The ability to wear many hats is invaluable as an entrepreneur. When running my company (Dream City Strings) I wear hundreds of hats every day. I find myself focusing on some more than others (giving me a nice dose of hat head) partially out of necessity, and partially out of joy. This lack of focus is certainly mirrored by my cluttered workspace, however, it does not hold me back. Rather, it develops me as a whole, allowing me to reach new heights as an entrepreneur and as a musician.
As an example, today was a fairly typical day: I began with a bit of web development, switched to sales-mode briefly, returned to web development, spent some time as an audio engineer, transformed into hiring manager, moved on to copywriting, and finished with a bit of marketing. After that, I spent a bit of time as a student.
As Dream City Strings’ sole developer, I am responsible for designing and creating the systems that power the marketing, sales, and fulfillment engines of our performances. I primarily develop in the Laravel Framework. Today’s focus was working on the processing and display of the Wedding Music Style Quiz. This particular challenge required a bit of back-end magic to connect potential and current customers’ music preferences with song suggestions in our library that work well for specific parts of their ceremony (e.g. despite my teasing with my fiancée Emily, you wouldn’t want Gustav Holst’s “Mars” from The Planets playing as you walk down the aisle).
While the design isn’t perfect, the quiz is fully-functional! I find it so exciting to solve real-world problems for couples planning their weddings.
Sales is a skillset they certainly don’t teach you in music school. The most common career paths for musicians are performing and teaching, both of which tend to rely on established structures (e.g. auditions for a local symphony, or a public school hiring process – of which I’ve gone through both). Musicians can theoretically get by without ever needing to be a salesperson. However, amazing things can happen when Sales is paired with any other skillset – all of a sudden companies are more effective, and job candidates become more attractive.
Sales was an early necessity for Dream City Strings because our primary function is to sell high-quality performances to couples planning their weddings. One of the most useful resources I’ve encountered is Mark Weinberg’s New Sales. Simplified. This amazing book stems from Mark’s career as a Salesperson and Sales Coach. He provides a beautiful framework for prospecting and closing deals. Some of the major takeaways from this book is that a Salesperson’s default mode should be prospecting, Salespeople need to sell by their process, not their customer’s, and that Sales is about solving problems for real people. Since I started using this book, I have seen a measurable impact on my success.
New Sales. Simplified.
Due to time constraints, I must save the other hats for another post. The most exciting part of being an entrepreneur to me is the fact that every day I get to learn new things! Whether it’s about Web Development, Sales, my colleagues, Music, or something else, there’s something so satisfying about discovering a new gem of knowledge about the way this world works. Outside of practical knowledge applied to my company, currently, I am studying Machine Learning via the OCDevel Machine Learning Podcast, and via Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning Course on Coursera.
Thank you for reading this post about my personal experience as an entrepreneur. As it is my first post, I haven’t quite found a groove for these posts, but it is one of my goals to post regularly and develop my voice as a blogger. If you have any comments or resources, please share them below!