- They're intentional in their personal life and business.
- They have specific goals AND take consistent actions working towards those goals
- They let opportunity and possibility drive their decisions instead of fear and self-doubt.
- They're not afraid to show the world exactly who they are and are not.
- How Toby Lloyd transitioned from a full-time job in the film industry to a 6-figure home studio owner
- Using competitions to create awareness for your business
- Qualifying leads to make sure you're the best fit for the project
- Why you need to get leads first and then focus on growth
- The mindset of a good producer
- How to nurture long-term relationships with your clients
- Using flat-rate pricing to keep artists at ease in the studio
- The difference between a Kiwi accent and an Aussie accent
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[00:00:00] welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast. I'm your host Brian Hood, and I'm here with a, just a sexy bearded Kiwi staring right at you on the other screen right now, if you're watching on YouTube Mr. Toby Lloyd is joining us today from tiny triumph recordings.
before we get into his story and his and his business, that's amazing in a very isolated part of the world. I have to ask you something, Mr. Toby Lloyd. This is not planned, so I'm sorry in advance. If this catches you off guard first of all, say hi to every.
Hey, how's it going?
that's not an Australian accent.
That is a Kiwi accent. And I need you right now to set the record straight for audience. Just to, just to get a, kind of, a piece of your, of your brand of talking. What is the difference between a Kiwi and an Australian accent? Because I honestly can't tell and I need to know this, and this is an important thing for everybody to know.
Oh God. these vast differences, the word sucks. We, we say it like socks and Australian say it like six.
it's like about an, a boot. It's like the difference between Canadians and Americans. It's like one word, that's it.
Yeah. They, they sound a bit more read Nick than us.
Ooh, dang shots fired. No, that's great. I don't know if we've had Australians on [00:01:00] the podcast cause you guys are all like in the worst time zone for coming on American podcast. So it's like, it's like end of day for me and beginning of day for you, I know Kiwis more than anything, hate to be caught Australian.
And so I wanted to make sure we set the record straight here today. So the reason I wanted to bring Toby Lloyd on today is he's been part of our community for years, since, since we were the six figure home studio podcast, which for anyone who's new to the podcast, that was every episode from 150 and before. and he was one of my students and one of my, one of my early courses for the six-figure I'm studio called the profitable producer course, and he is built a hell of a career for himself.
and I really want to start at a certain point in your career until because we don't have time probably to go off over your entire career because you've actually been, how long have you been in just the, the audio industry and yet.
uh, I think about 17 years.
So 17 years is a lot to cover. So I want to cover a certain point.
And that was when you transitioned from basically doing movies, movie industry over to doing audio, which is what you do now. So for those who don't know Toby has, has worked on some big films doing like, pretty much all the hobbits mortal engines and some like small like cult classics, like what we do in the shadows, which is one of [00:02:00] my favorite movies uh, hunt for the wild Wilder people, which is another awesome Kiwi movie.
You were like a small cog in a very big machine doing these massive projects with huge budgets and working with big names. And then at some point you made the decision to transition into doing studio work, producing bands full-time in your, is it a home studio or do you have a commercial.
Yeah, it's kind of between those two things. We knocked down our garage and built like a proper recording studio, home studio, technically.
Cool. So let's talk about that time. When did you actually decide to make that transition? Because it probably wasn't like I quit all movies. I'm going to start recording bands. You were kind of like making the transition, but when did that transition start?
Actually, I ended up working on the highest grossing Chinese film of all time, which was this film called Wolf war two. So outside of China, no one knows a bit, but at the time it like knocks Dunkirk out of the box office. Like it grows like a billion dollars.
So it was like the avatar of China.
yeah, Yeah. exactly. It was kind of like a James Bond, like character, and then director at the time said window film gross is a billion dollars. I'm gonna fly back over and take you out to dinner. And [00:03:00] we're like, yeah, sure, good on you mate. And sure enough, it gross a billion dollars and it was, it was always crazy.
But um, during that time I got a really bad case of pneumonia and I didn't know what it was at the time, but I almost died. Like it was, it was very severe. And I realized that I was just pushing myself So, hard with it working in like these crazy hours in the films. And the film industry, and it just wasn't good for my health.
And I wasn't really seeing my kids that much cause the hours there are just insane, you know, constant back-to-back 100 hour weeks. So when I was working on this film called mortal engines I was working with some very big like American mixes. some of the cats that have worked on like pirates of the Caribbean and Titanic and drastic park and all this stuff.
And I see to them that I had this window that I could potentially get out to. And, you know, if I, if I leaped out their window, then I'd actually be able to spend a lot more time with my kids. But if I stayed here, I'll be working on avatar two, I'll be working on the Beatles documentary, all these really cool projects.
And so every single one of these American mixes, you know, these, gods of American mixing, I'd say like, what would you do in my position? And every single one said, get out, [00:04:00] you know, they were all like, if they had the chance to go back again and if they felt like they could have done something else, they would have to got out because you don't get those years back, kids are on a young ones.
And so if you were. Working on films a hundred hour weeks, you know, a hundred and twenty, a hundred and thirty, a hundred forty hour weeks. you, you just missed so much precious time of them growing out. So, so that was really the catalyst. But also I never really belonged in the film industry.
I was, you know, driving to and from work, listening to audio podcasts, as soon as I'd finish work in my film day, I'd go into the studio and start producing artists. So music was almost always the thing that you know, got me out of bed each morning and was my, my reason for breathing really,
what year was that actually, do you remember the year that, that, that kind of transitions started with.
that was a 2018.
Okay, so 2018. So that was like four or so years ago. So that was, you would actually just had a kid born around that time then. you were stuck in the position that a lot of people are stuck in, which is like the golden handcuffs world. You were probably making pretty good money doing these big, big films.
And I think anyone listening right now that has a day job right now paying you well, But you [00:05:00] hate it. Not saying you hated it. Tell me, I'm not saying that you hated that job, but it was definitely like sucking your soul away, taking away from your family, taking away from like these golden years that you never get back with your kids.
Because like, this is the time that they're like core memories are shaped. And, you had this thing that you needed to break away from. And even the people you're looking to, they were like your biggest, most influential, like the people who are like in game, they were like, Toby, you got to get the hell out.
