5 Ways to use Fiverr as a Musician

As a musician, there are going to be lots of instances that you need some creative jobs done, like a poster, a lyric video, or a quick logo. With all the hats you have to wear, you can’t expect to be a pro at performing, songwriting AND Photoshop. Sometimes you need an extra hand at these projects when you don’t have the expertise or time.
 
A site that I’ve found handy with clients is Fiverr.com (http://www.fiverr.com) . It’s where you can hire creative experts for one time projects, starting at $5.00. It’s perfect for when you need a poster done for an upcoming concert or a lyric video to promote a new single, or business cards for the next conference.
 
I recently worked on a special project with a client to create a whiteboard video promoting their online store, and we wanted to use Fiverr as our source for the talent. Whiteboard animation can cost upwards of $2,500, so with that out of our budget, Fiverr was a good option for us. During the project and getting familiar with the site, I was seeing how musicians could use this service, either to benefit their business by providing marketing materials or even creating an extra revenue stream for themselves.
 
So if you’ve never heard of Fiverr, or only browsed the site and want to learn more, here are 5 ways I discovered that musicians can use the site:
 
1. Lyric Videos – Lyric videos are a really great way to promote and market a new album or single, and there are more and more being produced today by every artist, big and small. Youtube is one of the top visited sites, your fans are going to be one it, so it’s a great tool to use for your music. You can find creatives to make a lyric video in a few days and boom, you have a great promotional video.
Pro Tip: When sending instructions to the person making your video, pick a font for them to use to save modification time. You can select and download fonts to send via Google Fonts or DaFont.com
 
2. Logos – While it’s not my favorite recommendation for a place to get a unique and stand out logo, it can be a place to get a quick new look on your name. Be careful, there have been rumors that some creatives steal copyrighted font or images, so just make sure they aren’t ripping someone off so it won’t hurt you in the end.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have your brand’s message in place and send it to the designer. You want to make sure your logo reflects your brand, no matter who is designing it!
 
3. Posters – Venues typically ask for you to send concert posters to post around their town to promote your show. But if you’re on the road or in the studio, it’s going to be hard to sit down and design a poster that reflects you. Send off the task to someone on Fiverr.
Pro Tip: Send 2-3 examples of posters you LOVE. This will help make the process go faster.
 
4. Business Cards – Everyone needs a business card for networking events or conferences, so you should have them handy, too. While these look easy to put together, Photoshop can get frustrating and you certainly shouldn’t be spending hours figuring out the program when someone comfortable with the program can whip out a card in minutes.
Pro Tip: Grab the template from Vistaprint, OvernightPrints or wherever you’ll be printing the cards to avoid any sizing errors later.
 
5. Share your talent & sell your service – Last but not least, create a profile and offer your services to potential buyers. Businesses are always looking for unique jingles for commercials or individuals looking for a special song to use for fun or for that special someone. In a discussion with Fiverr’s co-founder and CEO, Hypebot posted examples of how artists are using Fiverr for extra revenue to support their tour, next album and their business. If writing takes a ton of energy out of you, maybe this isn’t the best fit, but if you thrive on being able to write short melodies or light lyrics, you could really create a way to exercise your talents for extra income.
 
In addition to ways you can use Fiverr, or sites like it, be wary of some best practices I learned from my experience.
* You aren’t always going to pay just $5 for a service. Most of the gigs require add-ons to get the results you need, say HD posters or longer videos. I first attempted hiring the a person to create a video for $25, which ended up being a disaster, and we ended up hiring someone to create a great video at $60. While this is a far cry from $5, with whiteboard animation costing more than $2,500, it was a steal.
* Be selective and study your choices. Take the time to really watch their examples and read their reviews. You’ll be happy you did when you save the time of having to find a replacement from your first or second choice.
* Try to plan ahead and don’t procrastinate when hiring someone. Getting results isn’t going to be a day or two so expect at least 3-5 days to get the finished project. And that doesn’t include any time for modifications you might have. Give yourself time to work with the person to create a great product.
 
