active members, I’ve seen a lot of what works and what doesn’t work.

Think of this guide as an “advice buffet”. Very few of these points are for everyone.

Simply pick and choose which parts you want to focus on.

1. Go Broad, Then Niche Down ASAP (Find Your People)

Are you the type of person that offers five different services, and will work with just about any type of music?

If so, I get it … you’re afraid you might “scare off” potential clients, so you do your best to appeal to everyone by offering every service imaginable to every genre you can.

But consider this: When you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.

Don’t believe me? Look around you … there are specialists everywhere in every single industry.

From the medical field to graphic design, to podcasts, to magazines, and blogs … the most successful ones found a niche and dominated it.

Can you imagine if The Pro Audio Files decided they suddenly wanted to post articles about real estate investing, deer hunting, classic muscle cars, makeup tutorials, and indoor gardening?

These are all massive categories, so wouldn’t this make The Pro Audio Files 10x as popular?

Absolutely not.

You’d quickly stop coming here, the trust they’ve gained with the rest of their current readers would dissolve, and these new topics would likely fall flat as well.

I’ll say it again: When you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.

Let me give you one more example to drive the point home.

Imagine this: there’s a country band working on a new EP. They’ve had some traction with a few singles that they self-produced, but they’re not exactly pleased with the overall sound of their work.

It’s time for them to hire a professional.

With that scenario in mind, tell me which one of these two studios “elevator pitches” you think would be more appealing for them:

Option 1: The Generalist – “We’re a recording studio for musicians”

Option 2: The Specialist – “We specialize in producing country music. It’s all we’ve done for the past 10 years, and we’re damn good at it”.

Who do you think they’re going to want to work with more?

Who do you think can charge more for the exact same services?

All things being equal (facilities, gear, price, etc.), The Specialist is pretty much always going to have the advantage over The Generalist …

I know what’s going through your mind right now, though.

I’m hardly keeping my studio booked up with any paid work … I can’t afford to specialize right now”.

You’re right.

There’s a danger involved with blindly listening to blanket advice about “niching down,” and I’ve only recently started to understand that.

When you’re early in your career, you have to be in “yes mode”. This is where you take on any project you can get your hands on.

This is an important step in the process because this is when you slowly get “chosen” by your niche.

This is an important point about “niching down”.

You don’t get to choose your niche.

Your niche chooses you.

Wait what?

Let me explain … one of the biggest misunderstandings I hear about the topic of “niching down” is that you simply pick a genre and/or service to dominate.

It’s like you have this epic moment in your career when you plant your flag down and announce to the world “I WILL ONLY BE MIXING INDIE POP SONGS”.

Then your niche is chosen, and you live happily ever after.

That is not how it works.

Yes, your musical background, connections, past work, skillset, strengths, and weaknesses will all have an influence on what niche you’ll eventually fall into.

But what will likely happen is this …

You’ll slowly start gaining connections, building relationships, and getting repeat clients in one specific type of music or for one specific service.

Over time, you’ll naturally start getting referrals from a specific niche.

“Niching down” will be more like a slow transition than a sudden shift.

The danger of “niching down” too soon is that you’ll potentially miss out on the “highest and best” use of yourself.

So what’s my advice here?

Simply take a look at yourself and try to figure out what “the market” is telling you.

Is a specific niche or service accounting for the majority of your income?

If not, move on with the rest of this article and keep grinding away … but keep an eye on your business as you progress.

Eventually, a niche will start “calling out” to you, and if you’re not paying attention, you’ll likely miss it.

When you start gaining traction in one specific niche, it may be time to start latching onto that niche and doubling down on your efforts.

This will allow you to hone in on the perfect messaging for your perfect type of client and allow you to hone in on the specific set of skills you’ll need to serve that type of client.

Think about it … the types of skills necessary to produce country artists are much different than the skills you’d need to produce hip-hop artists.

If you’re trying to service all of these different genres and different services, you’re spreading yourself too thin.

For every 1000 generalists, that are struggling to scrape by, there are a handful of specialists who are dominating their niche.

They’ve perfected their craft, their website, their gear, their messaging, and their branding … all in an effort to serve their specific niche.

The specialist can serve their niche better than any generalist could ever dream, and they get the best clients.

The generalists cannot compete with the specialist.

