Business owners and entrepreneurs - we all want to be hired. This post is written with both you and potential clients in mind!
Naturally, I'm writing from the musical point of view. However, most of the concepts remain the same regardless of what profession you are in.
Knowing what to look for when hiring musicians [or other creative entrepreneurs] can be daunting if you don't know what to look for. To help you in this process, I've written this post to give you a step-by-step guide when finding the best fit for your needs.
Let's get started!
1. What They Sound Like
I tell my students this all of the time. What you sound like is important, and it is crucial to prepare for excellence. Music is not just music. There are so many styles, genres, and different instrumentations. One group will not sound like the next. When hiring musicians, you have to like their sound. Otherwise, just keep looking.
For other creative entrepreneurs, this would be your product or service.
2. What They Look Like
Appearance is key. After I tell my students the importance of their sound, I always finish the sentence with this point. What you sound like and what you look like when you're performing go hand-in-hand. You can sound great, but if you look terrified or angry while performing, people will always remember because it detracts from the actual music. Appearance includes attire, composure, and performance presence [the expression on your face].
For other creative entrepreneurs, this would be your presentation and how you carry yourself when you are working. Florists, are you put together and calm when setting up the intricate arrangements?
3. The Importance of the Title
This point is a favorite of mine! PROFESSIONALISM. Do not ever hire a group that is unprofessional! How do you know if they're professional? Here are some signs:
Their attire - classy and stylish professional black attire is the rule, unless otherwise stated by the clients. Are the shirts wrinkled? The ladies' hair: is it a mess? Do they represent well the event or the wedding? One reason we incorporate "In Action Photos" on our website is so that people can see what we look like during a real event or wedding.
I've observed musicians at weddings before and I have been so shocked that I couldn't move for 10 seconds. Black socks with a tiered skirt. Floods. Dirty music bags and rickety metal stands. Not to mention how unprofessional their music was.
Which brings me to the next point under Professionalism.
Sometimes, performing for weddings can be stressful because we govern the entire wedding. How do people know when the Ceremony is starting? The music. How does each group know when to walk down? The music. The musicians set the stage and create the emotional atmosphere. How musicians conduct themselves in stressful situations is important to note. Stay calm, keep the music going - Don't Ever Stop the Music. That is always awkward.
Also, musicians must be able to tastefully begin and end musical selections without abruptly cutting a piece off. Timing is everything.
Last but not least, keep a guard on the mouth. Some coordinators, directors, mothers, attendants, and officiants can be difficult and very unprofessional. If you hear a "professional" speaking bad about someone, steer clear! Even if what they're saying is true, it doesn't need to be said.
Professionalism is also in claiming the title. We are professional musicians. We perform and teach as a profession, but we also conduct ourselves in a professional manner.
For other creative entrepreneurs, this would be your image and conduct. Professionalism always begins with your mouth and attitude. Collateral items such as flyers, business cards, and letterheads fall in this category from an artistic perspective.
4. The Website
Wescottage Music's advantage is that we have all studied business in college. Having a working business knowledge and how to run a business will automatically set those musicians apart. The first sign is the website. The design and functionality of a website is really important because, most times, it's the first things a potential client will see.
If a website is not responsive, then they are not keeping up with technology. A responsive website is one that adapts to smartphones, tablets, etc.
5. Their Business Model
Upon viewing a musician's website and listening to their music, you should be able to determine if you fit into their target market. A professional is not out to give discounts or deals to everyone who asks. In fact, those things sometimes undermine the service provided. If a musician [or any small business owner for that matter] values their skill and service, they will make sure the price reflects the value.
Once I receive an inquiry, I always try to respond within the same day. For weddings, I realize that this is a very personal and sacred Ceremony. I communicate with people in a very joyful and personalized way. I'm not uptight. I'm also helpful and flexible. There are so many ways a wedding or event can become very stressful. My job is to make the musical process as fun and easy as possible!
6. Raving Fans
Look at what people are saying. When people are really mad, or when people are really happy, you will get a review. I remember when my sister went bridal dress shopping for the first time a couple months ago. It was the worst experience EVER. Boy did we ever want to write a fuming review for that bridal shop! When we looked it up later, people had already written it. When people are mad, they want others to know why.
Conversely, when people are blown out of the water happy, they want to tell the world! Your reviews should give potential future clients a realistic view of what it's like to work with you. To read some of our reviews, visit our WeddingWire profile.
Sometimes everything doesn't go as planned. Sometimes we play cocktail hour before the wedding starts because of the weather. Sometimes the bridesmaids walk out to the wrong song because the wedding coordinator is completely confused. Because we are young, we can make changes fairly easily. Being siblings also helps tremendously. If you can deal with unexpected changes in a professional and joyful manner, you will be leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors.
And that concludes the 7 signs of a professional! Were any of these points helpful to you? Is there a point we forgot? We'd love to hear from you - please leave a comment!