Season 3 Episode 21: What it Takes to Be a Professional Opera Singer with Bailey Barnes

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How’s business in show business or performing arts?

Find out from this week’s podcast guest Bailey Barnes about the business perspective of a professional opera singer.

2:16 Bailey’s backstory

16:00 Getting past the fear taking the unsafe route to business

55:45 when people should be looking to work with Bailey

More Bailey:

Website –

IG and FB – @bailey.b.sings

What’s the worst day you ever had in your business? I can name a few. It was a five time award winning entrepreneur who burned out because I couldn’t give up control of anything in my business. Whether it was because I thought I could do it faster or because I thought I couldn’t afford it, I just refused to let anybody else and consequently, the business turned from a dream goal into a job I hated, and I didn’t know what to do anymore. In 2015, I closed my business, walked away and started a whole new life. But I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up after that. And I realized that what I really love to do is marketing. I love to talk about marketing and create marketing and teach other people how to create value based marketing initiatives that talk to their customers. I’ve done it for corporations, for entrepreneurs like you, bloggers and everybody in between. I’m here to help you create your dream empire that gives you the freedom that creates your life the way you want to do it. My name is Megan Brame. This is stop sucking your business. Let’s go. 

Hey guys. Megan here. Thank you so much for joining me. I am here with an amazing person. I’m so excited for you to hear from her. Her name is Bailey Barnes. She’s a professional singer, voice teacher and business coach for singers who want to create a lucrative business in the performing arts industry. And she is here to tell you I mean a whole smorgasbord of things. That’s Bailey, thank you for being here. 

Definitely. So glad to be here. 

You know to be totally transparent. Bailey and I have talked before, and I heard her story, which is so inspiring, and I wish it hadn’t been destroyed by technology. Mhm. This is part two of Amazing Story and I am excited for you to hear it. So Bailey, where do you want to get started? Where do you think the best part is to start with your story?

Well, why don’t we start with, um how I transitioned from my like employment, my work as an employee, um, to being a full time, you know, business. The owner is an entrepreneur in the performing arts industry.

I really like that moment that you talk about. So let’s start with where we were before we were entrepreneurs, all right. 

