Keeping Up with the Calligraphers

Beyond the Basics: Booking Events for Live Artists

December 31, 2023 Alex Hirsch + Cat Brown Season 1 Episode 4
Keeping Up with the Calligraphers
Beyond the Basics: Booking Events for Live Artists
Keeping Up with the Calligraphers
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Show Notes Transcript

So you’ve decided that event artistry is for you – now what? Alex of Signs of Our Lives and Cat of Cat Lauren Calligraphy give you a mini masterclass outlining exactly what they do to help you market yourself to potential clients in order to book events as an artist. 

Whether you’re just starting out or have been doing events for a while, this episode is packed with helpful insights to help you build your book of business. As always, not one size fits all, so listen in to figure out what works best for you.

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Podcast, Keeping Up with the Calligraphers
IG: https://www.instagram.com/keepingupwiththecalligs/

Alex Hirsch, Signs of Our Lives
IG: https://www.instagram.com/signsofourlives/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-hirsch-engraves/
Website: https://www.signsofourlives.com/

Cat Brown, Cat Lauren Calligraphy
IG: https://www.instagram.com/catlaurencalligraphy/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/catlaurencalligraphy/
Website: http://www.catlaurencalligraphy.com/

Hey everyone, it's Alex here. When we recorded this episode, it was the very first week of December in 2023. And as you know, if you're listening to this right now, we didn't release it until just about a full month after that. So we do always wanna keep it real with you. We are human. We prioritized our families and our businesses and our full-time jobs during the month of December.


And while we are really sorry that we weren't able to get this out to you and edit it in time, we also just wanted to show that we are real humans and it's totally okay to sometimes be inconsistent with some of the things that you're doing as passion projects or things that you're doing for free, because we are doing this for free and we do love building a small community of like-minded people. But sometimes that means that it gets put on the back burner. So while you won't exactly be able to use this information that we shared for doing holiday events, we do really hope that you find these marketing strategies helpful for how to gain and retain new business in the new year. And as always, thank you so much for keeping up.


We are coming to you with episode four, following “Becoming an Event Artist, Is it Right for You?” Today, we are gonna be talking about how to become an event artist. Basically, if you wanna book more events, because maybe you only have a couple under your belt, or maybe you haven't booked any at all, and you kinda wanna see what it's about. Also, we should probably introduce ourselves again, although I'm kind of assuming that... I'm assuming that everyone has already listened to all of our episodes before this, but in case you haven't, I'm Alex of Signs of Our Lives and I'm an event artist who specializes in calligraphy style at events, whether that's engraving, foiling, lettering, etc.


I'm Cat of Cat Lauren Calligraphy and I do all of those things too.


We are here to teach you what we know about our experience in the event industry. So anything that we talk about today is coming from our personal lived experiences. If you have done something that is different or has worked better for you, then amazing. You can share that with us or yeah, tell us. We love hearing more things from you because we are not the sole knowledge bearers in this industry and we can all learn from each other. So before we get started talking about booking more events and how we book events, Cat, what have you been up to?


Just did an event with SheGlam, which was so on brand for me. It was literally like my brand colors. The whole vibe was just chef's kiss. It was so good. It was like their holiday soiree. It was a lot of fun.


What did you do for them? How did you get hired with them?


So it was a repeat client. I've worked with them before, both SheGlam and the event company that has hired me. So repeat team all around, which is always fun. It's really reinforcing to know that they work really well with you, that they like your work, that your style matches what they're looking for. This time around, we did personalized makeup bags.


So I just did it with a paint pen because of the sheer amount of people that were there. I think I cranked through somewhere between like 250-275 in the... How long was I there? I think three and a half, four hours that I was actually like doing things. Damn! Had to move very, very quickly. Oh my gosh, wow. So I didn't have any option to do any other...


And you got content. Yeah, that was shocking. Yeah, that's amazing. That's incredible. What type of material were the bags? Like a faux leather situation. Yeah. OK. Amazing. I love that. It was like a weird texture, though. So yeah, paint pen worked best for all of the logistics. But yeah, that was a fun one. Yeah, what about you? What have you been up to other than going to the Philippines?


