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Things started looking up for Vincent Jacob (better known as Yard of Blondes) once he took control of his career. One of his songs was used in a commercial with over 8 million views on YouTube, which helped push his Facebook page to over 20,000 likes, and he headlined a show in Los Angeles for over 1,000 people.

In a feature on the LANDR blog, Jacob shared six tips that helped him get to where he is.

Look for the signs that it’s time to make a change.

Don’t sit around and hope that things will start to happen. If you’re stuck in a rut, 9 times out of 10 it means that the status quo is broken. Figure out what adjustments need to be made, then make them.

Don’t reference your influences – absorb them.

Admiring a music style or culture from a distance is less rewarding than jumping head first into it.

Make music your number one priority.

Being knowledgeable about the business side is imperative. However, the creative side should hold most of your attention. You can be excellent at marketing and promoting yourself, but it means absolutely nothing if your music, the foundation of your career, isn’t solid.

Kill Your Idols.

Stop trying to imitate those artists that have inspired you. Discover what feels right in your heart and do that.

Random encounters are never that random; word of mouth is NOT a marketing strategy.

Be consistent, continuously create and put your art out there; sooner or later it will gain traction and start to grow. If this is what you’re meant to do, you have to push through the lean years: it is here that builds the character that will sustain you when pandemonium strikes.

Selling out is old school.

If a licensing opportunity presents itself to place your music in a commercial or a film that doesn’t conflict with your morals, you should definitely consider it. To fear “selling out” is to fear success.

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Orondé Jenkins is a multidisciplinary artist and media consultant based in Nashville. No Average Journey was born out of his desire to help artists grow in their lives and careers.