Back in the days of records, CDs and music stores (remember those?), I’d spend most Saturday afternoons at Tower Records or Camelot Music.
Hanging out at these stores was an event. Something I looked forward to.
I’d spend a couple of hours browsing … checking out new artists … talking shop with the people who worked there.
When I got home, I’d engage in the ritual of unwrapping the record or CD, popping it into the stereo, and listening to each track through a great set of headphones, liner notes in hand.
This was mindful listening. No smartphone. No Facebook or texting. No interruptions. Just my music and me.
Fast-forward about 15 years to the mid-2000s. I’m married with young children and a demanding job. The record stores have gone out of business. And I’m no longer making the time to listen to music.
Sure, we always had music playing in our home or in the car. But listening to music had gradually turned from a deliberate pastime to a background distraction.
I was no longer seeking new artists. I was just setting my iPod to “shuffle” mode. Or letting my eight or ten Pandora stations do their thing.
I barely noticed what was playing. And I kept listening to the same stations, the same bands and the same songs I grew up with.
The Police, U2, Rush, Led Zeppelin …
(Bear with me here, there’s a great lesson for writers, I promise!)
Around that time, I met up with Kevin, an old college buddy who’d introduced me to a ton of great music back in the day.
The topic of new bands came up. I said, “You know, Kevin … I think the golden age of music is over. I’m not seeing that much innovation out there, and that makes me sad.”
Kevin was startled. He replied, “I disagree completely. And I’m surprised to hear you say that, Ed. There’s more great music today than ever before!”
Turns out Kevin was right. We truly ARE living in the golden age of music.
In the excellent book Factfulness: 10 Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, the authors note that the number of new music recordings released each year has skyrocketed, starting around the year 2000.
In fact, Spotify reports that in 2019 close to 40,000 tracks were uploaded to the platform every day!
Today, more artists are pumping out a larger volume (and more diverse array) of music than ever before in history.
Way more, in fact, than when Kevin made his observation back in 2004.
Sure, not all of this music is to my liking. But spend a few minutes browsing Spotify, Apple Music or any other streaming service, and you’ll go down a (fun) rabbit hole.
So why was I so pessimistic about the current state of music?
- I didn’t have the time to mindfully explore new music
- I was listening to the same artists over and over again
Essentially, I was stuck somewhere in the 1980s. And that impacted my perceptions.
What does this have to do with your copywriting or content marketing business?
If you’re currently stuck, say if your income has plateaued, you may be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Because when you’re the business owner and have little to no outside input or perspective on your situation, so it’s easy to start believing your income will never go up.
At the other end of the spectrum, some copywriters and content marketers are making a great income, but they’re so crazy busy with client work that they don’t know how to manage it all.
They can’t think of a scenario where they can maintain that income level while freeing up time for themselves. But creating that free time is entirely possible if you know how.
Your perceptions and beliefs shape your reality. Your actions will align (subconsciously) with your perceptions and beliefs, which perpetuates the cycle … just like I believed that no one was making good music anymore.
So question your beliefs and assumptions, no matter where you are in your business. Get outside feedback. Open yourself to the possibility that there are viable solutions to your problems.
Don’t let your perceptions dictate your most important decisions.
And take some time this week to discover some great new music. You might be surprised by what you find.
By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my book.
It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here
2. Join my implementation program and be a case study.
I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just email me at [email protected]
3. Work with me privately.
If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.