Jeff Steinmann: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the How to Quit Working show. Today, my guest is Bob Baker. Now Bob has been making a living using his knowledge and expertise on music, marketing full time for over ten years and also integrating a lot of the other things that he loves and is devoted to and Bob is going to tell us exactly how he did it all today on the How to Quit Working show. Bob, welcome to the show.
Bob Baker: Hey Jeff, thanks a lot for inviting me to do this. I’m really excited to talk to you today.
Jeff: I’m excited to have you here, Bob. You are the first St. Louis guest I’ve ever had on the show.
Bob: And I’m a native, born and raised here. I have never lived anywhere else, shockingly. I know that’s really – at 53 years old, I was born in 1960 here and I enjoy travelling too, but it’s a pretty decent town to live in.
Jeff: What I always say about St. Louis is this is a great place to live. I wouldn’t want to visit though.
Bob: I’ve never heard it phrased that way but I can see where you might think that.
Jeff: But anyway, let’s talk about you. Because you have created this awesome lifestyle. Now, we met because I’m a member of the St. Louis Publisher’s Association, which you’re the president of, and that’s where we met. But you told me, when we first met, about this amazing life that you’ve created for yourself around your expertise around music marketing and as I have gotten to know a little bit more about you, there’s so much more to it than just music marketing.
Bob: It is. Well being, I guess, a music marketing resource which I have been, it’s the topic I’ve been sort of involved with for going on 20 years now. And actually, you’ve mentioned, I’m the president of the St. Louis Publisher’s Association which is where we’ve met. And so, being an author is sort of a big part of my identity and my first book was actually published 20 years ago, 1993. So I’m celebrating two decades as a published author and I put out several–
Jeff: And that was a whole different world back then.
Bob: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it was. Yeah, there was digital printing. I had no email or I think it was still a couple of years before I got email and several years before I had my own website. So be that in fact when that book came out, it was cool because I started hearing from people but they were actually sending me mail to my P.O. Box that was listed in the actual physical mail. And even back then, I was encouraging people to get on my email list. I send them this little mini catalog, but they had to send a postcard or a letter in to my P.O. Box to get on the list for me to you know – so we’re talking the dark ages.
Jeff: Oh, wow. So you were building an email list when it wasn’t even vogue to build an email list.
Bob: Or mailing list, I should say. But even when I got my first email account in real early ’95, I saw the beauty of it as a communication tool and yet before I ever heard the word e-zine or email marketing whatever, I was sending out my tips and even making sales by email pretty early on. But basically, I’ve been a published author for 20 years. I chose this or well, it chose me but I chose it.
I’ve always been fascinated with psychology and marketing and sales. And there was this 10-year period where people in St. Louis were older musicians as you say in St. Louis. Might remember a music newspaper that I used to publish here called Spotlight magazine. And there was a ten-year period of my life where I was at the local music journalist. And it was sort of my bridge between being strictly a musician which I was prior, and then from 1987 to 1997, I published this local music newspaper so that added an element of – I’d always had an interest in the written words since I was a kid, too.
So music and writing were two passions that I had ever since I was a kid. So I found a way to combine them by publishing this newspaper and it was in the middle of that ten-year period that my first book was published in ’93. And then that eventually led to me writing more and more and I felt myself, those last 5 years at the paper, I just kind of knew that I was losing interest in that and being drawn more and more to the author, the teacher, the speaker, the resource and then when I get online, I just totally immerse myself in that and I’m now considered the godfather of music marketing for independent artists and musicians, and it’s served me well and been making a living, doing it exclusively for almost ten years now.
Jeff: That’s awesomeness. Perfect segue. So what were you doing before you were making a living with your expertise in music marketing?
Bob: Yeah well, I’ve always been sort of, I guess, prone to entrepreneurial pursuits but not in the typical way. I think a lot of people when they think of an entrepreneur, they think of sort of a type A, driven, sales type of personality and that was not me. In fact, I’ve thought about writing a book called the Untrepreneur, I saw something I wish I – I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to that. But I didn’t have the typical qualities, because I was just prone to be laidback and not be a in-your-face kind of sales person or power lunch kind of guy, never was that.
