4 weeks for you!

We are all born with creativity.   It is the way each of us express, differentiate, and excel at what we do.
Depending upon your cultural, social beliefs, and upbringing,  you have either been encouraged or discouraged to express your creativity. 
Individual challenges occur when we reach cross roads in our journey.
  These are opportunities  to clear away  old bad habits and distractions that we have been tripping over for years.
 Is it time to take on the project that you have been dreaming of?
 Perhaps you have spent a career doing something you were told was a good career  and now you want to  consider how to take all the skills you have amassed and create a "new you" doing something YOU love.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”  ~Oprah Winfrey

This is a 4 week program-  We meet in a one on one session for 1 hour each week.
Depending upon the agreed upon objectives  specific to YOUR individual needs, I will guide our  discussions to address your creative challenges and opportunities  in a structured, safe, environment.
Each week you will be given specific take away exercises to work on during the week which will act as building blocks to  help you  address, barriers, re-engage, or develop your creative self.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to get out of your head, into action, with support when you have a  breakthrough or blockade.

Who should attend?
Artists or creative wannabe's who have the desire, willingness and commitment to connect with themselves and others , develop and nurture your creative self  in a healthy, safe, and supportive environment.

When and Where
Berkeley / San Francisco  locations available. Weekly meetings are generally scheduled between  9a-6pm Mo-Sat.  Dates, times and location will be confirmed based upon schedule availability. *During typical sessions we meet for coffee, lunch, or a walk for 
face to face consultations and workshops.
Meetings can  be scheduled ANYWHERE in the world- contact me to discuss details and pricing outside Berkeley / SF area for both face to face and Skye options.

Limited Availability!  
The number of spaces  and discounted pricing  a  limited time offering!

Full Registration is required when you sign up to guarantee your space for: Four- one hour break through consultations.

Registration Fee:  $399   

Do or do not...

When you have committed to a large project- you know that you are going to be faced with multiple challenges.
The biggest challenge is often simply getting started.  
You or others around you may question your motives, and even your sanity for following something that you believe strongly in. 

Once you are under way, you are often diverted with competing priorities and obstacles .  You might even face barriers as you are attempting to finish your project.

The Boston Marathon  is a huge “project” for a individual to take on- without any horrific distractions.
When you compete in marathon distance races, you are committing to hours and hours of running.  26.2 miles is a long enough distance that you can’t “fake it”, meaning  if you were a active and healthy individual you could probably drop into your neighborhood 5- 10k or maybe even a 1/2 marathon, race and finish, It might not be pretty, and you would feel pretty sore to run between 3-13 miles with little training, but you could "fake it".
Running your body for 26.2 miles, that means running four 6.2 mile 10k's in a row. It also means you have worked out the physical stamina needed, your dietary requirements, and often the biggest piece of the puzzle, the mental component. Staying focused, motivated, and listening to your body. Once those big pieces are taken care of what if you  have set your sights on competing at the Boston Marathon?

 It is a championship race  that requires qualifying race  times and requirements for runners to compete. It's too much to "fake it" you have to be prepared and have done the hard work just to get there.  Then you have to face the actual event. Obsticles? yup, hills? you bet several,  your body? the distance, sometimes the weather, all take their toll. Regardless of your finishing time your tired when your feet cross over the finish line.  
With the prolonged mental and physical drain  it is VERY  easy to get distracted, and in the unthinkable instance of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon bombs were  laid at the finish line.
Bill Iffrig- via London Telegraph
During the first explosion, you see  a 78 yr old runner Bill Eliff being knocked to his feet.  
 I guarentee you this runner, who had 3 Boston's already under his belt did not include bombs exploding on the side of the course when he was preparing for this event.  Despite the tremendous distraction and diversion of 2 bombs exploding, he completed the race.

We run, ride, race, create music, art, and new products to make our lives “better”- while completing our big projects, we like to cheer others like us on!   Together WE push forward. It didn't occur to Bill to not finish the race, he had already come so far. (!!!)
There will always be barriers trying to stop us from what we are driven to do, I can't bear to dwell on the horrific nature of the loss, and to have a beautiful historic tradition used as a platform for some depraved bullies attempt to interupt the successes of others.

I do believe we creatures, try most days to love, protect, and challenge each other, and when things get hard we cheer each other on to be the best we can be.  As a old friend reminds me   “Do…or do not, there is no try”-  Yoda

Today, start something good,

we are here cheering, and celebrating!

Links and credits:

Boston Marathon BAA.com
Qualifying information
Bill Iffrig: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/15/177393410/boston-blast-man-knocked-over-by-explosion-got-up-finished-race

Photo credits
via London Telegraph:
Bill Iffrig: http://media.kens5.com/images/470*264/0415bill_iffrig.jpg
Start something big: vemo.com
Peace Train: cat Stevens  via dailymotion.com
Lack the courage to start- tamra engle

Tour or travel planning?

During spring time I notice 3 types of people.

Families preparing for a spring break- looking for a get away.
Business Travelers-  Road warriors who are home often enough to collect their bills, then off to the next  client.
Tour Preperation- Artists preparing for summer tours- Local, regional, and North American travel, in cars, vans, busses, planes, and trains.

If you spend any amount of time "on the road" you have certainly experienced a wide variety of places to eat, sleep, while trying to  get to the next location, it can get ugly really fast!

Sometimes we get so focused upon  the destination we forget "la gioia è nel giro " Italian  for "the Joy is in the ride".  

When your planning your next great adventure, whether it is for business or pleasure-  think about the amount of time you are going to be spending traveling?  

What  are your eating? Where are you sleeping?  And what are your physical activity needs are during that time?  When driving,  do you get out and stretch and walk around every few hours? or did you not plan your drive time well, and your racing non stop to get to the next town?
  Are you making good food choices while you are traveling?  Drinking enough water? or are you falling victim to what  ever pre-packaged, motel  fast food that is filled with fat, sugar, and calorie or portion sizes that are enough to feed two people, and your "system" is outta whack for a week. 

Whether you are a artist touring, a business traveler, or your bringing the whole dang family with you for a outdoor adventure.   You are physically hauling more things with you.  Suitcases, food, equipment and everyone's toys. 
Most things are heavier, and shoved into tight spaces requiring you to bend over, or stand in a awkward position reaching above your head. 
If your a woman  are you physically strong enough to lift 30-50 lbs above your head?  Most women can't lift 20 lbs over their heads!   Do you ever come home from a trip and feel trashed or get sick?  

Being trashed or sick totally defeats the idea of "getting away".
 Your supposed to come back home feeling  relaxed not in a deeper hole than when you left! 
  If your traveling for business, you ALWAYS have a pile of work waiting for you when you get back,  If your too sick to get back to it,  then your gonna feel really stressed out, trying to play catch up.
 Stop coming home from a tour or business trip sick, or from a conference with another "bug".

If your new gig is going to put you on the road more often, and your goal is to really "kill it" then get serious and  think about it like you are "training" for your job.   Lifestyle guides can assist you with everything from project management helping with travel planning  to making recommendations for proper meal and exercise planning to insure you get the most out of your travel time by staying healthy!

Some additional reading about travel and health:

I'm Coming to your town:

Ready to schedule a planning meeting with you, or your leadership team?
  • Private or group consultations
  • Short- Mid term project work
  • Workshops- to improve and grow your personal and business health.
  • Entertainment Consultant: Producer / Branding / Social Media
  •   Email me!

Florida:         Clearwater Fl: May 19-22nd-
California:     SF / Central Coast / LA / OC/ SD
Italy:    Sept - Florence, Sienna, Tuscany-   
Your town?

Schedule your private or group consultation to improve and grow your personal and business health!

Meet the new baby!

The past two years the  customers that have been referred to me most, have me individuals and business's who need(ed) assistance re-branding- or transitioning on to the next big thing in their lives.
As I began working with these individuals everyone  had gone through several MAJOR life changing events. 
These are times that I call "book mark" moments, the starting or ending of a relationship, job, or home. 

Re-branding, re-discovery, re-birth,  or mid-life crisis, what ever you choose to call it.  What every label you want to put on it, every human has chapters in their lives, and you as the authors of your story get to decide which path's  and 
directions you choose to take within the chapters.

When I am in a personal transition time, I  use these times  to assess where I am at, evaluate the tools I know how to use,  and refine how I am using them, or add additional skills to my tool box to help my clients do the same, so they can achieve the goals they imagine.

My ongoing  evolution has branched out into a new Lifestyle Blog titled
 "Be the Garden"  In this new forum, I will share tips, recipes, interviews and articles  each week about people like you who are successful business owners, managing a busy household, and like to play hard!   If your   interested learning ways to keep yourself and your family reclaiming health, sanity and balance to your lives,  then you can "Be the Garden"  and use this as a launching off point for a new way of living!  Greener, with more space for the things that are important to you.  
I invite you to subscribe to the blog, which you can get delivered for free once a week. 

Are you ready to get started on what's next?   Then let's talk!   Most initial consultations are over a walk or coffee-

I'm Coming to your town:

If your interested in meeting for a private or group consultation or workshop let me know:
Ready to schedule a planning meeting with you or your leadership team? Email me!

Coming to:

Washington: Seattle Wa:  March 27-29th- schedule your lunch or post work meeting
Florida:         Clearwater Fl: May 19-22nd-
California:     SF / Central Coast / LA / OC/ SD- Schedule your private or group consultation or workshop

Be the garden direct link:  http://bethegarden.blogspot.com/

Sorry, I've been swamped!!....

How often have you heard or used this "excuse" for not responding to someone?
"I am sorry but I have been swamped!"   Swamped is a   term used to describe a feeling.  It is a feeling brought about by overwhelmed thinking.   When we use this phrase on others,  deep down we feel it will gain us sympathy, and acknowledgement of our stressful situation.

 Have you heard or used these phrases " I'm feeling down" or   " I can't seem to do anything right"?
Have you ever worked on a project with someone that simply complained about the job, the boss, or co-workers? Perhaps they go on to say how they can "never get everything done".   When your surrounded by it, you soak it in and start to believe it, and pretty soon, you find you are also a  "victim" in the "habit" of "being swamped", and find you are never getting things completely done.

Forget your bad habits, Try embracing these terms "Get over it"  Rise above it", even "I'm on top of it!"

 Look at the words you use to communicate.   Make a list of phrases that you use frequently, if your spending your time and energy talking about why you can't do things,  I bet you have a long list of things that are not getting done.

When you create your list of priorities for the day, is there realistically enough time to complete the tasks you have on the list?  Or, do you need to need to make modifications to realistically complete the tasks in a high quality way that you feel good about?

 Communicate with others on your team  who depend upon you to complete the task(s) by a specific time, or if you need help learning how to better manage your time, put your ego aside and bring in a professional to help you move out of this "phase" of not accomplishing.

  Sometimes life  does toss in delays and distractions.  How you choose to handle them will affect your success, and your relationship with those you interact with.

How have you gotten out of "being swamped?" let us know in the comment section-

References: Swamped: http://dictionary.reference.com/slang/swamped

How you gonna love somebody else?

"Honey, if you can't love yourself,
            how the hell you gonna love somebody else?"
- RuPaul Glamazon entertainer  

Do you love your product or service?

Does it excite you?  
Think about the last time you purchased something that really made you feel:  cool, hip, efficient, skinny, smarter, or super excited? 
*Extra bonus if what ever it was made you feel ALL those things!).  

Whether buying the latest technology tool, to having the cool ride you have always dreamed about when you are parting with your hard earned cash, especially for a big ticket item, you are doing so because something has REALLY motivated you to do it. Ideally your motivation isn't because the washing machine has suddenly gone ka-put.

If your product or service doesn't make you feel excited, then it certainly wont make your customers feel that way either.

Some people prefer easy,  you can spot them a mile away, they expect they, their product, or idea will be discovered and wealth will rain down upon them.  When it doesn't, they are bitching,   making a great deal of noise and waste energy, yet never do anything about it. 
 If your not creating-your not moving forward and certainly will be frustrated by staying stuck in the same place day after day, after month, after year...

If your tired of being comfortable and standing in the little circle, labeled "your comfort zone"  
Take action right now by joining others who want to create and move forward and if your ready I can  connect you with someone that provides solutions for creative minds like yours.



Don't forget to unplug tonight!

Starting at Sunset March 1st through March 2nd it is National Un-plugged day.

A day where Americans are urged to "un-plug" from electronic devices.  The news of this latest "holiday"  made me chuckle.  In our home we have had  scheduled "Un-plug" days and weekends, Our vacations are generally speaking "un-plugged" affairs.   Why?    We found ourselves under a constant barrage of  negative and sensationalized news in social media, daily paper, and old school television and movies- Everyone had a microphone and was screaming out the mundane, horrific in a constant wave of information.

We found ourselves stressed out, not sleeping well, our diet and exercise program had kinda been kicked to the curb because we just didn't have time, and were too tired.

As Individuals we often forget that WE control our environments.  We get so distracted by all the crap swirling around us, that we get bogged down in habits and routines that are easy, and don't challenge us.  We become complacent and soon we  find ourselves like gold fish circling the drain.  
 As we stopped and looked around, we realized we both felt like we were trapped in  a environment that we didn't like and really didn't like how we FELT!

With our little electronic iFriends and Droid buddies in hand, we are constantly switching between a variety of tasks, when bing, we are off to the next distraction. 
They have done studies to show that humans are NOT good at multi-tasking. When you are constantly switching tasks, your brain's processing center who's job is to  help you focus and learn new information is being used up by  being constantly redirected  from one task to the next, to another....
Instead of flitting back and forth try finishing something then moving on.
I have a list of items at the beginning of the day, that I need to complete, Finish a task THEN move on to the next, when you complete one thing before moving on to the next  you will find you have more completed tasks vs having several unfinished things on your plate.

Unplug from the madness! We set some boundaries in our home  to help us reclaim sanity and balance back into our lives.  It has resulted in us losing weight, feeling better, and reconnecting with friends and colleges, which keeps work humming. Get creative, in your home environment you have endless distractions- take a play from Mr. Rodgers, put on a sweater, or jacket that is your "work jacket",  Mentally it is a reminder that you are in "work mode", when you stop to take a break, take off the jacket.

Here are some other tips to help you reclaim some balance in your life, be more productive and enjoy more "unplugged time" 

1) No cellphones, Pads, or computers in the bedroom (ever!)-   Have your phone in any other room and turn your notifications OFF after 9pm.  The bedroom is for resting, and is a intimate sanctuary, respect it and protect it, you will sleep better I promise you!

2) Vacation destinations- Plan your next trip where there is no cell coverage-  Take a day trip, weekend, or vacation with a friend-  We have a country filled with National, State and Regional parks that are beautiful resources to educate you about our local natural resources, learn ways that you can be a better "neighbor" walk through them with a 2 or 4 legged friend, Your soul will thank you.  You may not be able to help yourself from snapping a few pictures to post online LATER!

3) Business meetings-  I schedule meetings  when ever possible as hikes, or walks.
Just the act of getting out of the office and walking to the corner cafe, changes your perspective and gets your body moving.  Re framing who you are is key to your success, when you walk hold your head high, don't look down, take deep breaths and be grateful for being able to enjoy this simple yet beautiful action, it's a free gift you can give a friend too!

