Monday, March 4, 2013
Start freelancing today.
For over a year, I have been wanting to start my own group and as of a few weeks ago, I finally did it. I'm starting small. Very small. But I have found the mistake I made in the past was trying to do too much too soon. I have talked with a lot of my friends about this and some people have expressed some interest in the process so I hope that some of you find this helpful.
Starting out, the most important thing is to decide what kind of group/work you're trying to get going. For me, I just wanted to try to fill out some of my calendar with my own gigs. I have done the "let people call me" approach for a few years and I can honestly say that it was pretty damn lame. I got called for a handful of things and friends helped me out by passing stuff my way, but it's not nearly enough to even consider myself a "freelancer". So I decided to take things into my own hands and start getting some work for myself.
I have always loved playing in brass quintets, so that seemed like a logical place to start. I wasn't even sure I could get five people together, so I spent a few days arranging some general wedding/ceremonial music for a quartet of trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba. I called up a few buddies that I know were around and we met up and played everything straight down while recording. 45 minutes later, I had something to work with. That night I edited a short sampler together using Audacity and spent a few hours the next day sending out about 400 emails to churches around the area. Within 24hrs I had us hired for a great Easter gig and a few handful of emails coming back with messages saying that they'd keep my info on file.
What a satisfying feeling it was to get that first gig! The group had our first gig and I had more motivation to continue pushing ahead. Since then I have gotten us booked for a handful of other gigs in the coming months and I'm expecting a little bit more to come in soon! We did a funereal a few weeks ago, Easter is coming up, and I've gotten us booked to do a paid recital later this Spring. As of this exact moment in time we'll all be pulling in an extra $600 this Spring. This may not sound like much, but considering I got all of this work from a recording that took about 45mins to make, I'm pretty proud of this.
Money aside, the best part about this whole experience so far is that I've learned a ton about how to make things happen for myself. It has showed me that if you really take some time to do the leg work, it's not actually that hard to figure out. Anyone anywhere that ever wants to do freelance work can (and should!) take some time and do this. All of the resources are readily available to anyone with a computer so there is no excuse not to start making something happen if you really want to. You can record, edit, make a website, get contact information, and everything else you need to get started for FREE.
The best part about this is that if you really take the time now to start doing this, you'll have a huge jump start on many of your colleagues. Everybody wants to get some gigs but most people don't want to actually put in the time and effort to make it happen. I've learned just how far you can stretch a 2 minute audio clip of hokey wedding tunes and I hope you'll put the time in and discover it for yourself.
This will be an ongoing topic so be on the lookout for more about this coming soon.
In the meantime, I'd love for some of you to share some thoughts and experiences.