There isn’t any questions that you are working hard if your a independent artist   and independent business owner.
Every day you need to effectively handle multiple priorities-
Focusing on the important work of creating and performing  while you have irons in the fire to keep work coming in the door tomorrow and months after.

Staying balance and focused when you are juggling multiple priorities is key.

Summer is heating up-
 Whether you’re a local, regional, or nationally touring musician, your plans must certainly include playing shows so the world can hear, and fall in love with your music right?  
 Summer is one of  the biggest money making time of year for artists- Farmers Markets, Festivals, Fairs, House Concerts and Tours!  This is a time of year when smart artists are booking and playing 7 days a week.

On the long list of many things you need to do include, finish writing more material, then  organize the band and  get your chops sounding great, while you  perfect your performance so your show is mind blowing to watch!  Then, you need to duplicate your  new works of art so your fans can “take you home with them”.   All while while marketing and booking  gigs and plan a summer tour?!

Even if you are only playing your local gigs, you still have to haul your gear to and from the gig. When your on the road you are hauling your gear to and from the gig, after sitting in your car, truck, or van for hours on end,  if your lucky you are able to sleep in a quiet room with a nice bed every night your gone.
 Depending upon which part of the country you are in, you may find your normal healthy food choices  are suddenly VERY limited. 

It doesn’t take very long for the long hours, heavy lifting, no sleep, and cruddy food, start to take their toll on you.  
 You may find yourself coming home from tour exhausted and even sick perhaps you have even had to cut a tour short because you were ill.

It doesn’t give you bragging rights to blow up before a tour ends or to  come home trashed, it is simply a reflection that you haven’t prepared to do your job properly. 
If your plans include bigger tours, supporting mid level or A level acts, it shows the hiring management company that you are not up to the job, you will have missed a huge opportunity and not even known it.

 If your heading back out on the road, or going on the road for the first time,  We will spend the next couple of weeks sharing ways that will keep you in shape  to take what ever the road throws your way.

Preventative health care:
 Not surprisingly many artists do not have health or dental insurance for themselves, or their equipment feeling they cannot afford it.    You may not feel like you can afford monthly insurance premiums, but you cannot afford  NOT to get your annual medical and dental examinations.  The few hundred dollars you would spend on your annual dental and medical exams *are all expenses that can be written off in your annual taxes! (1)
Many diseases can be prevented or controlled if they are caught in early stages(2)

Stress Related health disorders: Nearly 1/2 of the health issues we are facing today are in some way connected to stress, economic, family, and  work related pressures all take their toll on us, and manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Do you find you have chronic  sinus infections, fatigue, or persistent cough, or allergies? they can all be signs of unbalance in your life.   Recent studies have linked heart attacks and stroke to gum disease. By simply having your teeth cleaned you could reduce your chances of  heart attack or stroke.

Invest a little, Save big:
 The cost of a standard office visit to your doctor and dentist, and flossing every day  is much cheaper that a trip to the Emergency Room. So give yourself the gift of a longer life, save your hard earned money, by spending on the prevention, the price tag of a cure is higher than many can pay.

Do you have any favorite stories from the road,  maybe it was the burger joint outta the twilight zone in Yuma Az? or when the van's horn got stuck ON.  Share your best tales of the road in your comments below-

here are links to organizations that offer low cost and preventative health care  services for artists:

EHealth and TuneCore- provide a resource comparing 10,000  health insurance products from over 180 carriers
ASCAP-Your local P.R.O. has health care coverage available for it’s members
Recording Acadamy/ MusiCares  the good folks at NARAS have MusiCares that provides services for artists needed resources and assistance. 

Tamra Engle is a independent business strategist, Producer, Speaker and Blogger based in the S.F. bay area. She assists artists and business’s via private consultations and project assignments with Artist development, Project management, Production and Lifestyle rebalancing,  to help develop your independent creative business.
You can read more about services to help you and join her mailing list at:    You can  email Tamra at

Sign up now for your 1 month Master Class’s to help your Creative Business:

Links to References:


photo credits:

Jugglers- Moscow Circus 
Junk food- Tamra Engle
Roadies- Jen Wester- backstage BonJovi

Spring Forward w/ your business

 The 1st quarter of the year is behind us.
Are you on track to earn what you planned?
Do you feel confident you will achieve what you want this year?

What projects have you completed?

Are you happy with your progress so far?

Would it help if you could- Discuss your idea's and priorities with another artist and business executive?

-Artist Branding-Development

-Project Management
-Review a upcoming project or plan

-Owning- Starting or Growing your business
-Lifestyle Re-focus, Balance
-Business Planning
-Identifying and overcoming roadblocks

 After a initial consultation you will walk away with a lots of ideas and recommendations to get you back on track-
Or let me help you launch your next creative project or business!


 My clients live all around the world- in every time zone- Each relationship is unique, based upon your own personality, and priorities.

 Our initial consultation is a 1 hour meeting. We meet in a environment that is conducive to effectively communicating within the confines of your busy schedule. I recommend a  environment conducive to having a conversation, often simply going for a walk or coffee, to be in a neutral environment, to help obtain key background information.
I often travel to client locations for project work and short term assignments. I work with individuals and large corporations, and successfully completed projects with a budgets up to $10 million Dollars (US).
In addition to face to face meetings, we have a variety of tools to stay in touch based upon the clients needs.

Why you want me on your team

In over 25 yrs I have gathered the tools to take a idea from conception to develop a successful business model.
 Consulting with new and established business owners with strategies to identify, launch, or develop new revenue generating models to maximize your earning potential, or help you develop the type of creative business and brand that attracts investors, and representation.

Experience Highlights:

-Professional studio Musician
-National Touring Musician (U.S/Mexico)
-Project Management (PMI certified)
-Artist / Business Development and Branding
-Business Operations for organizations from individuals, start up to fortune 500 organizations-
-Reviewed and consulted in Not for Profit environments
-Aquisitions and investor sales.
-Business review and assessment
-Technology Review and assessment-
-Coaching and developing businesses and brands with a focus on lifestyle balance

Additional services to help you or your small business
Producer- for your next demo, EP, or CD
Motivational speaking
Workshops for your group or small business.
All clients are in my referral network,  I help connect you to partners appropriate for helping you meet your goals, and create collaborative opportunities.


If you are passionate about your creative career and also believe in preserving our environment, and keeping music and arts education accessible to school age children, then we already have quite a bit in common!
Working together we can accomplish anything we properly plan for- I offer you enthusiasm, encouragement, and the experience to help you achieve.

Links to:


Purchase before  May 1st 2012 for your  special "spring forward" pricing-

Initial meeting options

Individual 1 hr $49.95 USD

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

Group/band $89.95 USD

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

Sm biz $99.00 USD

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

Inspiration and Vision

The Creative Process-Inspiration and Vision 
pt 3 of Series

The Creative Process: is this  Month's topic featuring weekly installments to help creative business owners-

As we continue our steps through the creative process pyramid we being with the spark that starts it all:

INSPIRATION:  Refers to the "Stimulation of mind, body, or soul to create".
It’s literal meaning “breathed upon”  has spiritual origins of both Helenistic and Hebrew roots,  both sharing  the universal belief that a divine one breathed the inspiration upon us.

What inspires us to create? It varies by individual, ask 5 of your friends or colleges and I bet you'll get 5 different answers.  Some have found solace in a clear bubbling mountain stream, others in watching a sunrise or sunset. Perhaps hearing how a particular melody, verse or story is written alters how you hear music going forward.
Who among us hasn't felt of the joy or heartache from another human, or 4 legged friend.   


Words often have “implied meanings” based upon our cultural mores.
 The word "Inspiration" has a playful connitation, it suggests   fleeting moment that a creative spark or moment occurs- A Divine Presence. You generally don’t think of a “inspiration” being a long lingering event.

Passionon the other hand suggests more of a burning, longer commitment... filled with strong emotional themes like love and rage. 

In creative endeavors this emotional fulfillment is a powerful force that when combined with your personal identity   is the  spark and burining flame of your creative process.


When inspiration hits you, it can be a sudden jolt, like walking around  seeing in dull grey's and suddenly seeing in vivid color. Much like taking dark glasses off when your outside in a beautiful bright sunny garden.
But what do you plan to do with this creative inspiration?

  is the destination  you are headed to, are you creating a  record label, or clothing line? or does your Vision incorporate other ideas?  Writing down a concise  statement about your overall creative direction of your business, doesn’t tell you how you’re going to get there, it is a blue print that sets the direction for your business planning.

When we find and follow our passion and combine it with our inspiration tied together with our vision, then magic really begins to happen.  Your spark and burning desire can spread, and catch others up in the wave of excitement.


A beautiful recent example of combining  identity, Inspiration, and vision features a  astonishing 9 yr old entrepreneur  named Caine Monroy who lives in East LA.  
In this video Director Nirvan Mullick introduces us to Caine, who is armed  with his passion, inspiration, vision  and a few cardboard boxes, gives and gains  personal fulfillment by achieving his vision, and living his dream of “just getting 1 customer”.   Enjoy this video, If you have ever "dreamed" this will resonate with you, even inspire you.


I would love to read or see   how you have utilized your Inspiration and Passion to achieve your Vision in the comments below.

Interested in growing your business? Join our  MasterClass for Artist Business to maximize the success of your creative business

Tamra Engle is a independent business strategist, Producer, Speaker and Blogger based in the S.F. bay area. She assists artists and creative business’s via private consultation and project assignments with  Artist development, Project management, Production, Business Planning and Lifestyle Rebalancing,  to help you achieve your creative success.
You can read more about services to help you and join her mailing list at:  email her at

Sign up now for your 1 month Master Class’s to help your Creative Business

Ref:  Video: Caines Arcade: Directed Nirvan Mullick.

Happiness the Creative process Pt 1

April's Topic is "Happiness" and features weekly posts to help you through the creative process-


Knowing what and how much of something is “good for us” is an eternal challenge that we all face.  Often the “right choices” means that we will deny ourselves pleasure. Like not eating a 3rd cookie.
Your mind is then faced with playing mediator to your “lesser” physiological self, and your “greater” moral self.  Some days, we have ALL had to have the 3rd cookie!


How much pleasure and its excesses are acceptable? 
 When it comes to pleasure, the debate has kept scholars, philosophers, and religious leaders busy for centuries.

The Great Matter - Artist unknown (3)

In 1534, King Henry VIII, a man not known to deny himself anything. Created his own Christian Church when he ordered the Church of England to succeed from Roman Catholic Church, Kicking off the reformation. 
Earlier, the Pope had refused to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon after not producing a male heir to the British throne. The annulment to allow the King to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. 

This particular example of excess had a particularly high price for some of Henry's queen’s.

As artists we have found pleasure in the creation of art. Each of us, at one time or another could be found guilty of “losing our heads” in the pleasure of creating our own art.   
 Cookies, Kings and You?
What do Cookies and Kings have to do with us as artists?  We admit to enjoying things that make us feel good, and from time to time we have a holiday tossed our way,  and we "may" over indulge.  Our occasional discretion's make us feel better.... don't they?  Humans will go to extraordinary lengths to achieve "happiness"  

Let's take a look at happiness and artists creative process-
 Happiness has various definitions, because it is something that varies by individual,  for me it is the "quest for the appreciation of life" 

Psychologist Martin Seligman (2) summarized positive psychology's  findings:

Humans seem happiest when they have:

Pleasure: Beautiful view, Chocolate, yummy food, foot rubs, romantic liaisons.

