I’ve moved around a lot.
For a long time, I found myself in a new city every 2 years.
As a freelancer, I became an expert at re-starting my career FAST and hitting the ground running in a new place.
I’m happy to share with you my checklist to get the freelance engine started – either when you move to a new place or when you want to kickstart your career any time.
Here’s what I do.
You remember research projects from your student days, right?
Well, this time, your research topic is clear – who can help me gain a foothold as a freelancer in my new city?
Your specific freelance goal could be…
- Establish a Teaching Studio
- Build a Freelance Orchestral Career
- Play in Bars and Clubs
- Start a New Concert Series
The basic tactic is always the same. Get on the internet and start making a list.
- Who is my target audience? (Young musicians, band directors, club bookers, personnel managers, principal players, colleagues, arts supporters)
- Can I get in touch directly with that audience?
- Who can help me contact that audience?
Names, emails, phone numbers.
Start filling out your list. You can do this long before you arrive in town!
2. Coffee, coffee, coffee
Okay, it doesn’t actually have to be coffee.
Your goal is to make a personal connection with those on your list.
You want to share your goals in moving to the area and offer your own resources and support as well.
It’s a classic coffee meeting opportunity. Don’t like coffee? Don’t worry. There are a lot of ways to connect.
It can be zoom, an old-fashioned phone call, a lunchtime walk, an invitation to attend a concert together – any opportunity to get to know each other better.
Don’t forget to follow-up and stay in touch to make the most of your new connections.
As a freelancer, marketing is the key to your success.
You want to be known as the go-to professional for your chosen career path.
Whether you market directly to those who could hire you – like students, wedding planners, or personnel managers – or to colleagues that recommend you, being known for what you do is essential.
Especially when moving to a new city or kick-starting your career, marketing is your friend in establishing this reputation.
Here are some basic strategies
- Social Media – share yourself and your skills as a go-to resource for those looking for the kind of music/teaching/service you provide
- Flyers – Don’t forget old fashioned printed flyers for gathering spots like schools and coffee shops.
- Events – Creating special events like masterclasses, concerts, or meet-and-greets is a great way to turbocharge the marketing for your skills.
- Introductions – Introductions and recommendations from friends and colleagues is a great way to establish your reputation in a new place.
4. Social Connections & Having Fun
There are two reasons social connections made this new city checklist.
First, moving to a new place can be incredibly lonely. You need to rebuild your social support systems and make new friends. It’s so important for your mental health and quality of life.
Second, a strong social network supports your career.
Whether that’s directly through recommendations or an emotional support that allows you to do your best work, the socially connected have a mighty base of support for their freelance career.
For both reasons, it’s important to get out there and meet new friends. Making friends as an adult can be more difficult than in school or college but it’s definitely something you can do.
Joining volunteer groups, clubs, meet-ups, or a spiritual community can help you find your people in a new place.
Put a priority on friends and fun to give yourself a solid foundation in your new home.
A trap I’ve fallen into many times is doing this once as I move into a new city and then forgetting the power of these strategies once I’ve settled into my new place.
As a freelancer, when is the time when you have too many connections? When do you have too many clients and referrals?
The more you employ these strategies, the stronger your career becomes and the more choices you have in creating your career.
So keep your New City Checklist for when you move and come back to it regularly for a powerful career boost at any time!
written by Sarah Robinson, iCadenza Coach and Recording Artist