4) Diet Re-evaluation- 

  • Read your labels- If you have any canned items in your home they should only have the item listed and water, no preservatives, or color enhancers!     
  • GMO watch- 70% of packaged foods contain Genetically modified ingredients- do you have cereal, cookies, snack bars, or anything with corn syrup in your cupboard? Corn Soy, and Cotton are the 3 top  Genetically Engineered foods- You will be surprised how many  products you have  in your home that have been modified, get rid of the offenders and make educated decisions about you and your families health.
  • Limit how much bread and starch your eating every day-  Most Americans are loading up in this category- and foods like this that quickly break down into a high glucose  or high glycemic index food- which spike your blood sugar then leave you feeling hungry, Notice that you will be hungry  a hour after eating a Big mac and Fry's? 
5) Get up and MOVE!- I don't need to link to a article here for you to know the benefit of exercise.  Make yourself walk at lunch or meet a friend for a walk in the morning before or after work!.  Make yourself do this every day for one month. I promise you will feel better at the end of 30 days and have a healthy habit that will help you feel great!

6) Call someone in your contact list- (before you unplug) Schedule time to get together face to face- for a cuppa joe, or to be your partner in crime for #5.  People are looking for a reason to get out and not be glued to their electronic leash- reconnect face to face.  You will develop relationships and find your personal, professional, and spiritual life are filled in wonderful ways that you hadn't imagined!

Now, if you'll excuse me I have a new client to meet, we are going for a walk to discuss a new project they are excited to get started on and were going to do it with out any electronic leashes.

What are your favorite ways to "un-plug"?  I would love to hear about them, or if you need help figuring that out, let's go for a walk.... Come on, it's a beautiful day out there!



Are you challenging yourself?

Ask yourself, Are the efforts of each individual / area  of your organization being devoted to the same general purpose?

Do you see area's where improvements can be made?  
Being self employed you always have to have a hand in the current project you are working on, while the other hand is busy looking for new business. Each year you dedicated to personal improvement and skill development.
It's simular to being a farmer - Who's job  has distinct cycles for clearing / prepping, planting, growing, and reaping. These cycles in allow each of us to assess, making adjustments, add skills, value.
Are you challenging yourself to bring the very best  to your clients? 

"Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare". - Japanese Proverb
Taking a thought or idea and moving it into a tactical plan allows you to create your own Battleplan. When done correctly, a tactical battle plan considers where you are currently and identifies the "what" and "where" to advance your actions toward your business's purpose.

"It's not where you want to go, but where you come from that matters most"   
We often focus on trying to identify lofty goal above us, often without much work or planning,
 you have stuck a stake in the sand and declared it your "golden ring" you are constantly reaching for, and many of these "gold rings" are left unreached, and your left disappointed.
   Why not turn things around and take a look at where you are right now, how are you carrying yourself in the world? Even if that inner dialog, which is usually  something that somebody else has said about us. Often we assume those labels and characteristics that others have bestowed upon us, to shackle and limit who we really are.  It is our responsibility to take time each year to peel back the crap that doesn't belong to us and toss it aside, it's old news and isn't helping you.

PERSONAL GROWTH:  This is a important step that many think they can skip over it, or figure they have "already done this". In my mind if you want to continue to grow, you continue to do the work so you can keep growing.  Take a good look at where your at right now- Mentally ,Physically & Fi$cally- both in your personal & business worlds.  Are you happy with how things are going?
I, like almost  everyone I know, has some type of personal history that  can  get the way, some of it we continue to trip over,  day after day, and year after year.  It can stop us, or seriously alter our journey in a way  that we had not hoped for.  You can see the warning signs  where we see difficulties brewing In our relationships, our health, our business. 

Be Fearless and honest with yourself, list a few things that you feel are holding you back.  Is it your temper? Does your writing need improving?  Is it time to take lessons that you have been putting off? Or  is everyone around you having a communication problem? 
*Perhaps you can improve how YOU communicate, You don't have control over anyone else, but you do have control over you and your actions. 
 Why not provide yourself with valuable tools that you will find make you more effective, and much happier, you will be amazed how you use these tools time and time again later in life.

Ask yourself- Are you challenging yourself?

Resources you might check out:   * (Landmark Forum) ( your local college) 

Take your business on the road!

Part of this month's series on Touring (taking your business on the road)

When you own your own successful business, you have to be entreprenueral, resourceful, creative, market, and be able to supply product to support the demand of your advertising.

While growing you have to be able to do all that AND that the "show" on the road. What ever business sector your in, or the products you produce, service you provide you need to market your wares, if your a musician you  go on tour, others mayhave a booth at fairs, business expos, or larger industry conventions.

Your little "store front" Whether a large tech vendor debuting at the consumer electronic show in Las Vegas or your own D.I.Y. goods at a local community event.  In these locations you  provide your prospective customers a visual impression of what your product or service is like, and what sized market you are targeting.

This past weekend, I met a young entrepreneur named Hunter.
I was just arriving with my musical gear to perform at a local farmers market.
 For me, the farmers markets are a great way for me to encourage others to support their local farmers, I am lucky enough to meet wonderful folks in the community, and I get to play music for a couple of hours and go home with armloads of organic fresh fruit and veggies that my family gets to enjoy that week.
Just outside the entrance of the farmers market. I noticed a meticulously assembled 1/4 scale booth made with stained and sanded wood and cooragated tin,  On a polished wooden counter top a high quality hand juicer that you would see at La Sur Table sat next to a large crock bowl filled with bright yellow, plump lemons, next to a clear sealed container w/ what appeared to be sugar glistening in the morning sun, Seated on the corner of the counter was a 5 gallon igloo water jug.  The printed sign indicated this was Hunters Lemonaide Stand, and for $1 I could get a fresh squeezed cup of lemonaide (sweetened to taste). 
A bright blue summer umbrella shaded the vendor from what promised to be  a sun soaked, hot day.

 As I was passing, I recalled lemonaide stands when I was a kid, none of them met the high quality standards of this stand.  A well groomed young man stood behind the stand, slowly wiping down the polished wood counter of his stand. At 9:30 in the morning while many of us are still slurping our morning coffee, this young man was ready for business.   I asked him if  he was Hunter, and this was his stand?  He smiled and said "Yes, it is!"    Hunter appeared to be 9 or 10 I asked him if this was his first job?  He said "I  sold Lemonaide before, but I had to hand squeeze the lemons. My customers didnt' like to wait, that long for a glass of lemonaide, so I  bought the best hand juicer I could find on Amazon". He said he knew that "the time I was saving with the new juicer, allows me to serve 4 or 5 more customers during the same amount of time!"  I was really struck by how he knew he could increase his customer satisfaction, which had a direct positive impact on his sales. I asked him what he was saving for now? "I want a iPad, and my dad says I have to save, and buy it myself".  I thought of how my dad told me he would help me buy my first car, but I had to save money for insurance, and to pay for 1/2.
I was really impressed that this young man had already realized the importance of:

1) Identifying a need-  he took advantage of the hot summer weather, in a location where people were walking around specifically to buy food and snacks, have a low cost, high value item that most people would love!

2)Presentation matters:   Without a word being exchanged, I saw a very well constructed booth, with shiny clean bowls and juicer located in a place that I knew had fresh organic ingredients.

3) Have the BEST quality: Hunter focused on the important details to capture the attention of a potential audience, and had quality ingredients to back it up.

I really wanted to help Hunter get his iPad, I introduced myself and told him, I have a very loud Microphone, and I'm going to tell the shoppers to come buy lemonaide from your stand!  He thanked me, and I wished him luck!

Two and a half hours later, I was leaving the farmers market and I noticed a line of about 7 customers at Hunter's Lemonaide stand-  I waved as I went by and asked him how his day was.... Hunter was grinning and said "Thank you very much for saying something about my stand!".

As I was passing by I saw a man standing in the shade about 10 feet away from Hunter, he was waving me over to him.  I assumed this was Hunter's dad.  As I came over, he shook my hand and said  He wanted to say thanks for saying something about Hunters stand.  I was happy to help, since Hunter was working hard, and  saving for somthing important.  I said it appeared that Hunter had a good day.  The dad laughed and said "Hunter, usually does pretty well, when he does these things"   I shared that it was a good job for a kid to pick up a few bucks. I figured he probably made $50.  Hunter's dad laughed " A couple bucks?  Hunter, looks like he's gonna clear almost $500 when he finishes with this group.
I was blown away that  this kid had done so well in just a few hours.  I felt lucky to have met a young person who had it so figured out, It was a testiment to some good "teachers" guiding him, and also a testiment to his hard work.
I drove home with a smile on my face, realizing today Hunter was a example of a independent business owner doing something really well.

We can all take a lesson from young Hunter, when brining our business on the road.   You never get a chance to make a first impression.  Bring and present your best in your product or service.  Know your market and go to them,  have sufficent inventory to meet demand and repeat.

Does your business need  help taking it on the road, or a gentle facelift? Or perhaps you have  a "special project" that you need managing?

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: www.tamraengle.com You can email Tamra at guitartam@gmail.com

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


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: www.tamraengle.com    You can  email Tamra at guitartam@gmail.com

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

Links to References:

(1) http://outright.com/blog/when-are-health-expenses-a-tax-write-off/
(2) http://dentistry.about.com/od/dentalhealth/tp/reasonsdenclean.htm

photo credits:

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

Putting it all together! (the Creative Process)

The final installment on our month long series focusing on  “the Creative Process”  featured in  weekly installments to help creative business owners-

As we approach the pinnacle the next stop through the creative process is- 

CONCEPTION:  By combining our identity, inspiration and vision, committing our intention, and creating a design, model, or outline to form our creative expression. Our idea’s are conceived and in this mix of idea’s and intentions a creative “baby” given life-it may be expressed in acting, or in a new song, new item in your merchandise line, or exploring a new creative genre, like painting, fashion design, or ??? your imagination is  limitless!

CONSUMPTION:  Once we have gone through all these steps to put our creative babies out into the world then what?  We want everyone to love our babies as much as we do!  We dream of the masses loving what we have created, and imagine thousands, even millions of copies of our “creative babies” to be in the hands and hearts of “our people”.

WHAT’S NEXT?  At the end of every cycle stop and review.  Every process and step in that process is filled with learning opportunities, keep what works, and don't repeat the same mistakes again,
 as artists we have a duty to ourselves to diligently work at evolving and improving our craft.
 Are their any steps in the creative process that you feel you need to clarify or develop further?  If you look at yourcreative pyramid, if you are not starting with a strong sense of identity and how you relate to your market, it will have a direct impact on everything you hope to build upon.

Let’s step away from the pyramids and charts and look at actual example of the creative process in work with a local  San Francisco bay area artist named
Nkechi  (pronounced N-Kay-Chee) an artist, having worked as a actor, singer/songwriter/ model, she is now exploring painting as part of her creative journey.  I sat down with Nkechi  after her audition for the X-Factor to discuss her evolution as a artist,  The journey of accepting herself as a creative, and what it was like going through the audition  for a Network Television show.

(TE)How did your background help you prepare for an open casting call event?
(N)-As an actor and model I am used to the “waiting” part of long auditions.

(TE)What was your inspiration for auditioning for the X Factor?
(N)My sister suggested it. And then I decided to highlight the obvious. I believe every individual is a unique creation of God, which I translate to mean we are all God’s X Factors in our own lives.

(TE)Do you set goals for yourself as a artist or as part of your creative business?
(N)Before this year, (2012) not so much. This year, very much so.

(TE)Was auditioning for a network television show one of your goals?
(N)Being on a network television show by 2015 is one of my goals.

(TE)How did your background help you prepare for an open casting call event?
(N)I am used to riding the feelings of anticipation that build up before an audition when you are really going for something with all you are.

(TE)Let’s take a look behind the scenes at you rehersing before your audition:http://youtu.be/qqthLzo0JbM

(TE)Were there any surprises during the audition process?(N)I was surprised to see how many fellow local bay area artists were there to go for it as well.  I love San Francisco as a (creative) community.
(TE)Can you tell us briefly the steps in this type of audition process?
(N)In a snapshot it is a cattle call. We were at the cow palace after all! But in a way you are “just a number” assigned to a seat and then you hope that your mini performance plus a big dose of providence enable you to stand out enough to get called back.

(TE)How much preparation did you do to prepare for your audition? A few days.

(N) I did as well as could be expected for someone like me.  An original artist developing my sound and figuring out how much I feel called to make music. I sang a medley of “Tonight” by fun and Amazing Grace.  After not making it to round 2 I did a little second guessing as to whether I should have gone for an original but I shook that off and made a decision on steps to take in approaching a future opportunity.

(TE)What would you have done differantly ?
(N)I would have gotten a coach familiar with X Factor for help to make sure I was presenting the truest expression of my artistic voice.

(TE) What did you learn from this process?
(N)I got inspired in a bigger way than before.  I learned that my purpose has always involved being an entertainer although I’ve doubted this for most of my life.

(TE)What advice would you give young singers attempting a big goal?  (N)-Pace yourself and enjoy the process.  Where you start as an artist may not be where you end up, but as long as you are expressing your true essence you will be a winner. "Pursue your art! Whatever it is. If you want to sing, then sing! If you want to paint, paint".

(TE) I have watched you fearlessly and enthusiastically explore a variety of creative genres, acting, singing, and writing. Have you always accepted yourself as a artist?

(N)I seem to have finally come to peace now with who I am and how I am made.  I am a beautiful child of God, and so are you. After much pain, life experience and a quasi identity crisis I have come accept God’s purpose for me in sharing his love through music and art. Music and art moves people and helps people get through life experiences they don’t have words for.  I appreciate this now and want to give back what I have been given.  I pray that my music will stir people in the way others’ music has moved me.  I am a work in progress, but knowing this now has added tremendous peace to my life.

(TE)  Nkechi, thanks for sharing your journey and evolution through the creative process as a artist!  We  wish you the best success going forward, and  sharing your inspiration with our readers!


Tamra Engle is a independent Business Strategist, Producer, Speaker and Blogger based in the S.F. bay area. She provides artist's and businesses  Artist Development, Performance Coaching, Production, Project Management, Process Improvement, and  Operations Development services via private consultations and assignments with a focus on  Lifestyle rebalancing,  to help you reach your objectives.
You can read more about services to help you and join her mailing list at: www.tamraengle.com  
You can  email Tamra at guitartam@gmail.com

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

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

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Sm biz $99.00 USD

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The Creative Process Pt 4

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

 INTENT (#4)
How do you bring your creative vision into reality in a fresh inventive way?

They say “there is many a road paved with “good intention”. Before you get stuck on that road, you will want to ask yourself if you have the time, resources, and money, to realize your vision? 

If your missing these 3 key factors your creative process could potentially end right here.

What are you creating?  Have you created something like this before?
  Has ANYBODY created something like this before?
Do you have the time, resources or money to dedicate to this? 

If your writing a song, it could take you only  :45 minutes- just like quick Mick Jagger when he penned Brown Sugar(1) , or it may be 5 years(2)the reported amount of time Leonard Cohen took to create the masterpiece “Hallelujah”. 

Creating art  for me, is like creating little babies, some of them come quick, and others take their time, you just can’t rush them being born- each one comes out when it’s darned good and ready!

Make a mental determination whether you have the time, resources, or financing to commit or not commit your “intention” to your creative endeavor.

DESIGN: (#5)    

This is where the rubber hits the road, the point in time where you combine your inspiration and identity with your vision, to create a draft, proto-type, or model of your creative composition.

