I think by now most artists and musicians alike get involved in the music industry because they truly love the idea of the ability to create art that has the potential to be timeless. While keeping in mind that a successful indie career does start with great artistry, one must also realize that you as an artist must now think like an entrepreneur and a start up company. Let’s first discuss what the characteristics of a successful start up company regardless of the industry. The first characteristic of a successful start-up is to be disruptive. When it comes to being disruptive as a start-up, the idea is to take some ideas from an existing concept, product, and/or industry and add a unique twist that might cause that particular industry to re-invent their to approach and business model to stay relevant in the industry and marketplace. The second characteristic of a successful start-up is to start with a small market. Although most start-ups want and know the importance of being able to reach a big market, in the beginning it’s often best to start with a small niche market. According to an article in “Build Blog”, Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder states that the “biggest mistake that you can make as a young start-up is going after a giant market from the get-go. That signifies that you haven’t defined categories correctly. By not doing the work required by defining the proper categories needed, a young start-up basically has guaranteed itself that the completion lying ahead of them will often be too much to handle for the company to survive. The third characteristic of a successful start-up is the ability to have and endure sharp focus. When starting a new company and having a small team it can be often easy to take on too many projects that will cause burnout due to everyone involved spreading themselves too thin. This is often a KILLER for a young start-up. The fourth characteristic of a successful start-up is providing an AMAZING user experience. New companies often can’t rely on customer/brand loyalty that has been built up over time like their big competitor so for them it really is about making sure the user has a delightful and useful experience. Kevin Hale, founder of Wufoo and partner at Y Combinator, explains, “My philosophy I teach in start-ups is, the best way to get $1billion is to focus on the values that help you get the first dollar to acquire that first user. If you get that right, everything else will take care of itself”.
When you analyze the characteristics of a start-up that was mentioned above, all of them can be applied to creating superfans. The first characteristic is to be disruptive. When we apply this characteristic this means to think outside of the box. In this new landscape of the music industry, there are simply no more “rules”. As an artist you can do whatever you want to disrupt the marketplace. Certain things like using pink cassettes as the delivery medium for your latest release. Cassettes are often thought of something that was done in the “old” days, but if that’s the era that you come from and you live for nostalgic type moments than that might be something really dope to do as I’ve seen an indie artist do just that. The second characteristic of knowing the importance of a small market can definitely be applied to creating superfans. The most important thing to consider when creating superfans is to focus on a niche market. Once determining on who that niche market is, its crucial to then focus on the demographics and more importantly the physcographics of your determined niche that you are going to market to. As a business owner it’s important to know who is buying your product but when you can determine why they buy then that’s the real win. The next characteristic of being able to endure sharp focus can be applied to creating superfans. As an artist you must have a team and a defined plan in how you want to build your fan base. Along your journey it is almost certain that you will encounter obstacles that could cause you to lose focus and deviate from your plan. You should think of your written plan as your proverbial blueprint of what you need to do to get to your end goal. The last characteristic of a successful startup, providing an AMAZING user experience can definitely be applied in the process of creating superfans. When your goal is to create superfans that will support your career for the long term, you as the artist must always vow to give your fans unforgettable experiences. When fans experience things that they know were once in a lifetime type experiences, they will keep coming back for more and most importantly they will show their appreciation for the experiences that you’ve given them by paying for them. You must remember that the being able to monetize these experiences is what will allow you to consistently generate money on and off the stage and allow you to make a living and have a long career as a totally independent artist.
Establishing superfans is essentially building the core foundation for your business as an independent artist. A strong base of supporters along with the use of technology to help create and enhance the interaction that you have with them along with QUALITY experiences will help any artist who truly desires to build a career fully as an independent artist the ability to do just that.
For more info on superfans click here:
“Making A Difference In The Indie Creative Community”
Till Next Time