Suz is a mindset coach for music industry professionals looking to gain clarity on their goals & find a better work/life balance.





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Music-preneur Mindset Podcast Lessons In Entrepreneurship Suz Paulinski

#100 | Lessons in Entrepreneurship: The Good, Bad & Painfully Avoidable

There’s more where that came from.

Suz looks back on the time, money, and energy she’s invested to grow her career – what was worth it? What wasn’t? And what has she learned from it all?

If you’re unable to take time to understand what you’re investing in, and how to maximize your efforts, even the best strategies won’t work.

You’re listening to Episode 100 of the Music-Preneur Mindset Podcast.

Hello! You’re listening to Episode 100: Lessons in Entrepreneurship: The Good, Bad & Painfully Avoidable.

I’m your host, Suz, a mindset + productivity coach helping music professionals get clear on their goals, priorities, and next steps all while decreasing overwhelm and avoiding burnout.

Today’s episode is brought to you by my 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner. It’s a weekly planner designed specifically for the creativepreneur, and after selling out of our first printing I decided to print a limited second run of physical copies. You can grab yours now in my website’s shop AND directly through my Instagram account! All Planners ship for FREE within the United States, and grant access to an ocean of digital tools & community support.

We also have a “digital version” of the Planner available if you live aboard and want to save on shipping or just want to print your own at home. To be clear, this is not a fillable PDF, you can download the file and print as you go or have it bound at your local office supply store. Head on over to my Instagram, @rockstaradvo to snatch up your copy today!

Roots rock musician, and fellow Rock/Star Slacker, Ian Hewlett, said the planner, “is filled to the brim with accountability tricks and focus-oriented sections. I’m moving forward with my music as a business faster than I’ve ever done.”

Each Planner unlocks a private IG community with weekly planning calls, productivity power hours, special challenges and a library of downloadable spreadsheets, checklists, PDF guides and more! This is more than a weekly planner, it’s a career compass. Again, head to my Instagram, @rockstaradvo, or my website, for more information.

Before we dig into today’s topic, I have to stop for a minute and express my gratitude. 100 Episodes?! I know this is still a “baby podcast” but I am SO proud of how far we’ve come!!! As I said on Episode 99, I didn’t think I’d make it this far. Sometimes I felt like I was over it. Sometimes it felt like too much.

I truly appreciate each and every one of you listening AND I want to shout out those of you who have shared it with others, posted about it on social media, reached out to tell me about one of your favorite episodes – all of you who took the time to share feedback with me, all who rated and left comments – THANK YOU! This is OUR podcast so I want to celebrate this milestone with you all.

I also want to thank all of our previous guests and those who have recently recorded future episodes with me. I truly appreciate your time and I have a little special something coming your way to celebrate with us so keep your eyes on your mailboxes in the next few weeks!

In addition, I want to thank Jenn, my Director of Rock/Star Affairs, who has patiently edited these episodes, Scott Doucet of Podcast Bay Productions, who took time to breakdown the ropes of podcasting to me and was a fantastic person to bounce ideas off of for what this show could be and how it could serve my audience, AND Keisha “TK” Dutes of Bondfire Radio who trained me on the ins and outs of production. I’m still practicing, but at least now I understand it. Many thanks to you all!

Lastly, thank YOU so much for being here with me to celebrate, and stick around til the end because things are gonna get interesting with a fun contest I’ll be hosting through the rest of April so stay with me for those details!

Now, it’s time to get to why we’re all here today: my greatest, and not so great, moments as an entrepreneur in the music industry. I wanted to look back and share my most crucial lessons learned, even if some were painfully avoidable. No lesson is ever wasted, however some lessons can be particularly painful when you look back and feel like it shouldn’t have taken you that long or cost you that much to learn that lesson.

For the record, things take how long they take and cost what they cost. I don’t find it serves anyone to beat yourself while you’re bathing in hindsight, but I do believe it’s good to cop to when I’ve been my own worst enemy. It’s the only way we learn!

