A wise man once said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If you’ve got a talent, a passion, or a skill the world needs, then finding people to pay you to do it is the path to true success.
The emergence of the gig economy allows more and more people to pursue their passions, make some money on the side, and perhaps even create enough revenue to do what they love full-time. If you want to use your talent or skills to start making money, here’s a quick-start guide on breaking into the gig economy.
Do Your Research
As fun as it might seem, making a living from your talent means far more than finding a corner, opening your guitar case, and letting passersby drop cash in. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Taking time to educate yourself and prepare for your gigs is critical.
Master the tools of the trade
Whatever your talent or service, there will be an initial investment to make sure you have what you need. From acrobats to zydeco bands, every performer or service provider requires the proper tools and equipment to provide a professional experience for your client.
Beyond the basic equipment, make sure you’re prepared for the logistics of gig business.
Acquaint yourself with any permits, certifications, insurance, or licenses necessary to provide your service. Establish bank accounts, determine payment systems, and consider incorporating your business to protect your professional investments. There are many benefits of becoming a business, including legal protection, better tax rates, and access to small business loans.
Study the market
Every successful entrepreneur maintains a clear view and firm grasp on the realities of their market. From client to competition, keeping your finger on the pulse of your field or service gives you the advantage in a crowded marketplace.
Keeping an eye on your competition allows you to not only keep up in the market, but also to learn and grow from their innovations.
It lets you see if you’re priced competitively, offering current and relevant services, and most importantly, crafting a superior product. As we’ve shared before, when you follow your colleagues and competitors, you can learn valuable lessons in pricing, customer service, and marketing.
Find Support and Peer Communities
One of the truly great things about being in the entertainment and event service industry is the camaraderie and support that creative talents provide each other. There are a number of easy ways to increase your professional connections and network:
- Attend trade shows. These events often provide training, support, and development opportunities. If you belong to an association, check to see what events or training opportunities they offer.
- Participate in social media groups and online forums. You can find valuable information, trade skills, and greater resources for your success.
- Trade magazines and websites. Most fields and industries have great resources (like the GigSalad Blog!) for tips, tricks, and insights.
Develop Your Online Presence
The world lives online. Print ads, billboards, radio, or posters may be great for gaining local clients. But for new customers, your business success is directly related to your digital impact.
Developing and strengthening your online presence is critical to the growth and development of your business.
The first step to expanding your online presence is creating a vibrant and engaging social media strategy. According to Hootsuite, a leading tool in social media management, 69% of U.S. adults use at least one social media platform. This means that most of your current fans and future clients are there! You can work on improving your social media strategy with some of these tips.
YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, according to Forbes. Posting video content such as how-to videos, talent showcases, and event planning tips related to your industry can help draw people to your business and create a demand for your services.
Once you’ve established the social media strategy you want to employ, develop a website that can fully develop all your services, options, your own story, and ways for customers to reach you. Basic website templates and hosting from sites such as Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly, allow you to create a professional-looking and mobile-friendly site with ease and little expense.
Get more tips on increasing your digital impact!
Advertise Your Services
Following up on the need for a digital presence is the need for a digital advertising strategy. When it comes to business, promoting your product and getting the word out is paramount.
One easy and inexpensive way to advertise online is through promoted posts on Facebook and Instagram. These two platforms allow you to customize your reach and audience, determine the goals of the promoted post, give you complete control over the budget, and drive potential clients and customers straight to your desired call to action. Facebook offers a Help Center if you don’t know how to get started with advertising.
In the world of online advertising, three letters guide everything: SEO, or search engine optimization. This is the nearly mystical art of making sure your site finds its way to the top of search engine results. What’s the best place to hide a buried treasure? The second page of a search result, because no one goes there.
SEO management, however, is incredibly complex and requires knowledge and expertise in algorithms, keywords, and how the engines such as Google, YouTube, or Bing work. But you need to focus on writing music, learning new card tricks, training employees, or researching stilts! You don’t have time or energy to master SEO. That’s where your GigSalad profile works for you. The team at GigSalad does all the SEO work for you, bringing the web traffic to a GigSalad search results page, where your new customers then find you. Based on membership level and location, GigSalad worries about the SEO, so you can focus on mastering a balloon twisted into the shape of a bicycle.
Set Your Price
Once you’ve got your skills honed, your business on track, and your advertising strategy executed, it’s time to start charging your customers! Avoid the single greatest mistake of amateur creators, artists, performers, or entertainers, which is devaluing your services.
Be very careful before you agree to provide any service for low or no-cost “for exposure.” It’s a bad idea to devalue your own product and undercut the market for your colleagues.
By having a firm grasp on your competition, your personal costs, your bottom price, and your room to negotiate, you can set a price that allows everyone to win. Set the right price for a successful business you can be excited about.
So now you’re ready! You’ve got the chance to get paid to do what you love. It may seem like a big step, but taking the time to plan and prepare makes the risk worth it.