Utilize these sites and embrace the system, but be careful and smart, and you can create some great relationships with these designers to take some of the things you need done off of your plate. You’ll save time and the aggravation of learning Photoshop. ūüėČ
 
I’ll see you next time.
 
Cheers!
fionazsig

Extra stuff = extra cash

This month, I went a little out of my comfort zone when a client of mine had me manage selling extra gadgets she had sitting around, wasting space. We discussed selling online and the argument came up – via eBay or Craigslist. I had never sold on either, only bought, so I was excited to learn from this. She had a handle of items, some small, some heavy, so I got to researching and got to listing. Some surprises, frustrations and success were the results.
 

If you’re looking for ways to make extra cash, here are the biggest pros and cons with both platforms, all learned first hand!
 

Craigslist – Pros
* Completely free, no listing or selling fees
* Great for local sales. Perfect if you’re in music city like NYC or Nashville.
* Best for large, heavy items (speakers, pedals, instruments, etc.)
* No shipping estimates or hassle.
 

Craigslist – Cons
* Less serious buyers, with some not even showing up.
* Last minute negotiations.
* Haggling very likely.
* Lower offers.
* Less credibility and no sense of how much of a sure thing buyers are.
 

My tips:
Things like furniture or large items that would be very expensive to ship. Clothing, accessories or books are not best sold through Craigslist.
Never give your personal email, use the email through Craigslist.
Plan ahead to meet in public place near you if at all possible.
Cash only!
 

Ebay – Pros
* Clothing, accessories, household items and collectibles sell really well on eBay.
* You can reach more buyers – nationwide, even worldwide.
* You can do an auction or list a price at Buy it Now, allowing possibility to earn more than expected.
* Free relisting option up to 2 times so you don’t have to manually update it.
 

Ebay – Cons
* Listing fees (10% of sold price) and payment fees (2-3% with PayPal) do apply.
* If you are estimating shipping, it’s difficult to estimate accurately.
* Possibility of getting negative feedback on your profile if you rub the wrong person the wrong way.
 

My tips:
Things like beauty products, jewelry, books sell really well.
Be sure to list your correct PayPal email and make sure it’s set up to receive payments to expedite payments.
Skip the hassle of estimating shipping and decide on a price with free shipping for your item with the fees considered. Free shipping attracts more buyers!
 

So for example, you want to get $100 from a watch? Set the price at $125, allowing $10-$15 for eBay and PayPal fees and $10 for shipping. You can also use this handy dandy fee calculator (http://www.fees.ebay.com/feeweb/feecalculator) from eBay. Remember to add on PayPal processing.
 
My experience? I went in thinking eBay was the better option, being that it is secure and protected, but unclear fees and unexpected shipping caused a frustrating experience. However, we successfully sold more items on eBay than Craigslist right away, so, with knowing the fees involved, I’d be happy to list more on eBay than Craigslist. Which is exactly why I wanted to share with you a) how you can use these sights to make extra revenue and b) what to expect and c) your best options. Bottom line, keep in mind what you’re selling and you should be able to strike a deal.
 

Look around and see what you could sell – you might be surprised!
 
Cheers to selling!
 

fionazsig

Turn views into sales with Youtube cards

Festivities are in full swing here in Florida – everyone is headed to the beach or pool parties to grill all day, and tonight will be one of the largest fireworks display in Southwest Florida – I’m excited to celebrate with family and friends! Not only am I celebrating the holiday, but also celebrating the fact that these past few weeks I’ve been featured as a guest blogger on three sites!
 
Check out my posts that you get first, featured on GrowthGroup (a site dedicated to accounting for musicians and music businesses, highly recommended!), HypeBot and CD Baby. It is such a great accomplishment for me to be featured on blogs that I myself use as resources for my business and clients.
 
This past week, I took on a project for a client who was interested in exploring the uses for Youtube Cards, the advanced annotations, as a call of action on her most viewed videos.
 
This feature is a great way to enhance your videos, add a sense of classy professionalism and create a call of action – whether it be for building your mailing list or promoting your latest album – to your Youtube viewers.
 
Here’s what you need to know to build your very own!
 
 
Start out by going to one of your videos to edit, click the Cards icon, and let’s walk through it together.
 
