This month. It’s March! And it’s almost over. So quickly it slid in, and so fast it’s marching out towards April.
This is the time of year when I like to take a little time to reflect back over the years since I shifted gears and went into a different direction. It was nine years ago when I launched my new company (www.gloriagreenentertainment.com). The date I chose to go live with my website and the announcement about my new venture was not random. I chose March 20 — the first day of Spring — for a reason. Actually, for many reasons.
Spring has always been the season many people associate with new beginnings. Life! Fresh starts. It’s the time of year when early flowers force their way up through the ground, and trees start greening up; others budding in preparation for the blooming show they’ll give us later!
I had every reason for wanting to make a fresh start in my career when I did. So the seasonal timing of it seemed only fitting. And while I have no regrets for forging ahead with Gloria Green Entertainment, there’s a lot I would do differently. If there was a time machine that I could jump into, and take the knowledge I have gathered, I would definitely apply that information, and make some major changes to my launch, my focus, and my time; doing things a little differently than I did starting out in 2009.
Looking back over the past nine years, here’s what I learned.
- People will use you. This was not a new concept to me. I’d met users throughout my life, and even worked with some, no matter what job I was in. But striking out on my own, where my income was dependent upon closing deals, it was definitely frustrating after spending hours in meetings and/or conference calls; even traveling to the location of potential clients, only to figure out what they wanted more than hiring my company was gathering my expertise.
- People will take advantage of your knowledge and network. I’d been somewhat forewarned about this one. After reading a blog by an Industry Insider, I attended a seminar he held that was designed for the many music industry people who, at the time, were all finding themselves in this new “entrepreneurship” world all around the same time period. His caution…don’t let someone pick your brain for a cup of coffee. It was interesting that he used that term, because I’d stop counting the number of people who wanted to “grab a cup of coffee,” and “pick my brain,” which was just code for “I want to know what you know and who you know, but I don’t want to actually pay you any money for it or invest in you by hiring your company.” I was surprised and then somewhat sad that so many other of my industry associates were having the same experience. Some of us even dealt with some of the same “brain pickers.” It was one thing to receive email from complete strangers. Those I could blow off, questioning the gall of someone to think what I spent over 20 years building, they could just take advantage of over a $3.00 cup of Starbucks! But then there were the people who worked in the industry; other areas, or perhaps just not as established as where I was. Those are the ones where I had to take a step back, shake my head and wonder why (sometimes after the fact), they could think it’s okay to take advantage of their former industry peers.
- People will want something for nothing. Probably the biggest lesson learned is just how much some people want something for nothing. It’s one of the biggest issues I caution my students about even today — to beware of the “friends” and other people they might know who ask for something (input on a project, help with artist development, assistance connecting with people in the industry, access to network and favors, hours of phone calls “bouncing ideas around!” etc.), but don’t want to give anything in return! I would even have been happy if they were willing to barter our expertise or services. Once, I had someone who wanted my help in public relations for one of their clients. I was willing. But weeks later, when I asked the same person if I could see a sample copy of a management contract they had for one of their clients, there was silence. No return email or text…for weeks. Until I happened to run into that person at an industry event, and asked them in person. The excuse was to blame their partner who didn’t want to share information that they had paid for. I went home from that event with the “REALLY?” expression still on my face. What the heck did they think I had just done for them?!
There are many lessons I learned over the pat several years. Actually, anyone working on anything over the course of time, will learn lessons that they wish they’d known sooner, and with the additional experience that years bring you, discover which of those things they would make a point of not to repeating.
Springing forward into the coming years, I’m more ready now to deal with all of those same things today than I was all those years ago. I am moving ahead with many things that’s to come, which not only includes relaunching Gloria Green Entertainment later this Spring, but also continuing my full-time job as a college professor teaching Music Business to the next generation of music industry executives.
Lessons learned. Time passed. After looking backwards at my mistakes and successes; I’m ready to look forward to my next season. And so much more…