Being a musician means you accept certain facts about the way you choose to make a living. We’ve already discussed that most people will not “get it” and that people don’t want to hear that new piece you’re working on. This week’s truth:
Sometimes you will (and should) turn down a gig.
Doing a favor for a friend or participating in a charity/philanthropic event is one thing, but you will be asked to do gigs (real work) … for free or practically free.
Don’t take these gigs.
Better yet, rather than just turn down the gig, try to educate your potential client. It can be scary to say no; there is a fear that you are hurting your long-run chances at more and better work. But the truth is that most free gigs only lead to more free gigs.
Remember, you (probably) went to school for this. You have studied and honed a skill to a very high level. The wedding planner wouldn’t ask the caterer to cook the food for free, and she wouldn’t ask the florist to create bouquets for free, right? You may love what you do, but it’s still your job. It’s your livelihood.
Make sure you get paid.