This is, this is not what you want, man. you gotta focus on your family. So motivation understood. Like someone, people can probably resonate with that story right now, whether you come from a corporate background or you're coming from some other kind of thing where you're being fed gigs that you hate and this bill paying work and you wanna move to more of a passionate oriented thing.
So let's talk about that transition. You have tiny triumph recordings, which is your recording studio slash home studio. You it's very pro it's not like just a regular little home studio setup.
Like, what I got started with. Now you're 20 18 and you're like, I'm going to be producing bands. Full-time now, how long did it take to get the ball rolling with that? Did you already have some traction going from the past? Like how did you like plant that flag in the ground? Say, okay, this is my full-time gig.
Now I'm going to replace [00:06:00] all my movie income or as much of it as humanly possible with producing bands.
I did a soft exit. So basically I left the film. Because I got this job running a recording studio at a university campus. So it was basically the, it's the biggest studio in the country. Like it's got two massive mixing consoles. The room is giant. It's, it's the best studio in the country, really.
And so I knew if I took that job, then I'd be earning like a decent salary. I'd be being introduced to all these bands and artists. And the hours would be basically nine to five. So I could do basically a soft transition into it, spend a couple of years playing around on, you know, nice fancy consoles and, recording amazing pans and then step out to producing.
So I gave myself two years for that and I ended up quitting that after about a year and a half because my producing work was just going through the roof. And I literally just couldn't, I couldn't manage both things.
That's awesome. So you took kind of a filler job. I imagine it didn't probably pay as well as the big movie stuff, but it was because you could do the nine to five thing. You had a steady baseline of income, paid the bills, allowed you to build your freelance stuff on the [00:07:00] side while you still supported your family.
Cause again, at that point you had three kids let's talk about the business you have now, which is doing incredibly well. I don't know if you want to talk numbers or not, but we always talk numbers on the studio.
You don't have to, but I imagine you are approaching at least the equivalent of six figures. I don't know what, what sort of like a monopoly money you have down in New Zealand, but, um, but, it's a great business and, I want to talk about some of the things you have set up in place to bring in clients for yourself, because you're doing a few cool things to generate awareness for tiny triumph that I have not seen other studios doing or many freelancers in general. and it's not one of the things that we preach about on this podcast a lot, which is like niching down.
I don't think you really have planted the flag in any specific niche or genre. Have you, are some of the things you're doing to grow your awareness or build your following as a studio?
One of the things that was very clear to me um, when I really started focusing on my business was that no one in my country at least runs the studio or production business, like a business, you know, it's all basically just freelance work.
People just scrapping over, like [00:08:00] trying to get clients and stuff like that. And I wanted to actually run a business, business. And so we've been creating, lots of resources that we can give out to people.
But every single thing that we do as a tool of branding is really at the core of who I am. So I one of my good friends who I've been producing records for years, he's won Emmy award for some of his like advertising work and yeah, a real genius when it comes to branding. And so we really dove deep into what my studio was going to be, what my business was going to be.
And it really comes down to just being genuine. It comes down to being like a really like fostering, a safe space for the music community. Cause that's something that is notorious in the music industry is really just not having safe spaces for people. So the whole idea was to really run a business on kindness and compassion and you know, recording music is an incredibly vulnerable thing.
If you're an artist and you're coming into a studio, that's terrifying for a lot of people, releasing music is terrifying for a lot of people. So the whole goal of it was to really create this safe. Or an artist can come into the studio with me and that they know that they can um, tell me how they feel.
They [00:09:00] know that we can have this open communication that if they're not happy about something, then I'm going to help them with it. so the whole business model based on kindness, compassion, and really creating safe spaces. So a lot of the resources that I make to give out to people it works because people know that it's coming from a genuine place.
It's not this kind of like cheesy sales tactic thing of like, you know, I've just, yeah, you see that a lot with producers on Instagram, they'll be like, here's like five compression techniques. So like here's five EKU tricks and that's not what I do. I don't really want to do that kind of stuff. To me, it's all about you know, handing out resources and giving things to people that actually help their life or make them think, you know, that's basically, it it's really just marketing those um, those aspects of my business to our target market. So, so I don't, I haven't niched down. But in a way I kind of have, because I'm only working with the people that actually resonate with that philosophy.
there's a lot of metal bands. I know you've done metal bands in your time. I wouldn't know what to do with that. You know? So when metal bands come to me, I'm like, I'm not your guy, you know, that I'm not the person [00:10:00] for that. I think because of the branding that I that I do, most of the work that comes in is a lot of the time female, you know, it's a lot of like female solo artists that they see that we're fostering the safe space and that they can actually come in and not have this kind of like typical kind of like Patriarchy kind of studio where it's like, this is the way things have gotta be done because you know, we've always seen producers that work like that, where it's like, no, this is how you play your guitar.
this is how you play your
I was that person. So I totally understand. I was the antithesis of a safe space in the studio. I was like, you're going to do it this way. And if I would've known what you know, now, like back when I was doing full production, like in 20 14, 20 15, I'd be a lot further on than I am right now. So let's talk about some of these things that you're doing to generate awareness for yourself.
Specifically your, you have this things that you call ultimate music, production, competitions. This is something I've not seen studios do before, but it seems to be something that's working well for you. Can you talk about.
Yeah. So basically two years ago, when the first lockdown in New Zealand hit I saw like a really kind of bad mental health crisis that was happening in the music [00:11:00] community. And so I was trying to think of ways that I could give back to the community. And one of them was an idea of just basically running a competition where the winner gets like a full recording package.
how it started out actually was cause I had two free days of recording time and this top studio in the country. And so I was gonna, I was gonna basically just give it to one of the bands that I was working with. And then I was like, well actually, why don't I give it to someone that I'm not working with?
What am I trying, you know, reach out to the audience and see if there's anyone that, you know, really deserves it. You know, someone that couldn't have otherwise afforded that opportunity. And so I reached out to a couple of my friends that run a um, kind of music video production company, and asked if they wanted to be involved, asked my mastering engineer up in Oakland, if he wanted to be involved and yes, we this competition where basically anyone, they didn't have to be established bands or artists, they could just be someone that's just doing it as a hobby. They can just literally send in demos. It could be like an iPhone demo or whatever. And we were basically judging on what's the best song.