The design phase is where thoughts, ideas, doodles, and plans converge to be arranged, tested and edited with the ultimate goal of mirroring what was imagined in the creators mind.

Can you think of examples where a design fell short of your expectations?

Apple a company not known for many  failed products has had a couple of missed opportunities, the Mac Newton (1993) which I believe was one of the 1st PDA’s on the market, Priced higher than most computers at the time the $700 Newton drew barbs for it’s poor handwriting recognition. 

A more recent tech miss was Nintindo's Virtual Boy Anything but portable and easy to use. If you blinked you may have missed this one!

Enjoy this beautiful example of Intent, Vision, Inspiration, and Design  in Jeff Buckley’s interpretation of Cohen’s  ”Hallelujah”. 

LINK: to video of green room jam w/ Indigo Girls http://youtu.be/UTABohv5kpc

Picture Coyote Grace –4 © 2011 by Libby Bulloff.

LINK: to video of green room jam w/ Indigo Girls http://youtu.be/UTABohv5kpc
Picture Coyote Grace –4 © 2011 by Libby Bulloff.
Video & Link used by permission Coyote Grace 2011

"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 www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com  

Shoes: http://fashion-stylist.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/image/simpleshoes_silk.JPG
Shoe Bike: http://www.electric-motorbike.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Shoe-Bike.jpg
Why: www.TamraEngle.com

Your customers Rain or Shine!

What’s the best way to increase your bottom line?  Know and grow your customer-fan base.
Understanding who you are, and who your “market” is key to that success.

Today, we are going to take a look at the difference between Mainstream and Niche markets.   

Mainstream Market- Are products and services that are high demand items with a lower price point.
 Niche Market focuses on a more narrow demographic within that group, with a highly specialized market and higher price point.

I wanted to showcase some fun examples of some highly successful business's using Niche Marketing here in the SF Bay area.

The Market:  High End Foodies   
The Product:Gourmet Ice Cream

You are  hard pressed to find American’s who don’t love Ice Cream.
 Most of us probably even  have a pint or two of our favorite Hagen daz or Ben and Jerry's in the freezer. 
My lactose intolerant friends seek delicious options within the Sorbet or  Gelato offerings.
Over the past couple of years, the economy has continued to tank, however, there is a growing market of high end foodie  consumers that  regardless of the weather, which in the bay area is often overcast and cool temperatures. You will find lines of customers wrapped around the block awaiting a scoop, dish, or take home pint of the rich creamy goodness of Gourmet Ice Cream made from fresh, organic, locally produced ingredients!

I have focused on a couple of examples that are local favs:

Fenton’s Old School Creamery  - Dialing into the Old School vibe when you were a kid,  Grown up foodies bring the family and favorite dates year round to this Home foodie hangout.
‘Scream Sorbet- w/ flavors like Thai basil w/ Coconut, Strawberry shortcake, Dark & Decadent Chocolate Peanut butter and the purest Pistasio you could hope for -   $10 pint

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream-  Focusing on all organic ingredients- They don't mind if you don't live locally, you can order 4 pints and have it Fed Ex’d to anywhere in the US. For $54.00 about the same price as their competitors!

Product sold directly to retail outlets:
Jeni’s Homemade (made in ‘their kitchen) - I discovered them  at Market Hall in the  Rockridge shopping area of Oakland.  My selection was  Sweet potatoe w/ Torched Marshmellow.    Delicious Decadence to parlay some holiday flavor.  A pricy but delicious   $12 a pint, that I will be going back for more of.

Rain or shine these businesses have customers lined up for their product, on one particularly chilly 48 degree day, I noted they were able to sell ice cream to Eskimo’s!  Understanding your customers, and what they want regardless of the weather is keeping these businesses thriving, Does your business have a connection like this with your customers? Do you sell direct to consumer, or have relationships with a retail or distribution chain?   if not, now is the time to take a look at your marketing strategy.

Do you have a favorite independent business that is successfully utilizing Niche Marketing?  Tell us about it in your comment section below.


Fentons: http://www.fentonscreamery.com/
'Scream Sorbet: http://screamsorbet.com/
Tara's Organic:  http://www.tarasorganic.com/
Jeni's Homemade: http://jenisicecreams.com/ 

Your favorites!

As we all look back on the past year, together we have celebrated some great success, faced challenges and fears,  hopefully overcoming them.

The other day I repaired my oven It decided to die on Christmas.   The prospect of fiddling with a gas and electrical appliance was pretty scary to me. but the prospect of buying a new stove on Christmas weekend was something I was even MORE reluctant to do. 
I had never repaired a major appliance, and was really scared about doing it.  After some google searching I watched a couple youtube videos and marched off to the parts store to buy and replace a  glow bar ignitor.  Not rocket science, but I felt really good that I saved our home a major cash expenditure by simply doing something that scared me. For me It’s a stepping stone for a successful week ahead. 

Challenge yourself to do something that scares you everyday, It will help you and  your creative business become stronger.

As we end 2011 I wanted to  take a quick  look back at your favorite posts,
and start the new year by saving you $25!

First take a glance back to your most read posts:

Now are you ready to look ahead and save $25?  
If you complete my 10 question survey  (by Jan 1 2012) Your feedback helps me provide you with high value reading & service offerings.
As my way of saying thanks for your time, I will give you $25 off your initial consultation! (limited time offer, so let's get started). Before saying goodbye to 2011,
 I want to share a New Year tradition that was shared with us.
Write down something you want to leave behind in 2011 on a small piece of paper, and fold it in half, ( you may choose to write down  a behavior,  a relationship, a obsticle to you).  Just before the  clock strikes 12:00 midnight toss the written  thing you wish to leave behind in a fireplace or burn it with a candle, removing it from your life  to make room for something good.

Thank you for taking the time to read, and the opportunity to help you continue to grow your business and have a balanced healthy life that you imagine.

Let us know how you faced and overcame something scary in the comment section below!

Happy and a very safe New Year to everyone.  If your imbibing- drop the keys and have a designated driver! 

How Can I help you

BLOG 100  Dec 2011


This is a milestone for me. My 100thblog posting!

This year I had committed to:
1)    Improve the writing quality of my Blog.  
I realized over 100 posts that  my aim has been true, and my grammar has been comical on more than one occasion!
2)    Commit to posting content weekly  I was surprised some times how challenging this is while juggling other work priorities.
3)    Provide content to help readers grow their “creative business”

I  want to thank you for taking the time to read my postings, and share your thoughts on topics and ideas important to you!
This is a really great opportunity to check in with you my readers, and see what I can do to better serve you in 2012?

To that end, I have  put together a short survey (10 questions) to find out “How can I help you?”
  • Are there any particular topics or projects that are going to be important to you in the New Year ? 
  • Do you need to bring a professional onboard to help you  managing a upcoming project?
  • Establish your priorities?
  • Produce a upcoming CD /video/installation?
  • Prepare for an upcoming tour
  • Help you with some simple business planning  
Or are you interested in different types of content?

 I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the survey 

To say Thank You for taking the time to complete the survey, You are automatically  gifted 30% off your initial consultation- purchase a gift certificate by Dec 25th
survey rate: $50 gift certificates- 1 hr initial consultation.
(your gift certificate is redeemable until 12/31/2012).

Sending  you blessings of Peace and health, 


3 Free gifts for your holiday!

Mid December- We are all working like mad to STOP and spend time with our loved ones.

As you look at the calendar we are just a couple of weeks from 2012!!! 
  I am always surprised by this very small window from Thanksgiving to the year end holidays, a flurry of people, food, and  family. It’s stressful!!! 

 ESPECIALLY when you have to stretch your dollars even further than before.
What can you do to prepare for the holidays without spending much or ANY money at all?  

1)    Grab your calendar or smart phone and a note book (or your computer)
Start going backward month by month and begin listing the big projects you worked on. 
You are pulling together your list of accomplishments, which you can then compare to your list of goals.  Each big projects and achievements should be either achieving a goal or a  stepping stone toward accomplishing a big goal.

2)    In a separate column list the names of new people you met in relation to your creative business each month.  I don’t mean the 100s of facebook “friends” who you don’t really know, , I mean the people that have referred work to you,  Hired you for a project, or introduce you to important people that have helped you this year.

3)    Drop the people on this list a email or call  Just connect to say thanks for working with me! Or let’s have coffee and talk about what you have been up to...  *Have these individuals already been invited to join your email or newsletter? (you can just include a sign up link in your signature line, and leave them the option to join).


Measuring your success and growing your network of  contacts are two important tasks for all  business owners.  Do you need help with a upcoming project? or need help getting organized, focused and moving forward?  

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 www.tamraengle.com  guitartam@gmail.com   *Save 33% now! email mail me at guitartam@gmail.com  to order your  Holiday Gift Certificates  thru December 31st!

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 www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com  

Who Sends out holiday cards?

Do you keep track of the accomplishments and projects you have worked on during the past year? I realized as I wrote out the title to this blog that I am a few posts away from my 100th blog!  *more about that soon!
It’s nice to look back each month at all you have  gotten done, to get here. It really helps put things into perspective and show you what progress you have made. 
What new people did you meet?
What booking manager, took a chance and gave you a show? or really did you a favor and gave you a Friday or Saturday night spot? 
What act added you to the bill of their show when you were driving through and needed a Wed night gig on your tour? 
What stranger decided to host a house concert or lend out a exhibit space for a you,  or another artist?
  I bet you can think of at least 20 people as you look back over your year.
Now is the perfect time to fill out a holiday card, to just say THANKS.  That person made it possible for you to earn a living doing what you love. Think about what a awesome gift that is!     

In your card don’t ask for anything, just thank them and wish them a happy holiday! A $0.44 thank you is a really nice way to remind them of you, and help keep you in their mind as a “nice person” to do business with in the New Year. And holiday cards come in a box of 20?  How handy!

Is their someone special who made a difference to your creative business  this past year? Give their business a shout out in the comment section below!

Need help creating a marketing plan or simply have questions on managing your creative business strategy?  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 www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com

Holiday fun time saving apps!

During the Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, I noticed between the huge meals, the entertainment revolved around  playing with a 9 week old puppy, and during the puppies naps having several generations of family, poking away at their smart phones sharing their favorite apps with one another.
*For the record the family falls pretty squarely into the Apple smart phone market, most of these apps are available for Android users.

Here is a list of some favorite holiday and time saving apps for creative people like you!

Fun Holiday apps: 

Amazon Mobile  (Is your employer blocking access to shopping sites at work?  You can buy pretty much anything at Amazon.com, and now the Amazon Mobile app (Free) makes it easy to shop right from your iPhone.

GoodGuide While most iPod shopping apps are designed to help you save money, the GoodGuide app (Free) has a unique goal -- to help you identify products that are good for you and the environment.

Good Food Festive Recipes:  Over 160 foolproof collection of festive feasting options to catapult you into a New Year!

Grocery IQ (Free)
 includes all the features you would expect in a powerful grocery app, including a barcode scanner, list sharing, and integrated coupons. If you are like me and buy the same things every week, the favorites list will help you save time. You can also edit your list online and it will update automatically on the app.

 (US$1.99)  We could use some extra holiday spirit!
 This app includes 20 “Grinchmas” cards that you can personalize with your own photos -- and who doesn't want a picture of themselves dressed as the Grinch? The cards can be emailed to friends or saved to the app’s photo library.

Bonus  Recommendations:

Dragon Dictation: Don't worry if you are not already hooked up with the hot new Siri, iPhone 4s,  I think Dragon’s voice recognition works better than my typing and auto "correction" of the iPhone.

This was awesome for a  global family reunion conference call, we had family from as far away as Germany!  Sure, it’s great to hear a voice, But it’s even better to see the face that goes with it.    Bonus! No cell minutes local or international used! 

What are some of your favorite holiday or time saving apps?  Post them in the comment section below!

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

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 www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com

Promoting your business during the holidays-pt 2 of 3

What are you doing to bring your fans closer to your creative business during the holidays?

In the United States, We are just day’s away from the biggest $hopping days of the year.
 If you are a creative business owner, the last couple months of the year can mean a sales jackpot if you have taken the time to  prepare and market to your target audience.

 In Part 1 of my 3 part series “promoting your music during the holidays"
We talked about using the themes of the holiday to have fun, while create a unique “selling opportunity” for your fans, and prospective business partners.

Our next holiday Thanksgiving, gives us 3 big target days to help you promote your music or creative business- Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Holiday Marketing Background: 
During tough economic times, especially during the holiday’s businesses spend millions in ads to encourage spending. Marketing firms have created “holiday events “ specifically to encourage consumers to CONSUME. 
Here are 3 new holiday’s that were created specifically to encourage people to spend money- That YOU can take advantage of to help increase your sales.

Black Friday -Refers to a old accounting terms,
 Being in the red denotes a negative profit margin, where as “in the black” denotes a positive profit margin. Most retailers make or break their sales goals between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
 According to ShopperTrak, who uses in-store monitering devices to examine sales in 2010 black Friday sales in 2010 increased to 10.7 billion!! a .3% increase over 2009 earns it the top spot as the heaviest shopping day of the year!

Small Business Saturday-  Our friends at American Express are responsible for starting this event which happens the 1st Saturday after Thanksgiving- now in it’s 2ndyear.

 Aimed at promoting small business owners. Amex is reimbursing  $25 in cash to the 1st  of 200,000 shoppers  using their American Express card to support a local small business,  local businesses signing up get $100 facebook ads or free!  I  encourage supporting this holiday however, recommend you  spend cash, Don’t run up your credit card bills! Save using your credit cards for the emergency fix, or broken tour van that will certainly pop up when you least expect it. 

Cyber Monday is a marketing term created in 2005, referring to the Monday following Thanksgiving, many are back to work and can’t physically go to the store, No problem, just  shop online!
 In 2010 consumers spent $1.028 billion,  a 16% increase from the previous year on product purchases on Cyber Monday!

How do old accounting terms and marketing gimmicks help you grow your business?  First lets look at a example of a local business targeting the tired shoppers with a fun diversion from the madness.

One famous example of  musical artists utilizing the Thanksgiving holiday to help future album sales-  Arlo Guthries “Alices Resturant” a 1967 release that  comically exaggerated  Thanksgiving day adventure turned Vietnam protest. This album that has sold over a million copies, and is still selling 40 years after it’s release.

5 Things can you do to sell more!

1)    Send a newsletter to your fans- Remind them that your music makes the perfect gift, offer to ship “personalized” signed copies, for a extra special gift. Remember You need to get “heard” above everyone else trying to sell something.

2)   Record a Holiday song- Songs with  a “Thanks” theme? Create one for a special “sale” fan download. Here is a fun example  

3) Video your holiday song- How do you catch some of the  shoppers searching on line? Create a shopping wave!
Drive traffic to your  website with your new holiday single,  create a YouTube video of your holiday song,  have fun with it… include a link to where your fan’s can “buy” this exclusive MP3 of your holiday song.

4)    Partner with a local business- We all want to help the local small business owners during the holidays! *the 1% big corporations seem to be doing fine without any additional funding.   Do you own a retail space? Suggest a special “holiday show”  Invite a musical artist to perform  a simple acoustic holiday sing along, or host a fun "fashion" show to sell products you sell in your retail space!   Heat up some cider and you have a super fun “shopping “ event, it doesn't have to be fancy to be fun for your customers!

