Preparing to leap…

If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few days, then you’ll know that I’m contemplating some pretty big life changes – getting my own business off the ground, putting composition centre-stage in my life, working seriously at getting my music heard and audience-building, that sort of thing.

I’ve had some pretty intense ideas over the past few days – one of them just yesterday, which I think might actually bring in some real cash but I don’t want to announce it yet – going to run it by someone whose opinion I value and who falls neatly within my target market – and while it’s been great to feel the ideas flowing, and even better to find myself still composing in the midst of it, I’ve also been starting to feel a little overwhelmed.

So today I’ve put in a major chunk of work on ditching the overwhelm. I had a good long think about the way I work best and realised that I’ve always been happiest in my work when I’m not just beavering away at one thing all the time – my brain likes to hop about. So then I figured that instead of just trying to think of ways to bring in money, I should sit down and work out what sort of things I actually pretty much always enjoy doing. There was a bit of a list, but most things were pretty synonymous with the following key points:

  • Composition (well, duh!)
  • Publishing and its attendant elements – writing and editing, music copying, layout, picking out fonts
  • Helping people do stuff better (so long as I don’t need to speak to them on the phone)

And after that it all became pretty clear that I should probably focus the bulk of my business-building efforts in the direction of publication – I should write my book on how to build a website that actually works, I should publish music and possibly recordings, I should try to get some copying work and get some clients to pay me to design some stuff (I do have a degree in that after all). Because the third point really can tie in very well with the second point if I do it right. And I think that if I can make a living doing a combination of these three things, then I could be very happy indeed.

Which was a comforting thought, except then the fear set in: How the hell do I start building a publishing company? I mean, I have no plans to be Faber or Penguin, but even once you have content, how do you get heard?? Here I found some of the lessons from the e-book I bought the other day useful – just some bits and pieces about being noticed online. Of course I know a fair bit about using social networks, but I tend to keep quiet rather than shouting and I’ve generally restricted myself to the more general or larger ones – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Delicious.

So I figured that if I was to conquer the fear and do anything at all about getting this off the ground, the first step was to work out exactly what I was going to try to do, and for each of those goals, to write down as many actions as I could think of that would need to happen in order to reach the primary goal of having something for sale (actually selling something is part 2 – first up one needs to have something to sell and something with which to sell it). This resulted in 3 full A4 pages of to-do list. Um. Yes. Quite.

Seeing everything I need to work on down in black and white (well, black and yellow) actually was a bit of a kick in the derrière, to the extent that this evening I have written 3 emails, created a Twitter account for our company, Raspberry Blue (@azurefruit – yes, a little lateral thinking had to come into play as raspberryblue is taken and even though it hasn’t been posted to in a year, alas, it is not available. Go on, follow us!), created a SoundCloud account to post my music to, and discovered that I actually did open a Bandcamp account a few months ago, so I’ve tweaked the profile details there and basically it’s all ready to start receiving content (really quite excited to see what happens with this particular part of the plan – more on this later).

There’s still an absolute Everest of tasks to do – including building a whole website for Raspberry Blue, creating yet another blog and writing some starter-content for it, writing the book, working on laying out my scores, making semi-proper recordings of my songs, where possible, designing business cards, designing flyers, getting the laser printer fixed… on and on and on – but it feels fantastic to know that I’ve taken some real steps today, and now that those steps have been taken I’m significantly more confident about where my feet need to go tomorrow. It’s the big breath before the leap.