Like what's the best song that we can hear. It didn't have to be anything flash out. It's just what [00:12:00] song resonated with us the most. And we got such a great response after that. First one, we were only going to do one. then this year we saw just like, it was even like the mental health crisis in Wellington and New Zealand was even worse.
It was so bad that we thought, oh, like, let's, let's do something about this and try and like give back to our community again, because it really did kind of create something really exciting last time. And this time we got one of the radio stations, one of the local radio stations involved to see if they want it to be part of it.
So now it's going to premier, like on, on, you know, a New Zealand radio station and there's going to be like interviews and, you know, they'll do like a live performance of the song and all this kind of stuff. So it was creating the sense of hype and this excitement that, yeah, I haven't seen really any other.
Dude before. I mean, I'm sure I'm sure it has happened, but we really, again, it was a genuine thing. It was trying to give back. It wasn't like some sleazy marketing technique and of course it helps the business. It generates, brand awareness and, and all that kind of stuff of course.
but really the primary goal was to actually make someone's dream come true. And that happened last time, you know, the first person who won, she rung me in tears when [00:13:00] she got the masters back. Cause she was like, she was just, so there was no way that she could have afforded that head head.
She just kind of paid it off her own back. Cause it was such an expensive package. It was like $10,000 worth of stuff, you know? So to have her ringing up and tears just being like, I'm just so grateful. yeah, we thought it was about.
time that we did it again. Who knows if we'll do another one?
I don't know. Cause it is a lot of work. I've got like, you know, two, 300 demos that I have to listen to her. but it is nice, you know, w when you have those moments of people bringing up crying and tears, you know, happy tears, of course it makes it a.
this is a super power. And also uh, weakness of mine is I am very good at spotting opportunities. And so when, when you tell me all this, I'm thinking through like, oh man, there's like so many different applications of this, like this there's like, I don't want to say slimy side of Brian comes out, but the very opportunistic side of Brian comes out and it is very important to point something out.
It doesn't have to just benefit someone else and it doesn't have to just benefit you. There are things you can't do in this world that create a win, win, win scenario, win for you, a win for the other person and a win for maybe other people as well. Like the audience who now can hear this [00:14:00] amazingly produced well-produced song and see the music video produced for this girl that could have otherwise not had this thing created by her.
all this. Anyone listening right now should be able to, to replicate this no matter what industry you're in, whether you're in photography, videography graphic design, whether you're another audio engineer, a mastering engineer, Toby essentially did this and here's the three-step formula for this.
I wrote it down, build a team. He built a team of people number to, create some sort of incredible outcome. He built a dream outcome, some sort of package that is like the dream for his ideal client. And then he created a competition to drive awareness.
And so he's getting hundreds of leads from this. Now, again, slimy, Brian looks at it like dollars and leads and whatever, but like again, Toby is a person who looks at it from the lens of like altruism. Like he's giving back to the community, he's helping with mental health crisis. So it's always a better person to me, but you can still take both of our approaches.
the perfect approach, which is like part empathy, part left brain analytics and numbers and leads and create some sort of thing in your own business. Because like, this is actually going back to an [00:15:00] episode that me and mark talked about creating an irresistible, offer something that's so good.
People feel stupid saying no to it. This is one of those things that is an irresistible offer. This is a thing that. People have an opportunity to get $10,000 of free work from Toby and the team. And the thing that he, the package that he's built here, and all they have to do is submit a demo or whatever.
Like that's kind of process that you put them through. They put their name and email and maybe answer a few questions, put a demo of whatever work they have and then they're submitted. Now you have to go through those and pick the winner out. it is a bit of work on your end, but you're now getting free radio play getting airplay for this is promoting you and your work.
And, I don't know how many people that are out there that spend so much time working with clients and that work never sees the light of day because they haven't taken the time to do the work that Toby has to put something cool like this together. So any other thoughts or cool things that you need to talk about related to the competitions before I move on from this?
Because this is point worth staying on.
I mean, it is altruistic. It is, it is to give back, but at the same time, as part of, you know, as part of them submitting the demo, they've also got to like all of the sponsors social media pages. So, you know, in, [00:16:00] in the past two weeks, my Instagram following has probably gone up by like 200 people or something like 250 people, same with my Facebook page.
And so, yeah, I've got to tick all those boxes. I've got to say, I've got to share the competition. So again, it's, it's giving brand recognition, it's, on the Instagram stories. So there's been, you know, probably about three or 400 people in New Zealand sharing this competition around all their circles.
So it is altruistic and it is coming from a genuine place, but of course it's, it's helping the business and it's helping brand recognition, you know, just to create a competition, that's purely altruistic, doesn't make a lot of sense. So when I am going through and doing all those hundreds of demos, that goes, okay, there's, there's something that I am getting out of this as well.
We're marketing this. So this is where he is adding value to people, but also reaping a benefit. And like, if all you want to be is altruistic, like it's called a hobby or foundation, or like if there's no income to be gained from it, then it's not a business. So if we're, if we're actually going to have a business, you can't have a business that also helps people, but you have to have some sort of model around it.
That makes sense for everybody where it's a, win-win when you can't [00:17:00] take more value than you add, or else you have something that's sucking resources away from this earth, but you also can't give more than you completely give more than you take. You need two things that one plus one equals three, not one plus one equals two.
And that's kind of the thing that I think you've put together here with that. Let's move on to something else that you've been doing. That's a relatively new addition to your business, and you've been putting articles out on medium.com, which is kind of like a, how would you explain medium.com to people who don't know what that is actually.
not really traditionally just like a blog platform. It's really gives people a chance to dive deep and get their creative thoughts out into the world. It seems like a great platform for people sharing ideas and concepts. And so I toyed with this idea for a while.