Struggling to find a niche that’s right for you? Check out episode 33 of The Six Figure Home Studio Podcast: 5 Studio Niches Ripe For The Taking

Key Takeaway: Instead of trying to appeal to every single type of client, consider picking one or two genres or services to specialize in.

Actions:

  1. Set aside time to analyze the past year of your business. Determine if there are any services or genres that represent the majority of your income.
  2. If so, create a list of changes you could make to your website/social media profiles to attract more of those kinds of clients.
  3. Create a list of educational resources that you regularly consume, then determine which of those educational resources are no longer relevant to your new niche.
  4. Double down on the educational resources that are relevant to the niche you’re looking to specialize in.

2. Find One Or Two Great “Fishing Holes”

The fact that you’re reading this sentence in this specific article tells me you likely need help finding more clients.

But how?

How do I find enough clients to keep doing what I love?

The short, painfully obvious answer: You need more customers.

Long answer: It’s complicated, but I’ll try my best to explain the basic concept of “lead generation” and “Fishing Holes”.

First of all, a “lead” is simply someone who’s expressed some sort of interest in working with you.

A lead could be a DM on Instagram, a message on Facebook, a form submission on your website, a text message from someone you know, or just a passing comment from a friend you ran into at a coffee shop.

Wherever it comes from, the important thing is that they expressed an interest in working with you.

Now, let’s talk about the concept of “lead generation”.

If you talk to most full-time producers/studio owners, they’ll likely tell you that they keep their calendar full from 100% word-of-mouth advertising.

That means every single lead that comes in is organic. It just happens.

You, however, don’t have this luxury. Your organic leads are likely few and far between.

If your inbox isn’t full of organic leads from word-of-mouth advertisement, then you only have one option … lead generation.

Simply put, lead generation is the act of putting in time, effort or money in exchange for leads.

You can’t keep your calendar full of paid work, so you have to go out and find those leads.

Until you’ve built up your “word-of-mouth” snowball to where it’s large enough to sustain your business, this is your only option.

The problem with lead generation is that it’s a broad topic. There are a LOT of ways for you to do this … for example:

  • Facebook ads
  • YouTube ads
  • Google ads
  • Banner ads
  • Referral networks
  • Sending cold emails
  • Building relationships at live events
  • Starting a blog
  • Starting a YouTube channel
  • Starting a podcast
  • Sponsoring events
  • Etc.

The list goes on and on.

Some of these methods are more effective than others, and – depending on your location, niche, and skillset – some of these methods may never work for you.

In an effort of keeping the topic of lead generation as simple and tactical as possible, I want to introduce the concept of “fishing holes”.

A fishing hole is simply a place where you can find and interact with your ideal customer.

Some examples of common fishing holes are:

  • Facebook groups
  • Online message boards
  • Local meetups/events/concerts
  • Certain niche-specific websites

The fishing hole I want to focus on right now is Facebook groups.

Facebook groups are the easiest way for you to interact with your ideal customer without having to spend money, but you can’t just spam these groups with advertisements.

The most effective method is to add as much value to the group as possible.

By answering questions, posting interesting topics of discussion, and showing up consistently over time, you will become a familiar face.

People hire people that they know, like and trust. If you’re unable to meet people in person, Facebook groups are an amazing way to build these relationships online.

One great example is the story of Austin Hull.

Just a couple of years ago, he was looking for a facebook community where he could talk about creating pop music.

He didn’t like any of the communities he found, so he decided to start his own.

Today, his Facebook group “Make Pop Music” has over 21,000 members (and growing quickly).

Austin has now generated 1000+ leads, hundreds of clients, and more than $100k in income, all from the small town of Pensacola, Florida (hardly a mecca for pop music).

He’s created a very successful career, 100% online, without paid advertising … and all because he’s heavily involved with adding value to this one fishing hole.

Key Takeaway: If your schedule isn’t 100% full of paid work from word-of-mouth clients, then it is 100% up to you to go out and generate enough leads and customers to keep your calendar full.

Actions:

  1. Create a list of Facebook communities that contain your ideal clients (this is much easier if you’re focused on a specific niche).
  2. Read a LOT of the community posts and look for ways that you can add value to the people who are in those facebook communities.
  3. Make it part of your routine to participate and interact with that community.
  4. Make sure your Facebook profile links to your studio’s website (when people “lurk” your profile, they need to know what you do).

