For years I had been picking and choosing my battles as far as the music industry goes. For a time I had even left music to record other projects for other people (I don’t think any engineer should only seek music projects). During that time I learned something amazing, I learned that my people skills and my personality more often than not sold people on working with me. I have had the opportunity to book people before they even had the chance to hear a single thing I did. Was it based on reputation, highly unlikely because I had just moved from Delaware to Florida and I was completely unknown. Maybe it was because they knew of me through my other business; again highly unlikely as that business was still a startup at the time. As I dove a bit deeper into this particular idea I begin to notice something, not only were they signing because of my personality, but they were coming in droves. I am going to share 3 of the things I learned about what I was doing and how it helped me to attract a little bit more business.
1. I am a people person:
I have met so many engineers today that simply lack any real communication skills. True enough you don’t have to be a communication master but let’s face it, the better you can communicate and relate to other people, the less work you actually have to do in every other area. Just like I have met people that have stuck with a particularly novice engineer because of his communication with them and his ability to “get it.” I have met loads of people who have left some of the big named studios with state of the art equipment because of their assembly line approach to music, distant engineers, work through email, lack of interest in their project and a whole host of things that say, “we are better then you.” Being a people person is so much more than being a communicator, you need to enjoy being around people. For the life of me I can’t understand why a person that hates people would go into an industry the puts you directly in contact with people. Unless you are at a studio where you can just come in after the fact and be a real live mixing engineer or mastering engineer, you either need to love people or fake it until you make it. Faking it more than likely won’t work so you should probably just stop.
2. I removed all my judgments:
It’s amazing to me to me that in an industry based on art, people can be so judgmental and so critical on first impressions. Oh you’re a rapper, you should look this way, move this way, think this way, and rap about this. That being said, when I meet people I delete anything that I might think about them from my comments; I don’t meet a young skin-head and ask him if he is a rocker, I meet a young skin-head and ask his name. I open the door for him to talk and I let him talk about himself and his music, I listen empathetically and I take him for what he is saying. Obviously I still have my first impression but two things are happening here:
1) I’m getting him excited. People love talking about themselves and artist love talking about their music.
2) I’m giving him a chance to disprove or prove my initial assertions before I open my mouth. If what I thought was accurate I might mention it, if it was off I might mention it, but always in a very positive manner.
3. I welcome them into my life:
This is kind of metaphysical, but I do it for my business and it works. I allow clients to come in my life and I actually care about them and their project. Firstly let’s dive into the second part of that sentence. I need you to say this with me, “I ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT BOTH THEM AND THEIR PROJECT.” I make it a point to get at least one level of excitement above theirs about their music. If they are super excited then so am I, if they aren’t excited at all I’m still excited with the goal of getting them there. I want them to be successful just as bad as they do, not just in music, but it life. I am constantly sending positive thoughts and energy in their direction and not just wishing for the best, but helping them achieve the best.
I allow clients to come into my life, by this I mean that I wake up every morning looking for clients. I am not resistant to it; my mind is always on how I can help this person or that person. I never wake up and say, “Shoot, I don’t want to deal with these people and their foolishness today.” I never wish for a break or for people to stop coming. I am always expecting the next client and as such, I am always meeting the next client.
Of course this required a shift in my life philosophy true, but once I got that part down it became easy, and I have been doing okay since. I do more than just record music so I would advise everyone to not limit yourself to music when the world offers poetry, voice-overs, audio books, courtrooms, churches, and so many other things that employ the same skills as a music track would. These three things have helped me not just in getting clients for my mixing, but also in getting clients for my other business, and in life in general. I threw away the idea that clients were scarce when I walked into the industry almost 10 years ago, but once I opened up and allowed them in, life got pretty good; I will add as a closing note that it has been my experience that clients don’t care about price they care about quality, and like it or not, your behavior is a part of the quality of your service.