Relationship: Knowing we are “part of”. The social engagement of interacting with others, even without the use of a portable electronic devices!

Accomplishment: Realizing a goal that you have established for yourself.

Participation:  Engaging in an activity or event that is challenging yet, enjoyable.

Purpose:  Knowing we are part of something much greater than ourselves.

*Can you think of  recent examples of your own happiness in each of these categories?

Create happiness: would you like to be part of a happiness project?  email me  a .jpg photograph of a image that makes YOU happy by Friday April 6th 2012.  My goal is to  to collect 100 images,  I will share your image in a special gift for weeks post.
Please include the following info in your email:
Email to:
Subject: Happiness Pic
Your Name: (if it isn't part of your email addy).

Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private & corporate consultations to help you develop your independent business,  produce your next demo. host a workshop or speak at your next event.
 You can read more about how she can help you,  when you join her mailing list at  you can email her at

References and Credits:

Fight or flight (pt 4 of a series)

March weekly series topic deals with “Fear” and how it relates to independent artists careers.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams, because we are living our fears”- Les Brown, speaker

Every one of us has fears of one type or another.  Tall buildings, fear of needles, or fear of a wiggly or odd- looking creatures.

 For me, spiders, and being in large groups of people are on the top of my fear list.
  Professionally, being afraid of spiders doesn’t effect me on a regular basis but being in large groups of people is part of my job, and having this be one of my phobia’s – could have been career ending as a speaker, performer, and artist. 

Most people who meet me are pretty surprised that I fear being in large groups of people, since we are usually meeting at a conference, festival, or workshop with LOTS of people around!  It is something that I have spent years working on, using the desire and passion that inspires me to create and help others create to diminish the fear that would have paralyzed me.  If I left the fear in place? Then  it would have  prevented me from touring nationally as a artist, speaking at conferences like, NAMM, ASCAP Awards, & SXSW.  Those experiences were some of the most exciting times in my career, that I would have missed if I didn't do something.
  That same tool of desire and passion are in your artistic tool-box, and you too can put fears that stop you behind you too!


Let's step back and examine what "Fear" is really all about.

“Fear” is our reaction to a distressing negative sensation by a perceived threat to our safety.  It is one of our most primal instincts of basic survival, part of our autonomic response to "fight or flight". These responses in modern times have assumed a wider range of behaviors. For example, the fight response may be manifested in angry, argumentative behavior, and the flight response may be manifested through social withdrawal, or perhaps substance abuse.

Fear almost always relates to a worsening situation channeling our energy away from the perceived threat, into directions or even old behaviors that seem safe.  
We can leave fears like spoiled children to run free in our creative house shutting doors and windows, locking inside our potential, dreams, and hopes. Or we can use our own tool box to unlock the doors and windows.


There is nothing like that ol’ time Religion to inspire your feelings!
Be good and follow the “rules” and you go to HEAVEN, if you don’t, you are BAD and of course, bad people go to Hell. Despite Hell being a much warmer climate, we are conditioned that being bad and hell are undesirable destinations, and what ever spiritual guidelines your people prescribe to, will determine which behaviors you will be encouraged to follow.

The media does it’s  fair share to manipulate and exploit the message of fear every day. Simply turn on the evening news. You are flooded with images, economic failure, losing your home, and of course “Terrorists”. Who have replaced the communists as the evil dark forces we are told to fear most.

Phobia’s are common and do not need to cause ongoing distress or disrupt your life to limit you from achieving your full potential.

You have control. You can turn off a TV or radio station to limit the influx of negative reinforcements. However, if you find you are avoiding situations or places, or that your fear is resulting in disabling anxiety, fear, or panic you may need the support a professional therapist to help you overcome your phobia.

It’s natural to want to run and hide. You can’t undo the fight or flight response,  Remember, flight isn’t your only option, you have the opportunity to face your fears, and reclaim control.
By gradually exposing yourself to your fear will help remove the anxiety and fear.

 For example if you are afraid of heights, if you have a normal fear, you may feel anxious or have butterfly’s in your stomach and sweaty palms as you peer down from a window in a tall building. You have a Phobia, if your fear of the tall building results in you turning down a awesome job,  because it is on the 15thfloor. 


Make a list of the situations that you fear the most, then arrange those items from least scary to most scary. For example if Tall buildings are your fear you may list riding in the elevator, or even pushing the button as part of a scary situation that you prioritize.

As you make your list(s) notice the feelings you experience as you write down each item, do you notice a churning stomach, sweaty palms, or increased respiration?   Remember, you are just making a list, putting words on a page, you are safe, and nothing bad is happening, That odd feeling your having is you trying a new behavior!   What is at the top of your fear list?   Let us know in the comment section below,

Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available to help you manage your next creative project, for private consultations to help you develop your independent business, or to produce your next demo, EP, or CD You can read more about her, and join her mailing list at  you can email her at   

Crowd photo:

Meet the little Monsters (Pt 2 Fear Series)


 March weekly series topic deals with “Fear” and how it relates to independent artists careers.

As human beings we all want to be acknowledged for our efforts as well as our triumphs.
 Parental support of our artistic pursuits is not common. Rather than live with the fear of not being taken seriously, or not taking ourselves seriously, many retreat into the shadows, behind barricades built by criticism, when these barricades are  left unattended they harden like little cement walls. These little cement blockades limit our creative growth, when the creative muse is trying to stretch.

Imagine that you live on a great big farm, in a comfortable home surrounded all around by land filled with many trees, thick brush, and heavy foliage. 

You have one long bike path that leads to the main highway, all along the path are these “cement barriers” along the route, making the path difficult to navigate. The path to the highway is much too long to walk, and riding a bike will insure that you get to the main path where the other "riders" are peddling along  down the street.

Learning to let yourself create is like learning to ride a bike, you start with baby steps to gain your confidence,  you learn balance, and technique, you pray that you avoid any obstacles along the way. You are learning, be patient and understand your initial efforts are not going to be masterpieces. Critics will unfairly judge your work against master artists, since that is what “they believe” to be the standard other artists are measured against.
Regardless, what level of success you achieve, the struggle continues.
Master artists struggle with pleasing their fan base, and satisfying their creative muse- Think about when  Bob Dylan went electric, or In this video clip where  Joni Mitchell shares some amazing insights on  Jimi Hendrix


Our Immediate family, fearful friends, spiritual & social communities all weigh in on what notions they “believe” are acceptable.  Each of us has beliefs,  Acceptance of the notions in our mind that something is true or real. 
Beliefs reflect an individuals “notions” about what it means to be a artist, It does not reflect FACT.

Each of us has  a internal dialog that tells us
  • I’m not good enough
  • I will hurt or embarrass my family and friends
  • I will be awful and look foolish
  • I don’t deserve to be successful
  • Artists are not successful = I won’t be successful
  • What if I run out of Ideas

Negative beliefs (notions/ NOT FACTS) keep you scared and stuck, they make you retreat and hide in a safe place, and not develop your skills to prepare you to succeed.


To create is part of who you are as a artist, your ability to adapt, and grow will be so much easier if you take the time to clear away the obstacles on your path.
 Each of us can work diligently to clear away the external blockades, and criticisms created by others, that can still leave quite a clutter behind,
Have you thought about the blockades and criticisms that you create?   The scary stuff that separates us from success is being brave enough to clean house INSIDE.

Want to test this out?   Get a blank sheet of paper, and a pen, on  the paper  write 5 times
My name is _______(write your name), I am a successful artist.
As you start writing, and re-writing the sentence, you’ll start to hear a internal dialog “no your not”  “Poser”   “Artist-Shmartist”, all kinds of nasty stuff comes up.
Remember you want to write 5 times “My name is _____(write your name), I am a successful artist”.  Also write down  all the negative stuff, the nasty little monsters that your head dreams up.  Don’t be shocked if there is really nasty things, your subconscious will attack everything, your sexuality, your spirituality, and anything in between

On a new sheet of paper list the negative beliefs that you noted in one column , in the next column, to the right of the “belief” note who said this in your life was it a parent, teacher, partner, friend? Then draw one more line to the write of the person, creating a 3rd column and next to the negative belief write a positive alternative.

Weed out the little monsters, from your victory garden.  Like a garden, from time to time the little monsters will still need  a little weeding out as part of ongoing garden time.
How does your garden grow? Do you have Little Monster you hear from a lot?

 Artist Master Class: Special Invitation:   
More info HERE:

In today's indie market there is TONS of competition. In today's economic market everyone is working harder for even less money. How do you capture the attention of hard working fans that may not even know you exist?

There are lots of ways to invest in your career that help you make meaningful progress toward growing your creative business.

Each month's Master-class topic is focused on helping you grow your creative business. You will be provided with a syllabus filled with exercises and strategies that are successfully used by top selling artists and businesses around the world, that you can apply directly to your creative business!

Visibility Master Class you will learn:

- Identify and Create multiple revenue streams
- How to increase your exposure
- Identify who your fans really are
- How to focus on WIIFTY (what is in it for them and you)
- Which Business partnerships pay off
- How you can use analytics to measure your growth.
-              Apply exercises directly to your business
At the completion of each module you are issued a Master Class Certificate of completion.
 At the end of 12 months you will have achieved Master Class status and receive a  MCC- Master Class Certification

-       Written monthly exercises keep you focused on the area of development, with the guidance of your business development executive and guest experts to educate, prepare, and mentor creative leaders in a safe encouraging creative environment.

Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available to help you manage your next project, for private consultations to help you develop your independent music business, or to  produce your next musical demo. You can read more about her,  and join her mailing list at  you can email her at

 More info HERE:

Revenue Streams (pt 5 of Visibility Series)

 Professional Indie Artists I know and represent, who are making a living creating their music all have one thing in common, they all have multiple streams of income.

Are you’re a performing artist or a band?
 Then you know  you  have some revenue from live shows,  Hopefully you have Merchandise that you are also  generating sales from, *In addition to your cd's doo your fans like hoodies, Tshirts or hats? TIP: you can help drive traffic to your website if you have a online store integrated on your site, Some artists prefer not to deal with the inventory and  use a on-demand store like, or Café  

Popular Revenue Streams:

What are some other ways to add revenue to your business?

Live Performances- Tip Jars/ percentage  of the door / Guarantee-Fee for service
Merchandise- Always have something to give or sell to your fans, and know what they want!
Performance Royalties- *you must be registered with Sound Exchange who collects on your behalf.
 Private Parties-Corporate/ House concerts /Seasonal Events/ Weddings, receptions and other major life celebrations pay well.
Licensing- Film/TV/Ads/Cards/ Video Games/ etc
Gigging w/ other artists- there are 7 days in a week, make yourself available to other artists for gigs
Subbing for other artists- People get sick, if you can fill in on short notice, you can keep busy gigging and subbing.
Booking for other bands: Your already booking your own shows and have relationships with the venue owners? why not get paid to book for other bands?  Charge a nominal price per booked gig and you will keep cash in your pocket
 Sponsorships- If you have a large enough audience, Equipment manufacturers will often offer pro pricing, and discounts to sponsored artists.
Writing- Songs, jingles, Blogging, music books, 
Publishing: Books, songs, Podcasts

Evolve your web presence by creating web portals for the individual streams to create even more opportunities for your fans to find you on the web.

