One of the DIY Convention’s staples, CDBaby founder Derek Sivers is one of the gurus of the independent music scene. His 2006 keynote address….
D.I.Y Convention Los Angeles 2006
BH: Our first speaker is someone you all know. He is one of the great human beings in the music business. He is the reason a lot of you are here today, and he always shares a lot of interesting insights. Please welcome with me Derek Sivers of CD Baby.
DS: I am going to do all the really good stuff first, since you guys are here early and there are still some people rubbing their eyes and walking in.
My name is Derek Sivers from CD Baby.
Quick background before I begin. I have been a musician my whole life, and the last time I had a day job was 1992. I quit my day job in ’92 and I was a full time musician ever since. Around 1996-97, I put out my own CD and I was selling at live shows. I sold 1500 copies at shows, and I was pretty proud of that. I called up the big online music stores, this was before Amazon sold CD’s, so it was just CDnow, Music Blvd, and Tunes.com. They were the big three online record stores at the time. All of them gone now.
I called and them, and I told them that I had this CD that I sold 1500 copies of on my own and would they like to sell it on their site? They all said sure and then asked me who my distributor was. I told them I didn’t have a distributor. Then they told me that I had to get myself a record deal, a distribution deal, and then it could show up on their database and on their website.
I thought, can’t I just mail you a box of CD’s and you put it up on your website, and you sell it and pay me? They said it doesn’t work that way kid. You got to get yourself a record deal and get yourself a distribution deal. They each told me this.
So I went and talked to a couple of distributors. Has anybody here ever had a real distribution deal? It kind of sucks. They are really notorious for never paying you, or paying you a year and a half later after breakage and returns. I talked to this distributor that came highly recommended and he was supposed to be a really reputable distributor, and he said that I needed to make sure that I had 25,000 dollars in the bank, in case we needed to roll out to Phase 2, and they wanted to make sure that they weren’t left without any product. They needed to make sure that I was going to be working with a mainstream radio promoter and not a college radio promoter, instead the mainstream ones that charge 20,000 a month, and all this stuff just to put my record in the stores.
Because all of these other places didn’t really seem to be set up to handle a guy putting out a CD that wanted to sell a few hundred or a few thousand, I just said fuck it I’ll do it myself. I thought how hard could it be? I would get a credit card, a merchant account, and set up a shopping cart. I hear it’s easier these days, but in 1997 it was hard to get a credit card merchant account. It was like a 1000 dollars in set up fees, three months of paperwork, they sent an inspector out to my location to make sure I was a valid business, I had to set up a separate business account with the DBA, and all this kind of stuff just to get a credit card merchant account. Then I got it.
Then I went to go build a shopping cart, and that was hard. It was like these CGI paearl scripts, and I didn’t know what was going on. I just cut and pasted from the book, and so when I was done it finally worked. After three months of hard work I had it. I had a button that said buy my CD and it worked.
It was so much work though that some of my friends, I was living in New York at the time, and my friends in bands were like “you did it!” and they wanted to know if I could sell their CD. So I said sure, what the hell? I was making my full time living making music, you know like playing on people’s records, touring, producing people’s records, and I wasn’t trying to start a business. I just did it as a favor to my friends. It wasn’t even a separate website, it was on my band’s website, and it said click here to buy a CD from some of my friends. The “for some of my friends” thing grew from like 5 to 13, and then it was like total strangers calling and saying “hey man, my friend Tracy said that you could sell my CD?” I said sure bring it on, but every time I was doing one of these things it was taking me like an hour of work and after awhile it was kind of taking over my life. I took these 15 albums and I took them off my website, and I put them on CDBaby.com. I don’t have any story behind the name, I just picked it. That was it.
It was n ever meant to be a business, but since it looked like, like it or not, I accidentally started a business, but the cool thing was that I didn’t need the money. This was really important. If you were wondering why I am sort of an idealistic freak about things, it’s because I didn’t need the money. I was making my living making music, I didn’t want to start a business, and I was very reluctantly doing this thing. I was saying if I was going to do it then I was going to be kind of utopian about it.
Knowing the traditional distribution deal, and why we hate the traditional distribution deal, I thought how would a distribution deal look from the musician’s point of view? It would go like this:
Number one: I want to be paid every week.
