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The Invisible Common Denominator.

I’m known in the music industry for doing thorough research. Some of my research projects have spanned more than a thousand hours each. This particular journey led me to discover something I call vice watch. Let me explain.

A lot of my research began while I myself was being mentored and apprenticed by some of the most admired names in the music industry; Phil Collins, Quincy Jones, Phil Ramone, Steve Lillywhite and more.

There is a definite common denominator that has been practiced by all of my mentors. That common denominator when I tell you may sound wrong, or too trite and simple at first glance to even mention.

So often it seems that the actual power of truth is made invisible by the effective mask called simplicity.

I’ve grown enough wisdom over the years to learn something fascinating. The more simple a truth, the harder it is to see. And yet when discovered and applied it becomes life changing.

The Simple Truth

The common denominator of all my mentors was not just that they NEVER GAVE UP, it was HOW THEY NEVER GAVE UP.

“Don’t give up.” I know, you’ve heard it a million times before. No need to write another article about it. Right?

Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe this article shines a new light on a trite subject that could help save your career.

I took that simple truth, “Don’t give up,” and researched the hell out of it until I could deliver to my students a WAY of never giving up that worked every single time it was applied.

Like most discoveries, I found it when I needed it most (necessity IS the mother of invention after all). Vice watch.

There was a time in my career (actually TIMES) I felt totally overwhelmed. I felt I could NOT keep going with my home studio, that I could not keep going with my music career. Too many challenges and problems all happening at one time. I call these times in my life my “Trial & Terror” days. (Months is more like it).

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Challenges and Problems

See if you can relate to any of these challenges and problems which can, when added up, create the feeling of overwhelm. Especially when you sit down to work on that one thing that should be giving you complete joy in your home studio: music!

  • Computer Frustrations
  • Financial Stress
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Relationship Drama and Family Stress
  • Certain People in Your Life Pulling You Down
  • Contrary & Confusing Tutorials, Lessons and Courses on Music Production
  • Not Enough Time to Learn Enough About Your DAW
  • Not Enough Time to Make Your Recordings Sound Polished
  • Lack of Confidence In Your Ear
  • Lack of Confidence In Yourself as an Artist, Musician, Producer, Engineer
  • Lack of Confidence in Yourself as a Person
  • Stress from Your Day Job
  • Not Having Enough Good Contacts
  • Not Getting Any Breaks in Your Career
  • Too Much Time Needed for Social Media Promotion and Distribution
  • Too Many Distractions on the Internet and Social Media
  • Health Problems Arising from All of the Above

How & Why I Never Gave Up With My Home Studio

I’m going to save you time by getting straight to the bottom line. One thing I know for sure: If you are still reading this article you don’t have time to waste.

Over the years, I developed a way of mentoring and apprenticing as a Life Coach that always works for my students when followed.

From my direct observation, this approach parallels HOW my mentors kept going. HOW they never gave up.

It has to do with character and responsibility.

Vice Watch – A Step-By-Step Approach to “Self-Serve” Life Coaching

You can do this on your own. If you have trouble mustering up enough discipline to maintain this approach — collaborate with someone and help each other through.

This approach to Life Coaching is called “Vice Watch,” so named by one of my students, Robin Kaye of Australia, after he found success by following it.

STEP ONE:

Make a list of all the conceivable vices in which humans could engage on this planet.

Definition of Vice:

A Vice is a practice, behaviour, or habit generally considered wrong, immoral, sinful, criminal, rude, taboo, depraved, or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, a vice can refer to a fault, a negative character trait, a defect, or a bad or unhealthy habit.

This is a very personal step. Everyone’s list will be different.

Divide the list into two categories: ACTION and INACTION.

Important Note: Pay close heed to the definition of Inaction: Lack of action where action is expected or appropriate.

