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  • Journey to 10 Million Spotify Streams

    Meet Jinty McTavish – A violinist of ATYLS string quartet. In this episode, I chat with Jinty about what it's like being a member of the globally listened-to quartet ATYLS. Want my top 10 takeaways from this episode? Join our mailing list: https://www.musicwork.com/newsletter CONNECT WITH ATLYS: - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/atlysmusic/ - Youtube: @ATLYSmusic Website: https://atlysmusic.com/ PODCAST INFO: Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast... - Spotify Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5X5M... SOCIAL: Instagram: @allison_legendre Ticktok: @allisonlegendre

  • From College Dropout to $9000/Day Wedding Musician | Moses Lin (#3)

    Allison: Alrighty, so today I am here with Moses Lin and Moses is a guitarist and he has a really cool story to share, so I'm excited to dive in. Thank you so much for being here today, Moses. Moses Lin: You're welcome. How's it going? Allison: It's going well, going well, excited for this. So let's dive right in. You were recently featured on CNBC Make It series for earning 245K Moses Lin: Yeah Allison: and that's just, first of all, super cool. I'm curious, how does that interview even come about? Like, how did they reach out or like, what did that process look like for you? So, I'm excited to be here with you. I'm excited to be here with you. I'm excited to be here with you. I'm excited to Moses Lin: That Allison: be here with Moses Lin: was Allison: you. I'm excited to be Moses Lin: really Allison: here with you. Moses Lin: crazy because it was just an Instagram DM. They reached out Allison: Really? Moses Lin: to me. I got this random DM one day and they were like, hey, someone suggested that you would be a great fit for this and we just wanna reach out and see if you wanna do this. And I was like, it was a little unnerving at first because they wanted to know all my financial details. Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: And so they asked for my tax returns, my bank statements, everything. It was like applying for a mortgage pretty much. And so it was very, And they're like, and they wouldn't tell me what they were gonna tell people because it's not like Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: they write something up and then you can like review it. They're just like, give us all your information and then we're gonna publish something. And so I was like, you're gonna tell the whole world all my financial information. So it was a little scary. But it ended up being a pretty cool opportunity actually, yeah. Allison: I love that. Okay, so did you see what they made before it went live or were you just like, here's my financial life and go be free with it? We'll see what happens. Moses Lin: That was pretty much it. So they Allison: Really? Moses Lin: asked for all these documents. They're like, send us Allison: Wow. Moses Lin: childhood photos of you playing piano as well, you know? And so I sent them like everything. And then they just sent a videographer to my house to like interview me. And like, they Allison: Oh Moses Lin: wouldn't Allison: my gosh. Moses Lin: tell me what the interview questions were. So they just sat me down. They asked me a bunch of questions and they just pretty much left. And then I just had to cross my fingers and hope they don't like, I don't know, misinterpret something or post the wrong Allison: Right. Moses Lin: thing or you know, mess up some, I don't know, number. And then yeah, they posted it. But I think the response to that cool because I think like originally I was really worried about you know like sometimes people get weird about sharing how much they make I know this whole like movement of like pay transparency which I was thinking a lot about where it's like well if you share how much you make then other people can use that to leverage you know their own positions right so I was thinking like hey if I share how much I make maybe musicians can also leverage that and be like oh maybe it is possible to make this much money and so I actually got a lot of musicians reaching out to me after that saying like hey like how do you do this? Can you, you know, coach me? Can you train me? And so I had musicians like all over the country, all over the world actually. I had some people from like Singapore and Ireland that I've been coaching. And I think it's been a really cool opportunity because I think like typically I grew up, it's kind of weird to talk about money, it's weird to share how much you make. You try to be very, very secretive, very humble about that. But I think I really like the fact that by being make a lot more money and so I'm very happy about that. Allison: Amazing. Yeah, I would definitely, I can see how it turned out to be such a great thing, taking the selfless position of like, okay, I'm already figured something out here. What does it benefit me to share it? But you're helping so many people by doing it. So I think that it is an incredible thing to just have other Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: musicians' minds open to what is possible. Cause it's like the form, I don't know if you've heard about the four minute mile thing, but it's like before the first person ran the four minute Moses Lin: Yep. Allison: mile, everyone thought it was impossible. And then once people saw it was possible, lots of people do it now. Moses Lin: Oh Allison: I Moses Lin: yeah, Allison: feel like a similar Moses Lin: the same thing Allison: thing is Moses Lin: with Allison: taking Moses Lin: the Allison: place. Moses Lin: triple axel or something like that with figure skating. Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: There was one spin Allison: Yeah. Moses Lin: move where it's like, for the longest time, people are like, this is impossible, no one can ever do it. And then one person pulls it off, and then the next year at the Olympics, everyone's doing it. Allison: Wow. Moses Lin: Because Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: you just need that one person to be like, it's possible, and then everyone has this mental shift of like, well if it's possible, why can't I do it, right? And I think that's one thing that's been hard about my business is that I'm constantly searching. this podcast and you are charging a significant amount of money for weddings, I would love to meet you. Like honestly, like please send me a DM because I'm constantly looking for people that are like charging a ton of money and like doing this at a very high level because I want to connect. I want to like share ideas. I want to see what you guys are doing. I think that's been really hard for me though is that I haven't really been able to find peers in this space. And so it does Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: kind of feel like I'm doing the four minute mile where I'm pushing into the four minute mile. For the sake of transparency, I just booked a $9,000 local wedding. And that was a pretty huge milestone for me because I think back in the day when I was charging like $900, I thought I was like at the top of the world. I was like, oh my God, this is so much money. But honestly, I think that's something where it is hard to continue to push and improve when it feels like uncharted territory. Allison: Yeah, absolutely. We do need each other and I'm glad to see more of this happening like even right now where we're like, hey, like This is what this is what's working for me and this is what's possible And I think that more community is definitely going to help more musicians. So with that Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: said you've been a trailblazer It looks like here. Um Moses Lin: I Allison: in Moses Lin: appreciate Allison: terms Moses Lin: that. Allison: of figuring this out. Absolutely. Um, so For those who maybe haven't seen the interview or don't know much about you. Do you mind just like taking us through the briefly through the timeline of the key events of brought you to where you are now. Moses Lin: Yeah, let's see. So I dropped out of college in 2016. And I told my parents, I wanna do live music. Well, at the time I was just teaching guitar lessons. So I was like, I dropped out of college to do music. And they were like, hell no. Allison: Hehehe Moses Lin: Which was a fun conversation to have. But essentially when I dropped out of college, I had very little money in the bank. I had, I was making maybe a thousand dollars. I had maybe like a dozen guitar students. kind of my thing. I was like, I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna build up my YouTube channel, and that's kind of my path forward. So very early on, probably like within the first year, I got a call from Disneyland, just out of the blue. And they were like, Allison: Thanks for watching. Bye. Moses Lin: Hey, we saw your YouTube videos, we'd love to have you perform at downtown Disney, would you like to audition? And I was like, Oh my god, yes. And so that was kind of my first performing experience. So I started performing at downtown Disney, you know, local shopping malls and restaurants and stuff like that. lobbies. That was kind of my beginning. Eventually someone asked me to do a wedding. I did a wedding and I was like, oh my God, I love this. Like the energy, the vibes, everyone's so happy. It's amazing, right? And so I was like, I want to do this. And so my first wedding, I charged $250 for ceremony and cocktail hour, which is ridiculous. And within the next like maybe year, I transitioned completely into 100% wedding. It's just only private events. And that was kind of how it all started. So I started scaling that up. In 2019 was kind of like my peak of like volume. So in 2019, I had 205 performances, which was way too much for anyone to Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: conceivably do. And so I remember one, there was one month in April, April 2019, I did 29 performances. I did two weddings Allison: Thanks for watching! Moses Lin: in the same day. It was crazy. I like did an 11 to two wedding Laguna Beach and then drove, I don't know, like 150 miles to Palm Springs for a 6 p.m. wedding. It was crazy. I'll never do it again. But yeah, and then so from then it was just there was so much volume I scaled it down and started scaling up price like crazy. And yeah, so currently I do about 45 a year. That's kind of usually where I cap it. And I'm charging around five to $6,000 per wedding, usually. Allison: Amazing, okay. So thank you for sharing that breakdown. So it sounds like amazing to be where you are right now, but I'm sure in the moment, dropping out of college, having that conversation for your parents, Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: what were you feeling at that point? Was that like, how confident were you? Or did you feel like, what am I doing? I'm scary, what was going through your mind? Moses Lin: I think I've always been confident in my ability to make shit happen. So Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: if something happens, being able to react to it and adjust course. I think that's a skill that I picked up in the military. So before college, I was in the Marines. And so there's this level of grit where it's like no matter what happens, I can find a solution to it and make this work. I'm Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: going to sneeze. We can edit that out. Allison: It's all right, we're back. Moses Lin: So yeah, so I think like when I dropped out of college, I knew that I was making just enough money to cover rent and ramen, and that was like enough Allison: I'm sorry. I'm Moses Lin: for Allison: sorry. Moses Lin: me. I was like, I just need to work my ass off and make this happen. And so for me, it was like really exciting because I believed in myself, right? But I think my family, it was a lot harder because they have a certain view of, you know, what is the right path? What's like a smart move to do? I remember my uncle like called my mom a few times like you have to convince him to go back to college, like I won't have my nephew performing on the street corner. He thought I was going to be one of those busking musicians in the subway or something Allison: Mmm. Moses Lin: like that. Allison: Mmm. Moses Lin: And yeah, so I think there's a lot of that. I think now that I'm doing pretty well, my parents are a lot more supportive and they realize and they'll say, they'll say like, yeah, you made the right choice. We should have believed in you, kind of stuff like that, which is nice. Allison: Right. Yeah, absolutely. So I know again coming back to like where you are now like you can make up for kind of that time where things felt a little bit more uncertain but it sounds like you had like this inner confidence that like yeah I can figure things out. Where do you think that came from? Like it seems like you're like you're obviously very entrepreneurial so did you come from an environment that was entrepreneurial at all or where do you feel I'm just going to figure this out. Moses Lin: I mean, I think it came from the Marines, but I was not entrepreneurial growing up. And it's actually Allison: Interesting. Moses Lin: funny, because a few months ago, I was talking to my parents about that. And they're like, we don't know where this came from. Because growing up, you were never like that. You never had a business mindset. And my parents are academics, so they're not like that either. My whole family, no one is a business owner. I'm the first. And so it was really kind of out of the blue for everyone, for me to take this path. And I think my first intro, into it was like teaching guitar lessons and doing that. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: And I think it was just really the fact that I love the freedom of it and not having a boss. You Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: know, like kind of like, it's funny because I was in the military but I really hate like authority figures. So I Allison: Thanks Moses Lin: had Allison: for Moses Lin: this Allison: watching! Moses Lin: like natural rebellious side. So you tell me to do something, I'm gonna do the opposite. I'm like, no, Allison: Hehehehe Moses Lin: absolutely not. Like why, tell me why? Like, and so Allison: Right. Moses Lin: I very naturally rebel. And so I think having the freedom to do anything I want, however I want, structure my business however I want, Handle my clients handle my policies any way I want That was just like ultimate freedom and having no one to like answer to it was fantastic And so I think when I got a taste of that I was like I don't ever want to do a nine-to-five ever again Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: Because I feel like with a nine-to-five like you have no control over like your your schedule or like even your income Like if you want to make more money, you can't you have to like once a year like beg for more money But Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: if you're like like us right like it's entrepreneurs Like if we want to make an extra ten thousand dollars this month there making another $10,000. It's so easy. Like you just you hustle, you spend an extra, you find another 20 hours, you call a bunch of people and you just make it happen, right? So we have like so much control over everything really. It's beautiful. Or like you, you make an e-course and you just start selling it and it's you know stuff like that. So the opportunities are endless. Allison: I love that. That's 100%. I feel like there's so many people who'd kind of just catch the entrepreneurial bug by accident and they Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: just have this moment where like, okay, things click. And I think that for you, it sounds like music was the motivation and just not wanting to be in someone else's box. But then it seems like there was a point when you did a wedding and things really clicked. Can you explain when things kind of clicked like, oh, I see how I can make money with this. And what was that moment like for you? So, I think that's the moment when you're like, oh, I'm gonna make money with this. Moses Lin: Oh yeah, there was a big moment. So Allison: I'm going to Moses Lin: I Allison: go Moses Lin: think Allison: to bed. Bye. Moses Lin: like, well, this is gonna like touch on like price and psychology very briefly, but like, you know, if you're a musician, you're charging, I think a lot of times our money mindset, like personal money mindset affects, we project that onto our clients, right? So if Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: we say, man, I would never spend more than $300 for live music at my wedding, then we project Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: that, and we say, wow, like my clients would never pay more than that either. Not true, Moses Lin: they have a lot more money than us, they view it very differently, and so you can't really project that, right? I remember back in the day, this was my peak year, 2019, I was doing crazy volume. I was charging, I was doing a wedding, it was I think June, Allison: Mm-hmm Moses Lin: and I was charging $600 for a ceremony plus a travel fee to San Diego. And I thought I was charging so much money. I was like, I can't believe they're paying $650 for Allison: Thanks for watching! Moses Lin: me to play 30 minutes, this is crazy, right? Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: I would never pay that much. That's so much Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: at that time, right? And I got there and I was talking to the cocktail hour musician and they were doing cocktail hour It was like a duo one was like a singer guitarist and one was like playing Cajon, right? And I was like I was hearing them soundcheck and like, you know, as musicians were always very like critical, right? And so in my mind I'm like, okay, you know, like I'm better than these guys, right? And so I was like I wonder how much they charge and this is one thing like if you meet me like I will ask you How much you charge I ask everyone how much they charge, right? should be a very transparent thing. Allison: Right. Moses Lin: And so I asked them, I was like, hey, how much are you guys charging? And they were like, we're charging $12.50 for cocktail hour. And I was like, oh my God, are you serious? And in that instant, I knew I could have charged a client $1,500 for ceremony, and they would have swiped their card, no questions asked, and it would have been, and I was like, oh, whoa, and I think the whole, this ceiling just got blown off of what I thought the cap was. Yeah, so essentially I went home, I immediately doubled my pricing. So they're like, we're charging 12,000. I was like, well, I now start at 1250. I was like, that's my new minimum. Allison: Thanks. Moses Lin: And so I went Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: home, doubled my pricing, and I found that people started booking more. So Allison: Wow. Moses Lin: I got more people booking me because all of a sudden, it looked like I was providing more value. And Moses Lin: it's all about just providing value and Allison: Right. Moses Lin: charging accordingly. Allison: Okay, amazing. I know that like when I first started charging more as well, it's like there's this huge barrier that musicians feel in their mind. I think what you're saying is exactly true, that it's like they put themselves in the shoes of their clients and be like, oh, I wouldn't charge Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: that much or I wouldn't like pay that much. So why can Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: I charge that much? But I think that's the biggest skill is just learning that it's not your money. Like they can Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: decide to do what they want and they have different values than you do. And like learning to think through their perspective they truly value is I think part of the key to unlocking it. But I still feel like there's a lot more to unlock. So let's dive into it when it comes to your pricing strategy and psychology, because I think Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: that's probably what is wowing musicians or maybe breaking minds right now when it comes to your pricing strategy. What do you think is the real key to your success in being able to bracket yourself into like the luxury prices that you're charging now and providing that value? Moses Lin: It's hard to like boil that to one thing. Let me let me try Allison: We can do a bunch, take your time. Moses Lin: Sure sure I Think one like big picture. Let's go big picture and then we can dial down to smaller things Allison: Sure, sure. Moses Lin: and I think it's also you know, there's a lot of you know, even bigger picture things such as like where you live, right? So like Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: I live in California. So Southern California the budgets are really high So, you know, obviously if you live in you know, not a huge city you're not gonna be able to charge as much because the local people, the average income is not as high, right? Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: And so there's like general overarching things like that, but big picture. I think I would say my overall branding strategy is to position myself as a luxury good, right? Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: And so if you've shopped at like Gucci or Hermes, or if you ever go to a store and you look at Rolexes, right, like there's a certain customer service that they provide to you and there's a certain way they Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: position their brands and there's Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: this Allison: So, we're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. We're gonna go ahead and get started. Moses Lin: weird psychology with that where, for example, if you're looking at, oh my God, like let's say a Gucci belt, right? Those things are what, like three, $400? It's ridiculous, right? Why would you ever pay that much for a belt? But like a belt should be what, like $30, $40? But for some reason, the way they position themselves, when you walk in that store, you see a $400 belt and you're like, that's not that bad. I need that. I need that. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: like why did I spend so much money on it right as opposed to if you go to Macy's and you see an $80 but you're like hell no none not a chance in hell right so the thing is that there's there's needs and then there's wants right so Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: if you are structured as if you position yourself as like here's just one more thing on your checklist that you need right immediately you're in this budget mindset of how do I get this thing for as cheap as possible right Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: like oh music for my wedding I guess we need something for Let's just find something for like three or four hundred dollars. That's fine, right? Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: But if you position yourself for like a luxury good all of a sudden the mindset shifts and it's like, oh my god I need this I'm gonna splurge for this, right? So the whole like Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: I'm gonna splurge for this is a huge deal So like I do a lot of weddings where I find out that I'm like a huge percentage of their budget like typically like music Should be like five to ten percent of your wedding budget, right? Like if you're booking like a band, maybe it's more right? But for like music it's a low percentage I'm like 30 to 40 percent of the entire wedding budget because they're like for my wedding I really want to splurge on Moses and I'm gonna cut everything Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: else and like so Now the question is how do you do that? Right? How do you position yourself as a luxury good? Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: So I think there's a couple ways to do that I think across the board you need some kind of like brand consistency so that no matter where they look you look Very presentable, right? I think one of my pet peeves is just musicians that don't dress up well, right? So like, every picture, like if you're a guy, wear a suit, every wedding, Allison: Everybody, Moses Lin: full suit, no questions asked, like, Allison: awesome. Moses Lin: I don't care how hot it is, you're wearing a full suit, right? You need to like, you have to look the part, you know, before everything. But I think it all comes down to experience. So like, are you providing an experience for people, right? You're not just live music, your entertainment, right? Are you entertaining Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: people? And so I really like to post a lot of very engaged in the moment. And so whether they're singing along, whether I get them dancing at cocktail hour, whether I get a guest crying at ceremony, like you want these moments where a bride will look at it and be like, oh my God, I need this at my wedding, right? And so I think really trying to separate yourself from you're not background music, you are the star of the show, you are the performer. And I think some people get kind of weird about, they're like, oh, but it's not my wedding, why should I be the star? They want you to be the star, right? And they'll tell you Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: if they don't right so like obviously listening Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: to clients But I have a lot of couples that are just like really introverted and they're like we are really uncomfortable in the spotlight So we want you to be like extra we want you to take the spotlight away from us. So we don't feel uncomfortable I got Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: you. I can do that. I'll turn it to ten. I'll be over the Moses Lin: ham It'll be fantastic, right? Other couples don't want that and I don't do that. Right? So sometimes you just got to read it but People want to be entertained, right? I think especially in this like current social media age of like, you know, very short attention spans, like 15 second reels, people are just scrolling, they're finding the next thing to like entertain them. Like you, the biggest fear for brides is being bored at a wedding. Like if Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: your guests are bored at your wedding for even like 15 seconds, like 15 seconds is an eternity, right? Like if you're ever like sitting somewhere and like, if you just count how long it takes you to pull out your phone and start scrolling Instagram, right? How like, how long you just It is so long. I mean, it's so short, right? You Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: sit in the dentist's office for like 10 seconds, you're like, oh my God, I need to be entertained right now. You pull out your phone. And I think that's what it is. It's like, brides need to know that their guests will not be bored for a single second. And if you can assure them of that, they're gonna book you. And now it's a, I need this person because they're gonna save my wedding and not, oh, we just need someone to, you know, do music in the background, just as like a check mark on our list. Yeah. Allison: Okay, like I've been like doing this and coaching this and I'm having so many light bulbs go off of things that I'm just getting clarity about because that's so true. There's so many clients Um, or there's different categories I've felt it before because like I'm not in the luxury price bracket that that you've accomplished Allison: exactly. So you wanna think about how you can be that thing people want, not what they need, not just like, okay, let's check this box, Moses Lin: Yes. Allison: it's done. This is what I'm looking for. And that was also very interesting what you said about the clients wanting there to be a focal point something for their guests to just be guaranteed to have a good time about. Because yeah, I can also understand from being a bride point of view, and people who aren't extroverted, they don't want all the attention and they're scared of people being Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: bored and just having that mental relief that, okay, this is gonna be a lot Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: of fun, they're gonna get the guests engaged. I can see how that is a huge piece of value offer. Now, I also know that you have a good eye and you understand aesthetics really well, your website's stunning, and you're also Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: good at the SEO So how have you found that that has, what value has that provided to your brand, would you say? Moses Lin: like aesthetics and SEO. Aesthetics, Allison: Yeah, exactly. Moses Lin: let's start with Allison: Okay. Moses Lin: aesthetics. Aesthetics are everything in the wedding industry, Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: right? It's all about Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: how it looks, the visuals, like the feel, the vibe, right? So the smallest things such as like, I tell wedding planners, like I ask them, I'm like, hey, send me the Pinterest board, send me the mood board. I want my suit to match the colors of the wedding, right? Like Allison: Wow. Moses Lin: I'm part of it. And so like, Do you want me in black tie? Do you want me in like a linen suit to fit this like desert chic vibe? It's these things like make a big difference. Like how does your setup look? Does it, is it ugly and cables everywhere or is it like gorgeous, clean and you know, very tidy? Like when you think of the wedding industry, like you think of like all these like publications and stuff like that that happened, everything is gorgeous. And that's how brides imagine their wedding day. And Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: so if your website, if your, And unfortunately, the industry is very vain, right? So if your Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: website isn't gorgeous, if your Instagram photos and videos aren't gorgeous, if you show up, if you're a guy and you show up with messy hair and Converse sneakers, they're not gonna book you, right? And so unfortunately, yeah, guys, trim up your beards. Get a haircut. Ladies, wear a nice dress. It goes a long way Allison: Thank you. Bye. Moses Lin: because the question is, when you think about Think about the bride's perspective, right? You are spending Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: 100, 150K on this wedding. You know, those are ideal clients, right? So we gotta think long-term. So you might not be there yet. I do a lot of weddings that are way under that, but you know, still, you gotta think about your ideal client. So they're spending 100, 150K, and all they think about is like, ah, the venue's gorgeous, the flowers are gorgeous, everything, like how do I want the aisle set up, how do I want the reception, we're gonna do flowers on the scene. Like, they have all these visions of aesthetic, and then they see your Instagram page, do you fit inside their vision? Can they Allison: Hmm. Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: envision you at their wedding? Because if they can't, immediately, they're not gonna book you. Right, but if Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: they see you at a wedding and they're like, wow, this person is such a vibe, and they totally would fit, they'd be perfect, my friends would love them. Then it's such an easy transition to be like, well then just book me, right, because you fit. But if you don't, then they're like, oh, okay, like, I need to find a way to fit this in, you know, like, unless you're like, I'm sure you guys have seen that photo circulating of John Mayer playing at someone's wedding in like jeans. And it drives me crazy. Cause it's like, no one in their right mind, like if it wasn't John Mayer, right? No one in their right mind Allison: Right. Moses Lin: would book a musician that wears jeans, right? Allison: Right. Moses Lin: But it's John Mayer. So once you've made it and you're John Allison: Get Moses Lin: Mayer, Allison: away with Moses Lin: then Allison: it. Moses Lin: you can break all these rules and it doesn't matter. Allison: Ha Moses Lin: But Allison: ha! Moses Lin: one of my coaching clients, I actually met him at a hotel cause I was staying at this resort and he was performing in the lobby. And it was really, It was embarrassing for me and bro if you're watching this, I'm sorry, but um So I I walked into the lobby and he was just coming off break So I hadn't heard him yet But I saw him walking towards his equipment and he was wearing shorts and flip-flops And I immediately turned to the person I was with and I was like we're leaving And I just left I didn't even stay to hear him play because I was like he's wearing shorts and flip-flops like At this really nice resort, right? This is like one of the top resorts in oc and later like I get this And he's like were you just in this hotel lobby? I was the musician there I saw your your CNBC video like would love to like pick your brain about some stuff and I was like, oh man I feel so bad. I didn't hear you play And so I went back and I like talked to him But like the first thing I told him on a coaching session is like never wear shorts and flip-flops to a gig ever again I don't care how much Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: they're paying you full suit every time, you know Maybe drop the tie if it's really casual But you should always be wearing a jacket because that's the that's the that's the impression that you're giving Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: hard as luxury, you have to look luxury. Allison: Got it. Got it. No, that's so good. When it comes to the website and SEO and people finding you through Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: Google, I'm curious Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: if that's also a component for you or how does that compare to the people you get from referrals? Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: Talk to us about that when it comes to luxury clients. Moses Lin: Yeah, so your lead sources change as you scale. Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: And so certain things are more important in the beginning stages, and Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: certain things are more important in the later stages. And so you need all of them. And Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: so essentially, if you think about SEO, SEO is this like, SEO is search engine optimization. And so it's pretty much a way of structuring your website and doing a lot of work to boost your website so that people will find out Google searches. So typically, Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: If you search wedding guitarist in certain cities, a lot of times I will be one of the first couple rankings. And that's because I've done a lot of work coding my website and getting a lot of backlinks and getting endorsements and stuff like that. And so I do rank pretty high, but SEO in general is just this like, you're casting this wide net and you're just getting everybody, right? Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: And so right now, just based on my price range, I would say like almost like 95 or more percent of the people that find me through at Google searches, they just can't afford me. And that's totally okay, Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: you know? It's Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: just what it is, right? Because you're getting everyone from every budget, and a lot of times they just, they put in a simple search and they're expecting a certain budget and that's not what I provide and that's okay, right? Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: And so I am finding the SEO is less and less valuable to me. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: When I was first starting, it was very valuable. I got a ton of Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: leads from it. It was really great to jumpstart everything before people in the industry knew me well enough to refer me, right? And so it was like immediately, Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: finding me so it did a lot of work for me early on. I wouldn't recommend necessarily paying for SEO, I've never paid for SEO. I would just like, it's really easy just watch YouTube videos and learn how to like code your website properly and different like tips to do it. So I think people that like charge for SEO, they're really charging you for just like stuff you could very easily find on Google, like just Google Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: search how to SEO your website and stuff like that, how to get backlinks, it's super easy. And also it's very unsaturated for Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: If you're like a photographer or planner, then yeah, maybe you might want to pay to get some extra work Because those are a little more competitive but musicians no one's doing SEO for us. So it's really easy to beat everyone I would say if you are in kind of like those beginning stages It's really important to also like play the long-term game of building a network, right? Because where I'm at now if a higher percentage comes directly from like wedding planners and even venues that Will just like refer me because I've spent years building these relationships and kind of building a reputation in the industry. So people in Southern California, they know me, they know my work, they know my reputation, and so they refer me. And because they know me, those leads are like pre-qualified. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: Sorry, my phone just went off, I put that in airplane mode. So they're essentially pre-qualified, right? And so like, Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: if there's a wedding planner that regularly does very expensive weddings, I know that every lead from her theoretically can't afford me. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: which is a lot more valuable than some random SEO lead that is just, you know, a shot in the dark, whether they have the budget lines up. And so, Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: yeah, SEO is great when you're starting, but definitely play the long game of investing years into getting to know your local network, networking with people that are at your level or higher that you would want to work with. Allison: Mm-hmm, 100%. And this is something, you know, you see variations in how people build this type of business, but one thing it always comes back to is that referral network and, you know, Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: making good relationships and being good to those people because it's 100% across the board. Everyone who's done anything in this business, they all have a strong referral base. So absolutely, Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: and I feel like there's these like quantum leaps, if I can call them that, that exist with like, because like for us, from Google and I find those leads are quite high quality but not quite as high as the referral base. Like we Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: get around 50% of our leads Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: from referrals and then 50 from SEO and the SEO ones convert at like 50-ish percent. We have much lower prices Allison: leads. So we experience the same thing that you do. in Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: a different range, but it's definitely the highest quality is in referrals. But I would say below all of this, in my opinion, is referral listing sites, the leads Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: that we get from there in terms of budgets. I think getting leads from your own website is higher quality than listing Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: sites in most cases, and referrals I would position Moses Lin: Yep. Allison: at the top. But what would you say? Would you agree with Moses Lin: I Allison: that Moses Lin: would Allison: hierarchy Moses Lin: totally Allison: there? Moses Lin: agree. I would totally agree. Allison: Yeah. Moses Lin: And definitely, Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: I love that you're, I feel like we really connect because we're both very business-minded too. Allison: Right. Moses Lin: And I think that's something that's really hard for me to do sometimes. But Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: guys, you gotta be tracking your data. Track your lead Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: sources, do your percentages, do your conversion ratios, do what Allison's doing and be like, oh yeah, I get 30% of my leads from this source and they convert at this percent, right? Because that's just information so you know Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: what's working and what's not. And then you can track that over time Wow, my conversions from SEO are going down, my conversions from network's going up. Okay, maybe it's time to join one of those networking groups that you have to pay a membership to and pay to attend these events because it's working for you. Now double down on it, right? And maybe stop paying Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: for those ads because they're not converting, right? Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: So I used to, to answer your question, I used to pay for WeddingWire and Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: the conversion ratios were awful. I would get all these Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: leads that never responded. And I'm like, are these fake leads? I don't even know. And so I still have a lot of questions like a free profile, you know, just to collect reviews, Allison: Right. Moses Lin: but I don't pay for that anymore. And I would agree with you. I would say referrals like from network people are at the top. I Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: would say, let's see, there are certain listing sites that are like associated with networking groups, like paid Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: networking groups. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: So for example, like I do advertise with California which is like a local kind of magazine publication out here. Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: And they also kind of have like a listing. But that's more because I am like investing in that network. Because every time I go to those events, I meet planners and those planners book me, right? So it's like Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: I'm not really... I only recently started listing with them. So I'm not expecting leads from the listing, but Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: I am expecting my membership in this community to pay off, if that makes sense. So there's like those kinds of things. of groups. I would put like Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: WeddingWire and Yelp at like the very bottom and then Allison: Right. Moses Lin: every now and then you get lucky with SEO so that's kind of like second to bottom tier. Allison: Yeah, that's so important and like you said, to be able to track and then you know what to double Moses Lin: Yeah. Allison: down on. And especially if you're playing a long-term game, which I know you think that way, 100% being in these networking groups, even paying for them makes a lot of sense. So Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: I'm curious, is there any more, because a lot of people think that when it comes to referrals, there's no strategy behind it, or we just kind of got to cross our fingers and hope. How do you approach it? Since you see that it's where your highest quality clients come from, do you think about it in a certain way? Do you have any strategies around it? I know you mentioned the networking group but I'm curious Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: if there's anything else that comes to mind. Moses Lin: Yeah, networking has been like, I think the last maybe year, year and a half, I've been really doubling down on networking. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: And I think a lot of musicians get scared by that term because they're imagining a very corporate situation where you Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: walk up to a stranger in a suit and you hand them your business card and you say, hi, I'm Moses, I'm a fingerstyle guitarist, here's my card, can I get your card, what do you do? And it's just so awkward. And Allison: Right, right. Moses Lin: I would hate that. If that was networking, do it right so Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: people freak out because it's like a term networking but networking just building relationships it's just like going out getting a drink with someone hanging out you don't have to talk about business right you're just building relationships Allison: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: so I think people get too freaked out about that a lot of networking events you just show up there's like a cash bar there's like a DJ and you just hang out with people right and it's no different than like happy hour after work kind of thing for for nine to five people Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: so my approach and to just go to everything and be everywhere. And so every time someone Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: goes to an event, I'm there. And they're reminded that I exist and they're reminded Allison: All Moses Lin: that I'm the best. And Allison: right. Moses Lin: yeah, and so that's kind of been it. So lately, so I'm part of a couple of groups. I started going to a lot of like out of state events. And so I went to this like, I went to a gala in Chicago to network there. I went to this like Christmas concert, this entertainment company was doing in Dallas. I went to Vegas a couple times for a couple events, and then I'm going to Colorado next week for another networking event. And I think it's just this thing where you just go and you just party with people, really. You Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: know? And you get people to like you, and it's not necessarily like, you're not trying to prove yourself to people, you're just trying to get Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: them to like you. Because here's Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: the thing, your work should speak for itself, right? Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: So essentially, you just need someone to have an excuse And your Instagram will book them Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: right if you're doing your social Allison: Right. Moses Lin: media, right? They just need to look at it and they'll be like, oh my god I have the perfect client for you, right? You don't need to do Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: a hard ask you just go and you just hang Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: out with people and The thing with the wedding industry is it's a lot more personable than most industries so Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: like a lot of my like friends are just in the wedding industry and You know, it's like it's like networking. So I'm gonna write it off my taxes But really it's like if these people left the wedding history They would still be my friends and that's kind of how I like to keep it And so essentially, people want to work with people they like. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: So it's like if you're a wedding planner, you don't want to book a whole vendor team of people that are annoying that you don't like, that you're not friends with. You want to Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: hang out with all your friends. You want to do a Cancun wedding and fly out all your friends and hang out with them for the week and then do an awesome wedding together. And so Allison: Thanks for watching! Moses Lin: it's really just going out there and making friends. And so for an extrovert like me, I love the sound of that. Anytime there's an event like, I'm booking a ticket, flying out, I'm going, I'm going to meet everyone, it's going to Allison: Hehehe Moses Lin: be a great time. And that's kind of like one thing that I feel like I'm pretty good at. And there's a lot of like luxury ones too that are like really elaborate that you can go to. I go to one called Engage and those are like really expensive to go to, but those are all like the really, really top people. And so when you start going to like very like high price tiers, you want to make sure you're not bringing the right people. So Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: I ran into an issue. years ago where essentially I was investing a lot into my local network over like maybe like two or three years and I finally got to the point where like I felt like everyone knew me, everyone loved me, I was like everyone's first choice for live music and then I started doing my conversion ratios and I started realizing that like there was like a year where I had like over 100 referrals from wedding planners and like maybe like five booked and Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: I was like oh my god like I have this really of people that can't afford me. Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: And it was really hard to realize that. So I was like, these are good people. They're my friends, I love Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: them. I'm still gonna hang out with them. But the business Allison: Right. Moses Lin: connection isn't valuable to me anymore because I've Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: outgrown them. Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: And so I think that's one thing to keep in mind is like, you wanna network with people at your level, above your level, but also keep in mind which ones are personal connections. These are my friends, I love them. They're really fun to hang out with. I'm going to chat them up because I like them. Separate Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: that from these are the people that make me money. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: And so I think a lot of times people either get stuck in a certain tier because if all your referrals are in one price tier, you can't Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: go above that because all of a sudden you Allison: Mm. Moses Lin: lose all your referral networks. So you have to Allison: Right. Moses Lin: always be networking at a range. And so as you move up, you need to find the people that will move up with you. Or if they're not, you need to find people that are at that level. Because if I have like 100 planners that are referring me to work at like $1,000 a wedding, I can't even raise it to $1,200 because I will then lose all of my income, right? And so Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: wherever you're at, you have to make sure that you are working with planners at a range and like vendors at a range. Allison: Mm-hmm. Wow, yeah, that was fire. And it makes me think because there's almost a feedback loop effect because performances Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: get more performances, right? So if you're doing the best you can to get the best Instagram content or whatever it is, but you're at these lower value venues and you're Moses Lin: Yup. Allison: not at the places that are charging as much and not in the places that are gonna be Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: having clients that are gonna be able to pay you what you wanna make, you can kind of, I suppose, stay stuck in that loop you're not intentional about it. So it seems like you've taken Moses Lin: Oh Allison: the Moses Lin: yeah. Allison: approach to be intentional about getting in the right places Moses Lin: Mm-hmm. Allison: for the content, for that feedback loop to start turning in your favor. Moses Lin: Exactly. It can be a whole spiral, right? So like Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: You have to you have to draw boundaries and no one to say no and like protect your like creative brand image, let me give an example, Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: right? So if you're a photographer, Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: right and You have a client that books you at this Barnhouse wedding that's doing Mason drawers and burlap and you are like, okay. Well, you're paying full price. So I guess I'll do it, right and you post those Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: photos What's gonna happen? You're gonna get three more brides that find your Instagram photos be like, oh my god I love Mason drawers and burlap burlap and barnhouses, right? Let's go. Allison: Let's Moses Lin: And so they book you a full price Allison: go. Moses Lin: and all of a sudden you find that you're making good money but your entire feed is barnhouse and mason jars and you wanna be doing editorial, right? Allison: Right. Moses Lin: And all of a sudden the planner that wants to give you the wedding of your dreams, Italy, editorial, right? She looks at your Instagram, she's like, oh, this is a barnhouse burlap kind of photographer, right? And they're like, no, we don't want her. We don't want him, right? And so, yes, along the way, but because you weren't true to your brand identity and your creative vision, all of a sudden Allison: Hmm. Moses Lin: you have alienated the planner that would have taken you to the next level and the planner that would have given you the wedding that you've always dreamed about doing. So Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: sometimes I do weddings at certain venues where I'm just like, this doesn't necessarily align with the image I'm trying to present. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: Beautiful wedding, I'm still going to do my best, I'm still going to give 110%, but I may or may not post this content and that's okay. Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: Right. And so I think you really need to curate like what is it that like let's talk about bias persona, right? So it's like who is your ideal client, right? What Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: do they like? What kind you know, you can get really crazy with bias persona like do they have pets, you know, what are their hobbies? Where do they like to shop? What do they like to Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: eat? You know, like Allison: Mm-hmm. Moses Lin: where do they vacation?