Number Two: I want to know the full name and address of everybody who buys my CD. Because in my mind those are my fans, they used the record store to get at me, they are my fans not the store’s fans, and I want to know who they are.
Number Three: I’ll never be kicked out for not selling enough. Traditional distributors tell you they will take it on for 3 months, but if it doesn’t do well then you are out!
Number Four: Never allow any paid placement.
I started CD Baby right when the first banner ads were starting to show up, those stupid fucking rectangles at the tops of pages, I just hated them so much, and I said I was never going to have any stupid rectangles on my pages and no banner ads telling people to leave.
So, that was it. Those were my founding reasons for starting CD Baby. I stuck with it to this day, and by word out mouth, accident, or who knows what, CD Baby is the largest seller of independent CD’s on the web with 25 million in sales for over 100,000 artists.
I was partially telling you hat stuff that wasn’t oh so useful because there were still people coming in and I felt bad. So, here is the useful stuff. If you guys have pens, pull out your pens. For the rest of this weekend, I really advise not just sitting there, kind of taking it and going hmmm yeah or wow, but when you actually hear a good idea, write it down, and make it something that you are going to do Monday morning. You should have something even in the back of your notebook that is like your Monday morning list, things that you are actually going to jump on and do on Monday. If you just sit here this whole weekend and soak it in, you won’t really get much out of it. The ones who are going to get the most of out it are going to be the ones who are going to sit here, take in some of ideas, and immediately write down things to actually do about it.
I got about 30 minutes to tell you the most important stuff that I think you need to know right now.
It was different a few years ago, but there is so much music out there right now that more than ever I think the name of the game is that you have to stand out of the pack, not just on your marketing, but in your actual music itself. Jot down the name of this book called The Purple Cow. The author’s name is Seth Godin. It’s a little itty bitty book that fits in your pocket, it’s at almost every bookstore, and it’s in the business marketing section. It’s a purple and white book. Seth Godin was the head of marketing for Yahoo for a long time, really just a great business marketing author, and pretty much anything you buy by him is brilliant. This one though appeals to musicians because his point is that he has been in the business of marketing for 30 years, and he said something has changed recently where you used to be able to advertise a product and people would think it was interesting. He says, these days advertising is getting almost no results, the products that are doing the best are the ones that have something so remarkable and noteworthy built right into the product that people just go talk about it and the company hardly has to do any marketing at all.
He gives a bunch of great examples on this, but I realized that this really applies to music. Some of the artists, the ones that are doing the best, are the ones that are not just generic well-rounded artists, but they have something so kind of sharply defined and identifiable about them that it makes it really easy for people to talk about. You have to start thinking in terms of your music like how can I not just create a general, well-rounded, my that was a nice album, kind of album? Picture if your music was playing in a restaurant, would people stop chewing and look at the speaker? You have to go for that kind of thing. Do something extreme to get people talking about you. So read this book The Purple Cow, because it says it better than I can and it’s a cool little 8 dollar book.
You need to crank up your creativity. Challenge yourself to do something crazy. A lot of musicians feel that they arte creative in the studio, they feel that the moment they are there with their fingers on a fret board, their pen on a paper, they are writing lyrics or creating something, or they are in the studio and recording it in front of a microphone, they feel that is the moment of creativity, and the moment it is done they clam up. Then they get a book called The Billboard Guide to Music Touring and Promotion, and they go through and do exactly what the book says. All of a sudden they just throw away all of their creativity and then the music’s done. I know the feeling of wanting to do the right thing, you don’t want to mess up, you made this music that you love, and you don’t want to do the wrong thing so you let this book tell you what you should be doing. The problem is following exactly what the book says is the wrong thing to do, because it’s the most unremarkable thing that you could possibly do. It’s like the absolute standard thing to do.
So, what you need to do is write down this sentence that I love. It’s a Brian Eno quote. “Art doesn’t end at the edge of the canvas.” He said he was teaching painting in London for awhile, and he was trying to tell his students that they have made this great painting, but now what? What you do with it, how you present it to the world, is a continuation of your art. Art doesn’t end at the edge of the canvas.
