Blog Archives

#Entrepreneurship 101 Your brand and Social Media

entrepreneurship

It is an awesome feeling to work for yourself and have it be successful. I can tell you from first hand experience, there is no crazier employment ride then trying to get your own small business off the ground. I’ve started several of my own over the last ten years and I’ve been brought on board as a consultant for many people who are running successful small businesses as we speak.

The internet and social media especially are powerful tools when they are used responsibly. Think about it like a glass of wine. Having a single glass of wine with dinner versus drinking an entire bottle then getting behind the wheel of a car. See the difference? The internet has made it easy for people to network and even start a small business. In most cases even if all you have is an idea, there is a website that offers a template or basic store front for you to get started.

Almost everybody uses some sort of Social Media these days and for the entrepreneur, it is the most cost effective way to share their business with little to no marketing budget. In every area of life you will find people who are good at some things and other’s who aren’t. Not every person who makes music is going to develop a following or sell albums, not every person who applies to Harvard gets in, and not every entrepreneur is able to turn their business into an income sustaining entity.

The thing that drives me crazy as a person who truly loves to see others succeed is the utter lack of professionalism on social media when it comes to individuals trying to create a brand or run a business. It drives me crazy because there are far too many people with million dollar ideas or an outstanding product that only get so far and the reason they can’t get past a certain level is largely due to their own behavior and attitudes.

If you are starting a business or brand, it should have it’s own social media handles, especially if you’re one of those people who can’t resist the urge to blow off steam in your posts.  If you had money to invest, would you invest your money in a company or brand who’s owner was emotionally unstable all over social media? Think about it. Your personal life should have absolutely nothing to do with your business. If you are marketing your business to your personal social media followers and then when you’re in your feelings you’re using that exact same platform to blow off steam, how is anyone supposed to take you seriously as a business person? Some steam may be appropriate depending on the industry, but if you want yourself being taken seriously as a “CEO” or Business Owner? Then present yourself seriously.

What job have you ever had that you were allowed to walk around cursing in front of customers? What job have you ever had where it was okay to whine about your haters all day? You should care more about the integrity of your own business then you’ve had about one you didn’t own and just worked for. Sometimes YOU are the only obstacle standing in your way of greatness.

 

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Lighthouse

I don’t think I’m alone in this, but it doesn’t even matter if I am or not. I am saddened, repulsed, disgusted and disappointed on a daily basis. At least for a moment. That moment happens when I open any given social media and see human behavior at an all time grotesque state. Unfortunately now in a digital world, you are slammed on a daily basis witnessing tragedy after tragedy, your eyes cannot help but see ignorance and hatred everywhere.

I know for myself personally as a believer in Yeshua, Jesus Christ I’m supposed to know these things would happen and I’m supposed to allow the Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me in these times, I’m supposed to let the love of God shine in me like a light for those around me in darkness and to be honest with you? Sometimes I want to quit. I get so disgusted every time I open a social media platform, every time I hear about another school shooting, see someone getting killed unjustly by law enforcement, watching people post some of the most vicious and hateful words I’ve ever read, and the children… My God the children. I can’t stomach one more senseless death of a child.

I had a moment the other day quietly by myself with God and just broke down like “Lord… how? How am I supposed to do this? I’m trying to do what you told me to do and I can’t “. I sat there quiet and an image of a Lighthouse flashes across my mind and then that quiet still voice, that has the capability of drowning you in perfect peace that you can only relate to if you have a personal relationship with God said “a lighthouse is most effective in the darkness.” I sat there and cried. Legit cried. The darker it is, the brighter the lighthouse light becomes.

So I decided to share this because believers have different positions, jobs, titles, but ALL have the same assignment. Your job may be inside a church, out in the street, at the grocery store, in your blog, at your office, in the mall, on instagram … it doesn’t matter. Don’t compare yourself to other believers, don’t get distracted from your job because you’re busy debating someone else’s job. We all get weary and yes, sometimes it “appears” that the wickedness is winning and there’s a lot of people who call themselves believers and their social media feeds make it impossible to tell them apart from people who don’t know Christ at all…. BUT we were told these things would happen (2nd Timothy 3:1-9). This is not the time to get weary (Revelation 12:11) it’s not the time to argue denomination or name translations (1 Corinthians 12:12). One day soon, people will be so tired of the state of the world that they will welcome with open arms one world order and a one world religion. If you turned off people’s phones and debit cards tonight, they’d line up by the thousands in the morning to take a microchip if it meant getting access to their money and the internet. (Revelation 13:16)