3. Take Your Rates Off Of Your Website

  • The goal here is to persuade people to move away from publishing their rates publicly and instead require artists to fill out a form (or send a DM) for a custom quote.
  • The main benefit is that it allows you to find your true market value (which has a TON of side-benefits that I’ll discuss).
  • Note: Story of Chris Graham Mastering finally shifting away from published rates and moving to quote-based pricing.

If you have your studio’s rates published publicly on your website or social media profiles, TAKE THEM DOWN NOW.

I know that sounds dramatic, but my goal with this section is to convince you that quote-based pricing is the best way to run a studio in 2019 and beyond.

Let me paint a picture for you so you understand my adamant belief.

Somehow a musician hears about you or your studio, so they google your name.

Hopefully, your website is the first result on Google (you do have a website, right?).

The musician goes to your website, listens to your portfolio of work, and loves what they hear. (you do have a way for them to hear your portfolio, right?)

In their mind, you could be a great option to produce, mix or master their next album (or whatever service you offer).

Their next question is going to be “how much is this going to cost me?”

In this case, you might think it’s in your best interest to post your studio’s rates publicly on your website.

No, and here’s why.

Once they see your rates, 99.5% of the time they’re just going to leave your website.

You have no way of knowing if they even came to your website.

They’re now nothing more than a “page view” on google analytics.

If you’re too expensive, you have no idea.

If they’re planning to save up the cash to work with you in 6 months, you have no idea.

If they’re waiting until their album is finished with the mixing phase before they send you their files for mastering, you have no idea.

You’re completely blind to what’s going on in their world, and the ball is now in their court.

Now, let’s pretend you took my advice and put a quote request form (AKA a contact form) on your website.

First of all, what questions should you be asking on your quote request form?

That depends on how much demand there is for your services.

If you’re getting less than 10 quote requests per month, you’ll want to implement what’s called a low-friction form.

This is a simple contact form that just asks for name, email address, and message.

This low-friction form will have a higher conversion rate simply because you’re asking for less information. (i.e. a higher percentage of people who come to your website will fill out the contact form).

The negative is that a lot of “tire kickers” will fill out the form. People who just want to get a rate out of curiosity, but have no intention of ever hiring you.

Another annoying thing about the low-friction form is that you’ll nearly always have to ask follow-up questions in order to gather all of the info you’ll need to price their project.

If you’re getting more than 10 quote requests per month, it may be time to implement what’s called a “high-friction form”.

This form asks for a lot of important information, so fewer people are going to take the time to fill this out.

Here’s what I ask for on my high-friction form:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Artist name
  • A link to hear their music
  • Services required (mixing, mastering, and/or other)
  • Number of songs
  • Desired starting date for the project
  • Budget
  • Project details or other important information

The main point of asking for this much information is that the people who do take the time to fill this out are much more serious about working with you.

Another fantastic thing about the high-friction form is that you’ll have all the information you need to send an accurate price for your project.

Now let’s go back to that same artist who is looking for your current rates on your website. This time they fill out your high-friction form instead of just looking at your publicly published rates.

You now know everything about this project.

You know their budget, so you have an idea of where their expectations are (sidenote: bands will always claim their budget is 20-50% less than what they’re actually willing/able to spend).

You know their desired starting date, so you can speed up or slow down the communication process depending on how soon the project needs to start.

You know what services they’re asking for and the number of songs, so you can price accordingly.

Most importantly, you have their email address. Now the ball is in your court.

You’re now able to follow up with them until they either give you a yes or a no.

Following up consistently and relentlessly is going to be the number one thing you can do if you want to double your income this year.

Don’t believe me? Read the next section to get the full picture of why following up is so important.

Takeaway: When you publish your rates online publicly, you’re putting the ball in your potential client’s court. You have no idea who they are, when they want to work with you, and what their budget is. By moving to a quote-based system, you’re getting their contact information early in the process so that you’re in control of the follow-up. The ball is now in your court.

Actions:

  1. Take your damn rates off your website/social media profiles. This should not be public information.
  2. Put a contact form on your website so that leads have to contact you to get their rates.

4. Follow Up … A LOT

Take a look at the last few artists that expressed interest in working with you …

Maybe someone filled out the form on your website, sent you a DM on Instagram, or just called you.

The conversation is usually the same no matter the source.

“How much would you charge for ______?”

(BTW, if your rates are published publicly online somewhere, stop it! Read the previous section about using a “quote-based system” ASAP)

You sent them a price for their project, then poof … you never hear from them again.

