There are many ways to go about booking gigs. Some of them are very effective; others not so much. Here are just some of the ways in which I've found to work.
1. Have others promote you
. Word of mouth is probably the best way to get your name out there. However, when you're first starting off, this can be a difficult task. An interesting way I've found t overcome this is to give people an incentive to promote me. I've made it a practice to give anyone who refers a client to me, a 10% commission. Essentially what I'm doing is employing anyone interested as a booking agent. To make this practice even more effective, it's wise to go to party supply stores, and inform the people working there of your deal. Employees of party supply stores don't make a whole lot, so they are more than willing to inform customers of your services. And since those customers are already shopping for party supplies, they are likely to also be interested in your services.
2. Online Directories
. There are many online directories. These resources can benefit your business immensely. However, others will do nothing but waste your money and time. Because of that, you need to be careful while picking which directories to choose. Personally, I would never pay to get into an online directory. This is because you can get the same services for free, and I haven't found one worth paying for. For starters though, I recommend www.gatheringguide.com
. I joined it awhile ago, and have had great results.
3. Go to Trade shows
. Trade shows can be a high source of income, but getting into them can be difficult. One way that I've found that works it to actually just go to trade shows and get to know people. It's simple, but it works wonders.
4. Join Local Clubs
. Joining local clubs such as the Eagles, Moose, Elks, Masons, etc, can be a wise idea. It allows you to meet many people, as well as find out about scheduled events. Being a member allows you to keep your services known by those clubs, and simply looks good on resumes.
5. Hotel Banquet Rooms and Conference Halls
. The next two suggestions deal with hotel banquet rooms and conference halls. Many people seem to overlook these venues. However, much can be gained by paying a little more attention to this opportunity.
The first suggestion will require you to be a little gutsy. It is because you're going to be "crashing" business parties, in order to meet people who have the power to book you for different events. If handled correctly, you'll be the hit of the event, you'll get an "in" with the company, and you'll meet people who will be able to help advance your career. Now, you may be wondering how you find out about these events. This is actually relatively easy. Many hotels have a calender of events that you can check out. Otherwise, you can ask the person at the front desk, and they will usually be able to give you some information. Here's some additional tips. Dress nicely; suit and tie. You want to make a good first impression. Act like you belong. Steer the conversation towards magic, and perform a couple of quick tricks. This will get people talking, and leads to you getting an audience with the people in charge (you must suggest this yourself. Just steer the conversation in that direction). Most importantly though, act professionally.
6. Suggestion 2
. The other suggestion allows you to perform a full evening show at hotels. Many hotels have banquet and conference rooms that go unused; meaning those hotels are loosing potential income. Which is a great reason for those hotels to allow you to utilize those rooms at no charge to you. What's even better is that one, you will get exposure; and two, you can charge a cover and end up making a nice profit. Here's some additional tips. Get a hold of the person in charge and arrange a meeting with them. Explain that you want to set-up a parlor show in their unused rooms. How do they benefit? One, they gain exposure and publicity. Two, they can sell drinks and meals, meaning they make a profit as well. Third, they have nothing to loose, as those rooms weren't being used anyway.
7. Take up Golfing
. The reason for this one is very simple. The wealthy golf. And the people in big businesses are wealthy. This is actually a piece of advice I got from Michael Finney, and it's one that has worked great for me. Going on golf trips with CEOs, presidents, and managers of companies can get you very far.
8. Cold Calling.
This is one you should already be doing. Cold calling will bring in many shows. However, you will also get many rejections. But you just have to keep going with it. So open up a phone book, and start calling businesses. You should be calling at least 100 per day.
. A well-designed website can help you quite a bit, especially if you're a national performer. It will allow you to redirect people to your site so they can learn a little about you and what you do. Also, people can stumble across it while searching for entertainment. One thing you must also do though is make sure you submit your site to search engines and web indexes. I suggest going to www.selfpromotion.com
to learn more about this.
10. Newspapers, TV, and Radio.
These three forms of media can have great benefits, and many times you can get advertising in these media sources for free. You just need to know how to work it. The first step is to contact the people in charge of your local media outlets. Tell them about yourself, and inform them about what you do. Invite them to lunch, and discuss how you can help them. I know I've left this method a little vague, but I will soon be writing an entire essay on just this. As for this essay, there's just too much information on this method to include it all at this point.
You now have 10 methods to promote your business and yourself. Those are by no way the only possible methods, and later on, I will explain many other additional methods. I suggest trying each one of those methods, and see what works best for you. Until next time,
Dustin Boyd White