Happy Musician Strategy
Just say No
It's that time of year again. Just in case you are suffering from pandemic FOMO, I thought it was time for an updated reshare.
Hi “Can you play for free?” Wait! Climb down from the ceiling and step away from your instrument, there's more.
“We don't have a budget for music.” (AKA “can you play for free or exposure?”)
“We hired someone else for much less before”
“Since we are (family, friends, coworkers, etc.) you should give me a deal.”
And the other non-paying/discount request we have heard.
Giving a respectful and professional response while keeping your feelings in check will help you get the results you want.
Here is the response I use when asked to play for free or at a discounted rate.
“Thank you very much for your compliments on my [your profession here] I'm flattered by your invitation to [your profession here] But [your profession] is my livelihood, although lucky enough to do what I love, it's how I make my living. I am not able to do it for a free/discounted rate. I am sorry to decline, but thank you again for your kind words about ]your profession]."
I have also substituted "my livelihood" and "make my living" with "its a business". Feel free to use this response yourself.
The response is brief, professional, and respectful. I'm informing the potential client that this is a business. I'm a professional, nothing personal, but take it or leave it. FYI: Nine times out of ten when using this response people end up hiring me at my rate.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness [high cost] only that gives everything its value.
Now let's talk about that FEAR (I know all about it) The fear of not getting the gig, the fear of missing out on a potential opportunity. Saying NO really means saying YES to something better. Remember; they need you. Oh; and that other person that charged so much less or did it for free; you are not them and that is their prerogative. We all can't be Walmart. my reply to them is "how lovely that they were able to do that for you. If I'm out of your budget, I completely understand." I'm still sticking to my guns and giving both of us an out while being professional.
Now let's talk about that ANGER, get rid of it. Go burn it off with some intense practice. Being angry will not help you or the situation. You are running a business if you get angry and offended about every insulting question or statement you are not gonna last very long. I give people the benefit of the doubt that they don't truly know what they are getting when they hire a musician and stay cool as a cucumber. Why get all worked up and let them suck the life out of you?
After many years I have been able to recognize a difficult client and a client with a difficulty. I don't hire and have fired the difficult client. These are the clients that will abuse you, not stick to the contract, threaten you with bad reviews, and have a long list of extras that will make you work harder than you ever have. Let, them, go. They are not your responsibility.
Clients with a difficulty, aren't looking for an ego trip. They just need a musician. Learn to spot the difference BEFORE you're locked into a contract. Remember, you are allowed to protect your mental and emotional wellbeing.
You have options. There are professionals that do offer their services for free; when it's appropriate and on their terms. When I am giving services for free it's under my terms, (meaning it is factored into my budget) and the benefit for both the client and me out way the monetary value.
When posed with the request for free/discounted services ask yourself:
How will this benefit both parties?
Am I doing this out of fear?
Can I afford it?
Does this align with my purpose?
Will this make me happy?
Isn't being a Happy musician what it's all about?
How do you respond to these requests?
Musician Mindset Coaching now accepting clients for 2022