 This is a wonderful opportunity to create cross- cultural events, sharing traditions,  the different ways we each celebrate the fall solstice all around the world.  Are you a local business owner or artists interested in connecting? Let me know (add email link).

5)    Local Children’s Hospitals or Sr. Centers- Think about those less fortunate. Call your local children’s hospital,place of worship, or Sr. Center ask if you can come sing holiday music to the guests there. 
You don’t play a instrument ? You can offer to  read books, share photo presentations, or  host a free activity or workshop!
 Share pictures of the outing on your social media or next newsletter, the smiles in the pictures will inspire, and remind others how easy it is to help another who is unable to get around during this special time of year.

      Now, that you have completed your 5 tips you can relax:
      Set a extra plate at your table for Thanksgiving- There IS someone in your immediate circle who has no one to share the holiday with.  Invite them to share a meal with you, it's one of the bests "gifts" you can give to a friend!

I invite you to share the link to your Holiday song and video in the comment section below!

Show up and be there

November, our thoughts are turned to giving thanks.

The past 5 years, I found myself in the wake of two significant losses, I felt my heart was a well not holding as much “thanks” as it had in previous years.

Life has a way of tossing obstacles into your path when your driving down the road of life,  We try our best to swerve and avoid collisions, wrong turns, and distractions while we are trying our best to move forward.   “life happens” whether or not your paying attention.
My Mother and beloved dog’s passing had left two huge holes in my heart and the “well” of thanks simply leaked out instead of filling full.

A few months ago, we had mutually decided that our house was ready to be filled again with the patter of paws. 
The excitement and joy the day before our “new arrival” was shattered with a phone call. 
3,000 miles away, my partner's brother  was suddenly going in for emergency quadruple bypass surgery. His wife and 3 sons, like us were all stunned by the news.
 Our joy was suddenly mixed in with the icy fear and gravity of a very active guy being faced with  this life threatening procedure.  

The day of the procedure, two of three sons had arrived by bus to be there for their dad and to help their mother, during this horribly scary time.  The three boys are all in College, one in Europe, the decision was made that he should only come home if things didn't go well.

It reminded me that the boys I  watched grow up the past 10 years, had shared stories over years on their path's to becoming Eagle scouts.  Whether you love or hate the BSA, these guys were participating in outdoor activities, to learn about  about  responsible citizenship,  community services, and character development  to help them "be prepared".
They were gathering tools, and learning how to use them.   - Little did any of us know, it was for this moment, to simply do one thing. “Show up, and be there” for two of their important “teachers” Mom and Dad.

 When I was considering my topic for this weeks blog post, I was reminded how much I had to be thankful for, and how the “well” was filled! .  Proof that there is hope for broken hearts!

I am grateful to the great  spirit that watches over all of us, for seeing my brother in law safely through a major surgery.
For the fuzzy new life that is snuggled next to me as I write this posting,

The health and well being of all those I love, 
having food & shelter, and doing what I love for a living!

 Sending each of you reading  with blessings of being healthy and well!
I love to hear what your giving thanks for, in the comment selection below.

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 www.tamraengle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com

A task a day, grow your business 5 ways

 People often tell me, If I just had a list of things I could do each week to grow my business….

Here are 5  things you can do next week (do one a day, or a couple every few days).
 By Friday you  will have accomplished 5 tasks that will help move you forward!

1)    Do something that excites you

2) Do something that terrifies you-  The best way to grow, is to stretch past where your comfortable.

3) Keep in touch w/ colleagues, USE your social media and actually schedule time to go enjoy a beverage, or a meal and get “caught up”.
*The person you spoke to yesterday will be the one that recommends you for a gig, or introduces you to a important contact.

4) Go out, and meet 5 new people each week- Find out what people do, there are a lot of people looking for work, do you have a opportunity to give someone work? OR can your special skills help someone else out, Trades go a long way!

5) Write or finish that song, poem, spoken word that you have been working on.
Looking for a topic? Write about something you are thankful for... It's that time of year, and a great reminder for everyone!

Post a link to your new song, poem or spoken word in the comment section below. 
You have just introduced your work to a new audience! AND you have taken a moment to give thanks  during some very challenging times,  which is a much more productive use of your time.


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 www.tamraengle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com



You’ve spent the summer performing at  lots of shows, perhaps you have been promoting a new cd. After 3-6 hard months of  playing the same songs over and over you start to get really getting tired of singing and performing the same songs, right?  and you worry that your fans are ALSO tired of hearing you sing and play the same songs.

I am going to provide tips and tid-bits during the last 3 months of the year to to help keep your fans engaged and keep you energized, while selling some more music during the last 3 months of the year.

  In 2010 physical CD album sales were down 13%  digital track and album sales at   iTunes sales grew 71% 

Having Holiday themed music creates additional  “brand awareness” and buying opportunities for your fans, and NEW fans.

Part 1 of my holiday music blog series is focused on the most Spook-tacular time of the year. The Fall Solstice, Dia De Los Muertes, or Halloween, what ever you celebrate All things relating to spirits, spooky things, and poking fun at popular culture icons are all fair game during this hauntingly fun time of year. You see it in costumes and defiantly hear it  in the music. During 2011 there are a lot of frightening things to take a poke at musically speaking!   Not to mention that the top television shows are themed around the holiday,  True Blood, Teen Wolf, Vampire Diaries, Twilight movies…. There are lots of opportunities for really good spooky music.

Last year, I hosted a online Halloween song submission on Facebook, during the month of October artists were invited to write and record a Halloween themed song, right before Halloween the song that had the most LIKES  “won”.  The winning submission happened to be submitted by songwriter Alexis Harte who’s daughter Mia helped create a Halloween song, called "Mia's Halloween Song"  that they sold for $1  all the proceeds were donated to Smile train, additionally the song was picked up for a small licensing opportunity!    A definite win- win for artist and the Smile Chain Children who were benefactors.     It’s still a great cause- I recommend you lend a dollar to provide a child with a smile, what a beautiful gift.

During the 2011 Halloween holiday what holiday themed songs have you written to capture the season?  Submit the link to your Halloween song in the comment section below!    You will be bringing some new fans ears to your music, and have a great new song you can slip into your “fall favorites” catalog….

In November I will sneak in a link to the 2nd of our 3 part promoting your songs during the holiday’s  with the theme of giving (and receiving) Thanks.
Until then,    have a Booo-tiful day!  Bwaaa Haa Ha ha!

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 www.tamraengle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com


iTunes Sales: http://soc.li/CvdU1HZ
Mia's Song: http://alexisharte.bandcamp.com/track/mias-halloween-song

Do we need a band agreement?

Do we need a band agreement?

      Do you write songs in the band your involved in?
      Do you plan on making a living playing in a band?
      Are you planning on seeking royalty payments for your music?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, and you decide you are going to pursue making a living with this group of people you need to look at obtaining a trademark with the group name,  and having a band agreement. To determine in writing how you are going to conduct business with each other, and how you are going to run your business.
Having a agreement in place early in your careers to clarify in writinghow earning will be split, what roles and responsibilities for band members are,  and how decisions are made within the group will help avoid and resolve confusion and disputes as your band business grows.

Devote as much time understanding your business as your music they are equally important. Jay Z, Lady GaGa, Madonna, Tom Petty, ALL made the time to learn about the many business details, which has contributed to the success of their huge careers.

When your working with a group of individuals it is in each members best interest to define their responsibilities. 
Clarify compensation, and creative control, scheduled band meetings, to help prevent  huge misunderstandings, and  lawsuits.

I have outlined a few key points to help you draft your initial band agreement,

Getting Started:       

Do you get along and share similar values and goals?
Joining a band is just like dating, in the beginning, everyone is on their best behavior, after the “honeymoon period” is over,  unless there are clear parameters, and ongoing communication, disagreements, and disputes can derail any creative process and progress.

If you are currently booking a few local gigs, playing for the tip jar, you may opt to draft your own version of an agreement that all the key members sign and have a copy of.

If you are booking gigs that provide guarentee’s and contracts,  it’s time to have a entertainment lawyer draft a proper agreement helping you formalize your business identity,  and protecting your band trademark and  assets. 
Keep in mind that if you have having a attorney draft a copy of your band agreement, that one legal person is acting as "secretary" to legally draft a document. They cannot jointly represent multiple clients without creating a conflict of interest, therefore will need to agree to signing a conflict waiver . 

In California you can start by contacting California Lawyers for the arts- www.calawyersforthearts.org/  who provides education,  representation, and dispute resolution services for artists.

The terms of your agreement should answer in writing :

Beatles Agreement
Clarify business relationships  and     responsibilities-
Are you a band member?  Are you self employed or contract? Solo artist or employer? What are key responsibilities?

Compensation: Songwriters vs non songwriters- Address division of advances, music publishing, recording royalties, merchandising, and performances.  

 Decision making: How will you make decisions, Leader rules, or Equal votes for all?

 Band Investments: Purchases/Investments, and debts- Is a band vote required for all purchases? Or only purchases of $250 and over?  How are purchase expenses re-cooped

Hiring/Firing: How are members hired or fired?

Band Name /Trademark: Who owns and controls rights to the band name and use- while in the band and after a breakup?

Band members obligations- highlight some key responsibilities, beyond playing a instrument, are members required to devote time to booking? promoting? taking turns driving the bus? Attending scheduled rehearsals?  If a member simply wants to just show up and play- does that make them a minority member? or a gun for hire?

Dispute resolution: will disputes  be resolved in- or outside of court

Identify Key Members / Minority Partners    Identifying Key members, minority partners- do minority partners earn as much

  Travel and accommodations- when money starts coming in, does the lead singer always gets to travel 1st class, but the drummer has to drive the bus? Meal stipends?

Departed members rights to profits- can you sell a cd that has a former member in it?

  Term of agreement (1 yr 2 yr)

Each band member needs to sign and date the band agreement which they are given a copy of  as members of the band.

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 www.tamraengle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com

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 www.tamraengle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com

Jesse Brewster- talks to his fans

In these pages I focus on the tips and tricks to help creative individuals step above  the ordinary.
 Sharing your personal stories, struggles, and heart aches with your fans often creates a connection removing the barrier between artist and audience. 

Jesse Brewster  has a deeply personal story he has woven into his sophmore release “Wrecking Ball at the concert hall”. His live performances deliver rocking roadhouse guitar, gritty red dirt vocals, with the tender twisted roots of California-Americana.   On 10/21/11 lucky ticket holding fans can attend his San Francisco CD release party  that kicks off his Pacific Northwest tour.

 Today, readers get  a peek behind the stage curtain, meeting  a man who is part guitar slinging outlaw, and hero rolled into one.

How did you come up with the title to your new cd “Wrecking ball at the Concert hall”?
JB:There’s a two part answer to that. The first being a reflection my feeling that the battle of the almighty dollar vs. the arts seemed to be favoring the former. Music venues I played for years were being shut down. I’m happy to report that this trend is changing for the better. The second, refers to the two distinct vibes I tried to put forth on the album. Wrecking Ball being the uptempo, electric guitar-driven tunes like All Those Things I Said and God Fearin’ Man, and the Concert Hall side reflected in the more delicate tracks like Consider This, and All She Deserves.

Are there any particular “causes” that you would like to share with readers?
JB:   Polysistic Kidney Disease,  PKD- Not only do I have the disease, but my brother passed away from it in 1998, my dad has had a kidney transplant as result of the disease as well.     My 2005 release, Confessional,  is a benefit to that cause.
Additionally, Community (support of) the arts and music.   My song My Great Escape was featured on 104.5 KFOG's Local Scene CD vol. 6 benefitting- Music in Schools today.
 It's up to us as members of our local communities to keep the arts alive!" 

Regarding your work to educate communities about PKD;
What are some of the big ah-ha’s AND disappointments you have encountered doing this work?
JB: The re-ocurring surprise to me is just how few people are aware of the disease. In an era of media saturation and social networking where news spreads like wildfire, think of how quickly everyone knew Steve Jobs had passed away. It’s amazing that more people aren’t aware of PKD, esp. since 1 in 500 people have it. I’m disappointed that we haven’t been able to get more congressional support, as the genetic disorder is vastly under-funded federally. But,  stem cell research back on track, the outlook for a cure in my lifetime is a bright one.

Keeping balance in relationships  & routines is pretty hard when your on the road. Do you have tricks  that you use to help you stay healthy and centered day to day?
JB:I feel like it’s easier when I’m on the road because I have only one goal and purpose-the next show and delivering the best performance possible. All the pre-work involved in touring as indie musician is far more difficult. As a result of having PKD, I  must be very health conscious . It can be difficult to find affordable, healthy food depending on what town your in. In the Pac. Northwest (for the upcoming tour) I’m not worried about that, in middle America it can be tougher.

What is the biggest challenge about having a independent creative business that you have over come?
JB:The frustration level can be extremely high in this business.
 I think I’ve learned to have more faith in the process, as results come with persistence, patience, and continuing to hone one’s craft. I’ve also learned to trust my gut creatively, and try not to second  guess my writing or motivation for a piece of music.
The ultimate goal for me has never been about money,  or I’d have thrown in the towel long ago, it’s about moving forward and reaching more and more people with the music
I’d (rather) spend more time writing, recording, touring and collaborating with other artists, (than) trying to make ends meet, an independent artist must wear so many other hats (to complete the) mundane tasks of booking, promotion.   Overall, I feel so blessed to be able to be doing what I’m doing, and I’ll keep at it until my fingers get arthritic or my voice gives out!

Readers, can purchase CD's or tickets for Jesse's S.F. CD release party  (while they last)

Getting heard above the noise?

Van Gogh- Red Vineyards at Arles
Van Gogh during his lifetime only sold one painting, he lived in near isolation thinking his work would always be shunned.   
Imagine, if he had a social network filled with fans and other emerging artists?
What a difference it would have had on his confidence as a artist? on his body of work? and influence on other emerging artists?   

For the first time, the ability for a individual to have access to a world wide audience is possible.  The internet has given everyone a microphone, and everyone is talking at once.
In a recent blog, I offered some ways for artists  to be newsworthy to provide you with creative options to cut through the clutter.

Mass media that most of us grew up with has evaporated.  A hit pop record used to sell a million copies, now, the average hit song is selling on average 129,000 copies.  Keep in mind the RIAA issues a gold record once you have sold 500,000 records.
 Tools to publish physical art, books, & music are all available in our homes for anyone to create and put that creation, good, bad, or in between out into the world.

Social media  allows us to market directly to the individual who likes the same things we do,
This is your opportunity not to be ordinary, the microphone is on, what are YOU doing to make a big difference and capture the worlds heart? share with our readers in the comments below.

Van Gogh "The Red Vineyard at Arles"

Is your band newsworthy?

Are you doing all you can to help your musical project stand “above the noise”?
Features and reviews are awesome, However, most bands miss opportunities for extra exposure. 

Look at  opportunities you have for obtaining additional press,
Themes that tie into current events, local or national news or your favorite  causes.

  • Your band or company name?
 Pomplamoose The name derives from the French word pamplemousse,[5] meaning grapefruit.

Steeley Dan is named after a adult toy in the William Burroghs novel
“Naked Lunch”

Green Day- If you smoked pot and goofed off all day you had “a green day”

  • CD  or song name- do you have any significant meaning in the name?

