Member Spotlight: Bagpiper Robert Mitchell

Posted by Mary Ellen Skawinski on March 20, 2014

Our members are constantly giving us the inside scoop on what makes their businesses tick. Whether it’s a matter of getting savvy with social media or strategizing calls with clients, they’re continuously coming up with new ways to expand their reach and strengthen their relationships with clients. Consequently, you can imagine the variety of best practices members have shared with me in one-on-one interviews. And rightfully so – just as business vendors vary in type, so too do many of the professional routines they follow.

But as we take a closer look at the habits of our top 100 bookers, we've noticed clear consistencies in the trends that fuel these successful members. So I thought it only fitting that I seek out one of GigMasters’ top-booking members in order for us to really talk shop. It was an honor then to have had the opportunity to chat with distinguished bagpiper Robert Mitchell. History, how-tos, and habits – the two of us covered quite a bit of ground in our recent exchange. Read on to find out how his business brought in more than 70 gigs in the past year alone!

Step 1: Take a Chance

We often see musicians in tight-knit communities refer one another to GigMasters. Every now and then though, one happens to serendipitously land on the site, never to recall how or why. That was Robert back in 2005, when he decided to take a chance on a then unknown site: “I just took a risk, to be honest. No one referred it to me… I had a website and I’ve always believed in advertising.” And so it made sense for him to create a profile; to develop his online presence and cash in on an affordable means of advertising. A testament to the old leap of faith, Robert explained that in taking a chance, he found nearly instant success in an emerging market of online clientele.

Step 2: Find Your Market

It should come as no surprise that individuals who treat their craft like a business often reap far greater profits than those who don’t put in the extra time or thought. For Robert, finding his market was a critical step to take in establishing his business as a bagpiper. “I moved down to the DC area and I discovered there was a real market here. There weren't too many bagpipers playing… and so I started getting calls all the time, and was able to pursue it as a business that way.” In recognizing the importance of advertising, as well as finding a demographic to market his services to, Robert had equipped himself with the fundamental tools to grow his business and book more gigs. (Fun fact: Robert was actually one of the first bagpipers to ever advertise in a bridal magazine. Talk about strategically zeroing in on your market!)

Step 3: Develop Healthy Habits

We often talk about habits our members should consider picking up (and kicking) in an effort to boost their bookings. But when it comes to the four major habits of our top 100 bookers, we’re seeing specific trends in the number of reviews, categories, photos, and videos on their profiles. As compared to the average stats, Robert boasts 132 reviews, two categories, 27 photos, and two videos. Now you may be thinking, “Two categories... that’s all?” But for many of our members, Robert included, listing in multiple categories isn't always an indicator of booking success. That is to say, if you run a very category-specific business, it doesn't make sense to list under a dozen other labels that don’t directly apply to your service. It always makes sense, however, to load up your media section with quality photos, videos, and— if applicable— audio files. From “The Action Shot” to “The Satisfied Customer Shot,” Robert has included just about every go-to example of a great profile photo. And in addition to six audio files, he also noted that he’s working on a brand new video to add to his profile. As for all those client reviews, well, positive testimonials simply speak for themselves! Take notes everybody, because these are the features that make for a complete, professional profile here on GigMasters:

His marketing mentality and business know-how aside, Robert Mitchell deserves recognition for the sheer passion he possesses for his craft. He’s been practicing for over 50 years, playing professionally since the age of 20, and promoting to audiences through GigMasters for almost another 10 years now. It’s no wonder he’s one of the top 10 bookers of the past year. And if his habits are any indicator, he’s well on his way to ranking again in 2014…

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