The more time I spend working on the business side of Onward We March, the more I begin to see what all those entrepreneurship teachers were talking about in terms of the dizzying complexity of running a business. From constant spam emails offering "We'll Get Your Band Famous in One Month!" services, to getting our copyrights correct, to passing out promo CDs, the list is NEVER ENDING.
It's becoming more and more clear to me that it's nearly impossible to run out of things to do to run a band. There's only so much effort one can exert in one day before the cost of effort exceeds the productivity. We all know what it feels like at the end of a practice sessions where there's no point in playing anymore because our brain is gone.
So, with limited time and effort, I've noticed a bit of a problem. There's a million things you can "accomplish" that will have no impact on your business. I called this Phantom Progress.
-Cleaning your practice space
-Sending myspace messages (Yeah, I said it. The website is spam.)
-Promoting your band through craigslist ads (I see people do this all the time and it makes me nauseous)
-Signing up for yet another "Hey, we'll promote your band for free!" website
-Applying for royalties (at least in our current stage of development)
-Reading music strategy blogs but NOT APPLYING what you learn
The reason phantom progress is so insidious is because it gives you all the warm fuzzy feelings of "I accomplished somthing!" while not contributing anything to your business and, more importantly, wasting your time and effort. Filling out a checklist doesn't mean anything if the items on the list aren't important.
I will admit I'm quite guilty at times of procrastinating on more important issues by crossing off "easy" items on my to-do list. It's an easy emotional payoff. But take the easy route too often and you'll end up burn out with nothing to show for all your work.