Growing Your Studio Business: Finding Clients
A couple of things. Firstly, everybody is asking me about these speakers behind. I’ve been getting so many comments. We’re trying out these new Unity Super Rocks. They lent us a pair to try out, and I think that’s very generous of them, so I thought at least name check them.
They’re not going to be given to me, I have to buy them, but that’s very generous of them to let me hear them. Secondly, the last video we did when we were talking about clients, about how to build great relationships, how to create an environment where you inspire your artist, and your artist gives you great creative ideas, and basically, maintaining relationships and building an existing client base.
The question I’m getting asked a lot I think is a very important question, and that’s how do you find clients in the first place?
So what we’re going to do, along with this, we’re going to post a blog. So please, go to producelikeapro.com. Sign up for the email list, you’ll get all the information, but you can go to the blog posts there. So I’ll go into even more detail in there.
So this is my story, and I’ve said it quite a few times, my story was one of a lot of work, basically, one of the number one things I did is I went to shows, and I met with artists, and it wasn’t hundreds and hundreds of shows. It wasn’t ridiculous, but I went to quite a few shows, and I would talk to the bands, and I would say, you know, I’d give them my email address, or my number, or a combination of both, and said, you know, “Let’s work together!”
A lot of the times if I loved the band, I’d work for free or almost nothing, but what I would do is I would take one song and produce it really, really well. You know, over one or two days, and do the best possible thing I could on it, and I would build the trust of the band, and that would turn into another song, of which case, they might pay a reduced rate, and build it from there.
The bottom line is I built a resume by doing that. I built a resume by working for bands for cheap or free, and that’s how I built my client base. That’s number one, but in this day and age, that is only a small part of what we do.
You need to have a good social media presence. Recently, a couple of months ago, I did an interview with Scott Devine, who has that wonderful — you know, Scott’s Bass Lessons site. It’s a really great site, and he’s a great guy, and he was asking me about how you could establish yourself as a musician these days, and one of the things that I talked about was the ability to work really well with others.
As a producer and engineer and a mixer, that is a massive part of what we do. We need to be able to communicate well with others, and we’ve talked about this in the past, but the big question is how do you get people to even know you exist?
Now obviously, going to shows, number one, is really important to me. Number two is the social media presence. Make yourself easy to find. It’s not that difficult. Having your own Facebook page as — you know, John Smith producer. You know. Sarah Smith producer. Whatever it is.
Having a page as a producer is not a difficult thing to do. You don’t have to have 20,000 likes. You just have to exist and be easy to find. You could take a couple of photographs of yourself sitting with your small, humble studio setup. It doesn’t have to be massively impressive.
Those that understand what we do now in music realize that having a huge amount of gear is not as important as having the ability to make great music. You’re developing your ear, you’re developing your talents as a producer and engineer and mixer, musician, a song writer. Bringing yourself to the equation is so much more than the gear, so don’t be overwhelmed and be stuck in that dogma of needing lots of really expensive equipment.
It’s more about making yourself accessible. The Wayne Gretsky quote is — I can’t remember it exactly, paraphrasing it is, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.” The reality is you need to get yourself out there. Don’t make it so that it’s too official looking. I think having John Smith producer [official] in brackets is silly.
If you want to know about Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift has an Instagram and a Twitter, which is just Taylor Swift. It’s not Taylor Swift [official]. You need to be accessible to people, so don’t create too many barriers.
So have a Facebook page. Have a Twitter. Again, you don’t need to have hundreds of thousands of followers. Just be active. Be accessible. So have a Twitter, and find current things that interest you. As a producer, an engineer, a mixer, a songwriter, all of the above, there are articles you find fascinating.
If you like one of my articles, tweet it. If you like one of someone else’s — Pro Audio Files, Recording Revolution, Pensado, all of the great people out there doing great work, if you like one of their articles, retweet it. Have a conversation with people. Get yourself out there. Post it. Find stuff that’s a little oblique. Find a piece of music that you find really, truly exciting, and post that on your page.
Basically, be active, be accessible. Instagram is another great one. I love Instagram. I just post a photo most days, and it’s usually just of what I’m working on, some equipment and stuff, and people like engaging in that, and I have little conversations. I’ve met artists that way, and I’ve met other producers and engineers.
That’s how I met Jonathan Wilson. Jonathan Wilson saw a photograph of my Cadac, and said, “I also have a Cadac.” I said, “I’d love to interview you and talk about your Cadac console.” It’s not just because I had a YouTube channel, he didn’t know I had a YouTube channel. He just saw a photograph of a nice piece of equipment that he also happens to own.
If you post a photograph of you using a new Rode mic, a new Lewitt mic, or one of these new Aston mics that everyone’s freaking out about, or the new Steven Slate Virtual Mic, if you post something, one of these is you’re going to get other gear heads going, “Oh, I tried that,” or, “What do you think of it?”
The point is, engage. Create an audience. Build your social media.
Thirdly, and really important to me, don’t be abrasive with other producers and engineers and mixers. Don’t put up walls. Don’t put up boundaries. Don’t feel like you’re competing with them.
Yeah, maybe the guy next door to you in your home studio has got another home studio, but there’s nobody walking down the street going, “Hm, do I go to that home studio or this home studio?”
