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If you want to position yourself professionally as a musician, it makes sense to start planning your year at the beginning of the year. It’s an opportunity to give yourself enough time for your most important projects. It also helps you focus on your goals and aim firmly at them in the coming months. Would you like to learn more about how to design an annual plan? Then grab some pens and a calendar of your choice - and let's get started!
Imagine you could travel back in time and beam yourself to the end of the new year on a timeline. Looking back, what would have to have happened for you to remember this year as great, memorable, successful, and beautiful?
If you like, close your eyes for a moment, think about the question and write down your answer. Of course you can also write down several answers. This will give you a starting point for determining where you want to go this year.
In this step, we make the whole thing a little more concrete and ask ourselves the question about your annual goal: Which concrete, measurable goal would you like to aim for and implement this year? Feel free to close your eyes and think about it in peace. Unlike the previous step, try to commit to just one or two annual goals if possible. In this way you can clarify for yourself what should really have priority in your annual planning.
Dream big and at the same time realistically include your time and financial capacities in the formulation. If you're just starting to professionalize yourself with your music, you probably don't have any experience yet. It doesn't matter - the annual goal is not set in stone and can of course be adjusted and changed over time.
Concrete, measurable goals could be, for example, the production of one or more new albums, music videos, merch, live performances, or a certain turnover. If possible, try to define and write down your goal in connection with a specific number. This is the easiest way to measure your success at the end of the year! In the following article, I will focus specifically on sales. However, you can apply the following to other goals as well.
If you want to learn more about how to actually formulate good goals, take a look at this article here.
In the next step, we want to be more specific about the results you want to achieve this year. If your annual goal is a certain turnover with your music, you can think about which specific offers you would like to use to generate your turnover.
This could be, for example, productions, personal projects, live performances, merch sales, income from streaming services, affiliate income and cooperations. Also, make a note of what the specific price of your various offers is. Roughly estimate how often you would have to sell which product to reach your sales goal.
The Product Staircase model can now help you sort your products into three categories: Reach, Base Layer, and Superuser. The lowest layer of your sales represents the offers that you make to ensure reach. This can be, for example, social media marketing, advertising, newsletters, writing blog posts, or posting YouTube videos.
The "base layer" includes the products or services with which you achieve your main sales. This can be, for example, your work in the recording studio, music lessons, your own online course, selling your own music, or similar things.
In the top layer, the “superusers” purchase the high-priced offers that you occasionally offer. This can be, for example, a VIP offer with intensive support lasting several weeks or a large online advertising cooperation with a company whose products you like.
Now you can start your own sales planning. To do this, draw a staircase with six steps on a piece of paper. Now divide the stairs so that you categorize levels one and two as “Reach,” levels two through five as “Base Layer” and level six as “Superuser.”
Then think about which of your products belongs to which step and sort them (if there are several steps) according to the targeted turnover. Have the courage to leave a gap if you don't yet have or plan to have a product or service in the “superuser” segment (this only really makes sense once your “base layer” has been properly established). Of course, also consider your time capacities when filling out your product ladder. For example, it could end up looking like this:
If you've created your own product ladder, you already know which individual projects you want to focus on this year. Wonderful! Time to plan your next actions and create a 180-day action plan.
Grab your pen and paper and first think about which fixed appointments (including holidays) are already pending or should take place. Then see which of your goals you want to achieve within the next 180 days and when. For this I recommend that you plan backwards. That means: Think about when you want to have achieved a certain goal and then schedule the necessary intermediate goals towards the present.
It could look like this, for example, if one of your goals is to have your own album recorded by mid-May:
Plan all your projects in your half-year plan, the scope of which you can reasonably estimate and implement realistically. As soon as all appointments are set, you can also enter them in your calendar or in a planning tool of your choice. Roughly outline what you intend to do for the following months. The closer the halfway point of the year approaches, the more realistically you can plan here as well.
If you have worked through the article step by step, you can now implement your goals with great certainty and definitely achieve them. Great! Please remember that your plan is not set in stone. Not everything can be planned - and that's okay.
As already described, beginners in particular often find it difficult to make realistic assessments. If by the end of the year your goals have not been achieved, there is no reason to despair. With every step in the desired direction, you get closer to your goal.
Did the article make you want to finally implement a project that you've had in the drawer for a long time? Then get my workbook, with which you can finally develop and realize your idea. You can download it here for free.
If you feel like starting projects together with other musicians, take a look at our mukken portal. Here you can find band members and connect with other musicians in your area.
Originally published on January 29, 2022, updated on July 20, 2022