You Have To Spend Money To Make Money…Is It Really True?
Blanket statements…of any kind…they just drive me nuts (almost as nuts as when people say, “No, you can’t do that”). This statement implies that if you have no money to spend, then you can never make any money. I’m sorry, that’s just ridiculous.
Yes, if you have some kind of a budget to work with it is much easier to promote yourself/your band and it’s easier to place yourself in a position to make more money. So, does that mean that if you don’t have a budget (that covers most of the working musicians I’ve encountered in my life) you are doomed…never to make any money? NO, I say! I don’t think it means that at all.
There are so many FREE resources out there (and hey, the last time I checked good networking didn’t cost a thing), the only thing limiting you is your imagination and your willingness to work hard. Now, I’m not saying you won’t have to spend any money at all. You’ll have to spend a little bit on stuff like business cards and such, but there are low cost options that won’t break the bank. If you’ve got a computer and a printer (and you have ink) you’re halfway there. Never underestimate the power of flyers. You can make them yourself for cheap and business owners will usually let you put them up if you ask nicely. Get a few friends to take them around to different neighborhoods. Yeah, it’s old school, but it still works…why do you think CD manufacturers like Disc Makers offer special deals on posters with your CD package?
I make my own business cars with Microsoft Publisher and it’s totally affordable. If you’re not good at designing or you don’t have a software program that will do it, you can try Vista Print. They will print business cards for FREE, but you do have to pay shipping. They also have a more expensive custom design option in case you really just don’t like any of the free card templates (they’re a little generic, but nice).
I try my best to find good online freebies for you and for me. When I find them, I examine them closely…I’ve even tried some of them so I can let you know whether or not they suck. Free used to be code for crappy, but that just isn’t always the case these days. You may get more tools and stuff with a service you pay for, but you can work a free service just as well…you just won’t have total customization or quite as much tech support. Here’s a few more of my favorite free online services, which some of you will probably already know:
Facebook…hello? Free social marketing. The only way you haven’t heard about this one…you’ve been living in a cave in the middle of nowhere for the last 20 years.
Twitter…I’m still figuring this one out, but I like it. If your fans have smart phones, you should be using this.
Bandcamp…upload your music and sell downloads, they keep a percentage, no upfront costs, lots of tracking tools.
Groove Shark…works a little like Pandora, but you can find specific songs and albums, too…can make a band account and put your stuff up there and track it. Just click on the help button then on Grooveshark Artists to get started.
MySpace…yeah, it’s losing some of its oomph, but it’s still good to help get you and your music out there.
WordPress…not just for bloggers anymore, you can add pages and build a whole website that looks really good, no HTML knowledge required.
Route Note…online distribution of your music to sites like iTunes and Amazon, no upfront costs, they keep a percentage.
Mail Chimp…works like Constant Contact, but if you send 3000 emails or less each month, it’s FREE. If you’ve got 600 people on your email list, and you send emails to them twice a month, you’re still way below the threshold.
So, go check them out if you haven’t already. Take advantage of all the free stuff out there! Use them wisely, be creative and innovative and you’ll be able to keep your spending to a minimum.