Oshawa Culture – Thank You! Free Download

Everyone, thank you so much for attending last night.  I had a great time meeting all of you and sincerely hope this presentation inspired you, and taught you some new tools, mindsets and habits.

Please stay in touch!  Remember that you can get weekly tips and inspiration from the Fuse Chamber podcast – click here to listen and subscribe!  And don’t forget to find me on twitter – @fusechamber

If you’d like a copy of tonight’s presentation, you can find it by clicking below.

Fuse Chamber – Branding, Leading And Succeeding

Best of luck to all and see you out there!

-Chris

Bonus Podcast – Branding, Leading and Succeeding

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This week, some of you will be coming to see me and my branding seminar in Oshawa. I’m very excited to meet you.
(If you’re interested in attending, learn more about the event here.)
We will be talking about the various aspects of branding yourself as an artist or entrepreneur. These are easy tasks, yet somehow seem so difficult. Creating a vision, rooting yourself in service, seeing your future self and the impact that you make in the world.
If you’re serious, we will come up with a 30-day plan to get you started. I bet many of you have tried creating a brand before, and maybe even come up with a purpose, or done some kind of skills assessment – and yet, months or years later, you’re still in the same place you were back then.
If you’re serious, it all changes today. I’m here to help you stay accountable. We’re going to get you on the road to where you want to go.  At the end of those 30 days, you will see a massive difference in how you feel about your art – how you feel about your ability to succeed, and you’ll have a clear vision of yourself in the future.
I hope to see you there, and I hope this podcast helps give you some background and preparation for the time we spend together at the workshop.
In the meantime, check out this podcast I created just for you that will help you get immersed in the ideas and inspiration I’ll be bringing on February 28th!
See you on February 28th!!!

Why You Have No Competition

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One of the things that has got to be frightening for any new entrepreneur or artist is the notion that there are just so many voices out there. But if you take a moment to look…really look, you see that most of them aren’t really doing anything. Sure, the number of blogs that were started last year will give you the jitters; and make you question whether you should enter the fray. But if you look at the percentage of those blogs that are abandoned, in the first week, first month, and finally 18 months later, you realize that not too many people keep running too far out of the starter’s gate.
Take a good look and see what your friends are doing. You’ll notice that a very very small percentage of people are actually out there, crushing it, doing what needs to be done. They’re the 95%. Maybe even the 98. What will you be? Because the fact is you really have no competition. If you’re willing to hustle, if you have the vision, if you’re prepared to never quit, if you have the confidence to believe in what you’re doing, then you are already among the 2%.

Hustle

Have we always worshipped shortcuts?  It seems like ‘hacking’ is in – and that makes sense when the pace of work and rate of change is accelerating.
I’m all for four-hour work weeks in principle, but even if I could pull it off, I’d use those 36+ liberated hours to make my next big goal happen.
Despite all the change, things really do stay the same.   Hustle matters.   Working your ass off is king.  If you make excuses, if you cut yourself loads of slack, you get left behind.  Hustle is the great equalizer.   If you don’t light up at the thought of spending 8, 12, 16 hours a day being an artist, being your own business….you probably don’t love it enough to make it your calling anyway.  If you like TV or wing night better than plugging away at your craft, then elite levels of success may not be on the horizon.
Haven’t we all seen that video of Will Smith talking about having no particular talent other than a crazy, ridiculous, sickening work ethic?  If you haven’t seen it, check it out, because that guy is insanely successful.
I currently have some down time – no clients, no gigs this week.  But I got up at 630AM, and filled my agenda with tasks to complete – no, that’s not right….objectives to conquer before the day is done.  I’ll take it easy at 10PM or so, and there’s nothing set aside for my favourite shows (I don’t have any) or going for drinks or gossiping.  I’m just gonna hustle.  What about you?

Stop Being So Cheap About Art

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What happens to anything you give away for free? The recipient comes to mistake its value. You must begin in your own beliefs and actions that art is imminently valuable because of what it creates in ourselves and our community – joy, escape, enlightenment, passion, connection – things that pretty much aren’t for sale anywhere else.

I’m all for saving money, but I think we’ve gotten out of hand in the way we disrespect the value of art. When we stream music or movies and read book summaries on wikipedia, the artist always loses. They’re getting paid pennies, or nothing, for their time, creativity, talent and labour. We would never suggest the same model for iPhones or Pottery Barn furniture. I believe it is incumbent on all of us to change the way we treat artistic work. Just because it is an expression doesn’t mean it should be free.

So many get all ruffled at the concept that creativity shouldn’t have a price tag. That’s not the point. Artistry should be a legitimate full-time career. I’m not suggesting state sponsorship or patronage – I also believe we should be prepared to compete, to market, to sell and to ensure that our career is sustainable. But all of that beings with a shift in attitude. It starts with us. With you. Commit to buying a CD or an item from the merch table. Buy a print or a hand-made greeting card or artisanal furniture. Pay a fair price for a professional photographer, attend local performances. Whatever you can, put your support behind artists with actual dollars.