But I was always drawn to do things that I was interested in. And I also, early on, like a lot of people, never felt comfortable in a traditional work environment. Working with somebody else, it was just – I border on depression. Everyday I drag myself into work. So I was always stubbornly determined to find a way to make a living. Now, I’m doing something, being a self-employed. But doing something sort of like an expression of who I was.
And for a lot of years, those ten years that I just mentioned that I publish the newspaper, I was self-employed or through most of that, I had an odd job here and there but I was barely eating out a living, and so I’ve been in and out of the work world but always still pulling me back.
And there was a five-year period where I had a corporate day job after the newspaper and before and that was the last job that I had and I quit ten years ago. So I guess maybe that would be the question. I worked in the corporate world and I worked in the internal communications for our company so I was actually still honing my writing, editing, design skills which I certainly could apply to my author business while I worked the internet and did stuff on nights and weekends. But I never got comfortable, never the safety of traditional job, it’s just never something that was my strength, or that I was interested in. And so, soon as I saw that the income was there and actually started to exceed my day job salary, then I could have might noticed and like I said, that was almost ten years ago.
Jeff: Oh, okay. So you were working on your lifestyle business while you were still working that full time corporate job, right?
Bob: Right. I think you had a conversation with somebody, I think maybe just last night about this and I’m so – I think you’re where you are in your life and what your level of responsibility kind of determines the level of risk that you can take. Like when I started my newspaper, I was in my mid-20’s. Now I’m married, have no kids, very low living expenses and so I quit a job back then to do this newspaper full time.
And you could take more risks in a situation like that. But later in my – ten years ago, I was in my early 40’s, I had my daughter. But there’s a lot more at stake and so I had to make sure the revenue was there. So I would never recommend somebody just go hog wild and that whole thing about leap and then that would appear. It all depends on what stage you are in your life and your comfort level with taking risks.
Jeff: Sure, sure. You mentioned you don’t want to take a lot of risks and you had a daughter to raise and you needed the income. But still somehow – and just working a full time and raising a child is a pretty busy time, but you were also building a business at the same time. How did you find the time to do all of that?
Bob: Well, yeah, I guess it’s part of that stubborn determination. So a lot of people, if they’re dissatisfied with their day job, and a lot of people dream about, “Oh, it’d be nice to work for myself.” But they just sort of get sucked into this pattern of comfort. But I used that dissatisfaction. I never did get comfortable on that environment so I used that dissatisfaction to sort of motivate me to continue to shift away little by little.
I mean, I remember there was a period where I was only maybe making just a couple of hundred dollars a month coming in. But I would look at that as a small victory. And actually, there was a number of years where I had up on my refrigerator, this little like, kind of affirmation that was like, I now make – I think at that time, it was like a thousand dollars a week helping musicians do this, that and the other thing in selling books and resources and I eventually got to that point and then surpassed it eventually. But I did have those little reminders of what I want in my life to look like even though the current reality wasn’t that. But I kept moving, chipping – it’s being willing to grind it out and chip away and little by little, and I guess having the patience and determination to make it happen.
Jeff: It’s funny, I actually ran across an old note card that had some of my old affirmations from a couple of years ago on it and I looked at them and I was like, oh wow. I take these for granted now. And they were future pays like you indicated there. So that’s really cool. So hey, have using affirmations like that, is that something that you’ve used to meet different goals throughout your career?
Bob: Yeah, I have. To me, it’s like, one tool. Because I do know people that are – they watch the movie The Secret and they’ve heard about the love, attraction and they visualize. I think visualizing affirmations – all that is powerful tool but if you don’t back it up with activity, with actions, some small step that you’re taking on a regular, consistent basis – because a lot of people have a vision and they’ll say, “Well, when X, Y or Z happens, then I’ll start really making, put my energy into it.”
