If you’re anything like me, you jump at the chance to grab your notebook come January 1st and start writing out all your biggest dreams, goals, and desires. You delight in dreaming big for the future and the adrenaline of all that’s to come simply consumes you.
Or, perhaps you fall into the other camp where you roll your eyes at the idea of any one day defining a goal-setting trend and simply prefer to stay steadfast working on your goals throughout the year.
Or maybe you just don’t care at all, but you’d really like to start—that’s ok too!
If you read our other article on how micro-goals can help you achieve more, you already know the power of creating small goals to assist you in large dreams. But you might be wondering what kind of goals you should be creating.
While every artist is unique and so too will be their goals, there are a few that we can confidently say most indie artists will do well to put on their list.
Note: everyone is different so depending on where you’re at in your career and your individual goals, you’ll want to adjust these to fit within them. Think of this as a guidebook to goal setting. Use it as inspiration and to tweak your own goals. The most important thing is to keep them manageable (ie: micro) and to stick with them!
Wondering what goals might work best for the indie musicians out there who are wanting to set themselves up for a successful year? First, you want to create a roadmap to your definition of success. That will be the key step in knowing what kind of goals work for you.
Take a couple hours and map out where it is you want to go and how exactly you’ll get there. You can do this by creating one large goal (such as gaining 5,000 new Spotify streams on my single) and then break down how you’ll get there with monthly goals like “create a playlist featuring my song” or ”interact with my fans at least 2 hours a week (so I have a fanbase supporting me). Again, we cover this in-depth in our article on how micro-goals can help you achieve more success, faster (link to article here).
Set aside 1 hour a week to create connections
You are who you know in the music industry and taking the time to spend at least an hour per week (ideally more if you can) is going to be the single best thing you do for yourself for your career.
Trust me on this one—all things equal—talent, branding, social media following—who you know will always be the difference between getting an opportunity or not.
Stay in touch with your creativity
As artists, we wear a lot of hats. And what fuels a great song can often get lost in having to run the day-to-day of your music career.
Taking the time to stay in touch with your creativity, even for just an hour or two a week, will help keep you in touch with the thing that truly fuels your passion and your music-making. And this is crucial because when we get too sucked into the day-to-day and forget to really have fun and play and enjoy our craft, it affects everything from our personal life to our music career. So be sure you’re making time to stay creative and enjoy the process.
This can come in whatever form works best for you. Maybe it’s writing, or playing, or maybe it’s not related to music at all. Whatever it is, make time for it, and literally write it into your schedule. No excuses.
Commit to a fan engagement schedule
This could be social media, a mailing list, your Patreon, or something else entirely, however having a solid plan for how you’re going to interact with your fans, and then setting aside time each and every day to do this is going to be crucial to your success as a musician.
So often I see artists struggling to:
- Post updates to social media
- Respond to their fans’ comments
- Write meaningful captions
- Go to their fans’ (and future fans) pages and interact with them there
And it shows in the low engagement, low follow numbers, and (sorry to say) often low opportunities. We have to face the fact that social media is a huge part of what makes everyone from festivals to managers to labels to press consider a band, and in particular, it’s about the level of engagement. If you have 15k followers and no one interacts with your posts, that’s not nearly as useful as having 5k followers and 50 comments on every post. It’s about the interaction.
That’s why this goal, committing to a fan engagement plan and schedule is so important. It’s something that you can do in an hour a day or less, but simply having a game plan and schedule for interaction will make a world of difference.
Of course, there are so many more micro-goals we could talk about, and depending on where you are in your career and your individual goals, the focus varies.
But for the indie artist still growing their career and looking to build up an engaged fan base and grow opportunities both online and off, these are a good place to start.
What goals would you like to see us suggest micro-goals around?
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves ice cream, reality TV, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.