Okay, So about six years ago, I moved to Durango, Colorado and I had been before that I had gotten my undergraduate degree in music education, and during my undergraduate degree, I had really fallen in love with elementary music education. And I also was not really sure if I wanted to be in public schools and that whole culture and everything. And so, you know, even back then I had some trepidation as Thio. You know, there was a part of me that knew that doing the, you know, JOB thing and the whole 9 to 5. Being an employee thing wasn’t quite right for me. I always knew that I wanted to kind of create my own thing and started my own projects. But of course, at that time, I just didn’t have anyone else telling me that there was an alternative path. I didn’t have any mentors or teachers or anyone saying that I could create my own path. That was kind of like, you know, you get the degree and you follow the degree path and you follow the career path that’s kind of laid out before you. So I graduated. And I’ve had a lot of experience performing. I had had a lot of experience singing in operas because I did that in my undergrad, I said, And I actually spent two summers singing in Germany as a chorus member with a professional opera company. They’re touring all over Germany and other parts of Europe. And so I finished that last summer. Doing that, I graduated, did my student teaching, you know, all that kind of stuff. And then I actually decided to, like, peace out and go travel for a year. And then I got a job working as a tour guide for a travel company called Back Roads, and I did that for about a year and a half, lived in San Francisco here and there, so I didn’t go straight into that JOB thing right away. You know, I was still kind of exploring and trying to figure out what exactly it was I wanted to do. But then I did decide I wanted to go into elementary music, so I got a job back in Colorado. I decided I was ready to move back home. Got a job here in Durango. And that was six years ago when I moved here to Durango and I started working at an elementary school and teaching music, and at that same time, because I had sort of taken this hiatus from singing also, you know, I I spent those four years traveling and working for back roads, and I wasn’t really doing any singing other than just singing for me. But what I realized when I moved to Durango is that I really missed singing. And I actually found this voice teacher who I started taking voice lessons with who had also just moved to the area. And she one day just asked me like, Why aren’t you doing this professionally? And, you know, she was like, very like So you have You have this degree and you’ve you’ve had all this professional experience, and then you just kind of dropped it and, like, I’m curious as to why? Because you totally have potential and so on and so forth, and that really lit a fire in me, and for a little while I was really confused and I didn’t really trust that voice teacher. But that was totally on me because I was just like, there’s no way that I could be a professional singer and that’s not for me. And everyone in my undergrad told me that wasn’t for me. And you know, the messaging I’ve always gotten is just like that. I’m not good enough to compete in the world of professional singing. And so, you know, it stirred up all of this like all this stuff and all these emotions. And it was a very, um it was, honestly, a very tumultuous time for me that at that point, because what I started to realize is that being an elementary music teacher was so demanding of my time and energy that it wasn’t something that I could do. I couldn’t teach elementary music and pursue the singing career to the level that I wanted to at the same time. And so I guess I’ll kind of go into another little story while we’re on this track, which is the moment that I decided to quit my elementary music job because, you know, finally, basically I had just gone through all of this, you know, emotional transformation. Realizing, like, Wait, what I really, really want to do with my life is be a singer and be involved in singing like I had this moment where you know, one of my other mentors said, If money wasn’t a thing, and if you could really just, like, do do just what you wanted to do what would it be? And I said I would quit my job and I would just focus on singing and that, you know, finally, I I was teaching a first grade class one day and they were particularly difficult. And I sat down and I was just kind of like sitting at my desk like, so exhausted and thinking to myself like Like I’m how am I gonna have the time and energy to practice today? Like I’m already exhausted and it’s like 11 o’clock in the morning, you know, and just again, like this reminder in this realization of like, I can’t do both of these things at the same time. And I just had this moment where I was like, I’m going to quit. I’m going to quit this job. And I stood up and I walked into my principal’s office and in that moment, I was like, if I could talk to her right now, I’m gonna tell her right now. But of course she was busy. So I had to schedule a meeting for the next day. The secretary was like, What is this meeting regarding? And I was like, next school year and she got this look on her face like crap. Probably gonna quit, you know, on then, of course, my principal on my vice principal both had that look on their faces when I went into the meeting the next day and I told them, You know, like I love I love it here, and I love teaching elementary music, and it is something that I’m passionate about, but I love singing more and I have to I have to give myself this opportunity and it was a super hard decision for me. There were lots of tears from all of us in that room because it was a really special place, and I was definitely a really important part of that community. But you know. I’m so glad I made the decision ultimately. And then from there, you know, it was kind of this. It became this, um, journey of entrepreneurship where I was getting different jobs here and there while still trying to grow my singing career and then realizing that the types the jobs I was getting we’re not satisfying to me. And they weren’t satisfying not only in the type of work, but also the amount of money that I was making. And I realized that I needed to be working fewer hours making more money for those fewer hours in order to open up and free up the time and energy I needed And the money, quite frankly, to pursue the singing career. And so over the years that, you know, after working this job and that job No, this isn’t the right fit, but I like doing this. You know, I started realizing that Well, what What I really wanted to spend my time on was was helping people start businesses and doing the business coaching side of things and teaching voice lessons. And right now, you know, my businesses. My favorite type of work to do is to help singers. You know, my favorite thing is my singing Entrepreneur Academy, which is a combination of voice lessons and business coaching and entrepreneur entrepreneurial education for singers and helping them figure out how to do what I did, which was like quit their JOB And stop working at jobs that they hate doing and make their living in the performing arts industry, whether it’s producing gigging, teaching lessons, doing the same kind of stuff. If I’m doing some kind of consulting or, you know, or just working in the performing arts industry, like offering different types of services to performers and singers, but just so that they’re constantly in that space networking with the people that they wanna be networking with honing their own skills and expertise. Right? And just helping them really get that vision of, like, What do I want? What do I want with my life and what do I want for my career? And what do I need to do to make that happen? Because the fact is in the world of the performing arts, there isn’t a career path. It’s not like you. You graduate with the degree and then there’s a bunch of jobs that you go out and apply for. You could go out on audition for a bunch of stuff, right? but the com petition is just unreal. Obviously, in all genres of music, um, and you need to be able to have that security of a lucrative, some kind of lucrative business that’s bringing in the money. But it also needs to be something that doesn’t take up all of your creative energy. Otherwise, you won’t have anything left to keep growing. And then there’s also the piece of just being able, like understanding what the basics of good business are and applying that to your performing career, I don’t know. I think I kind of did. I did. I painted a complete picture there. 

Absolutely, when we talked before, you know, my favorite moment from that story was just the, uh, the difficult decision that you had to make to say that, you know, I enjoy the overall. I enjoy the teaching part of it. But this just isn’t my calling. This isn’t I need something different and I love that I think that that is such, um this’ll is kind of a sound cliche, but it’s brave, you know, it is just what I know. I was meant for something. So I’m gonna go do that thing. 

I think that, you know, that is definitely the biggest barrier that I encounter when I’m talking to people who have these dreams and this calling right like this, like this, calling in their hearts of like, This is how I want to be spending my time. But then there’s always this other thing, like, berry that comes in. It’s like, Well, it’s not, it’s not reasonable or it’s not realistic or you know and they just stop there. They just stop right there instead of saying, Well, what do I need to do to make it reasonable to make it realistic? And for me, at that moment, it was like, Well, I don’t exactly know what I need to do, but I know that working as an elementary music teacher is not it. Like, I know that that is not a part of this equation. Even though I loved my students, I loved my colleagues. I thought I was doing important work in the world. And that’s kind of that’s such an important thing to remember when you’re an entrepreneur, especially and all. And just to be clear, from my perspective, every single person who’s out there trying to make a living for themselves as an artist of any kind is an entrepreneur is a business person, right? You have to think of yourself that way, and you have to be able to say, like, you know, just because I’m good at this or just because this work comes easy to me or just because this is a paycheck that I’m getting it doesn’t mean that that’s how you should be spending your time. And that was kind of like the big realization for me with that whole elementary music thing was like, You know, everyone. Everyone around me was always telling me what a great music teacher I was and so it felt. And that made it feel even more confusing to be like Why would I quit this work like I’m making an impact, I’m getting a paycheck, but the way I felt at the end of the day was what was the most important piece of information, you know, no matter what everyone else was saying and what the logic said and what the real realistic thing to do was it was like, How do I feel at the end of the day, when I spend the whole day teaching? How do I feel at the end of the day or at the end of a gig, right? Right and like, very different, very different things or at the end of a voice lesson at the end of a practice session, whatever, you know. 