He said one student would only show his painting at the bottom of a swimming pool, and the only way for you to go see it is to put on a mask and a snorkel and go paddle down to the bottom of the pool. Somebody else would only hang it on ceilings or something like that. How you present your art to the world is a continuation of the art and never forget it when you are promoting your own music. The way you promote the music, to me, is just a continuation of the art. When you came up with your original seed of a melody for a song, it was just a little melody, and the way that you fleshed it out and turned it into an arrangement is part of your creativity and expression, right? Then the way that you chose to record it, whether it was all natural sound with one mic and a live band, or whether it was a twisted distorted production with layers of electronics, and that is still more of your creative expression. Let that keep going, and the way that you promote your music to the world, how you are going to present it to the world is just a further expression of who you are. Don’t let your art end at the edge of your canvas. Challenge yourself to do something crazy. Don’t be intimidated by those you are approaching.
When you are talking to people in the music business, who are sitting there and receiving 20 manila envelopes a day, you’ll actually be doing them a big favor and they will laugh and appreciate it if you do something far outside the norm. So don’t think that you have to be normal to get attention. The worst thing you can do is be normal.
Be a niche. Be sharp.
Besides making great music your job is to cut through the attention fog. Think of this metaphor for a second. Imagine that there is this big cloud of attention and what you are trying to do is to cut through the fog of people’s attention, get it directed towards you, and the problem is if you are well-rounded then you can’t cut through anything. You need to be sharply defined. You need to be a sharp niche to be able to say that I am this one thing, at least for right now. The right now is the part that hangs people up. A lot of people feel that they can’t define themselves when people ask them what kind of music they do and most musicians say it’s some kind of rock/jazz/classical/reggae/rap/metal, and the problem is that at that moment you feel like you have to define your existence on earth. It seems like every note of music that you have ever made in your life has come down to this one chance to define everything that you are ever going to do in your life. If you start thinking opposite of that, think of albums just as a project, each album doesn’t have to represent you as a whole, but each album can just be an experiment. It will actually probably much be better if you think of each album as a project or as something you are doing right now.
There has been some great long term career precedence of this. David Bowie started out as a folk singer, then he was Ziggy Stardust from Mars, then he was the Thin White Duke, then he was Blue Eyed Soul with Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar, and now he is a post-punk/rock/alt band. Each one of his albums was a project and he is basically saying now I am this.
Elvis Costello went from punk/new wave to torch songs, to country, and to Burt Bacharach. Look at Madonna. Miles Davis went to the birth of Be-Bop, to the Birth of Cool, he worked with the Gil Orchestra, then Bitches Brew, and then ended up covering Cyndi Lauper songs in his last few albums. Paul Simon started out as folk, he made a gospel record, he went back to music school to study jazz harmony and he made a jazz influenced pop record, then made a South African record, then a Brazilian record, and then back to folk again.
You can take these as a role model and think of your next album as a sharply niched product. Maybe it’s going to be an album about a single subject. You might have heard me say this before, but one of the first best sellers on CD Baby was somebody that you would never expect, it was when I first started it back in 1998 there was this woman named Eileen Quinn who does songs for sailors, her songs are only about sailing, she’s a full time sailor, she sails around the world and then once a year she comes back to Nova Scotia and records a record, and then she goes back out on the road again. All of her songs are about the West Winds, the Florida Keys, pulling in the sheets, yo ho ho, and what not. Believe it or not, by having such a sharply defined niche, all of a sudden Boat U.S. magazine wrote this huge article on her, then American Sailing magazine, and it turns out now that every sailor has to have a copy of an Eileen Quinn album. Since she excluded 99% of the world and focused on this one percent, then this one percent will buy thousands and thousands of her albums.
Perhaps your next album, having a sharply defined niche, will open publicity doors that you can’t even imagine.
Cover Songs. Stop thinking of cover songs as something for wedding bands. You can be just as creative with somebody else’s song as you can with your own. People are like fun house mirrors, and the way that you reflect something shows how warped you are. Doing a familiar cover song tells even more about who you are as an artist I think, because whenever you present somebody one of your original songs they are hearing at the same time both your expression of composition and your expression of performance. They are not quite sure which is which, because maybe you are who you are just because the way the songs are, but once you take a familiar cover song it kind of acts as kind of a Northstar or a lighthouse for people, and it gives them a reference point to compare you to. Depending on how you creatively interpreted somebody else’s song, to most people it says a hell of a lot more about you as an artist than just hearing your original, because now they can hear your funhouse mirror effect. How you twist something else that they are already familiar with. Do a twisted cover version of a song, especially one that people wouldn’t expect. If you are a warm baritone male folk singer you don’t want to cover a Cat Stevens song, it would be the worst thing that you can do, instead think about covering something by TLC or something like that. Go for the unexpected cover song, it has to be familiar, and it’s no use covering some obscure Van Morrison song from 1975 that nobody knows because it was on the album that nobody bought. It won’t have the same effect. Go for a familiar song that hasn’t been done to death. You can use Apple iTunes by going and searching song names, and seeing which songs haven’t been covered yet.
