In this episode, Jared interviews Alison, a musician who has been successful in the industry for many years. She talks about how she got started, and provides advice for other musicians who are looking to make a living through music. She emphasizes the importance of networking and marketing oneself, and shares some of her own strategies for success.
Hey, what's up gigging pros. Welcome back to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. I am super pumped today we have a very special guest who is one of our Major Six Award winners. She won a gold record for booking over six figures in gigs. That's over $100,000 in mostly private event performances. And her name is Alison Suell, from Louisville, Kentucky. Welcome, Alison. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. Thanks, Jared. Thanks for having me. My pleasure. So I'll give our listeners a little background on what you do. So you run a very busy gigging group called Electria. And from what I've seen, they are Kentucky's only Electric String group. Is that right? That's right. That's amazing. I'm gonna ask a lot more about that. But you also run Highlands Music Academy, which is a private instruction school for music for students five enough to learn strings, piano, guitar, voice and drums. Very impressive, lots of diverse things that you do. So thanks for joining us. And I'm curious, tell me about how you got started in music way back as a kid. So I always had a real interest in classical music, my older sister played Viola. And she was always trying to get me to, I think, play cello because she would put between my legs and like, try to encourage me on music. And my mom played piano. And so I always had like, this fascination with classical music and with instruments. And I couldn't wait to get into the orchestra. But when I was like fourth grade, they could join the school orchestra and start learning. And I never thought I could ask my mom for lessons that like I didn't know that was a possibility. And so I was like, remember being in third grade going like, I wish I could be an orchestra. So I don't know. It's just always been there. And I of course, I chose veal. I chose veal as my primary because it was kind of the obscure instrument, nobody else wanted to play it. And I guess it was kind of a novelty. And then my sister also played it. So that's why I knew it was and and, you know, then after that, after time, you know, I can never really appreciate the tone of veal. I think it's actually a really underrated instrument anyways, but so that's how I got started. I was in fourth grade. And so it was nice, like nine years old. And then start private lessons when I was in sixth grade, and join the youth orchestra. And then I think I kind of got to my senior year in high school and figured what am I going to go into college for? And when my teachers told me before you can get a scholarship for Viola. And I thought, You know what, let me go. Let me go for it. Let me see if I can get a scholarship for Viola. And I knew one of the the professor at the time at the University of Louisville. And I went out like headed lesson with him before the audition. And he critiqued me and then I ended up getting a full ride to U of L. So that kind of paved the way for why I chose music as a career because I was like, I got a scholarship into it. And so that's what I went to school for. So That's awesome. Did you go for music performance? Yes, I did Viola performance. Yeah. Very nice. When you were deciding I want to major in this. Did you have an end goal in sight? Was it like I'm going to audition for an orchestra? Or was it just I want to be in music school, and we'll see what happens next. I think it was kind of like, I'm gonna go to music school and see what happens next. I didn't know that I didn't want to pursue an orchestral career because of teachers that I had that were in the orchestra. And some of the tells that they told and the way that they moved around a lot to find work with orchestras. I was like, I know, that's not going to be for me, because I don't want to leave Louisville. But I know that there wouldn't not be a guarantee that I would get into the live orchestra. And so I figured, I guess I kind of just had this plan in mind that I would do music and then figure the rest out later. So not a great plan to go to college for but that was the plan. That's fair. I mean, I think many of us musicians don't have it all figured out. Yeah, definitely. What what what drove you to want to stay in Louisville? Oh, my family's in Louisville. So I just want to stay close to family. Okay, that makes sense. For sure. And yeah, people especially music school, you get pitched on Oh, you're gonna have to audition across the country or even across the world. So it's tough. What do you do when you want to make a living locally? Yeah. While you were in music school, like what kind of opportunities were presented to you and did you make for yourself if any? So in college pretty much you know is pretty intensive program. Yuval does have a really good music program. And you know, and I took as many credits as I could every semester which was at Have in. So I had a full load every semester. And I got done in four years because I wanted to make sure it's done within the timeframe of my scholarship, because I didn't want my parents to have to pay anything because they were they had offered to pay for my college, but I figured, you know, scholarship, I don't want them to have to pay for it because I have to go fifth year or something. So I was pretty intensive in the program and like trying to get it done, and graduate on time. And during that time, like