February 24, 2013
Okay folks... here it is. I own an Entertainment company. And I have been doing business on this site as well as several of their competitor sites. Got my first lead the SAME DAY I opened my account here... LAST NIGHT.
Rule #1 of any business... GET LEGIT! You have to spend a buck to make a buck. And NO investment pays off immediately. We, as entertainers, spend money in many different ways. We invest time (time=$$$), we invest in media (flyers, printer ink, phone accounts, websites, accountants... IF your LEGIT, which many AREN'T), and the list goes on. The IRS has recognized that small business owners (especially sole proprietorships) will not turn a profit very quickly and that most of our start up money comes out of our pockets. It is for that reason that they allow you to report zero gains or MAJOR losses for the first three years you operate. They also allow you to move those losses into your PERSONAL tax account. There are HUGE benefits to this. Ask your accountant. Get an EIN, A DUNS number, and get LEGIT!
Rule #2... HAVE A PLAN! If you're counting on this site, or any other site, to generate your business and these are the only resources you're using, then you're doing it WRONG. Legwork, social media, business cards (NOTHING replaces good old fashined pavenment pounding), postal mailers, targeted email campaigns. There is so much YOU can do. You need to do it. If you have another job and can't put in the time, then consider a partner you trust to help you get it all going.
Rule #3... KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE! What are you trying to accomplish? Who are you trying to reach? What do THEY want? It's not your show... it's theirs. Learn how to talk to people. Have someone do a sanity check on your emails, etc BEFORE you send them. It will help you look smarter, more efficient, and a second set of eyes never hurts anyway.
And last... Rule #4: BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND YOUR CLIENTS! Ask yourself one question. If you're doing everything listed above, then maybe it's time to visit yourself in the mirror. There are two questions you REALLY need to ask yourself.
#1... "Is it ME?" Probably the hardest question to answer. Are YOU the reason you can't generate business? Maybe it's your look, your attitude, your lack of dedication to what you are doing, your inability to deliver a good and CONSISTENT product to your clients. Do you suck at following up? Do you know what post-venue TLC is?
And #2... "Am I in the WRONG business?" Another hard question if you've put a lot of time or money into it with little to no results? But if you've sunk all you had into this and aren't making money, then go back to question #1 and get really honest with yourself. Perhaps it's time to walk away and try something new.
I know this seems preachy and critical, but sometimes it HAS to be. The truth is not always pretty.
But we ARE in the business of providing entertainment and atmosphere to our clients. We have to be consistent. We have to care. We have to make sure their happiness is MORE IMPORTANT than our own. I do that and I make money. If you do that, you WILL make money. But it is NOT going to happen overnight. And in the world of business.... a year IS overnight.
So be patient and good luck.