It’s that time of year when many of us find ourselves winding down for the season.
Festivals are all but finished. Many touring bands have already unloaded their busses, trailers and trucks, etc. and put everything into storage (with care) until whenever “next year” is going start.
If you’re lucky enough to have a full time gig, be on salary or retainer with an act or artist, or even still out on tour for that matter, you’re probably in pretty decent shape for the winter. It’s a perfect opportunity to spend some much-needed time with the family and/or loved-ones, perhaps brush-up on your golf game or take a nice vacation. (What is that word, vacation???)
If you’re like me however, you’re a freelancer and/or completely self-employed. This in no way means that you’ll be getting home on or around Dec. 20th every year with a pocket full of per diem and crap-piles of money in the bank either, right?
It does however, present a unique opportunity to play catch-up on some of those pesky little business related chores that somehow seem to go unfinished during the busy season.
This includes all of the stuff that you simply didn’t have time to get to ‘cause you were too busy “gettin’ to your next gig”.
Some of those pesky little business related chores are pretty darn important too!
Here are a few good ones that come to mind, now that it’s December again.
Your Resume: When was the last time you updated that?
Believe it or not, having an updated resume could potentially mean the difference between you landing that “Sweet Gig” next year (or next week or tomorrow) or not.
Oddly enough and as boring as it sounds, updating your resume will also provide you with the benefit of looking back over the past year and seeing exactly what you’ve accomplished professionally. Yah, I did that show and worked that tour and that festival, etc. Satisfaction guaranteed. Done.
Your Tech Rider: The more things change, the more things stay the same.
“Yah, we decided to move this over there and we needed to add 18 channels of this for that. Now we have to have this or that console and everything is blue now, not red.”
Keeping all of your tech requirements up to date is crucial and this can be a real challenge to keep current! You know how badly it sucks when someone ends up getting old and/or incorrect info. Old and/or incorrect info is gonna cause headaches for somebody, most probably you, if you don’t fix it yourself.
Yes, it’s probably gonna change again next year but now you’re all over it like whiskey on a hobo. Makes you look really pro. Make sure your updated info gets to the all of the right people up the food chain too, especially if you’re not directly involved in the show advance process. Done.
Your Contacts: Here’s great opportunity to catch up with all of the new friends and business contacts you made this past year! Drop 20 bucks on Christmas Cards and stamps (or Holiday Greeting E-Cards, if you feel the need to be politically correct). Hey, it could be a potential tax-deductible business expense, right? Either way, it’s a very nice personal touch. Take a moment to say thanks again for the gig, thanks for a job well done, thanks for that loaner that saved the gig, great to meet you, hope to see you again next year, etc. Let folks know that you care not only about them, but about your work as well. Cards not your thing? Take the time to make the call or send a simple email instead. A little good will can go a long way! Done.
Advertise And Connect, AKA: Networking: This is America! Embrace shameless self-promotion! If no one knows you’re looking for a gig, no one can hire you. It’s really that simple. Armed with your updated, slick new resume, hit and join the industry websites. All of them. Start your own page(s) and promote yourself. Most sites have job links with industry positions listed for virtually all levels of experience. Join in on discussions related to your area of expertise. Got a question that’s mystified you forever? Need some clarification or peer/pro advice? Start your own discussion and ask! Somebody’s got an answer to your question and/or some real-world advice to offer. Look, nobody knows everything but everybody knows something. Join a group or start your own group. This is an awesome way to meet new folks and network, not to mention finding your friends and colleagues that you didn’t even know were on this or that site. Web-based Media is the future and the future is here. Done.
Tax Prep Time: It comes every year. Guaranteed. Granted, a necessary evil at best, a huge pain in the butt at worst. Well both, really. However, if you suddenly land that “Sweet Gig” (that you got because of that slick, up to date resume that you just sent in) that’s rehearsing for the entire month of January and leaving immediately thereafter to travel around the entire known universe for the next 2 years, you’re probably gonna end up having to file for an extension. Unless of course, you set aside a day to organize your receipts, pay stubs and related tax paperwork in advance. If you’re not already wealthy beyond belief, or a small-to-substantial business owner, then most folks like us can get this horribly mundane task done inside of a day. Honestly. Yes, that day will suck (a lot), but just think of how easy it’ll be to file when the time comes. Even better, you’ll be getting that tax refund check long before everyone else even has the chance to file for an extension! Done.
Speaking of done, the Mayan Calendar ends this month, doesn’t it?
Time to get busy for next year!
It’s December again.
Have a Very Merry Christmas and a ton of great gigs next year!