#102 | When to Ask For Help Mike Meiers | The Rock/Star Advocate

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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#102 | MusicPreneur Spotlight: Mike Meiers

Order. Disorder. Reorder.

It’s not about the awards or the record deals. It’s about figuring out your purpose and being ready to ask for help in order to get where you’re going. Suz spotlights special guest, Emmy® award-winning songwriter, guitarist, and composer, Mike Meiers, discussing when it’s time to ask for help and how to listen your way to success.

Enjoy the process because if you don’t enjoy the process, if you’re waiting for X or this to get there and it doesn’t happen, the problem is you miss out on all the good stuff in the journey.

You’re listening to Episode 102 of the Music-Preneur Mindset Podcast.

Hello! You’re listening to Episode 102: MusicPreneur Spotlight: Mike Meiers.

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 Mike Meier’s FREE 5-day Songwriting for Guitar Bootcamp where he’ll teach you everything you’ll need to know to begin writing songs more confidently, for both yourself and other artists and clients, and how to expand your income streams through flexing your guitar skills. You can RSVP using the link in the show notes, www.therockstaradvocate.com/ep102.

Now let’s dive into to get to know who the hell Mike is and why he cares so much about teaching you more about your guitar and what’s possible as you grow your career as a songwriter.

Mike Meiers is an Emmy® award-winning songwriter, producer, and guitar coach. When he’s not producing, Mike helps songwriting guitarists enhance their skills so they can write better songs and get them out into the world through his online program “Riff To Radio” and his Songwriting For Guitar Podcast. His music has been used by Target and featured on MTV, VH1, Fox Sports, History Channel, Showtime, and NPR, to name a few.

We get into a LOT during our conversation about the importance in asking for help and always remembering how it was starting out in our careers. We have a lot of fun and make a lot of revelations along the way, so take a listen and enjoy!

Suz: Mr. Mike Meiers, just like the Canadian actor, but different. How are you?

Mike: I’m doing wonderful. How are you doing?

Suz: I am good. My wonderful listeners out there, they already know all the amazing things about you, because I told it to them in this intro, that was pre-recorded before we talked, but why don’t you just give everybody a little snapshot of who is Mike Meiers? What’s what’s the real deal, not the bio stuff that I read off, but what would you like our listeners to know about you first, before we dig in?

Mike: I was a punk rocker that tried to tour and did that, but worked at a carwash. And then eventually I ditched that job, and the idea of touring, and had to figure out somehow to make a sustainable living with music. And it wasn’t going to be through a carwash.

Suz: I mean, it got you an Emmy®. So you figured something out. I think that’s pretty cool.

Mike: Yeah. I always like saying that, “I used to work in…” I always think about driving by the carwash and doing a video of like with the Emmy®, putting in the car next to me and just like getting, we used to have, like, there were three different brackets of washes.

There was the three, the seven. No, there was four, three, seven, nine, and 12. I shouldn’t remember the shit, but I still do. And then I always want to get the cheapest wash and then come back around like customers did and be like, “Listen, this didn’t get anything. I have an Emmy®. This car needs better wash,” but that’s the long and short of it because I don’t like to paint it as like I went to this school or this school. It was just like, no, I wanted to do this thing.
And I had a template of what I thought I was supposed to do. The template didn’t work. And then I had to readjust it.

Suz: OMG I think bought the same one! Well, I think that story really sets us up well for this podcast episode, because you know, there are a lot of lies out there that we’re all told. Obviously we’re sold the bill of goods at a carwash. Lord knows we’re sold the bill of goods in this magnificent music industry that we all find ourselves in.

So my question to you is pre-figuring out all the things, what were some of the things like, if you could go back and tell younger Mike Meiers, “Hey, don’t believe, don’t do that. This is not the right template. There is no template.” Like what are some of the things that you would point out to kind of save yourself some grief?

Mike: Ooh. So there’s two things. Number one, enjoy the process because if you don’t enjoy the process, if you’re waiting for X or this to get there and it doesn’t happen, the problem is you miss out on all the good stuff in the journey, if you’re so focused on… like for me, I thought, “Oh, success in music as a band, we have to be signed to a label and we’ve got to be touring,” that is success.