  • How This Jazzy Couple Created a Multi-6-Figure Music Brand

    The following is a conversation I recently had with New York’s Jazzy R&B duo Elasea Douglas and Sadiki Pierre, or better known as, Acute Inflections. Acute Inflections’ music has been featured on major networks such as Discovery and NPR And they are a favourite performer for clients which include: Google JPMorgan Chase The United Nations The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tiffany & Co They also perform their own shows at Legendary venues such as: Birdland City Winery Cotton Club Jazz at Lincoln Center Have shared the stage with many other renowned artists by opening concerts for: Patti LaBelle Sting Jennifer Hudson DJ Jazzy Jeff Keith Urban Throughout this conversation, we talk about branding, using social media, how to build fans and clients at the same time, and the art of running a stellar business and relationships simultaneously. Coming from a background of being a wedding musician, I found Sadiki and Elsea’s advice on acquiring corporate clients particularly interesting as well as their insight into the world of ticketed shows. But probably my favorite part of the conversation was just having the opportunity to spend some time with these incredible humans. This is the Musicwork podcast and I’m Allison Legendre. Please enjoy. Allison: All right, so I'm here with Sadiki and El, and from Acute Inflections, and I'm really excited to have this conversation with them today. If you guys haven't heard their music before anyone needs to go on Spotify if I right now, give them a listen because they have something really unique and really cool brand of business that I'm super excited to dig into and learn more about. So thank you so much, Sidikiand for joining me here today. Acute Inflections: Thank you for having us. Allison: Of course, so let's start. I know you guys have likely told this story before, but for the sake of our audience, I know it. I'd love to just recap how you guys started acute inflections. That because it's such a fun story. Acute Inflections: I'll let her tell it and then I'll fix whatever she misses. Acute Inflections: It all started on a cold night in Brooklyn. I was performing on stage with... some of my cast mates from the Broadway show, Fela. We did a little concert post it closing and Sadiki was a fan of that Broadway show, he and his friends, so they came to that concert. He didn't know who I was, but when he walked into the room, he was smitten, happened to be on stage performing at the time. And so after the show, we spoke to each other. Later that evening, he offered me a ride home and he has not left my side since. Fast forward about a year later, we kind of stumbled upon acute inflections totally by accident. There was a performance that should have had an entire band, but the piano player suggested that Sadiki and I just do it. I said, no, let's do the whole band. They have the show, the rest of the band didn't show up. So Sadiki and I ended up having to do the show. Everyone loved it and then it spiraled into acute infections. Acute Inflections: How'd I do? Not bad. Allison: I love that story, Because what you guys have is so unique and what you're able to do with you know, the two instruments, vocals and base is really quite remarkable. So it's always interesting to hear how that kind of was created, So I'm curious when you guys first started acute inflections. What was the original vision you guys had? If anything, Or how has that changed from where you were then to where you are now Acute Inflections: Well, originally I don't think we envisioned anything to do with private events and weddings and fancy parties. You know, we thought we were going to be like real artists. Not that we're not real artists, but you know, the business side of this was not part of the vision at all. We thought we'd be performing in little, you know, jazz clubs and coffee shops and music festivals and things like that. But... You have bills to pay, so you learn very quickly that you got to go where the money is, at least in the beginning of your career. So I'd say over the past ten years we've really had to focus on making the private event scene profitable, and we've been very successful with that. So there's been a lot of hard work and a lot of lessons learned. And over the last two or three years, now we're starting to go back to what the original vision was and doing more and more. public shows and showing people who we really are. Because I think for the private events, it's like just be quiet and make music and don't say a word to anyone and just take pictures and smile. And in the public space, people wanna know who the artist is. They wanna know like your favorite food and do you watch sports and things like that. So it's been fun kind of finally being able to be ourselves on stage. Allison: I love that, and that's something that I noticed with you guys right away, which is so incredible, but really rare. Is that that you have this really unique brand identity and music that you do. That's totally you, but you also are available for hire, for you know, really big clients, of course, like Mercedes and Tiffany, and all these cool things that you are doing, But yeah, in the private event space, as well as being like you, said quote, Unquote real artists producing your own albums, do Your shows and things like that. How, tell me, how did you think about going ahead and establishing a brand that is capable of both of those, both of those things, because I find it such a rare thing. Acute Inflections: I think we both kind of had a little dab in business. Allison: M. Acute Inflections: And we kind of took those lessons over to this side of thinking, I guess. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: Thinking of ourselves, yes, as artists, but wanting to be... well-fed and knowing that we needed finances to support it. And that it just takes a different kind of approach. So we were ready to do that kind of work Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: and look at it that way. So it just helped. We weren't that naive kind of going into it. We just knew that. because we want to remain independent and not a slave to anyone saying that we can't do something a certain way because we're being funded by them, sorry, that kind of forced us to come into it with a different mindset. Allison: So Acute Inflections: Yeah, Allison: the independence Acute Inflections: and Allison: was important. Go ahead, Acute Inflections: we're also here in New York, you know, and there's just... an unbelievable amount of competition. So I think just to stand out with a project that initially looks like, well, this isn't going to work. You know, most people who know anything about music, if you see just bass and voice on the stage, you're like, well, that's not enough. So we knew that we needed to use everything in our power to capture your attention, at least make you curious, at least Allison: Hm. Acute Inflections: have you say, well, they look all right, they're dressed nicely, let me press play and see what this is about. So, yeah, we had to be pretty calculated and very, in a way, conservative, but also very stylish. You needed a brand that had like some wow, some impact. And that's what we've been building and refining. And, you know, I think we've got it in a pretty good pocket now, I think. Allison: Of course, absolutely. I would totally agree that you guys have. I can see that you've been really strategic building the brand and making it very. you know, presentable. I think that's a big aspect of what you guys do. The whole show is definitely something that I think can captivate an audience in a lot o different ways, and I think just having the as a duet Frijez really does help spark that curiosity as well. So I think that are really import important pieces. You mentioned that you guys had you know some background in business to mind expanding a little bit more about that or what were some previous sort of adventures Acute Inflections: Yeah, Allison: you had. Acute Inflections: Siddiqui was, I guess, a mortgage broker for some time before the market crashed. And he was kind of, he sort of, I wouldn't say worked independently, he still worked underneath certain branches, but he was able to work from home. So his approach was a little bit more, it was outside of the box. which ended up making him quite apprised. I was a very surprised mortgage broker in the industry. And as for me, I did a little bit of sales for a yacht company at some point, which allowed me to see the similarities, I guess, with being on stage and also basically producing crews for a client. The ins and outs are pretty much like a production. You have your set up, and then when the event starts, it's show time, you know? So, Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: and then also just the selling aspect of it, the guest experience, those types of things translates to what we're doing, even on the business end of acute inflections. Us having to think through the entire process of when someone... sends us an inquiry all the way down to post their event. All those little touches, the details are important to the success of it all. And of course, finances, Allison: M, hm, Acute Inflections: managing your finances, being willing to invest in the growth, the marketing, the education, all that stuff kind of happened or was plugged into it. was brought over because of our past experiences in business. Allison: M. I love that. So it sounds like you guys you know had this vision for this project and you knew you wanted to be able to you know, reach, you know your people and build your fans, but you knew that the way to get there is you needed to make something sustainable, so you're like Hey, let's follow where the people who are paying is and make sure that we get something turning there, and at the same time we're going to be building our brand. Um, Does that sound about how it happened? Acute Inflections: Pretty much, yep. Allison: Yeah, well, it's so clever because I see so often musicians who have their original music and they think that it's just needs to be completely separate from what they do in the private events space. What do you think about that? Do you think they're missing out on? You know the power of having focus of just building things all together. Acute Inflections: Yeah, definitely. But I also think that depending on what your original music sounds like, Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: for some musicians it might be wise to keep them separate. Allison: Keep it quiet, Acute Inflections: Yeah, Allison: right, Acute Inflections: I mean it depends on, you know, like if your private event clients want something that's very conservative and clean and if your private event music, I'm sorry, if your public music is a little more... edgy and maybe there's profanity there, things like that. Especially nowadays where people are so opinionated Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: and judgmental sometimes. But I would say we're artists, we're creative. Figure Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: out a creative way to bridge the two. Even if you have some crossover songs, like certain songs that are... you know from your public like your albums and stuff but can be played at private events and things like that just to get people curious and interested. Allison: M. I'm curious how you've seen the cross over between people who hire you and the people who come to your shows, and you know going to or thou guys and all the fun things that you do. Is there a lot of cross over there between? like the clients we can say and the fans, Acute Inflections: It's starting to happen. Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: What's interesting, they would have remained separate, I think, if it wasn't for the pandemic. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: Once we went virtual, it forced a lot of our clients that we would usually do in-person events for. When they went virtual with us, it allowed them to kind of see our personalities more because we were even discovering that it's okay to show our personalities a little bit more laid back. And so Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: that caused us to develop our humor together Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: and as individuals. I like to think I still sort of funny. I mean, Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: we always had like funny banter. I think every couple of probably has funny banter between them, but Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: just figuring out how much you can show on stage and Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: people enjoying it sort of encourages you to be more open with it. So once that passed and we started doing the public shows again, everyone who's on our email list, Allison: M, Acute Inflections: clients and not, they all started to come to the shows and it's kind of, we laughed at it sometimes where we see a diverse group of people in the audience that are wealthy and not so wealthy all because we chose to kind of... show both sides at the same time. So they kind of gained that trust. They were very surprised. A lot of our clients said, I had no idea you guys were this funny. I knew your music was great, but you guys are like a thing. Like, you know, it's kind of fun to see. So thank you, Pandemic, I guess. Yeah, but I think the demand was there because a lot of the feedback we get at private events, people essentially say, I wish everyone would shut up. I wish that I could come to a show and see something like this, you know. But they just automatically assume that if you're performing at a wedding, that that's all you do. So, Allison: M, Acute Inflections: and it's not like you're supposed to be saying like, hey, congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And if you guys are around on Friday, come see us at, you know, Smoke Jazz Club. Like, you're not, that's not appropriate. Allison: Right, right, Acute Inflections: So you don't really have much of an opportunity to sort of change that in people's minds, that assumption. Allison: You got. So that is actually a really big key there. I think that you guys kind of learn to show your personalities and it was through people being online in social media that you're able to kind of convert the clients over into the fan group as well, and because it's something that I was actually surprised by just with other music groups that it's surprising how that transition, or like merging those two worlds can be challenging sometimes because I feel sometimes when people hire you they're like. You know they're like, Oh my God, I'm so excited. It's like your number one thing. At other times, it's just like checking a box to other people, so Acute Inflections: Yeah. Allison: to be able to show that, you know, this is something that you can get excited about and kind of build fans with clients. I think having social media showing you personality, I think that's gonna be a big key for other musicians to tap into, So thank you for for sharing that. And yeah, I also want to touch on social media because you guys are so fun like I have noticed that as well, have you kind of grown your personal brand And you know the mail marketing. I know you're really being on Instagram as well. Tell us about. you know the world of your social media of life, and how you go about connecting with your audience. What's your approach? Acute Inflections: Uh, the approach is get yelled at by our social media person and just try to post content that'll shut her up. Allison: U, h Acute Inflections: Yeah, it's been one. giant decade-long debate at this point because I Allison: M Acute Inflections: think naturally we're not social media people, but we've learned that it's vital, it's a necessary evil, and it's tricky trying to be on there enough to remain present, but also not let it consume you and take up too much time and attention. But yeah, we try to make sure that we're just adding value, either it's something interesting or something inspiring or something funny. And also try to steer clear of the more controversial stuff on there. We want our music to unite people. And we've got to sort of stay in a specific lane to do that. Allison: Wisdom? So what is the your platform of choice Or what platform have you found to be most useful for you guys? Whether it's like social media or even email marketing? What do you or is it a combination? Acute Inflections: I'd say Facebook's probably the most effective for getting our fans to shows. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: As far as generating business, the private event business I'd have to say is emails. Emails and sometimes text. Yeah, emails. We have a text messaging list. I mean, it seems like social media generates inquiries that are just quite like, it is I guess lower budget inquiries. So that's the thing there. You gotta sort of explain to them that, you know, a lot of people say like, hey, I'm having a birthday party for my husband, you know, that kind of thing. You know, Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: love to have you guys, and you have to explain to them like, this is what it costs in the real world. Like, have you ever hired Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: entertainment before? Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: Versus email, you know, you're emailing past clients. They already know, you know, they have an idea of what this costs, and do the questions, you know, sound systems, and blah, blah, blah, blah. Allison: Got it. So when you say email marketing is useful for you know, getting clients to resign on is that when you're like sending broadcast emails or more direct approach, Or what does that look like? Acute Inflections: No, mostly broadcast. Allison: Okay, just kind Acute Inflections: Yeah, Allison: of reminds Acute Inflections: just Allison: them Acute Inflections: like Allison: like. Acute Inflections: in... Allison: Hey, we hired them last year. Let's get them back. Type thing Acute Inflections: Right. Yeah, exactly, Allison: perfect. Acute Inflections: exactly. Yeah, and you just, you know, you don't even have to like remind people that you did their event or anything like that. You just let them know that you're still alive and you're making music. That's all they Allison: Right? Acute Inflections: need to say. And they're like, hey, let's have them back. They agree. Allison: Okay, I love that so I'm curious to diving to that world a bit because I'm less familiar with it. I know the weddings, but when it comes to the corporate entertainment, tell us about that. So do you get a lot of clients signing up again when you after you do one event for them? Acute Inflections: Yeah, we do have a lot of, I guess, reoccurring clients, Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: repeat clients, as they say. Yeah, which we're always grateful for. And how does that work? You just make sure you nail it the first Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: time. Make the booking process as seamless as possible. And really, we really focus on being as helpful and alleviating as much I guess hassle for them, Allison: M, Acute Inflections: you know, with the contract process is real straightforward, our attention to detail with, you know, our equipment requirements or being willing to provide more for them Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: to make their end of things more efficient, you know, if you can. You know, if you Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: can provide sound, provide it. Yeah, so I think things like that. And if they don't need to keep it different for their guest, then those are the moments where we get called back a lot. If their guests are not picky and if they love it, they will keep coming back. So a lot of them eat at the same or host their event at the same venue every year. and Allison: M, Acute Inflections: they call us back, thank goodness, every year. Allison: Uh, huh, Acute Inflections: Because it works, it works. They just want to have a great time and talk to the people that they don't see, that they only see once a year. So it works, I think. Yeah, definitely. And also, what we do isn't obnoxious, not to offend anybody, but Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: we're good for if you. Yes we're good for entertaining if you want to focus zero in on the performance, but we're really great also for just the background experience. If you want to be in your conversation, then notice the song and then go back to your conversation. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: We're really good, great for that. Allison: M. Amazing, So it seems like what's important to those corporate clients based off what you're sharing how you treat them is that they're looking for efficiency, and just like you know, looking to get things done and know that they don't need to worry about it, and making sure you're giving them nothing to worry about when you're working with them. Would you say that's an Acute Inflections: Yeah. Allison: important part of working with them? Got it Acute Inflections: Yeah. Allison: okay? Acute Inflections: I think they also appreciate. Like some of our clients will have a vision and it's like, we politely just tell them like, yeah, that's, you can do that and it will work, but they also appreciate someone who will give them some insight and kind of say, well, Allison: M, Acute Inflections: here's a better way to do it, or here's what's worked in the past at other events. So Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: that's really worked for us sharing, you know, experiences from other events so that we can help make the next event better than they originally intended or planned for it to be. But yeah, definitely the whole, ease of use. It always cracks me up when people write a review of us online and they're like, their music's great and they look great but they're so easy to work with, you know? Like Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: it seems like they really enjoyed that it was easy to work with and to what she said I think just being overly prepared and overly generous and that sort of thing pays dividends. Allison: Awesome, So these clients you can get kind of repeat business with them through email marketing. What about how they find you guys? Initially? What lead generation streams have you guys found are really good for you. Acute Inflections: I think networking is the best way, just in Allison: Okay, Acute Inflections: person events, like find those event industry meeting planners, those types of networking groups, and Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: just offer, say hey, at your next meeting would you like some entertainment, donate a performance. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: You might have to donate several performances and hang around and hand out business cards. invite them to your next show, tell them, I'll throw you on the guest list, that sort of thing, Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: just to develop relationships. And once you have the relationships, you can go to the next show. You can go to the next show. everyone knows everyone in the event industry so you know if you get mary to start working with you then she tells george and you know before you know it everyone's calling you and it's kind of a funny thing we laugh about the event industry is the turnover rate is ridiculous we'll have a friend that we met working at the Hyatt you know in manhattan the next thing you know he's managing this hotel in brooklyn and two years later he's over here all his colleagues like, hey, I've used this group before, and you're just spreading Allison: M, Acute Inflections: through all these hotels that you never even heard of, just because everyone's moving around so much. So I think just make those relationships right up front. It's an investment in time and money and that sort of thing, but it pays off. Yeah, and when you are gonna go to these networking events, when I say be presentable, be likable, brush your teeth, wear something nice, You know, go in there with confidence because if you're awkward, it makes somebody else awkward, you know, or feel awkward. So just be a likable person. And what does Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: that look like for you? You know, pick it till you make it if you're not. Allison: That's so good now Net working events. Those are you saying That happens in kind of the business world for corporate events, too, or just more like the event planners. Acute Inflections: uh... not happens on both sides Allison: Okay, Acute Inflections: a lot of the meeting plans from different companies will go to the same events that plan is going to and vice versa they got different conventions and conferences uh... Allison: M, Acute Inflections: for all of that. It's totally intermingled. People have had their own event planning company go work for the mayor or the governor's event office and then next Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: thing you know they're back. It's a lot of cross-pollination going on there. Allison: Perfect. And so how do you go about finding those conventions that you can start to meet people at? Acute Inflections: Google. Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: Yeah, just Google and social media. You know, there Allison: right, Acute Inflections: are certain hashtags you can follow Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: like event pros, event professionals, things like that. Allison: Okay, Acute Inflections: And you'll find them. There are a few different organizations that say ILEA. which is I think the International Live Event Association or something like that. They have different Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: chapters all over. There's one called NACE, which I think is the National Association of Catering and Events, which is a good one. There's MPI meeting. Planners Incorporated maybe, I don't know. So they're probably like, once you start Googling them, Google will probably start suggesting like, oh, you're looking for this kind of stuff. We'll tell you about this group and that group. You'll find what you're looking for. You gotta be curious and do some digging. Allison: Amazing, and that's something I've noticed about both of you That you are researchers and you seem to always be learning and always growing. So you know if you could share a little bit about that with with us and the audience, what drives you guys to just keep learning And how useful how you found that to be and growing your brand, Acute Inflections: Education definitely is key. Uh... Yeah, super useful. Very. We learned pretty early. There was a book that we both read called The Secrets to a Millionaire Mind. What's the name of this author? I think it's T. Harv Ecker or something like that. Yeah. He was really big on investing in yourself and that could be via education putting money into building whatever you are focused on. If you Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: don't invest in you, you can't expect anyone else to invest in you. But also just educating yourself. There's always something to learn in order to get better at. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: So we are constantly trying to... just become more aware of things. And especially, we both grew up in kind of conservative homes, so there's a lot of information that just we were not, did not have access to. So I love Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: YouTube. I learned so much. Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: I catch up on everything through YouTube a lot. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: But also what keeps us going is sometimes when you just get in this rut or you become a little complacent something will happen uh... uh... you bob ashore something just reminds you this is why continue working you can Allison: M, Acute Inflections: you continue rehearsing continue pursuing knowledge in this thing because if you know it all you know nothing i guess Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: you know you really don't know anything if you Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: And I Allison: That's Acute Inflections: think, Allison: good. Acute Inflections: you know, not to get too dark here, but as artists we need to learn the mistakes of other artists. And there's Allison: M, Acute Inflections: so many horror stories from other artists who just wanted to focus on the music. You know, they're like, that's the dream. I just do the music and I have my record label and my manager and whoever else do everything for me. But then you hear about these same artists later on in their careers being broke, you know, bankrupt, that sort of thing. And guess who's living in the mansion and flying around in a corporate room? Well, your record label and your manager and everyone else, the people who Allison: M. Acute Inflections: wanted to do the hard work that required the education, they wanted to do the dirty work for you, they did it. You know, so for us, it's been right from day one, we've got to know everything about our business, we've got to make sure we're training ourselves, we've got to learn to manage ourselves, we've got to learn to market ourselves, and that's some really strong motivation when you have it in the back of your head. Allison: No, that's really good, and you know it's way better to learn lessons through the hard lessons that other people have learned just by researching, then having to go through them yourself. So it sounds like you guys learned early on that you wanted to understand how things worked and be knowledgeable. and you know self managed in. In a sense, what does that look like now? Because I know that you guys work with other people and like teams. I'm not sure exactly what your team looks like Now Sounds like you might have some help with social media and I'm not sure if there's anything else. So what does that like? You know you? What does that relationship like? Is it more like you are? Because you know kind of the direction of the business? You kind of just instruct people and employ people. Or is it more like they give you direction? How does that look like? how does that look with your team? Acute Inflections: I mean, bottom line is we hire bad guys, that's what we call them. Like Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: you need to be the bad guy in our life when it comes to PR, or you need to be the bad guy Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: in our life when it comes to marketing or sort of coach us up on social media. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: But we still reserve the right to have the final say. And Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: we're open minded. If our social media person says, you guys should be posting on TikTok five times a day, we're like. We need to post more. Yes, we're not posting five times a day. I think we're kind of a little bit of a pain, a little frustrating for them to work with sometimes because Allison: M, Acute Inflections: we don't just blindly follow instructions. But once Allison: M, Acute Inflections: they get used to it, it's a fun process of finding that middle ground, what's authentic to who we are. And we're always willing to stretch. We just don't want to go too far. I think sometimes the experts. will have you doing things that will work for what they want to achieve, but you won't be able to sleep at night Allison: M, Acute Inflections: with some of their suggestions. It's great to have those people all around you. You definitely don't want to have a circle that's just saying yes to everything you Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: want or just agreeing with everything that comes out of your mouth. It's great to have those bad guys that will Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: keep pushing you. And Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: it's also good that we've gone through doing some things ourselves because we at least know where the bar should be, you know, and can speak the language of whatever the topic is so they don't feel like they can pull on us. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: Yeah, they definitely don't worth paying attention. So it's Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: like if they send out a press release, they know we're going to read it and comment Allison: M, Acute Inflections: on, well, that word's not a good word for our brand, you know. He should have maybe used this, which I can imagine on their end is frustrating, because they're like, hey, this is what I do all day, every day for clients for the last 20 years. And who are you to kind of? But we've also learned things ourselves, especially that public space doesn't. initially doesn't understand how much we've had to adapt in the private event world to get business. So we already have a really good understanding of what helps us get booked with companies and it's like why not use those lessons over here. Let's not start from scratch. Allison: M. Got. so you're taking lessons that you've learned in the private event industry, and as your growing with your influence on line, you're applying those same lessons. Acute Inflections: Definitely. Allison: Okay, what are some of those those lessons? I'm curious as to just about staying in line with your brand. Or what are you looking for when it comes to? Um, you know, moving forward with strategies, Acute Inflections: I think it's really recognizing. why people hire you. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: Do they want you to be fancy looking, which is a large part of our business, but then some Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: people want that fun, casual, Gatsby vibe, and then you Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: can bring that over into the public event world. And when a jazz club hires you and they're saying, well, what kind of music are you going to do? And you say, well, let's do a Gatsby night. We already know that's Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: going to work because 30, 40% of our private event gigs are Gatsby night gigs. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: You might think we should do a night of all Ella Fitzgerald tunes, but I'm telling you that's no one hires us and says let's have an Ella Fitzgerald cocktail party to celebrate my company's record Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: earnings this year. They want a Gatsby night. So Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: it's lessons like that, definitely with the repertoire, with the song selections, with the outfits, all that stuff. Allison: Okay, that's good, and then, when it comes to the help that you guys have right now, and you are kind of like the overseers of the artistic direction. But what have you found to be useful to get helped with or out source? Is it like the actual posting on social media, or is it Emil replies, or like, how have you built up a team that works for you? Acute Inflections: Definitely some outsourcing of the putting together of the social media. What's happening a lot now, I've... started capturing content if we go out to just hang, Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: and then we pass on all that footage to one of our social media people, and they put together a reel, and then we Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: take that reel and put music to it, whatever little final touches, and post, Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: voila. You know, so we've definitely passed on certain things to alleviate some of the tedious work that... Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: we are regarded to do. So that's allowed Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: things to happen more efficiently. We have this assistant that has certain templates. So the emails that go out sometimes are, they're only having to do is just plug in certain things. So Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: that just kind of helps to make their job easier as well. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: I'd say a graphic designer is huge. Oh yeah, Allison: M, Acute Inflections: I know. I love Alex. Yeah, Alex, our graphic designer is amazing. And if you don't know about Fiverr, jump on Fiverr. You'll meet some super talented people overseas, and it's affordable. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: they really care about what you're doing. Not to say that people locally don't, but we have had really good luck with some people overseas with video editing projects, with web developing and graphic designers. You kind of need these people, and depending on what you're working on, some of these people you might need once or twice a year, and Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: other people you might need them once or twice a month. But for sure someone like she mentioned handling emails and phone calls is super useful. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: the social media stuff. We're super picky about our voice, so Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: we haven't gotten to the place where we can just allow someone to just do everything. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: But Olivia's really good at, give her a quick shout out if she listens to this. She's really good at saying, I think you guys should do this, and then writing a caption, and then she's super cool with the debate about the caption. We're like, well, we don't wanna say that, or we don't want that trending audio on our... like why can't we use our own audio for artists, Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: you know, so Allison: right, Acute Inflections: it's cool to have people like that that can really help make the process more efficient and then help you create things that are better received than you would have on your own. Allison: That's good. That's such a good way to go about it. Because yeah, there's so many. especially a lot of like you know, top forty name artists and things you hear. I don't know what horse stories you read. And obviously there's a lot of good things happening to them. But when there's just like completely, just like, focused on music and have no idea what's going on in the management or the Voice or anything like that, It's almost like you know they're not in control of their own personal brand. And so you guys have done really something really smart, And that is that you want to maintain artistic control over your voice. Um, you use other people to kind of just like bounce ideas off of, and of course, out source the things that aren't high leverage for you, so I'm curious. Like what have you whittled down To the high leverage things that you guys want to focus on? That's just specific to what you guys need to get done in a week. Like what does that look like? What are the tasks that you guys want to focus on with your time? Acute Inflections: More rehearsal. Allison: M. Acute Inflections: I think Allison: It's good, Acute Inflections: if there's anything that I can give the artists who don't focus on business, they are rehearsing all the time. So... Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: We've been kind of reliant on our talent. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: We rehearsed, but definitely not as much as it looks or it seems. And so now I think it's catching up to us where, Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: so we can't control all the environments that we are in and Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: we're seeing now that rehearsal will getting it into our body so much so that no matter what's going on Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: in these strained environments that we're not moved by it. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: an impeccable show. So I think right now focusing on actually rehearsing is key, a big thing. What's the... Yeah, I'd say rehearsing and then just continuously educating yourself so that Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: you can stay very much involved in what everyone else is doing. You never want to... Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: It's almost like babysitting kids. You can't just let your PR team just do whatever they want. You can't just Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: let your graphic designer do whatever he wants. Like, these people are great and they mean well, but you know, you have to stay involved and you have to be educated to stay involved and have a valuable, you know, some valuable insights on what's going on. Allison: That's good. so yeah, Obviously the music is like only what you guys can do, so that makes sense that like you want to keep pouring into your art, and then you find yourself in more of like, almost management of like learning and making sure that everything is going well in the way that you envisioned with you with your team. So yeah, I think that's a makes a lot of sense considering where you guys are at with where you've grown to, so I'm curious. What does like the average week look like for you guys. Now like you try to split Time between creating new music or rehearsing, Or how many events do you end up doing? What does what does the week look like for you guys? What do you try to get done? Acute Inflections: It's just... Allison: I Acute Inflections: It's Allison: know Acute Inflections: basically... Allison: the feeling is the overwhelm. Acute Inflections: Yeah, you're just like standing in the middle of a forest fire. And you're like, that tree's on fire, let's put it out. And then there's another one on fire. Allison: Oh no, Acute Inflections: Yeah, we're not nearly as proactive as we want to be. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: But I'd say we're spending a lot of time like trying to book new shows to advertise Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: the shows that you currently have. to make sure that the clients that you have are being serviced well, and then in between all of that, squeezing in some rehearsals, squeezing in some lessons, you know, squeezing in some other courses and educating yourself and that sort of thing. And that will shift every week. You know, it'd be one thing if our outside world is consistent. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: But because it shifts so much, we're constantly having to move things. And that's why the forest fire analogy is perfect because, Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: you know, not every week is the same at all. So the plugin thinks differently every time. So I wish we could answer that better for you. Allison: No, it's good. Acute Inflections: Well, at least you know that we juice, we make sure we exercise. We clean the house at least once a week, laundry Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: gets done. Make sure you get your sleep. Every bill is paid, hallelujah. But Allison: Uh, Acute Inflections: it's also important, I think, to just keep a list of, like, almost a dream list. Like, I wish I could get these 20 things done this week, but then boil Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: it down to, like, the top 10%, 20%. But this is what I must get done this week, so that Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: you don't drive yourself crazy trying to do too much and missing the important things and feeling guilty because you didn't get something done. things really not that important. So, you know, Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: it is important to, I think, adjust your expectations and then just be grateful at the end of the week that, yeah, maybe I didn't get these 20 things done, but some new business came in and I was able to make sure that client had a great experience and ultimately that's Allison: M. Acute Inflections: more important. Allison: right, Absolutely so when it comes to you, the events that you guys are doing, Is it seasonal for you guys? I know that it's obviously you mention that things change week to week with when you're actually performing, But are things relatively consistent throughout the year or is it mostly weekdays or weekends? M. What do you cally expecting a week for your performance schedule? Acute Inflections: it's pretty random i'd say we perform Allison: Okay, Acute Inflections: we're fortunate to perform on weekdays more than weekends because of the corporate events, like we just got a call right before this for like some event that a credit card company is having on a Monday night, you know, so we get really quote-unquote lucky with Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Weekends, Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: I'd say more in the spring, summer, fall for like social, you know, weddings, birthday parties and then holiday season's just insane, but pretty much book solid from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year's. You might get a couple days off around Christmas and even that's a maybe because sometimes people are like, hey, you want to come do a Christmas brunch or whatever. But yeah, as far as like, I'd say January is definitely a little slower. Maybe end of August can be a little slower. A lot of people are on vacation then. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: So there are these little pockets, but we're pretty steady just because we have, we've planted seeds in so many different areas. So, you know, Allison: M. Acute Inflections: you might get a random retirement home gig on a Tuesday afternoon, and then, you know, next week a corporate thing, and then next week a political fundraiser, and blah, blah, blah, blah. So you're just busy in different settings all the time. Allison: Oh, that's good. So the Christmas thing, By the way, That's because your album so good. like your Christmas album. That's probably I Acute Inflections: Thank you. Allison: love that one. Jasper Christmas, This is something about it. Acute Inflections: Thank Allison: but Acute Inflections: you. Allison: okay, So you guys are in a lot of different like markets Almost when it comes to. you know you have the corporate thing and that's really wise to have those seeds planted in different places like you mentioned. If you don't mind sharing, what have you learned in terms of like How to navigate these different clients and what budgets you're able to know they have for these different types of Um. ventures? Have you like? I'm sure you've kind of iron that down, like of what the different budgets are for for different types of clients Like, do you notice the difference or what does that look like? Acute Inflections: Yeah, there's definitely a difference. Of course, we noticed. Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: We like to say there's civilian pricing because clearly we can't, if you're having a house pie, we can't charge you what we would charge a corporate Allison: M, Acute Inflections: client. Allison: hm, Acute Inflections: So we are sensitive to that. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: However, depending on what it is, if we do not believe in it, we might Allison: M, Acute Inflections: just turn it down. Allison: hm, Acute Inflections: Sometimes when we're working with a restaurant, you know, We will adjust if it's a reoccurring thing or a one-time thing. So we are sensitive to the different budgets that are out there. But one thing for sure, if we sense that someone is just nickel-ing and diming just because they can, Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: we don't honor that. Allison: Got it. Acute Inflections: We are definitely sensitive to the people who are real fans of us. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: And if they can't afford what we would normally charge for a particular thing, depending on how much they emote Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: their love of us, we'll Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: bend a little bit to accommodate. So it's Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: definitely case by case. Yeah. And just being aware of what each industry expects to pay an artist, because a Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: library doing a free concert doesn't expect to pay with like a jazz festival with 30,000 people expects to be. Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: The thing that sometimes is frustrating is people don't give you all the details. So sometimes someone will call and say, I'm having a small birthday party for 20 people. What would you charge? And you're like, oh, where's it going to be? And then, oh, it's going to be on Long Island. Well, you feel like you're pulling teeth and they're Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: being really slick with how they answer. And then you show up and it's like, all right, you've got a 16-bedroom house with a tennis court. Yeah, you have Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: the helicopter in the backyard. Like, we shouldn't have really charged you what, you know. So it's tricky with that. And we Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: tell people when they ask, like, what do you guys charge them? We say, it depends on who's asking, you know. Because that's Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: what it's boiling down to now, and it's funny to say it that way. But Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: it's the truth, you know. It's not the same thing for everyone. And I guess it can't be the same thing for everyone because... If that be the case, then there'd be a certain sector of the population that would never experience us. And we don't feel Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: good about that. Allison: Hm, Oh, that's good. so it sounds like Yeah, but you experience different budgets. Sounds like corporates on one of the higher ends of them. M. What is your guy's favorite type of event to do Acute Inflections: It depends how much. we're trying to pay off a credit card. Like, if we have some debt that we're trying to like, hey, we got one more car payment and get this paid off, then probably one of those higher paying corporate events. Because now we've just gotten down to a science and our clients trust us. So most of the time, we've had clients who'll just text us, like, hey, can you guys be in LA on this date, this time, this location, blah, blah, blah, here's the fee. And we're like, yeah. And then you literally don't even hear from them ever again. Like, they don't. call to check your flights, it'll call to check hotels, like they just trust you and they just Allison: Right Acute Inflections: wire you the full payment like six months in advance and we're like wow that was pretty cool you know Allison: Right Acute Inflections: so those events are great just because there's so little like work on our end like a wedding client which we love our wedding couples and yes we love our wedding couples yes but yeah you know sometimes with the 76 phone calls about this song and my mom this and but I want something for my dad you know that can get a little much at times. Allison: Right for sure. For sure. So tell us about the Sicily tour that you guys have coming off, because that just sounds super epic. How did that come Acute Inflections: Thank Allison: about? Acute Inflections: you. Allison: And what's the plan there? Acute Inflections: You want to tell that to me? No, it's your friend. Yeah, Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: basically my friend from junior high, elementary, junior high, and high school is Italian. Allison: Okay, Acute Inflections: I can never remember if he was born here, born there, but he was always back and forth growing up to Italy. And Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: he'd spend years there. And then after graduating high school, he played professional basketball in Italy for 20 years. And so he knows everyone. He's like a star over there. Everyone knows him. So when he retired, and even when he was still playing, if he had a few months off, he'd bring some friends over from the US to Italy or to Sicily and give him a tour. So it kind of turned into this boutique. touring company and he loves our music Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: so we'd hang out when he comes back to the states and stuff and I think last year he's like, look I've just had this dream, I want to explain it to UNL and he thought it was going to be like this thing he had to sell us on. He's like, I just want you guys to come on tour and like perform at these different locations, they're so beautiful and I think your music would sound great there and you know, would you guys be willing to do that for one of my tours? I'm like... Yeah, Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: you're not selling me out anything bro, yeah get me out of here. Allison: Uh, Acute Inflections: And then, you know, then Allison: uh, Acute Inflections: I'll mention that, well next year we're celebrating 10 years, would it be okay to invite some fans with us? And he was like, why don't we just have it for you and your fans, you know, for the first one, just have you and your fans. So yeah, we're excited about that, we put it together, you know, use a lot of those skills that we talked about before that we learned with websites and marketing and. all that good stuff. A lot of people are excited about it. Allison: Amazing. So do you have fans that I've already signed up to come along with you? Acute Inflections: Yeah. Yeah. Allison: Amazing. Acute Inflections: Yeah. Allison: Now what does that look like? you still have spots? Laughter. Is that still something you guys are actively marketing or Acute Inflections: Yeah, we still have some spots left. Of course, we're going Allison: Yeah? Acute Inflections: to it's in September, so we definitely will keep pushing to sell it out. But it's in a good place right now. So even if we stay right here, it's what we found for me. But Allison: Uh, huh, Acute Inflections: you are all welcome to join us. Allison: Uh, Acute Inflections: Well, not all. I think we only have six spots left. We wanted to keep it intimate, so it's only going to be 12 Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: people on tour. But yeah, we still have six. places like so hurry up and sign up if you want to go Allison: Uh, Acute Inflections: and we're thinking Allison: uh, Acute Inflections: Based on we're gonna of course learn whatever lessons from this one but we do plan to Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: make this a yearly thing even if it's not in cicely but just having the opportunity or offering the opportunity for fans to really spend time with us and explore you know Yeah Falling really fall in love with acute infections Allison: Uh, Acute Inflections: But this Allison: uh, Acute Inflections: gives you an opportunity to have like real conversations, you know? Because we did, you know, Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: it's, you're grateful that people love what you do, but sometimes Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: you also feel like, I wish we could, I wish we could move past the, when did you start playing bass? When did you start singing? How did you guys meet? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, those sort of surface conversations that you have after Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: every show, after every gig. I think, you Allison: M, Acute Inflections: know, if you're spending 10 days with us, we can have a real conversation, you know? And then have Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: real memories together, because it's, it's hard sometimes, I saw you here and I saw you there and it's like, but for me it wasn't a memorable enough experience and you feel bad because you're a nice person. I wish that something happened that was memorable for the both of us. But Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: I can imagine that if we're both learning to make pasta together in Sicily, we're both going to remember that experience forever and remember each other forever. So it Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: just gives you an opportunity to really get to know your fans and your fans to get to know you at a way deeper level than you'll ever have at a show. Allison: Amazing, It seems like you guys really care about your fans. then Acute Inflections: That's how we Allison: Yeah, Acute Inflections: got them to pay us lots of money to perform for their parties and stuff. More than Allison: Uh, Acute Inflections: that. More than that. There's Allison: uh, Acute Inflections: a sense of responsibility, I think. You know, as artists, once you are on this platform in front of people, you're kind of a messenger from the universe, I guess. So to remain... open and respectful of that responsibility to use your voice or your platform to bring about healing, freedom, encourage freedom and change and unity. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: And then on a financial level, I think artists sometimes lose sight of the fact that your fans are your employers. Like, there Allison: M, Acute Inflections: might be one millionth of your employer, but each one contributes to that whole. No fans, no income. Allison: Hm, amazing, Amazing. So this, this interview wouldn't be complete if I didn't ask about how you guys are such a good power couple at working together. What does that look like? Because here's a something that a lot of couples can't hack to you know, create a business together as one that's flourishing at that. So what s that look like? you guys both have your different areas of experts that you kind of stick to. Do you collaborate a lot? What are yourdifferent rules? And how does that look? Acute Inflections: I guess we have some things that he's stronger in or I'm stronger in, but we definitely come together to collaborate. Even that sometimes is hard because we both are very strong-minded, opinionated people. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: So the real trick is it takes work to make it work. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: It takes inner work as individuals to make it their collective work. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: and that work doesn't stop and that's also a part of the education. Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: Having to learn new ways to self-correct so that you can continue to keep the coexistence going. And then space, lots of communication, lots of honesty, lots of uh... swallowing your pride and your ego. But Allison: M, Acute Inflections: yeah, just finding that balance and remembering that you two are friends and you two are people who love each other at first. And Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: you know, even though you're working and you're stressing this any other, don't forget. Who is it? I think it's in the book. five love languages, I think. It was, I read the book, and great, great points, but the one that really stuck out for me at the very end wasn't even necessarily one of the love languages, but it was a quote that said something like, remember that this is the person you love. You know, remember the person you love. You know, like, even though he's, you know, my work partner. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: it's still somebody I love. So to treat Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: that person like that kind of helps to reset and diffuse if you let it. Allison: Right Acute Inflections: But yeah, it takes work to make this work. Allison: That. that's good and I'm curious. Other than musical talent which you guys obviously have nailed, what do you think is the most important skill that you guys have had that enabled you to create acute inflections and to flourish like it has. Acute Inflections: I'd say we're both pretty relentless. We Allison: Okay, Acute Inflections: don't give up easy. And we wouldn't be here if we didn't have that, because in the beginning, um. New York wasn't kind, you know, a lot of people, especially in the beginning I hadn't played the bass in ten years. It was a hobby in junior high and high school and then I stopped and then when I met her I started getting back into it so, you know, we'd both get a lot of feedback like, she's great, you need to get a new bass player kind of thing. But, you know, I needed to practice and take lessons and get better Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: and better over time. But yeah, I'd say you got to be stubborn, you got to be persistent, you got to be relentless. And if we didn't have that... And I'll add to that and say discipline. Having Allison: Um, Acute Inflections: discipline Allison: right, Acute Inflections: will help you get it done. Allison: Right. Acute Inflections: It's not going to happen any other way. It's got to be discipline. Allison: Oh, that's good, and I'm curious. What do you guys like? How much of your journey do you feel was hard work Versus you know, lucky things happening or making your own luck. How do you guys think about that? Acute Inflections: I think it's about even, right? Because the luck came because of some aspect of hard work, I'd say. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: But what else? Yeah, I mean, it's hard to tell the difference sometimes. But Allison: Right, Acute Inflections: I think one sort of creates and fuels the other and just keeps coming back around. You know, you've got to be prepared. Allison: M, Acute Inflections: You've got to be open and willing. And I think also listening. Like, we have a lot of friends who are artists that They're very strong in their opinions and sometimes Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: it's like, you know, you got to know when to bend and when to be strong. Allison: Hm, Acute Inflections: You can't just be strong all the time and you can't bend all the time. But I think we've gotten pretty good at figuring out which situation is which. And, and if we didn't figure it out in time, looking back and saying, oh, we definitely should have been there. We definitely should have been strong there next time around making the adjustment. Allison: M. Guys just seems like you guys are having those conversations and like continuing to evaluate and iterate and keep moving forward Stronger. That's good. Acute Inflections: Yeah, lots of conversation. Allison: That's good. That's in forward to that. It's good to have those honest conversation because that's what you know moves things forward when you know where you are. For sure. Okay, Well, this was so much fun, Acute Inflections: Thank you. Allison: so thank you so much for for jumping on the interview. You guys are both so great and I love your music and what you guys are doing and wishing all the best. Where can people check out your music in terms of how to find you? Acute Inflections: Um, I'd just go to our website. If you go to acuteinflections.com, Allison: Keep it simple. Acute Inflections: you'll find links to Spotify and Apple Music and our YouTube and Amazon and all our social media platforms. But I'd say the best way to stay in touch with us is via our email list. You can sign up for our email list on our website or our text messaging list. And you literally will text with us. because we prefer to have conversations that aren't, I don't want to say censored because it's not like we're talking about anything, but you know sometimes you want to be able to ask a fan like what do you really think about this rendition or they want to ask you Allison: Hm. Acute Inflections: your thoughts on you know their daughter wanting to switch from cello to flute you know things you want and you don't want to have those conversations on Facebook where the whole world can see. So Allison: Hm. Acute Inflections: yeah we like having those personal connections. Allison: Amazing, Acute Inflections: So, acuteinflections.com Allison: Well, thanks so much

  • From $50 to $10,000 Performances | Tyler Varnell (#1)

    Allison Legendre recently had a conversation with Tyler Varnell, a saxophonist DJ Mcee based in Southern California who has been featured in magazines like People and Sports Illustrated. Tyler performs for clients in various venues such as Disneyland, Mercedes-Benz, Hotel Bel Air, Four Seasons, and Ritz Carlton. In this conversation, Allison and Tyler talked about how and why Tyler got into music, as well as the tactical details of how Tyler has positioned himself as a premier entertainer in the event music industry. Tyler shared the exact methods he uses to be an in-demand artist, offering $10K packages for his clients. Allison: Welcome to the pod, Tyler! Today, we have Tyler Vernell on the podcast. He is a saxophone player MC DJ located in Southern California. He has a really interesting story and a really cool business and brand. I'm really excited to dive into more about how he built all this. Thanks so much for being on the pod, Tyler! Tyler: Yeah, you got it. Thanks, Allison. No problem. Allison: Let's start at the beginning. When and how did you get started in the luxury event music business? Tyler: Good question. Gosh, I guess it's a long, winding tale, right? Well, I started in music in elementary school and just got into it playing the recorder in fourth grade. Then I got into band. I was a band kid all through elementary school, middle school, and high school. I started getting into All-Star bands and stuff like that and realized, "Man, I really like this. I'm kind of good at it!" I got a scholarship to perform with the Pepperdine University Jazz Band for all four years. I did that and learned a ton. I was going to major in music and switch to finance. I guess it's a math-music dual brain thing, but the numbers work for me. Allison: I never would have guessed that. So, you started out studying finance then, and that's what you majored in, I guess? Tyler: Yeah, so I majored in finance and minored in Spanish. I did a lot of music stuff, but it ended up being a much more classically focused kind of music program. The jazz band was great; that was fun. I studied with an amazing instructor, Brian Scanlon. He's performed with The Tonight Show, Gordon Goodwin's big fat band. If you're familiar with them, they're like the huge jazz band. He was great in building more of the music stuff for me. But, when I graduated, I had no idea what to do. I actually did pre-commercial logging for a summer, cutting down trees in the middle of the forest. Then, I did some tutoring stuff and some music lesson stuff. I got a job working for a startup incubator where I started using more of my finance stuff. We had startup companies come in and present to a group of investors. From there, I did commercial real estate and a lot of analysis for that financial analysis. I had this inkling in me like, "Oh, this is cool. I like math and finance and real estate, but I've not really been doing music very much." I had to decide, do I want the next five years to keep going in this direction, or do I want to totally pivot and just go after music? I got a really good job offer from this company, and the head of it is actually a bass player; that's how we met. They do all this really cool, fancy financial real estate stuff, and