Do’s and Don’t’s of Job Posting

I hope you all had a recharging holiday season and already kicking down doors in the new year! For some of you, I’m sure you are looking at your business and building your team. I myself have been there and have learned along the way on how to bring the best possible applicants to the table. SoOo, today I wanted to share some of those tips so when you’re posting a job for a VA or anyone else for your team, you are creating attractive and effective job postings. 

Here are my do’s and don’ts of job posting descriptions.DO: Write a good job description

This might be obvious, but you do have to go beyond the ‘Musician seeking Virtual Assistant’ or ‘Seeking Graphic Designer’. You want to be clear and concise in your job description. When writing a job posting, focus on the essential details. Include key responsibilities of the job and be specific with what you are looking for. What helps me is to sit down and write out all the daily, weekly or monthly tasks I expect from the person as this is the ground level of what the job entails.

DON’T: Start hiring before you are prepared

You want to make sure that you have the right accommodations to expand your team. Growth is great, but you must have a clear idea of what you need and what can work for you financially. You don’t want to go in blind or lead candidates on.

DO: Clarify what’s required and what’s desired

Some skills may be essential for the success of the candidate; others are desirable but can be learned on the job. Make it clear which skills fall in which category to help applicants make the right choice when deciding to apply. This is also an opportunity to hear from them how they would handle learning a new task!

DON’T: Make the application excessively lengthy

A survey found that 60% of applicants who thought an application was too complex or long would likely not even try to apply. As mentioned in the first “DO”, keep it clear and concise. A somewhat long application is perfectly fine in order to be thorough, but at a certain point applications can simply become far too extensive. 

DO: Get enthusiastic

Enthusiasm can show through how your job description is written and can really sell on applicants to apply! Discuss growth and expansion opportunities that that person can be included on if both of you are successful!

DON’T: Try to eliminate bad candidates

If you’ve had a bad fit in that role before, it can be tempting to write a job posting to turn away similar candidates. Avoid this urge; instead, write for the ideal candidate, not the “not bad” candidate. Keep negativity out of your job posting.

DO: Reply to all candidates

Even if it’s not a good fit, do try to reply to all candidates. They deserve to know if you’re considering them for the job or not. And make sure to be timely about it. Taking weeks to respond is not professional to an applicant.

I hope you find this helpful in your endeavors of building your team! If you have a job description you’d like me to review, shoot it over! I’m happy to give feedback and help you build your support team. :)Cheers,

My 6 favorite resources of 2021

We are here in December of what has been quite a year, and I just want to say I’m very grateful for you being here. I thought it might be nice to reflect on the year and share what my six favorite resources and tools were and why. If you haven’t used any of them below, hopefully they can help you out in your career!

Indiepreneur – https://indepreneur.io/
Indiepreneur was founded by musicians and offer real and practical advice for marketing your music in today’s world. I specifically enjoy their podcast that continually gives great ideas. I highly recommend you subscribe to their feed today.

Ecwid – https://www.ecwid.com/
Ecwid is an e-commerce platform and I just enjoy how SIMPLE the set up is on their site and integrating with your existing website along with Facebook and Instagram. I actually enjoy using this platform so I try to recommend it to anyone looking for an e-commerce solution.

Thrivecart – https://thrivecart.com/
This is a pricey one, but I personally saw my client earn her investment on it (and then some) within months of signing up. This platform creates fast and easy to use landing pages where you can promote products or events and easily grow your email list. It’s worth the price if you’re looking to invest in landing page strategies in your business.

LinkTree – https://linktr.ee/
I think every musician should be utilizing this tool for their social media accounts. If you’re not familiar with what LinkTree is, it’s the ability to create one link to promote multiple links. So, you could add this one link to your Instagram profile, and it could include your latest release, your merch, your tour dates, and whatever else you want to promote. And you don’t have to change the link whenever you want to promote something and include #linkinbio.

SweepWidget – https://sweepwidget.com/
Without the ability to go on tour, some of my clients were left with merch sitting in storage all year. As an idea to push out merchandise as well as grow their audience, we offered contests during the year! Depending on what my client wanted to focus on, we’d have some sort of gate where they had to follow them on Spotify, or give their email address – they had to do something in order to enter. It’s a win win for everyone!

Ari’s Take – https://aristake.com/
Ari Herstand is someone I’ve followed since I’ve started working in the music industry (ahem 10+ years ago?!?). I still reference his blog today, and his best-selling book “How to Make It in the New Music Business” is fantastic. My favorite post is the one he did comparing all of the distribution options.

Have you used any of the tools or resources above? Are there others you think are even better? Let me know…and see you in 2022!