But I’ve always found that there’s doing something, some small step that you can do if not on a daily, at least on a weekly basis, is what really leads to the success because I know people that have been talking about this stuff for years. And they’re still no longer there. So yeah, it’s a tool as long as you back it up with actions and also do other goal-setting stuff and research whatever the topic is you need to get educated on to move forward.
Jeff: Great advice. And I think that’s the big problem with The Secret is, it doesn’t really talk about the actions required and unfortunately, I think it misleads a lot of people into thinking that it doesn’t require much action.
Bob: But there’s also another curse, I guess, that are people that are only action-oriented and so they get busy just spinning their wheels, doing busy stuff but without a vision of where they’re headed or without a specific kind of goal or – I think that can be detrimental too. I think finding that balance between the vision of where you’re headed, affirming that, but also realizing where you are and taking the steps to close the gap from where you are to where you want to be. To me, that’s sort of a sweet spot and what’s worked for me over the years.
Jeff: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. We talked a little bit about your position as the godfather of independent music marketing, which I think is so awesome. But that’s not all you do. You have more things, more arrows in your quiver, so to speak.
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Bob: Yeah. So this is interesting, I know. So yeah, I obviously have continued to be a musician. I’ve been a musician since my teens and continue to play part time, and record and write songs and perform out live in various capacities. And I also – I think you mentioned before we hit the record button that over the past year, I’ve been actually come – be more public with my art work. I’ve been painting also since I was – for 40 years off and on.
And it was always really low on the totem pole as far as what I did publicly. Because everything else I did, speaking and this whole internet presence, and playing music, these are very public things so I have no shortage of ways to get recognized, first step that I was doing, so painting was always one of those things, “Oh, just do this at home.”
But then actually, my girlfriend Pooki, a year ago on my birthday, encouraged me to get out the paints which I hadn’t done in a few years, and just to take the day off and do something creative. And so I did a couple of things over a couple of days. And the first time, posted them on Facebook, and the response was immediate. And that wasn’t a tool that I had the last time I was really into painting. And so suddenly I’m going, “Hmm, this is a gift that I have, so why am I hoarding it to myself and keeping it?”
So I started attending art events and submitting to exhibits. I’ve sold several paintings over the past year. So it’s still a sideline. I guess it’s supplemental income. Maybe it just covers my art supplies with that little bit of extra. But yeah, I think you should – I mean, I think we all have gifts and tendencies and so many people deny their creative urges. Or just things – and they don’t necessarily be in the arts, it could be in carpentry or gardening or whatever. But a lot of people deny these urges and these inklings that they have. And so, yeah, you should scratch those itches.
Now I shouldn’t mention as far as this variety thing. I kind of go back and forth about it because there was a period back in my 20’s and my 30’s when I was like, anything that seemed like it would be fun to do, I did it. So taking action was never a problem for me even though again I was not this type A type of guy, at least in my opinion.
So, there was a period in my life, I went nuts when you really think about it. I was playing music, I was playing in rock bands, I was publishing a local music newspaper. I did stand-up comedy. I was in different improv troops like Who’s Line is it Anyway?, those type of improv games. I did live theater. I acted in plays every now and then. I would direct a play, do the painting on the side. And so I was doing all these wide variety of creative stuff.
But back then I have to admit, it was tough bringing in enough revenue and I think one of the – at least the issue that I identified back then was, I was spreading myself too thin. So there was that – I wasn’t putting enough energy in any one thing for it to really gain enough attraction to bring in enough revenue that I could live comfortably.
And so I chose the books and the resource. I saw that as the best combination of what I was very interested in, what I was good at, and what had the potential to bring in money. And focusing on that – and that did pay off. And so now these other things are sort of sidelines. They supplement the income but they’re also sort of soul-satisfying endeavors, too.
Jeff: Sure, sure.
