If you’re an Indie musician trying to build a following and make some money from your music, you probably think you need to say “yes” to every gig that comes your way. It’s easy to say “yes” to music gigs, just to get something on your calendar and feel like you’re making progress, even when you’re not excited about it, you don’t think it’s a good fit or the pay feels insulting.

I get it. It’s so much easier to say “yes” than “no, especially in the early stages of your career. You don’t want to disappoint people or act like you’re too good for what they’re offering. Logically it makes sense to say “yes” to someone when they’re offering you an opportunity. Right? But have you ever thought about what that “opportunity’ is costing you?

The Exposure As Currency Effect

As independent musicians, we’re told that getting exposure is key, especially when we’re starting out. In fact, we’re taught to consider exposure as a kind of currency. And we’re competing with other artists who are conditioned to think the same way which drives down the fees that venues are willing to pay musicians, sometimes even to zero.

This “exposure as currency effect” floods the market with a ton of undesirable gigs. When you say “yes” to gigs that aren’t a good fit or don’t pay you what you’re worth, you have less time to focus on finding gigs that are a good fit and will pay you well. If you take every gig that comes your way, you’ll be so busy that you won’t have time to prospect for new gigs, network, and up-level your contacts so you can get better music gigs.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

How Saying “Yes” To The Wrong Music Gigs Is Repelling The Right Ones

And the gigs you do have will be exhausting and unfulfilling. You’ll probably start to resent having to do them. Do you think that might have a negative effect on your whole career outlook?

The negative energy created by resentment and burnout will definitely not help you attract higher-level gigs. It will repel them. 

For example, have you ever noticed that people who are interviewing for a job that already have a job are more likely to get hired? That’s because they present themselves with confidence and poise and give off a vibe that they are worthy of the job. The fact that they know and you know that another reputable employer has hired them helps them give the impression that, while they’d like the job, they don’t NEED the job. That’s attractive.

On the other hand, a job applicant who has been out of work or works a low paying job or multiple jobs will most likely come across as resentful, negative and desperate When they give off this vibe, they become less desirable, even if they are just as talented as the other applicant. It’s not right or wrong. It’s just human nature.

In the same way, once you’ve been paid a certain fee for a gig, it’s much easier to confidently ask for it again. The first time I was paid $1,000 for a gig, I started thinking of myself in a whole different league. I began to think of myself as an artist who lands better gigs and says “no” to gigs that are free or low-paying. I suddenly had the backbone to say “no” to gigs that didn’t serve me. 

Being Strategic With Your Music Gigs

Now I’m not saying you can’t take some free or low-paying gigs in the beginning. We’ve all been there. The key is to be strategic about them and not say yes to all of them. Know your “why” for taking each gig and consider the opportunity cost of time and energy with each “yes”. Every time you say “no” to gigs that are wrong for you, think of it as an invitation for a better gig to come along. 

How To Attract Better Music Gigs

The next step is to start approaching venues as an artist who is already being paid what she’s worth. And no, I’m not telling you to be deceptive. If you truly believe in your talent, you know you’ll make it to that level. So start showing up as your future self. If you present yourself now with the confidence of your future self, you’ll naturally attract better music gigs.

If you’re wondering what skills you need to start commanding higher fees for your music gigs and what types of venues you should be approaching based on the stage of music career growth you are at now, I cover all that and a lot more in my free masterclass at www.musiciansprofitpath.com. It’s free, so head on over there and register now.