So we are like, I don't know, I think we haven't recorded in like three weeks, because for two of those weeks I was in the Philippines, which was super cool. I went with my partner. He had a business trip out there because a lot of their team, a lot of the team, a lot of the team members that he has at his company live and work in the Philippines, so we all met out there.


Um, and I was invited because he wanted to spend time with me, uh, and we wanted to make a vacation because if you're flying 16 hours across the world, then you might as well make a whole trip out of it. I would definitely go again. It was amazing. Prior to that, uh, that weekend before I left, I worked with Cutwater. They are an awesome brand and they have a tasting room in San Diego, which was all decked out for the holidays and got me so like, pumped for the holidays. I was like, oh my God, I'm so sad that we like can't decorate for Christmas right before we leave and then to Christmas because everything was just, it was, it got me so excited. You walked in and it was like fake snowing because we were on the West Coast and it doesn't snow here. Oh, that's fancy.


Yeah, it was just the front. Yeah, I got to engrave basically anything that people bought, which was awesome. And they had a huge ROI, which we love. ROI stands for return on investment, which means people are buying things and they invested in my services. And people were like, oh my God, your services, great. I'm gonna go buy a million things for gifts. That's awesome. And I'm probably gonna do another event with them in the next few weeks. We just haven't decided on a date yet, but stay tuned for that.


That's exciting. Yeah, so. Anything you have coming up that you're excited about that you're at liberty to share? Yeah, this weekend I actually, I have an event with Bourdon. I'm gonna fuck this up. This is our great French skills coming through again. Bourdon wine. Bourdon. Oh, Becca Kufrin’s wine. Yes, for the bachelor folk.


Yeah, so I'll be another repeat client, same with Cutwater repeat client. I'll be engraving glassware and then I think I also engraved wine bottles last time. If people wanted to buy them, it wasn't like you had to buy them, but it was like if people are obsessed and they want it engraved on the spot, then they can. So yeah, that is coming up this weekend actually. There are wildflowers, I think last year we did holiday themed flowers, or you can get both. And people go nuts over it. And it's so fun. I love engraving flowers, especially the wild flowers that they have on their wine. So I'm excited for that one.


The designs you picked perfectly complement their logo and all of that fun stuff.

Yeah, it was super fun. I don't know. I don't remember if it was a collaborative thing, but coming up with a flash sheet. But I remember designing them. It was over a year and a half ago for the first event that I worked at with them. It was just like so fun. And I do remember like everyone at that event being like, do you do tattoos? And I was like, no, no. And so I'm like kind of hoping that maybe next year we can plan something where I can just do a bunch of flowers on people. 


Wait, tell us about the poets. Oh yeah. The poet, the poet thing went well. I learned, I will just say I learned a lot from that event and I subconsciously took all the advice that we gave on our last episode about like it being someone that you know, it being a very small, like, not high stakes situation. And that was really helpful. So I definitely I learned a lot. I'm not going to share all the things I learned because we don't have time for that. But I learned a lot and I'm excited to bring all of that knowledge into my next one. I have like all my notes all written out for like what I want to do.


Well, my packing list and just like things I'd like to do differently, definitely like sizing, stuff like that. So, OK, for anybody that doesn't know what I'm talking about, you'll have to go back to the last episode to hear about what this event was that she's talking about.


I feel like we're ready to get into it. This is basically like before we start talking about this – we're assuming that you have listened to the last episode or that you have like some sort of base knowledge about like the event industry, that you are an event artist already, or maybe like you're novice, or maybe you've been doing it for a little bit and you're a vet and you just kind of like wanna learn some new things about how to book because maybe you're not doing it and I already know what I'm looking at you right now and I already know what you're gonna say.


Miss, I'm gonna out myself right now. I am the target audience for this episode. I'm here to provide commentary and maybe a handful of comments here or there, but I am very excited to learn more from Alex. This is actually something that we haven’t really talked a whole lot about, so I am really excited to learn from you because you put your notes together and I was like, oh, wow, I've done none of these things. Well, OK, so. And I'm excited to be in that role, to be honest. So I'm excited.


I'm happy to serve you. Yeah, I was on my 16-hour plane rides, and we didn't have Wi-Fi. So I was like, what can I do without Wi-Fi? And one of those things was outline podcast episodes. So that is what I did. And so hopefully I got everything out, because I didn't have access to internet or any of the other notes that I had ever written down. So here we are.


