The time has come for you to fast-track your diva ascension. You have been feeling it for a while. But, how? Having a clear idea of where you have been and what you have accomplished in the past is the perfect magnifying glass for what needs to happen next. Working within tight time and monetary budgets makes singers feel like they have to do everything by themselves. Do you know which tasks to outsource and which ones you will benefit from doing yourself? If you don’t, you could be leaving money on the table in the form of unrealized potential gigs. Now is the time for reassessment of your musical career and to carry out your plan of action. It is important to identify those things that have helped you accomplish everything up to this point and where you can make improvements.
The Day 2 challenge is to Assess Your Current Skills and Resources.
Look back at last year’s Diva Audit. Look how far you have come in less than 365 days. Feel proud. Now you can reflect on where you were in terms of finances, messaging, pricing, marketing, tracking, monitoring, and testing in 2013. Perhaps you decided that you needed to review your essentials like resume and bio to polish your overall branding as a professional musician. Maybe you looked into your pricing for gig fees and or teaching lessons. As you examine your past audit, some thoughts may spring to mind of areas that still need a little tender, loving care. That’s good. Keep those in mind for our questionnaire below. It is possible that those areas that need more attention have benefited from a skills vs time vs cost calculation on your part. Remember Henry David Thoreau’s maxim, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” A truthful assessment will assure you that the amount of your life you exchange for the logistical details of music business is valuable.
Take some time and be brutally honest with yourself during the assessment to get the most mileage out of this exercise. This assessment comes from the wonderful book How To Be Your Own Booking Agent by Jeri Goldstein. I have added some changes to be more specific to classical singing. How To Be Your Own Booking Agent has been an indispensable textbook for me on how to make a business out of my passion – no matter how niche.
- Are you working at your performance career full-time? _________ or part-time? _________
- What are your personal skills?
- Think about soft skills like networking, positive work ethic, adaptability, honesty, cooperation, and more.
- What are your business skills?
- Don’t forget about skills like graphic design, website production, copywriting, speaking a foreign language, photography, database management, grantwriting, and bookkeeping.
- What are your musical skills?
- Do you have a niche? A special knack for drop-dead gorgeous Bel Canto singing? Coloratura that’ll knock their socks off? Be as specific and honest as possible.
- What office/studio equipment do you own (or have access to)?
- Think about what physical equipment you need to be a professional musician. Some people may need a car and others may not depending on your market. Having a computer and smartphone rank pretty high on my list these days. Does having access to a high-capacity printer significantly benefit your life? Are you able to burn audition CDs on a moment’s notice?
- Do you have professional-quality materials with which to promote yourself as a singer?
- Look at your promotional materials. What makes the cut?
- Biographies: longer, website copy? ____ short, 100 word program bio? ______ customizable concert/opera/oratorio/musical theatre bio? ____
- Recent headshot
- Audio recordings: arias? _____ art song (different languages?) ______ oratorio? _____ chamber music? ______ other? _______
- Video recordings
- Pull quotes/reviews
- Recent interview
- Potential recital programs
- What do you need immediately that is not making the grade?
- Look at your promotional materials. What makes the cut?
- In which areas do you wish to develop your skills?
- In which areas would you hire a professional, seek assistance, or add to your singing team?
- What personal contacts do you have who can assist you with your performing career?
- How are you getting most of your gigs?
- What mode of transportation to do you use to get to rehearsals and performances?
- How could you make this area of life better, easier, and more efficient?
- Do you have a lawyer or know one who you could turn to for legal, business advice?
- Do you have an accountant or someone with whom to consult professionally on financial matters?
- Does your current financial situation allow you the freedom to pursue your performing goals?
- If yes, are you budgeting/projecting business expenses for three years in the future?
- If no, have you determined how much capital you need to get started or make the changes to your situation you desire?
- If no, have you considered finance sources that might be available to you?
- What are those other finance sources? (i.e. day jobs, teaching more, loans, savings, grants/residencies)
- What changes do you need to make in your current situation to allow you to consider your performing career more seriously?
- Immediately _________
- In six months ________
- In one year __________
- In two years _________
It is incredibly important that we shape our lives so that we become more productive… not just busy. Busy gets in the way of us being creative musicians. Busy blocks us from asking the questions, “How can I make substantial change for the better? How can I affect people’s lives? How can I elevate the music scene in my area?” When your productivity increases, the quality of your work and how you share it with others improves. You are able to accomplish more without feeling manic.
Thanks for joining us today. Please keep reading and sharing these diva tips for the rest of February. Are you a diva planning your own version of world domination? We should connect here: @mezzoihnen. I want my world to be full of people just like you.
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