I just I gigged occasionally, you know, somebody had a quartet for wedding, they need, you know, needed Violas were. So like, I just had a handful in college. My first actual wedding gig I ever had was when I was I think junior in high school was the first time I bought music bugs. And I put together a quartet with my other high school friends. And we played for my sister's friend's wedding. But, but during high school, or during college, I really didn't do much with like, anything outside of school, and they didn't have business class. They didn't teach about what to do with music after college. None of that. And my teachers didn't prepare me anyways, for auditions. Like, they didn't even have that in mind. For me. It was just kind of like, you know, I thought that that sounds like they didn't even try. Like, yeah, you know, go into orchestra. So it's so interesting. I hear that story over and over again. It's like musicians, even our teachers mostly just want to focus on the art of what you do, like, play this piece get really good at this technique. But then, what do you do with it? Things don't happen? I don't know. It's weird how that happens. Yeah, they just kind of like you graduate. And you're kind of left hanging like what do I do next? Yeah, exactly. So you mentioned that your first ever wedding gig was while you're in high school was? Did you put the Quartet together? Did somebody ask you to do that? Oh, yeah. So my, my older sister's friend was getting married. And she wanted some strings for her wedding. And she knew that I played and so she asked me to put together a quartet for and so I'm like, Yeah, I'll do that. And I went online, and I like Sheet Music Plus you know dot com And I bought my first wedding album there. And, and I had, and that was an orchestra in high school. And I just had, you know, pick the best players that I knew and asked him to be in the quartet with me. And I remember we got together like every week, and we're practicing and, and preparing for this wedding. And so that was my first lens. So that is, you know, and I still use those books. So it was really investment. That's awesome. Did you get paid for that wedding? Yeah, I think it was something like, gosh, it might have been like $15 each kind of thing I on those is probably much money. Yeah. I mean, I suppose you were in high school. So the experience paid for itself? Yes, exactly. But I still advocate musicians should get paid for what they do. That's awesome. So did was it a positive experience for you and the other quartet members? Yeah, it was I think it really, you know, we had to prepare, basically, like a lot of music because we played Prelude in the ceremony, you know, so it was the first professional gig because you never being paid to provide a service. So, yeah, it was, it was a really good experience. Because I think that that did kind of pave the way for me thinking about it for the future. You know, it's kind of like, just in the back of my mind, like, you know, this is something that I could do, you know, I did it here as a teenager, putting together my own quartet, and managing the details of a wedding and getting the music and rehearsing people like, I can do this some more, you know, like I can I can multiply that. Yeah, that's awesome. So fast forward now to college, you mentioned that you got asked to play in other people's gigs. Did you ever have any of your own gigs in college, like ones that you organized or booked yourself? I think I actually only did one. So it was my brother's girlfriend at the time, she was running an event and someone was looking for music. And so she she knew I was in school for that. So she offered, hey, do you want to provide a quartet for this? And I quoted them. And you might laugh at this, but like me, I'm in college, and I quoted them$100 For a quartet for like an hour or two hours or something like that. Because I had no idea how to price things. And I went and found like, some people in the orchestra that say, Hey, can you play this gig for me? And they're like, how much does it pay? I said, $25 and I remember at the time, they're like, Oh, so you should do more than that. You should be at least $60 And I'm like, what? 60 That's a lot of other you know, but we play for that event. And you know, I think we were received well, but that was also that was a good learning experience from the standpoint of like, other people were telling me charge to level he knows. Oh, I can charge more. You know, I think that I did though I didn't. I really didn't pursue anything like I wasn't proactively seeking work in, in college for. For gigs. Yeah. And you were very busy with a course load of 19 credits a semester 18 or 19 credits a semester, which I always forget that the standard college degree is like a 15 credits a semester thing. Yes. If you go to music school, you're never doing 15 like that if you want to graduate in time you see. Yeah. So you were busy, you didn't have time to pursue anything else, which I totally understand. So you got to the end of music school, and graduation date was looming. What was next for you? Did you have a plan for after graduation? So I actually had thought about changing careers and going into fashion design. So that's cool. I like to sew and I designed and sew things and like I have a sewing room. I don't have any more because that in my old house, I did. And so I was really into sewing and creating things. I had Etsy shop, and I was selling things all time. So in the back of my mind, I was actually thinking about going to a fashion design school, and I was looking at schools and I was I would have to move away for that. And but I was