Like there's one of our local newspapers, you can kind of submit news articles or, you know, things for people to read about, you know, the arts or whatever. But then I came across medium. I was like, well, this is a great, great way to get a lot of these thoughts that I've had out into the world because.
not really a gain about brand recognition. I mean, of course it helps, but it's, it's kind of like a creative outlet for me as a business owner, as an, as an artist to really [00:18:00] talk about the music industry You know, the first article I wrote was about. fostering safe spaces and being vulnerable in the studio.
was able to turn to my artistic side and really kind of neuritis story about this artist that came to my studio and just broke down in tears. And that was a true story. Because as she walked in, it was like, she knew this was a safe space. She could be vulnerable. She'd been holding up holding in all these emotions.
And then finally, when she stepped in and was like, oh, this is a safe space. I can you know, I can be vulnerable. And that's an important part of the music making process is being vulnerable and allowing yourself to like, feel what you're actually feeling. So this was a great place for me to be able to talk about that.
And again, like this is targeted towards my target demographic as well. You know, there's, there's a lot of artists that I work with. That really resonate with the idea of being able to be in a safe space, be in a studio where they can feel their emotions as opposed to some kind of sleazy business model where they come in, not paying by the hour.
And they just like feeling, you know, they're seeing the clock ticking, they're seeing their money taken away. My whole business isn't about their, my business is about getting the best out of people. And when you get the best out of people then they go on and tell their friends, they tell their other [00:19:00] musician mates, they tell the whole community about, this business that's really fostering these environments.
So it was a, it was, it was an angle on that. It was a, it was a way to get the message out there of what we're trying to do with our business, but also act as a creative outlet for me, with all these thoughts going on inside my brain to really be able to like, be vocal about the things that are.
just to kind of go back to what you said earlier in the interview where you're talking about talking really in depth with your friend, who's a, like a branding expert, or who has a lot of great frameworks around branding, and you've decided that your, your branding is around don't want to say the wrong words here, but like authenticity.
was the other words you set around? Like your branding? What do you want to be thought of? Like, and for anyone who's not, who's not really fun along here. Like everyone has a brand of some sort and your brand is essentially what people think of you when you're not around. And so like, Toby's put actually a lot of thought into this.
And so like, what are the thoughts you want people to think of you when you're not around or when they think of your business? That was vulnerability, safe space. What else was it?
Kindness, compassion, honesty yeah, and integrity. I, I wanted people to [00:20:00] really think of my business as, as something that that is genuine. And so it's so genuine that when artists set, I've never worked with, they've seen me in demos. They want to work with me.
If I don't resonate with the demo, I'm not going to work with the. You know, I, I probably say no to more artists than I say Yes. to, because that authenticity is really, really important to me. I don't want to be the one that just takes all the work. In fact, have a middle band reached out to me. I'll use that example again, if a middle band reached out to me And, I had nothing on my calendar, I'm still gonna say no.
You know, I, I would rather give that off to one of my other producer mates who actually work in middle because that's really important to me as well, fostering that community where, where if a project lands on my lap and it doesn't resonate with me rather than just saying, no, I'm going to say, well, here's my mate, James, his number, his Lee's number.
then vice versa when they get landed a project that doesn't resonate with them, they're going to pass it off to me. So it's kind of fostering that community. And, and I'm really big on that kind of community feel, especially within the businesses themselves. I, I think that's how we grow as an industry is rather than trying to take all the work rather than trying to have like a.
A [00:21:00] scarcity mindset is have that abundance mindset really, you know, try and give work out to other people. you know, my, my business is successful enough that I really don't have to sweet turning down jobs, because I know that if I turned down a job for a project that isn't right for me and I'm genuine about it, then they're going to at least have a really good experience with it.
Whereas if they come in and the job's not right for me, then they're probably going to go away with an experience that wasn't good. So it helps my brand by actually turning down.
Yes. And, and the other thing, and I actually talked about this on my interview with, James Martin back on episode 204, where James Martin had like a thousand court requests coming in per year for his business. And so he has the luxury of turning down most of those.
I don't imagine that most freelancers have a thousand court requests coming in. You included tell me, but you probably have enough inquiries coming into your inbox to where you don't have to say yes to every damn project. And it comes down to all of the work. You're putting it up front, doing something like this competition, doing things like putting these medium blog articles up there to just kind of spread your message.
[00:22:00] in those articles actually, Do two things. One is they create awareness because people can stumble across those people, share those with other people, but they also build trust with people because you're standing for something you're putting, you're putting your flag in the ground and say like, this is who I am.
And people either resonate with that at a very deep level. And which is really important in creative industries where there is like, there is some sort of emotional exchange happening, not just monetary, but emotional exchange that happens in creative freelance industry that, that you have to have some sort of connection on the internet before they're ever going to put their dollars in your, in your bank account and have that connection in person which in the studio world everything's done in person or a lot of us don't.
But it also does a really good job of turning away with people that are not a good fit. People are like, oh, emotions are stupid. And I don't want to be around a guy like that. Who meditates before he gets on podcasts? we got on here. Like I was just meditating before this and like, oh my bad, tell me, I'll bring my level down to you.
Cause you were like super Zen and I'm like, I'm always like high energy. but yeah, so these, these medium articles that [00:23:00] allow those two things is building trust and also weeding away people that you maybe don't want into your world. So let's talk about the trust building element just a little bit more.
Cause I think you do a couple of things along with that. One is like the copywriting on your website. You took time to write copy. That means something. Drawing in the people you want weeding out the people that you don't want. And so you actually have on your website, it says Toby Lloyd only records, mixes and produces artists who dream of having a world-class sounding music.
and so like you're speaking to artists who have that desire that don't want to, they don't maybe have the budget for a massive studio, but they really want to work with somebody who has. It really good sound. And actually I got to go back to say another thing that builds trust and really works for Toby is he's actually good at what he does.
I know a lot of freelancers who are struggling right now with getting clients, building trust, who might have the right words on their website. They may, that might be blogging on medium. They might be doing these competitions that Toby talked about today, and yet people still aren't hiring them is because they're bad at what they do.
So at the very core of it, before we start worrying about it takes more [00:24:00] than passion, which is on the wall behind me. Before you start worrying about this business stuff, make sure you're good at what you do. That's like table stakes. You have to be good at what you do first. And Toby is great at what he does, but talk about some of the other things you do on your website, or maybe some other areas in your business to build trust with people.