I invested (and sometimes lost) money, time, or energy building this business, they’ve been investments all the same, and any time I can invest back into this business, I do. Whether or not a particular gamble pays off is a different story, and the gamble usually comes down to whether or not you believe something is possible, whether or not you’re willing to bet on you.

I want to begin with a big mistake I made in the beginning. To be fair, I’m not someone who lives with regrets, and I believe everything happens at the time it’s meant to happen, BUT for the sake of lessons learned, I want to first point out my biggest mistake was not asking for help sooner.

As I’ve shared before on this podcast, I waited yyyyeeeaaarrrrss to hire a coach. I was certain that it was some sort of sneaky cutting-of-corners that I was above. I also thought it was out of my price range and pretty much a fake industry. I figured I’d be paying for a “consultant” to just point out what I’m doing wrong or tell me what they think my goals should be and I was like, “Eh, no thanks, I’m good.”

When I finally acquiesced, as I’ve said many times before, I accomplished more in 3 months than I did in years without a coach, and I was full-time with my business in 6 months, something I never came close to in my other endeavors.

To be clear, hiring a coach won’t magically solve your issues. It worked for me because #1 I was READY and open to doing the work and fully committing to the coaching I was receiving and 2 I chose the right coach. There are plenty of great coaches out there, I’m not even saying don’t choose a shitty one – I’m saying choose the right one for you.

Aside from wasting so much time without the proper help, I also spent too much time in a scarcity mindset. Now this issue was less about not taking action and more about not knowing what I didn’t know.

A scarcity mindset, namely around money, is all that I knew. I learned it from a young age and it was only exacerbated once I entered the music industry. There was never enough money, there was never enough fans, there was never enough time! You had to fight and claw your way to success and take others down in the process or else you’d fail. I wasn’t willing to take others down, so believing in that I felt destined to stay small forever.

That brings me to one of the BEST investments I made: the time to focus daily on improving my money mindset and shifting from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it does require dedication to making the change. Ahhh puns.

Listening to Jen Sincero’s You’re a Badass At Making Money created a BIG shift for me, as did practicing Marie Forleo’s money mantra: “There’s more where that came from.” And, when I was ready, investing in a coach like Jamie Jensen helped me really face my deep rooted anxieties around making money and scaling my business.

Once I began investing real time into my money mindset, and my relationship with money began to improve, I hired my financial planner – Pamela Capalad, founder of Brunch & Budget – and she taught me so much about managing my money and projecting cash flows. Most importantly, she helped me take my anxiety around money out of the equation. Thanks to her and Jamie Jensen, I’ve been able to view money as a tool, not an emotionally-charged
reflection of my own self-worth.

Having a better mindset around money stopped me from being so stingy and I did begin to invest more into my growth and my company’s growth. However, like anything else, there are mistakes along the way.

A bad investment of my time and money was Facebook Ads. Now, before some of you lunge to your device to yell back to me, “WHAT?! You’re doing it wrong, they’re crucial to your growth,” let me say this:

I 100% see the value of ads, however I have made the mistake of throwing money at ads without understanding them and having a clear plan. I then hired someone to help me with ads, and I learned a lot about how to create the ad, however the strategy didn’t take because I wasn’t utilizing my data correctly.

Here’s what I’ll say about ads – can they help? Absolutely! Do you need them? Nope! I’ve sold out of my Planners these last 2 years, I’ve booked out my client sessions, I’ve hosted 3 inperson summits and had 100s of musicians attend my Planchella events without doing any ads.

If you’re unable to take time to understand what you’re investing in and how to maximize your efforts, even the best strategies won’t work. I purchased sessions with multiple coaches and strategists but was never truly open to doing the work it required to analyze the data the ads would give me in order to double down on what was working.

If ads aren’t your thing, don’t stress out! I threw so much money at trying to get them to work (and no, if you’re an ads expert please do not reach out to me to let me know how you’re my missing piece to having ad success, I’m not interested) and once I accepted it wasn’t something I was interested in mastering and wasn’t necessary for what I needed, the money started rolling in! I was putting my energy, time, all my resources into what mattered most – engaging with my community and letting them know about my services directly – and the needle continued to

A good investment for me? Oddly enough, an email writing coach. The riches are in the niches, as they say, and yes, you can hire copywriters or other marketing coaches to work with you on your copy or take a course on writing copy that converts, but at the time I was most concerned with my email list and I was getting ZERO action on it.

