Seth Mosley is a Grammy Winning Music Producer and Songwriter with over 700 Songs and was the Billboard #1 Producer of the Year in 2013. He’s an investor and the owner of Full Circle Music.
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(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[00:52] – Seth is turning 30 years old, is married to his wife from Sweden, and has two children
[01:30] – Due to his success in music, he was able to dive into real estate as well
[02:07] – His area of expertise is in helping people create hit songs
[03:12] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: A hit is something that you put out there that will connect with the masses and inspire them to take some form of action. It really is less about inspiration and all about perspiration
[04:17] – “You can’t always predict what is going to be a hit”
[06:26] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Three to four years ago Seth realized he hired based on the cheapest rates and not the best employees. He worked with an attorney for entertainment contracts. He thought he found somebody he could “afford”, but it turned out there were a lot of items in his contract that screwed him in the end
[09:38] – “Don’t be cheap! Look for the best”
[10:23] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Seth worked with a famous mentor in Nashville who was generous enough to let him observe him at work. There was one session where the artist wasn’t in the mood to record and they needed to go from the top again. Instead of reacting negatively, his mentor just said “Okay, let’s start over again”
[12:05] – “This is not the music business, this is a service business”
[12:19] – Any business is a service business
[12:41] – Look for the ways in which you can add value
[13:53] – Servanthood is the highest possible calling in life
[14:20] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “We went from producing records and writing music for other people to now owning our own record label and publishing company, and we’re getting ready to release our first full-length album!”
[17:35] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Fear of going against the grain”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “You are the average of the five people you most associate with”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Plenty of down time”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – SamCart
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Prosper! – “it’s tagline is to create a world worth inheriting”
[19:41] – Surround yourself with people who are better than you
Seth Mosley: I am so prepared.
John Lee Dumas: Yes! Seth is a Grammy-winning music producer and songwriter with over 700 – count them! – 700 songs and was Billboard No. 1 Producer of the Year back in 2013. He’s an investor and owner of Full Circle Music.
Seth, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Seth Mosley: I’m turning 30 years old here just in a couple weeks, and married. My wife is from the beautiful country of Sweden, a little bit similar to Maine, where you’re from, in geography. Got two daughters, a 3-year-old and 1-month-old, so life is crazy right now.
But yeah, I’ve got a company called Full Circle Music. We help people create hit songs and create lasting careers in the music industry. So, in addition to doing that, I run a monthly real estate investment meetup called the Music & Money Investors Group. Out of my success in the music business, we’ve been fortunate to be able to turn around and pour that back into real assets, specifically real estate, so this is a group where we bring in speakers and really just experts in the field, and teach people how to do the same thing and just create recurring cash flow.
John Lee Dumas: Well, creating, I think, is one of your areas of expertise, Seth. Being able to create over 700 songs, to me, is just mind-boggling and just a feat beyond reckoning. But take a minute. Tell Fire Nation what your No. 1 area of expertise is, in your own mind, in your own world.
Seth Mosley: It’s what you said. We help people create hit songs. I think we’ve established a track record of that. We just had our 26th No. 1 radio single and have had songs on NFL NBC, lots of films, TV, commercial spots, and tons and tons and tons of other songs on the radio as well, so I would say that’s our No. 1. I feel like after doing it for a decade, my ears are pretty attuned to what is going to commercially connect with audiences.
John Lee Dumas: So, let’s take one step back from that. The one step back from that’s gonna be your expertise is creating hit songs. Now, that might not apply to a lot of our listeners, creating hit songs specifically, but creating a hit, that would be one step back. That might be a hit with a product or a service or a community or a podcast or a video show, whatever that might be. What can you share with our listeners about creating a hit that you think would be really valuable?
Seth Mosley: That is one of the most brilliant questions I think anybody’s ever asked me because –
John Lee Dumas: Wow, thank you.
Seth Mosley: – you’re right. For a lot of people, really for all of us, the goal as entrepreneurs is to be a part of something that is a hit, and really, all a hit is is something that you put out and it connects with a mass amount of people that either motivates them to buy it, or to spread the word about it, or to take some other form of action.