So that by the time it comes to actually sell someone to talk about money or pricing or whatever, they're already like, Toby's our guy. I don't have to go anywhere else. I know.
of the things that I've done recently actually is and I, I haven't seen many other studios do this, actually. I haven't seen any other studios do this, but I'm sure they do. But I actually created a link tree for my Instagram profile. That's what artists do, but I haven't seen many studios do that.
And so I created a link tree in my Instagram bio. And so when they click that, takes you to the different articles. It takes you to, I've been on a bunch of different podcasts on music production on, you know, just my journey to where I am now. I almost wanted to saturate the internet with, with who I am and what my businesses.
So then when people were looking up like who's tiny triumph recordings, it's not just that typical, recording studio set up where it's like, there's hardly any information. It's like, okay, there's some pictures of [00:25:00] like pretty gear and that's about it. I wanted it to be almost like abundance of like who I am, what I'm doing, what I'm trying to achieve, really to try and weed out.
Like you say, weed out. Those people that don't know. My motto and that's with my website where I say, I only want to work with people who dream of, standing next to the giants and having world-class production, because I don't want to work with the person that just wants to jump in there and record 10 songs in a day.
That's not who I'm trying to target. I want every single artist that I work with to get to the age of 65 and look back and be proud of every single song we ever did together. So, you know, that, that kind of still was through that kind of link tree idea of like, here's all these interviews, here's me on TV, He has all these different avenues of, of who I am and what I do as a business. So then they can actually do their research. They can actually, you know, go through and listen to my podcast, episodes that I've been on and find out a bit about me before they reach out to me. Because I mean one I'm staying top of mind, you know, it's, it's all these different avenues.
I'm constantly posting on my Instagram stories to stay top of mind, but two, they can work out if I'm the right person, because, you know, if I'm not the right person [00:26:00] for what they're trying to achieve, then I don't really want to be working with them. I only want to work with the people that, you know, I am the right fit that they do have a resignation, you know, I'm, I'm pretty, straight-edge, you know, I don't really drink alcohol and, you know, like, like I said before, I made a tight, you know, I try and get out and exercise as much as I can.
Because long gone are the days where you can just get high on cocaine and record records, you know, like bands these days don't have the, have the luxury to, to just get drunk in the studio and actually fools. So I'm really, I don't want those kinds of artists that way inclined, I don't want the people that are coming in and, you know, sniffing drugs off one of my vintage since I only want the people that are really taking their art seriously, Sure. They can do that when they're writing the song. That's fine. But when they're coming into my studio, I want the people that have really focused and really driven and career driven, because one of the worst things you can do as a business owner, Is spend a month on a project that no one knows about, and this is what I think a lot of the community does wrong as well, with that, just saying yes to anything.
Sure. They're building up their portfolio, but that's a whole lot of time that they're spending on a project that, you know, [00:27:00] maybe the band's mum and dad are going to hear. I only really want to work with those artists they are really trying to reach a wide audience if I work on a record for a month, then it reaches, you know, a hundred thousand people, then that's a hundred thousand people that, that brand can now work towards, targeting too, or just, you know, social proof.
Whereas if you work on a record that no one hears there's no social proof about that.
So I'm looking at your social media and your link tree and all that stuff. Quick side note. Do you ever get any criticism from people like pushback on things you say or do on social media? Like anything that would make you like not want to post are people friendly to you? Like what's your experienced on social media with the content you create or on, on medium or anywhere you put out content, which I know you said literally, you said you hate the word content.
So I don't know what else to hell to use, but whatever.
Resources, I guess maybe, I
what's the response been from people or you get criticism from.
Nah, it's been, it's been pretty much all absolutely amazing because again, everything that I release there it's to help people it's to inspire people. You know what, one of the resources that I created was [00:28:00] this thing I called, like the independent artist release resource or the ultimate, I don't know, but it was basically um, whole bunch of artists were emailing me questions like, oh, what do I do now that we've got a song mastered at Watson ISR C code what's the next step?
How do I get onto DRM, to release my song through a distributor or all these things. And I got so tired of writing the same emails over and over again that I started saving them as email templates. And then after a while, I was like, I should just create a document. And now with, with that document, that has all of these answers of what to do next.
Here's the checklist for three months out before you release your song.
So is this the thing that's on your website right now? That's a download the tiny triumph recording, free artists, release resources that the, is that the thing you're using to build your mailing list now?
Yup, exactly. that was really designed um, because people were asking me the same question over and over again, and then I thought, well, instead of giving this out to just The artist that I'm working with, I'll just give it out to everyone, anyone that wants it. And so, because the resources that are create a really, they're not sleazy, it's not me creating resources just for the sake of it.
It's like, what will people actually find [00:29:00] useful? And so it usually all of my resources that I create, it usually things that I'm inspired by from the artists that I'm working with and it's like, oh, people could use this. So, that last article that I wrote about vulnerability, it was really stemmed on so many conversations that I was having with artists over coffee, because coffee is, you know, life in the studio, you know, before I start any day with the artists, we always get into the studio, we sit down, we'd drink a coffee for half an hour and just talk.
And that's an incredible part of the process. So all of those resources are really created from a place. Like a genuine place. And I literally, the only, kickback I've ever had from something was that article that I posted last week which was titled oh God, my brain's Ivan and my coffee this morning.
So my brain's failing me now.
the, therapy of music.
the therapy of music.
production. There you go. And So someone just posted. It's just the therapy of music full stop. You don't need to go on about production. And I was like, well, actually this is, you know, this is my story about creating a safe space where artists can come in to produce music and actually have an environment where they can treat it like therapy.
They [00:30:00] come in, we drink coffee, we talk about their, you know, what's been going on in their life. We talk about the song that they're creating, trying to be able to get them back to the point of conception. it's not me trying to be a salesman. As far as music production, it's really the therapy of music production.
And he was like, oh, okay. I actually read the article as opposed to just the headline and now I get it. So I think any, anyone that actually takes time to look at this content or these resources or whatever I think they realize that is coming from a genuine place. So I haven't had really any kickback at all.