All I knew was that I needed to send out a weekly email, but I didn’t know what that email should say. A friend of mind was offering coaching sessions focused specifically around email copy and I was game. In fact, I hired her for her expertise when I still had my old business.

I didn’t look at it as coaching, I felt like I was paying for a lesson in one specific task. And eight or so years later I’m still recalling her feedback when I sit to write emails. Her tips around subject lines and email structure were so new to me and I immediately saw an uptick in engagement around my emails.

This was long before I met Ms. Cheryl Engelhardt and even longer before her amazing Rock Your Email List course was available, diving deeper into marketing strategy and monetization. But for me, eight years ago, I was stuck with emails that weren’t being opened and one hour of feedback and tips was all I needed to see improvement.

Hiring an expert for an hour of their time so you can “pick their brain” can be worth it much more than buying a course. I love courses, but I will say a bad investment I made was buying courses I wasn’t ready to take.

Again, even if we took out of the equation the crappy courses out there that don’t deliver, purchasing any course requires commitment on your part and too often we feel like the work is done once we swipe that first credit card payment. We took action because we spent money, so that should be enough, right? Money isn’t work, it’s a tool. Investing it in something only means your work is just beginning and it’s time to grab another tool from your arsenal.

Sometimes, even though the lifetime access of many courses feels like such a comforting factor, it can be a course’s worst feature because it gives you too much time. You’re all familiar by now as listeners of this podcast with Parkinson’s Law – work expands to fill the time you give it.

No matter how amazing a course is, and I’ve purchased some incredible ones (shout out to Cheryl’s Rock Your Email List, Shàà Wasmund’s How to Create a #1 Best Selling Book and Amy Porterfield’s List Builder’s Society), lifetime access gives you the perfect excuse to put things off, and I have.

I’m not proud of it, but I’m still going back to these courses to catch what I have yet to finish from them. They’re amazing, chock full of information and well-worth their investment, however I’ve certainly given myself far too much time for going through them.

One of the best things I’ve done recently was invest in Tyler McCall’s Follower to Fan Society, a one-year membership to go through his course on Instagram marketing with a year of community support and monthly coaching calls. It’s been 2 weeks and I’m almost done with the course in an effort to get the most from the coaching calls, which will run out a year from now.

The next tool I’ve added to my arsenal that’s been well-worth my time and energy is tapping.

Tapping, or EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques, was developed in the 1990s by Stanford engineer Gary Craig, and I go into more detail about it in Episode 98 – Tapping Into Your Future. In essence, you’re tapping on specific acupuncture points while rewiring negative beliefs and thoughts into more positive ways to cope and deal with obstacles.

Speaking of obstacles, as I said earlier – sometimes I’m my own biggest obstacle and another poor investment on my part was the time I invested to working with whomever wanted to hire me. As I say all the time, boundaries set us free, and not flexing them keeps us small.

The amount of time and energy I used to expel, miserable and anxious about clients I knew weren’t a good fit for me, beyond the fact that they wanted to pay me, it’s incredible to me thinking back now how I ever managed to tolerate it, especially since I now only work with clients who are in alignment with my values.

For years I stressed about saying no to people who wanted to hire me, afraid I’d be turning away business and missing out on an opportunity to make money as well as collect future testimonials.

What I didn’t realize was that investing time and energy into the wrong people depleted the time and energy I had to attracting the right people into my world. Over the years, I’ve continued to get more specific and choosey with who I agree to work with – be it clients, collaborators and affiliates.

If you’re keeping score, the best decisions and investments I’ve made have included courses with an end date, coaches with skill sets specific to my current needs and interests, and tools to help ensure I approach my work with the right mindset.

The potentially avoidable nightmares have always come from giving into my stubbornness and doubts around trying something new and taking risks, and the flat out bad investments have always been saying yes to things and people that don’t serve me or align with my values and goals.