Bob: But I do know there’s a whole crop of books out, like Barbara Sher wrote a book called Refuse to Choose. It’s something about how it goes against the whole ‘choose a niche and focus on it relentlessly’. It’s like, you can make a living doing a variety of things. But I’m not sure how. I’ve never been able to make that work for me. But I think you can do these other things, don’t deny those other things, just because they’re not your sole income source. I know I’ve covered a lot of ground there, I hope it’s some stuff you chew on there.
Jeff: Yeah well, so what advice would you give for folks who were trying to find that balance between focusing on one thing like a laser and in pursuing all those different things that they’re interested in?
Bob: Yeah, well, I guess this ties into something. I did a video a while back on youtube where I was talking about this – you’re probably familiar with this book. The title is great, by Marsha Sinetar’s Do What You Love, The Money will Follow. You’ve heard of that? That’s a very appealing idea if I just do what I love, the money will follow.
Quite often, I mean, there’s a sense of truth to that but there’s also kind of like The Secret, where it’s only telling half the story, the visualization. Half the story. And I think what I basically articulated in this video that yes, do what you love and the money will follow if what you love to do serves a need in the world that people are willing to pay for.
And so I’ve seen different people over the years use these – I don’t know if they’re called, God what are they called? – Venn diagrams or something where there’s two or three circles that overlap. And the sweet spot for finding that niche – and I kind of eluded to it earlier, but it’s like, what are you– well, so passion or having a genuine interest in something is one factor. Also, what are you really good at? Another factor could be, what are you already may be known for? So you don’t have to – not starting from scratch with an identity.
And I separate those things because what you are passionate about may not necessarily be what you’re good at. And what you’re really good at may not necessarily be something that you’re still thrilled about. But find the overlap with those things and then a want or need in the world that people are willing to spend money. Because you could love eating pizza and watching TV, and be passionate about it. But people might not be willing to pay for it unless you’re a movie reviewer or you create this hilarious blog about eating pizza and watching TV that people get a thousand, a hundred thousand readers.
But you know what I mean, so it’s like, we all have passions but which one of them can meet, can serve an audience and it doesn’t have to be a wide audience, but conserve a small slice of the population who’s willing to pay you for you to do that product or that service. And that’s the trick. And everybody has to figure out for themselves.
Jeff: Yeah, sure. That’s great advice. So I know for a lifestyle entrepreneur, there’s never such thing as a typical day. But tell us a little bit about what is your life like?
Bob: Yeah, I know it’s kind of chaotic but in a good way. So, I mean, I work from home so yes, I definitely design this – there’s another thing, I’m glad you pointed out, that I design – I don’t know if Tim Ferriss made this phrase popular but you hear the word lifestyle design a lot, that’s kind of what your shows are based on.
And I’d never use that term years ago but I guess I did create a type of self-employed work that works for me, like I was never – back when I published a newspaper, did I mention? I did have an office and there was a time when I had a small staff, sales people and stuff, but I kind of realized during that period that I’m not cut out for that type of managing a team and having a structure and all that stuff. So I knew what best served me was working from home and having a home office.
And I was also a – I don’t know if it was the – what factors this played, but I was my mom’s only child and so I was used to – I’m very comfortable spending hours by myself involved in some project where I know that that would drive other people crazy. They need an environment of social, they need some kind of culture, whatever, that often a day job provides.
So yes, I did design this life and so basically, I tried to get up early but usually sometime between 7 and 8 getting up, trying to do – I actually try to, every morning, do like a little journaling and meditation and all that new age-y type of activities that I find helpful. And then ideally, and I don’t always get this, I like to – I am kind of fresh in the morning and so I try to carve out the first hour or two of everyday to work on whatever like, current project like a writing project or designing a sales page or something and do that while I’m fresh.
Then I’ll check email, do all the social media stuff. I use a cycle HootSuite to schedule all my tweets and stuff for the day and maybe into the next day so I’m not having to be in there every hour or whatever, manually. But it’s like, I kind of survey what the priorities are. If I get a big project, I do a little bit of consulting and so there’s a – I owe a client something, I’ll just look at the priorities but then there’s always – and some days I’m heading off to a music event or we have a rehearsal or like actually this week, I’m really into painting so I’m taking breaks throughout the day, go down, spend a couple of hours working at some paintings.