So kind of shifting gears here, the thing, this is a topic that's worth discussing because you talk about having a safe space for people. Talk about setting a nice, safe environment. Good vibes. Good stuff, positive stuff.
But at some point you have to bring up money and pricing. How do you approach that conversation with your potential clients?
When the money stuff comes up, that could cause tension in an otherwise.
Yeah. And so basically I'm with every artist that reaches out, wanting to work with me I'll either give them a phone call or I'll go and have a coffee with them, or invite them around to the studio. I'll discuss about the project, try and [00:31:00] figure out what their vision is, try and really get to the bottom of what they're trying to achieve.
And with that, I'll usually either just tell them there. And then I like, okay, it's probably going to be about this much or I'll go away and think of it and then send them a proposal. And so with the proposal that I seen them at the very bottom. It actually has a whole bunch of resources as well, that they can then click on to get further value out of it.
But yeah, so I basically just say, this is what the price is. We'd love to work with you you can't afford that. That's totally fine. Here's some other people that I can refer you on to that will be cheaper. You might not get the same quality, you know, I mean, it's, sometimes it can be a bit hit and miss, but you know, reach out to these people because you know, they, they might be better.
Price range. But if you are wanting to have that kind of world-class production sound, then this is how much it's gonna cost. And I always, you know, take a deposit 50% before we start the project 50% before I start mixing the project. And I'm just blunt with it. Cause I'm like, I never want money to get in the way of the art. So this is just what it is. And if you're happy to jump on board, awesome. If you're not then really no worry whatsoever. So I'm, I'm, I'm really open with it. It's taken me a long time to get to that point. [00:32:00] I used to scoot around the money conversation, but I learned the hard way that you've just got to talk about it.
You've just got to like, just be up front and be like, well, this is how much it is. But one thing that I, that I think I Do that really helps kind of put across just how much value they're getting out of it is in my proposal. I actually have a breakdown of the costs. So I have, this is how much it takes to record, you know, an average vocal track for a pop song, you know, with, six to 10 hours, with all the backing vocals and all that kind of stuff.
This is how much time it takes to record drums and do drum editing. And so I actually break down the cost to show them that any given song that I work on is going to be about 30 to 40 hours worth of work. So once they see that, and then they see the price, they go, oh, wow, this is actually pretty affordable.
When you consider how much time he's actually putting into it. So I think that's a much better response than actually just being like here's how much.
Do you ever have people that, push back and say like, oh, I don't think it would take this long to do this thing. Cause that's the danger I see when freelancers give out line item, you know, proposals for pricing that the person that they're giving pricing to feels like [00:33:00] they know better than you do as the professional.
So do you ever get that? And if so, how do you handle that?
Not really. I mean, I have a few people that try and say, oh, it's, you know, it's not going to take, you know, sounding out and take us one day to do this full song. And I basically come back and say like, look, that's cool. If you want to find someone that's just going to charge by the day or whatever, you can go and find them.
That's cool. But this is, I do this every single day, you know, basically 365 days a year almost. And I know how long things take and you can do things shorter, but if you want it to get like this, you know, you referenced Kings of Leon as an artist, you want to sound like, do you think they did, cut corners and tried to do everything fast?
And like, no, like good things take time. And so I work really hard in sculpting that sound as, as best as I possibly can. You know? My, my brand goes out on every single song I produced that?
it needs to sound world-class quality. So if you want to work with me And get that sound that I've been achieving, this is how long it takes.
If you wanna cut corners, then that's totally.
And that's a really important concept for anyone listening right now that when someone comes to you with a budget that's smaller than what you typically charge, you kind of have two options at [00:34:00] that point. One is you actually have three options. I think I might make up a fourth. Who knows, but option one is you say, I'm so sorry.
That's just not enough. Here's a few other options. And that's kind of the, the route that Toby seems to take here. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but it seems to be that the route option number two is. I can do it and I'll drop my fee, but still put in as much work and effort in order to make sure the quality is the, where I want it.
Option three. And this is the one that a lot of people tend to do is I guess I will work with that budget, but I'm going to have to make it an inferior product. And that's the one that I think is the death trap for so many people, because you need to pay your bills. I understand that client comes in and this is the first court request you've had this week or this month, or whatever is bad for you.
And the budget's lower than what you want. but you gotta have, you gotta pay the bills. So you just start making sacrifices and, and it hurts the quality of your end product, which means less and less people or fewer people are going to come into you for the next project. Because now what they're hearing, coming from your business is not good.
And so Toby has, put a high bar on everything that comes out from his [00:35:00] studio. And if someone hires him, they're going to get this quality. And in order to get the quality that they come to him for, he can't drop the price for you. I'm sorry. There's other people that will do it for cheaper, but if you want Toby Lloyd.
you expect a certain bar and it's going to come with this cost. And so people have to stand by that unless they want to, again, you, you're more than welcome to bring your price down and have the same quality, but do not hurt quality just to accept that lower price because that's again, that's the downward spiral for freelancers.
So really quick, what's the story behind the name? Cause I feel like tiny triumph tiny seems to be a bad thing in most cases. So why would you use that in your, in your business name? Any, any, any thoughts here?
honestly, we, we went through so many different names, me and my branding guy before finally I sent him this and he was like, yep, that's the one. the reason for is one, my studio is small, you know, it's, a pretty like humble little studio environment, even though it, it produces what I needed to produce.
It's still very small to New Zealand is quite non for the modesty. we are quite different to the average American[00:36:00] and the way that we communicate and modesty is like quite an important part of that. So, you know, I wanted it to be like a humble kind of a brand and triumph being triumphant.
I want every single artist that I worked with to succeed, I want them to go out there and achieve great things. but. probably the more important point for most New Zealand artists is that the word tiny triumph actually comes from one of the most kind of famous music and songs. It's not famous anywhere up outside of New Zealand in Australia, but it's a bank or Shihad and they got this song called home again.
And it's basically the liners. It's been a day of tiny triumphs. there was something that always as a teenager really resonated to me about that. Like, cause that is a very key, we idea it's like, it's about the small wins. It's not about these like, you know, achieving massive glory. It's like the small wins are more important then those big wins.
