Music Business Freelancer’s Guide to Finding Clients

By July 19, 2017 July 22nd, 2017 Business Advice

Most of the videos and articles I’ve done in the past have been aimed at helping you to get better mixes and productions. Today, I’m excited to begin sharing more business and marketing strategies with you. My goal with David Glenn Recording is to not only help your next mix or production be your best but to also help you grow your business and become a well-rounded entrepreneur in this crazy music business.

With that, I give you The Music Business Freelancer’s Guide to Finding Clients.

Let’s get to it! We have A LOT to cover. 😉

1. Self Evaluation

This might be the most crucial element so I’m listing it first. It’s time to be REAL with yourself about a few things. Being a talented musician, producer, engineer, etc. is NOT enough to make it in business.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you skilled enough at your craft to make money?
  2. Do you have a good attitude? Do people like being around you?
  3. Are you disciplined about work? Are you a self-motivator?
  4. Do you have any finance skills? Are you good with money?
  5. Are you willing to put in the hard work to turn your weaknesses into strengths?

If you answer the above questions honestly, you should be able to self-assess what areas you need to work on. Filling in these gaps will help you grow your client list.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you can be decently talented, good with people and okay with money and make a dent in this industry. A nice side income at the very least. However, if you lack in any of these areas significantly (especially the dealing with people part) then you’re going to struggle to land or keep any clients.

A quick note about skill:

I find this to be an area where most of us artist types have a hard time being truthful with ourselves. It’s one thing to be confident and optimistic about the kind of music we will create in the future and another thing entirely to know where you’re at right now. BE HONEST with yourself and then do a competitive analysis.

♬ Click here to read more about doing a competitive analysis!

2. Niche down your market

I get it. You want to be relevant to as many genres and potential customers as possible, right? Wrong!

You’ll grow faster and be able to up your rates if you specialize in a certain market.

Here are a few ideas:

Mastering engineer? Maybe you aim to become the BEST ME for vinyl records. Everything from mix consultations through to the final output and release of vinyl. (Side note: as of the release of this guide/post, the domain is still available. Someone better snatch that before I launch a new business! Haha)

Mixing Engineer? Focus on 1-2 genres and develop your sound. Don’t try to become the best pop, hip-hop, rock, jazz, orchestral, country engineer in the world. Not just yet at least. 😉

Drummer? Be genre specific (at least starting out). You might also consider offering drum programming, editing, and anything else to keep things all in house.

Producer? Nail down one genre and make some noise. You can always branch out in the future.

3. Build an EFFECTIVE Website

Notice I didn’t say to build a pretty website? 😉

To help you kill it with your website I’ve created a free download:

♬ Click here to download the Music Freelancer’s Website Tune-up Guide!

 4. Outline a system for your client process

Map out your entire process on paper. Starting from the initial contact (email/phone) all the way to your follow up sequence post project.

Here’s a look at my recently revised process:

Initial contact (phone/email) -> Phone call or Skype (discuss details of the project, including but not limited to: billing, sending/receiving files, artist vision, etc) -> Invoice for deposit -> Receiving files -> Work in progress -> Client review -> Revision process -> Client approval -> Invoice remaining balance -> Submit final files/stems -> Follow up sequence (multiple emails spaced apart) -> Close out project

5. Facebook Groups

Actively participate in Facebook groups where potential clients will be (If you’re an engineer, this doesn’t mean hanging out in engineering groups. It means artist, band, and musician based groups). Don’t be sales-y. Be helpful and then confident to present your services when the time arises.

6. Create blog content and/or free guides for your ideal client

Quick note: This does NOT mean you must create and run a full-on blog. While I would highly suggest that, here I’m merely talking about 1-2 free guides or articles to help potential clients. 😉

  1. Drummer? Maybe a guide to programming drums to help your clients better communicate what they want from you?
  2. Mixer? How about an editing guide or a mix prep/how to send files to a mixer guide…
  3. Recording studio? A guide to help clients prepare for the studio. Help them become more effective in the studio.
  4. Producer? Create a guide to help your artists easily release their music. Remove their stress or anxiety by laying things out in an easy to follow guide.

*Quick tip #1: Use Canva to quickly and easily design your free guides.

*Quick tip #2: Not interested in designing your own? works great. Just be sure to double check reviews and that you actually like the artist’s work before reaching out or hiring someone.

7. Build partnerships/collaborate with others

Building relationships is crucial to finding success in just about any industry and the music business is no exception

Make a list of the successful musicians, studios, and freelancers in your area. Research them on social media (I know… kind of creepy!) and contact the ones who you feel you can complement or help in any way. Networking with like-minded professionals could give you just the boost you need. However, don’t go into it thinking only about yourself. Serve them and genuinely help them in any way you can. Networking is a huge part of making a name for yourself.

*Recommended reading: The Go Giver

8. Follow up with potential clients who fell through

Maybe the timing wasn’t right. Maybe they chose to go with someone who low balled you and aren’t quite happy with the results they’re getting.

No matter the reason, following up with potential clients who didn’t work out could be a great way to land some work.

You might try something like this:

Hi, ________!

I was just thinking about you and wanted to follow up to see if you ever made a decision on a (studio, mixer, drummer, etc.)?

I’d love to hop on the phone or jump on Skype to discuss things with you. Do you have some time this week to chat?

Thanks again for considering me for your project!

9. Message past clients and see if they need anything

I have a few reminders set up for this. If you’re not already following up with your clients once a project is completed… You need to start!

Not only will this keep you fresh in their minds for future work, sometimes it can land you new work from them or someone they refer.

A simple message to follow up and see how things are going can go a long way. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals either. We’ll save launching a referral program for another day, but that can be a huge help when done right.

10. Facebook Ads

As someone who uses Facebook ads religiously, I have a lot to say about the use of these for finding customers. Remember those free guides I recommended you to create? Yeah… We can do some damage with those to drive potential clients to your site.

Is it too much of a tease to tell you I have more on this later? Hehe

11. Email marketing

You’ve seen it. You know the power, but you still haven’t jumped into email marketing. Why not?!?!

You don’t have to run a weekly blog or start a YouTube channel. I get that’s not for everyone. However, signing up through MailChimp (free for your first 2,000 subscribers) and sending a monthly newsletter to offer your help, free guides, alerts about local events, etc. It should be a no brainer.

Again, more on that to come very soon.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick guide. Remember, clients, aren’t going to just magically show up begging you to take their money. It takes a lot of time and dedication to become successful in any field. I’m here to guide you towards the things that bring results, but you’ve got to put in the work.

Now, can I ask for a favor? If you enjoyed this article, would you mind spreading the love? Please share this with anyone who you think it might help. It’ll help me grow my site and it’ll help the person you send it to as well. 😉

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