Nirvana’s, Smells like teen Spirit: Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of the group Bikini Kill, gave Cobain the idea for the title when she spray painted "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit" on his bedroom wall after a night of drinking and spraying graffiti around the Seattle area. In his pre-Courtney Love days, Cobain went out with Bikini Kill lead singer Tobi Vail, but she dumped him. Vail wore Teen Spirit deodorant, and Hanna was implying that Cobain was marked with her scent.  The Deodorant sales went through the roof when this song became a hit.

  • Highlighting a band members noteworthy deed (It doesn’t have to be musically related)
Bob Geldof, Activist and founder of the band  boomtown rats who's Band-aid efforts have raised millions for anti poverty relief for Africa.

Chris Owens' background would take the spotlight when his band “Girls”hit the scene in 2009. With a story like his -- a childhood spent in the controversial religious cult Children of God (now known as the Family International)

  •  Subject matter of songs- do you have tie in’s to current events or trends?  
We are the world- Led by Michael Jackson & Lionel Ritchie with 45 other artists led the way with USA for Africa to raise awareness and fund famine relief for Africa.

Look to you local news for information about current events, even causes that you are passionate about.

        Share the name of your band with readers in the comments below, or how you have used the idea’s above to obtain press for your band or creative business.

The magic 3 p's in Marketing

Ask yourself what are the things that bring you emotional fulfillment?
If you’re a artist certainly your “art”, what ever medium it manifests itself in-  music, painting, writing, film, are at the top of the list.

Having a successful marketing campaign for your creative business   means you must have the  magic 3 p’s as part of your marketing strategy.

Passion, Purpose, & Product.

Passion: Connecting with your own unique “higher purpose” whether it is raising money for your favorite local charity, ending poverty, or bringing awareness about a service need in your community. 
Including your “emotional fulfillment in your entertainment helps define who you are as a individual brand.  Don’t try to be an advocate for every cause, pick a theme and focus on it.

Purpose:  This is how a creative business defines what it does; it builds loyalty within your organization, and establishes trust with your customers because they see their values in action.  This Purpose helps transform your creative business into an organization with a cause, and individuals will do incredible things to support a cause.

Product:  When you package your “purpose” into your product you have just positioned yourself ahead of the competition. You have given your creative brand a personality and a human characteristic that will resonate with your customers, which will help you, identify very specifically who your “fans” are and help you grow as you connect to your higher purpose.

What are the 3p’s in your creative business?  Let us know in the comments below so more fans can connect with what your doing!

Working class hero's

Where were you when President Kennedy,  or John Lennon were killed?
How about  Elvis, Lady Diana, Kurt Cobain, or Michael Jackson died?  These individuals were all cultural icons that had a impact on the way we live.  Most of us remember where we were when we heard the news of their unexpected deaths.

This week in America everyone is talking about  a series of events that involved the loss of so many "working class" hero's,  9/11.
There events are  book marks in everyone's lives. Iconic moments in time, where certain foods, events, and even songs are a reminder of those events.

  I don't want to talk about the event, where you were when the event's occured.  Or the negativity around the event.

  I want to focus on the small window of time after the event.
 I know you remember it, It lasted for just  a couple of weeks,  when all the senseless B.S. just fell away.  

It hindsight it was a beautiful moment of time where everyone was NICE to one another.
We didn't rush, we waited for people to cross the street, we smiled to strangers and said hello, we offered a seat to someone who looked tired, and we  offered a hand to those less fortunate.

I am sending a smile and kind word to all who read this-and invite you to use your creative energy to create something positive.

You my friends are the instruments of change.
Lay down your fears, put aside your hate and instead,
write or sing a song, paint a picture, create a sculpture, knit something, write a poem, Then, give it to someone... ideally a total stranger, and expect nothing in return.

If you are a recipient of a gift from a stranger, pay that kindness  forward.

 I invite you to share this with a friend, and wish all who read this

Happy Blessings,


Photo Credits:

Heart Rock & Yarn Earth: Tamra Engle(c)

MJ & Diana: http://awesomepeoplehangingouttogether.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/michaeljacksonprincessdiana.jpg

John Lennon:  http://www.greatmodernpictures.com/lennonnyclg.jpg

Do you have a contagious brand?

Do you have a brand that is contagious?
Is there compelling content that people love? 
Are you creating unique ways to connect with your fans and allow them to participate in the creation process?

I recently  read the Hierarchy of Contagiousness, which offered the perspective of brands being either a rubber stamp or box of Crayons, 

Step back and take a look at your creative business model, is it more like a rubber stamp or box of crayons?

 In the Rubber stamp model, one size fits all, and a very short life cycle. Ironically, 
most personal brands fit into this category; since the idea of a personal brand is to highlight your uniqueness.

In the "box of crayons" model,  your fans can use tools to mix and blend their own colors.   The “Crayon” model is so successful for businesses interested in long-term success that mega brands are creating opportunities to include their fans in the creation process:

Pepsi / Doritos   invited fans to help them create and submit video content, that the product selected a winner to use for their Superbowl ad.

Bjork’s "Biophilia" for iPad  will include  ten separate apps, all housed within one "mother" app. Each of the smaller apps will relate to a different track from the album, allowing people to explore and interact with the song's theme's or even make a completely new version of them.

Nine inch Nails have invited fans to remix 21 tracks which have been called the limitless potential. 

 Share your examples of how you have used your “box of crayons” to create fan engagement opportunities in the comment section below.


Maximize your creative time!

Getting the most out of your creative time can make a huge difference in the productivity of your day as an artist.

Using these few tips, will help keep you focused and motivated-

FOCUS:  When you start to lose focus on what your are aiming for, the target becomes unclear. Write down the problem you are having, the physical process of writing with a pen or pencil accesses a different part of your brain not used when you are tapping on your keyboard.

INSPIRIATION:  We have data pouring upon us daily, be selective about your constant extended exposure to negative news, Direct your attention to things that stretch your comprehension, and inspire you to grow and improve things in your world.

POWER: Create time to generate new idea’s, themes and character sketches and WRITE them down, to weave into future projects.

Everyone has busy schedules, and each of us have opportunities to create efficiency in our schedules. Look at your activities ask yourself where are area’s that you can improve “how” you are doing things.  You may need to set the alarm a hour earlier to give yourself the “gift” of extra time.

ENERGIZE: Look at your list of ideas from your POWER list- not all of these ideas will be executed.  Start by selecting the “low hanging fruit” from your list, those are the ideas that are the easy to reach, allowing yourself these little successes you buoy your confidence for the bigger ideas. Create a outline to turn the idea’s into a action.    Like a garden, some day’s you need to  go back and clean things up and trim the excess to create room for more ideas in your creative “garden” to grow.

DEDICATION:  Stick with it,  to be good at anything you need to practice, and make time to develop your creative energy, it’s  like going to the gym, the 1st day your not very good using the equipment, but after several weeks, you develop a rhythm.

RECHARGE:  Having balance in your life is something you have control over,
After launching a large project, celebrate!  Getting proper rest, eating a balanced diet, AND taking breaks to get up and MOVE- Go for a walk, run, bike ride at lunch time or after a long work day. These little deposits in the creative bank will help insure the creative juices will keep flowing.

What are your favorite tricks you use to stay in the creative flow I would love to hear them in your comments below!  

Photo Credits:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/- Creative Garden
http://farm6.static.flickr.com- list
http://s3.hubimg.com/u/4386726_f260.jpg- clock

Recession proofing your business!

How are you personally weathering the economy?
  At this point everyone has been impacted, perhaps you, or someone you know has either been laid off, taken a job that is below their skill level, or even lost a home.

The media works diligently to continuously re-enforce your fears by talking about it constantly. 
It is a perfect time to just STOP- turn off the media stream for just a minute and ask yourself:

Have you recession proofed your creative business?

1)    Don’t make sweeping changes:  
      I know a business owner that is actually turning away a huge network of business because of 1 bad experience with a former colleague, they feared as a competitor. 
      Look at the big picture, if you’re in business -competition exists,
      what differentiates you from your competitors? And how does it help your customers?

2)    Increase sales:  Create bundles, lower price point items.  Offer special “tour packages” where they get a cd and t shirt for $20
For special recession busting bundles make them in easy to spend denominations $5, $10, $15, $20-

 “Free-Demo coasters”- put together a little FREE 3 song sampler in sleeves- w/ the name of the songs but more importantly your name, website, and booking contact info. and place one on every table in the venue your playing in as a FREE gift. Then during the break wander walk around and thank everyone for coming out. (make sure you have someone working your merch table!   You NEVER know who is in the audience!  My most successful show had 3 people sitting in the audience, that one person was a producer who booked us on a national tour.

3)    Reduce Inventory:  Are you just finishing a new cd? and you have lots of old buttons / stickers / t-shirts from your last tour or promotion?
Create Recession Buster Bundles
Go green and recycle packaging- 
One of my bands uses old paper towel rolls to pack the t-shirts in
It makes them easy to pack for touring and really easy green packaging for fans…  on the side in sharpie the write a sm md lg  description.
Another artist re-cycled Calistoga bottle caps to make buttons for a special event.

What Recycling packaging ideas are you using for your creative business?
I would love to hear about it in your comments below.


Photo Credits:

Tamra Engle SJL Buttons
Wilie Coyote http://agonist.org/files/active/1/wileecoyote.jpg

Link:  is your merch table a cash cow?

Is your merch table a cash cow

 As a performing musician You need unique & engaging musical performance to encourage repeat customers and increased ticket sales. Statistically individuals are going to fewer show, so there are to be a compelling performance and high entertainment factor to bring people
out en masse.
Often when working with artists, I find their merchandise table either missing completely, or missing significant sales opportunities.

I pulled together 5 tips to help you:

-Increase your sales
-Create meaningful engagement with your fans
-Manage inventory / cost
     1)  INTERESTING TABLE:  Think about high traffic areas in stores, they often have colorful interesting displays to capture your interest.  Think of your merch table as your own personal fan store. Even if you only have a table with a mailing list on it, have a colorful tablecloth and a sign (something that ties into your bands image) if you’re a country act, a picnic table w/ tablecloth vase of flowers and a framed sign. A Punk band might have a black vinyl or red PVC material with chains and a metal box displaying cds. Your local fabric store often has remnant materials you can buy for next to nothing, also look at recycled items to repurpose.
Many venues often offer you a tiny cocktail table to sell from so you need to be creative and prepared- having a card table that you can set up, it takes up a  small footprint and  doesn’t use a lot of valuable space in the tour car/truck.

2)   MAILING LIST: At the very mimimum your table must  have a clip board & mailing list that you can pass around and have people sign up.  TIP: Between songs right before the break take a few pictures of the crowd from the stage, tell them if they sign the mailing list, you’ll be posting the pics in your next newsletter for them to see THEIR mugs  at the show.  It WORKS!

3)   INVENTORY:  If you are just starting out, you may only have a couple of songs or a demo cd of “pre-released” or live songs. Give a free demo or song to everyone who signs your mailing list. Stickers, are also a very low cost, easy to give away item in exchange for a email address. Remember, you want to give them a reason to come back, and tell their friends about your show.

If you have several inventory items display them in a interesting way so people can see different styles.
Make it clean & well organized and have something at various price points- If you have a $15 admission fee, you better have something for sell for $5  since everyone will have at least a left over $5 from the $20  they paid at the door.

4)   ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS: You are losing 30-40% of your sales if you do not have a card swiper. Think about that!   If your fan’s spend their $5 from item #3 on a drink at the bar, you want them to use that cute little debit card in their wallet. Keep it simple and have a swiper machine and the credit card slips  it’s the best $30 you will spend   You can also use various apps with your iPhone/iPad as a cc machine however, you need to have a strong internet connection for them to work. You don’t want to worry about losing merchandise sale because the bar your playing in doesn’t have a cell signal right?

5)   ATTRACTION:    If you are the performing act, during the break and after the show, you work the merch table, talk to your fans AT THE TABLE. Do not go to the bar, you are working!  At the table  you can sign cd’s, shirts, and invite folks to join your mailing list. Usually artists have PLENTY of enthusiastic fan will offer to buy you a drink I promise! If you see someone always showing up at your show, give them a free cd or shirt, they are free walking billboards for you!   Yes you want to make money AND spread the word.

 Recruit the cutest sales gal you can find to wear your band T-shirt and work the table during your performances. Men and women can’t resist talking to a cute girl with a smile on her face! Honestly your sells will go up accordingly.  Make sure you give them a little cash or at the VERY least pay for their dinner for helping YOU make more money that evening / tour. *Remember NO eating at the merchandise table- no one can sell well if they are shoving food in their mouth, save the noshing for AFTER the show when the audience has gone home.   Having a merch. person keep track of the money and being proactive about working your “store” while your performing will make a huge difference to your earning potential and turn your merch table into a cash cow when you look at it as your own personal fan store!

Ultimately, it is about reaching out to your fans, and creating a new connection with them so they come back and bring their friends.

Do you have a really cool merch set up, email me a pic if you think you have a awesome space efficent merch set up!


CD baby  swiper http://members.cdbaby.com/moreservices/creditcardswiper.aspx
Merch case: http://www.hughshows.com/merch.jpg

Looking for something fun to collect your merch $ in? How about your VERY OWN cash cow!


Preparing your business for a cross country trip

To have a successful business, ANY business, YOU have to work REALLY HARD.
If your business involves YOU or a small group of individuals who create the product you produce, You figure out very quickly that there is more work than  2,3, or even 4 people can do full time.  

Outlining the direction you are moving as you head toward you final destination,  & the resources you are going to commit to moving toward this destination. is called a strategic plan.

 If your desire  is to have a business where you make a living wage doing the creative thing that you love, then you need to have your business organized so you can succeed in doing that!
ANY successful business needs capital.  You have to be able to finance your business, for it to be healthy and grow.   Just imagine driving on a cross country trip with no map, no gps, or no fuel..... You are not going to get far.   

There is no room to “just throw it out there and see what happens”-  the work doesn't stop when you record the demo, or book the show....if that is your current plan how is that working for you?    To attract potential investors like- gallery owners, publishers, labels,  when they see you have a organized well run creative business THEY COME TO YOU. 
 If that isn't happening, then your next step should be to schedule a consultation with a   experienced business professional. Investing in the right person to  be part of your team,  will help you be prepared for the "cross country trip" providing you with a map  & GPS to assist you with your strategic planning & fuel  in the car to move you and your organization  toward your final destination.  

Recommended reading:
Outliers: The Story of Success    
In the book you will learn:
The Beatles performed live in HamburgGermany over 1,200 times from 1960 to 1964, amassing more than 10,000 hours of playing time BEFORE they ever came to America- to be "overnight sensations"  (that is more than most bands play in their entire careers!).

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: http://writespeaksell.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/email-etiquette.jpg

Business Strategist Blog- “You want what your fans want” http://www.tamraengle.com/news.php?categories=consumer%20protection%20agency

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 www.tamraengle.com

Photo Credits: 
Local Music Vibe:  http://localmusicvibe.com/shout-out-april-28-2011
Tamra Engle 50th Annual Grammy Awards 

Do you want to succeed? Make mistakes!

Remember when you were a kid, and you wanted to learn how to ride a bike? 
You could see the bigger kids were doing it, and you wanted to do what they were doing.

