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

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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.

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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