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So it’s very flexible. So I guess I’m not overly disciplined but I am disciplined in seeing projects through the completion, like books. It takes focus and dedication to see that through. Where maybe on a day to day minutia basis, I’m not totally anal, or retentive or whatever, in the details. But over the long haul, I get stuff done, if that makes sense.
Jeff: You mentioned one thing I thought was really interesting. You said when you check your email or your social media but there was three or four things before then. So you don’t roll out of your bed and jump right to your email.
Bob: Not always, I mean yeah, I do make the mistake of – I have an iPad so I don’t need to go to my desk. Sometimes I do, but ideally, I try to resist it until I’ve done the meditation and the other stuff first. But again, I’m not always as disciplined as I’d like to be but that would be the ideal situation and in many days I actually achieve that. But, yeah.
Jeff: And the other thing that I think is really cool, you said that your most fresh and creative first thing in the morning so that’s when you do that stuff, that you need that freshness and that creativity for. I think that’s one of the coolest things about having a lifestyle business is that you can do that at the appropriate time based upon your individual needs and what works for you.
Bob: Absolute, yeah. You could structure your – I mean we all have appointments and there’s times that I need to pick up my daughters certain time or take the car in or whatever, or events you attend. So you always have to shuffle those things around.
But another thing, again, this is sometimes this lessens our – I have to remind myself because I don’t always live up to it. I know another important thing is – because you have to be – when you’re self-employed, you have to be disciplined. There’s no one breathing down your neck saying there’s a deadline.
So a lot of times you have to add things to the calendar and give them the same type of importance as you do to doctor’s appointments and meeting someone for coffee or lunch and so you have pencil in there, “I’m going to work on this project or write the chapter in the book at 3 o’clock on Thursday.” And make those appointment-based commitments to yourself so that you follow through on them.
Because that probably is one of the biggest shifts from people that go from a day job so they finally make their break on their work and suddenly they have to come up this whole new system to work within. And it does takes some adjustment. Of course, I’ve been at it for a number of years now. So it’s not new to me, but we all have to – but we’re always find tuning, and how can I make better use of my time and my energy. But you’re right, knowing your patterns when your fresh and what needs to be worked on when, is an important part of it.
Jeff: How long did it take you after you quit working to really kind of get that dialed in?
Bob: Well, like I said, I don’t know if I ever completely get – I always like to remind to me, never arrive, you know. You’re always – and I know this maybe sounds very philosophical. You’re always in a state of becoming. And so you never arrive – now I’m a successful author.
And so, but as long as your setting goals and moving toward it but it took – again, I’ve been through many different times in my life where I was working for myself and so it was always a comfortable place to be, but I guess after working five years in the corporate cubicle environment, it was – actually, probably the initial reaction is just relief, “Oh, I don’t have to get dressed, I don’t have to get into my car and drive to some office.” But then the reality of, “Oh yes, now I have to come up with the new structure for my day.”
But it can take weeks or months, again, it’s a never ending process. My recommendation is just don’t beat yourself up if you don’t think you’ve arrived yet. Just keep tweaking, keep staying focused and always. And you may get it right for a while or your super disciplined for a couple of months and then something will come along, you’ll go on a vacation, you’ll be sick for a week and all of a sudden you realized you’ve gotten off track and just get back on it. So it’s always course correction.
Jeff: Well, I think it’s so cool you have the flexibility in this kind of business to do that course correction. You have a flexibility to make those tweaks.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, what for you is the best part of having a lifestyle business?
Bob: And I guess that’s another thing when you’ve been self-employed for so long. Like I said, this most recent stretch is ten years and then there’s many years off and on, different pockets of it throughout my life. And so I guess you can kind of get used to it and take it for granted. And there’s times when, “Oh, I got to work on something or other.”