That will perpetuate the attitude that art is worth buying, and artistry is a career worth pursuing. It will allow a talented artist to live another day before succumbing to sameness and getting a day job. Do this and someone will be inspired to build something – maybe a startup or an app or a new model for monetizing art. I personally feel like I’m running out of stuff to buy. Everyone around me says they don’t want stuff, they want experiences…..well, here you go.

Listen to the entire episode here.

Your Own Voice

Look carefully

Reflect on the people who inspired you. Especially the people who created something truly new. They had some kind of philosophy, some way of looking at things that was inherently different than everyone else.

People who change the game draw their own lines in the sand. They are not content to repeat and promote the thoughts, ideas and designs of others. They are, at first, radical; and they know that acceptance will be slow to come. When it does, it means that they have successfully made change.

How do you become someone with that much certainty, drive, and fearlessness? It’s easier than you think.

You must constantly be experiencing, thinking, examining, writing and reviewing. Live life open to new experiences. Say yes. Be present and observe where you are. And write it all down. Write for the wastebasket. But review it often, because your world view will emerge from the patterns and repetitions….what has been lingering subconsciously may surprise you.

Each of us has our contribution to make. So few of us make the time and the commitment to do it….

Listen to this week’s episode here.

The Inspiration Habit

For those who look to making a living as an artist, generating new and good qualitiy ideas consistently can be challenging.  This, essentially, is the hard work of being a creative (along with all the things you DON’T wan’t to do like accounting and marketing, perhaps), but if you really want to love what you do, we have to re-frame how we think about the creative act.

Maybe we have a lot of fear and uncertainty around it.   What if my ideas suck?  What if I sit down to create and nothing comes?  Does that make me an imposter?

I understand.  What will really help make creativity more natural, and therefore far less difficult and fearful, is to habitualize the acts that make creativity happen.   Anything that surrounds you with inspiration – novelty, inspiring people and places, inspiring art or performance, or even stories about successful people – is good.   Find what sources work well for you (for me its going to a live show or meeting other creative people) and carve out time to have a little bit of it every day.

You also have to be ready to capture inspiration in a way that is easy and supportive of your working style.  Technology can definitely help with that.

However you get inspired and however you choose to capture that inspiration, what matters is making it habitual.  Once it becomes a habit, you don’t have to think about ‘commencing the creative act’ which is where all the fear and uncertainty is coiled up waiting to pounce.   LIke driving a car, all of the complex, seemingly life-altering tasks become automatic.

This week, we discuss the tips, tools and techniques for building the inspiration habit.

Listen to the full episode here.

Be An Owner, Not Just An Author

Since the early-mid 2000’s, when music really started to come online in a serious way, I’ve been really excited by the way digital advances created new possibilities for artists of every kind.  As greater internet speeds meant that publication and consumption could happen entirely over the wire, more powerful computers meant composition and production could happen entirely in-the-box, and social media enabled anyone to create their own audience, two things happened simultaneously.   Artists had complete freedom and control to create their own product and steer their own artistic output; but at the same time, physical product, and the streams of traditional revenue that come with it, evaporated.
It forces us as artists to get better at all the things we once might have left to others.  Marketing, editing, career management, legal, accounting, sales, tracking, mixing, mastering, post-production…you name it, its your job now.
But if you manage to do it right, think of the freedom that provides.  No one can tell you what your art looks like.  No one can demand when you publish except you.  Your profits are ALL yours, at least relatively speaking.   Complete creative control.  But of course, this comes with the cost of having to learn and master all of these skills on your own, at least while you’re getting started.
Traditional models of artistic commerce still exist, but they’re drying up.  Sure, you can pursue the last little scraps of ‘the old way’, but it’s important that you embrace the emerging digital methods and economies.  That’s why this podcast is here.  So you can be an owner, not just an author.

Choices

Too often I hear people remark that they are stuck, helpless, not in the driver’s seat. They talk about life as though its something that happens TO them. They talk about people who have the lives they wish THEY had, and have elaborate theories about why others have it, and they don’t.

The truth is…there is no difference. You are not stuck. Nothing is happening TO you. You are choosing, in obvious or subtle ways, almost everything that is happening to you. Of course there are external events that you don’t control, but you still get to decide how those events affect or even define you.

Pay close attention to the scripts and lines you run in your head as you go through your daily life. Can you catch yourself making excuses….for why its ok to procrastinate on your dreams for another day, another week? Why you’re not living the life you want? Why you’re not happy, or fulfilled?

Here’s the hard truth. Nothing – NOTHING – will get better…NOTHING will ever be different – until you choose differently. This takes mindset change and tremendous discipline and attention in order to implement. But if you are willing to do it….everything and anything can happen for you.

Get started here.