How to actually get started freelancing today.

OK---so this has nothing to do with freelancing.  But isn't that cool?

OK—so this has nothing to do with freelancing. But isn’t that cool?

Have you ever gotten really excited about freelancing and then never actually done anything to get started?

Maybe you read a really inspiring blog post or  business book…

Perhaps you went to a music festival or a masterclass that talked about business that got you really pumped up…

Or maybe you just have some friends that seem to get tons of gigs and you wish that were you…

Whatever the case may be, there is always one thing that always trips people up:  Getting started.

Has this ever happened to you?

I know it has happened to me a lot.

I mean, seriously, I remember in my days at Temple just blankly staring at my inbox waiting for emails from contractors to magically appear.

I wanted nothing more than get started and get myself out there getting gigs, but I had no idea where to start or what to say to people.

So what can you do?

It’s easy when you’re starting out to think you need a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and all kinds of other things that will just get in the way of really getting started.

Notice I said “things that will get in the way of really getting started.”

Here’s what I mean by that:

There’s only one thing you need to you need to get started.

***drum roll please***

You need to reach out to the people who are hiring musicians.

This is super important so I’m going say it again.

You need to reach out to the people who are hiring musicians.

That’s it.

Sounds simple, right?

Even this single step can be really challenging though so I want to break this down for you.

There are three parts to this:

  1.  Who is hiring?

Everyone’s situation is different, but here are two questions to ask yourself to get you started on the right path:

-What kind of gigs have I done before?

-Where are other people like me playing?

Think about what kinds of gigs you have done before.

Is there any kind of pattern?

If you haven’t gotten a lot of work yet, take a look at what other people are doing.

Don’t reinvent the wheel here.

This should be pretty easy to figure out.

For example, when I was in school, I found that I most frequently was hired by local colleges/universities that needed horn players.

I knew that there was a demand for it because very few schools in the area had complete horn sections and were hiring out for concerts.

I’ll tell you  just how effective this was in bit.  🙂

Take a piece of paper and jot down a few ideas.

  1.  How do I contact them?

This is simple.

Email them!

But first you need their email addresses.

Whoever it is that would ideally be hiring you, take a few minutes to surf around on some websites and collect at least five email addresses.

Yes, at least five.  Ideally you’ll have about 10-20, but five will get you started.

This is just enough to get you acquainted with the process and enough emails to hopefully get a response.

Here are couple of quick hints that will help you know what to look for:

-Churches: contact the music director; choir director; organists

-Weddings:  could be wedding planners, church music directors, or couples (this is harder)

-Wedding Bands:  contact the manager or band leader (he’s probably booking the gigs)

-Local orchestras:  orchestra manager, personnel manager, or contractor

-Colleges/Universities:  conductor of the orchestra, orchestra manager, heads of department

  1.  What do I say?

This might be the hardest part.  Nobody ever knows what to say.

I remember the first batch of emails I ever sent out was a total bust and I had no clue why!

Looking back now, I know exactly why and to help you avoid the same mistakes I did and save you tons of time and headache, I’ve created a word for word template you can use to contact any potential lead.

And yes, it works for any kind of gig.

You might be thinking “how could one template possibly work for any kind of gig?.

I stand by this because I know it works.

Before I show you exactly what to say, take a look at the actual first email I ever sent out trying to drum up gigs for my brass group:

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 5.52.45 PM

Within hours, I had our first gig booked (which, by the way, I still do twice a year to this day).

Wanna know the best part about all this?  THAT EMAIL SUCKED.

I sent that email to about 100 people and only got a handful of responses.

Even though I did land my first gig, I knew it could be better.

I made a few adjustments and tried several more times before eventually figuring out this one email script that I could use over and over again and consistently get GREAT results.

Since developing this template, I have made about $10,000 in the last couple of years from freelance work alone just playing horn.

No, that’s not a mistake.  $10,000—from using one template to reach out to people.

I’m not trying to brag by tossing out numbers like that, but I think it’s important to validate that this works.

The easiest part of getting started freelancing is compiling a list of emails, the hard part is knowing what to say that will get your foot in the door.

This template will save you tons of time and headache but most importantly, it will help you get started immediately.

Ready?  Just fill in the blanks.

Here you go:

Hi ____________,

My name is your name and I’m a local instrument you play.

I just wanted to reach out and let you know that should you ever need a your service offering that I’m available and would love to play.

I have performed with group, group and group around the area and would to love the opportunity to work together sometime.

For your convenience, I’ve attached my resume and/or recording/website.

Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you soon!

Your name here

OK—so you’ll notice that this email is much cleaner and more importantly, much shorter than my first email you saw above.

Here’s the outline and why it works:

  1. Friendly intro:  Tell them exactly who you are and what you’ve got to offer.
  2. Provide value:  Remember earlier when you figured out who’s hiring?  If you chose correctly, this email should be very relevant to them and they’ll likely welcome having your information.  They’ve got a problem to solve and you’re providing a solution.
  3. Social proof:  People don’t need tons of proof to know you’re legit.  Just give them a quick glimpse so they know what you’re doing.
  4. Make it easy for them:  Give them everything they need in one place.  Do the work for them by providing them your recordings, resume, website, or whatever it is that will help them with their decision if they need more proof.
  5. Thank them for their time:  People are busy and NOBODY wants more email.  Make sure to thank them for their time and give a little nudge that you would like to connect.

That’s it.

Obviously you can tweak this slightly to fit your situation, but follow this outline.

I repeat, follow the outline.

DO NOT send a huge paragraph of text.

Nobody wants to read that.  Seriously.

Alright, are you ready to get started?

Get those emails you collected together and send out a few emails.

Before you know it, you’ll actually be connecting with people that could potentially hire you for years to come.

Just one last thing…

If you do this just one time you’re already going to be getting a leg up on everyone around you, but if you take one hour each week to focus on reaching to people you’re going to be in great shape to start your career off on the right foot!

Let me know what kind of results you get in the comments below or email me directly.

Good luck!

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