I hope this walk down Hindsight Lane has provided you with some inspiration for thinking about your next moves and realizing your current possible missteps. The important thing is that even with a slew of missteps, I’m still here. It’s not about being perfect and always making the right choices, it’s about committing to getting back up again and learning from what’s been.

That’s our 100th episode, and if you got something out of it and wish to get MORE from it, I want to tell you about a contest I’m running today through the end of April. If you’re a fan of this podcast and would like your own copy of the 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner LISTEN UP!

Starting today, if you complete the following tasks by April 30th, you’ll receive a digital PDF file of the 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner for you to print as you go or have bound in your own way.

Plus, one lucky winner will be chosen randomly at the end of the month and will receive my full physical Planner Bundle in the mail. That’s the 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner, my Time Blocking Marker Set, End-of-Day Mindset Check-In Notepad, 2 sets of Planning Stickers and both colors of my Monthly Planner Tab stickers to easily flip between the months in the Planner.

This $60 bundle could be yours {and the digital file is automatically yours} by completing the following tasks:

  1. Leave a rating AND review of this podcast on your platform of choice
  2. DM me @rockstaradvo on Instagram or email me a
    screenshot of it once it’s posted.
  3. Go to today’s post {April 14} on my @rockstaradvo account on Instagram about this episode
    and leave a comment with the phrase “I listened!”
  4. AND share my post in your feed or IG stories.

That’s it! Those 4 steps and you’re done! Upon completing all 4 steps I’ll send you a link to your Planner PDF and enter your name into the random drawing at the end of the month for the Planner Bundle package.

All are welcome to participate, so tell your friends, however, if you are the randomly chosen winner of the Planner Bundle and you live outside the U.S. you will be asked to cover shipping, or another winner will be chosen.

All details can be found on the show notes page: and you can email me at any time if you have questions or send me a DM on Instagram @rockstaradvo.

Thank you SO much for listening and celebrating this milestone with me! I’ll be back every week with a brand new episode so stay tuned for next week when I put the spotlight on an often-overlooked hero of the music industry!

Until next time, Rock/Star. Keep planning, keep learning, and I hope to see you back here next week so we can get grounded to get rising! Take care.

Key Highlights

  • This episode is brought to you by The 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner
  • Celebrating 100 Episodes!
  • The Mistakes:
    • Waiting years to hire a coach
    • Staying stuck in a scarcity mindset
    • Buying courses I wasn’t ready to take
    • Saying yes to people who wanted to hire me that weren’t a good fit
  • Best Investments:
    • Hiring an expert for an hour of their time so you can “pick their brain”
    • Tapping {aka Emotional Freedom Techniques}
  • Remember: It’s not about being perfect and always making the right choices, it’s about committing to getting back up again and learning from what’s been.
  • How To Enter the 100th Episode Contest and get a FREE digital copy of The 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner:
    1. Leave a rating AND review of this podcast on your platform of choice
    2. DM me @rockstaradvo on Instagram or email me a screenshot of it once it’s posted.
    3. Go to today’s post {April 14} about this episode on my @rockstaradvo account on Instagram and leave a comment with the phrase “I listened!”
    4. AND share the post in your feed or IG stories
  • Which lesson as been most helpful for YOU?
    • Let us know in the comments!


How To Enter the 100th Episode Contest:

  1. Leave a rating AND review of this podcast on your platform of choice
  2. DM me @rockstaradvo on Instagram or email me a screenshot of it once it’s posted.
  3. Go to today’s post {April 14} about this episode on my @rockstaradvo account on Instagram and leave a comment with the phrase “I listened!”
  4. AND share the post in your feed or IG stories

EVERYONE who enters {aka completes ALL 4 steps above} by 4/30 will receive a Digital 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner* AND will qualify to be chosen at random at the close of the contest to receive a FREE** 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner Bundle!

*Contest is open globally and all participants will receive a PDF file of the 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner to print and use.

**If the chosen winner for the Planner Bundle lives outside of the United States, they will be required to pay for shipping, or another winner will be chosen.

Thanks for listening!

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