How often do you follow up with someone like that?

If you’re like most people, you’re are afraid of “bothering” them, so you never even follow up at all.

This is a massive mistake.

More than 50% of my income has come from following up with an artist that I’ve sent a quote to. Much of that comes from following up five or more times.

If I never followed up with these leads, I would have missed out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in my career.

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So how often do I follow up with leads?

Once? Twice? Five times?

I follow up until one of two things happen.

1. I follow up until I get the gig

Or …

2. I follow up until the band tells me no

There is no limit here. I’ve followed up as many as 15 times in the period of two years in order to get a $5,000 project.

“Don’t these people get mad at you?”

Nope. I’ve never gotten an angry reply from any artist.

What I have gotten were thankful replies from bands who were happy to see my email.

Why is that?

Why would someone thank me for following up with them 15 times over a period of two years?

Because I’m helping them reach their goals.

Think about it … they emailed me because they were working on music that needed my mixing services.

They WANT to release these songs, but life happens.

You have NO idea what they’re going through:

  • People lose their job
  • Band members quit
  • Medical issues come up
  • People get busy
  • Money gets tight
  • People get married
  • People go through lengthy divorces

Does any of this change their desire to get their music out into the world?

In my experience, it rarely does.

Just because life gets in the way, it doesn’t diminish their innate desire to put their art out into the world.

The best part is, by the time their life normalizes, I’m the only one who’s still emailing them.

I’m the only one who cared enough to keep in touch.

I’m the only one who was offering to help along the way.

Because of this, I’m the one who finally wins the gig, even though they may have originally requested rates from 10 different mixing engineers.

Convinced yet?

If so, here’s my follow up schedule.

Day 1: Send the initial quote to the band. I use a tool called Better Proposals to make this look as professional as possible. I want to WOW them from day one.

Day 3: Follow up 1 – I send an email to make sure they got my proposal and offer to jump on a call to answer any questions.

Day 10: Follow up 2 – I follow up to see if there are any updates with the project, and I offer to help out any way I can. Sometimes I know exactly how to offer help/guidance, and sometimes I’m just offering a generic form of help.

Day 17: Follow up 3 – I ask if they’re still looking for someone to mix their project (in more flowery language).

Day 45: Follow up 4 – I let them know I’m sending one final follow up before marking the project as “lost” in my CRM. This creates a sense of scarcity, so if they are indeed interested, they usually reply at this point and let me know what’s going on (AKA life got in the way).

Day 60: Follow up 5 – This isn’t an “official” follow up. I’m just letting them know that I marked their project as “lost”. The goal here is to keep the door open.

From this point on, I’m emailing them about once every one to six months, just to check in and offer my help. The wide change in frequency depends on what sort of responses and conversations I’ve had with the artist so far.

If they originally showed interest, but something delayed the project, I’ll follow up every month. If they haven’t replied at all, I’ll email them every six months.

If I can, I’ll send helpful videos and articles that I come across (especially if I know their specific situation and what’s holding them up).

One important note here is that I get around 20 quote requests per month. Only about 25% of those with ever turn into paid projects.

This means I have hundreds of leads I’m “juggling” at any given moment.

This would literally be impossible to keep up within my head or with basic iPhone or calendar reminders.

The absolute most important tool to help you follow up consistently is with a CRM tool (Customer Relationship Management).

It’s a piece of software that allows you to track every conversation with every lead, and know exactly where you are with each one.

The one I use is called Pipedrive, but there are hundreds of them in the world. Find one that works for you, and move on. Don’t get stuck in the analysis paralysis of software comparisons.

What’s important is that you have all of your leads in one place and that you’re following up with them consistently over a period of years, not weeks.

Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to follow up until you get a hard yes or no. You have NO idea what’s going on in their life, so be helpful, friendly, and consistent in your follow-ups. ~50% of your income will be determined by this.

Actions:

  1. Follow up with every one of the leads that you’ve talked to in the past 6 months.
  2. Create email templates for common follow-ups.
  3. Sign up to start using some sort of CRM to keep track of all of it. (I use Pipedrive)
  4. Make follow up part of your daily routine (is 20 minutes per day worth tens of thousands of dollars to you?)

5. Find A Way To Get Recurring Income Clients

What if I told you there was a way to make $50k-100k+ per year with less than 30 clients?

