With the Holidays fast approaching there might be opportunities to create a Holiday Program which you will promote to varying venues to make some extra money. Do have a plan in place to know how to get the word out that you are available to do Holiday performances, and do you know how to figure out how much to charge if hired? Do you have a contract that can easily be filled in and signed by all parties so there is no second guessing or misunderstandings? If not, here are some ideas you might want to consider.

How do you get customers? If you haven’t done this before, it is a matter of researching and ferreting out all the various community and business groups, clubs, appropriate restaurants, consulates (if you live in a big enough city), and those that are planning private parties. If some of your colleagues have had experience at this, ask them for advice also. Then create both an email you can send them with a clever and winning text with your information, and a professional looking poster to distribute around your community, (stores, libraries, churches, etc.) to entice them into looking at your web site to find out more about you and your product.

Never think how “cheap” they can get you because you might be, as yet, a somewhat inexperienced and perhaps unknown performer. You are offering a service that those hiring obviously would like to have. Being able to access your web site with a special section for selling your Holiday Program should contain a video clip of what they might expect. There should be a selection of say, two to three differing programs of different lengths of time and different prices. If you have performed this service before, you hopefully will have some comments from those that hired you previously as to how you helped make their Holiday Season or their party more festive. (You best bet is repeat business and your second best is referral business.) If you are re-contacting clients that you had before, they will already know the quality of your ethics, ability to provide the goods, and performance ability. You might even ask them for referrals to other possible clients. Creating and practicing this process will be good experience as you start to put together a Holiday performance package that you will sell to many organizations, private parties, restaurants, consulates, churches, etc.

“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • In structuring your fees, keep in mind all of the expenses that you would want covered. You need to figure out how much time, energy and money you spent in preparing your programs. Will you be doing this with another singer or singers? Other expenses might include coaching, publicity/marketing materials, time spent researching and putting together your programs, transportation to and from each event, and your accompanists/instrumentalists fee for the performance as well. And when you give them your fees for the program choices, let them know you are willing to negotiate the fee if necessary. All of this shows them you have done your homework, and are ready to do business and your job in particular. Remember, this is business, it is not personal or emotional, just your job. If you are providing an hour or longer program by yourself, I would start with a fee of $500. This will also include the accompanist fee. How you split the fee is up to you. Generally you will take $300 of it and the accompanist will receive $200. Let your conscious be your guide. If you are doing a shorter program by yourself for a private home start with $250 and again make sure that you have enough to cover your expenses including your accompanist plus actually making money. These are just suggestions for the fees. You need to talk to other singers who are doing this each year. The fees will vary according to if you are in a smaller town or a big city.
  • Creating a contract is easy. Print it on your letterhead stationary which you can easily create online. It needs to have the name of your company, your address, phone number, and email address at either the top or bottom of the page. Then it simply needs to say:
    (Your name) agrees to provide (program # 1, 2, or 3) to (name of person or organization and address) from (beginning time) to (approximate ending time) on (date.) The agreed upon fee for this service is (amount) to be paid at the end of the event.
    Or you could go to the internet and download a simple contract. But this will get you started. It’s not rocket science.

“Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.” – Sarah Dessen

  • This is also a possible opportunity to schmooze with guests. It is always a good practice to check out those that have hired you with a through internet search. Try to know something about them outside of their business life. You may find that you have some interest in common and this will help make you more comfortable when in conversation. Also, have your business cards ready to hand out. When in conversation remember to ask lots questions and then really listen as they speak. It’s not about you, it’s about them. It’s what specific benefits you are bringing to them. Help yourself by listing what you have to offer them by writing down these benefits on paper and who else agrees with what you have said from past performances, and life in general.

When you have your vocal technique in place and your body of songs ready at a professional level, you will then have an appealing product to sell. This is part of learning how to create, maintain and polish your Brand so you gain the confidence you need to be you which simply gets heightened when you are in any public setting. It’s something you have to practice physically, not just in your head. It’s scary at first because you think to yourself, with your inner brat helping by saying in your head, “Who the heck do you think you are? You’re not better than anyone else here. You’re not that special!” No you’re not, but then you also are not a plumber, a teacher, a business executive, an accountant, a manager, a sales person, waitress. etc. They all have their personal brands when they work at their jobs. It is just a job!!!!!! It’s different for them because most people wish they could do what you are doing. But it is no different.

You are providing a very specialized service that they want. You need to present yourself in that light at all times so you don’t break the illusion for the public. It doesn’t mean you are more special personally then they are, it just means they are paying to see something and someone they wish they had the talent to be. Happy Holidays!

You know what I think. Now let me hear what’s on your mind.
Avanti and ciao for now.Carol


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