Don't Try To Be The Best, Try To Add Value

2013 Oct 18, 2013

Whether you want to charge for your recording or mixing work, or just do it for fun to share your own music, you need to stop trying to be the best. Seriously. Trying to be the best is one of the most counterproductive endeavors you could be pursuing. In fact it’s a crippling way of thinking. You’ve already failed before you start, because guess what? There will always be someone better than you.

So what should you do instead? Work hard at adding value to people’s lives. Let me explain.


Via Andre Chinn Flickr

Think Outward, Not Inward

The problem with trying to be the best at something, whether it’s the best mixing engineer or the best school teacher, is that you turn inward and become obsessed with one person, you! You spend way too much time and energy on self, and not an ounce of energy on other people.
To be a great school teacher, you don’t put all your attention on how much you need to know and how best to deliver the content. While that can be helpful, it won’t actually get you closer to your goals. Rather if you spend all that energy and attention on your students, you’ll actually become a better teacher.

The same is true with audio engineering. Your clients don’t care if you’re the best. They care if you can make their music sound awesome or not. Stop focusing on yourself, and instead focus on them and their music.

Think Value Added, Not Skill

Some people think purely in terms of skill. They choose a college or university based on national ranking and acclaim, for example. When there are literally hundreds of other lesser known schools with perceivably “less skilled” professors who could add just as much value to your life through great teaching and mentoring.

These school might not ever be able to garnish the label of being “the best” in the land, but all the while they can add immense value to the lives of their students. The same is true with your home studio. You might not be labeled the best or the most skilled, but that has no bearing on your ability to add incredible value to your clients’ music and their lives.

Start Today, Not When You’re Better

A lot of you home studio guys and gals might be half interested in starting a side freelance studio business, but you’re waiting around until you are “better” before you open your doors to the world. This logic only makes sense if you believe that you have to be the best (or at least close to it) to begin charging people for your work.

In reality you can and should start today. You likely offer a service at a level that is better than someone out there and would add immense value to their lives. Ultimately that’s all that matters.

Don’t try to be the best. You’ll never make it, and along the way you’ll be come a narcissist. Instead, focus on adding value to people’s lives and you’ll come out a winner.


Want to jumpstart your audio freelance career? Check out my in depth 6 week course The Audio Income Project for all the details on how I run and grow my freelance business. I show you step by step how to do it yourself.

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