6 Quick Tips to Get a Gig Lead/Booking

Posted on July 23, 2014 by


Booking Fire Dancers

Artists: (L to R) Nova, GlitterGirl, Zihni
Photo: Dalton Chan

As performers, we’re often hustling for the next gig. If you’re finding your calendar is a little lighter than you’d like it to be, or you’re a new artist and don’t have a web site that ranks well from Google searches, or if you are looking for some quick way to raise some dough, or you want to try it out before making a big investment — whatever the reason, here’s a few ideas to help you out.

1. Send an individual, personal email to people in your network offering some sort of discount for a gig. Consider your: mom, dad, aunts, uncles, bosses, old bosses, old co-workers, business associates, members of clubs, churches and other meeting groups. Right about now would be the perfect time for a “mid summer night sale” or something like that where you offer a discount. For example, email your Uncle John and ask him to pass on this discount to his network: “Our regular show is $300 and for you, because you’re a friend of Uncle John, you can get 50% off for a show booked before August 15 even if the show happens later.” Get creative and make up a reason for the sale even if it’s not summer when you’re reading this post. An end of Summer Sale in September or a Harvest Moon sale in October.

2a-2d. Contact any party promoters you know and ask them if you can do an event in exchange for entry for 10 additional people. Then get 10 people to pay you a discounted rate in exchange for their tickets. So for example, if the event costs $15, have the party attendees pay you $10. Suddenly you made $100, the promoter paid nothing and your friends got a discount — win-win-win.

  • do the same thing at bars and trade for drink tickets
  • do the same thing at restaurants and trade for gift certificates/food
  • do the same thing at a festival and here you can make big money. If the festival ticket is $250 and you sell them for $200 that’s a decent amount per person. You may even trade a ticket for travel expenses, like car rental and gas fees.

3. Go to your local mall and practice — inside, outside, wherever, whatever — and give your cards away as much as possible. Bonus tip: get someone to help you. Get an apprentice who you train and in exchange, they stand there and give out your card, marketing you and maybe even have a clip board in exchange for a give away of some kind so you get contact names while you’re doing some compelling spinning and creating the eye candy.

4. Identify store fronts in your area having a grand opening. Offer to “perform” out front of their place to draw client’s in and exchange your time for services or gift certificates for services. Sell the gift certificates to make cash and use the services to save cash. Either way, consider the “performance time” as practice time — a win either way. Extra points: negotiate for part cash and part gift certificates.

5. Network more actively and tap into new networks. Here’s an approach to try if you haven’t already. Partner with a DJ you LOVE who, hopefully, loves you. Ask for free entry to their next performance in exchange for dancing a set or two. Advertise for them and ask them to do the same. While at the event, be sure to have your card on you and use it as an opportunity to network and meet people. Having trouble because your card is too big? Here, try the mini-moo cards and use our discount code to save some dough.

6. Find a fairly upscale yuppie food and/or beverage location, stand outside and practice.  After practicing, go in and purchase something while you schmooze up the people in the place. While some might disagree, it’s been my experience people with more money tend to not think of buskers as highly as “stage” artists. To that end, instead of calling it busking, call it “practice” which leads to an opportunity to give out your card — unless someone offers to pay you — in which case, take the money and still take their card and give out yours. If you do this with frequency, some managers may be inclined to give you free items in their store as you develop a casual following and draw people to their venue. Work this angle if possible — for example, offer the people in the facility a commission on sales the help you get via referral.

If you have other questions you’d like answered or other advice you need, please leave a note in the comments.

If you’re ready for private instruction, want to try Zero to Fire in 4 Hours!, want to join our next beginner class or have other questions, contact GlitterGirl directly or subscribe to our newsletter for mailbox delivery of this and other articles written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you seek professional guidance associated with creating a safe performance, obtaining a permit in San Francisco or other personalized coaching, contact GlitterGirl directly for a free consultation (GlitterGirl <that pretty little at symbol> TempleOfPoi <daaaaaaaught> com).

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