Financial Survival Guide for Musicians, Freelancers, & Creatives

If you are facing economic uncertainty, follow my tips on How to Sell & Offer your services so you can pivot and survive.
Watch the video, listen to the Podcast episode, or read the article below.
For musicians and music teachers who want to take your business online,  find links to resources at bottom of this page.

Mindset of a Freelancer
The way I see it we each have three options.
  •  a) Resign ourselves & give up, AKA “watch and wait”.
  • b) Lash out or cope in unhealthy ways
  • c) Try to overcome.
I prefer C.   I will dig ditches, wash dishes, walk dogs, or do anything necessary to survive.
While it’s preferable to work at higher hourly rates or generate “passive” income,  if necessary, I will work for low hourly rates, or even on a volunteer basis, especially if that work affords any chance of leveraging more opportunities.
When testing a new work/volunteer activity, dip a toe in the water. Do it once or offer to do a small amount of work or work for a short period.
What Kinds of Work Can You Do?
Brainstorm a list of services you can provide. Write down everything. Ask someone you trust to offer you additional ideas and/or give their feedback on your list.
One Time Free– I built my entire career on the “one time free” model. It’s a great way to show people what you can do, and generate recurring revenue or repeat clients.
-If you offer a one-time Free lesson, make the lesson 20 minutes instead of 60.
  • If you offer to show up on someone else’s live-stream, limit the time or do it once as a test to see what kind of feedback you receive.
  • Offer to do some kind of work for a new client as a “sample”. This might take 5-20 minutes of your time.
  • One free performance. One free consultation or lesson. One time free editing a paragraph of someone’s bio, or editing their Youtube thumbnails or social media design.
  • Free Youtube videos with call to action for people to hire you. I Created more than 30 Free Play Along Lessons in the past ten days as a way to showcase and offer my related services, many of which come with a free trial
  • Free emails (containing anything valuable from teaching to inspiration) w call to action
  • Free performances on IG with links to hire your services
List of Your Services Offered:
Send people to this as a PDF or on a web page or as a link to a google doc.
Or for a fancier version, use something like the slider on this page.  (Notice how, in relation to the slider:
1) It’s not “finished”
2) It promotes a range of offers from free to premium
Your slider or list could include: “Hire me to walk your dog, edit your bio, create your cd cover art, teach you any of these softwares that I know”  AND  “watch my free performances, read these inspirational writings, see photos from my last tour, etc..”
How to Offer Your Services (one to one or one to many):
Offer the opportunity to be of service, whether in a specific or vague way, i.e.,  ” I’d like to offer to help you with your yard work (or “I’d like to help with anything you need done”). “Would you like help with anything (or a specific thing like “your yardwork”)  right now?”  If they answer “not now”, you can offer to followup: “Would you like me to follow up with you about it in the future?”
or, Ask for:
Advice “I’m looking for work. Do you have any advice or suggestions for where or what..” or ” Can I pick your brain for five minutes to ask your advice”? (honor the five minutes) ” Here are some things I know I can do” (list of services), and I’m wondering what you think about this list? Any suggestions for me?
Referral- ” I’m offering these services. Do you know anyone you could refer me to who may benefit from these services”
Start with Your Warm Contacts
These could include people who have hired you, family, friends, church, neighborhood, school, past teachers, past students, past bandmates, colleagues, etc…

For personalized support with generating income now online or offline, access to my private support group, and other related resources please see my related 30-day free business coaching offers.

Private Teachers– How to take your private studio online while managing stress, saving time, generating more income, and serving your students.

Musicians & Music Educators looking to earn onlineHow to Create & Monetize Your Content Online

If you still struggle with Offering your services, here is a deeper dive into how to overcome that reluctance—

Reach out to me for any reason at

You might also be interested in…

Creative Strings Academy – become a more creative and versatile musician with a library of downloads and online DIY trainings

Creative Strings Shop – find trainings, resources, and downloads for your level by Christian Howes

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Thanks so much to our sponsors Yamaha and Electric Violin Shop for supporting the Creative Strings Podcast. Their support makes it possible to invest in the production of each episode.

Visit Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “all things electric strings.” While you are talking to EVS, be sure to ask them about the new Yamaha Electric Violin   (See my video review here). 


Creative Strings Podcast
Christian Howes presents the Creative Strings Podcast:
Exploring intersections between creativity, music education, string playing, DIY music business, and culture.

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