So really when I stumbled along that, and I'm like, well, it's got that recognition because people will hear the words, but they won't necessarily click to actually what it's from. And because it sums up perfectly what my businesses
I mean, I get,
I get it now I get it. If it were an American version of your [00:37:00] studio would be like massive triumph or something. Cause we always have to be bigger and better, and
the best of everything, the biggest triumph on this earth. So I get that. So let's, let's, let's shift back into the actual conversation we were having.
You mentioned um, other studios might have daily rates or whatever does that implying that you do flat rates for your work? How do you do pricing for your.
Yeah, I do flat rates. I would rather rather an artists be able to come into the studio and feel like they can sit here and talk to me for half an hour, an hour before we kick off, I think in order to get greatness out of people, I think I like having that, that ability to take longer breaks if we need to, you know, for if an artist is feeling anxious, I can be like, just go for a walk around the neighborhood for like 45 minutes and then come back.
If they are in a traditional studio environment, they're not going to want to do that because it's so expensive too, because I don't want to have to talk about money once the project starts, if you're doing a day rate and then we need more time, then it's like, okay, well this is going to cost more money.
I would rather say, this is the price and this is how much it's going to be. And sometimes projects kind of blow over a little bit. it's a project rate, but it's based on a certain amount of days anyway. So it kind of is like a day [00:38:00] rate, but it's just like, this is how much it's gonna cost. And then if it goes past that time, then we talk about money.
But generally a lot of the time, if it's just an extra half a day or something, I'll just bite the cost and to make the artists happy. And a lot of the time it's less time than that. So it kind of evens itself out. But again, I just don't like talking about money. I'd rather just talk about it up front being like, this is how much it cost and then we never have to have that conversation again.
that's the great thing
Yeah, that was kind of the same way I handled. It was 50% actually I did 40% because mentally I always hated getting half my money up front because then I felt like I wasn't getting much when I was actually doing the work. So it was like this weird mental trick I did was 40% upfront, but in the 60% was due the day they came into the studio for me.
And that way the money was out of, out of the way we could wipe our hands clean and just focus on the end product for the rest of the time together and not be stressed about money or late payments or God. The worst thing is like doing a payment plan with somebody and then having to deal with that whole thing of chasing down payments and stuff.
That's why I'm always against payment plans as a freelancer. If you can all [00:39:00] add all, help it. but let's move on to, I guess I'll come to the final thing here. And that is the actual experience in the studio with you. you seem like a very intentional guy. You do a lot of intentional things to build that, culture and, vibe of creativity safe space. You've you've said a few times, like talk through some of the things that you've done just maintain a really good environment for the client.
And also this is probably worth, explaining a bit on, is like processes around maintaining creativity as you're working with clients. Cause that can be a thing that after a long time of doing a creative task for, you know, you said 365 days a year, it can become a slog, no matter how much you love working in your clients, it can become a slog and that creativity meter starts to fall.
How do you, how do you balance all of it? Tell because you got a good flow of clients. you're trying to keep a safe, nice space for people. Musicians are just inherently, very emotional beings. And so how do you balance these things inside your.
Yeah. So there's, so there's a couple of things on that. I think um, one, like you kinda mentioned earlier as being really good at your.
craft, to me having [00:40:00] all the technical aspects so dialed in that you just don't have to think about It So all you have to focus on is creativity.
So I don't have technical problems in my studio. If I am, I'm fixing them while I'm chatting to the artists about, a gig they saw the other night. The same when I'm, you know, in a big studio, because one thing I haven't mentioned actually is that I work with the mothership model.
So I, I produce artists from here, but when we were going to record full band stuff, I'll hire out studios around town, go there and then come back to my studio for the overdubs.
It was just for anyone who has not been following the podcast long enough. If you're in the audio space, it's just a much more economically feasible way than having a big, expensive recording studio. Instead, you have a pretty, affordable home studio space. You built out, probably don't have a big overhead for it other than your living expenses in your actual home.
Cause it's building your backyard. And then you go out to these big studios to rent it out on a day rate and then bring it all back to the studio to do the big stuff. So you do drums and maybe some like mixing of these big studios. And, but yeah, it's a very economical way. Instead of having this big space with a lot of overhead that you have to pay the bills every month, whether or not a client's in there, it just adds some variability so that if [00:41:00] you don't have a lot of gigs, you don't have this looming expense over your studio or that you have to pay no matter what.
that model works really, really well for my business, but also because I've spent so many years in commercial studios, like the teen quest speaks of it just don't get in the way. I know how to get things working. I know how to get things down and really good. And so when you're an artist and you're walking up into a vocal booth and th this is probably something you're not going to like The having really high quality gear. It means that when they stand in the vocal booth, they put the headphones on and they sound amazing that inspires them to get better performances. there is a tipping point of focusing too much on gear, obviously, but when you've got really, really great quality gear, that's something that doesn't get in the way of the creativity.
It's something that enhances the creativity. So any vocalists that comes into my studio and they stand there with my beautifully expensive mix or chain or whatever, they're going to sit there and they're going to go, damn, I sound good. And that makes them feel good. It makes them feel less self-conscious.
So then they can actually work on getting those better performances. So actually having, for me, having really high [00:42:00] quality gear means That they feel really um, inspired, you know, as opposed to being like, don't worry, it's going to sound good when I'm mixing it. I never endeavor for, you know, to say that in any situation with an artist being like, don't worry, it'll sound good when it's finished.
Like, it needs to sound good while they're doing it. So then they feel inspired. But yeah, really, I think to foster that creativity, you know, things like for one I meditate, so I'm, I'm very, health-conscious I'm vegan, you know, I, get out and I swim, I try and swim like a hundred laps of like a proper 25 meter pool every day or every two days.
And I just try and provide this ultimate sense of calm, you know, and, and really just clear my mind, which is hard when you've got three kids. Cause there's a lot going on, off in there. But Yeah. so, so I think I'm living a really healthy life. And one of the things that I wish I could do more that I don't do enough of is go out to gigs and concerts one as a good networking thing to, to go And support the arts.