Problem is, that doesn’t mean anything. Essentially, I was dreaming of somebody giving us a gigantic loan, ’cause that’s what a record deal is. It’s a big, gigantic loan. I’m like, I hope they do. You miss out on all the good stuff of cool stories. I look back now and it makes me laugh.

I was putting together a blog post today of a story where we did this one tour and one of the first shows on a big summer tour that we were doing was in Johnson City, Tennessee. And I know that’s the place you got to play – Johnson City – but anyway, this venue booked us and then midway through the tour, they canceled it. And they were like, “No.”

He said, “Unfortunately, because like my mother-in-law died,” and we were like, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry.” But what we found out was that was a lie. He booked some metal band and dropped us. So he lied about his mother-in-law dying so he could ditch us and get a metal band. And now I just laugh at it. So the first thing I would say is enjoy the journey because you’ll have great stories, you’ll laugh.

But the other thing is there’s multiple ways to success and you have to get specific. I realized I said, label, what does that even mean? What does that get you? What if it got us a deal? What then? I would have been like a deer in the headlights. We got it. It’s like a dog chases a car, catches it. What is he going to do with it? He doesn’t know what to do. He’s just, “Shit. I got the car.” It’s just like, that’s what I felt like we were doing. We are always chasing after this
thing that wasn’t identified.

And if a business doesn’t have a clear vision and direction, it can’t be successful it’s not going to be good. And that’s why a band, I think never really worked out because we all had different views of what we wanted to do with it.

So I would say to my old self, laugh at stuff, enjoy the process and don’t worry if it doesn’t work out because there are better things. There are better things that you’re not even aware are a thing right now because you have to change the way that you view music. And you’re not right now. You just see it as the templates you’ve been given all these years, which is band, band. That’s it.

Suz: Right. Band. Practice. Label. Done.

Mike: Yeah. Band practice, book a tour, get a show, order some merch, repeat. That’s the thing. That’s the thing, member drops out, find a new member. Let’s keep it going. And after awhile it’s like, you’ve been doing the thing. Do you even enjoy the thing?

Suz: Hmm.

Mike: You actually like it, or are you pretending to like it now? Because you’ve been doing it for so long that it’s scary to say, “Oh, it’s not working out,” and you feel like you don’t want to say the word ‘failed,’ but it’s on the tip of your tongue.

Suz: Right.

Mike: And I think that’s what I was feeling a lot of, it’s why I never let it go too soon because I was worried, like, “Did I just waste like nine years of my life doing this?”

Suz: Right.

Mike: Did I, did I fail? Was this a failure?

Suz: Yes.

Mike: No.

Suz: How does it feel to be a failure?

Mike: What? Yeah. And part of it was, yes, it was by definition, by the way that I was holding it, yes, it
is a failure.

Suz: Right, exactly.

Mike: But it’s also, no, it’s not because you know what? You learn something. I learned some valuable insight that I can’t fool myself and let things be, pretend to be okay, without really fixing the actual issues, the core issues. I was doing all this like surface level cleaning, like, “Oh, this is okay, this will make it work.”

But I wasn’t going to those deeper questions of like, “Okay man, do you really want it? Like, do you think this can happen?” Because at a core level, you all have to believe at some level that this can be successful. If you’re all carrying this idea of like, “Well, you know, I don’t think it’s not really going to work.” If you’re starting a startup company in the early stages and someone, the only other two employees that you have, and they’re just like, “You know what, I’m just going to cut my losses. This is not really going to work.” That’s what I would have
wanted, but yeah, I guess, yeah, it was a failure…

Suz: Well, the reason I say that is when you were like, “Did I fail?” The reason I was messing with you and said, “Yes” is because in that moment, that’s how it feels like your inner voice is like, “Yeah, you suck, you failed.” But like you didn’t. And I love that you brought up questioning, “Is this really what you truly want in any way?”

Because at the end of the day, usually the stuff that doesn’t work out, it’s probably because you don’t really want it. There’s a difference between doubting yourself and maybe not having the confidence you want to, “Mmmm, I don’t really want this, but I don’t have another option or I don’t know any better, so I’m just going to hope that this works out.”

And when it doesn’t just take a minute and say to yourself, “What did this save me from?

