559
7 min 48 sec

Independent Musician Strikes Chord With Customized Love Ballads

When she discovers the bottom of her bank account, this singer-songwriter offers to write personalized love songs for $325 each.
International Low Startup Potential Low-Tech Music Unique Ideas

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What It's About

Customized love ballads keep the roof over an independent musician's head.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Songwriting & Guitar Playing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

So, how did Crissi go from writing a mere 2 songs in 2015 to knocking out 12 original songs in less than two weeks?

At the time, she was reading a book called Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, and in it, she mentions this mantra, “done is better than perfect.” That became a mantra for Crissi as she was writing these songs. She didn’t have the luxury of second-guessing herself—customers had paid for these songs upfront, so if she didn’t deliver, she wasn’t just going to have difficulties making her rent the next month—she’d also potentially leave someone without a gift for their sweetheart. So, she pretty much had to make it work.

Fun Fact

Aside from it being meaningful work that helps keep the roof over her head, this side hustle has had a lot of other really great benefits. She was really just recording all of these songs herself, which was something that she had not done in about a decade and her skills were really out of date. This gave her some additional experience and made it to where she’s a lot more self-sufficient and doesn’t need to hire an engineer every time she wants to demo something. It also has the added bonus of making her more productive!

And it’s made her a lot of new fans too! 9 times out of 10, when someone is requesting a song, it’s from someone she’s never heard from before.

Notes from Chris

Episode 559

It was February 1st of 2016, and Crissi Cochrane was working on her resume. Until the previous year, she had a day job and a steady paycheck while playing music on the side. But after only 9 months of striking out on her own with her music, she was looking at the bottom of her bank account. She had to do something in order to make some extra cash and keep a roof over her head...

When it came down to it, though, she just couldn’t bring herself to send out her resume. She needed extra money but wanted to do something with music. So as many of us so often do, she procrastinated and instead opened up an email from her mom.

Well aware that her daughter’s financial troubles had her singing the blues, she came to Crissi with an idea. With Valentine’s Day coming up, a musician she knew was offering to cover love songs for people to give to their sweethearts as a unique gift.

Crissi thought this idea was interesting, but she had a better one. What if she took the concept one step further and offered to write and record original love songs? The way she saw it, she could charge more and have a better chance at making her rent for the next month.

But how do you get access to the most intimate details of a person’s relationship in order to put together something like this? Why, you put together a questionnaire, of course!

She quickly dove in that night and focused on questions that essentially peeled back the curtain on a relationship. She started out with basic questions asking for their loved one’s name, what they look like, what they love about them the most, etc., but then she went deeper, asking about how it felt when they first met, and what their love language was.

Without skipping a beat, she added her questionnaire to a new page on her existing website under a tab appropriately titled “Songs for Your Sweetheart” (now "Custom Love Songs") and started accepting orders for $325/song on the 2nd. Her goal: to write 10 original songs for clients by Valentine’s Day.

In all honesty, Crissi had no idea if this would strike a chord with anyone. When she didn’t sell any songs her first day, she was discouraged. But by the 2nd day, word had gotten around. Four days later, she had succeeded in writing and recording 12 original love songs in 11 days… which made it the most productive week of her entire life as a musician!

Two years later, Crissi has composed and recorded over 50 of these customized, commissioned love songs. That’s enough content for 4 albums! It’s also opened up another unexpected source of income for her: weddings. Prior to the project, Crissi had struggled to play weddings because so much of her music was about unrequited love or not family friendly enough for a wedding. And now she doesn’t have to second guess herself—she has a whole book of songs that she can play at the drop of a hat.



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Crissi Cochrane: Have something you want to say to your significant other but can't find the words? Let Crissi do the talking for you—learn more over on her website!
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"I would love to see more musicians taking on this type of work. Any kind of artist can find a way to use their skills to create commissioned pieces in this way. There are so many ways to express love with art, and if you can help people do that and put more love into this world, that's a really noble thing to do."
—Crissi Cochrane #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau