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Fautores Family Offices

16 Points That Address The Importance of Professionalism

Published on March 8, 2015

Michael L. Chindamo and Larry Hoppen

So You Want to be a Star...Sixteen Important Points That Address the Importance of Professionalism

vs. the Desire to Attain Stardom

As we all know, today’s society places an emphasis on “stardom,” material things, and extreme short-term successes at any price. Is the lack of morals and family values worth it in the end? Our children are often subjected to celebrity worship. But most often, those who are instant celebrities rarely have the staying power to last in such a competitive business. Those who do adopt a number of the principles listed in this article.

In 2005, I had the pleasure of working with long-time friend Larry Hoppen. Larry was the co- founder of the music group OrleansOrleans had multiple recordings over a forty-year span. They are most noted for two particular 1970’s hits, Still the One and Dance With Me. Larry’s stellar voice is what stands out most on those recordings. Larry and Orleans were stars at a very young age.

What most people do not know is that over a very long career, Larry maintained his presence in Orleans, as well as recording music jingles and performing with many of the biggest stars in the business.

Larry and I had much in common. My wife, Claudia, had a long music career and was an opening act during the early 1970’s, just before Orleans earned their first record deal. I also had a long career as a professional drummer, although not at the level that Larry reached. We often laughed about many of the “war stories” that we experienced in the business. The most important point was that Larry and I shared the same values. His passing in 2012 was devastating to many whose lives his goodwill, passion, and professionalism touched. He was a “keeper,” as Larry used to say about very decent people.

Larry and I often discussed what disciplines and skills he developed to maintain such a long career and to make a living into his sixties, often out of the spotlight. I will preface this by telling a short story about when Larry and I visited Lake Mary High School in Lake Mary, Florida and sat with a music class of students describing their future aspirations in the music business. The students were between the ages of 13 to 18.

The question was: What do you want to be when you grow up? Almost unanimously, nearly every student wanted to be a “star.” When asked why, the typical answers were all about material things—cars, partying, etc. There was nothing substantive mentioned about creating and supporting a career. At that age level, none of the responses were a surprise, except for one. A thirteen-year-old girl who studied piano raised her hand and said, “I have been studying piano since I was 3. I have written about 100 poems, and I am not sure how to put music to them.”

BINGO! Have we just discovered a prodigy? She was not concerned about stardom at all. She had all the substance and values needed for success at a very young age. She wanted help from a professional who could help her put her stories to music. She was already writing and producing music. You see, the music business is really all about talent. This is just one of the points that Larry highlighted below.

And guess what? All of the points below are the very same disciplines that it takes to be successful in any career outside of the music business. Very few of us are born with or can develop artistic talent. However, we can all apply ourselves to learning the basics and advanced skill sets that can sustain a long professional career in any field. As my dad used to say, “Learn to be the best at whatever you try to do.”

“A Career in Music… How to Stand a Chance” by Larry Hoppen

16 Important Points to follow to attain success in any field

  1. Intro: Regardless of how times change, certain things are always critical to long-term success: integrity, passion, discipline, and simply “doing the right thing.”
  2. What Are You Trying To Do? Have a long term goal and a plan for how to reach it through shorter-term steps. Those steps can be adjusted as needed to reach your long term goal.
  3. How Good Are You? Honestly, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Shore up your weaknesses, perfect your strengths, and learn as many different skills as possible.
  4. Do you want to be a Star or a Professional? Professionalism is totally under your control and is at the core of success. Strive to earn a great reputation—it is the most valuable thing you will ever possess.
  5. Getting Your Act Together! Careers are largely about people skills. Long term success within musical groups (or any group) is all about people skills and communication.
  6. Finding Good Career Builders - Seek out other professionals who embody not only talent and experience, but also integrity, passion, and a genuine interest in YOUR interests.
  7. Keeping It to Yourself - Retaining ownership of your work, combined with an understanding of business operations, are the bedrocks of financial success.
  8. People Make the World Go Around - Learn how to make real friends and go out of your way to cultivate lasting relationships with special people (“keepers”).
  9. Be Your Own Administrator - Learn your business hands-on by administering your own affairs, at least until you can make wise choices about whom to let handle things for you.
  10. Your Money and Your Life - Learn the basics of sound money management, saving, and investing. Protect your assets and your loved ones.
  11. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing! - Marketing is the golden key to growing any business. No business can thrive without it! Be resourceful, relentless, and always on the lookout for new ideas.
  12. What Does Success Mean to You? Be aware of what you want from your career and your life. Goals can be flexible, but you should always have one.
  13. Strive for Perfection, Settle for Excellence! Love your work, but don’t smother it or waste precious time by being obsessed with being “perfect.”
  14. Teachers, Training, and Teachers - Respect everyone who knows more than you do, especially those willing to share their knowledge and experience. Learn from them as much as you can!
  15. No Rehearsal - Life is definitely not a rehearsal. We all get one chance only. Strive always to do your BEST!
  16. Note to Self - Never dwell on failure. Learn from anything that simply does not go as planned. Avoid negative people. Trust your gut. Conquer fear by doing that which you are afraid of.