Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What To Do In a Business Lull

It's April, and here in Tahoe, this is typically a slow time for gigs. It's not quite the summer wedding/tourist season, and my performance schedule is light.

Do I freak out and wonder what to do with myself or where the next dollar will come from? Absolutely not! I make lavish use of my free time, because I know it won't last and my performance calendar will soon be full again.

Need some ideas of what to do when your business is slow? None of these suggestions cost a penny, but they'll make good use of your spare time:

1. Reconnect. Contact those valuable people who have been referring you to their clients. Say "Hello!" And ask if they need more brochures, business cards, demo CDs, or any other promotional products from you. Share some marketing ideas and find out how business has been for them. Making a personal appearance at their office produces a much bigger impression than phone or email contact. So if possible, schedule an appointment and buy them a cup of coffee. You'll be surprised-they will enjoy the little break from their work tedium to visit with you. But best of all, they'll remember you the next time their phone rings with a client needing a musician.

2. Get busy online. Check your website for dead links. Do some surfing around and check out your competition. Then devise a game plan for your next website update with your webmaster. Freshen up your online social networking profiles. Upload some different songs and photos (they don't need to be new songs and photos, just different ones). Add content to your blog (What? You don't have one? It's time to start).

3. Do your homework. Discover new ways to market yourself. Check out the great marketing info available online in podcasts, blogs, e-books, and newsletters. Need help in how to sell? A great site for sales info is salesopedia.com. Need help with publicity and promotion? Check out Joan Stewart at The PublicityHound.com and Joan's "How to be a Kick-Butt Publicity Hound" E-Book. And if you are searching for info specific to the music business, for artists, and authors, start at Bob Baker's site. Refresh your career goals.

4. Go window-shopping online or in retail stores. Plan ahead to make your music sound better. Make a wish list for new equipment that you are hankering to own. Check out equipment reviews on musiciansfriend.com and even amazon.com. Talk to other musicians about which instruments and electronics they like best. Then, when the money rolls in, simply refer to your wish list, find a rock-bottom price, and make your equipment dreams come true.

5. Enter the zone. Work on some new music, play to your heart's content. Discover a new song to add to your repertoire. Create scores for the tracks for your next CD project. Compose or arrange new tunes. Or dust off some of the old stuff you love to play and get back into it. Call some friends over and make music together.

6. Get thee to a library. Read, read, read. Pick up some books on marketing or just get a fun read. You have free time...why not shut off the computer and learn something new? Park yourself in your favorite café, or sit outside on your porch or deck and become absorbed in the printed pages. Or if you are so inclined, start writing that book that you've always wanted to write.

7. Get a life. Enjoy nature: Sit on the beach or hike in the forest. Pick up a new hobby. Go to dinner and a movie with your sweetie. Play with your kids. Take a break!

Relish the time you have off from dealing with clients. Rethink your marketing strategy and make plans to build your music career. Or don't work at all-- take a vacation from your desk, your computer, your iPhone, and your Blackberry. Shut off the email and do something different. Trust that work will return and you'll feel refreshed and recharged.

New to Gigging?

You've certainly heard the phrase, "Don't quit your day job". But in this economy, many are choosing to leave their day job to do exactly what they want in life, and to make a living doing it. If you're between jobs, plan for your next career step. Whether you are a gigging musician, or a gigging freelancer in another field, I can help you to make a living doing just what you want to do, to find your own happy niche in the marketplace (and to help you manage the inevitable lulls in business).

I'm available for personal consultation and mentoring. Contact me via email to get started. And in the meantime, if you have some fabulous ways to manage the lulls in your business, please share them here.

Cheers, Anne :-)

Anne Roos
Celtic Harp Music by Anne Roos
(And contact me at anne@celticharpmusic.com for personal consultation and mentoring-
Make a living while gigging)

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