Over the last year, one of the most common questions I get from composers, sound designers, and really any creative person is: "yeah all your info is great but... what should I do?"
With so many different ways to spend our time, it can be daunting to know how to spend it.
Should you be posting more on social media? Less? What about networking? What if you have tons of clients? Should you still focus on generating more clients? What if you have zero work coming in? What should you do then?
Considering this is all so complex, I've broken things down into The Four Seasons Method™™™™™™™ to help you realize where you're at, and how you should spend your time.
The Four Seasons Method is simple
Basically, our lives can correlate to the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Each one brings different focuses, challenges, and things to focus on.
In the "winter", there are no gigs, no projects, no nothing, so we need to prepare, learn, and improve.
In the "spring" we have a little work, but are mainly planting seeds to harvest later.
In the "summer" we're working our butts off constantly to get things done and make sure those seeds flower.
In the "fall" we're enjoying our harvest of all the work we did.
Each of these "seasons" can last a day, a month, or even a few decades. It varies wildly from person to person and situation to situation.
And we can easily tell which one you're in by the results you're currently getting.
So, what should we do in each of these seasons?
If we're in a wintery spot where we need more projects
Then almost all of our work should be on learning self-promotion, sharpening our core music/sound skills, and learning how and where to find projects easily.
Winters are a great time to learn and practice, especially the business and mindset skills that 99% of artists ignore.
It's the time to learn something brand new, and a safe time for us to screw up and try new things. Send crappy emails, apply to jobs with your brand new demo reel, make bad posts, and write terrible music. That's how we learn.
This is also the time to set any ego aside. I see a lot of audio people saying things like "well money doesn't matter", "Why won't people hire me?! I'm clearly the best" or "if my work is good, then the people will come without me needing to network".
Winters are when we feel those feelings the strongest, and, if we listen to these thoughts, our winter will last a lifetime.
Eventually, though, this learning and practice will create some small opportunities for us, in which case we find ourselves in the Spring.
Once we're in the Spring
Then we network and self-promote non-stop. We execute on all the learning and practice we've done.
We want to make sure the world knows who we are and why they should hire us. We might be working a little bit on music/sound projects, but it's not our main focus yet.
This, in time, will lead us to more and more work, which brings us to...
At this point, self-promotion stops almost entirely because we're working super hard. We have tons of clients, they all need stuff, and all your gigs need to be completed ASAP.
This is the time to just get things done. We probably won't have much time to network, go to conferences, post online, or do anything like that.
Sure, summers are sunny, but they're also sweaty.
Eventually, though, things calm down, and we end up in the next season.
Which, of course, is Fall
This is when the money comes in, the projects start wrapping up, and we can enjoy ourselves a bit.
This is when it's a good idea to use our time and money to hire coaches, pay for courses, buy books, experiment with new audio ideas, travel to places to network or for fun, or do the other things you didn't have time/money for before.
We can also leverage all of the projects we're finishing up to start generating more work by posting about them, adding them to websites/reels, and even giving behind-the-scenes looks at our process.
The purpose of a Fall is to prepare to make the next winter easy.
"But Akash, you comically large slice of chocolate cookie pizza" you say "is this really so black and white?"
Not really. Just like how there are transitions between seasons in real life, there will be gradual shifts and transitions from each of these as well.
You will also have some areas of your life in different seasons, too. Your family life might be in summer where your career might be in winter. Just that awareness will help us determine what to do in each scenario.
From here, look at your current results
And determine your season. From there, you'll know what to do, what to focus on, and what to ignore.
And speaking of seasons!
I have 4 new and revised coming out in 2022:
The Game Industry Professional Version 3.0 <- Learn the business and networking skills you need to succeed in game audio.
Step By Step Sound Design Version 2.0 <- Create better sound design faster, with less flailing, and more confidence
Step-By-Step Synthesis <- Learn to use the Serum synthesizer to create great, stylized video game sound effects
Step-By-Step FMOD <- Learn FMOD, C#, and Unity and learn how to place your sounds in a game.
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