1. First thing to know – You can’t just share any link you desire. There are rules!
 
Here are the four approved links for Youtube Cards:
 
1. Associated website (Feature your website) – This means you can share your homepage so fans can sign up for your newsletter list, or maybe a blog post to get votes for a contest.
Pro Tip – Make sure your website is associated with you Youtube Account otherwise this will not work. Go to Advanced Settings under Channel Settings to set that up.
 
2. Fundraising (Encourage viewers to contribute to your projects on supported fundraising sites) – This includes Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, Pledgemusic! Link away.
 
3. Merchandise (Feature a product on supported merchandise sites – iTunes, etc.) – Most commonly used to feature latest album, single or EP.
 
4. Video or Playlist (Promote a video or playlist) – If you are trying to get views up on a certain video or playlist, link it on a Youtube Card to your viewers. This could be useful if you have a Album Press Video and in the card, you can link to your playlist of the album’s music videos or single.
 
 
2. Now it’s time to craft a beautiful card
With a Youtube Card, you have four components:
 
URL – link to what you want people to go to when they click on your card.
Description – brief description of what you are sharing. 50 Character MAX.
Call to Action Text – the text that links to your URL, shown below the description. 30 Character MAX.
Teaser Text – the text that pops up that will entice people to click on your card. 30 Character MAX. Most important in my opinion!
 
Here are some snapshots so you can see exactly how it shows after you enter the information.
 
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Download This Song! (Teaser Text)

 
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In this video (generated by Youtube, you cannot edit this text)
Album Cover / Image (Generated from URL via iTunes)
New Album – Now Ain’t a Time for Tears (Description Text)
Buy Now (Call to Action Text)
 
3. Place your card in the video
 
Consider what you are promoting when timing your Youtube Card placement in your video.
 
If you are promoting a fundraising site, wait until you mention it in the video.
 
For promoting a new album or single, wait 15-30 seconds into the video. With the short attention span in today’s world, if a viewer watches 15-30 seconds into your video, good chances they will click to learn more about you and your music!
 
An important thing to note also is that the Youtube Cards can’t be edited to show for a certain number of minutes or seconds. Unlike annotations where you can make them pop up for a minute or even the full video, the Cards Teaser Text shows for approximately 5-6 seconds before going away to hide behind the icon.
 
Pro tip: You can place up to five cards in a video, but be careful with this, especially if you are placing the same card five times throughout the video. If the viewer clicks on the teaser text, all of your cards will show at the same time, feeling very spammy!
 
I love the way Youtube Cards look on videos and I cannot wait to use them more for promoting merch, newsletter sign ups and projects to generate fans and exposure. People respond well to easy-to-use call to actions so it will be exciting to watch how this will help build support for musicians. Start building followers, customers and most importantly fans with a Youtube Card today!
 
Cheers and Happy Fourth of July!
fionazsig

5 ways a VA can help you stay within budget.

Originally written for guest post on Growth Group.
 
How is your summer going? It is hot, hot, hot in Florida, so for the most part I’m inside in the cool AC. This Sunday is Father’s Day, and while I cannot be with my dad this weekend, I’ll be hanging out with my boyfriend’s family and we’ll probably spend they day on the beach to soak in the sun! But before all the fun, let’s talk about something we all really want: staying within a budget.
 
I think we can all agree that saving money wherever you can is a good thing to do. But with the ongoing push and grind moving forward in your career, it can be hard to stop and take the time to analyze where you’re money is going and where you can save. Maybe you signed up for a music profile on SonicBids, which charges a membership fee, only to realize you only use it one month out of the year for their exclusive CMJ showcase submission. Or, you have been using the same web host services only to realize you could be saving hundreds if you switched to a newer company.
 
I get it, as an independent musician you’re not only trying to improve your craft and skill, you’re also running and managing your own career and business. It’s not easy to always keep your eyes open and you don’t always have the time to analyze every small purchase, membership sign up or investment you make.
 
That’s when someone on your team can take the time to analyze your spending or take the time to find the best price to ensure your money is well spent, therefore keeping you in budget.
 