Cheers,

Sync Licensing Tips for Beginners on Songtradr

Hope your November is starting off well – I can’t believe we’re basically at 6 weeks left of work of the year. Only 6 weeks! I’m looking forward to tackling the last goals of the year and relaxing for the holidays. I don’t know about you, but I think those holiday decorations are going up sooner than usual. 🙂


Today I want to share with you an interview that my client, Robyn Cage, did with Digital Music News on Sync licensing. She’s gotten her music in films (a Tyler Perry film!), movie trailers and commercials with the use of the platform Songtradr.

There are some really great tips in there to help you navigate the platform and to get your music licensing! For some musicians, it can be the most lucrative part of their revenue! Read the full interview here.

Cheers,

What I’m working on…

I hope you all are having a good beginning to October, beginning of Q4 and beginning of the fall season. It certainly does not feel like we only have 3 months left of this year before we come to 2022! It’s flying by for me! I’m optimistic though for the new year for the music industry opening up more and more. Just seeing pictures of the Austin City Limits this past weekend was wonderful to see people out and about and enjoying the great new artists of today! That crowd for Billie Eilish, WOW.

Anyway, while things have changed as far as the type of work I’ve been doing this past year, it still really is great that I’ve been able to continue supporting my clients through their other revenue streams outside of performing. I’ve also gotten a lot of people reaching out to me over the past year and in 2020 of other VAs seeking to learn how they can support musicians like I do.

This solidified a project that I’ve been sitting on that I knew needed to happen now. I realized, I need to release my own course on how to be a VA for musicians!

So…I’m really excited – and anxious – and all the feelings that entrepreneurs get – to share with you that I will be releasing an online self-teaching course for VAs, or anyone, to take and learn what I’ve learned over the 7+ years working closely with independent musicians.

I’m hoping to help other VAs find their niche and bring REAL VALUE to other musicians needing support. I’m hoping to help musicians learn more about what it takes day to day to support their independent careers.

I hope to share this course with you before the end of the year – I’ve taken my own advice and have a great VA of my own to kick my butt into high gear to make it happen. And I can’t wait for you to see what we create. 🙂

3 Ways Musicians Are Wasting Time ⏰

I hope your September is starting out strong, happy, and healthy.  It’s been an interesting last few weeks as I’ve watched major fall tours cancel, leaving my clients’ tours currently up in the air. I don’t know what the outlook will be for live music this fall, but my hope is that people can come out to shows and enjoy live music again. It might be wishful thinking for that to happen this year, but one must hope, right?

For today’s note, I decided to look back at my older blog posts (I’m almost at 100 posts!) and see what could be updated. I was reviewing one on how musicians can waste time on coordinating rehearsals. So, I thought I would revisit that topic and dive into the top 3 things I see what musicians waste time on.

1. Sticking with traditional methods and not investing in online tools
For example: I dread giving out paperwork to bands, promoters, and venues when there is no online signature tool. Most folks don’t have a printer anymore, and most don’t know how to add a signature to a document via their computer. So, without the ease of being able to sign a document online, naturally getting those documents back to me takes much longer than needed.

Find processes in how you run your business and look at where you can streamline them. You might be surprised at the many low-cost, sometimes free options you have to make your business run faster. Have your VA do the research for you to save that step!

2. Doing everything on your to-do list yourself
I love to-do lists, but I understand that I don’t need to do everything on that list myself, or in the same day. If you’re about to tackle a release or a new project, take the 30 minutes to just jot down everything that’s involved, no matter how messy it looks. From there, you can map out who could do those things and also prioritize the tasks that must get done during a certain time frame or before another task can be accomplished.

If you’re creating a list more to put out some current fires in your business, pick 1-3 urgent tasks and make sure to resolve them that day. Save the next important items for tomorrow, or delegate to your VA what they can handle that day, and save the rest for tomorrow. Always just try to do the next right thing for your business.

3. Not investing in support
Both of those time-wasters above involve not using a support person or a team of helpers. If you’re at a point in your business where you are doing more day-to-day work than working on your craft, recording, focusing on the revenue streams for your business, you’re not using your time efficiently. You have to be focused on the parts of your business that only you can do – and that’s not updating inventory in your store, creating a new flyer for your online show, and setting up a release for distribution. 

You don’t need a full-time or a part-time person on staff – sometimes the support you need can be found with a quick job post on Upwork or Fiverr to take it off your hands that week!

These three things will apply not only to any independent musician but any business owner because if you are a thriving independent musician, you are also a business owner. You must think of yourself that way if you want to have success in the industry.

So, utilize your resources and run your successful business!