Because maybe I really didn’t want it.” And I think a lot of the times, not always, sometimes it’s just things don’t work out, but a lot of the times I think people follow, as you said, like this template that they don’t even really want to begin with, and when it doesn’t work out, I think that’s also when you see an unbalanced reaction of disappointment and hurt because I think there’s a point where all these feelings kind of like peak at once where there’s like relief, but
confusion, but you got sold a bill of goods, but you’re tired, but you feel like a failure, but you don’t know what to do next, and like all these things.

And I think that’s why people’s reactions when things don’t work out are so massive. And I always think to myself when it’s that massive, or when you feel like it’s that much of a blow, there’s usually something to examine there because it’s layered. For it to be like a big disappointment, it’s layered.

Mike: I agree with that because there’s this Franciscan friar that I love called Richard Rohr. And he talks about this thing called order disorder reorder. And he says, you’re given a view of the world in your order. And then you’re confronted with other things that you can’t ignore anymore. It’s kind of like slowly chipping away… your glass world suddenly starts to crack a little bit, and then suddenly you’re confronted with so many, it creates disorder and dismantles the way that you viewed things. And it’s just this weird, awkward period of time.

But from that chaos, you actually reassemble how you view the thing, and that’s where your reorder comes back in, and then you’re given this new template. And that always resonated with me on so many levels when it came to a belief situation.

I’m glad I didn’t get the thing that I wanted because you know what? I don’t know how much, maybe in the short term it would have been gratifying, but longterm, I don’t know how much that would have given us. We are so hung onto the template they’ve been given that if it doesn’t work out, “Well, I guess that means I’m a failure. I guess that means I can’t do the thing.” Or maybe there’s a different element that you’re not seeing right now and you’re going
to have to sit with us uneasiness for a while.

And my uneasiness was, fortunately, it wasn’t even uneasiness. I got to just teach guitar for a while while I was just kind of like allowing those pieces to kind of reassemble and like, what does this look like? And I just started teaching guitar and I ended up loving it.

I thought it was gonna be a thing that I would do for a year and then leave. And it ended up being a thing that I stayed for like 10 years doing, because I ended up just loving it, but then I found this newfound appreciation for ton of different genres that I never listened to ’cause I was in my world. And then suddenly from there, that’s where what was once disorder reignited just this idea of like, “I really like songwriting.” And then reassembling to start me on a very long journey of reassembling, but a journey nonetheless, to eventually gaining some new perspective of what I actually am supposed to do, as opposed to just like, “Well, I guess this is what I should be doing.”

Suz: What I like, what you mentioned is about sitting in the uneasy and just letting it be because I went through a similar part in my journey where this whole thing I had planned since I was like 12, like this was the plan: get to a major label, work at the major label. Eventually take it over and there you go. And after like years of working towards that and getting it, and then it not being anything that I wanted or anything what I thought it would be like, I was like, “I hate this? Like, how did I hate something that I had such a passion for following for years?”

But the thing was, you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it. And so I was ignorantly passionate about something that sounded really cool. And then I followed through with it and listen, like I can’t blame my younger self. I didn’t know any better. There’s, you know, there was no real blueprint. It wasn’t the time of like Google and all the social media where you could really like dig deep… and even if I could do that, you still wouldn’t know what it was like, nobody was coming home from their job and if social media was there being like, “Working at a label sucks, it’s really difficult. And I cry every day.”

But that’s what I found when I got there. I remember going to a therapist and I was like, “I can’t wrap my brain around this. Like, how did I work so hard for something that I now hate so much?” I knew I had to leave and go figure out something else and that was the scariest thing to me. Ever. And I remember him saying, “I think you care more about being wrong than about being happy, because you can leave and go be happy, but then all you’re focusing on is, “Well, that means I was wrong. I was wrong in picking that as a goal.” And he’s like, “And who’s to say you were wrong? It just didn’t work out.”

And I had to sit back for a minute and check my ego and realize I was more concerned about, “Oh my God, I was wrong about this.” Or, “Oh my goodness. I wasted time.” Or, “Oh my goodness I feel like an idiot.” And no, it’s just you learn and you keep moving. And I think that uneasiness, you need space. I did the same thing too, where I just stepped back for a bit and did other things. You can’t, you can’t reorder a puzzle if there’s no other place to move the pieces.

Mike: When you say, leave your ego at the door. I feel that’s what separates a lot of people that eventually reassemble the pieces and end up doing shit and either making changes and making headway in their career, and there are people that just linger in the back row that still sit in their ego and they’re the trolls that you find on the internet.