You’d probably say that sounds like some shitty 3 am infomercial, however, this is the case for a few smart producers I know.

One of them is my friend Mark Eckert.

In a nutshell, this is Mark’s business model:

  1. Target a very specific customer (indie pop artists)
  2. Make the potential client fill out a lot of forms before he’ll consider working with them
  3. Jump on a call with the handful of people who actually go through the trouble of filling out his form each month
  4. Selectively choose only the best fit for what he does
  5. Charge the client a set monthly price
  6. Work on producing and releasing one song per month
  7. Work with the artist to help them market their music once it’s released

That’s basically it. Rinse and repeat.

The reason Mark is able to be so selective over who he works with is that every client is paying him a flat monthly fee.

Since he already has around 30 clients paying him every single month, he really doesn’t need more clients (to put things bluntly).

Compare that to the average “Joe Pleb” studio owner who’s constantly looking for more work.

Every single month, the slate is wiped clean. Every single month, Joe Pleb has to find a new set of clients.

This can easily lead to desperation, and desperation will never lead to anything good when it comes to finding more clients.

Clients can smell desperation from a mile away, making them less likely to work with you.

Desperation leads to taking on clients you should have never worked with. Clients that lead to frustration, burnout, and can even lead to a tarnished reputation.

Meanwhile, Mark is over there in Charlotte, NC enjoying his small list of hand-selected, high-quality clients that he works with every single month.

If he loses a couple of clients, no big deal. His might take a temporary 6% hit to his income, but he has plenty of people in line who want to fill those empty spots.

So How Can You Implement A Recurring Income Model In Your Studio?

Well, there are a few services and niches that lend itself to a recurring income better than others.

Services like podcast recording/editing are obvious ones. Most podcasts put out multiple episodes per month.

If you’re not interested in the stability that the podcast world brings, there is still plenty of stability in other editing niches.

Things like pitch correction or drum editing are services that are needed by a wide variety of people.

When you look at the growth in the “pro home studio” market, more and more of these studios are looking online for remote editing services.

While it may not be consistent enough of a workload to charge a flat monthly retainer, it still offers a lot of repeat work.

One producer could be a source of 10-50 editing projects per year. If you’re able to find 10-20 clients who send you regular editing work, you could be in the same boat as Mark.

You could also do exactly what Mark is doing, except in your own niche.

Just like anything else in life worth doing, it takes a lot of work, but it can be done.

More and more artists are starting to learn that releasing new music every month is better than waiting one year between full albums.

If you can help artists realize this, you can start working out recurring income projects that span 12 months instead of just a couple of weeks.

And the end of the day, the real benefit of recurring income clients is that it offers a sense of stability in an industry that is anything but stable.

Once you have your small, hand-selected, high-quality group of clients, you’ll be able to focus on what you actually love doing … helping artists create great art that brings joy to their fans.

Takeaway: If you can manage to shift your business model to a recurring income structure, your income will become much more predictable, and you’ll be able to be more selective about what sort of clients you work with. It just takes a bit of a different approach than the rest of the recording industry.

Actions:

  1. Determine if a recurring income business model would even make sense for you (it doesn’t always).
  2. Create an offer that makes sense for recurring income clients (i.e. why should they pay you every single month? What do they get out of it?)
  3. Pitch this offer to any of your relevant past clients, and start gathering feedback. (what are their objections? Are they valid? Can you adjust your offer to eliminate those objections?)
  4. Keep adjusting your messaging, offer, and pricing as you talk to new leads.
  5. Track basic metrics. i.e. what percentage of leads pay you? (this number should be improving as you dial in your messaging, offer, and pricing)
  6. Be willing to change course if something isn’t working. Don’t force it.

6. 80/20 The Shit Out Of Your Life And Business

The year I learned about (and implemented) The 80/20 Rule is the first year I broke $100k at my recording studio.

Without the help of The 80/20 Rule, I would have never broken through that threshold, and I don’t believe many freelance studios stand a chance to break $100k without it.

First of all, what is the 80/20 Rule?

Simply put, it states that 80% of results come from 20% of the efforts.

“What does that mean, and how does that help me double my income or break $100k?”

The biggest obstacle between you and $100k/yr is time. It all boils down to time.

Whether you’re just getting started, and you’re looking for your first few clients, or whether you’ve been stuck at $50k/yr with seemingly no way to earn more without working 100 hours/week.

