A lot of freelance websites exist that offer the opportunity to work remotely on projects all around the world. That sounds pretty appealing, so how do you ensure that you have a page that doesn't look like garbage?
I'm not going to ask you to get professional headshots and book time with an audio engineer to get a good portfolio recorded. I didn't have money for that when I started, and I am running on the assumption that you'd like to not spend much money, yourself. Also, it doesn't seem to have a justifiable impact on session musicians' profiles.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't do our best, though. So! Below, I'm going to give you some tasks to do before you go off and set up your freelancing page. In this post, I'm going to be referencing Fiverr and Soundbetter because those are the only two platforms (of the 5 that I've signed up for) that I have made any money from. Don't let this discourage you from trying others!
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Why are freelance sites good for musicians?
Communication all happens through the site, and any contracts/deliverables are documented, timestamped, and archived for future use
Large audience of folks looking to hire freelancers
The client needs to put the money in escrow before you deliver the work, so you know the money exists before you start working.
Why are freelance sites not ideal for musicians?
You are in a marketplace and a gig-based economy, so the work does not always pay consistently
You need to be flexible - you may have a person who hasn't worked on a music project before
It requires more skills than just being a good performer, but they're skills you can develop quickly. And if you're here trying to learn them, you're on the right track. The first gig will be the most stressful. I felt like a fraud the first time!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET STARTED?
I'm running on the assumption that you have the equipment you need to record yourself. If you don't, check out my other post on how to buy a decent recording setup for under $300!
Okay, so now that that's out of the way and you still want to sign up for a freelancing website, here's what you need to start putting together a profile. I'll be sharing some of my resources in the links below. If you can answer these questions and produce all the items in point 3, you'll be all set.
1. What will your "gig" be?
Is there any specific genre of music you focus on?
Do you have multiple instruments you can play?
Are there other skills you have aside from performing? Arranging? Composing? Improvising?
How many days will you need to deliver a recording?
2. Who else is doing what you want to do?
What do their profiles look like?
How are they structuring payment?
What kind of requirements do they ask for? (You may not be able to see this, so mine are below!)
Is there something they offer that you can't do now, but could learn to do?
3. Do you have the following things? If not, it's time to start making them!
A nice, clear photo of you. For tips on taking a good headshot photo with your phone, check out this article
Samples of you playing your instrument (could be a performance, could be something you record specifically for your account)
A short, 100-200 word bio (Who are you, What do you do, What have you done, Why should someone use you?)
A short, 100-200 word description of your "gig" or the service you're offering (What is special about your instrument. What can your instrument bring to a song/score?)
(optional, but encouraged) A video of you introducing yourself and playing some of your audio samples
SETTING UP AN ACCOUNT
Every platform has a different way of setting up an account and a service/gig, and those sites will have the most up-to-date info on how to set it up. For now, let's discuss the elephant in the room:
Think about how much you'd like to make in an hour. I've found that I can record about 5 minutes of sight-readable music in an hour, including the setup and tear down of my gear.
I will need another hour to edit, export, and share the files
I'd like to make about $50/hour, so my pricing is setup in a way where I can make $100 to record 5 minutes of music. Here's how my pricing breaks down:
Next, you can add any "extra" things you can offer in the Gig Extras, here's a look at what I offer. The things with checkmarks and prices next to them are the ones I offer
It may take awhile to compile, write, and upload everything necessary for the gig - if you want someone to brainstorm with or bounce ideas off of, head to my contact form! I'm happy to talk through things via text chat or a voice call. In the next post, I'll show you what a session recording gig looks like from start to finish. In all it's sloppy, DIY glory. Continue to Part 4 of The Remote Musician where we discuss getting, working on, and finishing gigs