Seven Steps to More Gigs This Summer

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Have you looked at your summer calendar lately? Do you have a full schedule of performances? Or are you hoping some more work comes along so you can be sure of making the rent payment?

Here is a quick seven step system you can use to put your summer to good use. It will not only help you fill your calendar this summer, but it can help you long term to build your freelance music business.

There are seven questions that you need to answer. The more thought you give to your answers, the busier you can be. One warning – if you don’t write your answers down on paper, you won’t get the same results. Something about seeing the facts in black and white gives the words more power.

1. What type of performances/gigs do you want to play?  Are you looking for weddings, club dates, cafes, outdoor festivals? Write down as many different types as you like. Don’t be shy!

2. What are the names of 10 places you would like to play? Be specific.

3. Who is your “target client?” What people would hire you? Are they prospective brides or booking agents? Concert presenters? Restaurant owners? Corporate event planners?

4. Who could introduce you to those clients? Who would be a good referral source? For instance, if you wanted to play weddings, perhaps a bridal shop would let you play one day a week and hand out your business cards. Or if you wanted to meet concert presenters, there may be showcase opportunities or you may have colleagues who could introduce you. There are referral websites like Gigmasters that you may want to investigate. And odd as it may seem, some people have had success using Craig’s List.

5. Who is already doing the sort of work you would like to do? Can you ask them out for coffee to “pick their brain?” Do you know them well enough to call them up and say you’re available to sub for them if they ever need it? Or can you just learn from keeping an eye on what the successful people do? One caveat here – be sure to be a generous colleague yourself, if you want anyone else to help you!

6. Do you have the marketing materials you need? In general, the basics would include business cards, and a simple web page where prospective clients can see photos or videos, or perhaps hear an audio track or two. Be sure to have current contact info on your cards and your website. Be prepared with your pricing and a simple contract. [Link to previous post]

7. How can you make yourself stand out from the crowd? What is unique about you? (And if you’re not sure, ask a good friend or mentor.)

Of course, now that you have the answers to these questions, you have to act. So go and get it done!

 Do you have any tips you would like to share?

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  • Mary-Kate

    Thanks Ann! I love the way that you organize things and break them down into concrete steps. Particularly with trying to find more gigs I find it’s easy to get overwhelmed and be all over the place in my approach. I also find that outdoor festivals or “garden faires” are great for garnering more work-so many people pass by and you never know who is planning a wedding or an event. Keep up the good writing!

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  • Patricia Jaeger

    Because I had not only harp lessons but violin also, I can bring one or two instruments to an event.Diversity of instruments gives a harpist an edge in securing more gigs,I found. Also, membership in a Local of the American Federation of Musicians where you live is worth every penny for their official Contract to use for every date you play, and for online lists of jobs available in your area.

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