Here are a few of many possible examples:

A List of All Possible Human ACTION VICES
  • Excessive Drinking
  • Taking Drugs
  • Gambling
  • Gambling in Life (Taking Stupid Risks and Knowing It)
  • Putting Oneself Down
  • Stealing
  • Cheating
  • Lying
  • Being Rude to Others
  • Bad Sportsmanship
  • Eating Junk Foods
  • Eating Too Much
  • Releasing Music Knowing It’s Not Done Yet
  • Excessive Time On Social Media
  • Excessive Time Playing Video Games
  • Using Cracked Software and Plug-Ins
  • Etc., etc., etc.
All Possible Human INACTION VICES
  • Ignoring One’s Children, Spouse, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Family, etc.
  • Neglecting Needed Paperwork (Taxes, Licensing Contracts, etc.)
  • Not Educating Oneself Daily Regarding One’s DAW
  • Not Educating Oneself Daily Regarding Music Theory
  • Not Educating Oneself Daily Regarding (Fill In The Blank)
  • Not Exercising
  • Not Sleeping Enough
  • Procrastinating (List Specific Areas of Life)
  • Giving Up on One’s Dreams
  • Etc., etc., etc.

STEP TWO:

Look over your list of ACTION VICES and INACTION VICES in Step One above.

Place a checkmark next to the vices that you consider apply to you. Be as honest as possible.

STEP THREE:

Rate each vice that you have checked off using the following system:

The lowest Minus 10 up to the highest Plus 11.

Keep your list and your ratings written down and updated on a weekly basis.

How the Rating System Breaks Down

Minus 10 means the particular vice in question is literally ruining your life. Regardless of how things look on the outside to others, you know honestly that that Vice is literally ruining your life. Left unchecked, other areas of your life will get worse.

As you improve each vice that you checked off, the numbers will move closer towards zero. Minus 10, minus 9, minus 8, etc.

Zero = Vice conquered.

A Zero means the vice in question is no longer a problem in your life – at all. Period. Gone. Vanquished. This is a big deal and can take some time to accomplish. The point is to work on this vice watch daily, and to note down your ratings weekly. Some people go so far as to note down their ratings daily.

Collaborations

When collaborating (which is a great way to hold yourself and another accountable) there is no need or pressure to share what your vices are. Simply assign each vice a letter, such as A, B, C, D – and a number. All you have to do is let your collaborator know the letter of your vice and the number rating for the week. Some people are OK with sharing what their vices are, some are not. I found that even if one keeps their vices to themselves and shares only letters, this approach still works just as well.

What the Positive Numbers Mean

During my initial research, I set up this approach to life coaching where conquering one’s vice was the final goal and the end of the game.

And then I discovered something that changed my life.

Once you reach zero (vice conquered), it’s now time to help OTHERS conquer THEIR vices. Therefore, a Plus One means you have conquered your vice and are now actively helping one other person conquer that same vice.

Plus Two means you are actively helping two other people conquer that same vice, and so on (Plus Three, Plus Four, Plus Five, etc.) Once you get to Plus Ten (meaning you are actively helping ten other people conquer that same vice), there is one more level up you can achieve: Plus Eleven.

The Goal

Plus Eleven means you are actively helping more than ten other people conquer that same vice.

What is the goal of this approach to Life Coaching?

The Goal is to improve your “numbers” until you achieve an eleven on each of your vices.

Why does this work so well?

I learned from my Mentors that life is a group activity. One cannot be an island and truly achieve one’s potential. You need a team.

Just improving yourself IS NOT ENOUGH.

However, you can’t just “build a team” either, you’ve got to work on yourself as well. You see the balance here?

In my online course The Lucrative Home Studio, I lay out exactly how to build your team by hiring interns, and how to help them achieve their goals and dreams – by being PART OF A TEAM.

Besides the legendary mentors I listed earlier, I was also very lucky to apprentice under the team that supports 25 Time Grammy Award Winning Legendary Musician Chick Corea (Nominated 51 Times!). For two years I learned an incredible amount of wisdom about how to run a business in the music industry and how to organize your personal life and professional life. One reference shared with me, which has helped me successfully apprentice many musicians around the world, is a common sense guide to morals called The Way To Happiness.

