This article is for upcoming artists, DJs, start-ups, entrepreneurs or anybody who is working on a music, hardstyle, career. In my early years I made a lot of mistakes and if I learned one thing about life, it’s that “You live it forward, but understand it backward!”.

So, let me tell you about some of my major mistakes and how you can avoid doing them. I tried to write it more generally. So everybody finds something that suits his or her project, business or career.

As I know that most people don’t care about long prologues, feel free to skip the background story about myself.

What I did the last years
I started a few years ago with a really unprofessional hardstyle label called “Hardstyle United”. Getting together the first homepage, artists and releases I spend all my money to maintain the project. Duo the fact I was quite young and inexperienced, it was a total failure after all. But in the 2 years it took me to close the label I found some of my core team that supports me today and I don’t regret it.

HardstyleMag was an idea that I had in early 2013. I disgusted it with some of my friends and most of them thought it would be something impossible to realize. I had no money, no clue how to make a magazine, but I gave it a try and the first edition, yeah, was horrible! We still kept it going, edition after edition and started to get a feel for it. Now I am scaling the business making a hobby to a full time job. Get ready for my 5 mistakes that held me back for at least 1 year!

1. Being inconsistent

After starting a new project, most people only do work when there feel like it. It’s important to make a commitment and do work every single day between Monday and Friday. If you don’t do it right now, you won’t do it tomorrow. Get over restrictions you set yourself: I don’t have enough money or time! People forget that a good career needs money, knowledge and most importantly time.

How often did you spend hours on Facebook or YouTube, on your smartphone or sleeping until 1 p.m.? Manage your time and work on a routine, where you do at least one thing, that brings you closer to your goal a day. 1 step a day, 7 steps a week and 30 steps a month. You won’t even realize how fast you reach your goals.

In my early years I lost my consistent every now and then, falling back, losing money and time. Life does not seem to care about what you want, but it does about what you do. Take action now and do something for your career that matters.

2. Don’t having a plan

You might think now: “I have a plan, I want to be a hardstyle superstar!”, but there is quite a difference between having a goal and a plan. The most common problem is that people know what they want, but have no clue how to implement their goals on a day to day basis. I keep it short and show you an example.

Goal: Getting signed at Scantraxx and play at Defqon. 1

Take your goal and think about checkpoints you have to reach:
1. Learning how to produce hardstyle
2. Learning how to DJ
3. Building a fan base
4. Sending in a demo
5. […]

Now put those into practical tasks you can do every day. Don’t forget to use measurable activities, so you can monitor yourself.
1. Produce at least 30 minutes a day
2. Mix at least 30 minutes a day
3. Upload and share your music to receive feedback every week
4. […]

No matter what your goals are, you have to break them down into daily tasks. I forgot about that and wasted a lot of time chasing after a dream, knowing exactly what I want, without doing anything on a daily basis. Last but not least, write everything down (like a checklist). This will help you to stay focused and save precious time.

3. Don’t finding the right sources

We are living in an era where you can find anything on the internet. And I mean literally anything. Learn C++ or get a free course in business administration. If you know where to look for it, you will find it. Knowledge is powerful and a compensator for missing money. Learn anything you might need for your project or business. Check out this list with 300+ awesome free things you can find online.

Besides the list, here are my favorite online services:

Of course YouTube is a brilliant source for different kind of tutorials, making it extremely easy to learn stuff nowadays. But you will experience that there is a limit! It’s not required to know everything and you should only concentrate on the skills you need in the long term.

For example: I never touched Photoshop and hired a professional graphic designer instead. I will write an article about “Building your brand with low budget”, where you can learn how to minimize your costs – follow me on Facebook and don’t miss it!

4. Writing shitty E-mails

If I look back to my first Emails, I am just ashamed! Now, it’s no surprise for me that nobody responded. Today, I know how important an Email can be. Getting a response from the right person can skyrocket your career. Think about the following to write appealing Emails:

Use a simple Email subject
It’s the first thing that you see from an Email and a “spammy” subject will cause that the Email gets deleted before reading. Did you know: subject lines with fewer than 10 characters have a 58% open rate? Keeping it under 50 characters is good enough.

Don’t Overcommunicate by Email
Most people get hundred Emails a day. Don’t overuse it and most important, if nobody is responding wait at least 1 week to send out a reminder. I usually send out max. 2 reminder over the period pf 2 weeks, if it’s an important person.

Keep it brief
An average reader stays 7 minutes with written content before skipping it. A body of 150 – 800 words is appropriate. My personal experience shows that a short Email leads to a faster response, so I try to be as brief as possible.

Be polite
Something I never did until last year, was to ask the receiver “How it’s going?” or wish him a good start into the week. Being polite will not only keep them reading, but can also create a business relationship. Only start a Email like this if you know the person.

Hey Mark,
I hope you are doing well! How was your weekend?
Thank you in advance!

Yours sincerely,

Do it! If you write more than 500 words, twice! If you use Google Chrome and a webmail service try the spell check by Google. Ginger is a software I can highly recommend if you are not a native English speaker like me!

Read this article if you want to write a perfect Email! Highly recommended!

5. Trial and error like an idiot

Stay with me here, cause this one is extremely important. It’s no shame to do something wrong and learn from it. But sometimes you just have to quit an idea, take your time and start with a new approach. Don’t get me wrong. You should never stop fighting for your dreams! Just know when it’s time to take a break.

I wasted nearly half a year with my own music label, before I stood up for my mistakes and closed it! Being ignorant, sticking desperately to an idea just because you think it’s right can cost you everything. Be open for feedback, trial and error like a pro and really learn from your mistakes.

Take your time to rethink your idea, understand your failure, regenerate your energy and try it again!

Sights that you should consider a new approach:

  • You feel exhausted over a long time period
  • You are loosing a lot of money or resources
  • You get stressed out and lose control over the project

I will leave you with a quote and hope that you enjoyed this article! What was your worst mistake and what’s your best tip for success? Leave a comment below!

A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.- John C. Maxwell
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