This week I challenged myself to get out and do more during the week outside of work, ultimately not saying no to any invites. I took on the persona of a ‘Yes Man’. This ended me up at having friends of a friend who were visiting for the first time in NYC crash at my place, sharing cabs from New Jersey, trying new restaurants, going to a concert and the one thing I wasn’t looking forward to, a networking event.
I wasn’t completely dreading it, but I just didn’t feel good at that sort of thing. Meeting, talking about what you do and promoting yourself to a group of strangers. But I had promised myself to go out and say yes to every opportunity. And I remembered, I’m not going to meet new possible friends or be able to access new ideas staying back at work.
Something amazing happened the second I switched my mindset and started going in and introducing myself. I met people interested in similar industries, freelancers, musicians and even younger students looking for career advice. It was thrilling! And it was really great to get a feel for the words of what I do – a musician’s virtual assistant.
After that night, I made a new friend and freelancer connection, a student looking for virtual business advice, and a band in need of support. Three substantial connections that would not have happened if I had stayed home.
Why am I telling you this story? Well it got me thinking of my clients and if or when they do networking as well and if they have any struggles with putting themselves out there. The truth is, YES! Musicians have to network just as much as the next person to gain followers and spread their music. You have to do it to keep people coming to your shows.
It’d be impossible for you to have a successful career, thousands of listeners and do what you love if you’re hiding in the studio or hiding behind the laptop. You have to get out there! It is just as important as practicing, performing, recording, etc. all the other parts of your career.
I have a client who has been in the recording business for over 40 years, so when I do go to events or conferences with him, I’m really seeing a master at someone who selflessly promotes. And I believe it is because the ‘why’ behind his promotion is so strong. He has a clear vision of why he wants to share his latest album or his latest project with the person in front of him. And I don’t see him as a person being an annoying pusher on his music, but I see him as the hardest working artist in the business.
Self-promotion is a necessary component to your career, so here are some key tips that might help you step out of the door.
1) Just say yes – Say yes to the next networking event you can go to. The people you meet in person and share your story/music with in person is so much more effective than a tweet or a post.
2) Remember your ‘why’ – Remember why you are sharing your music. Is it because your music can help others? Is it therapy for them? Is it because you love playing to packed shows?
3) Get to know the other person – Make sure you ask questions and find out about the person your chatting with, too.
4) Stay humble, but be confident – Set any pride you might have and remember why you want to grow your career, why you want to connect with this person.
5) Follow up – When you talk to the person, promise to email them a song. And then do it! Contact them within 24 hours, stay fresh in their minds and send them a gift and ask them if you can add them to your mailing list.
I hope this helps you to say YES to more things and to not be afraid any more of the ‘hate’ people have for musicians who self-promote. Now go out there and connect!
Have a great rest of your Saturday and I’ll see you next time!