Step 1 – Build relationships (aka networking)
“I need to get myself out there.”
People say this all the time, but many of those same people stop short of taking action. Maybe they don’t know who to talk to or what to say. They might not even know how to talk about what they do.
Don’t be like them. Develop a system to regularly and systematically build relationships. Learn how to talk about your work in ways that people will understand.
Step 2 – Get referrals
Turn those relationships into referrals.
Most sound engineers are just waiting for the phone to ring. Don’t do that. By building relationships and asking for referrals you are generating an unlimited supply of opportunities.
Step 3 – Get the gig
If you are doing things to make people hear about you, but they are not hiring you, that’s a problem. New audio professionals on the scene have so much optimism and enthusiasm, but that can quickly turn to panic, fear, frustration, and burnout when they begin to understand the realities of having their own business.
You have to be able to talk to people about audio if you want them to hire you. Most sound engineers try to explain audio in a way that’s overly technical and has no real compelling meaning to people. That can work every now and then just by attracting people through sheer energy and enthusiasm, but that can actually be a bad thing, because it leads you to think that what you’re doing works. It does technically work, but not consistently or effectively enough for anyone to make a real living this way.
You have to be able to talk to clients in the language of results and problem solving. That’s why you’ve got to have a system that will enroll clients consistently and that works almost every time. If you don’t you could be out of business fast (or struggling for years to get this thing off the ground).
Step 4 – Deliver awesome service and be remarkable
If you are great at your job, but people forget about you immediately, you’ll have a hard time moving forward. Even if one client hires you again, they won’t remark about you to other people, which is what you really need to grow your business.
This can be difficult in audio when we are the ones in the control room, backstage, and in the dark at FOH. In fact, having a successful event usually means that nobody knows we are there at all. But there are ways that you can be remarkable and still do a great job.
What does a remarkable sound engineer look like to you? Is it mixing naked or adding sound effects or making the sound check really fun or lifting weights before the show? What’s unique about you that you can use to add value to your service? Your skills, your sense of humor, your values?
Focus on being remarkable instead of great. What are your personal super powers? How can you bring surprise, delight, shock, and awe to your work in an authentic way that would make it impossible for people not to talk about you afterward?
Most of my personal examples are subtle. A Portuguese band started hiring me because I was the first engineer to let them do crazy things with microphones. A San Francisco sound designer referred me for great gigs because I was the only one who asked for them. A concert producer hired me because he liked my wireless mix system.
The first one was a coincidence, but the second two were planned. Try to get an outside opinion to help you generate some ideas.
If you’d like to get my opinion on your business and what you can do to be remarkable, sign up for my free 30-minute Get Booked Solid in Pro Audio one-on-one workshop. There are 1,100 of you and only one of me, so you’ll need to act fast to get a spot.
During this powerful one-on-one session, we’ll work together to:
- Identify the key relationships that you need to get the best gigs.
- Uncover the communication breakdown that is sabotaging your success.
- Create a next-step action plan.
If you’d like to take advantage of this very special, very limited, and totally free 30-minute Get Booked Solid in Pro Audio private workshop, sign up now.