This may be one of your first memories of trying something new, that you hadn’t tried before.
Do you remember what happened when you first got on a bike?    
Did you learn how to ride the bike by reading and studying about it?  Did you jump on and ride perfectly?   
Can you remember how hard it was?   
You had to steer, pedal, AND balance…. How did you feel? 
Were you scared? Or excited?
Did you get frustrated? Or mad? Did you stumble and fall?

 Did you stop when you stumbled and fell?  If so, you probably never learned how to ride a bike.

Did you keep at it until you could ride?  Do you remember how that felt?  Really exciting right?
  YOU did it!!

Accomplishing anything in life is exactly like riding that bike when you were a kid.  It is scary.  You might fall, and risk feeling dumb or  even embarrassed.  However, riding a bike is like so many things, It isn’t something that you carefully study and research to be good at.     It is something that you must practice at. Then, you can do things like jumping off the curb, or  Race a friend down the street.

Do you remember those feelings of accomplishment and how that made you feel?

For me the very best things in life have been the things I have struggled and fought to do and get better at.   Did I ever stumble and scrape my knee?  One look at my knees will answer that question!

Think about what will happen if you do nothing? Beside having really terrific looking knee’s?   NOTHING. 
You will end up with a growing pile of untried idea’s and dreams.

Does fear stop you from doing things that you want to do?
Making mistakes is not always a bad thing. Mistakes cause you to analyze what you have done, then make adjustments so you do not repeat the mistake.

This doesn’t mean you don’t take time to prepare and plan.  You need to prepare, plan then take action! - only then,  will you be able to take steps toward your own success.

Perhaps a first step to action is simply going out and meeting creative people like you.  If you’re located near Berkeley, try by starting your Tuesday mornings with coffee and a walk with us.  Details are here,   All you have to do is show up and  look for the big “kids” with the scraped knees and smiles on their faces.  If your not near Berkeley,  look around on your social media pages, for groups near you, or hit your smart phone contact list and call a friend you haven't seen for awhile and invite them  for lunch or coffee.

Would you like to share a success that happened as a result of you trying something new?  I would love to hear about it in the comment section!

Photo Credit:  Falling off bike: http://regularmom.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/bike1.gif

Link to Outdoor Adventures Coffee Walks:

Express yourself & move ahead!

If you are a artist, you create, and are filled with the desire to express yourself.
You find inspiration all around you, from, people, places, and the everyday things that cross your path. 

 You hope and feel that the product(s) that you produce, whether it is music, textile, or other forms of physical art, will resonate and ideally inspire others.

 From the dream that inspires, to the realization of your completed project
 It can be a  long,   b u m p y  road.

  • Not sure where to start?
  • Do you get stuck?
  • Worry about obstacles in the way?
Fears? focus on perfection? money?  kids, what others think?
Are you a person that comes up with tons of idea’s that never get off the ground?  Or do you start projects and just never seem to finish them?

Everyone at some time, has something that stops them from moving forward.

 In my Understanding and reclaiming balance posting, I offer  one of the ways you can take a first  step to remove obstacles that are keeping you  from fully expressing yourself in the world. While enjoying time with other creative individuals just like you.  

I'm looking forward to seeing you there!



Recommended Reading:

Stop Living Your Job, Start Living Your Life: 85 Simple Strategies to Achieve Work/Life Balance

Photo credits:



Business Strategist-: Outdoor adventure series for creative minds

Business Strategist-: Outdoor adventure series for creative minds

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 guitartam@gmail.com
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:

You want what your fans want!

This is part of my  growing your fan base  series:

You get tons of email  every day right?  Between social media sites, and personal email.  Think about your fans,  they are in the same boat with you.

On a almost daily basis I often delete 20+ emails without opening them. I realized many of them were from artists who have decided to add me to their “mailing list” after meeting at a conference or show.

You have probably  seen emails just like them, telling you  all about their show that week, day, or month. 
When scanning the email there is no “unsubscribe” option on the email, because it is a email not a newsletter. 

Do you get these? 
You know you didn’t subscribe to a list but you get the email anyway? 

Do you send email like this?      Not sure?  

The Consumer protection agency states there are specific rules that apply to “ any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,”
If you are promoting a product or service (that includes a show, performance, event, or happening) then you must follow the guidelines requiring you to comply with the law or face penalties of up to $16,000!!!

If you are mailing out to more than 10 people a month and those 10 people are not your family?  You need to have a professional newsletter that gives your recipients the option to “subscribe” and to  “unsubscribe”  It is probably one of your most valuable tools to have as a artist.

 Simply think about how you feel when you receive unsolicited email.
That is how your  collegues, or friends feel as well.  Yes, it's exciting you want lots of people to know about what your doing, but you also don't want to  have your colleges be in the  awkward position of having to ask you to not email them.  Remember, individuals must have signed up at some point to receive information about you,  Also remember, peoples needs and interests change,  don't be bummed if someone unsubscribes,   your mailing list is a reflection of your fans that  you want to come to shows, opening,  and buy products from you. Not individuals who do not. 

 What  service to use?

 SociaI Media  sites like Reverb Nation, &  Sonic Bids- offer newsletter services, but they control  the email list  not you.
Remember, your email list is GOLD, You always want to control the access to your fan mailing list. Remember, If the social media site goes away, so do your fans.

There are tons of great  newsletter services out there to use,  If you are getting a newsletter from a artist that you really like,  scroll down to the bottom of the letter and see who their newsletter host is.  Check out the various services offerings, 
  Most services offer tiered subscription services that allow you to pay a monthly fee  for a number of emails each month, generally you are paying $10-15 a month to have 500-600 email addresses.  You also want to have access to reports to see who are reading your newsletters, this is where you get specific data about who YOUR fans are.

You get customized templates, you own your list, and your fans can subscribe or unsubscribe as their needs change:

Popular services that are easy to use, offer reporting, tracking, and support:

www.mynewsletterbuilder.com  Create, send and track html email newsletters. Include pre-written articles or custom article content.
Mailchimp.com – Users can send newsletters in HTML format, which makes e-mail marketing easy.
www.constantcontact.com Newsletter templates, email mktg, reporting.

Do you have a favorite newsletter service you use?  Do you use one listed? 
Let me know!



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:


Current projects- Helping Artists grow their business!

Newsletter update: a look behind the scenes at current
client projects:

Current projects- Helping Artists grow their business!

Your inner compass (series)

In my Weeding out creative crushers post, I talked about how family dynamics, cultural and social programming do not always support the development and living of a creative life.

Most of our behavior is guided by our belief system or values, filtering our  attitudes and actions. I refer to this as a  "inner compass",   Have you had that "feeling in your tummy", or said "I can feel it in my gut"?  These values chart the course, direct which paths to take. Pointing us toward health, as well as telling us in a variety of ways if we are in danger, safe, or if something is good or goes against the grain of who we are.

Being Aware:
During this next week, be aware of your "inner-compass" and when you notice it.
 Being aware  is step 1.
The act of actually physically writing things down, helps you to gain clarity and focus and is Step 2- engaging your senses.

3) List 5 the names of people you admire that you have met .
Next to their names list which traits or values these people have that you admire.

4) Which of the traits listed on your admirer's list, do you want to cultivate in yourself?

5) List the names of 5 people living or dead that  you WISH you had met.
 What traits do these people have that you admire?

6) Look at the traits from #1 and #3. What traits do you find in these people, that you can look for in your friends?

7) Write your name down on the list.  Next to your name write down 5 traits from #6 that most resonate with you.    These are the values that guide YOUR direction, opinions and decisions.

 By writing down the values  that are most important to you, and making your decisions based on what is aligned with your inner compass will help bring purpose, direction, happiness, and wholeness.

What was the #1 value you came up with?  I look forward to reading your responses in the 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!


Photocredit: http://www.cm.iparenting.com/fc/editor_files/images/1042/ipgraphics/kidsday/kda010.jpg\

We are all born superstars

 I watched a 60 minutes interview before the 53rd Grammy telecast  featuring Stephani Germonatta.  

Stephani, is a  University of New York drop out, who began studying piano at 4, and went to a catholic girls school, where she was bullied and felt she never fit in.

You look at her in this 2006 picture you don’t notice anything particularly interesting or memorable about her right?  Fortunatly, Stephani knew this too...

Most of you probably do not even know about Stephani Germonatta, but more about her tireless alter ego who has been touring for the better part of 3 years Lady Gaga, the Alexander McQueen boot wearing fashonista who totters around from award show to award show.
 When Gaga performs, I am consistently reminded of other artists. A carefully blended compilation of 5 or 6 mega stars that came before her, artists who all intimately knew their own brand, and applied it  quite successfully to their business.
 Gaga, is a self-proclaimed student of art, fashion, and claims “I am the master of the art of fame”.   Studying the artistry of others, while being a creation all her own.
When you watch Gaga at the piano, you see, Elton & Freddie Mercury. On stage, Cher, Madonna Alice Cooper and a little Wendy O Williams.  All of whom were ALSO experts of their own brands.

She preaches her mantra of self-empowerment, and self-acceptance, and it draws the masses to her in droves like bee’s to honey. To her emotive tear stained fans she testifies from the stage: “Tonight- reject anything or anyone who has ever made you feel like you don’t belong, Free yourself of these things tonight!!” She speaks these words from her heart, as one of them.  They view her as their queen,  and she lovingly refers to them as “her little monsters” are devoted to her.

   Gaga presents herself as a piece of living performance art, not simply a pop star, or even queen.  
She is a self proclaimed academic when it comes to music and fashion,  every piece of clothing, make up, and props, she has completely researched and studied the reference of it. Who inspired it, to help reinforce the story or concept she is selling.  At the VMA awards wearing nothing but raw meat and accompanied by several discharged gay service men, she explained this was her commentary on don’t ask don’t tell. 

Her outrageous outfits are a brilliant distraction to keep people from asking questions about her personal life.  “as part of mastering the art of fame" "is getting people to focus on what YOU want them to pay attention to”. Gaga warns “What most artists do wrong, is lie to their fans, “I am not a liar, I build good will with my fans, I am just like them”.
The sociology of how people got, kept, and lost fame, allows her to maintain a certain privacy without feeling them feeling like she is withholding anything from her fans.  Whether it’s performing Paparazzi covered in stage blood, hanging “dead” above the stage, answers the question you might wonder- What will she look like when she is dead? Gaga explains,“Everyone wants to see the decay of the superstar, we live in a age where people want to see someone who has it all, lose it all”.
 It’s dramatic and the masses eat it up so fast that Forbes magazine predicts she is on track to make 100 million this year.

Gaga is a graduate student who uses messages that resonate deeply with her to weave into a persona for the masses and it remains to be seen whether she will have the staying power of the giants that came before her, for hear and now it's great theatre, and a master class on what is essential to the making of a mega star.

How do you utilize themes important to you to differentiate your brand, and grow your fan base?
 I would love to hear your stories.


60 minutes Anderson Cooper:  http://dai.ly/hFzzJe

Photo credits:

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 http://tinyurl.com/twitterTweetFB 
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 http://twitter.com/guitartam

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

Photocredit:  http://www.twitterpowersystem.com/images/blog/group.jpg

Getting started on Twitter Pt1

PART 1 of 2:

Twitter is another in the arsenal of social media tools that are a essential part of a creative person's online "tool box". 

It is probably the  easiest social media tool to use, and one that many are afraid to use, simply because they don't know how it works. 

 I am going to help remove the fear barrier and present  a two part posting to help you understand and USE twitter. 

Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers.  Twitter is also a awesome way to connect with new potential fans, while building a relationship with your current fans.
You can use it from a mobile device and can also synch it to your Facebook profile and update both sites at once!  Twitter  updates are all about the things that happen between email and blog posts- these "little things" are what connect you to the other people around the world that love the same things you do.


  1. It's free
  2. w/ over 18 million users It's the 3rd fastest growing online social media site.
  3. Your connected to your fan base and interact w/ Tweets, direct message & replies however you DO NOT have to follow everyone that is following you!
  4. Build brand recognition- A great tool to build your brand presence, you can connect to thousands. and there is NO limit to the number of people who can follow you (ie: Lady Gaga @ladygaga has 7,955,672 followers and is following 144,989)!
  5. You can synch Twitter with Facebook to link your status updates, keeping your fans (regardless of which is their favorite platform) up to date AND saving you time by not updating multiple platforms!
With all these great benefits how do you get started?

  1. Select your User Name (Remember to keep your branding consistent, so use a name that matches your website or myspace for consistency)  The name you use is picked up in google searches.
  2. Get a quick overview:  quick video http://www.commoncraft.com/twitter 
  3. Sign up @ http://www.twitter.com 
  • Follow the few sign-in steps entering user name, password & your email
  • Twitter helps you by searching your address book to see if anyone else you know is already using twitter. You also have the option to send a email to your friends.
  • Make sure you take the time to set up your profile, include a picture (it shows up w/ your tweets) your bio and a link back to your web site.
      4.  Link to your Mobile  If you have a good text-messaging plan and a high tolerance for receiving loads of text on your mobile.  You can also simply opt into receiving text from a few select people.  

 To text from your phone- send messages to 40404 and they are sent directly to your twitter feed.

To direct message (DM)  friends who are following you using your cell type "d" followed by their user name.

If you want to get started, follow me @guitartam and tune in to my Pt 2 of this blog post for more tips and Twix using twitter! ;-)
If you are interested in organizing and prioritizing your brand and social media then click here
and let's getting started!

Have a Twit-wific day!


The Twitter Book


Photo credits:  http://aboutonlinetips.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/twitter-SEO.jpg
What have you done in your life:  http://bit.ly/hCRazr 

The Perfect Friday Night

How often do you get to see ALL your favorite Bay Area artists on one bill?
All you need is chocolate and your got a perfect date for this  Friday Night

Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy

Photo credit:  http://www.hudsonriverhousing.org/images/midimage_mailinglist.jpg

Investing in you

Every day  you are  surrounded by thousands of “Brands” all competing for your attention and dollars.

Shiny boxes seem to scream “OH BUY ME! BUY ME!” 
 Typically, when we are buying things we are motivated by what we feel is cool, good quality and a good value. Right? 

Many of us have brands that are our “go to” brands, you may be firmly in the  iPhone or Android smart phone camp,  or you buy a particular car because of reliability, gas mileage, and maintenance costs or the "cool factor".  The things that make you as a consumer buy, are the same things that make people buy YOUR product as a artist.  Fans and manufacturers you might  want to partner with- are looking for the best partners to represent their product.
Reliability, a strong brand, really good value and how YOU will strengthen THEIR brand.

We are in the wake of another huge music industry show NAMM  (National association of Music Merchants) and  have spoke to no less than a dozen musicians that have made the annual trek to check out the new goodies, as well as  forge new business relationships with equipment manufacturers.  You may even be a attendee with a mountain of cards from people you want to do business with you in 2011. 

In my earlier blog:
Post conference success I provided tips on your conference follow up strategy. If you have or are planning to send emails to say “Hey great to meet you, remember me?”   What is the first thing they are going to do when they check you out?  They are going to go to your website.  
What makes you stand out from the thousands of people they have talked to?

Your customers and potential business partners will form a opinion of your brand in 10 seconds of coming to your site.

A well planned website has content and images that provide buyers with the impression of business stability and a strong brand.   You want to make it a easy decision for new customers and partners  to feel comfortable returning your call and ultimately doing business with you. Or  else they wont.