Well, let’s talk about during that transition, you said that you had some, but you had some hesitation to trust what people were saying. That you should go The e guess the unsafe for out, right? Like the unstable route of go and do this thing. How did you talk yourself into getting past that fear?

Well, I read a book called The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope. Stephen with a pH. I did a lot of things. They definitely like an evolution and it happened over time because, like, actually after I quit elementary music about six months later seven. I don’t know. Sometimes that winter, like I I stopped teaching, you know, in the spring. And then sometimes that winter, um, I was offered a job as the program director for a local nonprofit music school that I was teaching at at the time I was teaching classes and I was teaching private lessons as a freelancer, as a subcontractor and then the executive director of that organization, where I recognized some leadership and, you know, executive management skills in me and offered me this job. Um, and I was really excited about it because it seemed like an opportunity to have a good salary, have a full time salary, have flexibility. Because the whole whole thing at this music festival at this nonprofit was that all of our staff are also gigging musicians. So that was kind of like built into the job. Um, well, it was on paper built into the job, right? Exactly and so I did that job for about a year, working as the program actually was more like a year and a half working as the program director. And still, you know, even though I was good at that job. I ended up having that same conversation with my boss at that job a year and a half later. Saying this is not my main thing like, this is not the thing that I care about the most. And you need someone in this position who cares the most about this, like, this is their jam. And this is their gig. Um, and same for me. Like, I need to be focusing on what my main thing is and that that and over all that time, I was still figuring that out, right? And so that’s another thing. I guess I would really, really love For anyone who’s listening to this to take away is just like it is a process, right? And there’s not gonna be some moment where you have it all figured out. And then you just have this clear cut plan of like, I’m gonna do this exact step by step process, and then everything will be figured out. You know, um, when you’re when you’re taking this step away from the security and the stability of, ah, salary or a job or, you know, whatever JOB, you are gonna be navigating these waters that are shifting and changing, and you, as a person are shifting and changing and transforming as you start to figure out what actually matters to you. Because that’s I think that’s I think, you know. And that’s probably another moment that was really, really important for me in this process was like just constantly asking myself like, What do I want? What do I actually care about the most? And is what I’m doing today contributing towards that. And then, you know, as you continually ask yourself that question you come up with with a little bit of a different answer every time, right, Like there’s always some little thing that’s shifted and something that’s become less important and something that’s become more important. Um, and but, you know, back to your original question, I read this book called The Great Work of Your Life, which was so important, and basically he was like Steven Kopp says, like, What did you love doing when you were a kid? And do you still love doing it? And can you use that to me? A great need in the world was like Yes, I can. I can sing. I can teach people how to sing. I can help people start their own singing careers like, yes, that feels like the most important work to me and so that was a big That was a really important step. Like I said, just asking myself that question all the time was really important. Part of the process of that question of what? What do I care about? What’s the most important? What kind of an impact do I want to be making? What is the easiest way for me to make that impact that makes me feel fulfilled and energized? I know, I did. I did make sure I did have to make sure that I had some kind of money coming in. And that’s still on. Ongoing thing right is like, You know, I do. I do business. I do my singing entrepreneur Academy. But because of the nature of that work, I only take on a few clients. I only actually take on really like one or two clients at a time. I’m building an online course, you know, there’s all and then as a singer, like you’re always always doing work that you don’t get paid for. You know, practicing booking gigs like and eventually you wanna build. Well, we can talk about that later. How to build that kind of stuff into your rate. But, um, you know, so like, right now I’m working as a business manager for someone who’s not a singer like it’s an orthotic company, right? but that’s still a part of me. But again, you know that’s still aligned with my mission. Because I want to help people start businesses. And I wanna help, especially singers start lucrative businesses and manage someone else’s businesses contributing to that knowledge and that expertise and that experience. So that’s another part of it is having steady income somehow, you know, and then figuring out what type of steady work is going to get you the hourly rate that you need, while you still have time and energy to continue pursuing those things and growing those things that are the most important to you. Because the other thing is, you know, like it’s not all gonna happen overnight, and I think one thing that gets um, kind of promoted a lot, especially in the online business world. Is this idea of, like, really, really, really quickly scaling your business.

Hey guys, Megan here. Just a reminder. I have regular Q and A episodes coming out, so if you want your questions answered, have a question on Woodward and you’ll be able to get your question posted, and if I feature it, you will get a copy. a free copy of my book, Day one or Practical Guide to Launching Your Business. So again, head to meganbrame .com/Ask a question. And if your question gets featured, I’m sending you a free copy of my book as a thank you. 

