When it comes to making money as a musician there is no one-size-fits-all solution but there are some general tips that can help you find work actually playing music.
It’s always important to remember that the music business is a business. A lot of times people will feel complacent towards the business end of it and that can be a recipe for disaster. Many times students will practice in conservatories for hours every single day hoping that if they are good enough someone might “discover” them. Sadly, this is not the case.
There are always more musicians available then job positions out there. Without proper networking nobody will ever know you even exist. You have to get yourself out there, you should find other musicians to play with and talk with. This is not just a suggestion; it is really something that all musicians should do.
When you are around other musicians you will quickly realize that most of them are looking for that person who has the jobs. Don’t be afraid to be that person. It’s actually easier to start your own musical group then to go find others to hire you. Jobs are scarce in this world and many people who are becoming successful are the entrepreneurial types who create opportunities and unique business models on their own.
If you’re starting out on your own with a group of musicians you have to make sure you do your part in advertising yourselves. Definitely utilize social media but beyond that you need to network within the field you are interested in. For example, if you want to have a group of musicians who plays weddings you should not only have your social media presence but you should network with fellow professionals. Go to wedding planners, floral shops, dress shops, photographers, videographers, caterers and any other businesses you can think of that are involved with weddings. Make a point to meet with them and ask if they have anyone they recommend for music. Maybe they do but maybe they don’t. Give them your business card and tell them you would be happy to recommend them to any potential clients you come across. You will find that many people are very receptive to this idea and if you actually get them any referrals they may very well try to return the favor.
You have to remember that separating yourself from the crowd is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to business and networking. People love working with or recommending someone who can benefit them as well. If you are offering someone the opportunity for more business, you will most likely have their attention right away.
Another great thing to do is to find networking groups of musicians and meet with them. You can find these online or sometimes through schools; a great place to start looking is meetup.com and seeing if there is a local group in your area.
You should also see if there is an opportunity to perform at charity events. Donate your time and talent to something worthwhile and people will see you as someone who is important in the community. This can also be a great opportunity for networking as well because you will place yourself in front of a new group of people and get to perform for them. Every opportunity there is to get your name out there and in front of potential clients should be seized upon.
And remember, this is an ongoing process. You absolutely have to work at this every day of your life. You should be on the phone, sending emails, and doing whatever you can to further your business and name throughout the community. And don’t be afraid to try something new!