I think we should start with how we both got into events. So Cat, what were some of the first events that you did and how did you get into them? So all of my first events were through an agency. It was someone that booked for like multiple locations. So it was for shoe painting, which I'm glad that I did not continue to offer that, that then transitioned into on site calligraphy and then later kind of transitioned into onsite engraving, but all kind of with an agency to start. It was where I felt comfortable. It was what I knew. I was really hesitant to branch out and start booking other things just because there wasn't, I wasn't confident myself to figure out all these different surfaces and there definitely wasn't the same amount of resources that there are now. So I kind of stuck with the agency for a while until I felt like I had enough experience to kind of branch out. What about you?


So I started in a couple of ways. The first way was I had a friend that owned a clothing boutique in Baltimore and we wanted to figure out ways where she could hire me, also ways that we could get more business in her store. And so we decided to do pumpkin painting event where people could just come in, they could add like $5 or $10 per customization. And then they could get that added on to whatever they bought that day. And it was awesome. That was a really great low stakes thing to do. And I think I wasn't even starting so much with, I want to get into events. So it was more like, how can I expand my services and do a product and make more income other than just wedding signage? So that's where I was coming from with that, as well as.. Yeah, the other couple of ones I got, one was from a Facebook group. Someone needed an artist or something. I think you told us about this one. I think it was in the last episode or before that. Yeah, the LA event that I drove all the way from Palm Springs for because I had no concept of the geography of Southern California. And also with brokering, the first engraving events I got was same thing, through brokering, same agency. And yeah.


That was pretty awesome. For anyone who doesn't know what brokering is, it's kind of like the middle person. They basically connect one person to another person, and in this case it'd be a brand with an artist. So it typically is when a brand wants to hire multiple artists, like 20, 30 artists across the country or across a really large region like Southern California, and that's typically when it's in their best interest to hire some sort of broker agency who knows artists and can connect them, all of that. Yeah, as opposed to trying to reach out and do that all individually. Yes, it is a lot of back-end work for sure that I think sometimes goes underappreciated, can be underappreciated. Yeah, so that's kind of like how I got started. Another engraving thing that I got was through… It was my first spirit brand that I worked with was Sagamore Rye Whiskey, which is distilled out of Baltimore, which is where I used to live. And they found me through this Baltimore themed styled shoot that I did. It was actually for a wedding thing, but I had tagged Sagamore and someone had sent them my profile. I think they were looking for an engraving artist. And so we got connected and that's how I did my first bottle engraving event. Yeah, in Southern California. We got the hometown connection. We do, yeah.


So you just never know how things will work out with those sort of connections. And it was really fun. The person was really cute. He no longer works for the brand, but he was always like, she's from Baltimore! This brand is Baltimore based and she can tell you all about Baltimore. We can always talk about it. So yeah, that was a really great event. And then once he had friends that he introduced me to that also needed an engraver, and then it kind of just spiraled from there. 


And I was like, I love this. This is like such a good way. Like I love this so much more than signage. Yeah, it was like one of those things that I think just came up as like this service, like this additional service I could offer. And like took me a minute to be like, Oh, I want to like mostly do this. Yeah. And like how to figure a way to like phase out of some other stuff. So yeah, it sounds like networking was your first event, whether it's you networking yourself or others networking on your behalf.


Yeah, I mean, I would say networking, which as you know, we got connected through a Facebook group and the power of human connection is just so strong. And I think warm leads, there's a difference between warm leads and cold leads. Warm is when someone introduces you or you already know someone or you get referred by someone. And that's where I think you can have the most success because people see you as a person and like… You can absolutely do that online as well, but like networking, oh my God, yes, that's like literally I feel like how I built my entire business. I'm like, I feel like I say it a lot, like, or I have said it a lot, like at least on social media, like, holy shit. Yeah. I'm so grateful for like other human beings that are like, Hey, like I can't do this thing. But like, you know, I think our entire episode basically about community over competition, I can just repeat myself right now.


I can tell you I would not have a business without a community, just the way my business currently runs and the way it fits in my life. I have a full-time career. This is a second career for me. It is not currently like a primary source of income, but it is an important source of income for me. But because that's the case, I just haven't found the time to be able to network or try to hunt down a lot of these leads. Realistically, keeping it straight forward for everybody here, I would say, I don't know, like 85% of the events I do came from other calligraphers referring me.