You know, like I am at six figure business. You know, I made six figures in one year or whatever, and it’s like, Yeah, that’s awesome. Like some people can do that. Not everyone has the capacity or the desire to do that, right? 

Like you know, those people that do that I wanna ask them like So what was your nervous breakdown like? 

Exactly or like, how many hours of sleep are you getting on average. Did your divorce through this Totally, totally Onda again? Like I think. I think if you have that fire and you want to take that approach like more power to you, you know, like, I’m not going to say that that’s the wrong way to do it. But what I quickly realized about six months into this was like that. That route is not for me. Like I wanna work like, 30 hours a week, you know? And that’s it. And that includes the time that I work growing my singing career, which I am not really getting paid for, especially at the moment because of the pandemic, right? I mean, in normal circumstances, I would be making a significant amount of my income from performing. But that’s just not the case right now. Right? so you know, doing that, doing that really intentional, kind of like soul searching and, you know, um not only soul searching within, but also searching without trying to figure out what is the work I can do that will help me pay the bills while I grow this other stuff that I want to be my main source of income in the future, it’s like this this guy named Ari her stand. Is that his name? Rehearsed and he wrote a book called How To Make It In the New Music Business. And you know, he says, like the purpose of that. Like, what is the purpose of the day job? The purpose of the day job is to pay the bills, you know, get you using as little of your time and energy to make money to pay the bills while you grow the other part of your business that will eventually become your full time income s. So that was another part of it, for sure. Uh and you know, like for me again, I’m still kind of figuring that out, because another thing, I realized that I was like, Okay, now I’m really gonna quit my JOB s. And I’m just gonna focus on singing, meaning I’m gonna teach singing and I’m going to gig. And then I realized that teaching singing for that many hours per week was Justus exhausting as teaching elementary music. You know, because I’m talking, I’m singing, and it’s like the one on one stuff is very energetically draining, right? Um, and it’s different for everyone. It’s different for everyone, which is why it’s really that you have to take the time here is actually something I will say. That was really, like I’m or kind of concrete, like a process that I used and still use but that is like building thinking time into your day, your week, your month planning time, goal, setting time, right, Like actually actually carving out and having the sacred time. That’s like, This is the time that I think about what’s the most important to me. What’s the impact I’m trying to make is what I’m doing right now working what isn’t working, what is working. What do I want to keep? What do I want to move on from? Am I still working towards these goals that I have in the long term, you know, performing career goals, voice studio goals, whatever they are, am I making enough money? Do I need to raise my rates? You know, like so building in that time into your schedule, that becomes a habit, like becomes habitual that you’re like, always like on Monday mornings, I planned for my week. Every single morning, I plan for my day every month I set goals for the month, and I plan for my month. I do the same thing with my quarterly goals, right? So really, Really, um, taking the time to think and plan is definitely super super important. instead of just kind of flying by the seat of your pants, you know, or just never taking the time to do that and just going, you know, just staying in this, um, like status quo that you’re in and saying What’s the point of even thinking about those things they’re planning for those things because they’re not available to me. So that’s another part is like, You have to believe that it’s available to you and the way that I got to that was having mentors and coaches, right? Like having people who were constantly telling me that it was available to me and helping me move through those times when that belief system was keeping me from making decisions or taking risks or whatever.

Totally that totally makes sense. So I want to talk about the growth of your business, and I also want to talk about your recommendations for singers, Especially now with lockdowns and like that. But I think the most important question is how are your first graders like your clients now? 

A lot of great questions. Oh, man. Okay, that’s a great question. So such a good question, especially for what I’m moving through right now with one of my clients in particular,  if you have to manage expectations. And if you have ever taught a single subject class like any kind of specialist class in an elementary school especially, you know, that managing expectations and having, like, systems and routines in places like the most important thing because they are only with you for a small amount of time and they get into these other rhythms with the other people who they spend way more time with. And if you want to get anything done, you need to have, like, really clear boundaries and expectations and, you know, all that kind of stuff. And so you know, having been really clear on what your value is, how much money do you need? Like how many hours a week can you give, actually, wait, let me actually back it up even more. How many hours a week do you want to work? Like how many hours a week can you be working to make money, working to grow your singing career? Whatever, whatever. However you define work. How many hours a week do you need to be healthy and balanced and happy? You know, like that. So those are the hours that you’re not working, that you’re playing, you’re resting, spending time with friends and family, etcetera. And then from there, you know. Okay, So this is how many hours a week I can afford to give to any type of work and then how many? So that means. And then this is how much money I need to be making per month to cover my expenses, my business expenses, whatever those are, you know, getting super clear on these numbers and then knowing what your rate is. And when you go into any kind of negotiation with anyone, whether it’s a you know, venue, promoter or a bar owner or, you know, business client or a voice student or whatever you are like, this is my hourly rate This is what it’s going to cost for you to hire me. And if you and if that’s too expensive for you, then I am happy to refer you to other people who I think can get your needs meet, you know at it at the rate that you’re looking to pay, you know, and just being super super clear on that because, like, right now, for instance, I’m going through. So I’m going with this back through this back and forth on these negotiations with the client and for for what my rate is going to be, and, you know, I could have And it’s funny, because this is like a new type of Like I said, this is like this business management stuff, so it’s kind of like a new type of work for me but you know, if I had just if I had just started out being like, this is what it costs for you to hire me and like I do with my voice, students like I would never negotiate like this with my voice. Students, I would never do that, but I was like, this is a new type of work, you know, etcetera, etcetera. I’m not really sure, but I know what my bottom line is. I know what my top line is. You know. I know. I know what I need to make. And so I so I could have gone into these negotiations from the beginning, being like this is it and then not using so much of my time since then with this kind of like, back and forth, you know, And again, I don’t regret this because it’s a great experience, and it’s something I’m gonna learn a lot from, but, you know, that is but it’s also this weird way where I was like, I did something that I wouldn’t have done in another part of my business. You know and so being really clear on that is not only gonna ensure that you have the stability, the financial stability that you need, but also keep you from wasting time, you know? Good. That Answer your question?

