Today I was on clubhouse for the first time running a room. It was with my brand new business 'Musicians who mean business' A space for advice and help on promoting and raising our profile when working in the industry. It's a big topic.
What happened was most questions led back to one thing. What's the connection you have with your client who won't email you back or the booker who you can't get hold of - are you confident about that connection ? Is that person a connection you would like in your life ?
There are many bookers, agents, managers out there professing to help us musicians with our acts, get some work for us, book us into hotels to perform. But the point is, I think, why can't we do those things ourselves ? What is holding us back ? Why do we look to others who may not have as much integrity as us, to shape our career ?
Self confidence and belief in ourself is key. The thing that makes us perhaps pay for an agent to book us, is they know people. They have a relationship with people - they find acts, and they pass them onto their 'contact' to book us. Nobody in that chain really knows each other that well. And it's most likely that the person who is actually booking stays with one person they know - because, guess what, they know them! They know what they're getting and they can trust the evening or event will happen the way they want.
What most musicians seem to struggle with (and I did before my 'a ha!' moment this past year) is that relationships are the key to everything. And if you have worked at those relationships then you too will have doors open. So why don't we ? Most musicians I know are personable, fun to be around, talented, creative and like a laugh.
So, it's THOSE qualities that we then withhold when dealing with our customers. (bookers, agents). Rather than being confident fun and sure of ourselves, we end up being on the back foot and sounding a bit desperate and trying to find different ways to 'get in' with people who we THINK will make it all ok. And that is like a deterrent to the very people we want to attract!
The person to make it all ok, is us!! We know ourselves better than anyone. So if we cultivate relationships with the type of people that we want in our life, by being as authentically US as possible then the right people will show up! It does take time, it isn't overnight, but if we know what we are doing then we can make a plan.
Something that came up in the clubhouse room was that although many of us have worked at a high level for many years - trying to learn 'business skills' makes us feel less confident as we are not sure of it. It's a mythical dark forest of stuff we have no idea about.
But really, it's quite simple. A repetitive action every day, to reach out and make real honest friendships online with people we resonate with. Not to 'do the hard sell' and 'dupe them' into buying our show or album. But to offer help. Be of service. Not give away our talents for free, but our advice, our time. Be interested, not interesting. Imagine we have moved to a new country and walked into the local pub, we wouldn't say hello, you look nice shall we have two or three children ?! Whaaaat ??? We would say hi, would you like a drink, see if there's a connection!
There is much we have to offer. And I hope to inspire musicians to give more at the beginning so they get more at the end! It isn't about finding out 'who books this' or 'who books that' and then spamming them. No. It's about connecting.
We need to stand in the others shoes and imagine how we feel when being spammed. I have had countless emails over the years from other young singers asking me to put them in touch with the people I record film soundtracks for. I always delete and never reply. I find it rude that they would expect me to just hand over the names of people I have spent decades cultivating professional relationships with. I have no idea who they are, what their experience is, how they behave around a fixer or a booker.
So back to self limiting beliefs. Behaving in a way that is not coming from a place of belief and real honest connection must have its roots in limiting self belief...? Because if we believed in ourselves more, then maybe we would be confident to show up, be fun, be kind, be generous and then during a lovely exchange make an 'offer' If our connection is real and honest then they will bite our hand off!