People don't find me on social media. People don't find me really by my website. I'm being honest here. That's just not been a lot of a lead generator for me. It truly has been either connections, from other people, like other artists, or a handful of event coordinators that I've worked with previously. So a lot of my events too are repeat clients, which is great. Kind of like a, if I can get in the door, like I'm there for a long time and a good time, but truly like my business would not, I wouldn't be able to support my family without our community and networking. So that's all I got.


But I mean, I think that's huge because, you know, there's some people that I've worked with that I honestly, I wouldn't want to work with them again; either due to their talent or their personality. So the fact that you have a great enough personality and style, people see your work, other calligraphers go, oh yeah, you can definitely hire her. I think that's huge. Other people, other artists are like, oh this is also a good artist, or this is someone you can definitely hire and they're gonna do exactly what you need and in a great way.


That's huge. So that makes me feel better about myself. I think it's no small feat, honestly, because I mean, I feel like I said this in like the communion or competition episode of like, sometimes it's really hard to find people who you can actually trust to do good work. And also to provide that like great client experience. Like I have a really hard time finding people that I genuinely am like, yeah, totally here, hand it off, and I'm not gonna think twice about it. So that is no small feat. And I hope that you take that in stride and pat yourself on the back because that says a lot about you.


I appreciate it. But that being said, one, I recognize I have not put in a lot of work to do some of these other things. So I should not expect leads to come another way. I have zero Instagram strategy. I post like five times in a week and then like never again for the next three months. Like I've touched my website once when I did my rebrand and that's it. Right. Like, so I do think I have very reasonable expectations for the amount of effort I've been (putting in).


But I'm very excited to learn more and hopefully some of the things you'll share maybe will fit in with where I'm at in my life with my business and my career and my girls and all the other things going on. I'm literally like looking at all the different ways that you can book things and my top thing is returning client and my second next thing is referral. So same. That's me. Literally same. That's literally same. Like.


I mean, those are my top two sources of where I get projects. I literally just like logged into Dubsado while you worked with me. That's just me like, I wonder where am I? What is the data on this? Let's show me a little graph. For anyone who doesn't know, Cat and I are data nerds because Cat does work in special ed and I used to work in special ed and I also was a teacher. So we're going to come out there with some data in 2024. I'm going to tell you that right now. Yeah, I, I literally love like the end of the year when people post like little pie charts of things. I'm like, yes, please. I love it. I want to hear your month to month breakdown. I want to hear your expenses. I want to hear all your events. I want to see all of your data at the end of the year. Give me the end of the year wrap. Oh my God. I feel like Tom Cruise right now. Show me the data. But that being said, networking is important.


You sound so serious right there, that being said. I, sorry, I have not slept, so I'm a little unhinged, but I wanted to be sensitive because if referrals and like repeating clients or how we're getting our business, it's not necessarily helpful for someone that are trying to find maybe their first lead or their first couple leads. So tell us more about different types of networking things because you're a networking girlie. I am not.


And you know what, this is one of those things I'm gonna be like, yeah, I'm an expert in networking. When I lived in LA, before COVID, I was at like three, average of three events a week. I was a networking queen. Like networking events, not like... Networking events, yeah, I know. I wish it was like paid events, but no. I was going to networking things. And I think that honestly, it's like an energy thing, not to get like woo-woo, but I feel...


I do, I feel like it's an energy thing. Like if you're putting out like, hey, like I'm excited to meet new people and I wanna like get work and da da, whether it's like networking within your field or beyond your field or decent to your field. I've always felt like it's an energy thing because it's like you're putting out there like that you're open, right? Yeah, anyways. Just in general, right? Like people don't know what you are looking for or offering or whatever else unless you tell them. So whether it's...


Like, where do you find these networking events? Because I literally was like mind blown. You were like, I'm going to this, and I was like, where do you find these social things to do? OK, so Eventbrite, there's always also, I will say. Google, like Eventbrite, search. So yeah, so net. 


Geriatric millennial moment, y'all, sorry.