They’re the people, when you look at your Facebook advertisement and like who posted this at 4:30 in the morning, and it’s just like, it’s the guy, it’s the person that is still is sitting deep in wallowing in their ego because the thing’s not working because they never took the time to sit with those uneasy questions or they didn’t like it and it felt uncomfortable and they shook it off and they were just like, no, no.

Don’t get me wrong it’s good to be strong-willed and to power through things, but sometimes you have to say stop. That’s when you end up finding the thing that you’re meant to do, because I believe that the universe, when you start to listen and do the thing that you’re supposed to, you don’t have to kick down doors. You don’t have to pummel through the wall like Kool-Aid guy and, and just be like, “I’m here!” You’ll notice that those things line up.

Like, I remember I was sitting just a couple of weeks ago, I was like, okay I need to get a virtual assistant. This is too much. I can’t do this. Literally the same day, there was a message in my inbox from someone that took my bootcamp and it was like, “Hey, I just want to let you know, I’m a virtual assistant. I really would love to help you.” The more you listen to what you’re supposed to do and you start following it. You’re gonna see all the fucking breadcrumbs along the way that are saying, “Hey, do this thing, do this thing.”

And I remember, I thought about songwriting years ago for other people, but I wrote it off and started a band. I did this other band that kind of had some traction then no traction, but we got this message on our MySpace, that’s dating us a ton, but on MySpace…Yea

Suz: We’re old as fuck, we know that’s fine.

Mike: At first I wrote it off because I thought it was just spam. We just thought it was not real. But then we saw he was sending messages to other people in our top eight friends being like, “I really want to talk to them. Could you point me in the direction?” And he was the manager for this British band called McFly. His claim to fame was he co-wrote one of the songs “Year 3000,” which a British band, Busted, did and then the Jonas Brothers covered it.

And so he was like, “I want to talk to someone.” And I was like, “Okay, I’ll talk to him.” And I talked to him, we had like a 30 minute conversation and his advice to me, and this was maybe 2007, was don’t start a band, you need to start writing songs with other people. He was like, “The best advice I can give you right now, don’t start a band. You just need to write songs with other people and get really good at writing songs.” And I wrote that off and I was like, “No,
I’m going to start a band.”

And I started a band, did the whole thing, and then only, and that was 2007, and right around 2016, I kind of thought, “Hmm, I think I need to start writing songs for other people.” And it’s just so funny, but it’s, you know, maybe that journey was the long way around. Or maybe that’s what I needed, because I will say in that journey of being in a band, I met tons of people I still stay in contact with. It’s funny that the universe, when you’re quiet, it does drop huge truth bombs and waves the flags of where you need to go, if you want to, and if you choose to listen.

Or if you want to be stubborn and try to do your own thing and go, “No, this is the way it’s done.” Cool. And I think that’s why some musicians kind of flounder and they go like, “Well, music doesn’t work.” No, it does work. You just chose not to listen.

Suz: It’s been working for eons. And I love that you said, “If you choose to listen,” because people underestimate listening, so much of being an artist and a creative is listening, you know, listening when you’re writing songs with each other, listening, when you’re networking.. And the same thing goes with your fans and with on-boarding clients.

My business really started to grow when I stopped talking at people and just started listening to what they needed. And then figured out how I could help them. And so I think so much of that is just about being present and listening, and as you said, the universe wants is to listen too, it’s there, you know deep down you’ve got those instincts and those goals that you want to achieve, but you silence them with the templates and everything being pushed at you, and saying, “The industry knows better than me, so I’ll, this is what I’ll do.”

I feel you on that because it happens to all of us. And I’m curious, once you decided to listen, once you got to that point where you were like, “Okay, I hear that now, I hear that red flag about the songwriting that I didn’t listened to at the time, but like I’m hearing it now.”

Mike: Yeah.

Suz: How was that, after the uneasiness and after the space you gave yourself, and as you were teaching guitar, how did you kind of now begin that reorder? How did you make sense of it? What did that feel like if you, if you can remember that? ‘Cause I know we get on the other side of it and it, now it just is what it is, but can you think back to like what that moment felt like?