My tip lately is that so far nobody has covered anything off of Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill album, except for Alanis herself. That was ten years ago and people are nostalgic about it now.
Most music fans’ minds can’t just take in hours and hours of music that they have never heard before, they need a familiar song as somewhat of a reference point. Especially those of you that play live alot, you know that the moment that you toss a cover song into your set you see people exhale and start tapping their feet more.
Two state of the industry things, something else also changed recently. Jot down on Monday Google the phrase, in quotes, “The Long Tail.” It’s the name of an article, it will be the first Google result when you search for it, and it was written in Wired magazine last December. The article is posted in full on their website for free. It was something that the editor of Wired magazine wrote about a year ago, and it’s about when he studied businesses like Amazon and Netflix. Everyone thinks that the hit records are the things that drive sales, he found out that if you actually look at their sales, companies that have long extensive catalogues, including not just the hits but hundreds of thousand of unknown titles, that when you looked at where their profit was coming from over half of their profit was coming from the unknown stuff. The blockbusters were only 40% of their profit, and 60% of their profit were from selling a few dozen copies of all of these things that nobody has heard of.
So, this article that he wrote had a really big impact, I swear I haven’t gone to a business lunch in a year without someone asking me if I have read the Long Tail, and everybody is talking about this article. This benefits you guys as independent musicians, more than you realize, because it’s like something in the tide changed. Now all of these businesses want all of the content that they can get, they call it content now and it’s pretty creepy. So when I started CD Baby in 1998, I couldn’t get distribution anywhere, there was not a single website that would sell my music as an independent musician, and now it’s a few years later and fucking everybody wants your music. Everybody wants as much music as they can get and now you as independent musicians you are precious and everyone wants you. You have to understand that this just changed in the last few years and you have more power than you realize. Every time I go to meet with Apple iTunes or Napster, one of the very first questions is “can you get us more?” They want more numbers so they can beat out the numbers of Music Rapture or Rap City, and they ask for more content. All these big Yahoo sized companies asking for more and more independent music, they don’t want to judge and they don’t care what it is, but they just want it.
This is beautiful for you because most of us grew up in this age where everything that you do has to be judged by somebody at a desk who decides if you are worthy or not, before you are allowed to continue through the gates. I think this new world of distribution as a commodity is beautiful, so just know it when you are out there doing your thing that everybody wants you.
Promotion is the new problem, but I don’t have time to talk more about that. Well I don’t really have an answer to it either, but it’s something I am putting more and more attention towards.
I am going to keep talking fast, okay?
Moby. The artist Moby. I read a brilliant interview with him years ago where the interviewer was asking why he was more famous than his peers, the interviewer had been following his career for 15 years, he knew he had been in this underground techno scene in New York, and he told him that all of his underground peers stayed underground, but he wanted to know why Moby got wildly famous. I thought it was cool that Moby actually knew why. He said, “I’ll tell you exactly why. All my friends were trying to do everything themselves.”
I feel funny saying this at the Do It Yourself conference, but I thought it was important t mention this at the beginning, because do it yourself doesn’t mean do it all yourself. It doesn’t mean you personally have to do every last part of it, and in fact what Moby was saying was that his contemporaries in NYC where trying to do everything themselves, they were booking the gigs, they were hanging up fliers on telephone poles themselves, and I guess in this day and age it would mean doing all your own HTML, then having someone tell you that you need Flash on your website, so you go and you learn Flash, and you ended up doing everything yourself. Moby said that while his friends were spending months of their time hanging up fliers, he spent months of his time finding people who were the best at what they do, through word of mouth, and he said it was hard work. He approached meeting people as a job that was just as important, or more important, than hanging up fliers on telephone poles. He would spend a few hours a day going and meeting people that were great publicists, or meeting people that were great publishers, or great labels, or great promoters, and he would find people that were the best at what they did and understood my music. Even though it took him 9 months of work, real every single hour of the day work, at the end of 9 months of work he had found his team. He had this team of 6 companies that were behind him in what he was doing, they were into what he was doing, and then he got to turn his attention back to what he does best which is sitting in the studio with the headphones on. He let them do what they do best, which is putting his music into film and T.V, promoting his music here, hanging up fliers, or whatever it may be, and he said that is why all his contemporaries are still where they started at. They were trying to do everything themselves.