Cheers,

Publishers: You could be missing out on $$$

I was chatting with a friend this past week and in that conversation, realized – WHOA. There’s only 5 months left of this year! It sure doesn’t feel like it, but the holidays are just around the corner. Has it hit you yet?!?

Anyway, I also had the pleasure of reconnecting with a past client this past week by giving a couple of consult sessions. We dived into the world of distribution, royalty and registrations. It’s not the most fun of things, but it’s oh-so important to songwriters, publishers and performers – especially if you’re all three!

We first looked at PROs and how to register your releases with, in their case, ASCAP.  We pointed out something really important that I knew I wanted to share with you right away once we saw it.

Most artists know you should register for a PRO if you’re a songwriter. But, you also should register as a publisher too!

Why?
When a PRO sends royalties for a performance of your music, half goes to the writer (or writers) and half goes to their respective publishers. Simply, if you want your publishing company to get a share, you should also set up a publishing company with your PRO.

This goes for BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, etc.

What do you need to register your publishing company with a PRO?
What you need is a mailing address, email address, tax ID number (EIN or if you want to register as an individual/sole proprietor, your SSN), and of course the name of your publishing company.

I would hate if you were missing out on $$ as a songwriter, so I hope you find this little tip helpful. 

What questions do you have about song registration? Hit ‘reply’ and let me know and I just might answer it in the next newsletter :).

Cheers,

P.S. Thank you so much for being here and reading my newsletter.

I realize some of you reading are virtual assistants yourself, looking to make musicians your niche, too. My team and I are creating something really special for you, stay tuned! 

It’s easier than you think to create an experience with your music! 🎶

I hope you’re enjoying your summer so far! Things are rockin’ and rollin’ in my world – clients are busy as ever now with live shows coming back and 2022 on the horizon. It’s never a dull moment in my office and there’s always a new challenge on my plate.

This past month I was helping a client create an experience with one of her releases. She wanted to make it more impactful with her fans beyond putting out the single on Spotify. She wanted to share behind the scenes how the track was made.

I have done this before for albums, taking months of work and content creation – but this was the first time I worked on a condensed version for a single. I thought it was a genius idea and enjoyed putting it together. On the first day of release, we saw a great reaction and generated income for my client – without any hands-on work (after it was published).

Here are some tips that helped made our experience successful!

1 – We decided to delay the release of the music to the streaming and online platforms to create exclusive access. Since the single is not available anywhere else, fans will more likely go for purchasing the experience.

2 – We allowed them to pay what they want. We had a set price for all the content they were getting but allowed them to give more if they felt generous that day! I highly recommend offering this in your store on your items. You’ll be surprised what people will do!

3 – We kept everything digital. Yes, we could have created on demand physical merch or send cards, etc. But, in the end we really wanted this to be something that lived online and could be hands off for both of us. Plus, my client is very environmentally conscious so the fact that no mailings had to be done to give her fans an experience was a plus.

4 – Everything was hosted on her site – no funnel programs, no special tools. We simply created a product and linked it to a password-protected page. We didn’t need any expensive programs or gadgets to pull off the experience!

Care to take a peek at what we created? Visit my client’s insider access product here! Get some inspiration for your next release and how you can give your fans a little something more – staying connected in any form is so important right now with live events still slowly coming back!

Cheers to your next release,

What’s in a Band Agreement (And Why You Need One!)

This year is FLYING for me. Maybe it’s because things are opening up again nationwide and internationally but things are moving and grooving, and it’s just making these months fly!

With new shows and tours coming together, my world has become about agreements recently for my clients and their band members (I prefer to use the term agreements over contracts). These documents have become so important for these groups. What’s helpful about them is that they spell out the details of the event, dates, times, what’s expected, and most importantly, terms of payment! You won’t get asked over and over again, “When do I get my check?”, “Do I get reimbursed for this Uber?”, or “Who’s paying for this meal?”

Maybe you already have your agreements created, maybe you don’t. That’s okay, you’re here now and I want to share with you some of the top things to include in your agreements that maybe you didn’t think about beyond date, time, and amount of pay. All of these tips came from REAL situations that I’ve seen happen. Doesn’t make anyone a bad person, just means life can get in the way of commitments and you have to protect yourself, your name, and your business at the end of the day.

Here are 6 things you may be forgetting in your band agreements:

1. How they will be paid: Be sure to specify the way that you will be paying so it’s clear to folks when they will receive their money. With checks, sometimes it can take a few days to process and if you have bills depending on the paycheck, that can cause your bandmates late fees. Which brings me to…

2. Late Fees & Lost Checks. Make sure you state you’re not responsible for any late fees, charges, or lost check fees if you are paying by check. To reissue a check it can cost you, so your bandmates should be aware of that and understand they should be timely with depositing your checks.

