Aspiring artists, let me share something quite basic with you. This isn’t a technical fix or software that you can use to increase engagement. I’m just going to suggest that you apply simple people skills to your social media outreach.
Whenever you reach out to a potential mentor for their assistance or guidance; you should FIRST figure out how YOU can help THEM.
NOTE: DO NOT SAY THAT YOU CAN HELP TO MAKE THEM MONEY – BECAUSE WE ALREADY KNOW THAT IF YOU COULD MAKE MONEY YOU WOULD BE MAKING IT ON YOUR OWN – SAVE THAT BS.
When you’re reaching out to professionals KNOWING that you can’t afford to pay them for their expertise, but want their help; then you should approach them humbly & offer them your assistance as well.
Don’t approach potential mentors or contacts with your hands out begging – find something (besides your music) to offer. Something of value to the person you are approaching.
Before any self-centered person takes what I’m saying the wrong way, allow me to clarify:
It’s not always necessary to help others in exchange for something. There are times when assistance is given freely from the heart. I’m suggesting to you that you shouldn’t approach a busy professional with your dreams, expecting only to take their knowledge and connections and have them benefit YOU without YOU offering some help in return.
Isn’t it only fair that you are willing to work with the person who can help you accomplish your goals and live your dreams??
At the end of the day, those people who are professionals in this industry are called that because they survive and thrive from their work in entertainment.
You as an amateur should respect these professionals and find a way to make sure that the interaction between you is mutually beneficial. You don’t always have to pay in money for the services of a professional. With the right approach and attitude, any aspiring artist can reap the benefits of priceless help and guidance from known entities in the music industry. When you approach people correctly, they are much more likely to help you. This is the key to finding mentors using social media.
Remember this, there’s nothing of value given in this world; nothing free. Whether it’s time, money, blood, sweat, tears, etc. – everything of value in this world costs something.
Your dreams of being an entertainer/artist/mc/singer/producer/etc will earn you a great income if you are successful. Does it make sense for you to be GIVEN the keys to success that others have worked decades to obtain? Be as willing to give as you are to receive and you will find help in abundance.
As an upcoming industry professional, I help aspiring artists everyday. I paid all of the dues mentioned above to gain the knowledge and connections that I have today. I’m still paying and learning daily. If you want to be successful you’ll pay too.
To quote an established industry professional, Suncera Johnson (who is a mentor of sorts to me):
“I think the biggest challenge in helping others in any form of the entertainment industry is that each person’s definition of help differs. Help can be in the form of a book that someone has written, but others are expecting an introduction to an industry exec who isn’t even relevant to where they are trying to go.
While I agree with giving back without the expectation of being owed, I also know that people will undervalue you and take everything until you are drained if you let them.
Most often, people who complain about not getting help either have not done their due diligence to FIND it; or when it comes, it’s not the help aka handout they expected.
Everyone is in a position to help someone today. JUST. DO. IT. and stop talking about IF and WHEN.
This: “When you KNOW that you can’t afford to pay a person for their expertise, but want their help – then you gotta approach them humbly & offer them your assistance as well.” is GOSPEL!
People need to stop looking for a hookup and go pick a book up!
Another thing that people don’t take into consideration is the work we do to help others on a daily. I make it my business to connect with at least 3 of the many people I mentor once each week. But, when folks are seeking a handout, they don’t care about anything but their own petty agenda and ignore all of the greater good you are doing.”
To sum it up; before you reach out to someone for their help – brainstorm a few ways that you can help each other. It’s always easier to be invited to dinner when you have something to bring to the table.
Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of music industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.