Do you just search in Eventbrite? What do you type in? There's a thing you could put for business or arts or whatever. When I say networking, it's not necessarily like everyone shows up in a suit and it's hiring or doing their thing. It could literally be like, I went to an event. I literally went to an event recently. Another calligrapher hosted it. They have their own studio in Old Town, San Diego. Oh, Claudia's event. Yes, Claudia's event.


And I literally like forced Jamie to come with me. I just hung out with other people who are either calligraphers, maybe like just for a hobby, as well as like Claudia, who is like a legitimate calligrapher and like some other person who blew my mind about like their knowledge about calligraphy and all different things. I was like, wow, like their special interest was calligraphy. So we'll have to do like another episode where they just share all their knowledge for all of us because it was astounding to me. But yeah, it was just like a great way to like meet people and they might refer me to something in the future. I don't know.


Maybe they only do weddings and they don't do events or whatever. I have somebody that refers me everything because they don't want to do events, which phenomenal. Dani, love you. Love that. Yeah, I think like it doesn't have to necessarily be like other event calligraphers, like you said in a previous episode, we're gonna keep doing that. We're gonna say like we said in a previous episode, but.


Yeah, it could just be like an art event. It could be even like a sports team, like go network, meet new people. I think like that's important. Okay, we just did an event with a crossfit gym. Which I didn't even know that was gonna end up being a thing, but here we are. Yeah, what did, wait, what did you do? Engraving ornaments at the holiday party. Oh, fuck yeah, love that. It's like make some additional money. And I was like, hey, can I write on pumpkins at your store, you know, and then got promoted and people found me through that. So it's like, there's, there's ways people can be creative.


Maybe the conversation to I feel like event calligraphy, people immediately associate with working with like luxury brands and like stores and like things like that. I don't know. That's what I think of. I feel like when I hear people talking about it, like, and I feel like when I started, that's what I was striving for, right? And I feel like maybe I'm not alone in that. It was like, man, like I want to work with like the Chanels and the Dior's and like all of those things. And I feel like I really like pigeonholed myself before, like I kind of had a mindset shift because I was like, oh, well I want to just do like luxury stuff. I was like, some of my favorite events are not luxury events or they're not retail based luxury. Like it's more of the influencer stuff or like the one we did at Activision together was so fun. Like I never thought I would, I could tell right now I am definitely not marketing specifically towards a video game company, but it was so fun. Like such a fun team to work with, whatever else. So maybe that is part of it, is that events are not just like luxury space, truly, it's just putting it out there where you can add some pizzazz or some value or whatever to an event.


Oh, I 100% agree. And I can't say like 100% had the same mindset, but I definitely had a similar one because I do remember there was like a specific luxury client, actually a couple that I was like, this is how I know I’ll have made it. And then like I worked with them and I was like, Oh. Like the excitement, the excitement wasn't there anymore because like I did it and also I was like, wait, like I'm the same. It's the same. It's like after you get married, you're like, what changed in your relationship? And it's like absolutely nothing. It's the same. So it's like kind of like that.


And then also, it's a cool milestone to hit. But if that is your only mindset, you could potentially be limiting yourself from a lot of cool opportunities, I think is. Oh, 100 percent. And like, you got to know your vibe. Like, I know my vibe is like I'm like the anti luxury. I'm like, what events are fun? How can we make this colorful? Like, how can we add like an edgy vibe? Like, what is it that would make your event cool. I wanna do cool events, I don't give a shit. I mean, I do get a little bit of shit. Who the fuck cares? Is it bringing in money? Is it creating a joyful experience for people? Is it fun for you? Is it fun for others? Are you having a good time? Are you making money while doing that? Sick, why do we have to all go for the same exact clients? Who, I don't know, who gives a shit? End rant. Unless that's-


And the end rant. But yeah, okay, so Eventbrite was number one. We're gonna circle back. The only reason I'm able to circle back right now is because we have notes in front of us about all the points we wanted to make. But otherwise my ADHD would be like, what the fuck are we talking about? Okay, networking. So you can actually go to business networking things. You can search that on Eventbrite. There's like things for business. Also Facebook groups. Facebook groups and Facebook events. I know it seems weird. Like if you hate Facebook, like, because you're, you know, the other side of the family is on it or whatever, like, I get it. I use Facebook literally for Facebook groups because I've booked so much from them as well as obviously Marketplace, but here nor there.