Keep this in mind. You need to kind of ramp up your approach to meeting people, sharpen your people meeting skills, and give it more attention like a serious job. Don’t make it something that casually happens if you happen to be at the right party, but instead something that you approach. Make it like a job that you have to do.
I read a book on networking once, it was a pretty good book, if you want to read it it’s called Power Schmoozing, awful title but surprisingly good, but the jest of it was that with power networking you can discover what you can do for other people. Ask good questions and then shut up. That’s about it.
When you are out there meeting people, you don’t have to be talk about nonsense like yourself and how you started, which is the worst thing you could do, but instead when you are meeting people find out what is going on with them. Find out what you can do for them, discover what you can do for other people, ask good questions, and then shut up and listen.
The second most important thing is to follow up. You would be surprised at how many time I go to conferences, I come home with like 110 business card, and I always would feel it was my duty to get back to those 110 business cards, but then one time at a conference I was too busy and I curious to see what happened, and I didn’t get back to any of them. Instead I just let them sit there in a drawer in my desk, and everyone who gave me their business card they also got mine, so that means those 110 people had my card, and only 2 of them contacted me after. It goes to show that even business types, if you are that one out of a hundred that actually follows up on something, you will stand so far out of the pack. Always follow up relentlessly.
I was talking with a guy named Reggie right before, and he said that one of the hardest things is getting a response back from people when you send your music somewhere. I talked to this really hot publicist in New York once, hot as in career not looks, and she said that they were so busy that they have a few different boxes, one is like a massive refrigerator sized cardboard box by the front door, every package that comes in the mail goes into that huge box, when someone calls and asks if we received their package we find it in that big box and then we throw it into a smaller box. When they call the second time and ask if they had listened to it yet, they take it out of the smaller box and put it on somebody’s desk, and there it has a chance to get it opened. If they are busy then they usually appreciate a third phone call asking if the package has been listened to yet, and then they finally open it up and check it out.
So keep in mind that this isn’t insulting, it’s the opposite of high school, because in high school you give up if someone doesn’t call you back after three or four tries. It’s the opposite in the music business, you have to call people at least three or four times and be persistent, and know that being persistent is polite. The rude thing is to call once, not hear back from them, and say fucking asshole. That’s rude to call them once and think that their only duty is to listen to your music. It’s polite to be persistent so call multiple times.
Three points left.
Read, read, read, read. The wisdom of the world is right down the road in twelve dollar books. Skip the new hardcover endcaps that they are trying to sell you. Go for the older books that are still in print after 20 years. The best books that I have ever read are the ones that are still sitting there in their ninth printing, the ones that were written twenty years ago, and if they are still there in the business/marketing section make sure and check them out.
It also helps to go to Amazon.com, look at what they have, because they have thing called List Mania, where you look at other people’s lists to see the best business books ever written. Take notes on the books that you find. Start to read those things.
I think sometimes in interviews people give me more credit than I am due for doing CD Baby. They want to know how I got so good at making a business and I say that all I did was read books.
One thing I said at the beginning that I will say one more time is do something about what you learn. Especially this weekend you are going to take in a lot of information so get things started. The minute you have an idea you have to jump on it and do something about it right there that very minute. Help get yourself over that hump that people get of not getting around to doing something about their ideas. That person that you think you should be contacting, whatever scares you, go do it, whatever you are thinking, go do it, whatever excites you, go do it, but just start doing things more than just thinking about doing them. Again you would be surprised at how far that alone will set you apart from the pack.
The Van Gogh story. Remember ten minutes ago when I said something has changed and you guys are desirable now because of this Long Tail effect? So pretend I was talking about this back then.
The Van Gogh story. There is this great joke that there are plenty of millionaires that would pay millions to hang a Van Gogh painting on their wall, but none of them would ever have the dirty, insane guy over for dinner. I feel that music and musicians are kind of like that right now. Every time I go into one of these meetings with executives, and I have been to some scary ones lately with execs that call everything content instead of music, but then they say “oh we love music, it’s all about the music”, but then if a musician shows up at the door they start calling security. I feel that there is split right now between music versus musicians.
