Dream Big & Work Hard

I know way too many people who have become content with their lives. Like they can’t go any further than they have in their personal lives and their careers. Like becoming a security guard or lifting boxes at Fedex was their lifelong goal.

Touch The Sky

I feel sad for those people because it seems they have no dreams and no big goals to achieve. So if life is complete for you, what more do you have to look forward to?

For as long as I live, I plan on striving to make every one of my goals happen, no matter how crazy others may think they are.

I want to see everyone aim for more. Set big goals and work hard to make them happen. Why settle for anything? You are the controller of your fate.

Always Strive for More

Always Strive for More

No matter what job you may have, go far and beyond to excel at your task. Bring more to the table than is asked of you, and hopefully this hard work will be recognized, and you can move further in the company. And if it’s a crappy job and you don’t want to move further in the company, so what? Start working hard and build good work ethics, so when that new opportunity comes your way, you’re on track.

Example: I work at a print company. My job gets many phone calls from customers every day, which takes up a lot of time from the customer service department. These customers’ questions are very general and can be answered easily. So my solution was to create a searchable Help Center. I researched my job’s competitors for ideas, I learned new coding that I was unfamiliar with, I built a mock up, and I tested everything at home because I didn’t want to present something till I had a working example. When I presented the Help Center, it was widely accepted and has reduced the customer phone calls. View it Here.

Doing this helped me out around my one-year anniversary time, to show that I deserved to become a Web Design Manager, which I currently am at the moment.

Don’t Limit Yourself

Don’t Limit Yourself

Why stick to one thing? If you’re making beats, why just stick to that? Why not expand and work on writing songs for artists? Why not learn to play some instruments? If music is your thing, why not start a record label, or music management company, host parties, or learn more about promoting? I’m just saying learn everything you can about what you love. The more you know, the more valuable you are, and the more independent you can be.

Example: I am a terrible writer and have really bad grammar. But I run a blog and I have written all but the posts on this site. Why? Because I wanted to help others, focus more on music, and I wanted a creative outlet.

I didn’t let my bad spelling stop me from doing what I wanted to do. Yes, a lot of my articles may have bad grammar, and in some of my videos I may just ramble, but I think they have been more helpful than confusing to others. So the bad grammar will continue, and me getting better at writing will continue also.

Have No Regrets

Have No Regrets

My personal biggest fear in life is to be 70 years old and look back at my life and wonder WHAT IF? What if I would have tried music; would I have been successful? What if I tried acting; could I have made it?

I don’t want to be old and look back at anything and wonder what if, because while I’m alive and healthy, I want to make everything happen that I can make happen.

Example: I have been scared to do some things. That’s the reality of life; new things can be terrifying at first. But the regret of not doing something can be way worse. For instance, I went sky diving and that was nerve racking. I pretty much told one person in my family I was going to do it, and did it. I had a great appreciation for life for like three days, and then reality and work hit me again, and the rush was over. But I’m still happy I did it.

I have also went scuba diving, hot air ballooning, kayaking, and more. I don’t want to say I didn’t try these things, so I’m going to do them.

Haters & Doubters

Haters & Doubters

I respect anyone who has a dream and a goal, and will work hard at achieving it. But I know way too many people who will not support others’ dreams or goals. I think in most cases this is because the haters and doubters don’t have dreams or goals of their own and can’t imagine striving for more. They may say some negative things, because they can’t see a bigger plan for you.

Instead of a deterrent, this should be viewed as a bigger motivation to throw it in their face at first, and then show them with hard work. Goals and dreams are achievable.

Example: I personally feel I get looked down upon for all my crazy ideas. I am often inspired by things that I see. So I saw great photos and decided I wanted to pick up photography as a hobby. Some people thought it was a weird hobby to pick up because they don’t like it and thought I wouldn’t do a good job. The end result was, I invested time into it, and I like the work I produced, and they like the work I produced also. What do you think? markvphotography.com

Example 2: Back to my bad grammar. When I told people I was going to start a blog, they didn’t see the purpose. They pointed out how blogs fail, and once again, in not so many words, made it seem that I wouldn’t do a good job. Yet, more than a year later, with more than 100,000 visitors the first year, this site is still growing.

Thank you, haters and doubters, you help me in many ways!

Pat #2  – 6 Tips to Pursuing Your Dreams

Here is part 2 of the Dream Big & Work Hard series that focuses on how to follow your dreams.

Uncontrollable things may come into your life, but it’s you who will overall control the outcome. If you set goals, focus on achieving them, and don’t quit no matter what. Your life should be lived with no regrets.

By setting goals and measuring your achievements, you are able to see what you have done and what you are capable of doing.