Taking advantage of your own skills, and the skills of your band mates to divide tasks.

How many different revenue streams are you using in your creative business? Share them with our readers in the comment section below.

Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private and business consultations  to help you develop your independent music business, & manage a balanced creative lifestyle, regardless  where you live in the world, You are only a skype and email away!  You can read more about her and join her mailing list at  you can email her at

“Lead with your heart” {pt 2 of Visibility series}

During the month of February, I am featuring additional ways you can get more visibility as a Indie Artist.
Yoga instructors queue poses and transitions by encouraging students to push or lead with their heart.
The physical act of pushing your chest forward, head held high, feeling a gentle lift and pulling from the center of your chest creates an emotional lift visible to all who see you.

As you build your business pay particular attention to the sensations your heart gives you as you are making decisions, and presenting your work.  Have you ever felt the sensation of “something not feeling right” later to discover your instincts were dead on? 

Your fans can see, hear and FEEL the work that you create from the heart, the beauty, pain, and joy all laid bare for all to see.

Stop focusing on features of your product or services, your fans, like all humans want to see WIIFM  (what’s in it for me?) or what are you giving me?

Fan’s want to feel cool,sexy, a “part of”, help them blow off steam, save them money, or the biggie, make them look good to others.   

When you tap into two basic human instincts Pleasure and Pain- Make a direct connection to people feeling good, and removing a pain point for them, and they will follow you everywhere!

A very recent success at massively increasing their visibility is the Canadian band “Walk off the Earth” who in addition to recording their own original music has has enormous success by creating clever You Tube covers of hit songs.  In a very recent example, they took the 2012 Grammy nominated super hit of Goyte “Somebody I used to know” and put a very clever twist on a spot on cover, tricky since the original video is SO unique.
 When I first saw it this video had less than 1 million hits…. It currently has over 48 million views, changing the trajectory of the bands career.

Before you dismiss the success of this technique to growing your visibility, it has a history of success.
 Carlos Santana (Fleetwood Mac’s -Black Magic Woman), and a kid named Jimi Hendrix (Dylan’s -All along the watchtower) Jeff Buckley (Cohen’s Hallelujah)

Here is a Link to the best cover songs of all time
I bet your favorite cover songs are songs that you have a strong personal “heart felt” connection to.   Share links or comments to work where you have lead with your heart in your creative work in the comment section below.

Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent music business, and record your demo. You can read more about her and join her mailing list at  or  can email her at

Increase your visability Pt1

 During the month of February I am featuring  additional ways for you to get more visibility  as a D.I.Y. Indie Artist.

Seasonal- Current Events:

Valentines day is less than 2 weeks away.
Regardless of your customer or fan base demographic  it’s not hard to find fans who Love, Love. 

Marilyn Manson on Love: 
When you're taught to love everyone,  then what value does that place on love?”

The most popular topic in best selling music is Love... endless, unrequited, or broken dreams these are all themes that we can all relate to.

Whether you “Set fire to the rain”  a perfect example of a well written metaphor for burning tears.   Rhianna's “we found love”  ,  or Good Feeling by Flo Rida.

What song has had the longest reign at #1?   
A love song of course!  “One sweet day” sung by  Maraih Carey and Boyz 2 Men held the top spot for 4 months!

Let’s assume you don’t have the fanbase that Adele, Flo Rida, Rhianna or Mariah have. 
How does this help you?   
Photo Credit: Tamra Engle-  Artist Vincenta Flores Ataucusi:  
Look to your heart. 
Most of us have had our heart broken, and have fallen in love at one time or another, with a human or special pet.  Describe in in broad themes what that was like for you, Have fun, and write the best song you can, then  make a  good  quality demo recording of it.   Allow yourself enough time to print them with out expedited shipping charges to save money.

Are you extra creative? You can make a very cute limited edition artwork Valentine CD covers. Love themed packaging.

*On the CD make sure you have a printed label, 
because quality matters!
 Don’t forget to include your name, or the bands name, the URL to your website, and  email for booking inquiries.     Make sure the holder of the CD can find you again!

You have so many options, to creatively get your music into the hands of other “lovers”- Savvy business owners are looking for easy ways to bring more customers into their stores.

Some possible idea’s:

 Think of the places you would pop into to get that person a little treat or take  “that special someone".  
Create a  Partnernership w/ your local card shop, specialty chocolate shop, local winery, or gift boutique.

Offer to help organize a special musical shopping event- where shoppers are  given a free copy of your valentine song to everyone that purchases something. Include special shopping times  to have a in store solo acoustic performance to bring more shoppers into their store. 

 Or do you have cool limited addition Tshirts that tie into the song theme?  you have created a additional revenue opportunity around the holiday theme  for upcoming shows, or to add to your online merchandise store.

Another idea:

Offer your fans to purchase a extra "special valentine"-
You can sell :30 acoustic solo dinner performance(s) in the homes of special valentines- make it “affordable”  so you can book several in a evening.
Decide how many :30 sets you want to play on and around Valentines day.
Think of it as a mini tour in a day or two, at the end of a couple of days you will have full pockets.

Not a fan of Love?  Then take on a current event.
There is SO much material right now just begging to be used.  

Topics for you to consider?

Love Sucks:  Taking a counterpoint view on the holiday
Super bowl- Madonna Parodies anyone?  Please I’m dying to see them!
Occupy Movement-Remember, we are still mad at the banks?
The Election / Presidents day:  You can make a career poking fun at the power mongers, and so much rhymes with Newt, Mitt, Barak…

Partner with other local business owners to create a fun event, make sure you have something to give your fans so they remember you, grow your business network, and help another business owner.   Utilizing the momentum of a holiday that has shopping involved, allows new fans to spend money buying your products.

Do you want to  increase your visability even more?  Share the links to your songs, and video’s in the comment section below. 

Tamra Engle is a independent business strategist and artist manager based in the S.F. bay area.  She is available for private consultations, and project management services to help you develop your creative business.  You can read more about her at  email her at

Photo Credits:
Baking Love- Photo Credit: Tamra Engle-  Artist Vincenta Flores Ataucusi:\
 Marilyn Manson photo credit:

Links that were mentioned in this blog:

Adele: “set fire to the rain”
Flo Rida Good Feeling
“One sweet day” (Maraih Carey & B2M)
Jimmy Fallon Kirsten Dunst Madonna parody

It starts with You!

We are a month into a new year, and many of the blog topics, *mine included
 Are yammering at you to set goals, whether or not you have any interest in doing so, or perhaps you are stuck with where to begin?

When we get stuck, its time to start at square one.  Start with you.

To thine own self be true:
To share a personal experience, these words didn’t really ring true for me until I gave myself the gift of living alone.  At that time I wasn’t happy about a relationship ending, and not feeling good about myself. As I was  packing up a box in my home, I knew I also had some personal housecleaning that needed to be done.
  I got a dry erase board and hung it in my kitchen and started writing out a plan to change how I was looking at things.  You can use a pad of paper, which works just fine, and is much easier to carry around.

Mind your Ps & R’s?

Growing up you may have heard the saying “mind your P’s & Q’s”- It’s an old term that originated in the pubs.  Mead and Ale were served in pint & quart containers, hence the P- for Pint & Q- for quart.
I have two P’s and two R’s that in today’s world are important for each of us to be mindful of.

When your making a commitment with yourself there is no middleman, no special equipment or tools needed, only the simplicity of being honest with yourself. (it’s ok, no one is watching). Allow yourself to check you P’s and R’s

On your pad of paper list these categories as column headers:

Potential   Pitfalls      Reflection      React

Under each column, you’re going to look back over your year and list as many things that resonates with you. I have included some idea’s and thoughts for you to consider when moving through each category:

Potential:  Each of us has limitless potential, what are your strengths /gifts and are you utilizing them to be your best ability?
-Good at organizing?
-Love to talk to people?
-Likes to drive, plan routes
-Incredible cook?
-Good at photography?
 Ultimately where do you want your skills to lead you?

Pitfalls: What are the problem areas for you?
 Are you bad with money?
Are you a terrible organizer?
To you have a short temper?
 Trouble communicating well with your colleges and loved ones
Are there area’s where you need some additional training, or development?

Reflection: Think back over the past year, list major events and  individuals that you met.  You will be surprised when you scroll through your iPhone or Android iCalendar, you’ll come up with names, and recall situations where you met someone significant or attended a event

React- How did you respond to individuals and react to situations this past year? Did you burn any bridges? Or did your network  grow?  You cannot be responsible for the outcome of all situations; however, you are always responsible for how you react going forward to help facilitate communication.  And where it’s appropriate, accept responsibility and make amends when you messed up!

I usually walk around with the written list with my 2R’s & 2P’s that I add things to as I think about them. At the end of the week, I have captured as much information as I can shake loose.

  It feels like trimming back the garden, the more honest with yourself you are, clearing away the unwanted trimmings and undergrowth the better growing season you have to look forward to.

Share a success you have had with your personal “gardening” in the comment section below

Tamra Engle is a independent  business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your creative project or business. You can read more about her and join her mailing list at 

"Why" did you do it?

Are you so caught up in “what” your doing, 
that you are forgetting to communicate  "why" you do what you do?

Let’s imagine the product you make is a casual shoe that is made from used bicycle tubes and tires. You don't just make shoes, you are someone who cares about your environment, and the waste we human beings create.

Suddenly, you have identified your niche market and are  able to connect with other green consumers who, like you,  are committed to reducing waste by purchasing a re-purposed product, as well as outdoor lifestyle avocates, cyclist, and triathletes.

Being able to express the deeper meaning of “why” you are doing something allows your business to be ready for product growth. You can now very clearly identify and more importantly create a connection with your customers who are purchasing your products. Using their feedback create innovative new product offerings.

If you have not already done this,  The first step to getting started  is writing your mission statement.
If you wonder whether you need a personal or business mission statement.
I encourage you to do both, starting with your personal version. Then, write about the business.  Don’t be surprised that they are different.

A good mission statement should explain clearly and concisely in a paragraph why your business exists, and what it hopes to achieve in the future. It articulates the business’s  character, its values, and its work.

2012 is the Year of the Dragon, who's characteristics are  Artistic, Innovative, Powerful. 
Have you written the mission statement for your business? Share it with us in  the comments below, or if you need help getting started...

