In the modern age we are no longer restricted to resources and are bathed in an endless pool of knowledge, talent and innovation. Gone are the days where a business is built completely solo and the many different moving parts of business now require many moving minds. Musicians no longer have to rely just on their expertise and can collaborate with others to deliver an insanely good project at the click or tap of a few buttons.Outsourcing, it’s a word that has been a part of my core vocabulary ever since in my college years, when I read 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss which goes into detail about the usage of Virtual Assistance. I instantly began using these services, and being the somewhat lazy person I was just wanting to go out and have fun during that period of education. I had outsourced my research. In the morning, I would wake up to the top articles and books related to the specific subject I’d given to them. This was my first step into the world of outsourcing.
Throughout my journey as an entrepreneur, I have outsourced everything from content production to full on technical development, my entire tech team on my last project were all based in Romania. Why? Because the labour is so much cheaper than my local talent and the quality of work was undeniably better. It really is as simple as that. I’m not saying you should make comparisons purely based on a price value but more in that right now it’s super important to establish a personal brand. A brand that is complete with all the working cogs that you might not be able to produce to a high quality. Standing out from the crowded market of newbies, wannabes and startup entrepreneurs; you need to have competitive pricing and proven examples of successful work.
Outsourcing is definitely nothing new, but it is still pioneering. Many online platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr are flourishing because of the virtual workforce sat behind millions of computer screens, with video tutorial learnt skill sets and no local opportunities their way, waiting to give their services at a competitive price. For example, Spotify acquired Soundbetter, an online marketplace for sound engineers and producers to take on outsourced work. This is Spotify’s first step in to the market of labor arbitrage and it’s easy to see where this is headed. What with Spotify slowly eating its way through the digital market like a hungry caterpillar, it’s only a matter of time before they launch other areas of virtual assistance in music production, creation, distribution and the rest of the chain that encompasses the digital music world.
The power of the internet means that you can now work form wherever and put together a team of whomever to get a project done to a high standard, at mostly a smaller cost than if you were locally sourcing talent. If you are a musician looking for projects to work on, in a digital nomad style, then the following tips are for you. While the following are relevant to all platforms, some may need slight adjustments to suit the standards of each site.
Create a Creator Profile
The more visible you are on different platforms, the better. If you’re actively seeking to work with others for hire in your industry, you need a profile that advertises that. You can’t expect to be a vibrant flower of creativity in a huge forest, you need to sign post the directions to the flower from the heavily walked paths. Fiverr, LinkedIn and even Soundbetter has lots of musicians advertising their services, why aren’t you?
Prove Your Worth
Begin to gather testimonials and showcase your achievements properly and professionally. Reviews are the name of the game in the world of digital arbitrage and you can jumpstart your review collection by asking directly for words about your work. If you’ve done a good enough job then there’s no problem in getting these fixed.
Know Your Worth
Do not underestimate your worth and give too low of a price. Everybody out there is trying to compete against record producers that are as good as you but have the overheads that make up one of your outgoing expenses, most likely because of their base being in a cheaper country. Think New York vs Brazil cost of living, right? Compete on quality and the people willing to pay are the ones you want to work with as they’re going to be serious about investing in their projects – all the while remaining business savvy and trying to get a good deal by outsourcing. Reflect the value of your quality in your proposals to show that you mean business and the ROI is worth it and your personal brand is investable.
Outgrow Your Comfort Zone
Take on big projects and outsource what you cannot deliver within the project. Obviously you need to have your wits about you and take on legit talent that can get the work done on time and this might take some practise. For example, I did this all the time selling huge projects and hiring outsourced workers for the various parts because I knew they could do much better than myself. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is key here and hiring people to fill your voids will become much more fruitful to your workload. Do not try and do everything yourself, even though it’s very tempting, you’ll give yourself more leverage in the contracting world. By delivering high quality that justifies the increased costs you’ll have reached the next level boss in digital arbitrage.
Most platforms have job postings that you can directly apply to and if you see anything relevant then you should 100% pitch yourself. The more specific you are, the higher the chances of getting their attention. I’ve posted so many jobs on these platforms looking to hire contractors and have rarely received introductions that were stand out. Put in the time to display your worth and you might be surprised at the results.
Pay Per Project
Do not go in paid by the hour, rather get paid per project. I got to understand this early on in the consultancy game where if you sold hours you were basically screwed. Somebody is in control over your time and doesn’t necessarily understand the moving parts that come together to make a project happen or the expertise powering it. Your value should be scalable and clear from the outset.
We know that the freelance gig has gotten more popular but the quality of workers out there is dropping due to the diluted market of every human with a laptop learning the basics of anything and promising professional standards. But with a truly solid work ethic and proven quality in all areas can still be rewarded with good money. Like anything in this world, it takes work and dedication. It’s up to you how you open yourself up to the world.