Sounds silly doesn’t it? Yet, this is what happens to many speakers, singers, musicians and poets. Despite years of training and investment, it’s assumed that we’ll do an event for….wait for it….the exposure. Or, worse yet, we’re expected to pay to be there! Say what??
This is about as insulting as being offered an entry-level salary, even though you have 30 years of experience and an MBA. Everyone wants something for nothing. The way to avoid these scenarios is to know your worth! If you’re interviewing for a regular position or office job, check websites like Glass Door or Pay Scale to see if the salary being offered is fair.
If you’re a musician or speaker and you’re booking yourself for a conference, festival, or event, ask what the budget is. You may need to negotiate a bit but if the offer is way too low – walk away! As I mentioned in last week’s post, these vampires will suck your time and energy.
Building a solid personal brand
It helps to keep your sense of humor. I’ve asked event organizers if they’d hire a plumber but not pay him. “So, George, I can’t afford to pay you but hey, having your van in my driveway would be good exposure.” He wouldn’t even show up!
How about the restaurant/bar owner who decided he didn’t want to hire bands anymore? He wanted to get a jukebox instead. I tried telling him that my bands have packed the place and boosted his sales. Can a jukebox do that?!
As for me, I explain what my talk or drumming event would involve, the value to the audience, and how I’m different from most speakers and performers out there. This is how you define your personal brand. I then explain that I can bring enough drums and percussion instruments for the whole crowd, so get ready for some fun!
What I do involves a considerable amount of time, energy, and effort (Imagine loading and unloading a ton of African drums and percussion instruments every time!). I’ve also invested a ton of time and money for my instruments and training. It’s not a performance. It’s a transformative experience.
I don’t have a day job. This is it. I love what I do but I also need to eat and pay my bills.
Have a funny story to share? Feel free to leave a comment below:
Dori “the Drum Chick” Staehle, MBA lives in the Raleigh, NC area and owns Rock the Next Stage and Next Stage Entertainment. She’s a drum healer, percussionist, and a high-energy and entertaining speaker. If you want more tips on how to have a creative career and a solid income, pick up her best-selling book, Find Your Divine Rhythm: A Creative’s Success Formula. Click here if you’d like to schedule a complimentary consult or to book Dori for drumming or speaking.