And so, for a product, the big thing I learned, and I think this also applies to your audience, to Fire Nation, that it really is less about inspiration and it’s more about perspiration. I say that about song-writing sessions, that they’re 90 percent perspiration, 10 percent inspiration. So, anytime that we come in and we create a “hit,” it’s always just a day on a calendar. It’s not an idea that wakes you up in the middle of the night. It’s really more about the discipline, and the same can be said about creating a product.
And one of the things that I’ve learned is you can’t always predict what is gonna be a hit. You kinda have to let the market tell you what a hit is. You start with your gut, but you, at some point, just have to let go of it and let the world really dictate it, and it’s often pretty surprising, in my career, that a lot of the things that have become hits were things that I never in a million years would have dreamed would be, and things that I thought would have been just were flops.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, I love this advice for a number of reasons. Here we are, Episode 1888, and Seth Mosley – again, you heard the intro; this guy’s a flipping rock star – said that I asked him the most genius question he’s ever received, and this guy’s been interviewed a lot. Guess what? I would not have asked him that question on Episode 18 or 180 or 1,080. I had to talk my voice box raw before I got to the place where I have the skills and the chops to ask questions like this. And so, it’s been perspiration for me. I was a horrible podcaster when I started. Seth, you probably weren’t an amazing songwriter when you started. We all start from somewhere, and we grow from there.
I love that quote, “If you want to be, do.” If you want to be a songwriter, write songs. If you want to be a podcaster, podcast. That’s literally the focus, and if you go there and you just perspire, like Seth said, if you just put in the work and you talk your voice box raw like I have over almost 1,900 episodes now, then you’re gonna get there, and there’s gonna be those nuggets of wisdom. And guess what? There’s still gonna be flops. I did an interview a couple days back. It was horrendous. I still lay eggs, but guess what? I’m much less laying eggs now than I used to be, and Seth is writing many more hit songs than he used to be. So, put in that perspiration, Fire Nation. Get that tenacity.
But, Seth, let’s go back, brother, because we can’t just talk about the awesome stuff all the time because an entrepreneur has the ups and the downs, so take us to the lowest of the low moment you’ve experienced thus far. Bring us to your worst entrepreneurial moment, and tell us that story.
Seth Mosley: I love this question because it’s always the times of failure that you learn more. So, for me, it was probably about three and a half, four years ago when I realized how I was making my hiring decisions for my team members, and I think this can apply to people outside the music business, too, but I realized that I was focusing on hiring the cheapest and not the best.
And one very specific example of that is, in the music business, we have to work with attorneys a lot for our entertainment contracts. The contracts are so complicated because you’re dealing with new sources of income that are being literally created out of thin air, new income streams every couple years, it seems like. And so, what I realized is I had found somebody that I felt like I could “afford,” but what I didn’t realize, and these are the kind of things that you don’t know until years down the road, but I realized that there was a lot of stuff in these contracts that was really kinda screwing me in the end.
So, I ended up just taking the plunge and hiring, really, probably the most expensive entertainment attorney I could find, and not just the most expensive but the best one that I could find. And in the three or four years that I’ve been working with him, I’ve seen my royalties on the back end go up by at least double or maybe even triple. So, that’s a very tangible thing.
So, I no longer, as a result of that, look to, “Okay, who’s the cheapest person I can find?” and I know when you’re starting out, you gotta take some risks. You’re not making millions from Day 1. But I promise you, if you hire the right people on your team, they become an asset and not a liability. They make you money. So, yeah, just hire the best.
John Lee Dumas: This brings me back to a story, Seth, that I actually have never told on Entrepreneurs on Fire, so this is a first. And when I first launched the podcast five years ago, back in 2012, I needed to hire a virtual assistant, so I put out the job on the different job boards, and I was looking to pay bottom dollar because, again, I was starting off, didn’t have much capital, had to try to really make things happen. And, Fire Nation, you’re gonna be there. You might be there right now, and that’s okay. You have to watch the bottom dollar.