Here are 5 ways an assistant can easily start helping you stay within budget:
 
Find the best travel deals. An assistant can research the lowest costing travel options for your next tour. Using sites like Kayak, Priceline, Groupon, Trivago and more, they can scout out the best deal for you, comparing costs of flying vs. driving, or with Priceline, bid to get the best daily rate for a rental Рwhich you can usually get at 40% off the advertised price. After they do all the research, you’ll just have to choose the best option for you.
 
Remind you of deadlines. Most contests, conventions, events, and masterclasses offer early bird pricing for signing up earlier than everyone else. If there is a conference you know you don’t want to miss, an assistant can find out when those early bird deadlines are and set reminders for you to sign up, which can potentially save you hundreds of dollars.
 
Monitor and manage your bills. Bills constantly come in and it can get overwhelming to keep track of which ones have been paid, which ones haven’t and when they are due. An assistant can step in and set up automatic payments, enroll in paperless billing, or schedule withdrawal dates, saving you time and the energy in dealing with your credit card company, internet company, cable company, and so on.
 
Dispute erroneous or late charges. Instead of spending 30 frustrating minutes on hold, delegate the task to your assistant to argue against late or erroneous charges. Make sure they have all the account information questions so they can get through securely, or ask your assistant do call in at a certain time you are available in case they need to get in touch with you for a few seconds to verify that your assistant can have access to your account, especially with phone bills or bank accounts, including Paypal.
 
Eliminate or reduce business expenses. There are a lot of sites you can sign up on to host your website, run your online store, distribute your music, and even manage your team, and all of them come with a price tag. An assistant can research the ones you’re considering so you can make the best choice for your needs. For example, one of my clients was looking to leave her digital music distributor, and in my research I was able to find DistroKid, who does online distribution for the lowest monthly fee I could find with similar, if not faster results, and is, get this, endorsed by founders of Tunecore and CDBaby, two of the top online distribution channels for independent artists. Being able to save those dollars each month can add up to $100s or $1000s in a year, and is definitely better spent on my client’s next album.
 
These five ways are a great place to start if you’re just beginning to delegate tasks to an assistant which will save you money, energy and your valuable time.
 
Saving those hours spent on the hassling and energy-eating things to do in order to make sure your money is being well spent will instantly open up your day to focus on where your focus should be, making music.
 
Happy Father’s Day tomorrow to all fathers out there, and cheers to a recharging weekend,
fionazsig

Is your site ready for “Mobilegeddon”?

Have you ever found something that you felt like was too good to be true, like a secret that you can’t believe you knew before? That happened to me this week. During a conversation with my friend who specializes in Website design and SEO, we discussed the importance of having a mobile friendly site. Way back when smart phones were just being released, you didn’t need to worry so much about having a mobile-friendly site. Your site still pulled up on your phone’s website browser and that was just good enough.

Until now.

Google announced in April that they have “tweaked its algorithm for mobile searches to favor sites that look good on smartphone screens, and penalize sites with content that is too wide for a phone screen and text and links that are too small.”

This means that “Mobile-friendliness is just one of over 200 different ‚Äúsignals‚ÄĚ that Google uses for ranking its results”.

But that doesn’t mean that this should be ignored. We are clearly approaching a “mobileggedon” where most people are browsing on mobile devices than desktops and laptops. In the last 12 months, mobile browser usage has nearly doubled, and in the past 24 months has more than tripled.

That is nothing to ignore.

I did some research online on how mobile friendly my own site is and then how I could build my own mobile site.

The first step: How to see if your site is Mobile Friendly

Visit Google’s Mobile Friendly Test site. Enter your URL and see results in just a few seconds on how mobile friendly your site is.
You’ll either see Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly. or Not mobile-friendly.

When I looked up my own site, I got the dreadful ‘Not mobile-friendly’ message, so I immediately began to explore options on building my own mobile site, and also find out how to build my client’s a working mobile site. I’m all about learning something new – every week if I can! I built my own website in order to teach myself WordPress. It didn’t take long for me to find the company DudaMobile.

The second step: Building your first mobile site

My suggestion to build your first mobile site is to use an existing program that can help you each step of the way. DudaMobile is a site that offers a mobile site building wizard and instantly pulls information from the content on your existing website. I was able to build and customize my own mobile site within one day.

