Thinking about the difference between aiming to please a few big clients versus aiming to please lots of little clients.
Many small entrepreneurs think, "If we could just land Apple, Google, or the government as a client, we'll be all set!"
Software companies often do this. They hope to make some technology that a huge company will want to build into every product, or install at every employee's desk.
But there are many problems with this:
- You have to custom-tailor your product to please very few specific people.
- Those people may change their mind or leave the company.
- Who are you really working for? Are you self-employed or are they your boss?
- If you do land the big client, they practically own you.
- By trying so hard to please the big client, you lose touch with what the rest of the world wants.
Instead, imagine if you designed your business to have no big clients - just lots of little clients.
- You don't need to change what you do to please one client - only the majority (or yourself).
- If one client needs to leave, it's OK. You can sincerely wish them well.
- Because no one client can demand you do what they say, you are your own boss. Just keep clients happy in general.
- You hear hundreds of people's opinions, and stay in touch with what the majority of people want.
Now, let's think of this from a music point of view:
Some musicians think, "If I could just land a deal with Interscope or Warner, I'll be all set!"
But look at the above lists again. It all applies.
The dangerous thing about the record deal mentality is you start changing what you do to please the one or two people at companies who have shown an interest in your music. It not only hurts your music, but puts you on shaky ground when (not if) that person leaves the company.
By making a plan to only please your fans, labels be damned, then not only do you stay in touch with what people love, but it puts your career on much steadier ground.