This post is meant as encouragement for those artists who are afraid to stop a certain aspect of their work. As you may have read, I recently stopped accepting new engagements to play background music. This was terrifying, because those jobs were a major source of my income. How could I be sure that I could fill that void with something else?
Well let me tell you about an amazing thing that now happens as a result. When people call asking about background piano, I inform them that I no longer offer such a service, but would be happy to refer them to another capable pianist. They're generally a little disappointed, but also pleased to have another option so readily available.
So I give them a couple options and we hang up. Then I circle back with those pianists (in order) first to let them know they might be receiving a call, then to see if an agreement was made. Once I ascertain that it was, I reconnect with the original caller to ask if they found a pianist to play (as if I don't already know).
By this point, I've helped the caller solve their background music problem, and they're happy. Now is the time for me to A) tell them more about what I actually do, B) set up a meeting to talk about what I actually do, or C) invite them to Declassified. I refer, then reconnect, and it's been a marvelous way to share with potential clients about my work. It's a solid strategy. You're welcome to use it too.