It does, I completely agree and especially I think that performers show such a different and therefore harder time right now than I mean. Everybody’s suffering. Right? But you know We’re going to go into more locked down soon, which they support, but it’s still like it’s People still have to earn an income, and still people have their how how are you seeing? And how do you recommend performers and singers especially, of course, but performers? How do you recommend they navigate this world right now while we’re still doing social distancing and we’re not going out that often? How do you still make a living in this kind of world? I guess. 

You know, it’s really different for everyone, it really depends on what Your what? Your income. What your income streams were before the pandemic. Because if you were, if you were making all of your money as a performer pre pandemic, you know, it’s like you. One thing that I have encountered that has been really interesting. And I’ve seen a lot of I’ve seen a lot of people in the, you know, business coaching space, particularly for people in the performing arts industry out there saying like, Now is the time for you, to you know, start your voice studio or or grow your business or do online concerts or get your website up to snuff or, you know, etcetera, etcetera, like all of these things. But the truth is that the world of the performing arts is grieving right now, and they’re suffering emotionally and mentally in a way that we’ve never experienced and that we never even knew we would have to experience. And I think that first of all, you know, before I go into giving all these tips in ways that you can keep making money, I just want to say, like if you need to live off employment and just be like kind of in survival mode, because your entire livelihood and skill set has completely become like Not like, you know, gone has not that the skill set is gone, but it’s not something you’re making money for anymore. Um, you know, that’s that is their profession, right? Like that is their profession. And if they can’t do their profession, then they should take unemployment and, you know, and when they have the energy and the motivation to try and pursue other things or start the side hustle or, you know, start the voice studio or whatever, then then do it but don’t I don’t I don’t wanna add to the narrative that’s like You should feel bad about yourself If you’re not making good use of this time, 

yeah, I hate I hate that pressure. It’s like going back to hostile culture all over again. 

Yes exactly . So that’s the first thing I’ll say but from there, if you are a person who you know and like, for instance, like one of my business clients right now, he’s really just using this time to kind of just get started. I mean, he’s not just getting started, but he’s been doing it in such a way That was really more like a glorified hobby than it was like an actual, you know, business income stream that he could live off of like a lucrative business. And so he is using this time to turn his music business into something that’s lucrative. So he’s starting an online private lesson studio for kids. He’s, um, he’s doing, you know, weekly Livestream concerts and he is really, like getting, you know, writing a business plan for his business. He’s getting super clear on what his rates are gonna be. He’s putting together offers and packages that he’s gonna, you know, sell to people. Um, you know, again, doing all that work of, like, how much money do I need to make? That means I need to get this many students. I need to have this money production clients. I need to be doing this many gigs, like, kind of doing all that work, all that profit and loss stuff. Um, so, you know, I think that right now, like I said, it’s kind of towards the beginning like we are. We are business owners. We’re entrepreneurs. And, you know, if we and I think a lot of people in the performing arts industry don’t really think of it that way, actually, I know that for effect, because when I say when I start talking about business in front of singers, the majority of reactions or either like, their eyes glaze over or they like cringe, you know? And so it’s like, you know, I think that I think that if you have, if you have the energy and the time and you have you know, first of all, if you don’t have the energy in the time and the emotional capacity. Do whatever you need to do to take care of that and get yourself in a place where you feel healthy and happy and motivated to take some steps forward. And then when you get to that place, um, you know, if you have the just if you have the income like I know for some people, they got this huge influx of, um, unemployment money. And so maybe you have a little bit of that money laying around and you can invest in a program or invest in a business coach, um, you know, invest in something to further develop your skills, whether that’s your skills as a performer or a technician or a teacher or a business person, you know any of any of the above. So I would say now is a really great time to be working on professional development that you don’t normally have time to do, especially because right now, because of the pandemic, there’s lots of people out there who are offering, like, covid rates. You know, um, saying like this, you know, I’ll give you this coaching session for this discount because I’m giving. I have these like so many slots for covid rate or whatever. You know, like there are people out there doing that kind of stuff, I also think that now is a really good time for you to, you know, do do things like writing a business plan like really starting to think of your business and starting to frame your career as a performer in the sense of like I’m operating this business and thinking about all the things that go into that doing market research, you know, figuring out your cost structure and your revenue streams and setting goals for yourself for one and three and five years from now, um, you know, and then and then figuring out what you can do right now that will help you achieve those goals, I also think that, you know, doing things like there. There are artists out there that are really committing to these Livestream concerts, and they’re doing them on things like sessions, there’s several others actually that have popped up that I can’t even think of the names. But there are these, um, you know, a number of online. Oh, the online music guilt is actually the one that I’ve been doing concerts through. I’m giving a Christmas jazz concert in December, and I gave another concert in October, there’s another one that I’m forgetting the name of right now, But you know, if if you feel compelled to do that and if that’s something that you see is being, um you know, if you already have a following, if you already have a fan base, um, that can be that can be a decent amount of money. You know, like I made about 100 bucks apiece. My my part. My pianist and I made about 100 bucks at our last concert. I’m hoping for more of this Go around. You know, um, so you know, that kind of stuff can be can be lucrative if you are willing to put in the time to promote it and, you know, sell the tickets and do do the work. Um and yeah. I mean, you know, if you can, especially if your towards the beginning of your performing career. And you are, um, at that stage where what you really need more than anything is experience, right? Like you just need to be playing and singing music in front of people. Um, create some kind of a regular gig for yourself, right? Like, do a do a of instagram live stream once a week. Go busk somewhere in your town once a week. Right now the weather is turning, and so that’s going to be a little less of an option. But But, you know, it just depends on where you live. And again if you do it indoors. And, you know, if you if you can invest in some decent sound equipment and some decent audiovisual equipment and, you know, just kind of make lemonade out of lemons, um and and just don’t stop, you know, that would be my That would be my biggest overall. You know, the advice is like, don’t don’t stop putting one step in front of 1 ft in front of the other. You know, just because the world is so topsy turvy because the fact is is like, the world is always going to be wacky. There’s always gonna be crazy stuff going on. This is obviously unusually difficult. But, you know, I think you know the only thing that we can rely on is changed, and sometimes that change is way more, um, jarring than other times. But I would say if you can use this as an opportunity to kind of get into the habit of like being able to continue moving forward, even when everything is unpredictable and you know and again that being said, that’s why you go back to the to the planning and the really, really being intentional about how you’re using your time So you’re not just wasting a bunch of time, right? You’re not just like doing a bunch of projects because you need to do something like that’s not what I’m saying. I’m not saying to do busy work and just make yourself busy and distract yourself. I’m saying Figure out what the heck it is you really, really want out of this life and out of this career that you’re pursuing that you want to pursue and start moving in that direction or keep moving in that direction to the best of your ability. 

I agree and I’m glad that you brought up investing if they can’t invest in things like audio and visual equipment because it was going to ask you, Have you seen a lot of people moving towards, like, voiceover work and things like that to kind of pay the bills? Or is that something that people don’t really like? It’s one of the others. 

It definitely is something that’s out there. The only thing it’s, you know, that’s kind of like a whole different, um, industry industry and like, strategy kind of is what I was going to say, you know, because that’s kind of like if you wanna work the fiber and up work and like those types of websites and stuff, if you wanna work those angles, you can. But you kind of have to be like working those angels, right? And it’s not necessarily, um, again, it’s something that you just have to get a system built around. You have to get into a flow. You have thio, you have to build the experience and build it over time. It’s not something that you’re just gonna. It’s kind of the same as patryan. You know, you’re not just gonna go start a patreon account and then like start making enough money to pay the bills like it’s something you have to build over time, you know, But like that being said, there are people who make money doing that kind of work on fiber and up work and places like that. Um and, um patryan and all those things, But it’s you should do it. If it’s something that you are interested in doing long term and you want to put in the work and the effort to, like, make that happen for yourself right again. Because that, like, if you decided to go on to fiber up work and start like finding voice over gigs or something that could end up being a waste of time, right, Because there’s this whole learning curve that goes into doing that kind of work. And if you spend all this time learning how to do that and then you’re like, No, I don’t really care about this. This isn’t making me any money. I’m not really excited about this. And then that is like, that could end up being some busy work, right? or just doing something to do something and kind of there’s definitely a lot of wisdom in, like being still sometimes, right? Like being still waiting for the opportunity to come. Getting really clear. On what occasion you want to come seeking that out, you know what? 

Absolutely so we touched about this a little bit before, but now I want to do a little bit of a deeper dive into what costs people should be putting into their rates as singers or performers. and have you noticed new people into the space in every space really are gonna ask How much should I charge? Tell me how much I should charge. And so do you. Like, what are the costs that people should consider And have you seen ranges or tears that people should be comfortable and starting or middle advanced on? 