  What if you don’t have your own website? 
What if you use one of the many social media pages as “your site”?  
 Perhaps you have have "made your own site".

The bottom line is, It seriously impacts whether or not people will consider you a legitimate business, and whether or not they will do business with you.  

Do you wonder why despite what you thought was a great face to face meeting at the last show or conference that no deal has happened?  or will it  just one more missed opportunity that you had no clue how or why? 


Do you want to grow your business in 2011?
Do you want decision makers to view you as a artist serious about their business?

Then you have to have a proper business foundation before ANYTHING ELSE. 
That means that instead of dedicating your money on a recording or mastering budget you need to look at how you are running your business.
  If people are not buying product now, producing more inventory is not the solution to your problem.

 Get your own Website (blog link)

Spend your energy on having a expert help you create the proper business foundation, help you define your goals and objectives;  THEN, that content can be utilized within a professionally designed and maintained web site that reflects YOU, as a professional that has their act together.

You may be thinking forget this, I will design and build a site myself, it’s "cheaper".   
Is it?               or is it costing you MORE money?

Your self authored content is what you have been using on your social media pages.  Ask yourself, How much are you making each month from following that strategy?

 If you are spending more than $65 a month on growing your business and not getting that money back?  In business you measure your "return on investment" or R.O.I. before you spend money, Invest in strategies that will get your money back AND make you MORE money.

 Isn’t it time to put yourself ahead of your competition? and make it a no brainer for other’s to invest in doing business with them?

I would love to hear how having your business plan and website in place transformed your creative business.  

If your ready to made a difference in your creative career, then lets talk!
I have partnered with top quality Web design & development team to my to help you transform your creative business. 

 Put yourself ahead of your competitors, and start making a living doing what you love.

Here is to making 2011 the year you turn your business around.


Photo credit:

Growing by Giving

I have noticed a shift in corporate marketing.
Two huge brands have shifted the focus of the advertising budgets in a positive way.         To help our communities.

Corporate grants  or “corporate giving” programs are not new, but typically they are only available to 501© organizations. 
These highlighted groups have kicked open the doors to individuals.

Photo Credit:

10 steps to creating your Personal Brand

To be in business today, The most important job is to be head marketer of a brand called “you." If your not clear on what the brand is, it will not be clear to your customers. You will know, because they aren’t buying.

Are you selling lots of “product”? Are your shows, exhibits, and business humming? If not, then you need to spend some time clearly defining who “you the brand” are. I have listed some quick steps to help get you started on creating your own “personal brand”.

Step 1: Create your unique value proposition:
What makes you different than your peers? Your strengths, your passions, and your goals? If you left your job today, what would your colleagues miss? Know who you are, as well as who you are not. And play to your strengths.

Step 2: Find out how others see you: 
Ask trusted colleagues, co-workers, and friends for four or five adjectives (action words) they would use to describe you. What are you good at? What are your strengths? Write them down.

Step 3: Identify your goals/ priorities for the Year:
List 5 big priorities for yourself. To insure success make them
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timebound?
This helps you craft a message to reach them.

Step 4: Identify your target audience:
Just like Starbucks knows that their target audience is coffee drinkers, you need to define to whom you want to send your message.
This will not only help you clarify your message, it will help you deliver it to the right places.

Step 5: Pay attention to the details
Everything you do ultimately contributes to your personal brand.
Once your brand has been defined, make sure that the little things -- the way you dress, your body language, how you behave with co-workers, the emails you write – are all consistent with your brand message.

Step 7: Update your Bio / resume
Go through your Bio and resume to determine it is consistent with your brand.
Ensure they accurately defines who you are, and is in line with both your short-term and long-term goals. Self penned bio's stand out a mile a way invest in having a professional craft these for you! 

Step 8: Own your own website
Remember how your Mom used to tell you “you never get a chance to make a 2nd 1st impression?”
Your website is a direct reflection of YOU, a home-made site stands out a mile away, and reflects a level of quality readers will associate with your brand. Find web sites you really love and look at who built them, those are the people you want to set up your site, let the professionals do the work to make YOU look your best. This is also the hub of your social media network, here you own content, look and feel, AND your fan list. It should highlight your professional accomplishments, your skills and knowledge, what you stand for, and your overall value.

Step 8: Become a social networker
Set up accounts at social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Connect with those in your target audience, don’t friend EVERY person that comes to you. Remember you want to focus on QUALITY not quantity. It doesn’t matter if you have 3,500 fans if only 10 of them buy from you. Create a relevant network of colleagues, fans, & businesses to subscribe to your pages. Contribute and interact to relevant updates on a daily basis. Make sure your updates are consistent to your branding message.

Step 10: Have a Newsletter
Constant Contact and My Newsletter builder are great Newsletter platforms to help you promote yourself to your target audience.
Commit to posting a newsletter no more than 1-2 times a month to announce shows or projects you are working on. Do not add people to your mailing list unless THEY have signed up, and do not mass text, or email groups of people (unless your using your newsletter platform.  These platforms offer subscribers a UN-subscribe link; so they can opt out, don’t be bummed if you lose a subscriber, you want a base of product buying show supporting fans. If your a spammer you will lose your fan base!

Would you like to share any personal brand success stories? add your comments below

If your ready to get started,  Then lets talk! 

Photo Credit:


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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66
The Painted Desert:
Photo credits: 

Cleaning House

Are  you basking in the glow of  your holiday buzz?  You know the buzz  from the endless stream of baked goodies that has filled your tummy?
In this glow cast your thoughts forward to the New Year and ponder what 2011 will bring your way.

 Are you ready to move into a growth phase in your artistic business?
Did you have a hard economic year in 2010? And not care to repeat that this year?   
Then this is the perfect time to take advantage of some year-end down time  & get your "business house in order".
This will give you a head start on your competition, and make it easier for you to start, or expand your business plan for 2011.

Memberships / Conferences / Subscriptions-   Get your computer, checkbook and a notepad.  Make a list of all the sites  & services you pay a submission fee or monthly membership fee to:
 Your NACA, Folk Alliance, Grammy memberships, monthly newsletter service, Sonic Bids, Taxi, or any other organizations you might have paid a membership, re-occurring, or submission fee to.  If you don't already track your monthly expenses and income check out   Google documents they have some really great free templates to get you started keeping track of your monthly expenses and income and have this information easily accessible. Then next year when you do this you have everything in one document at your fingertips.

I had a client this year go through this exercise this summer and nearly died when they found they had spent  over $7,500 in re-occurring charges going out to Sonic Bids“ artist song submission & performance opportunities” 

1)    Return on your investment?  Ask yourself what did you get out of those expenditures?  Did you get any gigs from your $2,500 worth of Sonic bid submissions? Probably not. 
How about the $1,500 for festival/conference submissions?  Perhaps you got 1 festival booking, but that was the festival that you  forgot the bag that had  all your merchandise you had planned to sell, which would have paid for the trip. Or a expensive booking conference that resulted in NO new bookings?
     Or how about  those $99 submissions to get your song on 500 internet radio stations?- next time find your favorite charity to donate $99 to you will then at least get the tax write off for your charitable contribution.  

You will quickly see where your business might be hemorrhaging, AND as important where you are getting the most “bang for your buck”.
 If you have a membership to a local organization that provides you access and information which will help you grow your business; then, you will  want to keep them as a valuable tool for your business.
Or, if  you are just dumping endless submission or monthly fees into a black hole and getting nothing in return, time to cut your loses and move on.

2)    Grow-Learn-Look at ALL the tools you are using. Are you maximizing their effectiveness?  If not take advantage of  Google and watch a 5 minute quick tips video- read blogs, talk to colleagues, volunteer to help out at a upcoming industry related events, these are  excellent ways to  educate yourself & give back.
What professional networks do you belong to?
Are you meeting new people every month? and actually following up w/ the meetings?
Are you developing collaborative relationships?
Or are these area's that you need to work more on? 

3) Share: What are you doing to give back? Are you aligned with individuals, organizations and professional networks that support your core values? If not, time to start seeking them out, and volunteer at a upcoming event, no better way to learn and grow that to be involved right?

If you feel you can be doing more, you probably can be.   For tips check out www.NARIP.com, www.ascap.com, www.bmi.com Many folks do not realize our Performing Rights Organization or P.R.O.'s  have many  valuable resources available  for you to check  out!

Remember, face to face interaction has NEVER stopped being important.  Take a break from your online “friending” and schedule time to schedule regular meetings for lunch or a drink after work, or go to that workshop or panel discussion on a topic you need to learn more about.  Meet individuals  to see where you might have some common interests, and a opportunity to create something successful TOGETHER.

I would love to read your comments on any of your surprises from your  “house cleaning” exercise.  If you want to get started on organizing your year then Lets talk!


Providing business solutions for creative minds


Google Documents-
Photo credit: keephomesimple.blogspot.com

Life is what happens

When we are approaching the New Year we are reminded of resolutions, which ideally have evolved into thoughtful focused and specific goal setting to map out targets for success in 2011.

I started going through my notebook and list of goals, thinking to myself that I hadn’t really accomplished that much this past year.
And as I looked through the list of things I committed to do, and realized-
 I had a really big emotional setbacks in the fall,   saying goodbye to both our beloved dog and cat within 2 weeks of one another. I was lucky enough to share 10 of their 12 years with these two. For those of you who don’t care for animals this doesn’t seem like a big deal, and to readers who adore their little furry friends, understand how special our 4 legged “kids” can be.  My point here is that “Life happens, when you’re making other plans” 

Transitions of all kinds create distractions that can knock you off course.  Storms blow in, a relationship end, a new boss you don't agree with,  your health, or the health of a loved on unexpectadly changes.  You navigate through them as best you can.   Then, you check in to see where you’re at on your “list of goals” and make corrections, or if you’re lost at this point, be smart enough to ask for help. Think of it as asking for directions on a road trip. 
Hopefully I haven’t just lost all the male readers!   

As I navigated through my “storm” this year, I had forgotten about the tremendous progress I had made prior to that time, and some wonderful new opportunities and clients I have acquired since that time.

 For that I am very grateful!  If you have been so busy that you haven't been able to, I  hope that as each of you are checking in to see where your at, during the year end you are able to smile and appreciate how far you’ve come, I would love to hear your stories.
Or if you don't have a list,  or you  need to stop and ask for directions, I am happy to help. Just click here

Happy Holidays!



“Life is what happens when you are making other plans” John Lennon
Photo credit: http://www.andrews.edu/services/career_services/img/planning.jpg

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 http://bit.ly/  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:  http://www.winextra.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/twitterfront.jpg

1,000 true fans: http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php

Help another artist

I have been talking alot about gift giving,  

One of the gifts that each of us have, that is taken for granted is our lives, and our health. 
 You certainly cannot put a price tag on something so precious and so fleeting. 

  Most days, I feel like we get so caught up in rushing here and there, that we forget the importance of what is right in front of us until it is threatened, or suddenly, like a rug ripped away from us.  
During my lifetime,  I have lost a brother a sister and my mother, and just a few months ago our beloved 12 yr old dog and cat.   Not a day goes by that I don't think about  each of them;  I couldn't begin to put a price tag on what their presence had meant  to me.  

So what does this have to do with helping your artistic business??

I don't know if any readers realize that being a musician you are self employed, and your earnings; unless you are a well established act, are often really just pennies from shows, cd sales.
 Most artist have so little money that like many American’s,  they can't afford things like health insurance.
If  you are a touring artist and in a accident, or crack a tooth on that fast food burger you got after the show, your in a strange town or country and left to pay cash out of pocket.
What if  you are suddenly diagnosed with a  catastrophic illness, and physically cannot work ? 
Suddenly you are worried about financial ruin instead of the important business of healing.

It broke my heart to get a email last week from a client who had been  on tour with a favorite band of mine Girlyman. www.girlyman.com

I am going to leave you with the direct note from their website to fill you in on the details,  If you love music, 
I implore everyone that reads this blog to please donate any amount you can. 
THEN, please forward this blog to your friends.  If you have a faith, ask your guiding spirit to shine a little light on a sweet dear person in need.

If you are a artist looking for medical coverage contact your Performing Rights Organization or P.R.O. (ASCAP, BMI or SESAC) any of their websites  each offer "discounted" health care for musicians.

   I wish you all blessings of good health, and balance,

As some of you already know, last week Doris was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Fortunately, due to great advances over the past decade, CML is now a very treatable form of leukemia, with high survival rates (95+%). Doris is currently at Emory University Hospital and will be working with both eastern and western healing modalities. She's holding up well, coping with the symptoms of the first phase of treatment, but is still understandably in shock. We all are, but we are lucky to have a tight-knit community that is pulling together to help. The doctors have said that in time she'll probably be able to return to an active Girlyman-esque lifestyle, but we can't risk bringing her out on the road so soon, and have cancelled our December midwest tour. Right now Doris needs close medical attention and lots of rest.

The four of us have every intention of continuing on as Girlyman, playing tours, writing songs, and making CDs. That said, we don't know what this change will mean in the long term. Without the December tour, Doris will have two full months to rest and to allow her treatment to start working. For now, we're still planning to tour the west coast in late January as scheduled.

Many of you have asked about how to support Doris and the band during this critical time. We can't tell you how much we appreciate your love and concern. Your healing thoughts, prayers and visualizations have lifted us - they've been the best possible medicine for us all. If you'd like to send a personal note to Doris, you can write to info@girlyman.com and we'll make sure it gets to her. We'll also be posting updates about Doris on our Facebook page and at www.girlyman.com.

For those who would like to support us financially, please click here.

Again, our deepest thanks. We're so grateful for the opportunity to bring music into this world, and to share it with such a special, intimate family of fans.

With gratitude,
Doris, Nate, Ty, JJ




Free Gift Cards

Are you are looking for fun unique holiday gifts that are FREE?
Something for that special friend or family member,  who  is willing to try technology (but needs a little help).

Next to chocolate, there is nothing quite as good!

I like to make a  custom gift cards.  Using free templates like the one I have included, you can use card stock and print  on  your computer.
On  the gift cards include  links to  a couple of cool apps that can help them stay connected with you!  


Sometimes, the simple act of just "being there" no matter where you are is the sweetest gift.
 Today, with our little gadgets, we can have crystal clear voice and video connections that remove the space between us, and with no fees memberships or contracts you are instantly connected to the people most important to you.  Don't worry about using up minutes, roll over minutes, they don't matter anymore when your using these free apps.

Of course, these free app's are a great gift for YOU to help your artistic business.
Being accessible to your fans and customers!

Here are two must have Apps:

Skype:   (video phone)  www.skype.com
Free video calling / instant messaging / conference calling
Set up skype to skype international calls and call for free ANYTIME!

Viber-VoIP iPhone App. –http://www.viber.com/

When you use Viber, your phone calls to any other Viber user are free, and the sound quality is much better than a regular call. You can call any Viber user, anywhere in the world, for free. All Viber features are 100% FREE and do not require any additional "in application" purchase.
(Android and Blackberry versions coming soon!)

Embedded video:

Try it out the  gift card idea. Do you have a favorite free app? What would you add to your gift card?  Post your thoughts in the comment section!


Link to gift card template:

Skype:  www.skype.com
Viber: www.viber.com

Grow your business & WIN a free gift!

This is the time of year as a artist, you are working hard to finish up your holiday installations and performances. You also begin to look toward next year as a time when you actually grow your artistic business and create consistent earning opportunities.