 Tamra Engle is a independent business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent creative business, You can read more about her at  you can email her at  

Shoe Bike:

5 ways to Fund your creative business

There are a variety of funding sources available to creative business owners  regardless of your passion- Musical Artist-Film Maker- Painter- Sculptor- Clothing designer-Writer- Photographer- or a fortune cookie writer.
 Financing is essential to sustaining and growing a successful creative business.  You know you can’t do it all by yourself, You want to focus on your creative endeavors, do need help growing your business?  and wonder how you pay for it?     
Beyond taking out a loan from the bank or borrowing against your 401K I have listed 5 funding sources you can immediately utilize to grow your creative business-
1)    Host a class or workshop:  What better way to connect with your fans than to host a class or workshop? You are able to use your skill to teach others, you grow your network of fans who purchase goods or services from you! Check out the internet for local community centers, and schools for places you can host your event.  Make sure you can accept credit /debit card orders and And you have created a additional revenue stream to your independent creative business.
2)    Keep the change-  When I quit smoking years ago, I set aside the $1 a day I spent on cigarettes, and at the end of the day, that dollar bill, and the the left over change from coffee  or lunch that day also went into the jar. The jar filled several times to a goal I set of  $5,000! Which helped me make the down payment on my very first condo! It felt GREAT!! *back in the dark ages $5,000 went a lot farther than it does today!
3)   Small Business Administration- The SBA offers loans and grants  for small business owners, You benefit from digging around this site, see the funding requirements, and see how you can tap into help.
 Trades and  Barters The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that 25 percent of the world’s trade is still done this way. Many albums and art installations have been helped along by trading and bartering services with friends. From designers and illustrators, to do posters, cards,  to Haircuts,  makeup, staging, etc..
4)    Credit Cards- I don’t encourage running up or maxing out lines of credit, I recommend you keep some credit available in case of emergencies.   HOWEVER, if you know that you will earmark the re-cooped money to quickly pay off the  debt , then make the investment in growing your business.
5)    Fan Funding sites: There are a variety of sites dedicated to you setting up a project funding site, with a  tiered reward menu  for investors to participate in your creative project.   Marillion - is a UK band recognized within the music industry as the first established band to fully utilize the power of the internet, they have funded four albums through pre-sales to fans and totally re-vitalized their career in the process.
I have listed some of the more popular fan funding sites, Look at each site, since fee's and audiences vary. Make note of the most successful funded programs, and their  video promo’s and funding rewards.  Keep in mind crowd/fan funding is a very emotional, your success is based in the appeal of your idea! Work it!!
 Kickstarter: Projects must obtain 100% of their funding goal for donors to pay and creative projects to obtain financing.
ArtistShare:  Started in 2000 the 1stcrowd/fan funded site / label
PledgeMusic- Launched in August 2009.  Enables fan project funding through unique incentives and opportunities for fans, with an percentage of the projects proceeds donated to a charity of the artists choice.
Sellaband: -  Fan Funding website in Europe launched in 2006 that as of mid 2009 had helped 33 artists raise $50,000 euros.
Have you used these or other creative ways to  finance your business? Let us know in the comment section below!
If you or a loved one  have questions about how to  manage a creative business?
Are you ready to launch a new project? or start planning for 2012?
  Affordable customized monthly programs are available.  
 Purchase   a  Gift Certificate  for my consulting services-(email / phone / skype consultations available, to help artists in other time zones)!  Gifts Purchased before Dec 25th will be given a $25.00 discount on their initial consultation.

Customized packages and special rates to make your gift giving easy this year. 

Tamra Engle is a independent business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent creative business, You can read more about her at  you can email her at  

Is radio right for you?

Does being played on the radio make good sense for your music business?

 In today’s market, even if you hire a radio promoter your chances of getting repeated airplay with out a major label financing is very difficult and very expensive.

Radio airplay is basically divided up into Commercial, College, Satellite & Streaming formats.
Commercial radio- Play lists for commercial radio are dictated by the radio station’s corporate headquarters, Clear Channel  is the largest with 850 stations, and 237 million listeners followed by Cumulus, Citadel, Entercom, & Salem Communications. The songs you hear are selected based upon which record companies are paying these corporations top “dollar”.

College Radio- C.M.J. "College Music Journal" is  a music events and publishing company that hosts a annual festival in New York, it also publishes a weekly magazine for the music industry and college radio stations in the United States.  Roughly 75% of the music played is within the  alternative genre. Each week about 1000 colleges are eligible to submit their play lists to CMJ for consideration in to the top 200 listing,  of which 350-600 actually submit lists,  over 2,000 artists are competing weekly to chart  in the top 200 and do not.

I’ve put together a check-list to help you decide if  investing in radio  is a logical career decision for you.

1)    Do your fans listen to the radio?  Or do they primarily download music, or listen to streaming stations like Pandora, MOG or Last.FM ? You need to be able to answer this very important question, and put your music where your fans are listening it. If you don’t know, then the first thing you need to do is clearly understand how your fans consume music. If your fans aren’t listening to radio or the style music you are playing isn’t being broadcast on the airwaves it doesn’t make sense to pursue radio airplay.

2)    Do you have the budget for ongoing campaign? Let’s assume your fans are big consumers of commercial, college, or even satellite radio.  A 3-12 week campaign at one station can easily run $1,500-$6,000. If you are touring with a 50 station promo you very quickly have a $75,000- $300,000 in just radio ad costs.  Additionally, to support your radio campaign your budget will need to include a print and online media promotion to support airplay.

3)     Is your music currently available for retail distribution?  Do you have name recognition within the broadcast network?  You need to have retail ready product to support your promotional efforts, as well as have  buzz within the station network. Station managers, consider these factors when determining where in the play list you’ll be, The most sought after morning or afternoon drive time, or the Midnight- wee hours listening time.

4)    D.I.Y. campaign or hiring a promoter- Running your own campaign requires a tremendous amount of time. Researching where your music should be directed, developing and nurturing those relationships. Do you have a team of people dedicated full time to doing this work? If not, then you need to hire a reputable promoter- Estimate between $400-$800 per week for a 8-12 week campaign. Adding $3,200- $9,600 out of your promotional budget.  When interviewing promoters you need to find out what successes they have they had promoting other indie artists? Get references, and check them, does the promoter work hard? are they affordable? And importantly do they love your music?

5)    Are you the performer or the songwriter? Currently songwriters, not performers are paid royalties for music played on the radio. This is has been a issue of ongoing  debate in congress. This is worth noting, simply because if you are investing a minimum of $100,000 into your music business, you want to measure the return on your investment.  There is no guarantee that you will earn this in music sales, if you are the songwriter, only mid- top level songwriters are seeing modest returns in royalty payments.

After going through this check list, you may quickly realize before you even get to budget considerations, that you need to do the important work of simply  identifying your audience.Then, you can create your targets and start thinking about whether persuing radio markets makes sense for you,  or if your time and money are better focused in other areas.

 Stop and listen to feedback from your audience, most artists so are busy trying to get people to hear them, and spend no time actually listening to feedback from the people who are essential to your success. After your performances when you are working the merch. table people give you feedback, whether you want to hear it or not.  This is valuable information because when your listening you start discovering patterns and themes essential  to your business. This will help you learn if your selling the right merchandizing items. Should you press CD’s Downloads, or Vinyl? Do your fan’s like  T-shirts, hats, or hoodies? Most importantly you’ll discover how to spend your precious few dollars in the right places.

Need help creating a music marketing plan or simply have questions on managing your music business strategy?

Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent music business, You can read more about her at  you can email her at

Top 5 reasons artists fail

Top 5 reasons bands / artists fail:

1)    No action plan: You MUST have a map and a destination in mind to get anywhere.  Like taking a road trip, you can meander hoping that someone will find you- Legitimate Producers, Booking agents, managers, attorneys won’t work with artists who haven’t achieved some level of success, and are diligently working on growing their careers.  Be ready to make a LONG-term commitment (Being a overnight success takes a minimum of 5 yrs of VERY hard work).

2)    Having the right tools:
Artist Website (this is the center of your social media universe)
-       Artist Bio (with good quality photographs)
-       Demo 3-5 songs 
-       Reviews or recognition
-       Mailing list
-       Booking info
-       Business cards (you’re a business, act like a pro)

3)    A Great Product: One thing that has never changed you MUST have great music and a great show- this is your job; you need to create the BEST music possible and lots of it!  Rehearse, play lots of shows, and constantly work on refining your craft to stay ahead of the competition. The industry is saturated with wanna be’s with little or no talent. Know what your strengths are and utilize them.

4)    Educate yourself:  To have a successful music business you need to know how EVERYTHING works- If you don’t know about distribution, or booking, use the internet, go to conferences, consult with professionals who can help you. Gather facts, and make informed decisions.

     3) Business Expert: Most artists don’t have a experienced business expert to help them guide their careers, since most business managers are busy with their successful clientele, you need a professional who can help you stay focused, and on track saving you valuable time and money.

Recommended book to have:

The Indie Bible, 12th Edition

Email Etiquette:

Let’s say you are gearing up for a big show, Perhaps your new cd is about to drop and you want EVERYONE to know about it so they can buy it.

Before you add your entire email address book to your email , you should know what appropriate etiquette is AND what is legal and before you ever hit the send button.

Email vs Spam:   If you send emails promoting your services or appearances to 10 or more people then you need to read and follow the federal CAN-SPAM act guidelines.

Build and Maintain your email list:

Here are some ideas to help you build your email list:
1. Pass around a sign up sheet at your shows.
2. Add sign up forms to your website(s).
3. Offer a free incentive to join your list (free music download or ??)
4. Add a check box on your website’s contact form giving people who email you the option to subscribe to your list.
5. At the end of your emails, ask your subscribers to forward the email to any of their friends that would like your music. Give them an incentive to help you spread the word.  (see #3)
6.  In a previous post I included  Recommended services to use  

Unsubscribe option that is easy to use
Keep in mind that people's needs and interests change, Therefore if you give them a option to join, you also must give them the option to “opt-out” of your mailing list.  Remember, you want your list to consist of individuals that are going to go spend money on you and your services. Don't freak out if you have a few people opting out, you want to focus on people interested in YOU.

 Respond / interact with your fans: One of the most important things artists can do to build their fan base is to communicate with your fans!  Even the biggest stars follow this advice to communicate with their fans  Even a simple note saying Thank you for sending a friend request, following a tweet goes a long way in building repoire.

NEVER send attachments:  DO NOT send emails with attachments!  Clogging your fan’s inboxes with huge files that people don’t want, will result in  your fan’s no longer following you AND the risk of spreading virus’s to your email list of subscribers which will have the same result!

 Measuring your success: Smart Artists recognize opportunities to learn more about their fans by tracking metrics send a download link vs a attachment. This allows you to track analytics, so you can track the number of clicks, downloads.  If no-one is downloading your music, don't you want to know ?

Are you currently using a email service to connect with your fan base?  I would love to hear who your favorite service is in the comment section below!


Can Spam act of 2003:

Photo credit:

Business Strategist Blog- “You want what your fans want”

The ABC’s of performance coaching

You are a “performer”.  You have your own unique personality, style, humor, and outlook on life that people connect with. 
Whether you go on-stage for a living, or  a physical artist that appears where your work is being showcased. 

Your experiences, belief systems, and  self esteem greatly affect your “performances”  for better or for worse,  and dramatically effect how people view you and your work.

What if you could free yourself of  negative emotions that limit your ability to connect with your audience, and allow you to take your creative work to a higher level?
Where do you start?



  •  What value are you providing for them? 

  • Is your show the best it can be? 

All successful artists have a team helping them insure they are at the top of their game.

What are you doing to make your show the best it can be?  