It’s not that world, and the great thing about building relationships with other producers and engineers and mixers — about building relationships with them, is they get busy, and they go, “Oh, would you mind helping me,” or, “Oh, you know how to mix? I’m really overwhelmed. Can you mix my song for me? Could you do a test mix for me?”
Just build relationships. Don’t feel like — that you’re competing with anybody, because there’s enough work out there, I promise you, there’s enough work out there of all different levels, whether it be $20 an hour or $200 an hour, there’s a lot of work out there for everyone.
It’s the accessibility, and most importantly, the community. The community that we have here of all of you wonderful guys and girls leaving all of these comments and engaging is a great community, it’s allowing everybody to get better, and better, and better, and the more you help each other, the more you help each other. It’s not just little pieces of information of just learning about gear, it’s learning about how to record. It’s learning about how to interact with other musicians and other artists. These are all really important things.
So my journey was go to shows. So go to shows if you can. It’s difficult. You might live in a small town where there’s no shows. Then engage people on Facebook. If you find bands you like, just send them an email. You know, they might not respond. People get busy, they get overwhelmed, they don’t get it, but at least reach out to artists that you love.
So number one, reach out to artists. Going to shows. Sending them emails. Messaging them on Facebook. Secondly, have a great social media presence. Make sure that you have a Facebook page where you showcase what you do, and you engage, and you talk about your business, because whether this be a professional business of yours or a hobby, we’re obsessed. We are. As musicians, and producers, engineers, and mixers, etcetera, we are obsessed with music. This is why we do it. We love it.
So show your obsession in your page. Find music that you love, showcase artists that you love, showcase songs, showcase other people’s stuff. Engage.
Thirdly, and just as importantly, be part of a community. Be friendly to other producers and engineers. Be supportive of each other, because we are going to learn from each other. I learn as much from you as you will ever learn from me. People leave me comments every day that make me think outside of the box.
In my Academy, people do mixes of songs that I’ve already mixed, and do crazy weird panning effects, delays, mutes, backwards stuff, stuff that just — different drum sounds, different guitar sounds, different panning ideas, making things mono, making things stereo, doing all kinds of crazy things that I wouldn’t have thought of that make me a better mixer.
So we all share in this great community. So be part of a community, be supportive of each other, and you will grow, and you will grow your business.
Lastly, we talk about this all the time, is once you get your client base, just make sure that you’re easy to work with. Just be somebody that inspires creativity. I know I talk about this a lot. I think probably in the 200 videos we’ve done, I’ve probably done four or five that touch on this. So probably more than anything else. But it’s really important. Just make sure that you are humble around your artist. You know, I’ve worked as a musician with so many producers and engineers that were dismissive of my ideas, that belittled other members of my band that maybe weren’t as good as them.
That’s really kind of irrelevant, because you might discover an artist who’s fourteen years old who’s not a songwriter yet, but has an amazing voice. So we might discover an amazing songwriter who’s not a great singer.
I mean, one of the greatest songwriters of all time is Willie Nelson. The guy wrote Suspicious Minds, which was a massive worldwide hit for Elvis, an amazing song, and I do love the way that Willie Nelson sings it, it’s incredible. But is it the same as Elvis? I mean, six in one half, a dozen the other.
My point is that Willie Nelson is not Elvis Presley, but he’s an amazing songwriter, so you don’t know when you have a guy sitting on the couch, or a girl that’s sitting on the couch that’s maybe not the greatest singer, but they may also be an incredible songwriter, they may have other elements to them that are just not very apparent to you at that moment.
So it’s very important that we always treat our artists with as much respect as possible.
Having said that, you are going to get some push and pull. You know, I’m working with a band at the moment, that we’re pushing and pulling, and we’re debating stuff. It happens. That’s okay. But don’t get emotionally involved in it so much so that you carry a resentment through to the next day, because that’s not healthy.
You know, it’s a very important thing. Obviously, the first three points, we’re talking about how you get clients, but lastly, on the fourth one is having great relationships and building relationships with clients is how you’re going to maintain and grow your business.
This is something that’s very important to me, because I didn’t — as you know, I didn’t come up through a traditional system, I did not go to music school, and I did not learn in recording studios. I was never in the system. I was always just like most of you. I was a musician who wanted to be a producer, an engineer, a mixer, and I was a songwriter, and that’s my journey. I didn’t do the pay school kind of way of doing stuff.
So for me, this channel is very important to me, because this is a way, I hope, that we’re going to cut out a lot of the time that I wasted to get to be here, and sense of community is really important to me, and you are doing a wonderful job of doing that community.
So please, if you’re not watching this from the site, go to the site and read the blog. I’m going to write a blog that goes along with this as well, and I want us to have a really good interaction, because this is really important. I’ve been talking with a couple of very good friends of mine how we can really help grow this community, because it’s very, very important to me. This is a community of like-minded people that help each other.
As ever, please go to the website. If you can, check out the free 14 day trial of The Academy and see if it suits you. Sign up for the email list, you get a bunch of free goodies, and of course, subscribe, and leave me loads of comments, and any questions, and I will endeavor to answer as many, if not all of them. As much as I can, and have a marvelous time recording and mixing.
Thank you ever so much for watching.