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Level 3: Definition of Success (Section 8)
Written by:
Emily Plazek
The top, where you live out your dream music career.

Define the word success as it applies to you.

Well. This is it, huh? This is where you want to live in your music career. The beauty of being an indie musician is that every step along your career path is your call, especially arriving here. In Section 1: Introduction, we talked about how your first IMBM step is to write down what success looks like to you, and only to you. That definition of success usually has three “F” components: Fun, Fulfillment, and Financial.

Need some examples so you can think up your own lists? There are no wrong or right answers-- don’t let the world convince you otherwise:

  • Fun would be things like traveling, playing arena shows, meeting and working with your idols, getting that trampoline for the backyard you’ve had your eye on, working 3 days a week instead of 5, etc.
  • Fulfillment examples: doing what you love, spreading your message to thousands of fans, providing jobs for family and friends who end up working for you, feeling like you have a purpose in life you didn’t feel before, getting over a trauma through the catharsis and achievement of your music, tackling your inner beasts and becoming more confident, etc.
  • Financial would be things like getting out of debt, buying a helicopter, paying off your mortgage, not worrying about money anymore, going out to eat more often and getting the lobster every time, etc.

Chance the Rapper, the first artist to win a Grammy without selling any copies of his CD.

At the end of the day, you’ll be living at Level 3 when you think you’re at Level 3. This entire section is reminiscent of the Product Development Laneway because it’s determined by your self-awareness and ability to not depend on extrinsic (external) sources to tell you whether you’re happy or not.

You have a gut instinct, a voice that’s truly you, and once that settles on a healthy, sustainable, very-you motive, it will lead you to Level 3.

But are there any other final details to push me to level 3?

Those indie musicians that we’ve watched achieve success in their careers had some special traits that we at MIC have taken note of, and it’s time to share some of them with you. Our hope is that these observations we’ve compiled will take the edge off of whatever heaviness you still may feel in your music career, and convince you that, yeah, anyone can do this. You can do this.

Successful Indie Musicians…

  1. Simplify

They do less things-- their strategies aren’t concerned with trying to do everything possible until inevitably half-assing them all because they ran out of time or money or energy. Rather, they deliberately picked a handful of strategies to do and then did them very well.

  1. Balance their ego

This one is more of a strong guess for some of our examples because it can only be proven by the test of time, and we don’t have that experimental mean at our disposal. Ego isn’t just about being cocky-- it has to do with how you see yourself, and successful indie musicians balance self-confidence well. Sure, like every human they probably have their moments of weakness, but overall they don’t remain self-defeating for long periods of time (as that’s highly counterproductive, to say the least).

Perhaps having a team to support them or focusing on their purpose and fans helps, but at the end of the day these musicians have enough confidence to convince others to believe in them without getting too high on their horses ('cause that’s icky to watch).

(Sure, there are some celebrities who don’t seem to follow this, but we’re talking about creating sustainable, self-driven, true-fan-supported indie music careers, not playing Hollywood games.)

  1. See “failure” differently and keep going no matter what
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, won 4 Grammys in 2014 as independent artists, including "Best Rap Album" and "Best New Artist".

Everyone you look up to has “failed” many times. Not a single successful person in any realm swung straight into perfection and famedom -- and we at MIC feel comfortable claiming this because the IMBM is for human beings, and humans make mistakes. We’re imperfect, and that’s what makes this whole thing work.

Remember: any time you feel like you’re “failing”, you defined that as a failure. There’s some other person out there who would interpret that exact same situation through a different perspective as a win (or something neutral).

Successful indie musicians either have a great sense of humor and laugh off their roadblocks, or they have pure grit and determination to plow through disappointments and never give up. They pivot when they learn something they’re doing isn’t working, and they stay humble and keep learning no matter how old or experienced they get; their flexibility and perseverance serve them well.

  1. Implement the Law of Attraction (even if they don’t realize they’re doing it)

We mentioned this in Level 1: Money when we said to determine how much money you needed to earn to make your projects happen, and then aim for a higher number. A lot of life is self-fulfilling prophecy, where you see what you are or where you’ll end up in your head, and that leads you to making that your reality (usually without you knowing it). It’s an uncomfortable subject for some, and that’s okay-- being human is quite a trip.

The most successful indie musicians had a vision of where they wanted to be-- they didn’t simply stumble into it. Yes, there’s some stumbling involved, probably, but at the end of the day they saw what they wanted and believed they deserved it, so through “self-fulfilling prophecy” they ended up making it happen. Read into this topic more-- it might be the final puzzle piece of your music career you’re missing.

Kellee Maize on the Owl Tribe world tour -- her definition of success has the fulfillment component of helping the others on her Owl Tribe team live to their full potentials, too.

When you get here, tell us.

Sign up for our email list on the homepage and get our PDF explaining how Chance the Rapper followed the IMBM before the IMBM was created. We have a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis article coming soon, too.

When you arrive at Level 3, we 100% want to hear all about it and share your story with the world. Inspiration from real-world results is contagious, so your example will help many who are struggling in ways you no longer are -- so we can’t WAIT to talk to you.

Read more about Level 3, including celebrity indie musician interviews, here!

Level 3: Definition of Success (Section 8)
Level 3: Definition of Success (Section 8)
MIC is my baby.
The top, where you live out your dream music career.

Define the word success as it applies to you.

Well. This is it, huh? This is where you want to live in your music career. The beauty of being an indie musician is that every step along your career path is your call, especially arriving here. In Section 1: Introduction, we talked about how your first IMBM step is to write down what success looks like to you, and only to you. That definition of success usually has three “F” components: Fun, Fulfillment, and Financial.

Need some examples so you can think up your own lists? There are no wrong or right answers-- don’t let the world convince you otherwise:

  • Fun would be things like traveling, playing arena shows, meeting and working with your idols, getting that trampoline for the backyard you’ve had your eye on, working 3 days a week instead of 5, etc.
  • Fulfillment examples: doing what you love, spreading your message to thousands of fans, providing jobs for family and friends who end up working for you, feeling like you have a purpose in life you didn’t feel before, getting over a trauma through the catharsis and achievement of your music, tackling your inner beasts and becoming more confident, etc.
  • Financial would be things like getting out of debt, buying a helicopter, paying off your mortgage, not worrying about money anymore, going out to eat more often and getting the lobster every time, etc.

Chance the Rapper, the first artist to win a Grammy without selling any copies of his CD.

At the end of the day, you’ll be living at Level 3 when you think you’re at Level 3. This entire section is reminiscent of the Product Development Laneway because it’s determined by your self-awareness and ability to not depend on extrinsic (external) sources to tell you whether you’re happy or not.

You have a gut instinct, a voice that’s truly you, and once that settles on a healthy, sustainable, very-you motive, it will lead you to Level 3.

But are there any other final details to push me to level 3?

Those indie musicians that we’ve watched achieve success in their careers had some special traits that we at MIC have taken note of, and it’s time to share some of them with you. Our hope is that these observations we’ve compiled will take the edge off of whatever heaviness you still may feel in your music career, and convince you that, yeah, anyone can do this. You can do this.

Successful Indie Musicians…

  1. Simplify

They do less things-- their strategies aren’t concerned with trying to do everything possible until inevitably half-assing them all because they ran out of time or money or energy. Rather, they deliberately picked a handful of strategies to do and then did them very well.

  1. Balance their ego

This one is more of a strong guess for some of our examples because it can only be proven by the test of time, and we don’t have that experimental mean at our disposal. Ego isn’t just about being cocky-- it has to do with how you see yourself, and successful indie musicians balance self-confidence well. Sure, like every human they probably have their moments of weakness, but overall they don’t remain self-defeating for long periods of time (as that’s highly counterproductive, to say the least).

Perhaps having a team to support them or focusing on their purpose and fans helps, but at the end of the day these musicians have enough confidence to convince others to believe in them without getting too high on their horses ('cause that’s icky to watch).

(Sure, there are some celebrities who don’t seem to follow this, but we’re talking about creating sustainable, self-driven, true-fan-supported indie music careers, not playing Hollywood games.)

  1. See “failure” differently and keep going no matter what
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, won 4 Grammys in 2014 as independent artists, including "Best Rap Album" and "Best New Artist".

Everyone you look up to has “failed” many times. Not a single successful person in any realm swung straight into perfection and famedom -- and we at MIC feel comfortable claiming this because the IMBM is for human beings, and humans make mistakes. We’re imperfect, and that’s what makes this whole thing work.

Remember: any time you feel like you’re “failing”, you defined that as a failure. There’s some other person out there who would interpret that exact same situation through a different perspective as a win (or something neutral).

Successful indie musicians either have a great sense of humor and laugh off their roadblocks, or they have pure grit and determination to plow through disappointments and never give up. They pivot when they learn something they’re doing isn’t working, and they stay humble and keep learning no matter how old or experienced they get; their flexibility and perseverance serve them well.

  1. Implement the Law of Attraction (even if they don’t realize they’re doing it)

We mentioned this in Level 1: Money when we said to determine how much money you needed to earn to make your projects happen, and then aim for a higher number. A lot of life is self-fulfilling prophecy, where you see what you are or where you’ll end up in your head, and that leads you to making that your reality (usually without you knowing it). It’s an uncomfortable subject for some, and that’s okay-- being human is quite a trip.

The most successful indie musicians had a vision of where they wanted to be-- they didn’t simply stumble into it. Yes, there’s some stumbling involved, probably, but at the end of the day they saw what they wanted and believed they deserved it, so through “self-fulfilling prophecy” they ended up making it happen. Read into this topic more-- it might be the final puzzle piece of your music career you’re missing.

Kellee Maize on the Owl Tribe world tour -- her definition of success has the fulfillment component of helping the others on her Owl Tribe team live to their full potentials, too.

When you get here, tell us.

Sign up for our email list on the homepage and get our PDF explaining how Chance the Rapper followed the IMBM before the IMBM was created. We have a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis article coming soon, too.

When you arrive at Level 3, we 100% want to hear all about it and share your story with the world. Inspiration from real-world results is contagious, so your example will help many who are struggling in ways you no longer are -- so we can’t WAIT to talk to you.

Read more about Level 3, including celebrity indie musician interviews, here!

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