Your manager? Your agent? Your publisher? Your friends? Sales happen organically…I’m a musician….not a salesperson.
Let me ask you a couple questions: Do you want to be paid for your services? Do you want to make a living by making music? Do you want to be respected for the work you do? Do you believe that you are worth the money you are asking for?
Like it or not if you want to make money at making music you will be much better off if you accept that you are running a business. And, like playing an instrument, the more you practice, the better you will become.
Here is a dirty little secret:
You have to value yourself before anyone will value you.
What is your elevator pitch?
One of the hardest thing for the creative individual to do is to succinctly describe and express who they are and what they want. If I were to ask you: “who are you? what do you want? “how can I help you?” can you answer in 25 words or less?
My attention is the most valuable resource I have. I don’t like to waste it. Neither does a potential boss. When you find yourself in a networking situation have your elevator pitch rehearsed and ready to go. It’s a sign of respect and competence. It will give you confidence too.
Much like a first date it will be apparent in a couple of minutes whether or not there is any possibility of a good fit. The thing to remember is that timing is everything. Nothing may happen at first…but- if you are successful at making a connection you leave the door open for something in the future. And, you never know, a chance encounter may be the beginning of a lifelong relationship. Be Prepared. Be respectful. Interpersonal skills are a must. I’m sure you know people who seem to effortlessly schmooze with anyone. Let me tell you- it is a skill that can be learned. I’ve found that listening, paying attention, being attentive are great skills to nurture. Remember: it’s not about you. It’s about the relationship.
“People work with people they know….who they feel they can have a relationship with.
There are the rare instances when someone will hire you because they “have” to have what you do….but that is the exception. And, even if they did hire you….they still have to get along with you.
How do I improve my networking skills?
Think of it this way- you would never dream of performing in public without practicing first? This holds true with networking too.
- Practice your elevator pitch.
- Ask questions….about them! Most everyone likes to talk about themselves.
- Pay attention- make eye contact, have a firm handsake. Pay them a compliment.
- Focus on how you can help them….not how they can help you.
- Be authentic.
…it’s all about making the connection.
How does this get me a job?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. There a lot of people out there. If you stay within those people you know your opportunities will be limited. And, you just never know where potential opportunities will come from.
Besides- you may not want to work with just anybody.
A successful collaboration requires intimacy and trust. It is next to impossible to share those amazing moments of discovery and invention without it.
“I have the artist’s disease- I want everyone to love me.”
Truth be told I hear “no” more often than I hear “yes”. It took me a long time to realize that my self-worth didn’t depend on what others thought of me. This is so important let me say it again: my self-worth doesn’t depend on what others think.
This gave me the freedom to be myself and just go for it…and risk rejection. And, if someone says “no” then I just remind myself that “I must be talking to the wrong person”.