  • Grow your Fan Base w/ more paying customers?

  • Help you contain costs where you see positive results.
  • Create exciting new PAYING projects that consistent w/your goals to build your success upon.  
  •  Grow your professional network with contacts that can make a difference to YOUR business.
If any of these are items on YOUR "wish list"?Then, it is time for you to get started?


I have set up easy getting started packages for the artist(s) on your gift list.  You can purchase a gift right from your computer by clicking on the link below the words pay online on the coupon( Debit, MC, Visa, and PayPal accepted). http://www.tamraengle.com/services/consulting.html


I will be GIFTING a free 1 hour consultation to one winner (who will be announced during the month of December).


Just give me a free consultation!

If you purchase two (2) "gift packages"* you automatically get 1 hour free!!!   
That is a total of 7 hrs for ONLY $398.00 *you save $167!!! *(must purchase 2 packages by Friday Dec 10th)

Enter to win a free consultation:
    • When you buy a "getting started" or "gift package"  gift consultation(s) you are entered automatically to win a one (1) hour consultation.
More ways to win:
    • You can also be entered to win by sharing this gift idea with other artists.  Click the LIKE button or re-tweet and share with your friends. (the more you like and tweet the more chances for YOU to win!)
I am really excited about announcing all the WINNERS of 1 hr FREE consultation! *WINNERS also get some FREE cross promotion via the announcement!


"Providing business solutions for creative minds" 



Initial 1 hr. Consultation    $75.00

  • Assessment  of your current business 
  • Planning of a upcoming promotional event.

(upcoming special event, installation exhibit, or discuss how to get the 
most from conference showcases for 2011).
(remote consultation available via phone / email /skype)

PAY ONLINE (visa MC paypal  accepted)



Artist Gift Package

1 hr initial consultation + Two 1 hr "project" consultations.
Only $199.00!   (a $46 savings!)
*Purchase 2 "gift packages" Before Dec 10th and get 1 hr FREE!  Save  $167!!!

Serious about making a living with your art?
Struggling being organized?
Take control of your artistic career
Simple customized program
Keep you motivated and moving forward
  • Regularly scheduled consultations and follow ups
  • Free subscription to "the Business Strategist" Blog
  •  Network growth opportunities
(remote consultations available via email/phone/skype)
    PAY ONLINE (visa MC paypal  accepted)

    Low Cost Gifts for Artists

    During the holidays don't you find you  have LESS money at the end of the year, than during the more "flush" summer months?
     Usually the sudden demand for gift giving all around you sucks what few extra dollars you had tucked away. 
     When you have very little money you often need to get creative in your gift giving.

    On the other side of that, you find you are also suddenly the recipient of many "wonderful" gifts.  Hopefully, there are the uber cool gadgets, and the odd fuzzy socks that your favorite Aunt knits for you every year that you look forward to.

    And it seems there is the gift that gets a thank you card, but in your heart you know it will NEVER see the light of day again. 

    As a gift giver AND gift getter neither one wants that!

     So what can you give (or get) that special someone?

    How about something  precious, so fleeting, and your always looking for more of it?  

    T I M E!

    This is a small gift that I would love to give to each of your for the holidays,  just a taste of some  time management tricks, that help give you the "gift of time" When it seems like there is NONE of it. 



    1) List 3-5 big things on your to-do list for today.  
    (if you have  experience w/ time management tools then list 1 week's worth of big  to-do items, you'll find as you gain experience doing this that you will be able to add more tasks to the list).

    *It's important that this list is written somewhere, so when you accomplish a task, you physically cross it off your list.
    Then you can see your progress as things are "crossed off"  and at the end of the day marval at  all you have accomplished as a result of your effort!

    2) Divide and conquer 
    Divide your day into  One hour segments- (set a timer on your watch, phone, or egg timer to keep you honest)  The key here is you don't work on any task longer than one hour, before you move on to the next one.  Keep in mind some tasks simply take longer that 60 minutes, but mentally and physically you need to move to the next task to keep up your effeciency.
     (if you have a REALLY hard time staying focused break the time into  :30 blocks).

    3)Check it 3-4 times 
    Each day is to ONLY check your email / social media accounts 3-4 times a day, (start of day / mid day/ end of day /if you absolutly have to after your evening meal, (keep these check -in's at :30 minutes.).   

    4) Keeping it work related 
    Keep your social media updates business related, (if your a band or artist have a "business page" then a social page)  If your posting show announcements you should be using your monthly newsletters for those updates, Spamming your "friends" with endless requests to go to your show will not make more of them come to your shows, only annoy people and make them NOT want to go to your shows.  
     If you are presenting a show, exhibit, or merchandise items that are  top notch and innovative, post video clips, pictures, showing people what they will be enjoying when they come to your show.    Save the personal stuff for  your "social page, after work hours".

    Facebook's Growing  Dominance
    In June 2009, Nielsen estimated that the average U.S. user spent 4 hours and 39 minutes on Facebook per month. That’s about 9.3 minutes per day in a 30-day month.
     In August, that number rose to 5 hours and 46 minutes, or 11.5 minutes per day and the numbers keep growing.  The avg american US internet user spends more time on Facebook than any other internet site.

    5) Touch it Once
    Read an email or piece of paper and classify it so that you are not re-reading it multiple times.
    Set up folders using Google Gmail (I like the google email service, I notice a much improved spam filter, and email management over other email platforms)

    6) One Calendar-

    Have one calendar that you record everything on – personal and work commitments and time-sensitive tasks. Use Google calendar that you can list work and personal events (and sort them for views, depending upon which calendar you want to be public or Private

    At the end of your day (or week) look at your check list and the items you were able to cross off, congratulations, this is a small sample of what you can be accomplishing on a much larger scale.

     If you or a loved one need the gift of more time, Or need help creating a plan to achieve the goals that are important to them with minimal distraction.

     Purchase  a  Gift Certificate  for my consulting services-(email / phone / skype consultations available, to help artists in other time zones)! 
     Packages and special rates to make your gift giving easy this year.  

    Wishing you and your loved ones a holiday season filled with health happiness, and doing all that you dream,


    Providing business solutions for creative minds


    Small Business Saturday

    If you have grown up in the US you are well aware of what I call the consumer related holidays,
    Holidays that were invented to give consumers REASONS to buy cards, gifts...
    BLACK FRIDAY was one of those days, so named by the shopping frenzy that takes place the day after Thanksgiving.
     The resulting sales were hoped to get the company "in the black" from a accounting standpoint.  This was a marketing gimmick that has resulted in billions of dollars in the big business market.

    If your like me, your pretty tired of the big corporations clammoring for all your hard earned money with little in return.  This year you may have heard of SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY  This is a terrific way to support the small local businesses, restaurants, and services you love and who do not have access to "bail out money" to help survive these crazy economic times.

    These are wonderful opportunities to look toward your local art community for your entertainment and gift giving solutions.

    Check out these recommendations I have for your gift giving:


    5297A College Ave.
    Oakland, CA 94618
    P: (510) 547-1630  

    Purchase gift certificates for Personal Training sessions, Pilate's, Massages. This state of the art facility and staff has something special for EVERYONE!  Weekend warriors to Olympic / Professional athletes.
    One session at this clinic and you will see why it's winning awards year after year as the BEST place for performance and rehabilitative care.

    La Peluqueria Hair Salon - Patricia Lewis
    1600 Shattuck Ave,  BerkeleyCA 94709

    Tierra Tech Corporation Lucy Perry  Owner                                

    Web design, quality assurance, business support svc. 
    If you have been holding off on getting a "real" website or support services Tierra Tech is the best!

    Blue Water Ventures:  
    Kim Powell, Owner                   
     Santa Cruz, CA 
    During the holiday months trying to figure out what to do with
    the family?  Call or email Kim she can put together a very affordable fun event (in locations here and all  over the world!!!) that everyone will be asking for!  OR buy gift certificates for later in the year!

    Caryne Mount- Zesty Scraps
    Designer- Zesty Scraps and so much more, Caryne designed two outfits for me for the Grammy awards, she's done costumes for the Diablo Valley Ballet Nutcracker.
    This season she is offering super affordable fun bags, that are perfect for yoga, the studio, or shopping!  (email her she can send you pics)
    AND you can commission her to do just about anything that involves a needle and thread and she is a genius!


    My sponsors are here:  NOTE: when you click on the links in my website and you get bigger savings!


    Giving CD's is always a easy inexpensive gift.  This year I suggest  you  book these artists for a upcoming living room concert!  it is very easy and affordable!

    Jason Cale:  (Amazing emerging artist, producer you will be hearing alot of, toured w/ John Popper, Doobie Bros and more, big bands to acoustic he can cover it all!)
    Savannah Jo Lack  (Amazing Award winning artist who you have heard on Alanis Morrisette, Rod Stewart, and many Nashville artists who are too many to name! Catch her while you can she is JUST back from her Australian Tour)
    Coyote Grace  Americana harmony based duo fresh back from tours w/ the Indigo Girls & Girlyman, one of my very favs! )
    Ruth Gerson (You have seen her in your living room on Conan, Letterman, and Craig Ferguson Shows, one of the biggest hearts and voices around!).

    When contacting these artists and businesses make sure and let them know I recommend you! (it helps manage our small business more effectively when we know where our business is coming from!)

    Please post your comments after you have experienced these incredible businesses, & artists let me know your thoughts!  

    And know that buy supporting local artists your are helping support local communities!
    what a wonderful gift that is for us all!

    Happy giving and receiving, 


    Providing business solutions for creative minds


    Final Curtain for RockBand?

     ROCKBAND has promoted its’self as the “next generation of the ultimate social and interactive gaming".
    I caught up with them  at this years AES Convention in San Francisco.
     A game audio track Titled  “Rock On”  “The Rock Band Network Demystified”  was promoted as a session targeted to engineers, & producers, to provide musical content for the RockBand Network (or RBN)
    RBN currently has 6500 registered users, 
    with approx. 40 new users per day w/ 1300 songs in their current catalog.

    Rock Band got a huge publicity push in Sept 09 (09-09-09) when they released  the Beatles rockband .  
    Admittedly I am not a gamer,  but I am a huge fan of the Beatles catalog, and thought  this would be a big money maker.
    Not even the Beatles can save RBN from themselves, I read today that
    Harmonix the maker of Rock band is up on the Chopping block By their parent company Viacom.
    Expensive add on’s – for plastic guitars and partial drum kits- and poor business strategy has caused the brand to flounder, and continue to lose money.


    RBN "executive producer" Jim Marshall Hosted the T-mobile sponsored session detailing how engineers can offer their clients the opportunity to have their original music to sell on the RBN.
      There are currently 43 studios that offer to get your tracks on RBN, and they would like to increase that number significantly, so the RBN team (Jeff Marshall & his partner) are hitting the AES circuit to sell the idea to the engineers.
    During a quick google search I found studio’s charging between $500-$1000 per track to upload your song.


    What steps are necessary to get your track loaded into RBN?
     It’s not as easy as simply uploading the track.
     Create Playtest Review
    ·      Intense instrument programming is required  you create a MIDI chart for each instrument. each little block has a hand movement, head turn, lip move, strum pick move fingers, which drum or cymbal to hit,  go to a  solo…you get how detailed this is). And this needs to look real, for the gamers to approve the tracks that aren’t realistic looking.

    ·       Select a venue and setting (you have a few “skins” to choose from, and you get the house band that is programmed in that “theme skin”. There is NO option to pick and choose the gender or number of players in your band.
    ·      Once the programming is all done THEN you can upload the song for play testing and feedback within the “creators club community (which costs $99/yr to join).
    ·       During this phase if you expect to get out of the “play test phase” and into the store to sell your song, as a song submittor must also play test and give feedback on other’s songs loaded into this testing environment.  Per Marshall, "If you don’t interact and give feedback don’t expect your file to be tested and given feedback for approval".  This Playback session allows you to correct any programming bugs before the final upload.
    ·      When your song is ready for final upload, it 1st goes into a “holding pen” where 8 other RBN creator  club members must play test it and approve it for final release.  Once you get the 8 RBN member approvals; your song can then go live and be available for sale.
    ·      Songs that are approved for publication are then loaded to the RBN store.  Song in the store  are priced to sell at $1-$2 *NOTE: whoever submits the song for peer review is who gets paid from Microsoft after setting up a XNA creators club profile.

    ·      Here is a FAQ for artists to read before they consider having their music submitted to RBN.  Read it- it answers all your questions about how payments and reporting are provided for the RBN creator and NOT the artist, As the artist YOU have to go to the expense of hiring a legal expert to draft  a contract w/ the engineer doing the song uploading to forward the payment and any sales reports you.  You will end up spending about $1,000 to simply get the song programmed and tested and hopefully approved to sell in the store ONLY to  see nothing for it.

       Marshall took questions at the end of the presentations, and responded by laughing and  and asking  for “next questions” when audience members asked the following questions:
     if the “Has the RBN song search been improved?” 
    "How long the process of programming and play testing on avg took"
     and "how artists got paid".

    It appears to be the final curtain for RBN. 
    For artists, even if the RBN product future was solid, I would advise you to pass on asking your favorite studio to load your tracks up on RBN- that money is much better spent on investing in strategies that will give you a return on your investment. 

    If you need help figuring out what makes the most sense for YOUR career, then let’s talk!

    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.


    5 QUICK TIPS- Make the holidays work for YOU

    If your like many, the holidays seem to sneak upon you, with little warning, you suddenly find your inbox and social media friends announcing cool shows, and you feel like your left out in the cold? 

    Here are 5 quick tips to help each of you "Make the holiday's work for YOU!

    1) Book Your Holiday Shows Early 
     There are plenty of high-paying holiday events that need live music.
    Get in on some of that easy money, or host your own show. It doesn’t have to be holiday related, either.
    December is a very slow month for music journalists and they tend to have far less interesting news to cover, so it is also the perfect month to book a big CD release show and get some press coverage while you’re at it.

      2) Record a Holiday Single  This is a terrific way to stay connected
    With your fans, (and exercise those songwriting chops).
    It also makes a nice gift for your fans.
    *You can participate in a free promotional contest like this:

    |    3) Download Cards Make Great Gifts What’s  green, small, inexpensive, and come customized with your album art ?  CD DOWNLOAD CARDS ! 
         You can pick up 100 cards for under $60.00 what are you waiting for!
    There are also  a number of promotional uses for your download cards. 
    You could do a Twitter contest and use them as prizes to generate excitement for your music around the holiday season. 
    Give them to particularly awesome fans- Spread the gift of YOUR music!

    4) Leverage Social Networks Social networks are the perfect place to get people talking about your music. Share some of your own personal picks for the season. Stir a little excitement with a giveaway contest. Encourage fan involvement. Remember, social networks are most effective when you converse with your followers, so don’t just shout at them like a desperate street vendor.0

    5) Holiday gift bundles: Limited-time only sales!
    Bundle your cd with Tshirts, stickers, or other merchandise items to create holiday “gift packs”.
    (price them to sell- ie: buy my Tshirt gift pack and get my EP for FREE)
    Promote this on your social media sites and in your monthly newsletter to fans.

    Are your interested in having consistant results creating more awareness, and selling more product ?  Then let’s talk!

    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.

    Holiday Song Contest | Local Music Vibe

    Holiday Song Contest | Local Music Vibe