The solution to both problems is gaining back more of your time.

The way to gain by more of your time is by learning, implementing, and living by the 80/20 Rule.

The basic goal here is to reduce or eliminate the 20% in your business/life that cause 80% of the problems (wasted time, wasted effort, wasted money, etc.), and to focus on the key 20% of things that cause 80% of the good shit to happen (money, joy, extra time, friends, happiness, etc.)

There are a million ways to implement the 80/20 Rule in your life and in your studio, but for this article, I’m only going to focus on how it applies to earning more from your studio.

The first thing to do in regards to the 80/20 Rule is answering these two questions:

  1. In any given month, where do you spend your time? (break this down by the number of hours in each category).
  2. In any given month, how much did I earn from each of these categories? (the less broad, the better).

If you do this the right way, you’ll quickly realize that you spent a TON of time on activities that earned you less than $15/hr.

Here are some examples of low-value tasks I see a lot of studio owners regularly doing:

  • Cleaning the studio
  • Session prep
  • Bouncing songs/instrumentals/stems
  • Mindlessly scrolling through social media

You’ll also notice that the bulk of your income will come from a small number of tasks:

  • Mixing songs
  • Mastering Songs
  • Talking to potential clients on the phone
  • Meeting with potential clients in person
  • Following up with leads

The point here is NOT to abandon those low-value tasks. The point is to find a way to make those low-value tasks more efficient through one of these things: Automation, delegation or elimination.

Cleaning the studio? The best thing may be to delegate that task to an assistant or intern.

Bouncing songs/instrumentals/stems? This can actually be automated through some clever programming.

Social media? It may be time to eliminate social media altogether during your business hours.

Prepping sessions for Mixing/Mastering? This is the perfect task to delegate to an assistant.

While you may need to spend a little bit of money to get these low-value tasks off your plate, the end-goal should be to take the time you save and invest it into the high-value, money-earning tasks.

If you can do this the right way, this is single-handedly the most effective method out of this entire article.

So where are you wasting time and effort in your business?

What are those high-value tasks that only you can do?

Look around you, and you’ll start to notice this everywhere.

This is a super dense topic that I can’t really do justice in one small section.

If you want more ideas on how to implement the 80/20 Rule in your studio, here is a 4000+ word article, and here is a 57-minute podcast episode on the topic.

I’d highly encourage you to consume both of those resources ASAP, as it will have a massive long-term impact on your business and life.

Takeaway: In nearly everything we do, 80% of our time and effort is wasted. If we can constantly prune out the 80% of wasted effort, and reinvest that time into the 20% of highly-effective tasks in our business, we can reclaim the biggest bottleneck every audio professional has: time.

Actions:

  1. Make a list of all of the things you’ve done in your business for the past month (literally every task, from labeling files to cleaning toilets).
  2. Categorize each task into broader groups.
  3. Assign a monetary value of what each category earned you in the past month.
  4. For every task/category that earned you less than your average hourly pay, determine what the best step is to reduce or eliminate the task from your life – whether it’s automation, delegation, or elimination.
  5. Reinvest the time you save back into the categories/tasks that earn you more than your average hourly pay.

7. Cut Out The Worthless Rabbit Holes Of Education

Sometimes education can be a terrible thing … like the time you spent three hours researching gear specs about yet another U87 clone, or the tiny differences between two identical $67 compressor plugins.

This is what I call “wasted education”. It’s simply “nice to know” stuff that will do absolutely nothing to improve your mixes, masters, network, or your income.

It’s the tiny minutiae that fulfill your obsession about a specific topic but ultimately doesn’t matter.

Wasted education goes back to my section on The 80/20 Rule. In most cases, 80% of the articles, books, and podcasts you consume are wasted education.

They’re full of things that are “nice to know” or things that you “might need to know one day,” however, they’re not addressing any of the massive holes in your business today.

Think about it in terms of a signal chain …

You might have a $500,000 control room that was designed and built by the best in the industry …

In that control room, you might also have a set of $5000 monitors, a $3000 channel strip, and a $2000 microphone … but if you’re using a $25 mic cable that pops, crackles, and hisses constantly, then everything is going to sound like trash.

It’s the same with your business.

You might be amazing at 8 out of 10 things, but those two things that you’re bad at are things weighing down your business.

