Recently, he started a Friday series tagged What It Takes. And that is the one I am going to repost a part of, specifically a part of the yesterday's one. It is a very inspiring article on believing in yourself and standing your ground against "big names" trying to make gain off your skill and work. It's based on someone we all know -- Dolly Parton.
Without getting too much in the way, here is a part of that motivational piece (you can read the entire piece here). It is titled -- Horse Sense: “Lay a Little Heavy on the Business Side” Revisited
“My daddy could not read nor write. Never had a chance to go to school. But my daddy was so smart. . . . I watched him maneuver, I watched how he would—he could trade and barter. And, you know, it’s like he would . . . What do they call it, good horse sense or horse tradin’? They call it street smarts if you’re from the city, but good old country horse sense. My daddy was so smart. And I just watched him through the years. And my daddy was also one of those people that was really willin’ to work. He was up all the time, up early, havin’ to farm before he went to work on construction or doin’ whatever he had to do to, to keep food on the table. But he always just managed to make some of the best deals and some of the best choices. And I . . . I was very influenced by that.
“Now, I got my music from my mother’s side of the family. And most musical people, musicians don’t wanna work at anything else. So, I got my work ethic from my dad. I got my music from my momma. And I tried, in the early days when, when I would think about it and I started seein’ that I could make money at this, I thought, “Well, they do call this the music business. So, why don’t I kinda lay a little heavy on the business side of things?” So, I got to thinkin’, you know, what I should do to make it really profitable, not just to sing and just let the money roll in and let it be gone before you think about it. So, I started thinkin’ about . . . keepin’ my publishing to myself . . . you know, publishin’ my own songs, startin’ my own publishin’ company and just different things like that that I thought would be, you know, smart business. So, through the years, I have been lucky and made some really good choices. But I’ve got a lotta good people that’s helped me a lot, too. I owe a lot of my success to a lot of smart people.”
Wrapped into fewer words: Dolly knew that many musicians only focused on the music, but she also knew the power of solid horse-sense infused business decisions. That’s the difference between artists with long-time successful careers and those who never break through. Yes, talent plays a huge role, too, but business is a major factor. How many artists can you name who broke through on talent and then went bankrupt and faded fast?
We don’t all have daddy’s like Dolly’s, imparting horse sense wisdom on us, but we need it just the same. We need it to get us toward our “all-for-love” projects.
Steve has talked about doing “one for love and one for money” in the past—taking on those gigs that are just for pay, so that you can pay the bills and fund time to develop your craft. But what if all you did was your craft? What if your craft generated enough for you to live off of it?
In surfboard artist Drew Brophy’s case, “painting 10-15 surfboards a day helped him to get really good and to develop a very strong style of his own,” said his wife Maria. “If Drew had been working in another field and only painting in his spare time, he would have been wasting his talent.”
His craft advanced because he put in the time. He had the time because he focused on the business and sold his work.
There’s another piece to this, too. If you value your work and make those hard decisions, others will value you, too. (Look toward the beginning of Maria Brophy’s article “Why Artists Should (Not) Be Paid for Their Artwork“ for an example, and read on down to the end). For all those people who thought Dolly was crazy for turning down Elvis at the time, I’m betting her decision garnered her an even greater respect from an even larger group of people.
While some artists have broken through on talent alone, the ones with the long-time successful careers are most often the ones who took time to “lay a little heavy on the business side.”
Read the entire piece here.