So my strength is renewed in this and I hope this will encourage those of you who have also become weary, they don’t have to like you. They don’t have to agree with you, they don’t have to listen, and they don’t have to believe. If you saw them crossing the street and a car was coming, you would yell , WATCH OUT! At that point they can make a decision to watch out or keep going. With something so precious as a soul and where you’ll spend eternity, I would never want to see anyone I knew or ever had any interaction with, standing before God being denied access to Heaven and seeing me there and asking why didn’t I tell them the truth. What would be a good enough excuse? Because I was afraid they wouldn’t like me anymore? What excuse or apology could I give? I can live with someone not liking me, I can live with people calling me names, I can live with someone disagreeing with me, but I don’t want to bear the burden of not telling them the truth.

So in whatever country, state, region, city, industry, or platform God has given to you personally? Be wise, win souls, and do not give up. It’s always darkest before dawn and someone, somewhere is looking for the light you carry.

#HipHop101 Mixtape Etiquette for the new artist

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted in the HipHop101 section, but what I’m going to talk about is really going to be able to help some people who listen. Although I am an artist, my first love in music has always been the business side as far as marketing, management, and promotion. One of my favorite things to do behind the scenes is organize collaborative Mixtape or Album projects which requires you to work with and organize a lot of different people that do a lot of different things. You have artists, producers, DJ’s, record labels, managers, graphic artists, bloggers, promoters, etc who can all be involved with this kind of project. It can be extremely difficult sometimes when you are dealing with so many different people and personalities but no matter how difficult it can be, I personally find that the finished project always ends up being worth it and whatever or whoever the difficulty was, you learn from it and move forward so that you can make each project better than the next.

With that being said, what I want to address is the Etiquette of Artists. I am very aware that we live in a day and age of social media and we are living in a generation of selfish people. Be that as it may, I am going to explain to you the honorable way to conduct yourself and you can choose to ignore it or pay attention. I am going to tell you the truth about somethings and it might hurt your feelings, but you will be alright if you can get out of your emotions and listen to the logic because this is after all business regardless of what you see portrayed on television or social media.

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  • YOU ARE NOT FAMOUS. Unless you are cashing million dollar checks, have hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsements, have gold or platinum records, or have been recognized as one of the greats for your well seasoned and decorated music contributions? SIT DOWN. Relax. you don’t deserve to be disrespected, but you better stay humble. If you are unreasonably a jerk, nobody is going to want to work with you and eventually you will end up biting every hand that tried to help you get fed and burn down all the bridges extended to you. Unless you are an outstanding artist, producer, graphic artist, DJ, blogger, promoter, manager, and record label all in one? You will eventually need the help of other people so it’s best to conduct yourself as a professional. In my opinion I don’t understand how people can say they want music to be their full-time job so they don’t have to do anything else but they’ll behave like professionals for their job at the gas station and act like they have no manners or common sense when it comes to conducting themselves as an entrepreneur (which is technically what you are as an independent artist).
  • Value an invitation. There is a lot of work that goes into a collaborative project. Far too many times people undervalue the time and work that’s put in to a collaborative project especially if all they did was submit a song. This is no way means the creative process and recording is under valued, but the point I am trying to make is a collaborative release has many components to it and if you are invited onto a collaborative project (especially one being presented by an artist, group, or label that holds weight under their name or brand) there are a few things you can easily do that show you appreciate the opportunity of exposure and free promotion.  The LEAST you can do is share the project and support it especially if you were invited on. Even if you pay for a slot, what was the point of purchasing your exposure opportunity if you don’t even support it? If you are invited onto a project, turn in your music in a timely manner. Nobody should have to chase you down to give you an opportunity. If you want to be taken serious as an artist? Be professional. Nobody is going to keep calling, texting, inboxing, or emailing you in order to put your music on a project that’s overall cost isn’t coming out of your budget. What all of us as artists need to remember is that there are millions of us. Sometimes it’s not even natural talent that help people move forward in this very competitive business, it’s things like honoring your word, professionalism, and integrity.  For me personally? I will help a less talented artist who is a good person ten times over breaking my neck for someone who is super talented but a headache to work with.
  • Label your tracks properly.  When you are submitting a song, nine times out of ten whoever is collecting the music is slammed with emails. Make sure you do your part to cut down on the instance of error and costly mistakes. Your email should come with the MP3 of the song, Artist name, track name, and producer name. One thing that happens far too often is people do not label their tracks properly and then expect everyone to stop what they’re doing to correct spelling errors, add something or delete something. Once things like promotion is started or track lists have been designed and released it is far too time consuming and costly to make changes and frankly, unless the error was a track by a heavy hitter? Chances are you’re going to have to deal with the error and move on. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another and nobody died because of it.