But I got a response from somebody that really stuck with me, and this person’s quote was, “Listen, I really want this job, but I can’t afford to work for this low of a dollar amount, so I just want you to recognize if you pay bananas, you’re gonna get monkeys.” And that always stuck with me, and I was like, “Man, I don’t want to pay bananas because I don’t want monkeys. I gotta find a way where I can get to a place where I can actually invest real money in great people to make my business great.”
And now, we do. I have the best web developer in the business. I have the best graphic designer. And so, my brand is on point, and things are happening because I can get to the point where it’s worth investing in yourself. And look at Seth. That story you told, Seth, yeah, you paid a lot of money for that great lawyer, but guess what? He’s gotten you 10, 20, 50x times the revenue down the line because he’s making better deals for you as you go. So, always think of that.
And, Seth, what do you want to make sure our listeners get from that story? Break it down in one sentence. What’s the one takeaway?
Seth Mosley: Don’t be cheap. Look for the best. Look for the most awesome way. I think it’s a Richard Branson quote, but I love it. It’s like, “Don’t look for the cheapest way. Look for the most amazing way.” So, that applies, just like you said. You want to spend as much time on the front, as much time as it takes to find the right people. Don’t nickel and dime them, and pay them what they’re worth, and they’ll repay you, like you were saying, 10x in the long run.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, pay bananas, you get monkeys, Fire Nation.
So, Seth, let’s talk about one of the greatest ideas that you’ve had to date because you’ve had a lot, but what’s the one that you think will resonate with our listeners? Take us to that moment that idea popped into your mind and tell us that story.
Seth Mosley: I think the idea that sort of changed the way that I look at business period, not just music business but business overall, was one of my mentors who I grew up listening to, projects that he had worked on – he’s a Grammy-winning producer and has worked with artists like Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, just lots of really big artists – but I got to work with him when I first moved to Nashville, and I was fortunate enough that he was generous enough to let me sit behind him.
And there was one session that I was in. It was one of my first things I had produced. The artist was in the room. We’re sitting around the big mixing console, and the manager’s in the room, and he hits Play, and the artist is not into it. He’s not feeling it. And the manager’s like, “Uh, I think we need to start completely over again.” I was kind of on edge. I was like, “Is a fight gonna break out in front of me? Is this one of those Nashville movie scene moments?”
And what he said next kind of was what stuck with me, and it was my biggest aha moment, which really wasn’t even my idea. It was just something I watched him do. But his response was, “Okay, let’s start over again.” And this was a guy who had no shortage of track record. You’re looking up on his wall. There’s platinum records, there’s Grammys, there’s more awards than most people in the world will ever win, and he’s willing to just start from scratch and say, “You know what? My approach or my take on this was not what you wanted.”
And then, I got to stay with him after they left, and I said, “So, is that normal? Do you normally do that?” and he said this. He said, “You gotta realize that this is not the music business. This is a service business.”
John Lee Dumas: Wow.
Seth Mosley: And I think no matter what industry you’re in, whether it’s music or marketing or really anything, you’re in a service. How many people can you serve? The agenda can never be, “What do I wanna see happen?” So, for me, that’s what stuck with me, and that’s how we run our company, Full Circle Music. My first and foremost thing that I go into any situation is, “What can I give?” not, “What can I take?” We hear all the time the adage of, “You gotta add value before you take,” so I think that’s really what he was saying, and that was probably the biggest aha moment of my career.
John Lee Dumas: Gold, gold. Fire Nation, I want you to think about that for a second. What business are you in? Go ahead and say it, and then say, “This is not an X business” – X is your business – “This is a service business.” Right now, Fire Nation, I’m not in a podcast business. I’m in a service business. I’m serving you, Fire Nation. I’m delivering this free, valuable, consistent content to you seven days a week. How much money, Fire Nation, have you paid me for 1,888 episodes? The answer is $0.00 because these are free podcasts. This is a service business. I’m serving you.
And I love the quote, “Be humble. Be happy.” Obviously, that guy you were talking about, Seth, was a stud. He had all the awards. He crushed it, but he was still humble enough to say, “You know what? If this isn’t it, I get it. This is a service business. I’m gonna do what needs to be done.” Never lose that mentality, Fire Nation. Be humble, and be happy.
