Welcome back, everyone. Last time, we looked at some potential ideas for a business plan for your solo act or small group, like a duo or trio. Here is my business plan for my solo act:
1. OVERVIEW- I sing well and play a variety of styles, including classical, smooth and traditional jazz, folk, rock, country, blues and (gulp) disco. I prefer a mix of 75% vocal and 25 % instrumental, although I can take strictly instrumental gigs, like weddings or background corporate functions.
2. TIME- I teach guitar, write for L2P Network and do voiceovers during the day so I can budget time in order to make a solo act fly. I stopped playing with larger groups in 2005 so all my focus is on solo, duo or trio material. My wonderful wife has supported me with my career from Day 1. I know- I am very blessed!
3. VENUES- I perform at restaurants, private and corporate parties, weddings, funerals, etc. I don’t play clubs or bars, since I don’t like the environment, personally. I know booking agents in town who can book me and I also use online sites like Gigmasters and Gig Salad. I can also look for work on free internet sites like craigslist, Dallas Backpage, etc and created my own website to help potential clients find me. I can devote 5-10 hours a week in looking for work.
4. MUSICAL FOCUS- I specialize in covers, although I do an original song or two during most shows. I can do at least one hundred tunes with just acoustic guitar and vocals, but prefer working with tracks since I played mainly in bands for four decades. I prefer a full sound and playing guitar and singing lead with tracks give me precisely that. I have at least 125 General Midi files and can download off the internet more or create them from scratch, using either Band In A Box, Garage Band and/or Logic.
5. COMMUNICATIONS- I have been self employed for many years and have done phone sales and sales in person. I can talk with prospective clients over the phone, in person or via e mail. I have a home phone with answering machine as well as a cell phone with voice mail. I have my own website and use a program called Rapid Weaver on my iMac to modify it when needed, sometimes weekly.
Most quality acoustic guitar amplifiers, such as this Fishman Loudbox Performer, are designed to operate as mini PA systems allowing the use of a vocal mic in addition to the acoustic guitar.
6. GEAR- When I started, I had an Ovation acoustic electric guitar, an amp and my computer. Since beginning my solo odyssey, I have added a dedicated acoustic amp for smaller gigs and a larger PA system for most bigger gigs. I also have a couple electric guitars, a multi effects unit a vocal mic and stand which I can use on my One Man band shows.
7. UNIQUE SELLING POINTS- Because I can play a wide variety of music and sing well as well as play instrumentally; I can offer clients a wider range of music than simply a strictly vocal or strictly instrumental performer. I am happy to take requests if I know the song and am satisfied not being the center of attention at a private or corporate function.
8. TRANSPORTATION- I have a recent car in good condition and am friends with an excellent mechanic. He helps maintain our vehicles at a lower cost that a dealer’s service department. By the way, this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. I did some gigs in downtown Dallas about five years ago with a classical guitarist who walked or took the bus to gigs. He had a nylon string guitar, Mackie SRM-150 and some cables in a gig bag. He could get in and out quickly and didn’t dilute his profits with a car payment, insurance, gas, tolls, etc.
9. PROFIT POINT- This is the final area I didn’t mention last episode. I am very careful with money and buy used gear whenever possible and try to earn the maximum amount on all my gigs. Live performing for me is a business and I try and keep my margins within a pre determined budget.
So there you have it- my specific business plan. I wrote it in present tense, based on my many years of doing solo and small group gigs. You may prefer to say “I plan to” or “I will” when writing your plan since it’s just beginning. How you do this is just the mechanics. I can’t recommend a business plan too highly. The music business is a business like any other line of work and the sooner we treat it as such, the sooner we will enjoy success, both financially and artistically. See you next time.
– Riley Wilson
Riley Wilson is based in Dallas, TX where he teaches guitar and bass (www.guitarmadesimpler.com), records voice overs (www.wrileywilson.com), plays solo, duo and trio gigs and writes this blog for L2P net. You can email him your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.