When those times I often – I have stopped myself and I go, wait a second now, I’m not having to get out a rush hour traffic and commute. I used to seat in a cubicle, Bob’s. So, get real here. So I guess it’s that flexibility of being able to – yes, I used to – if I was up late or I wasn’t feeling well, I still have to get up at six o’clock, whatever, to go to the day job and here, I can sleep in later if I don’t have any obligations. I can make my own schedule.
So, yeah, that lack of commute, that’s probably the best part of it, working on stuff that you’re genuinely – and if you have an array of projects – because there’s always, we never just have one thing, at least I don’t. There’s always like, ten things that I could be doing and so, unless there’s a really tight deadline on a particular thing, sometimes you can look at what’s in front of you and go, “I’m going to choose that because that’s what’s speaking to me now”. So that type of flexibility is probably some of the – it’s a sense of freedom and control over your life is probably the most satisfying thing.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, how is this lifestyle affected your personal relationships?
Bob: I’m not sure if anyone’s ever asked that question specifically but so, I’m trying to think here. So, on one hand, again, since you had the flexibility like I can, the cool thing is, if my daughter is sick or I’ve often, over the years, have gotten calls from the nurse’s office and I had the flexibility to just leave and pick her up and or make special errands family related and so that flexibility is really positive.
However, on the other side of it, on the dark side is that us, I think us, when you’re self-employed and when you work from home, you’ve probably heard this before, but you do have – you can’t fall into a trap of always working or always being lured, no matter what, whether it’s six in the morning or ten at night, you’re still checking email and so, sometimes you can actually get sucked into a vortex where my daughter or girlfriend would be in the other room doing something and I’m in my office, I get kind of lost in that world.
And so that’s something that you have to watch. Especially if you have a family or you live with people. Yeah, it probably, it’s another lesson that I can learn is probably being more disciplined at when it’s family time, have it be family time and not be checking my phone or my iPad for email.
And so again, that’s just a balancing act. You’re always tweaking. You’re always reminding yourself of what’s important. And so again, along with that flexibility comes the danger that you can get sucked into working too much and not being present when you need to be.
Jeff: Yeah, I noticed in the video that you sent to your list on Sunday. I know there’s Pooki was the one doing the video. Does she help out with your business much?
Bob: Yeah, she does here and there. You’re talking about the video, the art video, is that the one?
Bob: Oh, yeah. Well, she was shooting it and yeah–
Jeff: You guys were having a blast.
Bob: Yeah. We like.
Jeff: And that’s really cool.
Bob: Cool. We like to have fun and I hope that some of that theater and stand-up comedy experience I’ve had over the years, it comes through in some of the videos. But yes, so Pooki and I had been together for seven and a half years and been living together most of that. We should be married, but I guess we’re just having – again, that the paper work. But she was the first–
Jeff: But you do things your own way.
Bob: I do. Exactly.
Jeff: That’s what we’re all about on the show.
Bob: In the relationships and all that.
Jeff: Yeah. In the everything.
Bob: Well, she was actually the first – in previous relationships, they were aware and supportive of – but no one – she was the first person who really said, “Hey, I want to get involved and how can I help?” And so we travel together to conferences. And she works from home also, which is another balancing acting that couples – we both work from home after this too, but it’s a lot of fun.
And interestingly, another thing that I mention, the video skills. So earlier, I mentioned there was this period in my life where I was doing all this cool and fun and crazy things and they seem to all be spread out and none of them seem to tie together. And like I said, that was a challenge then. Another thing I did back then was host a local music video show to make a dime doing it based on local access, totally-
Jeff: That sounds like fun.
Bob: Yeah, it was like Wayne’s world. And so, there are times in your life – I will say this for people who have sort of maybe feel that they’ve been meandering through life doing all this sort of unrelated things and nothing’s panning out. I have found, not only in my own life, we’re talking to other people who eventually found their way, that you end up using all of those skills. Like all those unrelated things that didn’t bring in money back then that I was pursuing for passion, I actually used most of those skills now in my business.