  • Writing really good material? 
  • Playing your very best?
  • Do you have a performance that everyone is talking about? 
  • Listen to who friends and collegues- who are they talking about?
I hear Muse has a tremendous  visual live show- So I have signed up for show announcements to make sure I catch them the next time they are in town.


Are you struggling to get fans out to your show?

Are you trying to get into bigger better paying gigs?

What are you doing to maximize your chances for success in these area’s?


-       Overcome performance anxiety
-       Addressing technical issues
-       Develop Confidence
-       Learn healthy ways to advance your career to the next level
-       Explore roles as a musician and overcome fears that are stopping you
-       Resolve trauma’s that interfere with your performance
-       Insure a complicated arrangement or set   is delivered the way you imagine
-       Engage  your audience create new fans
-       Get better, higher paying gigs


ACTION:  Don’t expect to be discovered, you will be waiting a long time.  
Take charge and start being your best now.

BARRIERS:  All barriers are  based in  B.S. (Belief Systems) that have created boundaries limiting you and your world.  You need to remove barriers so your fans can see you and your work in the best light possible

CHANGE:  Be a smart artist, and take a step back. Be willing to change what isn’t working and focus on adopting new ways of being your very best.  You can’t do it all your self, and why you need to build your own team to insure your success.

DIFFERENTIATE:  There is NO ONE like you.  Identifying and highlighting your strengths and how your different than your competitors helps you connect w/ your fans.

ELEVATOR PITCH:   Being able to distill your ABC’s into your unique selling proposition puts you miles ahead of others competing in the same pond or ocean you are in.

FEAR: Has been your gate keeper long enough, if you want to grow as a human and a artist you must face and overcome the things that are holding you back, work with a professional, who can help you be your best.

If you are  ready for Action now is the perfect time to get started.  All you need to do is click here

 Do you have a embarrassing or memorial performance story you would like to share? Post it in the comments section.

About the author:

 Tamra is  a business strategist, speaker, artist, and blogger. 
Leveraging over 25 years as an business executive and artist, she offers business solutions and private consultations to a wide range of independent music professionals all over the world- Helping them  prepare for showcases, cd release parties, and award shows (SXSW, ASCAP Awards, NAMM, Billboard Music Awards, Folk Alliance & more).

You can read what other artists have said about working with her, as well as other services she offers independent music professionals  to be their best at

Photo Credits: 
Local Music Vibe:
Tamra Engle 50th Annual Grammy Awards 

Outdoor adventure series for creative minds

Do you find yourself ever saying:

I don’t have time to do everything I want. 

How come I feel like I am working harder, but still not getting things done?


I can’t believe another relationship didn’t work out…

Why is my work not getting noticed?  My work is better than theirs’?

I have so many great ideas, I just don’t know what to work on next?

Do you feel frustrated?  Tired?   Like you’re ready to throw in the towel?

These are signs of imbalances in your life. With more and more technology, more competition creating distractions along the way, and without balance and organization, it’s very easy to feel like your not achieving what YOU want.

I am introducing an outdoor adventure series for creative minds, offering you a holistic approach to your business, your life and personal and professional relationships, to help you stay healthy, grounded, and balanced.

In addition to providing you with useful tools that you can use to achieve more, you will learn how these tools will help you have success in relationships that are important to you.

Taking you out of your daily grind and into our outdoor playground, providing your Body, Mind and Spirit with an energizing , fulfilling experience with other creative individuals just like you.

Our April adventure will involve exploring the tide pools and  Harbor Seals of the 

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.  

Learn about the delicate ecosystems and residents that live in this beautiful reserve.  

Harbor seals (who are nesting w/ their pups Feb-May), Sea Anenome’s, Star Fish, Octopus, Crabs, Rock boring clams and  if we are lucky meet the lemon nudibranch!

After our exploration, we will enjoy lunch during a workshop and discussion.  Understand how the “ripples of imbalance” can create havoc in your personal and professional relationships, and when they are left un-resolved, how the imbalances create barriers to you and your success.

Using examples from our tide pool adventure, learn techniques and tips that will allow you to focus on achieving or re-claiming balance in your own life.

After lunch we will climb 160 steps and take a .50 mile hike on the bluffs above the tide pools to reflect on “where we have come from” and share the excitement  that lie ahead.

Outdoor Adventures for Creative Minds
April 10th  9:30-2:30  
Limited to the 15 prepaid  guests*

$40 Early Registration       PURCHASE NOW  
              *$50 April 1st

Schedule of events:

9:30 meet at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve parking lot (Parking is limited, please carpool!)
Walk down to the beach and drop off our lunch blankets and packs.

10:00-12:00 Explore the Tide pools and learn about the residents who live and visit there- and how we impact one another.

12:00-1:00 Enjoy your brown bag lunch- and our workshop discussion on Achieving and Reclaiming Balance in your Life

1:30- 2:30 Climb to the trail above the tide pools to  enjoy the .50 mile  walk on the bluff above the Marine Preserve back to our vehicles.

Note: This event is ideal for adventurers who enjoy moderate terrain.  There are 160 steps down (then back up) to the beach at Seal Cove. 
The tide pool reef is a rocky, wet, with uneven surfaces.  Study shoes and watching where you walk is very important for your safety and the safety of the animals that live there.

The Walk on the bluff is a level path with panoramic views (if it isn't foggy)- make sure you have your camera or binoculars to see the nesting animals. It is Awesome!

Important things you should bring:

Moss beach offers diverse weather systems,  spring weather can be cool, foggy or  damp on a spring day. 
 Dress in layers, keep in mind you might get wet (fleece and wool are great!)  Bring a warm jacket (just in case) and having some dry items in your car to change into.

Water bottle *(we will be out 4.5 hrs)
Brown bag lunch  / Snack
Sturdy shoes: The reef is rocky and uneven, and your feet may get wet- (Tennis shoes,  Vibram / reef walkers, or Teva’s type shoes are  recommended)
We will also be on a compact path and in beach sand.
Hat or visor
Sunscreen / lip balm
Towel or blanket to sit on during lunch
Binoculars / Camera
Change of dry clothing / shoes/socks (for after tide pool)

From Hwy 1 N or S drive west on California St turn right into parking lot

7 miles north of Half Moon Bay, or 21 miles south of San Francisco
Located west of Highway 1  Take California Avenue off Highway One in Moss Beach. The reserve’s main entrance is at the end of California Avenue.  Allow 45 minutes to reach the reserve from the intersection of Highways 280 and 92 Parking is extremely limited and carpooling is necessary.
*There is a restroom and drinking fountain in the parking area, which is not easily accessible during our adventure. 

If you have any questions you can email Tamra at
To join the mailing list to find out about upcoming events to help you be your best, you can sign up HERE

I am really looking forward to sharing one of my favorite local  adventures with you!



"Providing business solutions for creative minds

Please note that if inclimate weather occurs paid adventurer's will be  notified and the event will be rescheduled.

Photo credit:

The song remains the same

Changing with the industry:

When I was a kid we would camp out at the local record stores for HOURS to be first in line for tickets and the recordings of our favorite artists.

The internet and how people consume media- has transformed business industries and our daily lives.  The recording industry has undoubtedly seen the biggest transformation within the entertainment industry.

 Major labels have gone under, artists and industry pro’s are scrambling to figure out how to revamp the way they do business, and the way those  businesses are monetized.

Berkeley College of Music’s Development center compiled a study of industry related salaries, which shows the reality of the working musician and music industry professionals.  Keep in mind with the high influx of freelance professionals in many of these fields, most in these fields  will attest to it being very difficult to achieve a full years salary in today’s market.

Music makers traditionally have been looking at music from where it is sold,
at shows, from the trunk of your car, or digital retailers like iTunes, CD Baby, etc.. 
Many artists find themselves in the eternal cycle of creating  CD’s and selling them. 
Have you considered changing your view point to:

Where music is used:
Here you start to see much broader applications and audiences for your music, as well as career options you might not have considered. 
Today, multi million dollar studios are being replaced by “home-desktop” studio’s the music creator pool has grown exponentially, and not always in a good way.
Hundreds of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs have popped up on the entertainment landscape. Getting quality music heard above the noise is much more of a challenge.  Despite how much the industry changes,

Key point remains the same:

1) You still must have great songs & performance.

2) Having excellent communication skills, being punctual, and having a positive attitude so people WANT to work with you. 

3) Demonstrating your “business” is healthy & growing- this shows potential investors, like managers, agents, merchandising , & promoters why they should do business with you.

4) Having a business development team helping you with roles like-Branding, Strategy, Social Networking, SEO (search engine optimization) and Content distribution move you above the noise. 
The big  difference is in a Indie landscape the artists are footing the bill up front vs. the labels who for decades acted as the bank extending “credit” to artists  who then had to re-coop the costs.

Creative fan engagement:

Today you know the mega stars that have used this strategy successfully, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber are a couple, but they represent the top 3% of the market, how about the emerging successes of bands  like OK-Go, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s , & Arcade Fire- who brilliantly utilized technology in their video wilderness downtown, for many music listeners the HTML5 interface gave them their first interaction with Arcade fire.  In 5 minutes, the band took viewers back to their HOME, think home and apple pie, people LOVED it.  Of course  being 1st to market with that incredible fan engagement tool resulted in industry acknowledgement by sending them home with a  Grammy.

  Using technology in creative ways to create fan engagement are critical to the success of any artist.

What unique way are you using a business strategy to engage your fans and grow your business?  I would love to hear about it in your comments below.


Photo credit:

Weeding out Creative Crushers

I just had a “mom” visit.  
Those of you who are still enjoying face time with mom, you either smiled or cringed inside when you  heard me mention a “Mom visit”.
My mother passed away 4 1/2 years ago, and during our time together we shared really amazing beautiful time, and some very frustrating tumultuous times. 

I found myself having moments of frustration during my partner’s mom’s recent visit.  I realized part of my frustration was based around I didn’t have MY mom to fuss with, and that terrible wave of sadness worked its way back into my awareness. 
You might wonder what the heck this has to do with a business strategy blog for creative people?

Family dynamics are tricky for most of us, especially as artists- there is all the cultural and social programming that comes along with it.  Depending upon your growing up environment, many parents put their expectations upon their children, and often the compliant children seek careers and relationships based upon what they have been taught, not being encouraged to develop a career or passion based on what is important to them.

  In rare instances  young artists encouraged to be artists, there are often conversations that go something like, “well isn’t that nice, but what are you going to do for a REAL JOB”? 

We carry that negative “programming” along with us subconsciously; As we grow up these little reinforcements  gather & fester in our subconscious creating a undercurrent of non-support which whether you chose to admit it or not results in our limiting ourselves both creatively and successfully.
We start to believe somewhere that this isn’t a “real job”, or I will never be like “______”.   Suddenly,  4-5, 10 or even 20  years later they are still playing at the same little local clubs,  small galleries or flea markets.
 Often spending more money trying to get people to come to the event,  Never leaving that little “backyard pond” they just tread water and often never really break even.  Do you find yourself stuck in the same little pond and wondering why?  Do you wonder what you should be doing to change things up?

