One of the most taboo things that I've noticed that floats within the music industry is the idea that, if you need work, you must not be successful.
There's a stigma that follows people around that if you tell people that you "need work" then it must mean you're not good enough.
A person who does not need work is viewed as someone who is booked up and must have a product that is far superior to the others of us who may need work.
I want to demystify something for everyone.
Everyone needs work.
Everyone needs a project to come in after they complete one. The best engineers, mixers, and songwriters have to have work come in as soon as they finish a project. Everyone needs work and I am so sick of seeing people act like they don't.
Needing work is like needing oxygen. Without work you die.
Big brush stroke ahead but I've seen it happen and exposed first hand but there are a lot of people who passively post online the classic "only a few spots left next month in the calendar , book now".. when in reality it's a scream of... I have nothing on the calendar at all, please someone book me...
I wish we could cut through all the crap and fronts and noise and just tell people, "hey, I am having a bad month, I need a project". If people started doing this I think we would see more people working overall in the music industry. People are making music everyday all over the world. The biggest problem is that people don't truly know when someone needs work and doesn't need work because it's a hush hush topic.
Just because you had a bad month doesn't mean you're not good at what you do. I wish I could make people understand that business is full of ups and downs and that if you're super busy one month and then the next you're not, it's not a personal attack on you. It doesn't erase all your accomplishments nor mean you're a failure. I talk with a lot of people that feel this way and struggle with the feast and famine mentality.
If you need work, tell people you need work. I have done this in the past a few times and it's always worked. If you're fake online or when you're out at show meeting with people and tell people you're busy and things are going great you may be missing opportunities. I have had a number of times where people will say, "I am super busy, I'm booked out for the next month" when in reality they are not "that booked up". Because of that it makes the person give the project to someone else who is readily available. Some of my biggest projects have come from being avalaible. I was open and ready to meet a need that someone had, and someone else made it too difficult or was "too booked up".
Business works best when you're honest and transparent. As we move forward in the world people are starting to value the truth more and honesty. Much of the industry is tired of the old gilts and glamour and wineing and dining. We have a lot of young people who just want to work. They just want to be able to mix in a simple mix room everyday and live a normal life. They don't need the fame or house or cars or praise from the public. They just want to be themselves and invest into the people around them. It's starting slow but I am seeing it in town more and more. The stigma of working out of your home is vanishing. The stigma of making records all on a computer is dissolving more and more daily. I think overtime we are going to see the industry get more simple and people who need work will be able to say... "hey I need work" and not be viewed as someone who is lacking.
There is no shame in telling people you need work. There is no shame in working. There is no shame in contacting people that need your services. You will get a "no" 90% of the time, but if you play the numbers game you can make it work. I can testify to it. Overtime the client list grows and soon you may actually be busy. You may actually have to pass on work but from what I've seen there are very few people who pass on work consistently. Even the A-list people in the industry need projects to keep showing up in their inbox. Don't feel bad because you need work. Don't lie to people if you need work. Be honest and work hard.
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