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Topic: My first gig!
Message: Posted by: Alex Rapattoni (Sep 15, 2010 10:26AM)
I just did my first gig, and it went soooo well! It was at the pre-school my fiancÚ teaches at, they were having a "make a crazy hat-day" parade, so I wen t and made hats for her class. I did it for free (it was for my fiance's classroom afterall) but I did do a coue of other sculptures and left them up front with some flyers for advertising! One of the teachers already said that she wants to hire me for her sons birthday party next month! Woo hoo!
Message: Posted by: greatscott (Sep 15, 2010 11:50AM)
That's great. Sounds like a fun start. God luck with future gigs.

Message: Posted by: Steve Yarosko (Sep 15, 2010 02:38PM)
Awesome.... I did a lot of free gigs when I was starting out. I still do them every so often besides some charity events. It is a good way to get your name out there and let people see what you can do. I am sure it will pay dividends in future bookings. After a while you will become more selective on the free gigs that you do. Congrats on the good start!
Message: Posted by: Jestnjoker (Sep 15, 2010 03:46PM)
I'm always very wary to do free gigs, but I agree with Steve that sometimes its nice to put your face in front of a large amount of people if you haven't done so in a while. Unless it is a charity, I will only do free events that I have chosen myself. I'm really turned off when someone calls me and presumes that they are doing me a favor by letting me entertain at their event and therefore I should do it for free. ::click::

Also, with a free "client" and especially if you know the person (like your situation) make sure they know your going rate and that they tell it to anybody that inquires (or just have them say to contact you). It's no good to do it for free if word gets out that you do it for free!
Message: Posted by: Alex Rapattoni (Sep 15, 2010 04:31PM)
That's a good tip jestnjoker. I'll make sure to tell my fiancÚ to give them my rate if anyone asks her. I had such a blast doing it. I can't wait to get out there again.
Message: Posted by: coma185 (Sep 15, 2010 06:11PM)
That's awesome and welcome to the world of professional balloon twisting!

I do the same thing for my wife. She is a teacher so every year I do a free magic show for her class and 2 other 2nd grade classes. I really isn't a free show because she "pays" me later for helping her out at the school :)
Message: Posted by: Kevinr (Sep 16, 2010 10:17AM)

My policy has always been the same. If everyone is free then I might consider work the event. Meaning if its a TRUE charity and I have the time available.

If there are paid staff, paid workers, food costs, rental space or someone or something else is being paid for why can't my family be taken care of as well??

Again Congrats!
Message: Posted by: Lady Vee (Sep 16, 2010 02:19PM)
Sounds like you had great fun - and got your name out there and made some good contacts. I really enjoy balloon twisting and the more differnt type of gigs you can gat the better! Variety is the spice of life!

Well done you!

Message: Posted by: revlovejoy (Sep 17, 2010 06:54AM)
A couple of free gigs to get the feel for line twisting are fine. I've been at this just over a year, and while I absorbed everything I could in my living room via dvds, books, magazines and youtube, it is far different to recall it all when in the midst of a crowd of kids. You can offer a freebie at the beginning to give you the opportunity to learn the rhythm of line work.

The tip that "it may be free for you all, but I do charge" is SPOT ON. I have been getting referrals from the clients that have paid me well, so that is nice. In my situation, the free gigs are all in my very local community for my church and related endeavors. My son is now in pre-school and I approached them about making some things for their themes, to give me practice on larger items. Of course, they will know that any referring they do will let people know this was only free for my son's preschool.

I have a somewhat unique situation. I do balloons and magic very part-time, as I am a fulltime pastor in 2 very small towns. Honestly, I don't want to do birthday gigs for people right here in the town where I'm pastor. For me it is about my perceived value in my main vocation more than the side. So if asked, I tell them I charge a LOT and discourage trying to book me for a private party this close to home. But I have no image issues if their church hires me for a banquet or picnic gig, at a good fee. I'm known as the pastor who does balloons and magic for community Bible School, day camp, and other events. For my parish, it's what I do. You want me as a guest - great! But I'm charging.

It's all about perceived value in your market. A free gig can either make you look cheap, or it can portray you as someone who donates something valuable to a worthy place. You need to do whatever it is you can to control what that perception will be.