3. Lost or stolen instruments or equipment. Sadly, this has happened a few times on tour to a couple of my clients (Be sure to park your tour vans in safe, well-lit areas!). Be sure to make it clear that you’re not responsible for paying for your bandmates stolen or lost instruments even though it was during your tour.

4. Tour and Performance etiquette. This can be touchy, but I’ve seen it included in some high-profile performances. This is if you don’t want someone chugging a beer on stage, cursing on stage, or jumping in the crowds, etc. It can also be having no phones 5 minutes before showtime or making sure phones are silent during the show. 

5. Recording ownership, publishing rights, copyright, writing credits. Sometimes you have times where you are recording new music or during rehearsal, you write a new melody to your songs. Make sure you clarify who gets the rights and percentages to the band if it’s picked up by publishing.

6. Terms if the band member has to leave the tour early. This happens more often than you might think. Life can hit hard and band and personnel sometimes have to leave the road. Make sure the protocol is clear in how they should leave. They can’t just be gone one morning. Request communication and replacement options if applicable.

I hope this proves helpful in navigating agreements with your bandmates. I’ve never heard anyone regretting putting agreements in place with their band members, so be sure to start doing it today.

Keep making your great music

Enhance Your Single Release With On Demand Merch

To make up for the lack of live shows, 2020 was a big year for online streaming. The growth as the number of paid subscriptions increased by 24% in early 2020, and lots of music was released during the pandemic. Many of my clients started pouring out singles and releasing them throughout the year – so we got to working on how we could make these releases a fun experience for the fans – beyond just listening to it on Spotify or Apple.

One strategy was using the on-demand printing service, Printful, to create merch specifically around a single release for a limited time. The major artists do this all the time – they get you hyped up about a new release and create unique merch around it. However, you don’t always want to invest in 100s of items, so using the on-demand services is ideal. There are some things I learned along the way. Here are the pros and cons of using on-demand printing that I feel are most important to understand, whether for a release or in general.

CONS
1. Limited items – You are limited to the merchandise that the on-demand printer can offer. That can sometimes be frustrating if you’d like to offer something unique. 

2. Profit Margins – You may have to increase the cost of your items to your customers in order to make a decent profit margin, but you have total control on how much you want to make.

3. Return management – It can sometimes be trickier since you’re depending on a third party to process a refund to you in order to refund a customer if there’s an issue. That’s why it’s important to have a clear return policy on your store site that benefits you. Most of the time though, the on-demand printer will want to work with you because they only make money when you do!

PROS
1. No Bulk Orders – The obvious one here is you don’t need to place orders of 100s of items to be able to offer merch in your store. So, you don’t have to worry about having boxes of merch that doesn’t sell sitting in your closet.

2. Inventory Management – You don’t have to worry if you will sell out of an item because it’s all on-demand. Plus you save the headache of having to count and keep track of what was sold / not sold.

3. Design Experimentation – You’re able to explore as many designs as you want, and in turn offer that to your followers. However, I do recommend having a limit of items. You don’t want to overwhelm your shoppers!

4. Fulfillment is a breeze – Never go to a post office again or deal with packing up envelopes of shirts. You can even customize your products and packaging with your branding with Printful, so there’s no sign that it’s coming from a third party.

It’s been really fun to be able to play with new merch items for my clients’ stores without having to invest in boxes of merch. We’ve learned that some things sell really well, and some things do not. So, go ahead and head over to Printful (or another on-demand printing service) and see what merch items you can create today!

Getting Google Verified

One of my favorite things is to figure something out with a client and then be able to share that tip with the rest of my clients, and you! And that thing this past month was claiming their Knowledge Panel.

What’s a Knowledge Panel?
Knowledge panels are information boxes that appear on Google when you search for entities (people, places, organizations, things) that are in the Knowledge Graph. They are meant to help you get a quick snapshot of information on the topic you are googling. It looks a little something like this 👇

Now, my client came to me saying, “How can we remove XY and Z! It’s not correct, it’s not relevant!”. Which is when I noticed the button at the bottom of the panel saying “Claim this knowledge panel”. I thought this had to be the way to edit this panel since there’s no dedicated person or any person on the side of support that could just change it for us. 

We worked on being able to claim the panel. Once we were successful, boom, we were able to request edits to be made to the panel! Now, of course, the changes could take months, but it does assure us that we have *more* control than before with what is shared with the world when they search for my client.

So, what are you waiting for! Claim your knowledge panel today. It’s quick and painless, full instructions here.