Okay. So first of all, there are, you know, standard rates in and that changes based on the town where you live. Like, you know, in terms of this is specifically to like digging on being a performer, like performing out, which is a little less relevant at the moment. But you know, there are some standards and the way that you figure that out is by doing market research, right? So you go and you look up all the people in your area, and that could be your geographical area. Or it can be your online area, right? Like if you’re in a community, you know, go seek out those communities of people who are doing the same kind of work that you want to do and start trying to figure out, like look up their websites, look up their instagram profiles, find out how much they’re charging for whatever kind of service they’re offering. Like, how much are they selling their albums for? How much are they doing voice lessons for How much are they charging for their master classes? How much are they charging for these coaching packages? You know, how much are they charging for a ticket to their online event, their online concert or whatever it is? Um, so, you know, doing that research and understanding what the environment and the culture is like, in your area of business that you wanna be participating in. And it’s also important that, you know, you are always remembering like what? Like What do I want this business to serve me right? Because profitability is threefold. Like you need to be making money. You need to be healthy and happy, and you need to be making an impact in the world. Like those are the ways that you have a profitable business, right is like And so it’s not just the money piece. So you need to also be considering, like, Well, how much money do I need to be making per gig or per hour or whatever? In order for me to get this second tier profitability, which is I’m happy and healthy and satisfied and balanced and all that stuff. And then also, this third piece of, like, the impact that I’m trying to make and you know, are the are the people are the services that I’m offering making an impact. And are they worth like, um, I like, what kind of a story? I’m saying with the rate that I’m charging, right, Like, am I saying, like, okay, like, if you pay me this much, you’re going to get some person who is just going to show up at your restaurant, play some songs for an hour and then leave. Are you paying for someone who’s going Thio? Um, you know, be reliable, have really, really good quality of sound. Really entertain and engage your audience or your, you know, customers or whatever., thinking about you know how What is the impact that I’m making with this work? And how much is that worth, right? Like, how much do I think it’s worth? How much have I paid for this kind of work before? How much would I pay if I had the money to write? and so there’s kind of these different pieces that go into setting your rates, and it’s gonna be a little bit different for everybody based on the research that you do and what people around you are charging and what people can actually afford. You know, because that’s another thing is like, Who are the clients that I’m trying to target with this and what can they pay, like what? Can they realistically pay me to give them this service? What do they want to pay me? What have they paid people in the past? What could they pay people who are offering a similar service but some other things to consider, you know, in terms of just building, you know, what do you need to be thinking of and keeping track of when you’re charging for your services, you need to remember that you’re a freelancer and you will pay taxes on this money. So, you know, you need to, like, be like, Okay, this is how much I’m charging. And then if I take 30% of that away, how much is that left? you need to think about and then you need to say, Is that enough money? Like, is that enough for me if I’m doing this kind of work? Is that enough for me to pay my bills and put money into savings for taxes and you know, further invest in my professional development and all that kind of stuff? Um, you know, thinking about what kind of I mean, I guess that’s that’s mostly it. Um I guess also, just considering, like, when you’re doing your rates, like remembering that you as a musician will be investing in a certain amount of gear, and that’s gonna be like an ongoing thing for you. You know, if even if you’re just a singer, you probably should have a P.A. You know, like a sound system that has a microphone and some simple speakers in a mixing board, you might need a keyboard at some point, uh, or, you know, maybe already have one. But you know, those kinds of things, like being able to put a little bit of money into savings every month. Um, not just for your, um, taxes, but also, you know, you have a little bit of a cushion for those months when things are slow. You can keep paying yourself that salary that you need to have paid, you know, eso thinking about that kind of stuff and then just keeping a really, really detailed and up to date list of what your business expenses are, right? Like, how much money am I paying per month for my voice teacher? How much money am I paying per month for audition fees? How much money am I paying per month for the place where I’m hosting my online course? If that’s something you’re doing right and kind of keeping all that all that kind of basic stuff like that. And so and, you know, just knowing how much it costs for you to run your business because I think that’s another thing is like we musicians don’t really think about it that way. And we just kind of like, Well, when I have the money, I will by these things or invest in this thing And it’s like, No, we want you to be thinking like I’m going to create the money to be able to do this because this is what I need to do in order to run a successful business. so kind of shifting that mindset a little bit, you know, I’m just getting by. I’m just scraping by, Um because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you work in the performing arts world is just scrape by, right and shifting away. 

Little artist, if you’re not struggling. 

Exactly and it’s like, Well, that’s that is that is one way to go about it. And like, I want to be valued for my skills and my expertise, and I’m gonna be totally honest. It’s an uphill battle, you know, I mean, because of the society and the culture that we live in, uh, people don’t value the arts like they just don’t like. Overall, I think there are. There are lots of people that do and there are lots of people that say they do and then they don’t actually ever invest and show that they really do with their money and you know, it’s That’s something I’ve encountered my whole life as a as a as a music educator and as a musician is that you meet all these people who say, we’re so glad to have you and they listen to your music or they just listen to music all the time or they say, like, I know that music education is so important. But then their actions say something totally different when it’s time to invest and whether and when, you know that can be investing their time or their money or whatever, so you know, that’s another thing. To keep in mind is just like I’m not going to sugarcoat it like if you want to. If you want to do this as a career, you have to get in the habit of convincing people what you’re worth, you have to be willing and able to know what you’re worth and stick with it and, um, and advocate for yourself constantly. 