 

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For those of you who may be very new, there is a difference between a Mixtape and Collaborative Album.  A Mixtape can be done by an individual (normally a collection of their music they are putting out for free in order to generate a buzz before an album comes out, a free project an individual releases in order to start building a fan base, a free collaborative project from a group/label/ DJ that showcases a collection of artists / producers. The key word though is FREE. The only time there is ever a charge for a Mixtape is if hard copies are pressed up then you are paying for the actual hard disk and shipping, not the actual music. Artists can be invited on by a DJ/Group/ Label or slots are sometimes available for a fee. Purchasing a slot would be something you charge to your promotional budget and you should only purchase slots on Mixtapes that target the fan base you want, and or are hosted/produced by a reputable organization/DJ/Label/Group. I say that because I can’t even count the number of times a no-name brand or group has slid in my inbox trying to sell me a Mixtape slot for hundreds of dollars. No thanks. If you are debating on purchasing a slot, google the other Mixtapes they’ve done. Combine all the numbers from all of the sites you see it posted on and decide if the slot fee is worth that investment for the level of exposure you find. ( Side note: Any slot fee over $100-$150 you should look for downloads and plays of ten thousand or more but BE CAREFUL…. some of those “downloads” aren’t organic, meaning they could have been purchased. So the best way to make sure it’s legit is see if the project comes up on multiple sites and check all of the stats before making your decision.

A Collaborative Album is actually for sale. Normally a collab album will have one producer and feature many artists on their beats, or put out by a label/group and showcasing their artists and producers. On this kind of album purchase you can expect all original tracks.

I hope some if not all of this was helpful or enlightening. One more helpful tip until the next time… if you are an artist and consider the music industry your ideal profession? Do some research about the “business” you say you’re in. There’s a lot of “artists” that don’t even own the name they’re making beats or recording songs with, and there’s a lot of producers selling beats they don’t technically own although they made them.

That’s all for now! Be blessed –

Q

The real world VS. The internet 

I realize that I frequently make references to this subject matter in my posts, but with each post it doesn’t become less relevant.  Here’s the way I see it, even if just one person reads it and it helps them focus on the things that truly matter in real life like their family, relationships, hopes, dreams, and goals? It was well worth it. 

The internet is a tool and too many people have allowed it to become the dictator of their reality. Too many people are starved for real human to human interaction and many don’t even know how to communicate socially face to face without discussing the internet. When was the last time you had a personal conversation and absolutely no references were made to some sort of online activity? Have you been to a store lately? Most cashiers have their phone in their hand. Most people can’t even enjoy a social gathering without checking their phone. 

What’s more disturbing is that there is crisis everywhere in the world and people forget about disaster as soon as a new post flies through their feed. People (human beings) are lost, sick, struggling, and hurting all over the planet and most people are too busy posting their comments about it instead of actually getting involved or at least trying to be an agent of change. If you found yourself in the middle of a crisis or you have loved ones that are,  I’m sure you appreciate the people who have decided to put down their phones long enough to get involved. 

You are not “woke”, a revolutionary or any other sort of agent of change if all you do is fall into the peanut gallery comment section of the internet. Stop allowing yourself to be so self absorbed and distracted. Get involved, do something that matters, & enjoy your real life. 

Are you too distracted? 

Asking yourself if you’re distracted seems like a silly question because I think most people would agree that in this day, we are all distracted to a certain degree. It’s still a question worth asking because sometimes you have absolutely no idea just how distracted you are until your assessment of it can be objective. 

Today marks the end of my 3-month reprioritizing of social media. For the last 90-days, I have stayed off social media from 7am-7pm daily. At first? I couldn’t wait until 7pm rolled around and honestly after the 3rd week of being off for 12-hrs a day? I started to go days then weeks without checking it at all. 