The Results

The results are nothing short of life changing and mind-blowing. What this does to someone’s music career can only be described as miraculous. That is all I can say. Here is one of many testimonials I recently received:

“Gary, as important as everything you have taught me about music and music production truly is, I NEVER thought this seemingly unrelated and counterintuitive approach to shattering the “glass ceiling” of my career would result in achieving not only my goals in the music industry (including making more money!), but going way above and beyond what even I believed my potential for success was! I was ready to GIVE UP FOR GOOD. In fact, I had already started packing up my studio. Thank you is not enough! I’m giving back by working hard on a daily basis to get my Vice Watch “numbers” up to eleven!”

Summary

I found that when people give up on their home studios and/or their music careers, it’s usually the result of not working hard enough at strengthening themselves, followed by not building up a team for real. The secret is to work on both at the same time. That’s how you achieve success you can bank on.

When people work on both at the same time, their lives achieve a much better balance, and they become what I call “magnets for miracles.” And many of those miracles show up in the form of unexpected music career successes.

You can see the results of not addressing your vices show up in the following ways; distractions pulling your focus away from what you are doing, feeling exhausted, repeating the same mistakes over and over, not able to persist on an action until it’s truly done, allowing others to pull you down, and ultimately — giving up.

The Vice Watch approach to Self-Serve Life Coaching is an amazingly simple and effective insurance plan against giving up.

The bottom line is this — give it a try. Do it. And let me know how it goes. You might be pleasantly surprised. And don’t be afraid to reach out for help along the way.

I’m always here to listen and to help.

I do believe this article is the most important article I will probably ever write. I am, in essence, working right now on getting my Vice Watch “numbers” up to eleven by helping you!

My personal mission statement is simple. “To create a Renaissance in the entertainment industry which will then create a Renaissance in the world culture.”

Here’s to a balanced life which leads to a productive and successful music career for you!

That’s what we are trying to do at the New Artist Model.

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Written by Gary Gray creator of The Lucrative Home Studio. Out of his one bedroom home studio, he’s completed major projects for The Disney Music Group and 20th Century Fox, CBS Daytime Television, A&E, Megatrax, EMI Production Music London, and others. 

Check out Gary's free Mastering Music for Licensing and Streaming webinar

Check out Gary’s free “Mastering Music for Licensing and Streaming” Webinar

For more information regarding revolutionary approaches to life and music production for the home studio developed by Gary, check out The Lucrative Home Studio.

If you want to work directly with Gary, sign up to get one of your songs critiqued.

A version of this post was also published on the Tunecore blog.

This post is derived from a series Gary Gray wrote for Tunecore. Click here and here to read the original, full articles.

Two years ago I came up with a five-year plan of how I was going to take an already consistently lucrative home studio up to a whole new level of quality, quantity and income. I wanted to get more corporate clients for my home studio. That plan, by the way, turned into the outline for the online course, The Lucrative Home Studio. It’s only been two years but I’ve already hit the goals and milestones I set for myself.

A lot of things went into my success, but one key factor I want to talk about today is being able to close corporate clients.

I’m very fortunate to service clients on a daily basis like 20th Century Fox, The Disney Music Group, Megatrax, Hollywood Records, CBS Daytime Television, ABC, A&E, etc., all from my home studio. But recently, I reached a brand new milestone.

I received a call from Disney/20th Century Fox. I had up to that point completed ten major projects for them — seven for Disney and three for 20th Century Fox. And now, with this latest phone call, I was being asked to produce, record, mix and master SIX new projects. I am currently making a six-figure income, all from my home studio. And this ONE project will account for more than a third of my yearly income this year.

So today I’m going to share my approach for closing clients and share the method I’ve developed over the years so you can bring in more clients and get those clients to come back to your home studio again and again. Let’s get started.

