I’m currently on hour four of a six-hour train ride to Reeperbahn Festival, the German equivalent to SXSW. This is my fifth trip to Europe in the last six months and is going to last three weeks. I am fucking tired. I don’t want to be on this train. I want to be at home with my cat. However, I also know that the Reeperbahn Festival is going to lead to good opportunities for me. It’s going to strengthen my relationships. It’s going to put me in a position where I can help out more bands and small businesses. These are the things I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a form of self-investment, one of the most important kinds of investment to make. It’s teaching you to become a better person, opening doors, and letting others see how hard you work. At the end of the day, it can also be pretty fun with the right approach!
4. This Is How You Become A Better Person
Ultimately, it’s called self-investment for a reason — it’s meant to pay out in the long run. If nothing else, investing in yourself to visit new places, meet new people and have different experiences is going to mean that you come out a more well-rounded person. This, in and of itself, is a pretty admirable goal. That it can frequently lead to opportunities to help your band or grow your network is in some ways almost secondary. In many cases, the way you were supposed to do your homework as a kid should be carried through your life. I don’t understand why people DON’T try to spend at least a few hours a day working on themselves – even if it isn’t making you money. Stuff, like exercising, meditating and reading, is just as important as investing in cool opportunities.
3. Self-Investment Opens Doors
This has been a big one for me throughout the last few years. By spending a ton of money on attending different events where I could network, I opened endless doors for myself, both in terms of networking and improving what I personally could do. By spending the time and money on getting good at something like Facebook ads, I was able to build up a skill that was both meaningful and deeply helpful to myself and others. By investing in better gear for my Bacon’s Bits videos and then paying for ads (using my newfound knowledge), I was able to dramatically boost my reach and get more people to start to want my products. Then of course — there are the constant travel expenses, which although pricey, enable me to be everywhere, all the time. The more often I can do that, the more I can grow my network because when you’re deep in the well of self-investment…
2. Other People See And Respect It
Generally, people find out that I’m a guy who’s always willing to go the extra mile when they see me all over the world. I’ll see people on one weekend in Las Vegas, and then the next weekend in Norway, and then again a month later on in Brooklyn. This is how you build up relationships that last. People want to work with others who they see investing in themselves and working hard to create a better future, not just for themselves but the scene as a whole. After all – who do you trust more? The guy who’s doing this as a hobby he doesn’t have to spend money on, or the guy who’s thousands of dollars deep in smart investments, who seems to make his way to every cool networking event he can? It’s really that simple. People want to work with other folks who are just as into this as they are. If you can’t accept that, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.
1. It’s Actually Pretty Fun
I’m not going to lie, my journey of self-investment has been really rewarding. Yes, I am complaining about being stuck on this seemingly endless train ride, but once I arrive I’m going to get to meet all sorts of old friends and visit a new city. I’m going to see cool bands, some of whom I’ve wanted to see for years. It’s all part of an extended journey that, while in some ways a risk, is in many other ways kind of the only way to live your life. If you’re trying to have a life that impacts people positively and sees you having all manner of cool experiences, then really, your only choice is self-investment.
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Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from Glam Rock icon Phil Collen of Def Leppard, to post Black Metal titans Alcest, by way of legendary thrashers Exhorder as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop. Having started his own blog at the age of 14 he views his career in artist development as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’. In 2015 he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now, years later with countless tours booked, records released and deals signed, and loving every minute of it.
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