Goal setting is easy. Following through on the goals is what’s hard, but only if you make it hard.

 Follow Your Dreams
Follow Your Dreams

1. Make a Plan – Set Realistic Goals

Set goals both big and small. Big goals are where you want to be; the small goals are the steps you take to get there.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting too much at first.


Not realistic goal for this site: Get one million views to this site this year.
Realistic goal for this site: Get 150K visitors this year. That’s 50K more than last year.

So this is something I can possibly do because it’s not terribly far from what I have done before.

Follow Your Dreams
Follow Your Dreams

2. Find Some Role Models

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be unique, but you must have seen someone do something you admired in the field of your choice to make you want to do what you are currently doing. So find some role models and use their road to success as a model to get where you want to be. I’m sure their journey was full of hard work.

Example: Ryan Leslie — I admire him because he is a music artist who has a strong work ethic and has a good understanding of today’s social market. There are tons of music artists’ albums that aren’t coming out because of lack of promotion, and Ryan Leslie takes advantage of all online tools available, such as Myspace, YouTube, blogging, and more to make himself known. Other artists can learn from him. I’m not trying to be a singer or anything like that. But I admire his hard work.

3. Set a Timeline

You need to be able to measure your progress, so you need to set a timeline. Set the big goals.

Example: You want to be a music producer. There are many different ways to achieve this goal. But we are setting mini goals to get there. So here are small goals and tasks to help get to where you want to be.

Mini Goals

  • Create five to 10 beats per week
  • Find new sounds — one day per week
  • Learn to play piano — dedicate one hour per week to practicing
  • Network with rappers and songwriters
  • Promote beats — post on Myspace, Roc Battles, and music forums

Bigger Goals: All of This in Three Months

  • Have 100 beats
  • Learn to play five songs on the piano
  • Have phone numbers to 10 rappers and 10 songwriters
  • Have 1,000 friends on Myspace, participate in six beat battles on Roc Battles, have 100 posts in music forums

See, the little steps are easy. With in three months, everything has grown to bigger numbers.

4. Commit to Achieving — Ignore Bumps in the Road

It’s easier to give up than it is to work hard. But just think about that WHAT IF? No one else will make your life’s dreams happen for you. So QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION!

Invest in Learning

5. Invest in Learning

This is very important. We are living in the time of so much information being available on the Internet, and research is the key. You can’t expect information to come to you. Go out and find everything.

Example: I worked on this site for two months before it launched. I researched how to write articles, how to promote the site, tips to making it user friendly, how to network, and the pros and cons of ads. I read so much information. I wasn’t going to just put out something without a plan and no knowledge at all about what I am doing.

Researching gives you insight about others’ knowledge so you can avoid the same mistakes they have made. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. GO RESEARCH YOUR CRAFT!

Review Your Overall Progress Regularly

6. Review Your Overall Progress Regularly

No plan is ever set in stone. Always work on modifying it, but that doesn’t mean allowing the goals to just fade away. It just means it may take a little longer than expected.

Example: As of March 25, I have had 30,159 visitors this year. That’s about 10K per month. I need to boost that to 13K per month for me to hit my goal, so I’ll need to work on that.

Last Words

Nothing in life that is worth having will come easy. So go fight for it and get it, and hold no one but yourself accountable if you don’t try.

Part #3 coming soon.

5 Articles I think you should check out:

  1. 6 Things I Was Reminded of by Lance Armstrong
  2. A Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose
  3. 5 Reasons Why Dreamers Can Be Leaders
  4. 22 Secrets to Discovering Your Dream and Living It
  5. 25 Simple Steps to Becoming Successful

Part 3 – How to Be Confident

If you have been following this Dream Big & Work Hard series, you would know in the first article I brought up a few things that deter you from achieving your dreams. But one of the biggest roadblocks in of achieving your dreams may be yourself.

How to Be Confident
How to Be Confident and Believe in Yourself

Doubt is a way of life. The road untraveled may be the scariest one.

So here are a few things you can do to fight these fears:

1. Know that you are the controller of your fate

If you want something to happen in your life, you can’t expect for it to land in your lap. You have to put in effort and go out to make sure it happens. This cause alone should be enough motivation to not hold you back, because this says ONLY YOU CAN MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. Hold yourself responsible. Whether it’s trying to get that job promotion, approaching a girl or guy, or buying a new pair of sneakers. It is up to you to go out and make that effort to get what you want.

2. Don’t worry about what others think!

In the first article, I spoke of haters and doubters. They are everywhere. They are closed minded and can not see your bigger plan in this world. They may think something is too different, and it’s not normal. But if being unmotivated, and unsuccessful by their standards is normal. Do you you really want to be blend in and be accepted???

Worry about you, and what makes you happy and what will get you to where you want to be. Because friends and family is all that should matter. And sometimes those friends and family may no be supportive. I still look at this as a opportunity to prove them wrong.

3. Look forward to the future

For someone who has nothing to look forward to in life, life may suck. But for the dreamers and those with goals, life should be an exciting trip with many ups and downs, and as long as quitting is not an option. Yes, I lose motivation a lot (I mean a lot). But I know if I work and work at it, I will get to where I want to be, and I’m so looking forward to getting there.

Know that disappointment is a reality of life. But also know, you really don’t appreciate the good without the bad, and the bad may kick my ass to the ground, but know you are slowly making baby steps to true destination.

Life is a learning experience. Look forward to learning something new, whether it’s success or failure. You will become wiser because of it.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others

How to Be Confident
How to Be Confident

Comparing your life with others is a very bad habit. Everyone has different life experiences/situations. Don’t put yourself down because you don’t have what someone else has. Instead, use it as a source of inspiration and make it a goal to strive for. Think if they can do it. You can do it too.

Would you say, I have to go blind like Stevie Wonder to be great at playing piano and make good songs. NO! So you shouldn’t say I have to have a big studio, and tons of fans to make great music. Know if you strive for it. You can make it happen.

5. Believe in yourself

It's Nothing

I’m sure you have heard this before, “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will.” But it’s very true, and it’s essential to get to where you want to be. You have to know that if you need to learn something to get to where you want to be. That you’re going to go out and learn it. You have to know you will succeed by any means necessary. Know if you don’t have bumps in the road, you are doing something wrong. If you don’t have haters/doubters, once again, you are doing something wrong.

These things are essential. Don’t think for a second that your role models, or anyone you look up too, didn’t have these problems that you have. I’m sure they did, and may been even worse. Yet they got through it, and got to where they want to be. And are still striving for more.

Video: Secret to Success


Every one of the points above involves you changing your thought process. This is something that is hard to do. But it is necessary. You need to believe you can achieve, and you must believe the items above are needed to get where you want to be. Nothing comes easy, or over night. So continue to work at it. You only truly fail when you quit.

If you believe you will fail, odds are you will. I think it’s corny anytime I hear that, but it’s very true.

Video: Famous Failures

3 More things to do the help with fighting self doubt

  1. Post positive thoughts or goals around work and home to be reminded by what you are striving for.
  2. Repeat positive thoughts out loud and in your head. This works at programming your mind to think positively.
  3. Share your dreams and goals with others. This will make you accountable for achieving them. Because people will ask you about your progress, and hopefully you will strive to have good then to say about your progress.

Thanks for reading.

Mark V. at Hip Hop Makers

Written By Mark V.

Hip Hop Makers is a music production website that launched in 2008 to teach music lovers how to make music, sell beats, and make money from music.

41 Comments Leave a Reply
  1. Cool post man!

  2. Very relevant post. I feel that many people let their career choices/situations define and confine their life. They become reluctant to let their ambitions and interests guide them to a degree that will actually make them happy. Just take a chance, why not?

  3. Nice post ! i agree with the points .. !

  4. Great topic….Its good to see someone else not complacent. Its so difficult to dream when you have so many dream killers around you but its refreshing to see articles like this.


  5. I think a lot of it has to do with self doubt, and they are afraid of the risk. I’m way more afraid of not trying and living with the regret, than just saying, I would have failed any way. and just being ok with that. I think people should fight for what they want if they have the chance too.

  6. I really like all of these posts. Please keep them coming. Its always nice to read articles like this that encourage people to become more successful.

  7. Mark:

    This post is truly inspiring…For someone who’s barely making through school and chasing my dreams of becoming a hip hop star and respected actor, I definitely look up to you after reading this! It’s really inspiring!

    Prophet The Rebel

  8. @ Cleveland Hip Hop

    I’m glad you like the article. I think it was very important to get out.

    I haven’t read the book you are speaking of, but I’m always reading other blogs that are talking about motivation, self improvement, etc.

    So I was just inspired to write and inspire.

  9. Mark-

    I found this brief outline very inspiring and helpful. I totally agree with what you provided. It’s now making me take a step back and a**ess my progress as a successful producer of film and music. Beyond those disciplines, I can incorporate this outline in every aspect of my life.


  10. Great post, hard work and dedication is the grind. I make music and I’m tired of what I hear on the radio–I told my classmate give me time and you’ll see–I’ll make it, all I need is time.

    Goals and Dreams are Achievable! Everyone has to remember that and never give up.

    Thanks for the words Mark!

  11. this is what i need. keep them coming :p

  12. No its not wordpress, just the blog and help center are wordpress

  13. a great post thanks

  14. real talk I was thinking about givivng this music thing up but this has just open my eyes wide.

  15. Good sh*t Mark, inspired me. Your words and the words of the secret to success dude. Keep going. Peace!

  16. thank you

  17. I’m glad you guys like the post.

  18. Great post and sick videos…thanks for taking the time to put this sh*t together man. I am making this my homepage, and a great site btw.

  19. Wassup fam? I’m a producer, songwriter, artist, engineer, graphic designer. I found this site like a year ago when I was online looking for some drum sounds for my “MPC”. I was on google and I saw “100 Free kick drums”. I downloaded them and signed up on the email list to receive email updates about the site and I have to say that every time I get an email from your site, it’s something relevant and refreshing. I’m on Reason 4.0 now and the refill downloads and links were great. A producer with fresh sounds is like kid in a candy store. The videos are great and the motivational stuff is something that we all need. No other site offers that. So I just wanted to say, “Thank You” You are very appreciated!!! Davince Capone. http://www.myspace.com/davincecapone

  20. @ Davince Capone

    Thanks for the comment. Also thanks for recognizing that I’m trying to bring something different. Yes at moments I do filler posts (such as videos) because I can’t write something meaningful daily, but the overall purpose of this site is to equip and inspire others to do big things. and I don’t care if it’s music, graphic design, getting a new job, whatever. I just want people to dream big, and try to make them happen. Because I believe they can.

    Comments like yours is why I think all the hard work is worth it. So thank you in return.

  21. @ da anadote

    Dont give up music. I think a lot of people such as myself my get into music because of what we see and hear on the radio and tv. And in real life it may not work like that because its a lot of drama and B.S. to get to where you want to be.

    All I would say is, think about why you first started making music. Personally I would say, for me, music is a way of life. I listen to it every day. They radio sucks, and I hate it because of what they play. But I think about when I find a singer or rapper or producer that is different, and it inspires me. And i want to make some music, it always happens like that, and it will never stop.

    Don’t lose hope.

  22. Yea, I think the success video was very honest, you have to want something badly, and work hard for it.

  23. Dude, thx. looking forward to the next part.

    I really like the dream big series!!!

  24. Thank you!

  25. Real good man!.. keep snapping those pics and let that haters hate.. and dont let them bring you down bc you dont want to reach age 70 thinking..”What If!..” so keep grindin bruh! ha

  26. very inspirational

  27. I never saw this blog before but man! This is really inspiring. I have always had dreams but for the past years i have given up on them.
    My life lost its color and it was so bad i lost a lot of things. I guess this is my wake up call.
    Thank u!

  28. wise words of motivation…..something i definitely needed….i been making beats for two years now and still sitting at home….haven’t made a cent…..

  29. never took the time to leave a comment a blog but this deserves it…Nicely put…and i’ll be checking back for more :-)

  30. Mark I think this a great sight man, keep up the good work. the world needs more people like you. I also have dreams but the music industry is so hard to get into unless you have the right connections. but to everyone good luck with everything. hope for the best

  31. hey, I’m a female boxer and I just wanted to say this helped me a lot. my dream is to be the female ali and i doubt if such a thing is even possible but reading this always helps me I have it saved in my bookmarks. thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! God Bless.

  32. Hey man I really like what you say. This is the stuff we need to get out to those who struggle everyday just trying to get by and make better for themselves. I’m tired of all the negativity. Life is tough but the only way to get through it is by being tough. You gotta dream big, work hard, and just keep pushing. People get too caught in the negative cycle and never go anywhere. We gotta change that. I’m glad you’re doing that. Keep doin’ whatcha doin’ man.

  33. @ Byron,

    Thanks for the comment. I’m glad to see my article can help to motivate and inspire others. That’s what I was hoping would happen.

  34. wow!
    I love your “bad” grammar! Otherwise i wouldnd understand you so well! (i’m swiss)
    you opened like a new level of confronting dreams or problems.
    Keep doing it like that!

  35. @ Workflow

    Yes I know my grammar isn’t the best. I’m far from a good writer. I just want to inspire people. Thanks for the comment.

  36. Thank you man for doing this article I will always have this thought in my head never give up

  37. really good post thanks

  38. I am really encouraged by this post. Thanks so much Mark.

  39. Great info in this article…very inspiring

  40. Mark…I know it’s a bit late…but I really like this article.

    It really hits home, and anyone that reads it will question their lives.

    And as far as the haters: 99% of haters only hate on people’s dreams because they don’t have the balls to pursue their own!

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