1) Consistency: When someone calls the person you’re trying to work with, do they say “ahh man, why they calling me!” or do they respectfully say, hold on I got to get this call. How do they treat other people, friends and family when you are around them? Don’t alone, listen to what someone says when you meet them, watch for consistency in their life with others and you’ll see right through them on how they will treat you in business and as friends. This process takes time. Also, everyone goes through phases in life. Sometimes you may meet someone in an inconsistent phase of their life. 6 months later they call you and are constantly calling you. This is a good sign. It’s not about judging but watching and always being open and attentive, being understanding and not burning bridges works wonders for connections too.
2) Reliability: Reliability is never seen on the first meeting. You can talk about a lot of plans and ideas. Some people live in ‘ideas’. However action is the only thing that counts. As with consistency, reliability is on a day-to-day basis. Set appointments, times to talk, meet or attend events. Watch for patterns of lateness, promptness, ‘unexpected issues reoccurring’, do they show up, do they call? Consistency and reliability go hand in hand. Relationships take time, effort and continual pursuit. If there isn’t a great common ground then the effort may not be worth the consistency and reliability of yourself or the other person for that matter. Also look to see if they are consistent in other areas of their lives. If someone hasn’t been consistent a few times, maybe its time to give them some space. If the relationship is important to you, call them back in a few months to touch base. It could be a season of inconsistency for them. There are many seasons of inconsistency in our lives. These can change at any moment. In the present situation, this lets you know that they are more of an acquaintance rather than a potential business partner. Never start business partnerships until they have established that they are reliable.
3) Integrity: One of the definitions of integrity is honesty. The word honesty these days seems pretty lame… However, the results of dishonesty are flat out appalling. Let’s paint a picture of how important honesty is. If you are building a house and you decide to use cheap cement to cut costs, decide to do poor quality job in building the foundation and don’t put forth a quality effort that house will crumble from the inside onto itself. This is the same thing that happens when surrounding yourself with dishonest, shady, inconsistent, unreliable, game playas. All the time and effort you put into building your music foundation and career will be destroyed from within itself. There are many record labels I don’t have to name that were great examples of this. What is the opposite of cheap, ego-centric, poor quality and laziness? Surround yourself with encouraging, passionate and motivated people who enjoy the learning and growing process with you. You’ll then have lifelong friends and potential business partners as you achieve your goals.
4) Value: What is the value of the person you are meeting? Are they a giver, a taker, a friend or mooch? Are they always broke asking for money, asking you to make beats or record them for free? Do they ask you to do something and then respect your time and give something back? Or are they asking you ‘to put them on’ and ‘give them their shot’ but when the time comes they have nothing to offer, are not prepared or just simply flake? Or do they come prepared, asking questions and on time? It is important to determine the giver, taker, friend or moocher as soon as possible. This can avoid much wasted time. Consistency, Reliability, Integrity and Value all integrate together to form the character and trustworthiness of the person you are considering doing business with, partnering with or working with creatively. Time never lies and will always reveal the truth of your relationships.
5) Results: The last and most obvious is the results in someone’s life. This is the easiest to detect. I hear from at least 10-20 or more people a week telling me about how they run a record label. Before I can determine if I can help them, I first ask: How many artists do you have, how long does it take to put out a record, how many units did your last release sell, do you do production, mixing and mastering in house or is it outsourced? Often, I get the response “Well, I don’t have a label yet but I’m in the process of starting it”. OK, now we can get somewhere!
What are the results in their life? What does their music sound like? Does what they tell you about their business and music match up with what you see currently or is it where they are heading? This is SO important! I have seen so many people miss opportunities because they misrepresented themselves. The change that must be made is not to tell people where you are going but to tell them where you are currently, what you need help with NOW FIRST. Then the doors of what you need and where you are going can be established.