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Now my site is one step closer to being Google Search friendly AND I am confident of how it looks on any mobile phone. Big and instant relief.

Costs and features:

DudaMobile offers to give you a free account where you can build your own custom mobile-site with many features, including a contact form, social media integration, images, and redirect from your WordPress site.

If you don’t have a WordPress site, they offer directions on how to enter the redirect coding to your website. A free account is ad-supported and the URL is not customizable. If you’re not a fan of ads on your site or would prefer a custom URL, they make it an affordable $7.20/month (for annual subscription) or $9.99 if you want to pay month to month. You also receive access to more interactive features like GoogleAds, Click to Call, Maps, and more.

Currently, I’m bringing the importance of having a mobile friendly site to the attention of my clients and together we’re building their mobile sites with SEO Tags and all, headed in the right direction to making their sites mobile friendly and keeping their sites current with Google’s algorithms, a very important and crucial thing.

Are you verified? Easy to follow instructions on how to get verified today.

Happy May! Can you believe it we’re already 5 months into 2015? Just..wow! I hope it has been fruitful and rewarding year for you this far. I never thought I’d be where I am today and I’m truly thankful for every opportunity and move I’ve taken. So here’s to keeping that momentum going!

 

Being a musician, you are essentially a public figure putting yourself, your story and your name out in the world, including on the internet and social media profiles. Protecting your name should be important to you – no public figure is immune to the possibility of someone posing as them, in person or online. While maybe you don’t feel that this won’t happen to you when you have a handful of followers, there is a reason they are following you and you mean something to them, as they should mean something to you!

 

A good start to protecting your name and brand is to authenticate and verify your social media profiles online. Some sites have to grace you with verification (Twitter, Instagram) while others you can put in a request (Facebook, Youtube).

 



Here’s the breakdown on how verification on the top social media outlets work

 

FACEBOOK
There are a couple steps to verifying your Facebook page.
1) Link your Facebook page or profile to your official website, and vice versa.
2) Complete your About section of your profile accurately. And I mean, complete it. Don’t skip sections that you can fill out.
3) Once those two steps are completed, click  here to request a verified badge. You will need a photo of your ID.

 

TWITTER
Unfortunately, you cannot request verification for your account. It seems that Twitter is the most difficult to be verified on. According to their site, they simply¬†“encourage you to continue using Twitter in a meaningful way, and you may be verified in the future. Please note that follower count is not a factor in determining whether an account meets our criteria for verification.”

What you can do to show your account is authentic is linking your Twitter profile from your official website by including Twitter’s follow button on your website.

 

YOUTUBE
Good news. Youtube is very easy to verify your account, it takes one simply step. This video tutorial on how to verify your account shows clearly how.

 

PINTEREST
To get that pretty little checkmark by your website on your Pinterest account, you need to be able to edit your website’s HTML code.¬†There are two ways to verify: with a meta tag or by uploading an HTML file.

Pinterest shares a step-by-step post on how to do this, plus instructions on how to edit your website HTML based on providers, including WordPress, Tumblr, etc. Click here to view and learn how.

 

INSTAGRAM
Similar to Twitter, right now only some public figures, celebrities and brands have verified badges. It currently is not possible to request a verified badge. Like Twitter, you can let people know your authentic by linking your Instagram profile from your official website (and vise versa) as well as Facebook page and Twitter account.Overall, it’s the best¬†idea to link your social media sites every time to your website, and link your social media accounts directly on your website.

 

SPOTIFY
For Spotify, you will need 250 followers in order to verify your account, so if you don’t have that, definitely ask friends and fans to start following you. Once you have 250 followers,¬†click here¬†to complete the verification form. They also provide instructions on their site¬†here¬†to help you become verified.

 

The time you take to authenticate and verify your accounts will be a step in the right direction to protect your name and brand. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Cheers to authenticating!

