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Your Gig has been Canceled. Crisis or Opportunity?

This post has been updated. Twice.

The amount of gigs canceled right now is no joke. Neither is the income lost for artists who are already overworked and underpaid.

Right now we're fluctuating between not knowing a whole lot and really not knowing anything at all. The uncertainty can be overwhelming.

Yesterday a friend canceled a long-planned trip to Europe. A friend in Venice (Italy is on lock-down) has had to cancel a performance; her performance group is posting "Music for Quarantine" to entertain their audience. Singer friends of all kinds have taken to social media to vent their frustrations with people who still don't know how to cough into their elbows.

Good grief.

Yes, actually, a lot of grief. Grief for lost gigs, grief for lost income, grief for opportunities missed, grief for lost practice time, grief for lost socializing, grief for lost networking opportunities.

That really, really hurts and we need to take time to grieve all that we've lost and will yet lose.

So when you've had some time to do that, take another breath.

Take a step back.

This is both a crisis and an opportunity.

In the last twelve years I've zig-zagged my way through a world-wide financial collapse, working three jobs simultaneously, losing a parent, disastrous housing situations, starting a business and completing a full pivot when it never got off the ground, multiple technical disasters and further, personal loss. Yet I'm still here, making my way. And you will, too.

When my friend told me last night that his long-awaited trip to Europe was canceled, I of course immediately began thinking of new ideas for him, ways he could use the time and propel himself forward. "I'm not there yet," he responded. "Of course." I understand.

So if you're not there yet, don't read the rest. Come back and read the rest when you're there. Here's a line to help you remember where you left off.

Read this when you're "there."

Every crisis opens up opportunities, it's weird, it smacks of toxic positivity, however this is not. When I was stuck, stuck, stuck in my life I went remote and started my online business teaching German and 7 years later I'm going strong.

It was hard, it's been an incredible amount of work, and there are so many elements of it that no one has seen except my cat and me. There was a lot of gritty crap. I've used pretty much all of these ideas below to keep moving forward.

This is the primary goal: keep going.

4 Emergency Ideas

1. Apply for a Medical Emergency Grant

Arts Wisconsin shared this link. A grant could be up to $5,000 for unforeseen medical expenses. There's also the Covid-19 Freelance Artist Resource page.

2. Sell things you've been meaning to sell.

3. Weed out unnecessary expenses. Go through your expenses/bank statement/credit card statement and start weeding out the unnecessary things. If this scares you, start with only one.

4. Pull in favors. Ask for financial support. Get a loan if you need to.

5. Check out The Simple Dollar's post Where to Find Financial Support During COVID-19. (I have no affiliation with them, but have learned a lot from their blog posts.)

3 Mid-Level Ideas

1. Find a part-time job.

2. Find other freelance work.

3. Network, network, network. Use LinkedIn and start following their best practices, and get onto Wayne Breitbarth's mailing list. Your LinkedIn use will change and it will start working with you and for you.

3 Bigger Ideas

These all require taking a bigger step back first. These all require a phase of research, a phase of planning, a phase of execution, and a phase of tweaking. Definitely read these after you've had a chance to grieve, take a step back, and open yourself to new ideas.

1. Update your website like a boss. Get the mailing list sign-up on it that you've wanted, create an autoresponder, and get a funnel set up on your website to funnel people into your mailing list. (Email me via the "contact" link above for more on this.)

2. Learn to manage your money like a boss and start creating an emergency fund--or build yours even bigger. Learn the 50-20-30 budget, use the CFO Starter Kit from More with Money.

There's also a DIY Bookkeeper Starter Pack . Katie Scott knows what she's talking about and BTW I get no money for recommending this.

3. Start creating your "other job." You could become a Virtual Assistant, become a Social Media manager, write, or any number of other things--you can do them all remotely. Learn to schedule your time like a boss. I highly recommend the book Start Finishing by Charlie Gilkey. (Also no money for recommending that.)

Have questions? Click "Contact" at the top of this page to email me. Comment below and I can add resources to this post.

Stay warm and healthy.


Further Reading:

What do do When Your Choral Concert Gets Canceled

Productive Flourishing - Charlie Gilkey's website


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