Learn home studio secrets that will help you produce better music and get more clients. Click to download the free ebook:

1. Upgrade YOURSELF

Now before we get into all the details, and before any cynics get too excited, my home studio is in a small 14 by 14 foot bedroom and I don’t own or use any “high end” equipment, and I don’t own tons of plug-ins. My point – ANYONE can do this.

I have learned and now teach a valuable lesson:

Upgrade YOURSELF, your EDUCATION, and your EAR, not your gear, as priorities when creating, mixing and mastering music.

You will then have a proper foundation from which you can conduct business on a corporate level from any home studio.

2. Mentors are Key

Every student that I have mentored for the last 30 years reminds me of me when I was being mentored. It’s a fascinating aspect of mentoring and education:

They don’t know what they don’t know.

And to a greater or lesser degree, each believe they DO know what they don’t know. In other words, by being students, they are obviously saying, “Teach me, I don’t know everything, I want to learn”. However, when asked what they would like to learn, none say to me, “I would like to learn about things that I don’t even know that I don’t know. Please unveil those subjects to me and everything you can teach me about them”. Instead, they rattle off categories of knowledge that they already know they don’t know. See the difference?

And then one day (hopefully) the student discovers a painful yet empowering truth. They discover something new that they literally never even considered before.

For example, I didn’t even know that I could service corporate clients from a home studio. I thought you needed to be in a high-end, million-dollar studio to even get on the radar of corporate clients. Boy was I wrong! My mentors opened my eyes to the possibilities, and that is exactly why mentors are so important.

3. Learn the Art AND the Science

I used to consider music strictly an art. But there’s a science too, and that is music theory. I call the knowledge of music theory “the most important plug-in you will ever own”. Learning music theory is what gives one the confidence and skill set necessary to ensure that corporate clients will remain corporate clients year after year.

I should have worked on becoming a ninja at music theory every day. It actually doesn’t take as long as you might think to build up a very good knowledge of music theory. This would include music production ear training.

Learning music theory like a ninja gave me an unshakeable and undying level of confidence unlike anything I had ever experienced before, which still persists to this day. That level of confidence, as I learned, can be sensed a mile away by people who are in a position to hire you. And the opposite is also true: a LACK of that level of confidence can also be sensed a mile away.

If you don’t know music theory, that’s like a mechanic not knowing the parts of an engine.

Good luck to that mechanic in finding a top level job in his profession.

4. Understand The Two Basic Buyer Types to Get More Clients for Your Home Studio

Everything we’ve talked about so far is what I like to call your “foundation.” So now I’m going to share with you a fool-proof, tried-and-tested system for consistently closing corporate clients for your home studio.

Sales is a subject that many people shy away from. I’m not surprised. Immediately the image of the sleazy used car salesman may come to mind.

But over the years I’ve learned this: if you don’t know at least the ‘Two Basic Buyer Types’, you could be missing out on at least 40% of potential sales.

WHAT ARE THE TWO BASIC BUYER TYPES?

  1. The All-Business Buyer Type
  2. The Emotional Buyer Type

Half of sales is correctly identifying the correct buyer type.

The other half of sales is knowing how to approach each buyer type and doing so effectively.

Both buyer types come to the table with the same thing, and both are looking for the same thing.

They both come to the table with fear.

They are both looking for someone they can trust. It’s how you win over that trust is where they differ.

The All-Business Buyer Type

The All-Business Buyer Type is a person who, in order to earn their trust, wants accurate and useful facts. They appreciate a person who has done their homework, and they expect you to be fully prepared for a meeting.

When they ask a question, they want either one of two things. 1.) the accurate and factual answer, devoid of any sizzle or story or dressing, or; 2.) if you don’t know the answer, they want you to say up-front that you don’t know the answer, (but that you will do everything you can to quickly research the correct answer and get back to them with your findings). Trying to cover-up that you don’t know the answer to a question will be 100% transparent to the All-Business Buyer Type and you will absolutely lose the sale.

