Saturday, February 23, 2013

What To Be When I Grow Up

Business, business, business... That's what has been on my mind lately. We're heading into a new year now, and no longer running on the fumes left over from Michael's previous job to help us out. God timed it perfectly and all savings, severance, and any other benefit dried up the moment we made it back to Texas. With this in mind, it was time to stop lollygagging around and learn this business, or else.

This is our first full winter as entertainers here in the Rio Grande Valley and it's been quite an education. Entertainment comes in many forms, including several family bands, each with their own very unique flare. Some are better than others, usually only marginally, but a few stand out as obvious high-level professionals, the ones who have the fancier rigs, snazzy sound systems, dozens of CDs available, and booking agents or managers running around from one end of the country to the next.

Then there is us. The new kids in town with the dumpy (but well loved) bus, the dumpy (not so loved) sound system, and quite wet behind the ears. It's the School of Hard Knocks.

We have had some trouble with the sound system at one or two shows and realized this is another area we've slid by on and won't be as polished until we correct our ignorance of live sound and how to best use it, regardless of the system. A book was purchased, help sought, and quite a bit of improvements have been made. However, ultimately it will need to be upgraded, along with many of our instruments, especially the mandolin, with its buzzy sound and very unfortunately crack on the front.

Despite some obvious strides in our business sense, I was considering other ways to improve our cash flow when I had an epiphany. We don't need a full time income, we just need a bit on the side, like I used to make when I taught Kindermusik. I have wanted for some time to return to a subject that has always been a passion of mine, so why not now, and why not try to work it into an internet business?

Last year we wanted to make a DVD education program for families but the money and time was simply not there. It got shelved, but now I think perhaps it should have simply been altered for the growing internet digital world. That's just what I hope to do, and with a bit of work and help from Providence, perhaps we can grow it into a side business to help out. Michael has taken over much of the gig bookings, Katie is now helping with Sean's schooling, Sean helps with Mary's fiddle and math, and Alex helps with making packets for the business and sending out promotional post cards. If I can free up time to write, soon there may be a new web site, eventually complete with reviews, ebooks, and other digital items to encourage families to play music together.

Of course, great ideas never come at the best times around here. We have 5 shows this week and I have to complete taxes. Love the performing. Taxes? Not so much.