Get the most out of your VA

March is here and I couldn’t be happier – it’s my favorite month! I’ll admit, I’m a bit biased since my birthday is in March. Can you blame me? ūüėČ

As you know, in my emails to you I like to share stories and experiences working with musicians, as well as my tips and tools I personally use to help save time and money for my clients.¬†The tasks I’m doing for my clients are probably very predictable to you by now; I’m creating graphics, scheduling social media posts, drafting newsletters, organizing documents…but every now and again, I get a response from my clients saying, “Wait, you can help me with that”?

Yes, there are some unconventional tasks that maybe you didn’t think of before to delegate (but you can!) that might lead you to get online and post a job offer for a Virtual Assistant.

Here are some tasks you might have not thought of to delegate before to your VA! And I know, I’ve done them all!

1. Dispute charges on a bill or invoice РHave you ever gotten an invoice that you felt was incorrect or not sure why you received it in the first place? Save the headache of being on the phone and on hold and have your VA contact them to find out the information you need to know. Most of the time, as long as they disclaim that they are your assistant and have the information from the invoice in front of them, they can find out why charges were made. Note, sometimes it does require you to be the person on the phone as your assistant is probably not a verified user.
2. Set up new accounts Рonline and off  РWhen I first started working with one of my clients, she admitted to hating to have to create a profile online or start an account online, which had to happen for her to apply to gigs or complete certain goals. It was overwhelming for her to keep signing up for more accounts and then manage and maintain them. Well, when we started working together, she was then able to pass off that task to me and not stress about another account to sign up for.

3. Personal purchases –¬†Need some flowers sent to a friend but your schedule is nonstop on the road? Struggling with gift ideas for a friend? Your assistant can spend the time coming up with ideas and even place the order for you.

4. Receive mail for you –¬†This is something I actually do frequently for my clients. One in particular travels a lot, almost every weekend, so sometimes we direct important documents being mailed to him to be sent to me since I am in my office every day. It ensures that things were sent and if needed, can be stored safely, instead of him wondering if it made it to his mailbox.

5. Something else? Just ask.¬†– Almost every week I’m doing something new that I¬†hadn’t done before¬†for my clients, from mixing audio before¬†submitting to a licensing company, or calling up a health insurance company to explain their benefits.¬†If there’s something you need done and¬†you don’t have the time or¬†just don’t want to do it,¬†ask your assistant to take on the task.

Every VA is different in what services they are willing and able to do, but you don’t know if you don’t ask. Bottom line, their role being there to support you in your business and your life, most tasks you will ask of them is to be expected.

Let them help you take time off of your hands to do less what of you don’t want to do and more of what you need and want to do for your career.

Cheers to delegation!

No gig is too big or too small for this.

These past few weeks were a force to reckon with…let me just begin with this…Have you ever agreed to do a show without any sort of written agreement?¬†DON’T. Do not ever think you don’t need one.
 
Yes, I’ll admit, most gigs go by without a hiccup. You agree to terms, you show up, and you get a check handed to you right away. Everyone is happy. However, what if you finish your job and have a great, exciting performance,¬†realize when you get home miles away, after the fact, that you were never handed your check?
 
Believe it, it happens to some of the top musicians in the industry. I’ve seen it. I’m still seeing it, and particularly this month I experienced a horrifying¬†situation.
 
A¬†performance was agreed upon in good faith with a long time colleague of my client. They had done programs like this together before and worked together for years so there was much trust built. All positive. My client wrote¬†an email with all the terms to substitute for a full-on¬†agreement, as no one felt it wasn’t necessary (It might be relevant for me to tell you now that¬†no payment terms were given in this email.)
 
The concert came, went absolutely wonderful. They sold many tickets and my client had a great visit. His colleague helped every step of the way to make it a great performance.
 
After the event, my client didn’t receive the check. Why? OH, the venue has to process the payment first and then he can get paid, said my client’s friend.
 
After a month, payment wasn’t still received.
 
Another week went by, and that’s when I was asked to step in and ask my client’s colleague¬†about why payment taking so long. He responded to me, explaining that unfortunately, he wouldn’t be able to pay for another 2 months, that it was just a crazy time, that it was the soonest he could, that he still had to process the payment from the venue….get a sense of what’s happening here?
 

