Can you make a performance happen in 30 minutes; get the band called, in motion, and at the venue ready to perform? Are you able to get a song started and finished in one day for a new client? Can you get a band booked by tomorrow?
These types of struggles happen everyday in the music industry to the best of us. If you are a professional, you know these challenges all to well. The client or manager calls you or e-mails you and gives you 24 hours to get a band booked for the show. Or, the band cancels on you at the last minute and you franticly rush to find a replacement.
If you have never encountered these types of situations, I would argue you are not trying hard enough in the music, or entertainment industry, for these types of things happen to working professionals all the time. Really, it is just the facts of life and how things pan out in the entertainment world at large. To not expect this to happen is to hinder your career.
As an entertainment professional: band, artist, musician, actress, painter, etc., these are the types of situations that separate the pro's from the amateurs. The pro's can overcome these challenges and get the job done, the amateurs give up or simply can't make it happen. But it's not my fault you say, the client wanted a song in less than 24 hours. I would agree it's not your fault, but it is your problem if you want to continue working.
The thing we have to remember is these types of situations happen all the time, more so once you become more of a working professional. As you build up your client base you soon start getting more and more outlandish requests, some of which are very last minute. What separates the pro from the amateur is being able to make it happen, on no notice whatsoever. But how do you even make something like this happen, say a song in less than 24 hours notice?
The first thing you must do, is never lie and commit to something you can't accomplish. Never ever ever, say yes knowing you can't make it happen. This is the quickest way to stop getting work from anyone. You will be know as the liar and the person who can't get a job done. Is it always fair to be asked to do something on such short notice, well no it is not. But, this does not mean you should lie and say you can when you can't. In fact, you should be perfectly honest. Dear client, I can not make this happen, but hear is someone who can...
However, let's be real, you should be able to make a song happen in less than 24 hours. Or for that matter, be able to get a band booked by tomorrow, or that design finished by tomorrow, or make the performance happen in 30 minutes. So really the question becomes, why can't you? And before you answer that, remember, I personally can make that happen, and so can many other producers, managers, artists, bands, etc... so what separates us from you?
To answer this we have to look at priorities and what I am willing to do, that maybe you are not willing to do. I will not sleep to get the job done and make it happen. I will push back another project I know I have a week to complete. I will use everyone of my skills, know how, and contacts to accomplish this mission. I will also let the client know, this is a tough challenge and I may need more time so I can only promise a rough draft, or worst case scenario, I will break down what we will have to not do in order to make this deadline happen. Say they want some crazy guitar solo, I may have to inform them that all my guitar players are out of town right now, so we will have to change this to a piano solo if they want it that fast... but also keep in mind, all my clients know I don't play guitar, so this is not some outlandish thing to them.
One lesson from this scenario is that I am always open and upfront with my clients. They know my limitations and strengths because of our conversations. Because we are always on the same page they will understand they are asking me to accomplish an impossible task and be willing to budge a little with that guitar solo, for instance. This is part of what having good rapport is all about from the get go with clients. Since they know these things, it is way easier for me to recommend a tactic to make this deadline happen we will both be pleased with. It is all about communication.
I will also never lie and say yes if I know I can't make it happen. But I will always have a recommendation of someone who can. Kinda like chemistry, I know nothing about it, but I know someone who does, so basically I know everything about chemistry. I also know my limitations and what it will take for me to get this stuff done, and because I know this of myself I can do the impossible, most of the time.
People use me and my services because they know they are getting the best, but also because I always do what I say I am going to do. The reason why I can make such crazy deadlines happen is because I have built up my network of business professionals and I know everyone's strong and weak points, including my own. This in of itself makes me the choice of many people who need product and results. But it is not the only reason, and it certainly is true of other people as well like me. We are Ninjas, we always have an escape route and come prepared for any situation.
The other lesson in all of this is that you have to be flexible, prepared and willing to do the impossible. If you can't play guitar, find some guitar players so you can be prepared. If you don't do web programming, find some web programmers. If you don't do social media marketing, find some social media marketers. If you don't know bands who can play on very short notice, find some bands who can play on short notice. You have to understand the role you have chosen to represent yourself as: producer, engineer, guitar player, actress, marketer, etc. Do your homework, know what a good (insert profession here) is, does and what it takes to be at the top.
Once you know all of this, go out and make it happen. Spend one less hour watching T.V. and practice your craft, or read and educate yourself, or for the sake of argument, learn a new skill you can use in your profession. Do you really think the pros watch T.V. all day? My personal latest thing over the past 5-6 years is reading books to improve my knowledge base... not some Steven King novel, but intellectual books like: The Long Tail, Switch, Contagious, The Marshmallow Test, etc. I also am constantly improving my skill set and honing my talents. Outside of that, I am networking and meeting people who can fill in the gaps.
These types of situations happen all the time. There are plenty of people that can make the impossible happen.
To be a Music Industry Ninja you have to be able to do the impossible, and make the impossible happen. The only way to do the impossible is to build up your skill set, know your strengths and weaknesses, have a strong network, have solid rapport with your clients, and above all else always do what you say you are going to do and never ever ever lie.