But the reason why I don't is because every single day I turn up to the studio. I want to be like, on form. I want every single day that I entered the studio that my brain, isn't the thing that's holding me [00:43:00] back because I'm tired from the night before, you know, I don't drink alcohol. For that reason, because I want to turn up just like firing on all cylinders.
So I think the fact that I look after my health so well and you know, my mental wellbeing and, and, you know, I go out for walks every single day, if I can get fresh air. I think that helps me create much better art because it makes me a much stable a person. As opposed to the traditional studio owner or the traditional producer, that's. just buffing back cans of red bull and, doing drugs and like getting drunk and just going out and partying all night and turning up to the studio with a hangover like the, the studio is such a sacred space to me and artists spend a lot of money working with me that I want to make sure that when they're here with me, they know that I'm here with them a hundred percent and my brain is not somewhere else.
So all of that mental health, all of the physical health that is just important to me as, you know, being able to achieve excellence.
That's something that we've kind of, I've harped on a lot on this podcast, especially recently, has there is no separation from you personally and your business. And so like, Toby is very intentional, as you can [00:44:00] tell, to make sure that he's showing up at a hundred percent every single day.
And, even if you're not going to the other extreme of like pounding back red bulls and doing drugs and drink out late drinking at night, and then trying to show up and, and be creative the next day. Even if that's not how you are, there's still probably a lot. You're not doing to be intentional on the other side, because it's probably just as bad to be just sitting in a chair all day, every day for hours on end.
Like they say, sitting as the new smoking. That, that
Yeah, and this is why I got a standing.
Yeah. And actually my uh, my best friend Trevor who's actually been on the podcast, I think he's episode 67 and he's my best man at my wedding. he has an amazing standing desk. It's like automated with like button presses to go to certain Heights and stuff.
So I gotta look into that,
it's the best thing. Honestly, I've got hydraulics on mine and not once have I ever used it as just it's standing the whole time.
I'll look into that. I do, I do move around a lot and I still, every day I try to do 10 between 10 and 15,000 steps. I don't even try. I average, I make sure I average over 30 days that I do at least 10,000 steps a day. so I'm intentional about that as well. There's still more that I can do, but make sure there's always something that you're doing to make sure you're [00:45:00] showing up at your best every single day.
Because if people are paying you a lot of money or even a little money for paying you anything, to put out something for them to create something for them, then it's in your best interests. Even as at a selfish level to be at a hundred percent. Because everything that you put out in the world is a little marketing piece out there.
That's gonna bring you more clients or it's going to push your clients away from you. So what do you want? I want my stuff to draw more people in. I don't want it to push people away. So I've got to show up at a hundred percent every single day. Meditation. That's the one, that's the one I just never can get into.
What's the secret with that, you're going to tell us two minutes ago.
Yeah, I mean, it just provides such a sense of calm. Like last year, you know, I was, it was the busiest year of my business. I made far more last year than I ever made working on any of the big budget films. And so I was, you know, I was consistently working with between like 70 to 20 bands or artists at any given moment.
So there's so much going on in my life that I felt like my brain was just chaotic. It was just, it was like a storm going on and thoughts. So. I really turned to meditation last year and [00:46:00] oh my God, just the sense of calm. And I'll literally just, I've got guided meditation apps, so I'll just sit there and I'll put my headphones on and I'll have Sam Harris's voice just like soothing me into the state of calm.
And I'll just sit there, focus on my breathing. And sometimes thoughts will come up and I'll just try and nudge them away gently. I say sometimes a lot of the time thoughts will come off and I'll just nudge them away gently. And yeah, it just provides me this sense of calm that, um, there's really few other activities in this world that achieve that same kind of thing.
Um, Ellen Watts is a philosopher. Had the statement that was like, you don't listen to music to get to the end of the song. You know, you don't dance to get to the other side of the room. And meditation is like the only other exercise like that where you're not doing it to achieve something. whereas a painter you're painting to finish the painting.
Pretty much everything we do in our, in our life. You know, you play basketball to win the game, whereas meditation playing music and dancing, and probably the few things that you do just to purely be in the moment. And it's not for that outcome. And so meditations like that. For me, it's not for the outcome.
It's purely just because there's like a sense of calm that I just feel so [00:47:00] good when I do it. So yeah, I try and get like 20 to 30 minutes in a day.
It's funny, you said you had so much going on in your life and your brain was just going a million miles an hour. And so the meditations would help solve that for you and give you a sense of calm. I had the same thing going on as myself, but I actually didn't go to meditation. I went to click up project management system and spend a ton of time ever energy, learning it, setting it up, getting it all out of my brain into an external brain.
And I held that same sense of calm. So I think you can either use meditation or you can pay for it and you just click up.
I use both. So double, that sense of calm and I've, I'm, I'm a very tangible person. So I've got like a to-do diary. So every single day I, you know, write down what I've got to do or like who I've got to call or whatever, or I've also got a whiteboard that's just sitting right there.
So if I've got something urgent, I'll quickly just, and it's such a great thing because it's really, really easy to lose track of a project that you've been on for, you know, six months. And maybe you haven't heard from the artists in a month or something like that. And I turned around, I look at my whiteboard or click.
It reminds me, Hey, get in touch with this person. [00:48:00] And it's just that one extra thing that I don't need to worry about, you know?
That's awesome, man. Well, I appreciate you finding time get on my schedule for the podcast, even though you're way over in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand, like in worst possible time zone for American podcasts. And you set aside time on your day after meditation, between meditation and work to come on the show.
Where do you want to send our audience to connect with you, to learn more about you, say, Hey, do you say thanks to you? What do you want them to.
Yeah. I mean, just, just drop me a line on Instagram. I'm at tiny triumph recordings are on Facebook. Yeah. I w I always love to.
chat, especially with people in our community about what we do. And yeah, I mean, in my Instagram profile, like I said, there's the link tree with all the stuff that I've been doing, like different interviews and podcasts and TV kind of apps and stuff like that.
So um, yeah, just reach out.
And we'll have all those links in the show notes. If you go to six-figure creative.com/ 2 0 5 then all the links will be on that page there for you. So thanks again, Toby for coming on the podcast.
Oh my pleasure. Thanks for having me, man.
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