 
It made me and my client clinch, but we now had it in writing when payment would be made. Also, again considering the relationship, a little shaken but still strong, my client agreed to waiting.
 
Then, the new deadline was approaching, and there was no word, nothing, nada. After me having to reaching out again, he says as if there is no issue at all,¬†“Of course, I will send the check! Right away! Yes!”
 
I was optimistic – finally, a sign that he will send the payment! My job was done, I thought.¬†If only I had remembered who we were dealing with….Another 2 weeks went by, and no payment was seen.
 
After harassing him on the phone, email, AND¬†Facebook, demanding him to overnight the payment right away, he finally responded, and said the best he could do was¬†send¬†HALF of the payment. I requested that he¬†document the receipts so I knew I could trust that he sent it. I felt silly doing it, but it was the only way I could ensure that he would actually send it. I’m going to have to do it again when he is able to pay the second half next week.
 
As my client and I are discussing our frustrations, it’s clear that we are both thinking that we wish that even the simplest of terms, especially including when payment was due, were agreed to¬†in writing.¬†Even the most seemingly trusting people out there can easily screw you over! And the worst part about it is that it’s completely preventable.
 
Sometimes the biggest mistakes and negative situations can be a great blessing in disguise. Let this story be a lesson for any performance, big or small, have a written agreement on file. It protects everyone and avoids confusion and frustration. Most importantly, it avoids valuable time wasted on chasing payments and the energy spent doing so.
 
So, with your next concert or gig, draft up an agreement with all the terms laid out, including when and how you’ll get paid for your services, and ask the presenter to sign it. If an agreement feels too formal, put it in an email and ask them to say they received and agree. Simple as that, and you can go to bed that night knowing you are protecting yourself a little better. A small, forward step to improving your business. Trust me, you’ll be saving hours and hours of energy and follow up afterwards when things don’t go smoothly.
 
As always, have a wonderful rest of your weekend and see you next time.

 
Cheers,

Let’s take care of this now.

Today’s post comes from a huge project I have begun to tackle for one of my clients this week. Recently we teamed up with a service to help us promote the selling of a live set recording, right after the show. It’s a fantastic service, we were all really excited to set up some targeted email marketing to people in the area where the concert was¬†and to where my client’s largest fan base is located.All was going smoothly until we took a closer look at the list of emails that were being pulled up when we searched for certain cities within our list. People living in completely different cities AND states than what we were searching for were showing up! It was bizarre! A search in Los Angeles or the state of California shouldn’t be pulling up people in Vermont or Las Vegas. It was clear right away that the list required some…maintenance.

 
It turns out that the initial import of the list, the people’s information of city, state or even country weren’t imported correctly.¬†Therefore, every entry from that point was also ¬†incorrect.¬†Needless to say, our ‘target marketing’ was nonexistent and it frustrated everyone on all sides.

 
Now that we are aware of the problem, we’re taking steps and cleaning up the list.¬†Correcting 1000s of contacts to ensure each of their location is correct will easily take 3 or 4 hours, even for the most tech savvy.¬†If you don’t have someone on your team to take care of the maintenance of your list, that will mean a lot of valuable time of yours taken up. Valuable time that could have been avoided from day one.

 

Your newsletter list is one of the most important tools you have to promote yourself and your art, so it’s crucial to have the list updated and correct.¬†So don’t let it run loose and get out of control!
 

Here are some ways you can ensure your list is where you need to be AND to avoid taking time going back and cleaning it up.
 

1. Initial Set Up¬†– If you are new to building your newsletter list, don’t hesitate to ask for help from day one. All CRM sites are going to have support and step by step instructions on how to upload your list / add names. You want to make sure you get it right from the beginning.

 
2. Decide what’s important –¬†You can ask for lots of ¬†information on a person to add to your list. You can ask their gender,¬†age, phone number, etc..this list goes on. Here is where you want to decide on what’s important. Do you care what city they are in or just their state? Do you want to know their birthday so you can send out happy birthday emails each month? Obviously, don’t go crazy and ask for their life story, but make it a point to get the information you need.¬†In most cases, the three most crucial items are email address, city and state. You can target certain cities or states with promotion that way.