Or are you someone who isn't interested in doing the work, you just want to paint, or  just write songs, hoping that if you put it out there, you will be discovered. Really? The "discovery" people are not looking for artists hanging out in the small pond, they want to see that you are progressing your career on your own.

If you want to change things up,

Give yourself a little homework assignment- take a blank piece of paper, list times in your life when you have heard feedback that didn’t support your desire to persue a creative career,   maybe it was your mom, dad, school teacher, or someone at a show asking “what do you really do”  or “that isn’t what normal people do for work”.  My mom used to tell me that people with low expectations, and unexceptable social behavior are artists, NOT her daughter!  

List as many people as you can think of and what they said. 
Let the creative crushers out of your subconscious and take a look at them.

 Post one in the comment section below- In my next post we will talk about
How we can take steps to help you move forward.  If you don’t want to wait until the next post then lets talk!



Getting started on Twitter Pt2

In Pt.1  of my getting started on Twitter posting we discussed several benefits of using Twitter, followed by 4 steps for you to get started.
Are you still on the wire about tweeting? Let me help you  finish your tweet instructions by reading this post. Then, you can follow the step by step instructions which begin with Pt 1   and  join the 18 million other users who are using a free service to build brand recognition.  as well as  synch your updates to your other social media platforms.

Pt 2 - WHAT's NEXT?

5.  Link Twitter to update your status in Facebook: Go to 
to link your Twitter page to your Facebook profile page.  Then, you can Tweet your  status updates from your mobile device or computer, saving LOTS of time.

6. "Follow" lots of people:  Twitter like many other Social Media sites works best when you are engaged in dialog with your "friends" or in the case of twitter "followers".    Locate a minimum of 100 people to follow by clicking on the who to follow tab. *don't just follow ANYONE, follow your fans and individuals & businesses that are in your personal network,  that will help you grow your network and fan base. Get started by following me

7. 3 tweets a day:   Simply ask yourself: What are you doing? Remember, Tweets are sharing the bits of info that happen to you between blogs and monthly newsletters-
NOTE:  DO NOT OVER PROMOTE: Remember tweeting isn't about shouting to the world "Come to my Show" or "Buy This"  you are building relationships with people, and there is so much more to what you do every day than just yelling at people to buy something.

8. Comments and Re-Tweeting:   As you add to the list of people you are "following" or "friending"  you will find "Tweets" that you might want to comment on or share with others.
If you want to comment on a Tweet someone else has posted you can do so by typing @followed by their user name  for example:  if you wanted to comment on one of my tweets you simply type your message and include @guitartam and it will turn up directly in the replies section of my twitter dashboard. Remember: this is a public posting that everyone will see
Private messages can be sent by clicking the messages tab and selecting the individual you want to message.   re-tweet a message you like by typing RT before the tweet then copy and past the message into your text window and send.

Now, you you have a complete Twitter getting started guide-  I would love to hear your thoughts on Twitter in the comments below.  If you want to maximize the success of  your social media campaign program, let's get started!

Tweet w/ you soon!

Providing business solutions for creative minds

Don't miss a issue:  subscribe to the Business Strategist


Rediscover your inner Rhythm

When did we stop taking the long way home?
Remember, when you were a kid? The adventures you would find along the way?
When I was a kid during the summer we would take family “road trips”.
Generally driving from our house in Southern California to to visit my grandma’s farm in Kentucky.
We traveled what was then the old Rt 66, parts of which still exist as detours along Hwy 40. 
Along the way there were stops in little dusty towns, cafes, and Indian Reservations.

 In the olden days there were no casino’s, just trading posts to sell Chatzki’s to the passing tourists.
As we traveled through the Southwest, I remember hikes into deserts that had forests that turned stone in the ancient arid temperatures.  Meteor craters and Canyons split so deep into the earth you couldn’t see the bottom.
 My parents felt I couldn’t understand and appreciate people, and our world unless I got to see and experience it first hand.  No classroom or history book allowed me to meet Indians who still live in their Pueblo’s, how a Grizzly catches a salmon in it’s mouth, or the abundance of flora, fauna, and  breathtaking colors that fill our beautiful country.  

Fast forward many years and “suddenly” you’re the adult and your rushing to catch a train to work, then race to the grocery store, pour over and answer emails, texts, profile updates AND run a household. –GASP- Suddenly it’s the holiday season and the huge scramble to finish everything so you can zoom to the airport to hurry up and “relax” for a few days No wonder we are chronically tired!

 Aren’t you sick of rushing to the airport to be strip-searched?  Airfare is costly, Fuel costs are skyrocketing (no pun intended) your hassled and hustled, your bags are rummaged through, and if you are lucky, your suitcase arrives in one piece at the same destination you are in!

My Year End holiday vacation reminded me that we take in so much so fast that we are missing all the important things-and not completing anything thing to our satisfaction. 
This is because it is impossible to keep up with the barrage of data and information that hits you constantly.   Sometimes you just need to STOP and  hit the reset button. 

Take a road trip-  allow yourself to find the “joy in the ride” you will find yourself in a relaxed state, where inventive ideas and inspiration can take hold. 
You will re-discover YOUR own rhythm, while meeting a variety of people, cultures and communities along the way.
Last week for only  $10 per car we wandered for hours through the valley floor of the Painted Desert in Arizona,

Here 93,500 acres entire forest of trees had been turned to stone, red lava, white sand, rivers of clay- and moonscapes surrounded us.  The beauty and colors were staggering.
 All for less than the cost of a movie!

Then drive to Winslow Az, where you guessed it I had to to stand on “the corner”.
 The town most known in the Eagles song “Take it Easy”.
We stayed at La Posada Inn,  Designed by Mary Coulter and watch the trains as they deliver clothing, cars, and all the goodies you buy everyday at the store or market all around the country.

 There isn’t much else to do in Winslow, but chill at this wonderfully restored Inn, and wander to the Hubble Trading post. We felt like we were guests in a wealthy Don’s home, sitting by the fire, playing piano, and reading. We were so smitten with the Inn we stayed a extra night before continuing on our journey.  
On our drive home we saw the license plates of 25 states, 3 countries-( 3 Canadian Provinces and Mexico).

I invite you to pack up the car and rediscover your inner rhythm- you will have a adventure of a life time, and you get to witness the beauty and diversity and fall in love with America all over again.

 If your looking for idea’s for your next trip hit a national park or go get your kicks on Rt 66!


Rt 66:
The Painted Desert:,_Arizona
Photo credits:

Juggling your Social Media

Are you juggling your Social Media?

Most artists  I speak to regardless of their mediums -music, paint, sculpture, photography 
have realized that  having a social media presence is a necessary part of their promotional program if they expect to make a consistent living.   

 Then, they proceed to bad mouth the social media site(s) for not respecting their privacy and not bringing them thousands of product buying customers.  Honestly, is that that the social media platforms fault? Or yours for not knowing how to properly use the free promotional tool?

Your social media program is only effective with good content that your people care about reading.  Remember the consumers drive social media not the sellers, so you need to give YOUR people what they want or they ignore you and go away.

Trying strategies that mainstream acts  like Radiohead or Coldplay are using are not the tools YOU as a new or emerging artist need to  employ since these bands  already have a massive fan base.  What you need to focus on is creating your own fan base of loyal, product buying customers.
If your a newbie to the social media world where do you connect?   Do you have to connect with all the platforms?  what do I say? when do I say it? and how the heck does this site work?

Most of these sites encourage you to "friend" or grow your list of followers, are you targeting your customers?   If you haven't already read 1,000 True Fans this can help you start thinking about who "your people" are.


Each of these sites all have different business models toward privacy and disclosure.
Facebook is frequently making modifications to their privacy guidelines and they suggest you only friend your friends and family.  While on the right side of your page they strongly encourage you connect to someone who ISN'T your family or friend.  Facebook is interested in promoting huge growth in users of ALL kinds.

While Twitter  in their privacy guidelines indicates "most of the information you provide us is information you are asking to make public".    So a good rule of thumb is if you don't want certain information made public then DO NOT put it on the www!

For many of you Twitter remains a confusing platform, limited to 140 characters how do you maximize it's effectiveness?

I always encourage my clients to connect with your fans, or people who will be interested in buying your products or services.   What is the best way to get started?

1) You need to follow others start by "following" fans that are already buying from you. Go to your email fan list-  these are people who are asking  to keep in contact with you. Take the time to write then a personal note thanking them for the connection. Just a couple of lines that thank them and include a link to your website.
Google their email address and see if they have Twitter / Facebook accounts and then you can see  which sites you should connect with them on.

2) Provide value for your followers  (if they just came to a show, or perhaps missed a show) put together a short video or picture slide show with one of your songs playing in the background. I don't know any artist that feels they have enough product buying fans so your show or installation highlights show them what there missing.

Play a fun holiday song to share w/ your fans- load that video on Youtube and create a link to it then tweet about it.  "Look at the great time we had w/ our fans  at Sat's show", or "Happy Holidays from _insert artist name here__
Include your website or where they can connect w/ you in the message!!
   Use  to shorten your links, AND Bitly has analytics built in so you can track how many folks click on the links and you can begin to develop ideas about what people really like to see, think about how YOU can engage them, and get them to respond and share the links.

3) Speak consistently, when there is something worth discussing- For your networks to be useful you need to not only provide information but RESPOND to others you are following, what bands and artists do you like, what projects are you working on together.  Things move so quickly on in the Social Media world that you need to regularly participate, while communicating with your fans.

At the end of the day with more and more users on these platforms being able to have  your "voice" heard by your customers is extremely important. We are quickly reaching  a saturation point.  Have you noticed it is getting really difficult to  stay on top of upcoming shows on Facebook.  When artists spam events multiple time your little event may be buried and not even seen.
So these tips are just starting points to help you with your online promotional strategy,
if this is the extent of the planning you are doing, your voice will be lost in the sea of other voices.  Ask yourself are the people you are connected to on line the individuals who are waiting to buy more of your product?  If not then  we should talk. and thanks to the internet, we can do that no matter where in the world you may be.

 Now is the perfect time to start planning your social media strategy for 2011, Let me help you connect with your TRUE  fans, that  hearing your voice, and buy your products.

   If your ready to get started, let me help you.

Just click on the words Business Strategist  to schedule your Business Strategist consultation or gift package from anywhere in the world.  Gift packages purchased before Dec 24th will save $41!!

I am excited to help you make 2011 the year you see benefit from your social media strategy.

I also love to hear your comments, and invite you to share my blog with artists that you would love to succeed! 


Photo Credits:

1,000 true fans:


As a independent artist most of you attend regular conferences  to expand your network, learn about emerging trends, book your events, or gain sponsorship opportunities.   SXSW,  ASCAP Award Expo, NACA, Folk Alliance, NAMM show are just a few examples of big national conferences  where individuals are clamoring for attention & recognition.   

In  Networking at a business conference we discussed things you can do to best prepare for the conference.

 Did you have a compelling “pitch” that resulting in full showcases?  Or meet someone that DID?
(if not, this is essential part of your business strategy that you must do well to have success).   Think back on what folks told you “they do” The #1 way to get peoples attention is to  ask yourself

What can I do for them? 
Did you find out why people attended the conference, notice any differences or similarities, or something that you felt worked REALLY well?  If you are terrified of talking to strangers.
Just start with HI, my name is_____  invite them to join your table for dinner, or sit down and have a drink,   people that are super “in demand” sometimes appreciate having a  little break from the maddening crowd during a multi day conference.

