Freelancing for musicians: what you learn only with experience

The life of a freelance musician is a constant work with objections, clients who do not want to pay, dumping and an objective assessment of their work. Having gone through a lot of “copper pipes”, today I want to share all the main nuances and tricks that will help you avoid stupid mistakes due to lack of experience.

How to position yourself in a conversation with a customer? Start of communication

Quite often, a novice freelancer opens his arms wide, trying to establish as friendly relations with the customer as possible. This is facilitated by the belief that, supposedly, in this way the customer will be more loyal, will not set hard deadlines and will not slow down with the payment of money for the work performed. This is, of course, a myth.

Quite often, a novice freelancer opens his arms wide, trying to establish as friendly relations with the customer as possible. This is facilitated by the belief that, supposedly, in this way the customer will be more loyal, will not set hard deadlines and will not slow down with the payment of money for the work performed. This is, of course, a myth.

To be honest, at first I myself sometimes sinned like this and noticed that instead of location and familiarity, I see doubts and distrust, the customer literally begins to doubt how much a professional is sitting on the other side of the screen. Moreover, there were cases when people simply disappeared, started to ignore. Of course, no aliens took them for experiments, the customers simply succumbed to doubts and began to look for a more reliable candidate.

Excessive use of emoticons and excessive politeness betray newcomers, some know this very well and do not want to have any serious business with such coin hunters. Here are a few rules that I advise you to follow in business, work communication:

Do not switch to “You” ahead of time

Personalize some offers by calling the customer by name
Literacy is the key to success. Watch for mistakes and better check the correctness of the written word that you doubt. The presence of errors may raise doubts about your education, which certainly does not contribute to the further progress of the dialogue in the right direction
Avoid words that express uncertainty (allegedly, maybe, I don’t know, not sure, probably, most likely, etc.) Some people pay close attention to this. If you are not confident in your work, how can the client trust you?
Do not split sentences, breaking one into several messages. One voluminous message carries more semantic load than a machine-gun queue in a chat.
Do not abuse audio or video messages. Even if the customer actively uses them, try to respond with the same text message. To resolve and discuss particularly important issues, it is better to call separately and discuss everything at once “without leaving the cash desk”
In the end, the most banal: 10:00 – 18:00 – the best time frame for correspondence and conversations. Everyone should have personal time.
Remember these simple and important rules and use them. As Coco Chanel said, “You can’t make a first impression twice.” A lot depends on the first impression, everyone could be convinced of this in their lives more than once.

I offer my own services. What mistakes should not be made?

Sometimes, we ourselves are looking for a person who may be interested in our services. An artist, a group, various companies, private traders … There are a lot of options, the way of communication is the same for everyone. First of all, take into service everything that was written above. These rules apply in all cases when it comes to business communication. In our question, there are a number of points that should be discussed separately.

When we ourselves contact a potential customer and offer our services, we feel insecure. As if already a cut below, because in fact we need them, and not we need them. They fell like snow on their heads and offer something else … I remember the shabby “jackets” standing on the street and offering us plastic windows with a fake forced smile. Infuriates? Yes. We will behave differently, the main thing is to understand that they need us no less, it all depends on how much they need our proposal and how it will be formulated.

First of all, forget to start communication with the words “could you please”, “sorry for bothering you”, “please pay your attention to …”, etc. Most of these messages are not read to the end, or even not opened, but are immediately sent to spam. Such words may be suitable for selling windows or cosmetics, but not for talking about commercial cooperation. These words immediately make you lower, as if pushing a person to not pay attention to such a shy and insignificant person at all.

There are a lot of tips on the Internet, where to start this kind of acquaintance. Templates, tricks, tricks. All this is inefficient and banal. Trying to come up with a reason for which you wrote and why this particular person is, at least, stupid. Do not offer your services as if you want to book an interview. “Why did you choose our company?” Nobody asked us this.