Mike: So I started just writing songs and then I realized, okay, I’m still writing songs like I’m in a band and I’m still viewing that narrative. So immediately I knew I had to go to other people that were doing the thing that I wanted to do, and I had to be around them, watch them, listen, take some classes, assume that I know nothing, because it was a whole different world. I need to understand commercial song writing, ’cause maybe there are some things I know, but there are probably some things that are going to change that I may need to view a little bit differently.

And what was great was those mentors and classes that I took made me aware of things that I was already doing that were great because I didn’t realize the four or five years that I’d spent teaching. I was like absorbing all these songs that were nothing, but like top 40 songs that was teaching, like 45 different ways. I can tell you all the different trending charts because every week I saw what was popular for a couple months and then when it shifted, and then here was the new set of songs. Then it shifted again, and then you could see patterns start to develop so that they were able to be like, “That is great, that is great, that is great, that’s your strength hone in on that. Do more of that. Here’s what you need to do next.”

They were always able to give me a boost to let me know what was good. But here’s where here’s the next thing. Here’s the next thing. And it was not just like a pat on the back, but they were able to meet me where I was and give me tangible things to do. And I think that’s all people want. And that’s hard, templates are so vague sometimes because there’s not tangible steps, but when you can find mentors that meet you at step three, and then here’s your other mentor that’s going to meet you at step five, and then here’s the other person. They helped me shift the way I’ve viewed things and help my mind go, “No, you should put a little money on that credit card. You’re investing in yourself. It’s not risky. Do that.”

And then, so that shifted, that was like two or three years of me doing that process, that eventually then I started to see just a little bit of traction. And a little bit of movement. Then I just started do more of that and I started to flood. I had no hesitation buying the next course, taking the next trip because I knew those are the things that helped me get to where it was already, that I need to flood more of that in there, that’s going to help me just keep on going.
That’s what was missing. When you were in a band, it was just us. We just knew what we kind of imagined in our head it was supposed to be like.

Suz: Yeah.

Mike: And suddenly I was meeting people that were doing the thing that were like, “Hey, this is great. This is awesome. Have you thought about tracking your guitar for other people and just like doing that on the side to make money?” I was like,” No.”

“You should, that’s a thing.” And then eventually it evolved into, “You know what? You should think about producing some stuff too, and arranging. Have you thought about that?” “No, the technology, I don’t know.”

“Well, I can sit down and show you and here’s a great class you should start taking.” All those things opened up the other doors to where it was like, this is where I should be. This is what it was supposed to look like. Oh, okay. Got it. Now I feel not just more at ease, but I feel more motivated with what I’m doing, because I know this is the thing. Even when it’s hard and it’s a bitch and I hate it, I still love it.

Suz: I love that because you see those comments online where it’s just like, “Follow your passion you’ll never work a day in your life.” And it’s like, no, it’s work. You can still hate it at times, but you know it’s your passion when you’re like, yeah, bring it on, that’s fine. I don’t care about the bad days, I’ll work through them, you know? I think that’s a really important nuance that a lot of people don’t like to share, they paint this picture like, well, it’s your passion, so it’s just euphoria every single day. And it’s like, no, there are still days where I’m like, UGH, because yeah we’re not retired. So there are going to be days that it’s hard but…

Mike: It’s going to be tough.

Suz: Right. But as my boy, Tom Hanks says, “It’s the hard that makes it great.” And that’s what we gotta, that’s what we gotta hold on to. And that’s when you know it’s a passion, but when you had mentioned, you have a bit of that success or you make headway in that thing and then investing in the next thing doesn’t feel as difficult because you’re like, “Oh, okay. I see that it was worth it.” I think an important thing to point out there is I see a lot of people who haven’t gotten started yet where like there’s two camps of people, the ones who don’t want to ask for any help and the ones who want to just throw money at things and think, “Well, if I just buy the courses it’ll fix it and it’ll just do it.”

And then they don’t really do the courses or do the work and then they don’t see the results. And then it becomes like this resentful thing where it’s like,”Fine, I’ll throw money at this again, but this better work this time.” You said though, once you started to see progress and you saw the growth, you knew, okay, it’s time to now reinvest. It’s time to now reinvest. And I think that’s the difference that a lot of people miss. Don’t fall into the rabbit hole of just throwing money at it. But when you see that it’s working, when you see that the thing you’ve invested in
is helping you grow, continue to water that.