Social media is a useful tool. For those of us that use it for business purposes, sometimes it’s necessary. However, a tool is all that it is. Most people have no clue how much real life they are missing being sucked into the internet on a daily basis. They have no idea what’s going on in the world, the only information they know or can recall for basic conversation is something they saw in a post and that is sickening. People have full blown family discussions about what someone’s posting and “posts” have manifested into the core of real life drama for most people. 

Most people have completely lost the ability to think for themselves and most of what they do is dictated by what they’re feeding themselves with on a daily basis from the internet. What you spend most of your time doing? Is exactly what you’ll become. If you don’t believe me, challenge yourself to stay off social media for at least 30-days during the hours you’d normally be on. You’ll see. Refocus. Reproritize. Your future self will thank you. 

#MondayMotivation Getcho Mind Right

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When you live kingdom minded, don’t expect everyone to comprehend what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. The light of The Lord inside of you is quite capable of drawing others unto Himself. Less talk, more action. Clever memes and inspirational post sharing doesn’t mean a thing if you’re not snatching souls out of the fire. All you accomplish with that is portraying an image but if you are not living that image you’re not fooling God.

“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

#WednesdayWisdom Are you dating your phone?

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So many people are missing out on what real life has to offer because their most important relationship is with themselves. There’s nothing wrong with healthy self-esteem, taking care of yourself, and setting boundaries but when it’s an ego issue? That’s dangerous.

Most people (even older ones) have conformed to this new mindset in regards to the importance of your cell phone (which lets not forget is an object). Most people will go back home if they forget it and some will have an all out emotional melt down if they lose it. There is nothing healthy about that. It was unheard of professionally for you to have a cell phone on or with you while working and these days you can find every cashier at almost every store with phone in hand. People spend more time on their phones at work then they do actually working.

We are becoming more and more out of touch with what is actually reality. Dating has become a tap, swipe, or like. People develop relationships off a filtered presence on social media based on a character that they have created themselves to be as opposed to who they actually are. Nobody actually meets anymore because meeting would cause them to have to come out from behind their self created phone world and the hard core truth is most people are afraid to do that because they honestly lack the social skills and the ability to handle human to human interactions including rejection, so they avoid it all together and tap, swipe, or like their way on to the next. If this continues, all of the things that help make life beautiful like memories, family, friendships, dating, will all be non-existent and we will find ourselves in a world much colder then the one we already have.

#HipHop101 How NOT to promote music on social media

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Social media forums have both helped and made a total disaster in the independent music community. The internet is a wonderful tool for the independent artist to be able to put their music in the hands of folks in other states & counties absolutely free.  It allows music lovers to discover music that they otherwise would know nothing about. In that respect? It’s a beautiful thing. However, as of late it’ become a very bitter sweet thing for most underground music lovers. Do you remember being in elementary school and one kid acts up and the whole class gets in trouble? That’s what it feels like on most social media forums these days when it comes to music. Unfortunately, there is an overabundance of individuals annoying the hell out of a lot of independent music professionals as well as potential listeners who are the regular social media users.

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ARE YOU ANNOYING?  Answer these questions: 

Are you a person who is auto messaging every person that accepts a friend request or gives you a follow back with your music?

Do you send your music directly to people via tweet or message that follow you but you have never spoken to?

Do you send your music directly to people via tweet or message that you don’t follow or have on your friends list?

Have you ever added your music to a tweet or other media message between other people who don’t know you?

Have you ever posted the link to your music in a comment or on a post that had absolutely nothing to do with music (i.e. commenting your music link on someone’s Instagram picture) ?

If you have answered YES to ANY OF THESE, you are annoying. What you are doing is not only annoying, but 99% of the people who are falling victim to your unwanted spam not only don’t click your links and more then likely never will, but you may very well find your account suspended if too many people report you as spam.

