Now that you have a catalogue of activities, here’s the important question: why?

When you do all of these things that you do, what is it you are trying to ultimately achieve? Why do you do what you do?

So you’re working on an album? You’re writing songs? You’re mailing out CDs? You’re planning a tour? To what end?

Most people don’t have any idea of what it is they’re working towards. They generally have a pretty clear idea that they need to get from the rung of the ladder that they’re currently on to the next rung up, but very few stop to think about how tall that ladder is, and which wall it’s leaned against.

If your goal is pop superstardom, arena concerts, your face on lunchboxes and a TV chat show, then there are certain things that you should probably be doing that would be different if your goal was £40k per annum reliable passive income that would free you to just compose and perform music, collect single malt whiskies and buy a nice but modest second home in the south of France.

Your goal might not even be monetary or measurable in that way. It might be that what you’re trying to achieve is to share your music with as many like-minded individuals as you can. Or to make your own self-expressive art, and screw what the world thinks. It might even be as simple as constant improvement.

But if you don’t stop to figure out WHY you’re doing all these things you busy yourself with, you’ll probably eventually figure out that most of them were only helping you tread water.

Since you now have this list of things that you do, spend a few minutes brainstorming the big picture (that is, where are you trying to get to?) — and then jot down beside each activity your hoped-for outcome of each thing you’re doing. Does it help you get towards where you’re going? Is it even part of the plan or just a distraction?

I think if you do this simple exercise, you’ll come up with some more interesting insights in terms of the gap between what’s currently going on in your world, and what you see as an ideal state of affairs for your independent music business. Sometimes, when you get some clarity about what it is you’re trying to achieve, the ways in which you can make those things happen start to become obvious.

So… let us know about any surprises, revelations or new ways of thinking about what you do in the comments. I’d love to hear what your version of ‘success’ looks like…