So when do you recommend people are ready to come and work with you? Like, when do you What is what is the ramp up to? Okay, I’m ready to take this seriously. I know Bailey is gonna help me. Like where? How do you recommend people prepared before they come for you? They come to you? 

I would say that. They definitely need to be willing to take risks. So if you’re a person who comes to me and says I really want to create this, um, you know, I want to create this singing career, but I have this 40 hour a week job and I have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay and I’m gonna be like, I don’t I don’t know like how we’re gonna do this. Like, if you feel like your capacity is totally filled up with what you have on your plate right now, and you’re unwilling to make those changes, then that’s not something. So I guess I should say, taking risks and being flexible, you know, being willing to. This is just an example. But, for example, like, sell your house and move into a new apartment to save money or, you know, relocate your family if that’s what it and that means. You have to have a family that’s on board to do that. Right? so being able to be flexible and take risks and I don’t mean take, like, humongous like financial risks. I just mean, take the risks that you need to take, like quitting your job again, quitting your job with a plan in place or with an alternative stream of income or whatever. But being able to at some point being willing to do stuff like that, I would also say, you know, you do need to have the time and desire to put into the work, so, you know, I have this whole online course we write a business plan together, we do our voice lessons together, so you need to have time to hone your craft. You need to be spending time daily on practicing and becoming a better musician. You also need to spend equal amounts of time on actually growing the business. So you know, if again, if you’re a person who’s driven and you’re ready to do that and you’re like, Okay, I’m gonna keep my 40 hour per week, and then I’m gonna also do this work on top of it, or I’m gonna quit my 40 hour per week job, try to find something that pays me more for less hours, you know, whatever. Like being able to really, like, do the things that I did like be flexible. Quit the job when it’s not serving me anymore. Trust that something new is going to come along or that I’m going to create what needs to happen, I would also say, you know, you need to be willing. You know, you need to be. You need to be teachable, right? Coachable. You need to be ready and willing to take, um, the processes and the systems that I’ve created that I think will help you. Right, you have to be open and willing to share your dreams with me. Willing to dream in the first place right and have a big, juicy dream that motivates you and that you’re trying to work towards, I think that covers a lot. 

Just commitment and flexibility I think is so important when you’re ready to take it seriously. You know? And you’re ready to just Okay, I’m going to. This is what I want to do. And I know that I mean, I know people hear this all the time, but investing in what I want to do is going to move me faster. So I’m going to do that. And yeah, we can’t see anything I’m trying to say like I can’t. I can’t see that there’s anything outstanding that you haven’t mentioned. Do you know what I mean? Like, I think that it is not only for performers, but just any kind of entrepreneur that just stands like that. You have Thio, you have to have this fire to do it. And just like this, sort of I don’t know, Teddy Roosevelt me Rooseveltian belief that you’re just going forward and that’s what’s gonna happen.

Exactly and I think I guess if I had to sum it up, it would just be like you have to make your artistic career the most important thing right. Like you have to be willing to do that. Not all the time. Like I’m not saying that we need to only be thinking about our career and abandon your Children and you know, right. But you need to have, you know, many hours in the week where nothing else is more important than that. And you have the sacred time carved out, and you, you know, and it is the most important thing and you’re willing to make the sacrifices and the changes and in order to really do what you need to do to make that happen.

Completely agree. But we’re running out of time. I can’t believe because I have more like 56 more questions for you. Where can people find you? 

You can find me on instagram bailey.b.sings, you can also find me on Facebook. Same thing Bailey b sings or bailey.sings is like the user name, handle or whatever. I have a website bailey Barnes and I’m off on my I d networks and you conjoined my singing entrepreneur community for free on my T networks, it’s called the singing entrepreneur which and there’s dashes in between all the words so but that will be in the in the Chaco notes. I’m sure, um, mighty Networks is awesome. That’s really where I want to be growing my program going forward, maybe leading social media. At some point, I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s kind of a kind of a bold statement, but that’s like That’s one of the big you know down. I know right down the line goals, but definitely there. That’s that’s a really good place to connect because that’s where all my other singing entrepreneur business clients and voice, voice, clients and stuff I’ll hang out and do their online courses and that kind of stuff. So those are the places.

Is there anything else you want people to know before we end today? 

I want folks to know that they can create whatever type of artistic career they want and that their dreams are available to them. Even if your dream is super super pie in the sky, there is some version of that that you can create. You know, I wanted to sing at the Met, which is probably not gonna happen, but I will tomorrow, right? Right. Well, you know, and and I But I will one day be singing on a stage with, you know, artists who I admire and respect and make, doing work in, you know, doing the work that I care about. That’s touching people on moving people. And, you know, if you can figure out what the essence of your dream is and really define that that will, that is possible. It’s totally available to you. So that’s really important for me, for people to know that to me.

Perfect. Thank you, Bailey. 

Thank you. 

Hey guys, one more thing before you go, could you do me a favor and leave a review of this episode? It would help me out so much and get the word out to other people. If you could just drop her review, I would really appreciate it.

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