Musicians, your time is valuable. You need that time to dedicate to creating and developing your music. But, as you grow in your career and business, the busy work does too. Updating websites, keeping up on social media, submitting music, coordinating rehearsals and interviews comes with the territory of a musician – and it’s a lot! To lighten the load, I’ll be sharing tips over the next few weeks on how to make the days go by easier.
Coordinating a Rehearsal
How many email chains do you have of you going back and forth with your band on rehearsal times, days, places…a bunch, right? Scheduling might seem like it takes no time, but when you think about it, it can take a chunk out of your day. Things that might be slowing you down is when and how you initiate the first email to schedule a rehearsal.
When scheduling a rehearsal:
Reminders are heaven sent to someone who has a swamped schedule. Once a meeting or rehearsal has been confirmed, I set up reminders with Boomerang for Gmail (or reminders in Outlook if you have that). Boomerang is great as it lets me choose a date and time to send a reminder. So, once I know a rehearsal will be next Tuesday at 5PM for 2 hours, I schedule a reminder to everyone in the band to send a reminder the day before. This has prevented the dreaded ‘double-booking’ that will happen as you get busier. Be smart and set yourself (and your band) some reminders.
For meetings or interviews, I tend to follow the same process. Pick the time for them, be clear on how much time you have, give them your contact info and set those reminders!
You know that image we all have in our heads about personal assistants? Only celebrities are busy (and rich) enough to have someone to keep them on track and book their first-class flights. Maybe you don’t see the need for an assistant – you are determined to be the DIY musician and actually believe it’s possible . But your life is feeling unbalanced, and you are finding yourself spending more time updating Facebook than working on your next album.
Hiring a personal assistant is costly for anyone, especially a musician getting their feet off the ground, but there is an option here for you – a virtual assistant. You could still be hurting yourself professionally, financially AND personally by not hiring a virtual assistant – want to know how?
Below are 5 benefits of getting a virtual assistant of your own.
1. Clear and efficient payment terms.
Virtual assistants understand that you are only paying them for the time they work on you – NOT for lunch breaks, sick-days nor vacations. Your money is 100% going to investing in you! You are not responsible for office space, office supplies, computer, etc as you would be with a regular full-time employee. Also, most VA’s work as independent contractors – this means to you that you don’t worry about insurance, benefits or taxes. Make the agreement clear and on your terms from the beginning and you’ll be set.
2. They do the ‘stuff’ you don’t want to do.
You know you should be writing a new blog post. You know you should be writing to venues or conference appearance opportunities. You might procrastinate, avoid and even all together not even start a task that you know should be done. But you would just rather tune out and practice on your instrument, spend a couple hours in the studio, and get to that next record as soon as you could. With an assistant to delegate to, those tasks are as easy as done. Bottom line – you don’t have to do stuff that you don’t want to do!
3. You’ll get organized without really trying.
Virtual assistants are all about organization, prioritizing and getting sh*t done. And the best out there are proactive and manage their time extremely well. Ever double booked yourself? Sure you have! When I start working with a musician, right off the bat I create their calendar. I share the file with them via Google Docs, as well as emailing it to them every other week. Their calendar includes performance dates, personal appointments, meetings, rehearsals and travel days. My musicians might have their own way of marking important dates down, but this allows for both of us to double check any possible future conflicts. Double bookings WILL happen with musicians handling their own schedule, but are typically avoided with 2 pairs of eyes watching. This would make any person, let alone the busy musician, more organized.
4. No training needed.
One musician I work with only hired interns before bringing me on board. I understand why she did this because you can hire them for zero to minimum wage. However, she found herself spending more time explaining and training rather than them getting the stuff she needed done, and it felt more productive for her to just do it on her own. Where she had it wrong was knowing what kind of support she needed. Yes, an assistant will cost more, but the right one will have the skills and knowledge already established and is only the best investment you can make in terms of starting your team. The time you work with them won’t be training, but delegating those tasks you don’t want to do (see no.2!) and concentrating on getting to your next show or writing the next Billboard charting hit.
5. They are real support – you’re not alone!
You might have already realized you can’t do everything yourself, so you went and hired the booker, manager and publicist to help you book shows, plan routes, plan recordings, promote your show, etc. You’re thinking, isn’t that enough? Truth is, as a musician, it might not be. An assistant’s job description is typically more flexible in the tasks they could do for you. While a publicist is hired only to promote and spread the word, or a booker is hired to book you an upcoming tour, the assistant works hand in hand with those positions, plus more. Who’s going to plan your band’s next rehearsal? Who’s going to update your mailing list after a show? Who’s going to mail out master copies to your distributor to meet a deadline while you are on the road? These sorts of things are not in a manager’s or publicist’s job description, and certainly NOT what a musician’s energy should be drained on – they should be focused on their music and building their own enterprises! With a virtual assistant, you aren’t alone anymore.