really considering it. And so I graduated. And I guess I kind of had that, in the back of my mind. Like maybe I would just shift careers altogether and go into a whole different thing. But then I graduated with that, you know, I need to, I think I should use the degree that I just spent four years getting in some way. And so I was just kind of lost honestly, for a few months. You know, I didn't even touch my Viola for like three months straight, because I was so burned out for music school. And then I got a job at a fabric store. And then a few months later, I got a factory job just for like three days. And that's how long I lasted. Because I was like, miserable here. And then is after the factory job actually that I was like, You know what? I have a degree in music. That means I can teach and that means I can gig. So I'm gonna go hardcore at those two things. Because nobody was calling me for gigs. You know, I was like, I didn't know how to go get gigs in I think about now like, there's so many ways that you can go find gigs with people, but like, I didn't have clue where to start. And I was like, so I would just tell people I knew like, Hey, I'm available for gigs, if you need anybody, you know, nobody would ever call me. So I was like, you know, I'm just gonna go find them myself. So I decided to go hardcore on teaching. And I joined a bunch of sites, I joined a bunch of stores, I called everybody that I could to try to get teaching work. And that grew gradually. And then a friend of mine was a website, website designer, or he was learning how to do it. He was learning how to build websites. And he offered me to me, he offered to make me a free website. So this was in 2011. So we didn't have things like Wix and Weebly and like all this stuff, you know, where you can go easily make your own site now. There was like a higher wall for being able to get into like having a nice website. So he actually made it for me for free, just so that he can have the practice with it. He helped write out the copy for the website, too, because he's like, What are you gonna say? I'm like, I don't know what I want to say. Like, I had no idea, like, how to sell myself at all. And he actually, he had had links and logo blurbs on there. I was like, Oh, you did a good job. And I kept that website for a long time. And but it looked really sophisticated and looked really nice. And and then like, that was the beginning. 2011 Well, that Mobile Strings was my first name. Mobile Strings, cool, it's a good name. Yeah. How quickly after you made the decision, like I'm going for this, did you get your first gig? I think I have to I think my first gig was probably June. So you had graduated, maybe it was like May? So it was during the next year. Yeah, so like, so I started. So I graduated 2010 And then that February 2011, I decided that I was going to go full on with my music here. So I dropped the sewing thing. Like I still sew but like I I dropped it in terms of like my focus. And I was like, I need to go hardcore on this music at least for a little while. Because I mean, like, it's like, let me make my degree mean something, you know. And, and so like, I think the website was done maybe around April, you know, or March and I think I got my first gig in like June, but I think but the time when they contacted me I was like, how did you find me? And they're like, Oh, this is my recommended you. But I kind of think you may have gotten me mixed up with somebody else is like, it's like, it didn't make any sense survey and recommend me because I hadn't done any work yet. So I think that one was just kind of like the draw to be honest with you. So. Okay, fair enough. But it kicked off this whole thing that became Electria. Yeah, exactly. At the time, did you make a conscious decision? I'm playing weddings, or was it I'll take anything I can get? How did you approach that? Yeah, it was definitely wedding start with my older sister that had introduced me to Viola, she was in the wedding business because she's a photographer. So I saw her doing weddings every weekend. And I was like, you know, that's, you know, she told me that there was always a quartet there, or like, that's pretty common. And, you know, I just knew that that was a venue that I could take. So I really wasn't thinking about other types of games, I was just only thinking about wedding quartets, you know, that I could do that. Yeah, for sure. That's kind of how I got my start to was like, I got asked to play a wedding in college. And then later, I auditioned and got into a trio that did mostly weddings. So it was like, kind of what I was exposed to. You discover it's very lucrative market. Yeah, exactly. But you do have to learn how to approach it. Yeah, definitely. Cool. So you mentioned back in your, like, when you were pursuing sewing and thinking about fashion design, you mentioned having an Etsy shop. Was Was that back in 2011? When you had that? I had it. Yeah. Yeah, I did. I had it. Probably from like, 2000, maybe 2010 To like, 2014, or something like that. So cool. Yeah That's awesome. And the reason I asked that is because did owning an Etsy shop and learning how to sell a product and do like everything did that apply to when you were building and growing, what now is known as Electria? Probably did, because I, because I was like, taking my own pictures and learning how to write posts, you know, like, are learning how to like, write about the product in the way that people like, with all the information that they need it and then like, and then also the sell it, and then how to take good pictures. So that looks really good. Because honestly, like, when you're online