So when I started a youtube account in 2006, early on, and I’ve got over a hundred, like 120 video clips or something up now. And so I was, by the time I started doing, I was already comfortable speaking into a camera. And obviously the writing that I did all those years with my newspaper and the corporate world lend itself to being a blogger. And so you use what you’ve got and a lot of times, it’s things that don’t seem to be serving you, they end up actually being a great part of your tool kit later.
Jeff: That’s awesome. Everybody I talk to, they always bring up – whether I ask the question or not – something that they did in a former life in a corporate job or entry level job or whatever it was that has benefited them. So I think that’s so awesome.
Bob: Cool. If it’s a consistent theme, it must be true..
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Bob: Take heed if you’re having that. You’re listening and wondering, “Why am I doing all this stuff? I’ve wasted all my–”. People go, I wasted all my time doing that such and such. But you probably didn’t. There’s a way that you used that.
Jeff: So overall, Bob, what is the best part of this lifestyle?
Bob: Well, I guess, living a rich and fulfilling life. And I mean, it may sound like a possible thinking cheerleader type of – that some people will poof, poof. But although–
Jeff: That’s okay.
Bob: But anyway listening to this show, I’m sure it’s already hip to this, what we’re talking about, so they won’t. But I think too many people just sort of get by and they live. I know there’s also some quotes that lived average lives or whatever.
And I think we all – everyone has some sort of gifts that they’re meant to share or some talents, some story that they have to tell, and I think they don’t give themselves permission to express that and they downplay their ability on who wants to hear me, who am I to think I’m a musician or an artist or a writer. Who wants to hear this story? You’re so closed to yourself.
And so, I think I’m sort of on a mission. I think very much like you are, to inspire people to not hold themselves back and to get to share their gifts and find a way, ideally, to make a living being a fuller expression of who you are. And if you can’t make a living, at least make a difference doing it.
And when you can combine those two things, making a living and making a difference, then you’re really firing at all cylinders. But, that’s sort of my bottom line of why I do it and why I’m inspiring others. And also, if you don’t mind me mentioning, a new direction that I’ve gone into recently is I kind of expanded.
I’m kind of expanding my net of who I appeal to, to include more than just musicians and authors but I recently started an interview series called The Creative Entrepreneur or I’m interviewing people from all fields. I lean toward people in creative fields, but just people doing cool and creative things. And just picking their brains and similar to you, I ask them series of questions about what led to their success.
And I’m also writing a book called The DIY Career Manifesto.
Jeff: Oh, wow!
Bob: Which is very autobiographical. I kind of used miles like, even some of the stories we talked about here, I kind of go into detail and show the principles behind – what led to my success. And people can get a free, big – I mean, I’m giving away what I’ve written on the book so far, the first seven or eight thousand words and they can go to diycareermanifesto.com to get that and also to see the interviews there, too.
Jeff: Excellent. diycareermanifesto.com. We’ll link that up below the show.
Bob: Awesome. Awesome. Appreciate it.
Jeff: Well Bob, what is the biggest mistake that you’ve made?
Bob: Yes. Good question.
Jeff: My favorite one.
Bob: Yes. There’s so many. I don’t know which ones to choose.
Jeff: That’s what everybody says.
Bob: But the one that comes to mind, I guess is, especially when it comes to this whole building of business and finding the overlap between your passions and what your good at, and what the need or want in the world. Sometimes – and I continue to – I just made this mistake again recently. But thinking you know what people need and going to work on a project or some course or some thing that you’re offering or a book. And then putting a lot of time and effort into it only to find out that there’s not really a market for it.
And so, and I’ve done this even though I’m established and I have – I’m making a living, I think, “Oh, I really need to create a course on this and I’ll put a lot of time into and then put it out to my list or whatever and start promoting it, it’s like, hardly anybody is signing up, what?
So the lesson – the mistake is not sort of asking your tribe and your fan base, what they want to give you an idea and maybe even selling a small low cost version of it to test the title. Because sometimes even people will say, “Yeah, I’d buy that.” They’d say that in theory. But nothing. The only thing that really matters is how people act and their behaviors, the only thing that dictates what’s real.
