“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
I dunno if you can tell, but we’re big fans of inspirational quotes over here and this one is pretty relevant. Not that we feel like we’re changing the world or saving lives over here, but the sentiment is there.
We believe in staying as small as you can for as long as you can.
What the hell does that mean?
Let’s chat through it, ok? Basically, we (at ABTS and BBR and RPM) (that’s Advice By The Slice, Brooklyn Basement Records, and Ron Pope Music) believe that keeping your team as small as you can for as long as you can will reap massive benefits. It’s logic that we’ve been applying for years and we’ve seen it turn into actual value - as in dollars and sanity. We only grow in people when we see a very real need and can clearly see the value in their addition. This is true for publicists, radio, staff members -- basically anyone whose hands will be on a project.
Here are 6 reasons why staying small makes sense for an independent artist:
Financially. This one should be a no-brainer, but the less people you have, the less people you have to pay. That means more money back into creating and promoting your project.
Less Opinions and Personalities. We are big fans of constructive criticism [READ our piece on peer reviews here], so don’t think that we’re trying to get you to just release things willy nilly without thoughtful advice from a trusted group. However, the people on your team that have real influence over what you put out and your brand image should be small. Imagine trying to get 50 people… or even 15… on the same page! It’s borderline impossible. A small group can chat through concerns and address them without you feeling like your entire brand is being ripped apart.
Flexibility. A small team allows you to make decisions quickly and pull the trigger on something that comes up last minute. Trying to get a quick answer out of an artist who is on a major label is laughable. Unless that artist is Beyonce, you’re going to be waiting for the question to go through management, a project management team, radio, tour managers, the booking agent, legal, etc etc etc. Beyonce is only exempt because she’s the main boss of everything.
Everyone is on the same page all the time. Team meetings are amazing brainstorming sessions! You create plans! You then execute on those plans! It’s really a dream when everyone is one the same page all the time. The larger the group, the tougher it is to do that.
Accountability. If you’re small, you know who is doing what and when they are doing it. There’s no chasing down the head of a department to see what his/her 15 assistants are doing. Plus when you’re small, everyone pretty much understands that if they don’t do their job, no one will and it won’t get done… leaving you all screwed.
You literally know everyone. If you're working with a big team, it's possible that you don't actually know some of the people that work on your project. That's a weird thing. This is your heart and soul and there could potentially be someone working on it that doesn't give that much of a shit. Horrifying thought.
Yeah, but when do you know when it’s actually time to grow?
You’ve plateaued. Your career has stalled and you need some fresh ideas and blood in there to start to move the needle again.
You can no longer handle it anymore. We discussed this a bit before [READ: Think Before Adding Team Members]. Ron self-managed for a while before it got to a point where he could no longer handle all of the emails and promotional things on his own. That’s when yours truly came to the rescue (hey! Blair over here).
They can actually do it better. Honestly, sometimes it’s just time to admit that there are better people out there for the job. If you can handle it financially, hiring a pro publicist, graphic designer, photographer (insert anyone here), then you should definitely consider the addition. We did Ron’s PR on our own for years and secured small pieces here and there before we handed it over to our big, fancy publicist who kicks so much ass. She was then able to take what we had done and grow it into something substantial.
You find someone that really “gets it” and most importantly, gets you. They see your vision and they believe in it so hard that you can feel it radiating off of their skin within your first few meetings. You still need to consider their ability to add value, but in general if you’ve got someone incredibly passionate about YOUR project, they can help you make some waves.
Thoughts/Questions? Hit us up on the twitters, instagrams, or facebooks.