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If something was easy, everyone would do it. Just because you have access to free tools on the internet, doesn’t mean promotion is easy. Promotion is an actual skill that some people make a very decent living doing. What you are doing in the above mentioned behavior is not called promotion, it’s called spam. Real promotion costs money. It is ALWAYS more valid that another source is saying check you out then just you spamming strangers to death saying you’re the greatest alive. Can you do some yourself? Of course you can, but there are ways to do it. In the digital music world (especially on social media), it’s important for people to like you in order for them to support you. Building relationships with your following is just as important as the actual music itself. Someone who chats with you regularly may very well be inclined to check out your music. If you don’t feel that you have the kind of time to invest in your fan base because you should have been famous yesterday? Then you better put a whole bunch of money where your mouth is and hire yourself a publicist.

Feel free to share this post as needed, especially when receiving unwanted music links.  For more do-it-yourself independent music tips, check out the Hip-Hop 101 section on this blog (which is now also available via our good friends at the International Underground Rap & Hip-Hop Connexion at promote.hiphop).

 

 

 

 

New #Video by @_joseph_sd “In My Zone”

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Brand new official video by Joseph SD, “In My Zone”! 

Be sure to follow Joseph SD on Twitter & Instagram at  @_joseph_sd , soundcloud.com/painforglory and his

EPK at artistecard.com/painforglory 

#Blessed to be a #blessing

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I just learned something and I felt compelled to share it with my beautiful readers. Let me back track for a second and tell you that today for me wasn’t exactly ideal. Spent the entire day in the emergency room and about an hour ago noticed that I had a flat tire. For some people that would have been enough to drive them right over the edge and they would have started screaming, swearing, asking “why me?” and all of that. I wasn’t thrilled when I saw the tire however, I realized that it could have been a lot worse. I had actually just added road side assistance to my policy two-weeks ago, my car was at home in my drive way, and I was grateful I didn’t notice it at 6:00 a.m. when I had somewhere to be. I’d like to also point out that this calm, cool, collective individual I am describing as me was not always me, believe me. But the trials and tribulations that allowed God to mold me this way we’ll visit another day during another lesson.

The tow-truck guy gets to my house and all of the sudden I found myself lending an ear as this man poured his entire life out to me as he was changing my tire. I learned that his son was killed in a car accident a few years ago and he suffered a heart attack soon after. He also was letting a friend who is battling cancer live with him and that friend lost his wife to cancer a few years ago. You might be thinking “Wow, that’s not really professional” or “Who cares?”, but that’s not what God wants you to think.  See sometimes we get so caught up in what’s happening to us and we as a people have become so self-drama centered that some of us have even lost the ability to feel compassion for other human beings because we can’t think past our own emotions or own situations. Here’s a shocking reality check though, YOU are not that important. I am not that important, WE are all important.

As this man got up to leave, I told him I was sorry I didn’t have any cash on me to tip him and he said, “don’t worry about it”. I told him I will pray for his friend and he looked back at me and said quietly, “Please do, his name is Juan.” I realized that sometimes when things happen to us, even bad things, there is always an opportunity for you to help someone else. We can’t allow ourselves to be so consumed with the little annoyances of life that we end up missing the chance to be a blessing to someone else who may very well be in more need then we are. If you’re a believer, then you fully comprehend exactly what I’m saying. We can’t say that we love God, make witty Facebook or Instagram posts to make people on the internet see how super “spiritual” we are and then miss the chance to share God’s love with someone who needs it just because we’re drowning in our own drama.  What that man was carrying in his heart was more important then my stupid tire and maybe all he needed was someone to listen.

A lot of people have their hands held out to receive a blessing but have closed fists when it comes time to be a blessing. Trust me when I tell you that if you want to see the favor of the Almighty move in your life? Be a giver, be a blessing. Stop telling people you love the Lord, SHOW THEM. You can’t be a “boss” if you haven’t learned to be a humble servant and the reason for that is because you can’t experience a divine appointed promotion without being a humble servant. You will always be called to be a server, you will always be required to be humble, you will always be required to think outside yourself. The most amazing thing about all of this is, God is so merciful and gracious that even a non-believer can find evidence of God’s hand on their life simply because they allow themselves to be a blessing to others. We are not animals or savages but if we continue to choose to behave like them then we have nobody but ourselves to blame when we reap the fruit of planting those crops. I used to be one of those mad at the world for everything that went wrong in my life people. It made a world of difference when I started to develop (and I’m still a work in progress) an attitude of gratitude.

I hope this post was a little bit of soul food for you, and if you are a praying person? Please send up a prayer for “Juan” because God is still in the miracle working business.

Be Blessed-

Q