Published in Discmaker’s Echoes Blog.
“Outside the box” is a term that can be both very helpful and frustrating for so many musicians, myself included. I am constantly looking for “what else” when working at my career trying to sell more albums, gain new fans and be authentic, while at the same time being original and creative. I’ve come up with so many border-line crazy ideas… like doing an intimate show in a hot air balloon and auditioning for indie movies just to offer my film scoring skills to the director. Many (nearly all) of these ideas did NOT make it off the ground (the hot air balloon included… literally) and I had to stop looking at those as failures; they’re just part of my box.
Thinking of crazy ideas to get results can get tiring.
Until one works.
“You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I’ve only ever had one.”
Ingenuity in a career will provide you with longevity, even if only one out of 100 ideas makes an appearance in reality.
Here’s one that DID work: I call this one the “airline initiative”. This is the email I sent my fans. The result? Two band members flew to Europe for free.
So here’s how I generate ideas and think outside the box when I’m in a rut:
Get a specific goal or intention for this brainstorming session. What’s the specific result you’d like?
Write down 30 ways to get that result. (Hint: at about idea 10, things may start to get crazy. Just go with it, write anything that comes to your head, and don’t filter!)
Include ideas that allow other people to contribute to you. This includes making requests like my example above.
Ask others! Don’t try to be the hero and do it all yourself. One idea could be asking 10 people what ideas they may have to help you get the result.
Now that you have a nice complete list of fresh-squeezed career-boosting ideas, start to take action!
You’ll find it’s a truly great feeling when an idea to further your career succeeds. And remember that your success is not reflected by the ideas that don’t turn into reality, rather by the ones that take flight.
“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe