Why “I’m Busy” is Bullshit

Today I am going to show you why every time a friend tells you “I’m too busy” is complete fiction.

Note that while a few of them might be lying, all the others mean it when they say it. To them, it feels true. But it’s still bullshit! Let me show you why.

First we will suppose that you did an ok job of pitching your offer to your friend or associate. It could be lunch, a casual hangout session, a trip to Las Vegas, whatever. The point is they tell you, “Nah, sorry, I’m too busy.”

For a specific example, I’m going to choose recording a vocal because it is a problem I face often. Other producers who are reading this blog will face it later on in their careers if they haven’t already. The difficulty is that once you ask the vocalist to meet you at such and such a time to do some work, they give you that bullshit answer.

Here’s something from last week, but a shitty version of it, because my pitches are better than this. It involves my semi-fictional friend Dave, who is a broke music student:

Me: Hey Dave, I heard you’re great at singing choir stuff. Is that true?

Dave: Yeah, why do you ask?

Me: I want to record some vocal samples. Would you like to come work with me on that later this week?

Dave: Nah sorry, I’m busy with school.


His mouth moved and in his mind, he believed it was true. But that was pure fiction.

If you don’t immediately see why, suppose it went like this instead:

Me: Hey Dave, I heard you have some ambitions with a singing career after you finish music school. Is that true?

Dave: Yeah, why do you ask?

Me: I was wondering if having a portfolio of recorded singing would be helpful for your resume.

Dave: Yeah, that’s the kind of thing a few other students are doing. I haven’t really had the chance yet.

Me: Oh, the opportunity hasn’t come up I guess. So you’d definitely be interested in singing work if it was available? [This is called a “committing question”.]

Dave: Yeah, I would. Why, did you hear of something?

Me: I actually want to record some vocal samples for my own work. We could collaborate. Which two days of the week are usually best for you?


At this point, Dave can still tell me that he’s too busy. “Thursdays and Fridays, but I’m studying for exams right now. Too busy man.” But my odds are improved by starting with a question about his ambitions, leading into a committing question, and moving into logistics before asking for a final commitment.

But Dave can still tell me that he’s too busy, and believe it. Now I’ll show you exactly how both of the above scenarios could have different endings.


“Hey Dave, I know you have an exam Thursday evening, but I’ll pay you $2000 for a six hour recording session. It has to be that morning because the studio is only available between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Are you in?”

What do you think my broke friend Dave says to this? It doesn’t sound like “busy” anymore. It sounds like “Absolutely!” or at least a hesitant “Ok.”

Why did his answer change? He wanted it more.

Same schedule, same “busy” person. But suddenly when they really want it, time appears out of nowhere. Sometimes other commitments are even pushed aside for a great offer.

So what do you do to get someone excited about your idea?

First, you get them thinking about how something related to your offer would be great for them. I like to start with something that is one or two mental steps away from whatever the offer is. If you’re about to invite them to Vegas, remind them of the great time you had at a local rave (you thought I was going to say casino). Want to plan lunch later? Get them talking about how much fun you had last time you were together.

If you do your job right, the “I’m too busy” line won’t come up.



Ask me about how I learned all this stuff because you want to win bigly.


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