After a introduction, I like to  ask WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU? 

People are human, and EVERYONE needs something-  & often when I ask this question it is a simple act of consideration that changes the dynamic of the conversation.

IF  THEY ASK what you do,  have 1-3 lines (concisely telling them what you do* and what time your next showcase is)   then SHUT UP.  *DO NOT give your products to people unless they ask for it. Unless your goal is to immediately turn them off and have your product thrown in the trash.   ONLY give them a cd or product IF THEY ASK FOR IT.  & Make sure and collect their business  card before they leave, and make any notes about your chat.  (you are at a conference it’s ok to take notes!)

Add your contacts to your contact list:
Before you call it a night input all the names and contact info to your contact database (Use excel or a simple spreadsheet software) this is a separate list from your monthly newsletter / performance schedule.  
Organize them by region, or Booking Agent,  Venue Owner, DJ,  Publicist, Collaborative Partner, Artist, etc.

After the Conference:        Where the real work begins!
Send them 1 SHORT email within a week of the conference simply thanking them for meeting them- In your note, you can remind them that they are the person that also loves the Matrix movies, and traveling to far away lands). 

Additionally, was there anyone at the conference who helped you out?   They also get a thank you note!!!  Remember, you are developing your professional network, Treat people like you want to be treated,  when someone does you a favor, THANK THEM, and by adding the personal note you will stand out as the considerate, and a reminder of  the context of your conversation with them.

 Make sure your email signature at the end of your note  is SIMPLE:

Your Name (first and last) a phone number and your web site URL.  (they already have your email, you just sent them a email note!)    Do not include lengthy quotes,  multi links to all your social media sites (if you want to be perceived as a pro).  The 1st sign you are a rookie is having  4 links to various social networking sites.
If you want to be treated like a professional- read: Get your own website

THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU,   Do not sell yourself, just say THANK YOU
Do not bombard them with follow up emails every week, you are 1 of thousands of people they have met.  If you have done your homework and prepared, finish your conference with your thank you’s.
 I find that MOST artists neglect this important follow up step.  You want to be remembered as the the thoughtful, professional artist, that THEY want to work with.

Creating you pitch and to professionally pitch and present yourself like anything else requires refinement and practice, If you are not cultivating good leads, or getting work following attending events you can work with a business strategist that can HELP YOU succeed in the evolving art / entertainment business community. 

Artists ready to get started?  You can contact Tamra at:
 "Providing business solutions for creative minds"

Get your own Web Site!



To compete seriously in any business you must have a web site.
This is ground  zero for all of your creative content.  AND, the spot where your customers and fans all connect with you.  

Do you think that having a myspace or facebook fan page is enough?
 Ask yourself do you own all the email address to the 3,700 fans you have on Myspace? No ?  Imagine if the platform goes away  (So will all of your contacts).

Converting visitors to customers
 A high quality web site reflects your knowledge of your customers and their needs, by reflecting your products and services and how it speaks to your customers needs. to convert your visitors into customers.

Where do I start?

Your about to select one of the most important member of your team-
Who’s work is going to have a direct effect on your marketing, sales, & upcoming events or promotions.   You want to insure that this team member is the right person for the job.

In the Web Site world you will be talking to Designers or Developers (or if your really lucky a perfect blend of BOTH).

It will help you find the right person if you understand what the difference between a Web Developer or a Web Designer

Web Designer

Web design typically refers to the process of designing a web site or web page layout and often includes the graphical elements on a page. The design can be developed using a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop, and provides the framework for the look and feel of a web page.
Often, web design and development firms use the term "web design" to refer to the entire development of a web site because it is the most commonly recognized term in the marketplace.

Web Development
Web development is typically used to described the programming code required to construct the "back end" of a website. The back end is the area of the site that isn't seen by visitors, but which does the work required in order to present the right information in the correct format to the visitors.
Ideally when hiring your web person you want them  to have the ability to capture outstanding design and layout as well as have a development platform that is easy for them to update content to keep pace with your current projects, While providing  you with access to  analytics to track and analyse your web traffic.

Stay Away From:

Offers to host, register, and house your domain by the designer/developer. if you decided to use another web designer / developer good luck getting your domain / service.
Web sites designed in FLASH or Frames formats- They are invisible to people searching on mobile devices and invisible to search engines and limit your reporting capability since they cannot index properly. 


Domains / Hosting

A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative authority, or control in the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS).

You want to always maintain control (own) your web site domain

Many web site owners let their web designer register their domain name for them. In some cases, the web designer lists themselves as the owner and main contact and the real web site owner can not move to new hosting or make changes without the permission of the web designer.
1) Go to whois source   type in the domain you are interested in using and see if it is available. 
- Use your name or brand with a .com extension, no one is going to find you under “thinga ma unless that is you / your products name that you will be marketing.
2) Where to go to register your domain name.   Although services like receive lots of promotion there have been numerous claims that their customers service, Security, and system reliability are questionable.   I have used IX Webhosting for a number of years and find them very affordable and reliable.  (ask who your collegues use and recommend)  You can expect to spend approx $10 / mo.  Do yourself a favor and simply buy a two year domain hosting (if you let your domain expire, it is up for grabs and individuals buy up website and sell them at a profit (yup there is a whole business in this)
Hosting is often offered in bundles with your domains Your interested in lots of storage and can get the domain / hosting package together for simplicity.

It is critical to your Internet marketing program that you know how well your web site is doing.

Good quality hosting companies will provide you with these statistics as part of your package.
A decent quality statistics package should track the following statistics.
Number of unique visitors.
Number of page views.
How many visitors are from search engines and what key words
they used to find you.
      How many people come from country domains such as .ca
(Canada), .de (Germany) or .uk (England).
     What search engines have visited recently.
What pages of your site are most popular.  What web sites refer traffic to you?
Who Own’s the Site?
You pay for the web site so you own it, right?
Online web designer contracts I found contain a clause like this:
Copyright to the finished web design site produced by [web design company] will be owned by [web design company]. The Client will be assigned rights to use the Web Design Project as a web site, once final payment under this agreement and any additional charges incurred have been paid. Rights to photos, graphics, source code, work-up files, and computer programs are specifically not transferred to the Client, and remain the property of their respective owners.

Many web designers and programmers feel that the creative work they do on your web site is copyrighted by them and that they retain an ownership right.
So they just license it to you to use without giving you the original files so you can make changes yourself later or change designers. This is especially true in cases of programming code where

To protect yourself, ensure that your contract with your web designer includes who owns the web site and all its componants, including source code of any programming and that you retain the right to change designers and hosting.
This is always EXPENSIVE and time consuming (just steer away from it). Unless you have a detailed layout of cost, time, and what type of bugs / downtime you can expect as a result of this work.
This is always EXPENSIVE and time consuming (just steer away from it).

E Commerce:

Most successful web sites let visitors buy right online.       You can easily add e-commerce capability to your web site using 1ShoppingCart or PayPal.
1ShoppingCart is a secure web-based shopping cart that can be added to any site. Features include e-commerce capability with over 150 merchant service providers, an upsell module, an electronic coupon and discount module, unlimited auto responders, broadcast e-mail, newsletter management, affiliate tracking and management, ad/revenue tracking, digital delivery system to deliver e-books and software, survey forms and a pop up wizard.
It will work with most credit card merchant services systems, including PayPal or you can use it to capture orders and process them manually if you prefer.
PayPal offers a low cost method of letting people pay by credit card or from their bank account online. They also offer a free, basic shopping cart that you can add to any web site.
If your designer is adding e-commerce to your site, make sure you know which system they are using, and the pricing and features. Make sure you own the software being used or are the registered owner of the service.

Can I Update my own Web Site?
I strongly discourage self updates.  You are paying a designer to retain a DESIGN and content continuity.  Limit your contributions to feeds to your calendar page, your blog, Twitter feeds, or photo streams you add to your site.
Sites that are ‘self authored’ look home made (and not in a good way) a mile away. If you are seeking a professional look and feel.  Have a professionally written bio and content.

SITE CONTENT RECOMMENDATIONS  (specific recommendations may be made depending upon your sites focus).

SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK / PRODUCT:  Music, Videos, Photos & a Storefront  to purchase your products or service.
TESTIMONIALS:  This is the #1 way to get more work. word of mouth from your current & prior customers! *also include links to their sites to link back to you!
EMAIL / CONTACT: Always allow your customers the ability to sign up for a mailing list (even if your only posting a monthly calendar of events).  As well as letting potential customers email you for booking / work- requests.   Go to Tamra Engle's Contact page for a good example of how your page should look.
I have also included a GET INVOLVED and COMMUNITY page to showcase other projects / networks I am involved in.


Here are some tips to help you choose the right one.

1.   Who’s web site do you love? Look at other artist/ businesses that compete in your industry, what designs are used? Do you like any of them?  If so, scroll to the bottom of the web page and click on the link of the designer that did the work on the sight.
2.   Review their portfolio of web sites they have done to make sure their style is what you are looking for.
3.   If you like what you see email them and tell them you would like to schedule a consultation to design a new site, as them if you can have references from clients that are in your line of work.
4.   Contact some of their previous clients and ask them:
 a. Are they happy with their work? b. Was it on time and on budget? c. Were there any surprises or problems?
d. Did they receive all the access information needed for the web site, hosting and tools used?
  1. Ask for a copy of their web site services contract to ensure the terms and conditions meet your approval.  Yes you CAN negotiate terms!
  2. Know what you want!  (if you like the texture of  this page, or these colors, pictures, logos) these are all decisions that have to be made  create a document with links  or pictures to all the “details” that you want to incorporate so your web person can better determine the scope of work for the project.

Your contract with your web designer should clearly state:

·      Ownership of the site, graphics, pictures, programming and any tools used.
·      A requirement that you have copies of all access instructions, IDs and passwords and that you have the capability of changing them after the project.
·      How much you will pay and when you will pay it. The payment schedule should also state what the payment is based on. For example, you might set up the payment structure so that each payment is based upon certain key components being finished and approved.
·      Who will be doing the work and if portions of the work will be subcontracted. It should also be clear what your responsibilities are to any subcontractor.
·      How extra charges will be handled or approved.
·      How often they will report to you and what will be reported.

A web site is a serious marketing investment with great potential.

Many web site owners pass off the web site to their designers and then don’t pay attention to the project.
When this happens, it is  easy for the project to get off track. To make sure you project stays on track:

·  Stay involved. Be in regular contact with your designer so that you can quickly correct misunderstandings and remove obstacles to the project’s success.

·  Do your part. Make sure you get any material needed by the designer to them on time so that you are not holding the project up.

·  Get weekly reports. Agree upon a reporting system via phone and in writing where you are regularly updated as to progress and quickly made aware of potential problems.

·  Keep it Simple: Clean & Simple- your web site should remove any objections to people doing business with you. Allowing your customers to get what they need in 1 or 2 clicks, and not direct people AWAY from your site *unless it is to buy something of yours.

