Stop Waiting for Your Big Break: Interview with Ryan O’Neal

Too often, arts of every shade toil in obscurity, waiting for their big break. They work hard on their craft, take on odd jobs to pay the bills, and hope to get discovered and become an overnight success. Sadly, they are wasting their time on a myth.

Stop Waiting for Your Big Break: Interview with Ryan O'Neal

If you do what everyone else does, you’ll get the same results as everyone else. Average. Mediocre. Middle of the road.

But you aren’t average, are you? You have a story worth sharing, a song worth singing, art worth making a living from.

Stop waiting for a big break. It may never come. And it may never matter.

Jeff Goins

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This week’s guest on The Portfolio Life turned the music industry upside down and cut out the middle man. No more waiting for record labels to call. No more false hopes of overnight success.

Ryan O’Neal (of Sleeping at Last) has taken an innovative and savvy approach to consistently producing quality music, growing a loyal fan base, and creating a steady income as a full-time artist.

Listen in as we discuss the value of constant, immediate feedback and how traditionally released albums and books don’t have that loop, and why some artists aren’t successful in their lifetime.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Ryan and I discuss:

  • Paying attention to what emotionally moves you, and creating art that elicits the same response
  • Reflecting on the music that defined your youth
  • Translating the sounds in your head into music that comes through the speakers
  • The process of writing and producing an entire album
  • Operating as a business and a songwriter
  • Tackling writing, launching, and promoting an album from a new perspective
  • Putting on the mindset of a fan
  • Changing customer behavior in consuming art


  • “Limitation is healthy for your creativity.” –Ryan O’Neal
  • Create quality content on a consistent basis.
  • Worldwide distribution is accessible to everyone.
  • As technology evolves, there is limitless opportunity for music.
  • “I love creating, so why wouldn’t I do more of it?” –Ryan O’Neal
  • Art can always adapt to the market.
  • “The harder you work, the more things work.” –Ryan O’Neal
  • Once you break the mold, doing things the old way doesn’t make sense.
  • Catching a big break has little to do with the rest of your career.

There will always be room for songs and storytelling.

Ryan O'Neal

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How does innovation impact your art? What can you do to break the rules? Share in the comments