selling, it's all about the photos, you know, so it's all about, people need to know what they're getting. And so I think that kind of did that probably did help it. And then also showed me that it was possible, like, when I don't know exactly how long I had it. I did have it for probably a couple of years, but But I sold over 100 items on there. And I sold them all over the world. And that was what was really cool about it. Because I was like I said something Australia's and suddenly into Germany since then in France, you know, it was like it, I think, in that way, kind of did build confidence in that, like, yeah, you can, you can sell things, you know, and people will buy it, like, you can have something and people will buy it, you know, I think that did build confidence. Totally, I 100% get that too. Because when I started, you know, as a musician, your local like network, your small circle is just who you see in person oftentimes, or who you see on social media, which is still a bubble. But when you start to like put yourself out there and try to get people to buy your stuff, you realize the world is much bigger than just the people that I've surrounded myself with. And people have money outside of my circle. It's crazy. I know, we're all broke when we're in college, and afterwards writing and thinking like, nobody would pay this because I can't everybody. Yeah, but yeah, there's that was actually one thing that I realized a few years ago, which is whatever I think the price should be, isn't that, like, it's not about what I would want to spend. It's about what will people spend, you know, and like, you know, it's like, what the market will support, not what I personally feel like, you know, because some people want to spend the money on it, you know, and I even know for myself that there are some things that are so like, I'm so interested in or like I want to, I want that thing, that I don't care how much it costs, you know, like I will spend the money that I need to spend to get it kind of thing, you know, I hope there's a few things, you know, like that. Yeah, absolutely. How did you learn that? Like, obviously, it took some time, but what were some of the things that taught you that people will spend whatever they think it's worth. I think, you know, every time I've done a price increase, it's always been I've always been really anxious about it. You know, like even now I'm still like whenever I have a price increase always like biting my nails. Like, is this too much? You know, this is gonna be ridiculous. But I, but I, what I realize is that like, people, like when I talked about it because I've asked other people like my mom has always been really a good one to bounce ideas off of because she's the type of person that will spend the money on something that she really thinks is bringing the value that she wants, you know, like, even when I got married in 2012. And when I got married, like, even at that time, we were looking at things and we went over budget on the wedding. But there was like this cake decorator, and this is the thing that say that my mind is that she has the most beautiful cakes, like she was definitely the top, you know, like, as far as like, all the people that we've seen for their cakes, hers were the most beautiful. And but it was hers was also the most expensive. You know, it's like, I can't remember exactly, but I think like, amused, like, we're looking at 20. You know, we're doing all this planning in 2011. And you know, and I think her cake was like seven or eight$800 or something like that. And I mean, I don't know, in today's market, if that's a lie or not that the time that felt like a lot, especially the other cakes that we're looking at. And I was like, Mom, you don't need to go for the most beautiful. She's like, my mom was actually the one who was like, No, her cake is a piece of art, and we need to pay an artist for their art. And she's like, she deserves that money because like, you know of what she's doing. And we need to have that one. Like, I thought it was kind of like, for me that was a real mindset shift. Because I was like, wow, okay, yeah, like, there are some people that it wasn't that wasn't valuable to me. Yeah But it was just that I was trying to manage the budget. So I was willing to compromise on those things. But, but people that feel like that there's something that they really want, they're willing to pay a higher price, because they feel like they're supporting the artist or supporting the art, they realize the quality is hired, and they're willing to pay that price. So you don't want to undercut yourself because, especially with the electric, what we do now, it's like, nobody else does the electric in Kentucky, you know, and the closest electric groups, I think that there are to us are like maybe five or six hours away, you know, like, they're not within, like, you know, they're not close by so it's kind of like, it's a unique offering. It's something that's, that has taken a lot of artistry and work to get to and it's, we have a whole unique thing. So it's kind of like, you know, we are the who it's worth more than the average, you know. Yeah, that's awesome. That story about your mom and the cake decorator to me is like, a gigantic lesson in all, not just about like, people will pay what they perceive it to be worth, but also the power of emotions in selling. Because it wasn't necessarily like the logic behind oh, this person studied at some culinary institute for X, Y, and Z years, or the fact that their cakes are like three tiered and they use this certain type of frosting. But for for your mom when she saw the cake, or when she saw