If you are ready to make the leap into the world of the world wide web and want your site to be top quality, and you need help insuring the success of one of your top marketing tools drop me a note here:

Tamra Engle's Contact page   I can help you insure your content is top notch and help you get started in building a top notch team to insure your success!

Tamra Engle is a performing songwriter and business strategist who offers business solutions for creative minds to help them succeed in the evolving music and entertainment industries.

Garland Coulson    
TierraTech Corporation


STARTING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS                                        October 2010

Independent artists everywhere are having to use tools and techniques that they perhaps didn’t consider to achieve commercial success with their art.
Whether physical paintings, sculptures, books, poetry, songs, if your hope is to have audience to purchase your work, then you need to start thinking of your self as not just a artist, but a small business owner.
In today’s economic climate regardless of where you live,  thousands  are considering or being forced into  career changes,  if you have a interest in starting your own business however, are at a loss at what to do to begin, consider this:
  Having a strategic plan   (A plan of action) is an essential 1st step- and not having a clear strategic New research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that most failures of American startups will occur in the first two years of their existence. (1)

 individuals want to “skip the hard stuff” and just jump in counting on “being discovered”.

I’ve provided some key questions and steps for you to go through to see if being an independent business owner is something you are prepared for.

Ask yourself:  “what do I want out of life”?  If your like most people this is a big scary question which is often skipped, or just given a very vague answer like  “I want to be successful” which doesn’t move you any closer to achieving success in your  business.

You must first clarify is your business one of passion and purpose ? or one of profit and practicality?  When you are able to blend the two that is when you really achieve success.

A purpose and passion business is one born from your love of doing something, your business provides you with your “higher purpose” ie: it is something you would do even if you didn’t get paid.  Individuals fulfilled by these businesses can make a very good living but that isn’t the main motivation for why they do what they do.

Sometimes your passion isn’t at all profitable or practical unless it taps into a coming trend and you have solid research contained in your business plan  indicate it will be  a sure thing.
These businesses can be very profitable, or if not  it will simply feel like a very low paying bad job.

I am going to assume that you are considering starting a business relating to something you are passionate about.

The following questions you should consider to make a living wage and profit from your passion.

1)    Can you create a product or service that fills a need YOU have?
2)    Is there already a proven market for what you want to do?
3)    Is there healthy competition doing what you want to do?
4)    Can you find a way to stand out from others doing what you do?
5)    Can you utilize the Internet to generate leads with little cost?
6)    Can you make 200-300% profit on what you want to do?
7)    Can you sell a package rather than time?
8)    Is there a successful similar business you can go work for?
9)    Can you start small and grow?
10)  Can you visualize what a perfect day in your business would look like in 3-5 years.

If your ready to roll up your sleeves and get started,  and need some assistance let’s talk, I would love to help you have success and fulfillment with your business!

(2)  John Jantsch- duct tape marketing

The business of being a artist

Have you stepped back and taken a look at your looked at your art AS a business?  
If you don’t have a “business background” or know where to begin, or you feel business and art have nothing to do with one another,  you may not have done this.

If this is the case, how is this working for you? 
Are you happy with where you are professionally as a artist? Probably not, 
It's ok- you one of hundreds of thousands  who are not getting what they want from their creative pursuits, and as a result are not able to make a living wage doing what they love.

You realize you can do something to change that?
Let's back up and start at the very beginning to  do a little “check up” to see if you are ready to start a business?

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

1. Do you think your ready to start a business?
2. Have you ever worked IN a business similar to what you are planning?
3. Would people say you are well suited to be self employed?
4. Do you have support from your family & friends?
5. Do you consider yourself a leader and self starter?
6. Would OTHER people consider you a leader or self starter?
7. Are you willing to invest a significant portion of your savings or net worth  to get your business started?
8. Are you prepared if needed to temporarily lower your standards of living  for a couple of years until your business is firmly established?
9. Are you willing to commit long hours to make your business work?
10. Have you ever written a business plan?

If you answered NO to more than 3 of these questions then perhaps the making a living as a self employed artist  isn’t something you are suited for- and you can continue to languish in obscurity.

  If you answered yes to many of the questions, and want to take steps to change the trajectory of your artistic career, then re-framing how you view your music, as a BUSINESS and creating a business structure around it will insure you  have more success. 

The degree of your success depends entirely upon you having a GREAT product, GREAT plan, & lots of hard work on creating a foundational plan to build your career upon.

I have listed these items in the order they should be addressed each step is dependent upon the next to be successful

    This will help you distill and clarify what it is your doing, what space your competing in, what value you are providing your audience, & why they should care about what your doing.

    When you write your own bio, you know it, and so does everyone reading it.
The information you provide your readers is vital to them understanding who you are-  Listing the unique facts about you, relevant experience, and phrasing it in a clear concise way that compels the reader to want to know more about you
Carefully cultivating the unique qualities that make you different than everyone else.

Every SUCCESSFUL business has a plan-& goals. It doesn’t matter if you are the only person in the business you still need a roadmap detailing what your business does, what direction your headed in, who your customers are and what core values are important to you and guide you.

  This simple tool is often over looked- and a key tool to show that your serious about what you do.  Often I get a card and  find it is missing a website, or email address, last week at a conference I got a card that just had a name on it. that's it.  I nearly tossed the card, then I googled the name thinking ah a clever ploy to get me to the artist website. NOTHING, not even a facebook page.  I tossed the card, and that artist probably doesn't realize how many opportunities that have been missed by trying to be cool and different.  Clearly missed the target.

Use a standard sized card- if it doesnt fit in a wallet it will get tossed or annoy people that it wont fit in their wallet.
Print on ONE SIDE, on a NON GLOSSY card,   when people who care about you get your card, & if they want to make a note about you on the back of the card, for possible follow up.  They can’t if the card is two sided or glossy.

(the tag line comes  from your work on your artist id)

You can order great cards from

 If you are not easily accessable, you will miss opportunities and not even know it.  A prospective client talking with you, hearing beeps and clicks as you hit the keypad, and then dead air because you hung up on them.
 With today’s technology you need access to your phone calls, & emails-and RESPOND to requests within 1 business day unless you are "out of the office" then you have a message indicating that you will be returning on a specific date and will be returning messages THEN.
   At this writing Whether you are with ATT or Verizon  get either a iPhone or a Droid-  they both run multiple apps are dependable (as much as the two largest wireless providers can be).  And most importantly they make you available to do business.   Do not mess with bargin brand phone service, or pay as you go services-  You get to WRITE OFF this expense when you do your taxes. YOU CAN"T AFFORD NOT TO HAVE ONE.  Do not short change yourself, in having a key communication tool available.

The bottom line is, You never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression-  by having the correct  BASIC tools, shows the outside world you are:
-       Organized
-       Open for business
-       Have a Plan 
-       Serious about your career

If your potential customers or fans are unsure about you or the service you offer they WILL NOT BUY your products, it is up to you to clarify and make it easy for them  

If you need help getting organized, clarified, and realize the success you imagine, contact me I can help you put the correct pieces in place for YOU to make a powerful impression on your prospective fans, business partners & investors. 
In teaching you how to succeed these tools can be used in ALL areas of your life, it happened for me, it's happened for my clients, it can happen for you. It just takes the acknowledgement that you want to, and are ready to make a positive difference in your life.

Tamra Engle is a performing songwriter and business strategist who offers business solutions for creative minds to help them succeed in the evolving music and entertainment industries. As a performing singer-songwriter,  she has worked as a studio musician in Los Angeles; toured the U.S. and enjoyed the placement of her songs on television and nationally aired commercials. Her recent album was on the final round ballot for the 2008 Grammy's in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category.

Helping others achieve success doing what they love.
Insuring music education remains accessible to school age children.
Ending Violence against Women & Children.
Reef Preservation/Restoration
Deep Sea Diving

Discovering your purpose

One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me was the love of books, and the desire to do anything I set my mind to.
(as long as I had a plan to do it right).

  I have conversations with friends and collegues everyday who are frustrated with being stuck and simply not knowing how to be able to make a living doing what they love.
 Many of us spend our lives endlessly searching for the quick fix to fill us.  I know I spent years, focusing on making money because that's what I thought, and was told,  was the important thing to focus on.  Yes, the great green does provide us with the "comfort" of having "things" around us, it doesn't really quench our thirst for fullfillment to do what WE love.

I know I have been given blessing  to search and seek what I love. For me, it took a huge life changing moment to stop me to acknowledge what I had known deep in my heart, that  I was chasing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. 

So I set forth to follow my calling,  and part of my work is to share this with others, and  help others "discover their calling" then, drop by drop our little pool grows into a great ocean of fulfillment.

We spend our lives seeking to feed 3 hungers:

1) To connect w/ the creative spirit of life:  At some point we become aware of the creative energy all around us.

2) To know and express your gifts:  Everyone contains some unique talent(s) some discovered some yet to be discovered- for the undiscovered many seek fulfillment in countless ways, 
the fastest cars, the biggest house, affairs, addictions, distractions from the day to day constantly searching for "IT".  Many spend their lifetimes looking for the thing that will provided the fulfillment they seek.

3)To know our lives matter:  Each of us wants to know that we will leave behind a reminder of their existence, a impression that we have left for others to see and experience after we have left.

Fulfillment is achieved by feeding all 3 of these hungers- we can make alot of money, have fame, but success w/out fulfillment means you are not feeding all 3 hungers!

First start with yourself- not the external demands put upon you or the situation.

Then, discover what makes you unique?  Where do you find your joy and passion?  When you connect with your passion your chances of success are HUGE. 

Finally find peace / solitude- The greatest gift you can give yourself is a quiet space, maybe it is a favorite hiking path, a favorite rock to stare out on the city, ocean or open space.  maybe a sunny corner of your favorite room.  If this solitude place is someplace that takes time to get to, then create a space where you can find a similar peace of mind.
 A client of mine, used posters, colors, and a ipod  to replicate the beach in her urban space.  This quiet place will help you deal with the starting w/ yourself, uniqueness, discovering where you find joy and connecting.  Your imagination is a powerful, and FREE tool you can use anytime everyday!


What is your ideal of "living the good life"?  In today's society  we are consumers, we focus on "things" the kind of car we drive, the designer clothing we wear, the cool new gadget everyone has, the neighborhood we live in.  Distill things to these elements:
Living in a place that you feel you  belong, with people your love and in relationships that work (including the relationship with yourself).  Having the right work.  When you focus on something you believe in with your heart & soul in a environment that represents who your are, and doing the tasks w/ purpose  you have suddenly found the meaning for yourself,  rather than trying to be something to everyone else.


Tamra Engle is a performing songwriter and business strategist who offers business solutions for creative minds to help them succeed in the evolving music and entertainment industries. As a performing singer-songwriter she has worked as a studio musician in Los Angeles; toured the U.S. and enjoyed the placement of her songs on television and nationally aired commercials. Her recent album was on the final round ballot for the 2008 Grammy's in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category.


  • Helping others achieve success doing what they love.
  • Insuring music education remains accessible to school age children.
  • Ending Violence against Women & Children.
  • Reef Preservation/Restoration
  • Deep Sea Diving


Richard Leider- The  Power of  Purpose
as recommended by Robert Temple

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