Again, Seth, that was my takeaway from your story. What do you want to make sure our listeners get, in just one sentence?
Seth Mosley: Servanthood. I would say not even one sentence – one word: servanthood. If you’re taking notes, write that down. That’s the highest possible calling that you can achieve in life is servanthood.
John Lee Dumas: Servanthood. Stamp it on your forehead, Fire Nation. Look at it in the morning. Stamp it on backwards, look in the mirror, then you read it.
Seth, let’s talk about what you’re fired up about right now. Give us the one thing that, when you get out of bed in the morning, you’re like, “Yes, this is my life. I’m excited about this.”
Seth Mosley: Well, right now, it’s a really exciting season because we went from producing records and writing music for other people to, now, owning our own record label and publishing company, and we are getting ready to release our first full-length album from our own artist on our record that we did from start to finish, and that’s from a guy named Matt Hammitt. He was the former singer for a band that I grew up listening to, one of my heroes. They were called Sanctus Real. And you can preorder it Friday, October 6th, on iTunes, and it comes out November 17th.
So, that’s really exciting, your first product that you ship. It’s an exciting moment.
John Lee Dumas: Super cool. And, Fire Nation, obviously this is after November 17th when you’re hearing this, so just go ahead, iTunes store. It’s waiting for an actual purchase. Make it happen.
So, Fire Nation, ask yourself this right now, “What are you fired up about?” Obviously, Seth just shared what he’s fired up about. What fires you up?
Now, we’re about to enter the Lightning Round after we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Seth, are you ready to rock the Lightning Round?
Seth Mosley: I am more ready than anyone has ever been.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Seth Mosley: Fear of going against the grain of my family.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Seth Mosley: That you’re the average of the five people you most associate with. I think it’s Jim Rohn.
John Lee Dumas: Jim Rohn, baby, Jim Rohn.
What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Seth Mosley: Plenty of downtime. I’ve learned this from my wife being from Sweden. They’ve got this right. We take time off to recharge.
John Lee Dumas: Recharge. You want to just create a lot of average work, then just be working all the time. You want go and create great work, recharge your batteries, come back, and crush it.
Recommend one Internet resource, Seth.
Seth Mosley: It’s the concept of one-click upsells through SamCart. This has sort of revolutionized, really, our income on the music side. Similar to a lot of your listeners, we do courses and educational events. One-click upsells have doubled our revenues. So, SamCart, check that out.
John Lee Dumas: Love it. Recommend one book, Seth, and share why.
Seth Mosley: This one’s a little different. It’s a book called Prosper by Adam Taggart and Chris Martenson. I actually got to do an interview with my friend Kyle Wilson, who was also on your show, and we got to co-interview them for my podcast, Full Circle Music Show. And their book is called Prosper, and the whole tagline is to create a world worth inheriting, and it’s beyond the money. It’s beyond the idea that capital is just material. They preach that there’s actually eight forms of capital, so Prosper is about the bigger picture.
John Lee Dumas: Love it. And, Fire Nation, if you haven’t already, you can get that audiobook for free over at EOFireBook.com.
Seth, let’s end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Seth Mosley: I always say this, and I tell this to our team, that my big advice is to surround yourself with people that are better than you. Don’t try and fix your weaknesses. Double down on your strengths. And always make sure that you give way more than you take. Again, servanthood is the name of the game. So, that’s my advice.
John Lee Dumas: And the best way we can connect with you?
Seth Mosley: Email me, [email protected] Yes, I get all those. And for Fire Nation, for those people who are maybe interested in the music side of things, we actually have some free courses up at FullCircleCourses.com. So, email us. Go check those out, FullCircleCourses.com, for songwriting and music production.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with SM and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type “Seth” in the search bar, and his Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz – timestamps, links galore. And of course, for you music lovers, FullCircleCourses.com is where you can get some great courses, and of course, email Seth at [email protected] Did I get both of those right, Seth?
Seth Mosley: You nailed it.
John Lee Dumas: Boom! Thank you, brother, for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
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