they had two spots open. They offered me a higher position and an immediate pay bump. I called them back Tyler: In months you know which is not very much right, I helped record on one thing, so that was a little bit, but I hadn't really launched. I was just, you know, dabbling around right with friends. I think I could have kept doing that for a long time if I hadn't, if I didn't really choose to be diligent in learning the business like doing those classes with Berkeley, one of them was all about like the music business, reading Ari's book, and his articles that podcast by Brandon. I'm imagining like other musicians listening to your podcasts and other podcasts like if I didn't dive in and just immerse myself in all these resources I could still just be doing the barging thing, right? I think by immersing myself and dedicating myself to learning and improving, it gave me a bigger picture, a bigger perspective. So, I would say, yeah, the environment of hanging around people was good but the difference-maker was also like privately just being diligent and learning and rereading, reading, reading article. I had to have tab after tab after tab all open of well what, what are you know, what's the difference between, gosh, I probably can't even get it right, the copyrights and rights for the songwriter versus the recording all that stuff. There's so many things to learn and I have tabbed so many tabs open. Yeah, if you never learn anything different your understanding will remain the same and you'll probably stay where you are, you know. That's good, that's really a t-shirt right there, that's a quotable one. If you never learn anything different, your understanding will say it say where it is. Allison: Okay, that's so cool, and I'm also curious, and sorry for the pun, but how instrumental would you say it was that you were in like the startup environment and finance space? Like, how did that help form your understanding of how business works and how you want to make your own music business? Would you say that was helpful or a part of what has helped you become what you are today? Tyler: Yeah, I think I've always been drawn to kind of entrepreneurial stuff. I love Shark Tank. I really enjoyed that first job seeing all these companies present and try to get funding, you know, right? I love analysis. I am a spreadsheet guy, so my whole business has been run on like a gazillion Google spreadsheets, nice. And I think that if you want to be successful in doing high-end events, luxury events, luxury weddings, doing the big stuff, being organized is paramount. I think, you know, sometimes us artists get kind of categorized as like, you know, loosey-goosey and unorganized and disheveled and not really on it. But if you're the kind of person who is good at music and can be on it, if you're both, that is a huge asset. And so, I think that all of, yeah, I think like education, my first jobs, really getting good at being organized and numbers and all that, yeah, I don't think I'd have the same success if I didn't have those. And yeah, I noticed that too because I used to tell myself like, oh, like, you're not organized or good at this or that, but it's like musicians, like innately have a lot of like creative ability and the ability to, you know, understand big pictures and zoom in just by the nature of studying music and more the math side. I think just tapping into that and realizing that making systems and being organized is often a creative process and like needs both sides of your brain Allison: So, you started out playing music in bars and other places, but then you realized that you could also do weddings and more luxury events. Now you've grown to doing full-day packages. How have you seen that influence what people are willing to pay and how you find those people who are willing to pay it? Tyler: Yeah, a lot of times musicians are uncomfortable with pricing. When I first started, I was charging a few hundred dollars for weddings, but then I started adding services like sound systems for ceremonies and cocktail hours, and providing live music for receptions. I realized I could have a full-day package, where I would do piano and saxophone for the ceremony, provide the sound system for the cocktail hour, and then do the reception, providing live music and a DJ. That's when I started to see a price boost, and I started charging around $1,000 for that. I started charging $2,000 for a full-day package, and most of the bookings were around $1,500. Then I started DJing, and that immediately doubled my prices because I was providing all the sound and DJing in one package. I was charging around $2,500 to $3,000 for my first DJ weddings, and I was doing the same thing I was doing before, but now I was providing all the sound for the reception, emceeing, and teaching. As I posted more videos of cooler and cooler weddings, I got more referrals, more coordinators and wedding planners liked what I did, and more venues put me on their preferred list. It just organically kind of grew, and I started charging around $4,000, then $5,000, and now I'm charging $6,000 to $7,000 as the base price, plus lighting, which is usually an extra $1,000. So, this year everything is kind of $6,000 to $10,000 per event. Tyler: I felt like, "I kind of feel like I could do this better." Some DJs are really good, but some DJs were just absolutely terrible, and it detracted from the whole event detracted from what I was trying to provide. So yeah, if you wanted to do that, that would be a more significant investment. I would say, as a stepping stone, if you have friends who DJ that are good at what they do, and they, you know, most DJs, I'd say, are like kind of medium on collaborating with a musician. Some are, they are just not, they don't do a very good job, some do a fantastic job. If you have a DJ friend that is kind of more on this spectrum and gets the live music thing and is down to like make it all work in a really good way, that would be a perfect way to offer a full day package without you having to learn how to do the whole thing yourself, right? Because it is a lot, you have to be good at public speaking. Tyler: Yeah, and I mean still, for me, to this day, you know, I'll be playing piano for ceremony, I'll go play a saxophone for cocktail hour, I have to jump on the mic, announce everything, jump out, play saxophone, go back to the booth, play the next song, hand the mic off to, you know, the Father of the Bride who's making the speech, and then go start dinner music. It's a lot, you know, and then dancing, you know, you're DJing out on the Dance Floor back your next song, so at that point, you need to be hiring an assistant. I usually have one if they're very good, sometimes two, that help facilitate all that. So you can see it's gradual, like you're investing more and more, but yeah, I would say if you can justify it, if I make this purchase and it will help me to charge this much more, and I think I'll get this many more bookings at that thing, you can project how quickly you'll turn a profit on spending, you know, one to two thousand on equipment. If I can charge three to five hundred more, that's, you know, four to six more gigs, and then it's all profit after that. That's how I do with lighting too. I was like, "I think I can do this lighting stuff," and I spent a freaking lot on uplights. I think I spent like $3,000 on uplights, but I was like, "Hey, if I can charge $500 more, all I have to do is book this out four times and we're in the clear." So that's kind of how I think about building it up, right? Right now, that's a great filter to put it through when it comes to return on investment because yeah, it's not the things that you would be buying anyways, like, you know, your instrument that we tend to always stretch our budget for, but the things that actually make your offer longer and better, those are great things that, you know, when you can do the math of how it will pay out, that makes a lot of sense. Tyler: If they see you at their friend's wedding and said, "Oh my gosh, you're getting married! You've got to hire Tyler!" It becomes much more organic after that, but that was the secret. Amazing, and having a very good Instagram videos, people may find you on Instagram, but in all of those situations, the first thing that they're gonna go do is look at your Instagram. It's just how it is these days, and if you have dialed-in videos, the first, you know, for me, I try to have no cut all the fat, cut all the fat out to where every video is like, "Oh, that's a sweet video. Next one. Oh, that's a great one too. Oh, that's around two, okay. We should reach out." It kind of checks the box for them, right? Allison: Amazing. Yeah, I know Instagram, especially with the wedding industry, it seems to be still going really strong for sure. I'm curious, like when it comes to Instagram, if you don't mind popping the hood for us, like how do you do it? Like, how do you make such amazing content? Do you, is that, you mentioned you have an assistant, so I'm curious, is your assistant getting some of those videos for you, or what does that workflow look like for you guys? Tyler: Yep, that's a, for sure, sometimes you go to a really cool event, right? "Oh, that was so awesome. The view was great. The sunset, everyone looked all fancy and dressed up. I did a great performance. These people were dancing while I was performing. It was great." And you'll see a million phones around you all filming all this stuff, and you get tagged in, like, nothing at the end of the night. It's just like, right. So annoying. I have little signs with my Instagram and a QR code, the whole thing, discreetly, it's done. It's done classy. It's not a building, right? Right. And still, you get tagged on like two things. You can go check the writing rooms' stories afterwards and kind of see who got tagged and what and just stalk everybody and get videos that way. You can either do like an Instagram recorder app or you can reach out to them and say, "Oh my gosh, that was so fun at the wedding last night. Could you send me those videos? I would love to repost them." But the majority is pay your friend who is decent on a phone to just come and follow you around, put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode, or whatever, and or you can get one of those little Joby things, you know, the little stand deals, and they can walk around and follow you and just paying, you know, bucks and say, "Hey, I'm performing a wedding. I'm getting, you know, maybe you're getting paid three to five hundred dollars. Budgeted in to pay, you know, bucks for your friend to come hang out with you for two hours on a Saturday and just walk around and film you." Tyler: And I would say a few best practices are don't be super zoomed out because if you look on TikTok and you look on Instagram, everything is about like this. It's kind of like, you know, chest up, waist up. Maybe it's a full body, but it's not a huge landscape thing. I had some assistance who would come with me, and they'd be like filming the waterfall and the sky, and then I'm way over there, and I was like, "Hey, get over here. Like, you gotta, you know, you want to be conscious of the Allison: What's your opinion on bridal shows? Tyler: If you think you're gonna get one, two, three bookings out of it, it's worth it. People feel it, you know, when you're performing. Tyler:Just the one caveat to that is only do a bridal show if you can perform. Maybe they have a fashion show; go perform when people are sitting down before the fashion show. You can sell it like this: "Hey, I'm a wedding show design person. I would love to sign up and be a vendor and have a booth, but I would like to perform. Do you have a fashion show I could perform before and after the fashion show? It would provide a lot of value to your thing and make your event cool, and it would provide a lot of value to you because everyone gets to see and experience your thing. People feel in a video, but people really feel it in person." Alright, that was a side note. Tyler: When the leads come in, it's sometimes Instagram, usually email, sometimes on the different sites that I've already listed a few times, like Wedding Wire, The Knot, etc. At some point, they'll reach out and they'll say, "Hey, we were referred from whoever." Yeah, so from the various sources when they reach out, they'll ask, "Hey, we were referred from so and so," or they'll just say, "Are you available to state?" Or sometimes they'll say, "We love your videos. Tell us more." Any of these questions. Now it is on you to reel in the fish. Tyler: So I feel like this is one of the things I'm strongest at, is reeling in the fish. Usually what I'll do, it's a little formulaic, but I'll say something very short about whatever I know about them. "Oh, I've performed at your venue. It's beautiful, love the waterfall, whatever." Very short one line, yeah, shows that I read what they wrote. "Oh yeah, Kim and John's wedding was so fun. That was a blast. Would love to create a fun experience for yours as well." Something that just like is a little personal connection. Then I will say, "To give you a short background, my specialty is performing on saxophone, piano, and DJing all in one for luxury weddings and events. Recently performing at Disneyland, Ritz Carlton, Mercedes-Benz, and Four Seasons." That's my one-line, well it's probably like three or four lines, but one sentence. This is what I do, this is my value, it shows everything I provide, and it shows I've done it at cool events, cool venues. Tyler: Then I give pricing. People usually don't know what else to ask. They say, "Hey, tell us more info and pricing." And you don't want to avoid that question. The best way to describe your pricing is through a range. If you give a starting price, people are going to expect to pay that starting price. If you just give them the answer, you need more information. Like if you say, "Oh, everything I do is $5,000." And they're like, "Great, we want you for 10 hours on the moon, right?" Oh, I mean, did I say? So a range is the best. I usually say full-day bookings for the saxophone, plus piano, plus DJing, full-day package, have ranged six to ten thousand based on lighting and travel period. Saxophone/piano only bookings start at [blank]. So they have all Allison: Can you save responses on Instagram when you go live with someone? Tyler:: Yes, you can save responses. If you start typing a keyword, like "initial response," for example, it will pop up, and you can tap it to see your saved messages. Then, you can copy and paste throughout the conversation to make sure you hit all your points. Allison: What kind of questions should you ask when talking to a potential client? Tyler:: You should ask yes or no or fact-based questions, like "What time does it start?" or "What time does it end?" (estimate is okay). Avoid asking open-ended questions that require too much thought, like "What sign do you want for your first dance?" Stick to facts that they should already know, like how many guests they're expecting. Allison: Other than musical talent, what skill do you think has been most useful to you? Tyler: I'm not sure if this is a skill, but my band teacher taught me a long time ago to keep playing even if you mess up. This has been invaluable in my career. If you keep playing, act like nothing happened, and don't draw attention to your mistake, people are less likely to notice or care. For example, if the power goes out during a performance, you just have to keep going and do your best with what you have. Allison: Can you share an example of a time when something went wrong during a performance? Tyler: Yes, one time during an early performance, the power went out, and we had to use a generator we rented from Home Depot. It was really windy, and my reed kept drying out, which made the sound pitchy and squeaky. I had to keep warming it up behind the building, but my assistant's video camera picked up the sound, and you could hear it during the ceremony. Then the generator went out, and no one could hear the officiant, who was also miked up. It was a disaster, but we did our best and kept going. Allison: What is your mission, Tyler? Tyler: My mission is to love and serve others through music. It kind of takes the ego out of any situation where things get tough. When everyone wants to be the cool guy, figuring out your "why" and writing it down will be your grounding thing. You can revise it over time. My mission is to create unforgettable moments for people, and that's what I obsess over. It reinforces the bottom line of why you're doing it. Allison: That's so good. Having a mission and a "why" to fall back on in hard times is important. Where can people find out about you? Tyler: You can find me on Instagram, @TylerFarnell. I coach some people, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. It brings me a lot of joy to help other people find their path.

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