My question for you is, it’s a two-parter, so get ready. The first part is what was, what was it like for you when you first decided, “Okay, I’m going to ask for help.” Are you more of the type that was more motivated? Like, “Oh, okay. I need answers. Let me see. Who can help me?” Or was it more like, “I have to check my ego, this isn’t working, I got to finally ask for help.” What camp would you say you were in when it came time? And part two of that is how did you know who to go towards? Like, did it just serendipitously happen where you met people that you resonated with? Or was it a lot of research? What was that turning point like?

Mike: I was probably in the first camp. I really was curious. And so the curiosity I was like, I really need to know more. This is where I was toying with like, “Interesting I hear this word music licensing… what is this? I’d be like, “Who’s doing that. Where’s this coming from?” There’s so many shows. Think of the countless shows on Netflix and Hulu. Amazon Prime. Like where are they coming from? Who?

And then I was listening to a podcast about music licensing and they interviewed Cathy Heller. And she was like, “I have a course on music licensing.” And so I did this free webinar, which I knew I was going to buy whatever she was offering, but I remember just checking my ego at the door, clicking the buy button. I think for me, the first was the fear of investing. I was open to the idea of totally learning from other people, but like the paying was the thing, but I
realized the paying was great because it made me show up.

When you give something free and it’s free go take it. People may take a look at it. They may, but when you invest a little bit of money that, you know, you don’t have a lot of right away, you’re going to give everything to that class. You’re going to dive in. You’re going to fully, you’re going to be present. And that’s what it was.

Once I made that first payment. Boom. I delved into the modules. I was there. I was talking to people. I was networking. I was like, let’s do co-writes. I want to do a co-write. I want to do a co-write. And I remember posting videos doing all the assignments, doing the work. I’ve never spent that, you know, maybe for gear, which we always justified gear, but a class. Right. I always think that’s funny with musicians. They were like, “I won’t pay for a class for almost $2,000.” And I was like, “Dude, you just bought…

Suz: I’ll drop $4000 for studio time.

Mike: Yeah. It’s just like, it’s just ridiculous. Or like this guitar that you just paid, that was $1200 and then you’ve got that really premium wireless setup with it, which was an additional $700 basically like you haven’t even written the songs, you’ve got this premium gear. Come on… But doing that, that was the first step for me. And it felt great. I just dove in head first. And once I did that a couple years into just countless writes, because as you said, like it’s one thing, people buy a course and they expect it to happen, but that’s like a chef just grabbing the flour and the eggs and throwing against the wall and be like, “Be a cake!”

And it’s like, no, it’s not, it’s not, it’s part of it. You’ve got some of the ingredients, but you can’t just like, expect it to happen. You’ve got to put some effort into it. You have to know how some of the tools work. Is there batter still on it? It’s not fully cooked or it’s just like, ah, it got burned. You just left it sitting there too long. You still have to figure out the process even with the tools. And that’s what it took for me. It took a while through practice cause the first 60 songs were all shitty for licensing, they were just terrible.

But they were great tools for me to learn that once I networked more and I met music supervisors and I started to gain a catalog that was a little bit better quality because I had put in the time, cause you see the constant bags of flour and eggs behind me that were like spattered against the wall and the mess and there I am, it’s because I just spent as much time as I could with the process.

I realized what they were providing was a tool, not necessarily a key, a tool helps you in the configuration of something, it’s not this key that’s going to magically open the door. When I bring people in my class, I’m like, I’m your guide and this is a tool, but you have to implement this, you have to add this in.

Suz: Right. And you’ve managed to create programs and courses yourself. I mean, you’ve got Riff to Radio, Songwriting for Guitar, and you’ve also got your podcast. So as a guitar coach, I want to know, first of all, what made you decide, “Okay, now I’m going to teach it.” Was there a particular point you got to where you felt ready to do it, or did you kind of have to jump and build your wings as you went?

I know some of my clients have taken your courses. They all rave about them. You do these challenges that are always, I see people posting about them on Instagram. So clearly what you’re doing is resonating with people, but what was it like for you to get started? What was that like for you?

Mike: I always loved teaching because I was doing that for so long and it just felt very comfortable. So the aspect of getting to know people, I loved it because I’d done that pretty much as my full-time job for nine years, and so that was awesome. When I knew that there is an area for songwriters, it’s when I started teaching and pretty much all my clients were songwriters and they would be like, when I was in town, can I buy you a cup of coffee? Can I buy you a cup of coffee? Can I buy it? And I love coffee, but there’s a point where my caffeine consumption was too high.