Beginning to compose a message, start with just a name. “Good afternoon/evening, Tatyana.” Here. No apologies and kisses, our task is to turn to the person and immediately start with the essence. It’s time to introduce yourself, and already at this stage, a freelancer can make a colossal mistake. Here is an example of how not to:

“Good afternoon, Tatyana. My name is Inokenty, I am a sound engineer, composer, arranger, I worked with Sting, Shakira, Verka Serdyuchka and the Pesnyara group. I have been making music for 200 years, 300 of which I have been a session player for Queen. I play guitar, drums, flute and roulette. I want to sell you a song written by me in a strong emotional tension, you must hear it!”

Listing all your regalia while wagging your tail is a dead strategy. If you were a slave in the 17th century, uncles with lashes and whips would appreciate you for a few more gold pieces. Fortunately, slavery has long been abolished.

Specificity, politeness and conciseness – these are our three pillars. You can only “shine orders” a little, but this is only so that the potential customer has at least some idea of ​​who is writing to him. For example:

“Good afternoon, Tatyana. My name is Inokentiy, I am engaged in arranging and writing music. I want to offer you this song (link to the song or attached file). We can discuss all the details by phone at a convenient time for you. Number: ************”

Also, at the end, many add the notorious “hope for cooperation”, “thanks in advance”, etc. – can. Of course, you do not need to use this as a template, but you need to understand the mood and presentation. Do not talk about money right away, your task is to make an offer and get a response. Personally, I prefer to solve further financial and organizational issues not by correspondence, but personally (if possible), or by phone. Sometimes, personal charm can play a decisive role. Summing up, I will say that communication of this kind concerns, of course, not only music. Any commercial offer must be strictly based on brevity, courtesy and specificity. Move on.

They cut the price of the job. What to do? How to behave? Rules and exceptions

The love of bargaining is in our people’s blood. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the price of a strawberry on the market, a taxi “from the side”, or intellectual property. Not everyone respects the work of others, hence the desire not to overpay, but to “negotiate peacefully”. Even in European markets, this occurs, but not so often. So, you need to figure out how to calm down these guys and not sell too cheap.

If you have worked with people, then you probably know how to determine what plan the interlocutor is in front of you. Situations, like reasons, are different. It is very important to understand whether they are cheating with you, manipulating, or whether your services are really expensive for a decent person. Here it is already “on thin”, you need to soberly assess the situation. Let’s try to figure it out with an example.

Once, a vocalist wrote to me asking me to mix vocals with a backing track for him. The matter is already familiar to me, we begin to conduct a dialogue. Literally right after I announce the price, there is a branded “but one guy told me that he would make it twice cheaper!”. Think about it, if a person is ready to make it twice cheaper, why does he tell you about it? Not much to brag about. Usually, if they are ready to do it qualitatively and cheaply, they don’t run away from this. So something is wrong here.

In such cases, I always say one phrase in a stereotyped way: I can give you a 10% discount on your next order, but I have a fixed price for such work. If you contacted me, then you liked my portfolio more. The choice is yours, look at your options here.

And about a miracle. Then they write to me about slowing down at least by 20-30 percent, then by 10 … Not serious. I refuse such clients, as experience has shown that working with them and discussing the details of an order is an extra headache. There is no efficiency at all. Even if you place an order with such a person, it is unlikely that he will pass on information about us to someone more adequate by word of mouth. Like tends to like.

On the other hand, there are exceptions. The situation is the same, but a person frankly wrote to me that he does not have enough money at the moment. He said, let’s wait, but he wants to work with me. What are we, animals? To us in a human way, we are in a human way. The main thing is not to make a fatal mistake: the question “how much do you have?”. There is no need to go into a person’s pocket, because two facts are already clear: a person has exactly less than we demand and, moreover, so much that it is even inconvenient for him to bargain. The question is hardly in 10 evergreens. In this case, I propose a classic option for suppression, figuratively:

“Let’s not waste time, let’s agree. You can throw off the prepayment and I will already begin to fulfill the order at a moderate pace. As soon as your financial situation improves, everything will be ready. Moreover, I liked what you do, so we can agree on a discount”

If you treat those who deserve it with understanding, you can enter into cooperation in the long term. This one has helped me many times.