It’s the weak links that we need to focus our time, effort, and attention improving. These are the things we should be educating ourselves on.

The reason we don’t do this is that it feels bad.

Why would we want to face those things we’re terrible at when we can simply learn more about the things we’re already great at?

Instead of consuming endless hours of entertainment disguised as education, consider switching to a just in time education model for a while.

This is where you only consume information for something you’re working on or struggling with right now.

Do you struggle with finding leads for your studio? Keep your education focused on this specific problem until you make substantial progress on it.

Do you struggle with closing more sales? If so, there is plenty of sales-related education in the world for you.

Do you struggle with setting your rates? Make that the focus for now, until you feel like this is no longer a weak point in your business.

The just in time education model’s biggest strength is focus. Instead of a bunch of half-consumed books, articles, and videos that are pulling your attention into 10 different areas, you can simply focus on one area at a time.

That one area should be your #1 biggest struggle right now.

Takeaway: Most people put too much time, effort, and energy into entertainment disguised as education. Instead, focus on just-in-time education. Find the weakest part of your business right now, and make sure the resources you consume are related to that one thing.

Actions:

  1. Make a list of the areas of your business (or audio skills) that you struggle with the most.
  2. Pick one struggle.
  3. Focus all of your education consumption on that one struggle.
  4. Continue to focus on that one struggle until it’s no longer the weakest link in the chain.
  5. Cut out all other “nice to know” education.

8. Achieve Three Consistent Things: A Consistent Source of Leads, Consistent Conversions, and Consistent Rates.

If your goal is to double your studio’s income this year, then this guide is a fantastic resource.

There are numerous ways you could implement bits and pieces of each of these sections … it really is an “advice buffet” of sorts.

At the end of the day, you need Three Consistent Things if you want to maximize your audio income.

Thing #1: Consistent Leads

You can’t build a successful audio career without a consistent source of leads who are a great fit for your current skill level and passions.

There are more than five different free methods of generating leads for a studio, on top of the “Fishing Hole” method I mentioned in section two of this article.

Let’s pretend I gave you a spreadsheet that contained the contact information for 1,000 “perfect” clients …

That’s great, right?

Wrong.

That list would be worthless if you don’t have the next thing in place …

Thing #2: Consistent Conversions

There is no value in getting consistent leads if you’re unable to consistently turn those leads into customers … consistently.

The last thing you want to do is spend time, money, and effort on getting more leads until we get this part down.

“If I build it, they will come” is a myth.

In 2019 and beyond, you have to do more than simply exist if you want to turn leads into customers.

But let’s say you figure out thing #1 (how to find a consistent source of leads), and you figure out thing #2 (how to convert those leads into customers) …

That means you’re now full time, right?

You’re now successful, right?

Wrong.

So that brings us to what’s next …

Thing #3: Consistent Rates

You can have a calendar that is booked up with paid projects for the next six months, yet STILL be broke if you’re only making $3/hr on those projects.

You need to understand what it takes to set yourself apart from your competition in a way to where the price isn’t the ONLY factor the artist is considering.

If you’re able to stand out, position yourself as a PREMIUM service and wow your clients, you’ll be able to charge more than you’ve been able to in the past.

There is a long list of ways you can stand out, and no, expensive gear or fancy facilities are not on this list.

If you can get these three things down, you’ll be well on your way to doubling your income this year … and notice how NONE of these things include buying more gear or moving into an expensive studio.

While I’ve covered a few aspects of each of The Three Consistent Things in this article, there is a lot more to learn.

If you want to go deeper on this subject, I’m hosting a free 90-minute workshop this week, where I’ll walk you through all three of these things.

Sign up today if you’re ready to build a profitable audio career.

Key Takeaway: Articles like this are great for pointing out the weak parts of your business, however, true results come from just 3 main things.

  1. Having a consistent source of leads.
  2. Consistently turning those leads into customers.
  3. Earning consistently fair rates on those projects.

👉 This free 90-minute deep dive workshop was created to cover those three things in detail.

Actions:

  1. Click here
  2. Sign up for the free workshop
  3. Implement what you learn
  4. ??????
  5. Profit

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Brian Hood

Brian Hood

Brian Hood is the founder of The Six Figure Home Studio, host of The Six Figure Home Studio Podcast, and runs 456 Recordings, where he mixes heavy metal bands. He’s also the co-founder of Filepass.com - File Sharing Built For Recording Studios.

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