As long as you are aware of it, you can be mad about it or whatever, but as long as you are aware of it you will find that if you are out there promoting your music it comes across with a little bit of this Van Gogh effect. A lot of people in the industry are just scared of the musicians themselves, because musicians have this reputation of being emotional, tempestuous, and much too sensitive. So, here is my thought. If you are a business minded person who likes wheeling and dealing, consider hiding the fact that you are a musician and just be a “representative” of an artist. You could even get together with some of your friends and get together an entire catalogue of artists, if you are the type of person that likes going out there, and you enjoy the thrill of schmoozing or what not. Consider hiding the fact that you are artist and consider representing an artist or a catalogue.
If you are not a wheeling and dealing type person then try to find someone who is and let them go out there and do the public presentation. It will come off a lot better than if it’s just you going out there and telling people to check out your music. A lot of people kind of get scared by that. If you don’t like wheeling and dealing you are going to feel that you are paddling upstream all the time, and you are going to be going against your nature if you are really not the selling type.
Last point is the single most important thing that I have learned over my years of doing this, even before I stared CD Baby and even in the years I was making a living as a musician, is that the single biggest mistake I ever made as a musician is that I was doing really well, I sold all these CD’s around New York, my band was doing well, we were on the cover of a magazine, I thought everything was going well, and then I get a call from a well-known music lawyer. I went in there, I was still in the record deal mindset at the time, and I went in there thinking I was going to get a deal. I sat down and he had pages and pages of legal notes about me, it was flattering, he had my press clippings, he was on my mailing list, he had been to my shows, and he told me that he had been watching career and he thought that I was better at marketing than most of the people he knew running the marketing department at labels. He said that even though he could go get me a six figure deal as an artist on a label, he thought it would be smarter if I set up a small production company or record label. He wanted me to take the Puff Daddy approach, where you put your finger into a few different acts, you put it together instead of putting all your eggs into one basket, and then you make yourself a record label. He wanted me to do for three or four artists what I had done for myself, then he wanted to go market me to the industry as the boy with the Midas touch, and then he could assure me some kind of seven figure deal that would have a safer future for me. This was just in case my record didn’t work out, at least I would still do well. That is what he thought I should do and he told me to give him a call because he wanted to work with me.
I went home on the subway thinking he was right. Fuck, I guess I should start a label. I was so not into the idea, but I let this guy, who I felt knew more than I did, convince me that this was the right thing to do. I called my dad and told him, and he agreed that this man knew what he was talking about and he supported the idea.
It’s easy to tell this story in hindsight, but what happened is I spent the next two year trying to do a record label, and I am so a musician in every way and sometimes when you are checking out other people’s music you think you could do it yourself, and so I would go check out bands and think that they were people’s music. I tried to do this label, but because I wasn’t passionate about it, it didn’t go well. In the meantime it took so much attention away from my own music, that my own music started not doing well. My band broke up.
The lesson in hindsight, and I love that I am saying this in the beginning of these two days where you guys are going to be filled with information, but no matter what somebody else tells you that you should be doing you need to pay close attention to this compass in your gut that points in two directions, does this excite you or does this drain you? Because whatever excited you, go do it, and whatever drains you, don’t let anyone talk you into doing it. If it’s something that is absolutely required to do, then find someone else to do it. Everything that drains you is something someone else is excited about.
Every time I try to read one of those well meaning books on the music business I just fall dead asleep, but then I meet a lawyer in L.A. named Dina Lapolt who is passionate and excited about music cross-collaterization. So for everything that drains you someone else is excited about it. So find out about the things that you don’t want to do. This is so you can spend all of your time doing the things that you are most passionate about. You will see that the doors will just open wide to you. I think that is what happened to me with CD Baby, because I was always dancing around this thing and all of a sudden I started doing CD Baby, and even though it wasn’t what I expected, I was so into it. I don’t even feel that there have been extreme challenges, instead I felt like the whole thing was a snowball rolling down a hill and everything was going really well. I think that anyone doing what they love the most will find the same effect.
Whatever excites you, do it, whatever drains you , don’t let someone talk you into doing it. That’s my biggest advice.