Build Your Army And Hitting Your Target In 10,000 Hours

I’d like to share with you a little story about one of my best friends.  He’s a successful musician, by successful I mean he makes a living doing what he loves, granted during the winter months things get a little slow and you can run into him filling-in for a few hours at the local video store in town for some extra cash, plus he’s a big movie buff.  So, considering a few things that I’ll tell you about he’s doing pretty darn good, and I’ve learned some very valuable lessons from him.

First of all the guy picked up a guitar for the first time about 5 years ago, now he’s one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen, and could easily give some of the best guitar players in the world a run for their money.  We grew up down the street from each other, but now live across the country from one another, and I only get to see him once or twice a year.  I remember I didn’t see him for a while, probably a little over a year, during that time he had picked up the guitar.  When I went to visit we sat out on his porch and he began playing me old blues songs from famous old-timey blues musicians.  He was playing them effortlessly and perfectly.  I was impressed, I remember saying “Wow you learned to play that quick.”, and we proceeded to have a conversation about how he had learned so fast.  He told me he had bought “Guitar For Dummies”, and had taught himself the rest via the internet, I kinda chuckled but then was like “hmmm”, thats still pretty fast, most people take many years to learn, and even more to learn to play all those songs, he had done that in a little over a year.  Then what he said stuck with me, he said he had read somewhere about the 10,000 hour rule.  “Huh?”, I said.  He said, “In order to master something, pretty much anything, the general rule is that you have to practice whatever it is for 10,000 hours to have mastered it.  I bought a guitar and taught myself how to play with “Guitar For Dummies” and for the past year or so I’d go to work and come home, from the moment I got home until I went to bed I’d play non-stop.”  I ran some figures and in about 18 months playing say 6 hours a day, he had to have put in somewhere around 3,000 hours already.  Well 3 years later, he’d by far mastered the guitar.  He is currently signed to a Blues record label, is selling on everything from iTunes to MP3.com, performs in front of huge audiences at festivals all over the US and Europe, has videos all over YouTube of his amazing performances, has perfected his deep gruff voice, and puts on an unforgettable show no matter where he goes.  Have you ever seen someone play the guitar right-handed and continue playing while he switches to left-handed, or while he puts on his harmonica holder, or while he dances like Michael Jackson, I have…  Well the same thing goes with Blogging, you have to put in your time, now I’m not saying you have to put in 10,000 hours to see results, thank god for that, but you do have to put in time, blog consistently, market your blog consistently and you will get better and better at it.

Now as you may know in 2013 Blues music just isn’t as popular as it used to be, especially amongst the young hip crowd who manage to get out to most music events.  My friend also performs in his old-time style pure acoustic with a stomp board under his feet, so his audience of fans is small or “niche”.  Blues can be a tough sell, yet he is successfully making a living in a genre of music that isn’t super popular.  When we were discussing how I thought the techno music that I make wasn’t like the popular dance tracks I wondered how he was able to see success in such a niche market.  The big thing of course and probably the most obvious thing is to get out and get your music heard.  This is important for us as Bloggers as well, this is where marketing your Blog makes the difference, you can be a Bedroom musician or a musician that plays at the club.  You can sit there and type blogs all day, but if you don’t get out and market your blog you will never get that targeted traffic you need to make an income blogging.  Putting yourself out there in front of the world can be a big step and can be a bit scary but once you do it, and you get responses from people who like it the scariness goes away.  You don’t want to play a song for the first time in front of a room of people if you haven’t got the song down packed yet right.  So you get your song down and then you go play it in front of people.  You build your site, put up some content, get it fine tuned, and then market it.  The next thing he told me “You just keep playing and putting it out there and slowly you’ll build your army.”  We were talking about how he would play shows at a small bar in some small town in the middle of nowhere, he may be playing to a crowd of less than 30 people and only sell a few CD’s.  Well he got paid to play the gig, and got a few fans in the process, and each time he plays he gets a few more and a few more building his army of followers.  Once in a while he plays large festivals and will sell out of CD’s, thats when he’s hitting his target audience.

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