what this artists could do. She it sounds like she had this emotional experience where like, my daughter deserves this. And because of that money was no longer an issue. Yeah. Yeah, it was just kind of like, wow, this is like, you know, I think it's like, it's just, it's like, above and beyond, you know, so it's kind of like, okay, this is not just a cake, you know, like, this is this is also a statement piece, you know, this is also like, this is artistry, you know, and like when for the best, you know, like, it's only because in respect of that, it's like, it's only like a few $100 more from this smaller one. So, you know, some people are penny pinchers, you know, and I've experienced that with couples that you're like, but but I think that's at the end of the day when you kind of feel like it's either not important to you, or, or like you don't really see the difference. Right, which we as musicians have control over making them see the difference. Yes! But not many musicians do that. Yes. And I have definitely like, I guess like a couple of years ago, I lost the gig because they were like really interested in booking us and but they couldn't afford the electric or like it just wasn't in their budget. And so, you know, I always offer acoustic as well. And they ended up going with a different acoustic group because they were cheaper than me. And that burned a little bit because I was like, oh, okay, like I didn't present my value differently, you know, for them, they were like, well, it's the same thing. So we're, you know, we really like you really hear music, and we really like talking to you, but we're still gonna go with them because they're cheaper, you know? So Right. Ouch. Okay. That makes sense. Did you change anything about what you were doing after that experience? I think it just made me more conscientious about how I need to set myself that, you know that there's more to the experience of booking a string ensemble, than just the string ensemble itself. So the way that I think about my business is that is the kind of experience and the whole process of booking me and how they work with me and like, the music that they have offered for me and, or that I offer. And because a lot of times, like, the one of the biggest things I get in the reviews from couples is that sometimes I'll well, there's a lot where they'll say, like, I was one of the easiest parts of their wedding, you know, like, working with me, it was one of the easiest, you know, and I like to hear that, because that's, that's actually my goal is that I want it to be easy for them, because they have like so much going on. I want this to be a fun and easy experience. And so when I hear that, that really validates because I have known groups that are they have a lot of rules, or they make it really difficult, or they're they're kind of high maintenance. And I don't want to be that type of musician, that's high maintenance. So I mean, I have to have standards, you know, for what we need. But I feel like we can express those standards in a really nice way. That makes it easy for them, you know. So that's, that's awesome. And I love hearing you say that, because I get that in my reviews too. Like, I actually tell people when I'm selling a gig to them, I say my goal is to be the easiest vendor you work with. And that's why you get the client portal, you get x, y, and z we meet and, and all that. And it does show in the reviews, so you're on the money with that. Cool. So we got kind of in the weeds with with some things, which was my fault. But I love this kind of conversation. What have been some of the most impactful decisions that you've made when setting up your group? Or like trying to market it that have made the most the biggest differences in your in your business? Where it's the things that made the most difference in marketing my group? Yeah, we're just running it anything. Yeah, well, definitely the website. I will say. So like, how to do website before and then my websites a lot better now. But I feel like what I said was number one, but then close second really is like kind of presenting the product. So like, as soon as I got more recordings. Like I think around 2017, or 2016, I think it was when I went in like, paid to have us record it. And like I did like a bunch of songs like our most popular are the ones that we think are most appropriate for weddings. And like spent like it was expensive. And I went and got us record it. And once I got all those tracks up and like I put them on my YouTube channel first. And then I would just send that link to clients. So whenever a inquired that like, was a significant uptick in bookings, I think I probably doubled that year, and how many bookings I had, because at that point, I was doing maybe around 40 weddings a year. And then after I did the recordings, it hit like 80. So around past 80 I can't quite remember the numbers anymore. But But yeah, it definitely doubled. And then the the main thing that I had changed was that I have the music. Because now it's kind of like the NCAA example. It's like, now people know what they're getting, you know? Because that's, that is like, I think when people inquire what they want to know is, how are you gonna sound and then how much she costs, you know, like, is it going to be what they want and what they envision and then like, Can they afford it kind of thing, or is it worth paying for it kind of thing? Yeah. That makes total sense. Yeah. So yeah, that was that was huge. So like, if you don't have recordings, that's like that should be like number one, maybe even before the website. You can put them on the website. Yeah, in fact, a couple