The Emotional Buyer Type

The Emotional Buyer Type is a person who, in order to earn their trust, wants someone they can look to for advice, who welcomes guidance, a helping hand, who is receptive to and feels good about receiving honest and sincere compliments (key words: honest and sincere). A buyer who will accept your offer for a business lunch and who feels the lunch speaks highly of you and your goodwill, who likes to share pertinent stories about the subject at hand, and wants to know they can trust you almost as a friend.

This buyer type approach to sales is something I go into a lot more detail on in the Lucrative Home Studio program.

Conclusion: How to Get Corporate Clients for Your Home Studio

I hope with this article I’ve broken any myths that might be holding you back from pursuing corporate clients. I’ve worked with hundreds of producers from all backgrounds. And I’ve learned something important: No matter how simple or extensive your home studio is, you can produce radio-ready, corporate quality music. In fact, after going through my training most of my students are now producing work for clients with just 6 or so plugins! It all comes down to your ear, developing your confidence and expertise, and developing your business and sales know-how.

I’d love to work with you and help you upgrade yourself and reach new levels in your mixing, mastering and production. Click here to enroll in the Lucrative Home Studio and get me as your mentor.

By Gary Gray

Gary Gray is an award winning composer, producer and engineer. He’s produced multiple projects for 20th Century Fox, Disney, Hollywood Records, A&E, EMI, CBS and many others all in a home studio.

Gary has been mentored by Phil Ramone, Quincy Jones, Jermaine Jackson and Phil Collins. Gary honed his marketing savvy as the advertising and promotions manager for Music Connection Magazine. He has always enjoyed “both sides of the desk” in the music business.

Having taught music since the age of 16, Gary not only walks the walk, he is also widely regarded as an exceptional mentor for composers, songwriters, musicians, producers, vocalists, and engineers. Gary brings you real solutions to real problems that home studio owners all over the world have benefited from.

 

 

The Lucrative Home Studio will help you master the business, technical, and creative secrets of consistently producing professional radio-ready recordings.

This 8 module online training program will take your production chops WAY beyond tracking, mixing and mastering and help you produce your way to profit and satisfaction by producing music in your home studio.

If you’re in a band and looking for a way to consistently get that same radio-ready recording quality you get from high-end professional studios – in your home studio without shelling out a ton of cash, take this course and put yourself in a position of incredible value to any band.

If you want to  attract and retain high-paying clients like production companies, ad agencies, corporate and label gigs, take this course and see how to keep your clients happy and coming back for more.

You will learn how to build a state-of-the-art home studio that consistently produces top-quality professional recordings without shelling out thousands of dollars to go to other studios (that you will no longer need).

YOU are the most vital link in the chain of music production. You’ll learn how to confidently wear the hats of the producer, mixing engineer, AND mastering engineer by relying on your ear, not your gear.

And you’ll learn the easy steps to upgrade your professionalism, identify and attract high-paying clients, and produce your way to a profitable income all from your home studio.

  • Upgrade your EAR with techniques that will save you time and money and set you apart.
  • Learn how to be both a great producer AND a great engineer. (Yes, you can be both!)
  • Learn step-by-step how to mix and master radio-ready recordings from your home studio.
  • Build or upgrade a home studio to industry standards without wasting money (including room prep, plans, gear, and equipment).
  • Develop a 6-figure money making machine by producing music in your home studio.
  • Feel more confident in your producing, mixing, and mastering abilities.
  • Turn any space into a profitable home studio and avoid the big home studio myths that will waste you thousands of dollars.
  • Learn how to price your services confidently to ensure you get adequately paid for your work.
  • Get bands and clients willing to pay for your services to come to YOU.
  • Learn how to effectively communicate and negotiate with clients and close more deals.
  • Develop a business mindset and solid reputation that will keep clients coming back.
  • Get a system in place to manage your studio’s income, expenses, bookings, and administration.
  • Find your niche and position your services to consistently land high-paying clients that compliment your skill level and expertise.

Learn more about producing music in your home studio AND the Lucrative Home Studio course here.