Gig Business

3 Tips to Keep the Hustle Going

By Brian Jenkins

Think of an airplane taking off the ground. That plane, to get into the air, consumes up to 25% of its fuel to climb. The energy is not always needed in flying, but getting off the ground. How much of your average week is focused on getting the next gig, getting off the ground? Five percent? Ten percent?

All too often, performers and entertainers expect lead systems, word of mouth, or blind luck to ensure their success, looking for their “big break.” Perhaps Emerson said it best, “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” In other words, you make your luck. Most people we consider an overnight success hustled for decades, hitting the streets and working hard. They dedicated themselves not only to their talent or craft, but to the work as well. It’s one reason why some performers who may not be as talented hustle their way into consistent paying gigs. Hustle beats talent over time.


Always be ready to book the next date.

While the moment of the work is the real payoff for you, always be aware of getting the next gig. Even in the digital age, old school business cards still work. They can be passively displayed, actively handed out, or even incorporated into the act. First encounters don’t always lead to the information exchange, and handing a business card gives people a takeaway. If you’re a face painter, the other party guests may want your information for their next event. You can also personalize the card with a note, use it to offer promo codes for your website or discounts for your services.

Share digital contact and social media often and freely. Making it easy for people to contact you is the number one rule of hustling gigs. Create a distinctive hashtag that fans and clients can use in their posts from the event. Always tag locations when you’re providing your services. This allows you to advertise your act when people are reviewing posts from the same place. Get permission from clients to tag them as well, and encourage them to share your posts.

Display your contact info everywhere. We mean everywhere. Don’t apologize for being excited about your skills and talent. If you can, invest in mobile signage such as pop-up banners or displays. If you’re entertaining at a party, place your signage next to you that can be seen in partygoers’ pictures and posts. Offer t-shirts or other types of swag people can wear with your website or social media handles prominently displayed. Share the burden of your promotion with your fans and customers.


Leverage the spontaneous power of social media.

Perhaps no one thing has changed the game for independent artists and performers like social media and live streaming. Facebook rewards feeds with live content and makes it shockingly easy to go live in an instant. Show live pop-up shows and performances, how-to tips in your field, and behind-the-scenes or candid moments. In the era of streaming access, video quality takes a backseat to spontaneous, shareable content. Fans and loyal customers want to connect with you, so give the people what they want!

Different demographics connect to social media platforms, so you need to spread content across a few feeds. The Instagram Stories feature allows for minute by minute updates. It also allows you to geotag your post, link to other sites (such as ticketing), or create polls to engage your audience. You can boost engagement by offering giveaways or discounts for those who connect with you through social media. Encourage your fans to turn on notifications for your feed so they know what you’re up to the moment you go live.

A small investment in the right equipment can enhance your video streaming even more. Devices such as a Mevo give you a wireless, high-definition camera that can go right on the end of a mic stand. Just connect to your phone and create a mobile studio anywhere. You can also purchase cost-effective microphones for your cellphone that improve sound quality for your stream.


Think outside the box.

Be on the lookout for places to perform outside of your usual routine. Your next big payoff might not be another night doing Mickey Gilley covers at the roadhouse. It could be a cruise gig, a festival, or even a kids show at the local elementary school. If you limit your performance options, then you limit your revenue stream. Be ready to connect with event planners and talent buyers to expand your gig opportunities beyond the norm.

Outside-the-box gigs are a real benefit of creating a profile with GigSalad. Event planners are opening up new opportunities every day that need your talents. Explore more articles on the GigSalad blog to learn about nontraditional gigs and see what could be your next big break!


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1 Comment
  1. Mlanjeni Nduma June 15, 2018

    Hello Brian,
    Thanks for the tips. I may well look into that Mevo.
    What your article doesn’t say is the “problem” with social media! First, it’s exhausting trying to keep up with it for the “average” person….trying to figure out what to post, and what impact your post will have. My son’s has a lot of followers, but what he puts up is “soooo” boring. I hardly think the world is interested in one’s breakfast or (his last one) …his pot of chili…and NO he’s not a chef! Where does one draw the line? I post only once a week, so I don’t get cocky or overwhelmed…but I know I should do better.
    Thanks for the article, it’s food for thought.
    – R.C.


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