And I was hearing the same concerns and the same questions. And I was like, “Oh, what I am thinking is blatantly obvious to songwriters is not, actually this is a pain point for so many people, they don’t feel comfortable with their guitar. They only know basic chords. They’re not sure why this works. They don’t know what voicings are. They’re stuck in one pattern because they love nineties rock and they only have the nineties rock strum pattern and they can’t do anything, they’re inconsistent with their rhythms, that’s it! Okay. So what does that look like?

There’s only a certain amount that I feel like I can fully be present, teach one-on-one all the time. So, what do I need to do? And then that’s where I had friends that were doing courses and they were like, “You should just create a course.” I had to kind of remove what I knew about teaching in one sense and adapt it to this new world.

And I just listened to what people were saying. I saw how they were reacting to the material, what they were posting about it, their takeaway, so that I could refine it each time and smooth it out. Maybe every two weeks we do a pop-up session and it’s just like, I give them a very specific thing, like this week regardless chord progression, or just a small riff, I want you to make a ten second clip, even if it feels uncomfortable. And they were all posting on like these
private SoundCloud links and sending me Dropbox.

And it was just awesome because on Saturday for like an hour and a half we sat there and just went through them and I was like, “This is great, this sounds like dah, dah, dah. This is where you need to go next dah, dah, dah.” And we’re just walking through these modules in the process and it’s so cool to see people just more confident.

I think that’s ultimately what I wanted too from the course was not only to give them the material, but like the soul, the spirit, whatever you choose to call it, that you feel capable, because my class is not the end all be all. It is wherever you are in your step, that gets you to the next step. And I want to make sure whatever that step is that you’re fully prepared for that.

And you feel more confident in the time with me than you did before so that you could go to that next step and be like, “Cool, I’m ready.”

I have to remember how I felt before I took all those classes, all the things that were like zooming around in my head, and you’re like, “I don’t know. Should I?” You need to remember that because then you can not speak as, “Well, I’m an Emmy® award-winning songwriter,” but it’s like, “Hey, I was a manager of a carwash who got yelled at repeatedly on a daily basis because people were unhappy with their washes and they said that scratch the car and I said, of course it didn’t scratch your car, even though I know it totally is scratch their car, but that’s not the point,” I have to remember I was in the same position just kind of like still trying. I was in the disorder period and I was still trying to reorder all my pieces and being like, “What does this look like?”

Suz: I completely agree with that. For all those of you listening the common theme here is ask for help because it is going to be messy, it is going to be chaotic, and it is going to feel really uneasy a lot of the times, but you don’t have to go through it by yourself. Find those mentors, find those teachers, those instructors, those peers, those colleagues who you can get that information from and invest when you feel you resonate with somebody, when you know they’re where you want to be and they’ve been where you are invest and I think if we can just shift the mindset from, “Oh, it means nothing to drop a couple grand on studio time, but I can’t do that on my education.” Well, what good is that studio time if you don’t have a strategy and know what to do with your stuff?

What I love the most is not even so much the education, but knowing what’s possible. Like when I invested in my stuff, I didn’t even know what was possible because you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it. So go, go know some things, go figure some things out. And so, you know, I’m sure there’s a lot of people resonating with your story right now, and when they want to learn from you, when they’re ready to ask for help and ready to invest
in themselves, how can they get ahold of you and say, “All right, Mike, teach me your ways. Like I’m ready to put in the work,” how can people get those tools with you?

Mike: If they’re in that position, they’re ready for the next step, I would say starting May 10th, I’m doing a boot camp for five days in which I’m going to be walking through the process. Like not just like, “Oh, here are the things that I’ve done,” but tangible steps that they can start doing because that’s all I feel like if we can just meet there and start going through step-by-step the process that I’ve used songwriting as a guitarist, if we can walk through those in those five days, they’ve got those first little bits and I think that is a best way to do it.

So if they just go to songwriting for guitar.com, they can sign up for it’s completely free. It’s going to be live every single day: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, answering questions. It’s not going to be me just giving a spiel and being like, eh, there you go! It’s so much fun to see how many people have connected through these boot camps. Like last bootcamp we had over 700 people register and out of those 700, 400 were super active,
networking, sharing contacts, sharing song ideas. And that’s the thing, start connecting with people that are aiming for the things that you’re wanting to do, too.

