The Rockstar, the Tour Manager, and the Roadie

As anyone who has started their own business can attest, one of the most common questions that come from friends and family is “Well, what are you going to do?” If you’re a designer, or a speech coach, or a writer, that tends to be an easier question to answer. If, like me, you provide a service in that mystical realm of “strategy” it tends to be a little less straightforward. If you’ve ever faced the follow-up question “Well, what does that mean?” then you know you’ve got to develop an explanation that is more tangible for most to understand.

For me, it’s the world of the rockstar, the tour manager, and the roadie. It’s my theory that how people work within the world—and how they find their purpose—can loosely be categorized into those three groups. What’s great about this theory (if I do say so myself….) is that it can easily be transferred across industry, responsibilities, and skill. Of course, there are a few generalizations in play, but what’s important to remember is no matter your role, it’s easy to be the exceptional “rockstar” of the thing you do.

The “Rockstar”

These are the creatives, the entrepreneurs, the thought leaders, the big thinkers of the world. They thrive in developing the big ideas, launching the products, creating the art. They’re not afraid of working hard and putting in the hours, but they work best when they have the freedom to do that big thinking, to be on the stage and share their talent with the world.

The “Tour Manager”

More often than not, the tour manager has the same passion and understanding of the creative world that the rockstar lives in. They can speak the language, and know that it’s important for the rockstar to have a consistent voice and sound, and adapt their own skills to that sound to reinforce that consistency. They thrive on the logistics; knowing that the key to a truly successful tour is not just making sure each gig is executed well, but that the plans and preparation for each stop is thought of well in advance. They’re flexible enough to pivot when things don’t always work to plan, making sure the whole enterprise doesn’t derail.

The “Roadie”

These are the people setting the lights, unloading the truck, booking the flights, driving the bus, tuning the instruments. They literally support the individual details of an undertaking like a tour, allowing the rockstar to know that their instruments are being taken care of, while supporting the tour manager as they focus on the big picture of each tour. They are exceptionally good at the part they are tasked with and execute quickly and with little fuss. Both the rockstar and the tour manager would be lost without the crew.

Where do you belong?

I’ve always fashioned myself as the tour manager in this scenario, and that’s how I explain my role to those who ask how I approach my work. There’s something extremely satisfying to me in figuring out the content strategy to best deliver that big idea, or how to make the systems work to make everyone’s job easier, or to move a project from conception to delivery.  Logistics shouldn’t be a bother. They should be an integral part of a well-oiled machine.

After all, what’s more fun than getting on the tour bus to the next gig? (I’ll be there to remind you that it’s time to get on the bus too, no worries.)

So, where do you see yourself? Are you looking for someone to help you strategically map out each stop on your tour? Ready to have more freedom to make your own particular brand of music? Reach out, and let’s see how we can best work together!