Brian Tracy is a Canadian-born entrepreneur and public speaker who made his fortune in sales and real estate.
He is most known for the book Eat the Frog which is a canon in the personal development world, and as the title suggests is a book about doing the most unpleasant yet important task first thing in the morning, so that all tasks that follow it will be easier.
Tracy’s work is refreshing if you’re looking for tangible ideas for getting your most creative work accomplished. His message is easy to digest for creative types since he is soft-spoken, unlike the harsher personalities associated with hustle culture.
The funny thing about Tracy’s work is that many tips are repeated throughout his books, and kind of recycled. This is kind of genius. Lately I had been re-reading the book Get Disciplined, but I also added on Time Management and a bit of an audio book on called Business Start-Up Success Made Simple. It is 13 hours long but after a few hours I got a lot of great notes that make the basis of the post below.
The core tenet of all of Brian Tracy’s work is as follows: You have the power to construct your own identity as a creative professional. If you have created a storyline about how you are unproductive or bad at managing time or making sales, then this is the story that will unfold day after day.
Tracy had a wake up call in his 20s when he was miserable working construction jobs and struggling to get by. At that moment he understood that he had created his situation and decided to get educated on how to improve it.
Artists today need to be continually learning about the environment they operate in. And most importantly, if you are confident in the quality of your work but are not at capacity as an artist (ie fully booked), it should be your priority to figure out how you can get in front of audiences every day.
Here are 12 ideas you can work with today about launching your career and building an audience as a creative in today’s market:
- Be Clear about What You Want
If you just want to be proficient at an instrument, or better yet, a master at it, that’s totally fine. If you would like extra income from your craft, be specific about how much extra income you would like to generate. This pairs up with Stephen Covey's idea of "Begin with the End in Mind".
2. Business is not about making money, it’s about attracting and retaining a customer.
So by extension, art is about interacting with your audience, and keeping them as long-term fans so you can continue to share your work as you get older. This is the core idea of being fan-centric and being most concerned with building an audience rather than continually satisfying your ego which will often keep you scared in your boots.
3. Understand what you value and what your audience values.
The work that you offer them is the meeting point of these two values. You might work on a piece for fun, such as a song with lewd lyrics, but if it doesn’t fit into these shared values, you can set it aside for another project.
4. Until your capacity is full, your job is to work on sales.
This is hard for creative people who think that they just need another great piece in order to start promoting their work. Instead finish a track, and do the work to promote it to the right audience to the fullest. Your work will never be perfect so you better start getting it in front of viewers as soon as possible.
5. Sales is a daily activity: Every day you must be in front of customers.
This is the beauty of social media and content creation. It allows you to show up every day. The algorithm might not show your work to everyone and that’s fine, you give it your best shot, and in the case of YouTube it will recommend older videos to people who enjoy your work.
6. Business relies on enthusiasm.
It’s the fuel of an entrepreneur and I would say the artist as well. You have to be excited about what you’re offering in order for other people to share that excitement. Rock stars pretend that they’re not excited to be on stage but this can be merely a tactic to act cool.
7. Plans have to be in writing.
And everything takes longer than expected. Start small with a project that will take a week to execute and see for yourself that it might take two weeks. Get a handle on planning and then executing little tests before you try to bite off bigger projects like an album launch with an accompanying show.
8. Operating a creative venture relies on managing fear and reframing emotions.
I have written in the past that fear creates a map of the territory for you to work with. Follow what scares you and you will find growth in your work. For many people today, this is showing up on video which is an extension of public speaking and performance, an area that literally scares many people to something close to death.
9. You must mix faith with persistence to be successful.
Faith alone can’t get it done (as they say, hope isn’t a strategy). Persistence is hard because you have to work without any proof that things are going to work out. But if you can mix faith and persistence together, you will have one powerful paintbrush to work with.
10. Successful businesses rely on intense market research.
Many entrepreneurs don’t commit to starting a business without carefully considering multiple business plans. Nowadays you have many tools at your disposal for testing out what your potential markets are before going all in on your concept. But don’t let this keep you in a holding pattern. One practical way to test ideas is to make bad videos for YouTube and see which titles get picked up by the algorithm and send you thousands of viewers.
11. The customer is fickle: Don't worry about it
In the cut-throat environment of retail, the customer is perpetually seeking a better option than yours. You will never be able to get inside the head of someone who engages with your work, so don’t get engrossed in this game of cat and mouse. Focus on what is your control instead: develop the discipline to practice your instrument and get better at creating projects to share with people. That is motivation from within, and the opposite is to be chasing people’s fickle desires.
12. The majority of people don’t write down goals: Be part of the 20% who do.
They might’ve tried it in the past but got discouraged when the goal wasn’t achieved. It doesn’t have to be this way if you loosen up your relationship with goal setting. Treat the goals as mere intentions for starters, and also make sure you back each goal up with a plan to achieve it. That plan can be just the next few steps that you need to accomplish. If you are not achieving a goal you can always revisit it.
Brian Tracy’s favourite goal exercise to is to write down ten goals you want to achieve each day, and then find the highest priority ones which give you something to work on. The other goals on the list might end up on a back burner or are there to help you identify which goal is most important.
Ok that’s it, I hope this is helpful. Please share this with a friend and if you like this you can subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so already.