 
3. Stick to getting that information. –¬†Be a stickler to getting that information from people who sign up for your list – whether in person or online. If you get a list of signups after a show of just names and emails, put them under the city the show was at. That is your best bet at target marketing them later.
 

4. Make it easy for people to get the most accurate information. – If you really want to know someone’s email, city / state and birthday, ask for it! Include it in your sign up forms¬†everywhere. Also, if you’re able to use your own or borrow an iPad for people signing up on the go,¬†do it¬†so you can include the information you want on your form! Leaving it out or being lazy about asking for the information will only slap you in the face later.
 

I know that this may seem tedious, but remember that taking those extra few minutes to ask for their city or adding the form field to your sign up forms will result hours and hours avoided spending on cleaning up your list. Make it work and make it work for you.

 
Have a great day (stay warm east coast!) and see you next time.

Cheers,

What I learned from my clients.

I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday and are enjoying the first week of December. I didn’t stay in one place for over a week, traveling and juggling a ton of things both in personal and in work. Which brings me to an announcement….next Friday I’m going to be moving to Port Charlotte, FL! It is bittersweet to be leaving the Big Apple, however, I am¬†very¬†excited for the new adventure in 2015 and I know I will never truly leave New York. I’ll be back! ūüôā

Today’s post comes from a very personal realization about how I analyze any goal. Honestly, right now for me, I’m struggling largely with allowing myself to¬†dream big. Being trained to work like an admin, I am constantly hashing out the details of everything I need to do; making the lists, checking them off and narrowing my vision hugely on the little things.

I’ve recently noticed something about myself. When my client tells me a goal, or even a dream, I have somehow trained myself to go straight to this thinking process: “okay, well, that’s great, but it’s going to take a, b, and c and I just don’t know if we can get to b, but maybe if we do this”….etc. I completely miss the point! I completely fail to ingest the goal!

What is a result of that? When the tasks to complete to get to that goal don’t turn out exactly how I wanted, I get flustered and sometimes those thoughts of ‘give up’ start flowing in my brain.¬†In the end, I feel frustrated because maybe I haven’t even grasped what the goal means.¬†

I’m realizing now that it might be because I don’t spend enough time focusing on the end goal. I don’t focus on what I’m truly trying to accomplish, whether it’s personal or business.

But, with my line of work, I’m realizing the artists I work with have the opposite train of thought – which is something I truly admire. My clients call me telling me of how a meeting, or performance, or a studio session has inspired them to write an album, start a new group, revamp their brand, etc.! And do you think they are thinking of the steps it takes to get there?? Hell no! Not right away at least! And you know what, it’s something I could learn to embrace myself.

It’s all about growth when you are trying to accomplish anything. I love the quote, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop.” by Confucius. It is so true!

So let’s say, you’re an artist you wants to master your instrument, which is a very strong goal in your mind. You can visualize yourself performing in Carnegie Hall or Madison Square Garden. However, committing to your craft is a struggle for you. You’re struggling with the steps to take you there. You are having difficulty practicing daily and committing to the instrument. I get it, I have been there.

If this is truly your passion, you will wither find a way or find excuses. So, if you want to find a way to make your instrument a part of your daily practice, take small steps to make it happen.You know: DREAM BIG, but start small.¬†If you try to run a marathon before you’ve run a mile, you are going to overwhelm your mind and body, right? So, yes, keep that focus on the visual in front of 100s of thousands, but commit to the daily small step to get you there. It’s not a waste of time when it contributes to your ultimate goal.

As for me, I’m taking these big dreams one small step at a time. Even with small assignments thrown my way, I’m working to adjust my thinking to start with focusing on the large goal and what it will mean in the long run, THEN let’s get to a, b, and c, and maybe d. This way, when the day to day gets difficult and I don’t get things done how I envisioned, it doesn’t feel as disheartening – the BIG goal is still there to aspire and look to! I’m looking forward to taking this and running with it.

I hope my struggle helps you break down yours and help you begin and stick to a daily commitment to make your dream happen.

Next time you hear from me, I’ll be writing from the sunshine state! Hope you have a wonderful weekend and see you next time.

Cheers,

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