episodes before on this podcast, I did an entire episode just on record everything that you do, even if you don't have hitech equipment, just people need to hear what you sound like. It's kind of like when you go to Costco, and they've got samples of all the food for me. I went to Costco like a couple years ago and found those chocolate covered pretzels that they were, they were sampling those. And I was like, I am on a diet. I am not getting snacks. I took one sample. And I tried it. And I got like two bags. of sugar like a kid might have them now. Yeah, but your clients are the same way. It's like, if they watch the videos, and the videos are good, then they will have that emotional experience kind of like what your mom had when she saw the cake. And price no longer becomes an object for them. Yes, exactly. I've had many. Oftentimes, I'll have people who have inquired, and, you know, respond to them. And then they'll say, Well, I've been listening to your music all day long in my office while I'm working. And I just love it. I'm in love with you all, like, so like, that's, that's been huge. And I've gotten that comment, like many times where they just like we've just been listening to your music all day, you know. So that feels really nice. And but that's also like my selling point. So you believe in the product? Because they've been listening to it. So, so cool. Amazing. How do you get the word out there about your Um, so for a long time, I've just I've used the bash, and she Like, I wouldn't say that the bash is like, my my primary website? used to be called gigmasters. Yeah. And then they tended to bash. I've been on there probably almost nine years, I think. And it is kind of like it's slow. ways, but I think it helps to be in multiple places on the internet. So that's kind of my goal. You know, I'm on the Wedding Wire, I'm on the knot. And what are the other ones? Oh, yeah, kick salad. And so like, I don't love the affiliate sites, because I think they kind of funnel you into their platform when I want to be like mine, you know, which is email is like, I want it all to be consolidated to one place where I can deal with it. So I don't really like having to answer on those. But I've figured out a way to kind of like give an answer and a quote without having to totally sell it on there. Because not always email them afterwards. So but those have been my primary ways. And then bridal shows was the other really huge one. So I've been a really big advocate of bridal shows, because that was the one way that I got into networking with other vendors, and kind of gotten to into like, their space, like where they knew who I was now, and that they could hear us. And so I tried a few bridal shows, and I found a few that I liked. And so I've been doing those as well for like the past nine years. That's awesome. And then did I also remember you are on the board of your NACE chapter. Now, so I did recently join like it's called simply love. It's just like, it's a free wedding planning service. And so, but I but the vendors pay her, but to be a part of it, but then she offers it, but then she gives out your information to everybody that inquire. So that's why I'm part of I'm not really a part of any other like association or anything. Okay, awesome. Got it. So in a typical year, how many gigs does Electria do? Yeah. So last year, I did 113 gigs. And that was the most that I had done to that point. And I think I'm on track to beat that this year. So awesome. Congratulations. Thanks. Do you play it every single one of those? No. So I think I count it last year. I think I counted that I played, I think like 52 gigs. So I did play a lot of them. But no, definitely not everyone. Yeah, for sure. That's kind of like what I do as well. Yeah. Cool. So you earned the award by putting it into BookLive each of those gigs you put into the software, how did that work and help you manage that 113 gigs last year? Yes, a BookLive. I really have enjoyed using it because I well, I saw it like I signed up for it a few years ago, but then I didn't really use it. And then around August I think that you know you you helped me kind of get started with it but it was like kind of a busy season of trying to get gigs you know or like managing my gigs. So I think it was around maybe September October that I integrated BookLive into my whole booking process. Awesome. Yeah. So like every good guy booked from that point out was like, I was having them go through BookLive, and that the contracts and stuff in entering everything, you know, and I slowly entered all my gigs I had booked for 2022. And to BookLive too, so but it's really been helpful for, you know, I send the contract through it, and then people have the option to pay through it. And then I love sitting in the company, and the client portal is telling me that they can choose their music that way. It's really, really handy. But I think the, the biggest thing that I really love the platform is like just booking the musicians alone, it's been super helpful. Because I spend so much time I had my whole method where I print out like a summary sheet for every contract. And then like I had, like the paper Saksena and the binder, and I write everybody's name and pencil who I had asked, you know, and I was waiting to hear back from them. And they confirm that I write their name and pin, that was my head. And that if you turned it down, and that's it, ask them for the other gigs. And so it's pretty intense. But now it's like, I can access it from my phone. So it's really nice when I'm out. I can always check in and I can put it on the auto where I can have it go down my list and contact people. And