Find other creatives that are desiring and hungry for the thing that you want to do, because you know what that’s going to make you hungrier. That’s going to make you so motivated because you’re going to see them still showing up and you’re going to be like, “Damn, I need to start showing up, too.” So, that’s the perfect way that they can start just like delving in and start doing the thing.

Suz: That’s awesome. Well, the link to sign up for that is in our show notes, be sure to follow Mike on Instagram. Mike, what is the handle? Where can they find you on Instagram?

Mike: They can find me at my handle @songwritingforguitar, and then the personal one, @Mike_Meiers. They can totally go for it.

Suz: I love it. And the links to those are in the show notes too guys, if you need them, but go connect with him on Instagram. I am always fully entertained by your Instagram highlights as well, so thank you for that, and I also follow song writing for guitar because I am not even a musician, but I learn things so much from your Instagram.

For so many of my clients who were songwriters, not even thinking what just knowing some basic stuff on the guitar or getting more confident with the guitar can do for them, that totally opened my eyes and I find that stuff fascinating.

Thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation with us because I think a lot of people resonate with your story. I know I do. And the most important thing guys here is ask for help. That’s what it’s about. So thank you so much for being here with us and sharing these stories with us.

Mike: I loved every single second because I feel like when we talk, we could talk for hours and just keep on going and I know, but I, it was so much fun. Thanks for having me.

Suz: Any last words of wisdom or last statements that you’d like to share, because you’ll never speak with this audience ever again, ever again.

Mike: I think I’d just reiterate your point, definitely look for help. And I always say to people too, even if I’m not the person, promise me that you’ll still search for someone. I don’t care who that is, but that you will make that commitment to yourself to show up, because that is, if you want to do this, you have to accept that you will need help at some point. So whoever that is, whatever person… find them.

I had to stop it there because how could I end that any better, amma right? I want to thank Mike for sharing his journey with us, what was the most relatable part for you? Be sure to tell us in the comments on the show notes page! Head on over to www.therockstaradvocate.com/ep102 and let us know your biggest “ah-ha” moment and the part of Mike’s story that you resonated with the most.

While you’re there, sign up for Mike’s FREE 5-day bootcamp. It kicks off May 10 and you’ll be so glad you jumped into taking action to expand your craft. You’ll have an opportunity to work with Mike afterwards, if you’re ready, and I highly suggest it. As we said in today’s discussion, if not with him, make the decision to work with someone to get to that next level in your journey.

None of us do this alone, and let nothing stop you when it comes to asking for help.

And don’t forget, this Friday, 4/30, is your LAST CHANCE to enter the Episode 100 Contest and automatically get a FREE copy of the 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner, with the chance to win a $60 physical Planner Bundle! All the details can be found in the show notes as well as on my Instagram page, so come say hi @rockstarado!

Thank you so much for listening and I hope you’ll join me next week as we kick off our special series of interviews for Mental Health Awareness Month all throughout May. Be sure to subscribe on your platform of choice so you don’t miss a single conversation!

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 Mike’s 5-Day Songwriting for Guitar Bootcamp
  • Why Mike doesn’t focus on his Emmy win, but rather his time working at the car wash
  • What it truly means to be a failure
  • Mike’s journey from being in a band to receiving a path-changing message on MySpace
  • The power of listening
  • The importance in asking for help
  • Mike’s journey into building courses to reach more songwriters
  • How to begin working with Mike & info on his new bootcamp!
  • The importance of who you surround yourself with
  • What part of Mike’s story did you resonate with the most?
    • Let us know in the comments!


  • Theme music brought to you by DC-based Indie/Pop band Sub-Radio
  • More podcast episodes can be found here
  • You can download a copy of the episode’s transcript here
  • Wanna work together?? Schedule your call here
  • Enter the 100th Episode Contest below!⬇️
  • Learn more about Mike and his resources here: www.songwritingforguitar.com
  • Follow Mike on IG HERE and HERE
  • Subscribe to Mike’s Songwriting For Guitar Podcast
  • RSVP to Mike’s FREE 5-Day Songwriting For Guitar Bootcamp HERE

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 suz@therockstaradvocate.com 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.

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