ADN#45: Effort vs. Impact

Artist Development
3 min readOct 1


Hey Friends -

Welcome to the Artist Development Newsletter.

Every Sunday, I send an email providing actionable tips for artists and industry on one area of the music business.

Last week, we discussed using constraints to supercharge your creativity.

You can re-read last week’s newsletter here if you want to refresh.

A quick note:

I’ve added a free 15-minute video call to the website.

Think of this like an “Ask Me Anything.”

If you think I can help with your problem, or if you want to bounce around an idea, grab a time on my calendar here.

Today, I want to show you a simple framework for weighing what to do next to improve your creativity and your business.

This week’s newsletter is titled “Effort vs. Impact.”

Here we go.

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We all hit bottlenecks in our growth.

That feeling where suddenly you can’t figure out why you are stuck.

This happens in songwriting, touring, merch sales, record sales, streams, etc.

Below is a simple method to help you decide which lever to pull next to try and remove the bottleneck from your creativity or business.

Download this free spreadsheet to try it for yourself.

Click the “File” tab & then click “Make A Copy.”

Step 1: Make A List

Make a list of ideas you could try to change where you are currently.

Example 1:

Are you stuck selling $500 a night in merch, no matter how many people are in the room?

Here are some possible things you could do to shake up your bottleneck.

  • Make different merch
  • Meet fans at the merch table after every show
  • Offer signed items
  • Sell show-only exclusive items

Example 2:

Are you struggling to write better songs?

If so, ask yourself what are a few ways that you could make some progress.

  • Expand your network of co-writers
  • Learn your favorite songs & study why they are
  • Go to songwriter rounds to listen to & meet other songwriters

Step 2: Effort Scale

Next, rate your ideas for the effort that will go into each.

  • Low
  • Medium
  • High

Step 3: Impact Scale

Then, rank your ideas for the impact each can bring to your problem.

  • Low
  • Medium
  • High

Step 4: Delegation

Finally, can your ideas be delegated, or do they need to be done by you?

Yes or no?

Step 5: Conclusion

  • First, you are looking for areas that are high impact, low effort, and that can be delegated.
  • Next, you are looking for areas with high impact and low/medium effort that you can do yourself.
  • Finally, if you have an idea that is high impact but also high effort, you should be able to delegate it or be confident you can build a system to make it a repeatable action for yourself.

Download this free spreadsheet and try it the next time you feel stuck.

It will help you evaluate how to break your bottleneck and move forward on your project.

See you next Sunday!

Neil Mason

Artist Development

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