that's been like a huge time saver. I really, really liked that part. So good job, Jared. Awesome. I'm so glad you're having a great experience with it. And we're always working to make it better. So I'm very impressed with everything that you've done so far. And your your entrepreneurial spirit. I'm curious, what is next for Elektra? Where are you going? So it's a good question. I'm really, I'm always, I'm always thinking about what to tweak. And you know, what to get rid of, and what to add. And I've been thinking about, well, we've we've been doing corporate gigs, for years as well, in corporate pays really well, as well, because it's kind of like it is in a way, it's less pressure to because it's kind of more, it's usually more background. So corporate is kind of one that I want to expand into more. And like 2020 slowed things down quite a lot on that, because all the companies shut down, and you know, they, they weren't doing their events like they normally do. And it's been slowly coming And so we'd like to kind of get back into that more, trying to back. figure out the corporate aspect, and then just expanding my network, as well with musicians, because I feel like I want to have more, a bigger team, you know, working for Electria, and so that I can expand and do more weddings or more events, you know? Or, or conversely, like just charge more and do less, I'm not really sure. So I'm kind of in this in this, I'm always in this. I'm always thinking about what's next. But I'm always not the site is about what's next. You know, what I've been doing has been working and I and I just kind of have been thinking about expanding that more. But, you know, I'm, I'm also considering starting another electric group, you know, like to have like a secondary one, you know, so that's on the table, too, but I'm not sure. Yeah, that's awesome. You got lots of directions, you could go and I'm happy to be a part of your journey. What are some rapid fire pieces of advice that you could give to any of the gigging musicians on this podcast, whether they're just getting started, or they've been booking? Yeah, so I'm definitely a big advocate of musicians being able to make a living through music. Because I've known so many good players who are they're like, Well, I just can't get the work, you know, I can get the job in the orchestra job, and they kind of just give up on music and they go into other careers or they kind of stopped playing all together. And I hate to see that because usually, they're the really good ones too. And like my, my big thing for years has always been you can make a living with music, you just have to maybe it's a little bit of a patchwork but like you might teach you might gig. But you just haven't you kind of have to hustle a little bit to get going. But but through gaming, like that's what I did was like just starting my own business was my opportunity. Like I gave myself work. There's really women and get recordings, have a good website, and then just be as many places as you can be like, on like on the internet, and then go and network with people. And I would say networking is maybe number three, you know, it's like, the more it really is like you've probably heard the term like it's who you know, and I have found that to be really really true with gigging it's about who you know, because once I'm on people's radar. They're like, Oh, yeah, they're gonna go with a person that they've met, that they have a face to that they've heard or that they've experienced over the unknown. So networking is huge. That's awesome. Kind of sounds like you could kind of lump all of that into marketing like market yourself. Yeah. Yeah, you just gotta, you just have to go out and, and just share it in each Skype Yeah, there. And the nice thing is that it doesn't take a lot. Like, as soon as you start getting yourself out there, people will start latching on to it. Because now they know you exist in, like, it's not some big hurdle that you have to go and do all the things all at once. It's like, it's gonna take some time. And, you know, I've had, I've started, you know, officially beginning in 2011. And so it's been 11 years now. And I finally hit the 100,000 mark at 11 years, I hope it doesn't take other people, as long as I figured it all. I figured, like, along the way, by myself, you know, for a long time, it's only been the last couple of years that I've seeked out coaching and, and other things to try to figure out how I can be better at this because I just want to pick other people's brains about how they run their business and, and ways that I can run my business better, you know. So if anybody's listening to this podcast, or even taking your training or other training, they're already way ahead of the curve of most people who would be like me who just like, just like figuring it out as you go along. You know, That's awesome. Great. Well, thank you so much, Alison, how do you want to share any social media handles or anything for people to find out about your Electria? yeah, sure. So you can find us on Instagram, @ElectriaStrings, and Facebook ElectriaStrings. And we do have a YouTube channel as well, which if you just type in Electria, you'll find us. So that's awesome. Yeah. Great. Well, thank you so much for being a guest on The Gigging Musician Podcast. This was incredible. So great to hear all of your journey and how you got to the major six award and beyond. And I'm rooting for your success. So we are, you know, we're all rooting for you and helping you along your journey to to all of our listeners. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. Remember, "You are just one gig away!".