And so, maybe they do a little test, mini version of something or whether it’s coaching again, a book or some workshop that you’re going to do. But finding and making sure there’s actually a market for it, people willing to pay for this thing before you put a lot of time and effort into it.
Jeff: Great, great advice. So, start small and test that demand with something very small and it doesn’t require a lot of your time to put in.
Bob: Right. And then–
Bob: Yeah. And also you could do that in a lot of different – if you throw out a little, a lot of different things in a small level, one of them is bound to sort of build up steam and should prove its worth and then you could pour more energy into that thing.
Such another important key to success is being flexible, trying a lot of stuff. That’s why the other thing about planning, that sort of backfires with people. You can plan all you want but really, it’s just a sort of an educated guess.
And so really, it’s all about playing, having fun, experimenting. And then paying attention to the reaction that you’re getting and then moving more in the direction of what’s resonating with your audience. That’s the key to making money and actually making more of a difference in the world, too.
Jeff: Sure, Sure. That’s awesome advice. Well, before we wrap it up, what’s the last piece of advice, the last thing that you would want to leave our listeners with?
Bob: Let’s see here. There’s a quote, I know I’ve heard it from Wayne Dyer but I don’t think he is the originator of it, but it’s, “Don’t die with your music still inside of you.” Along those lines, we’ve touched on it here and so if you’ve got that inkling to do what you’ve always wanted to do.
Art. You’ve always wanted to write, you’ve always wanted to write a screen play or whatever, or be in an act in a play or something, don’t deny yourself. Find, make, move it up to priority list as soon you can and then take action. Baby steps. You don’t have to do that, it doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to do have all your ducks on the road, just take some small tiny step toward that thing that you’re drawn to and that will lead to open up, that will show you then, the way will be made, I guess if you’re – once you start taking steps then you’ll see, “Oh, okay. This leads to that. I should do this next.”
And so, don’t let your dreams die and take action on them. Even if they’re small – the smallest step that you can possibly take. Another great quote that I loved, something from Teddy Roosevelt, “Do what you can with what you have, right where you are.”
Jeff: Do what you can with what you have, right where you are. That’s awesome. I love it.
Bob: One of my favorites so. There you go, very philosophical here.
Jeff: Yes. Definitely. Definitely. I love quotes. But anyway, thanks so much for being here, Bob. It has been a pleasure talking to you. You offer a lot of really great insight and if our listeners want to get more information about you, diycareermanifesto.com and there will be a link below the show to that website.
Bob: And then, they can also go to – I have a sort of portal to all Bob Baker related things. It’s bob-baker.com and that will link to all my music marketing sites and my sites for authors and all that sort of like, the art sites and all kinds of stuff.
Jeff: Awesome. bob-baker.com, check it out, there will be link below. Thanks again, Bob and I wish you the best of luck.
Bob: Thanks Jeff. My pleasure talking to you.
Jeff: I had a great time talking with Bob on this episode of the How to Quit Working show and he gave us some really, really good advice and I think the most important thing that we should remember that Bob has done, the key to his success has been that he’s taking things that he really loves, he really cares about, and is truly devoted to. And he’s built a life and a business around them. And he’s done that, not in a haphazard way, he’s layered a good, solid business and marketing knowledge on top of that.
So it’s not enough to just be passionate about something or have something you really love to do. You got to lay that business acumen and that marketing acumen on top of it. Now, Bob’s done that brilliantly and the other thing that he’s done is that he’s been very, very consistent and very patient about what he does. He understands that he’s not going to see a lot of big results right away which is why he build slow.
And one of the things that Bob was able to do that not very many people do, but a lot of people dream of, is he actually got his income from his side business to be more than what he was making in his full time job before he left. So he had an easy transition but not for lack of a lot of hard work. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the show and we are going to now play you out with a piece of music by Bob and his girlfriend Pooki and it is called Aware, Awake and Alive.