Do you? I don't know anything. Do you join these things and book from your personal page or do you do it from like a business page? Can you do that from a business page?


Yes, so you can join from both. I typically, you can't always do the same things when you like add yourself to like when you like or add yourself to a Facebook group like as your business page. Plus, like it feels kind of weird and impersonal. And I don't accept. I'm like my personal page is like my twins. Yeah, like my audience on Facebook is not my business. It's like my family or, you know, whatever else. So I'm like, iss it going to be weird if I join these groups and then people are like, why do you think that you are qualified to do what you're doing?


No, absolutely not. You do not have to have your business page. I will recommend because I'm the person who goes down like black holes on the internet. Like I will click, I will be that person that like clicks on the person, clicks on like where do you live? What do you do? Da da da. If your business profile is not linked to your personal page, go ahead and do that. That's really helpful so people can understand who you are and it gives them a little insight as to who is commenting on this post that says, I need a calligrapher to do wedding signage. And then you comment, hi, I'm a calligrapher that does wedding signage. I usually also include my email, my Instagram, my website for them.


However, they could easily click on my profile, which is private, but shows that I own signs of our lives, which is calligraphy and all things.


Dang, that's still tough for me though, because I am in other Facebook groups. Well, for my BCBA stuff, so that's how my behavior, like my ABA stuff. Oh. My actual career stuff, sorry. Let me just throw like a million acronyms. There's a lot of special ed acronyms. So yeah, take, you gotta tell us. So, I mean, that's like my main career. Spent a lot of time in school for that. So that's what is listed on all of those things because, okay, interesting.


You can add both. You can do two things at the same time.


Okay, I did not know. I again, OK, we learn. I think I would in my geriatric millennial would be a Facebook expert. But here I am. I don't I literally don't know how to do anything. I told you I am learning alongside everyone else.


Amazing. OK, well, hopefully everyone adds their business. Yeah, there's so many different Facebook groups. And it's like even in like the ones that, again, are not for business at all. Someone might say, hey, I'm a blah, looking for an activation. They probably won't use the word activation. Looking for a fun thing for my holiday party. Cool, like you can literally be like, hey, it's me. This is what I do. And I've done that plenty of times. So it doesn't like, you can definitely join like the business groups and like the networking groups and stuff like that, but like it can also very well be in personal groups.


Well, I guess we met in a Facebook group. So I don't know what I'm thinking. I guess I do know how to do that. Maybe, I don't know. That felt different because it was like weddings. So like it being personal kind of made sense. But okay. I'm very much learning alongside everyone. Facebook groups. Absolutely. But yeah, and so like other vendors, that's always great to get to know them.


Try not to be transactional if you can. Sometimes that is the vibe where you're like, hey, we're both in this just to know each other and whatever. It's nice when you get to know other people. I've always recommend so many photographer friends to stuff because someone's always looking for a photographer. So it's always great to have other people in your corner, as well as Instagram, which I feel like is a given. But if you're not on Instagram, go ahead and use it. Use it for whatever you want to use it for. Follow the people that inspire you, that make you happy, that don't make you feel like you're a piece of shit and are willing to compare yourself. Listen, I had to do that recently. I had to mute a bunch of people because I was like, damn, I feel like shit, even though I'm literally in the Philippines right now and I cannot be doing an event, but I'm having FOMO.


So previous podcast, I love so many of y'all. It is rough. Like, I don't I don't do this full time, so it's really hard for me to. Again, I'm putting very minimal effort into like hunting down leads and things like that. So, you know, that's where I'm at. Like I'm what I'm putting into it. But yeah, it still makes me feel some type of way when I'm like, oh man, like I know I would be a good fit for that too.


Yeah, totally. And then also with like online through Eventbrite, Eventbrite also posts like virtual things. The pandemic made things very, very accessible for people who maybe can't leave their house or don't always have the outfits or the energy or whatever to go on a virtual thing. I'm not going to lie, I don't love it as much as personal things, but sometimes they do breakout groups and it's cute when you have a nice little conversation with someone. For me, it requires a lot more energy and sucks life out of me, but maybe for someone else it would work if you're kind of introverted and that feels safe to you. Yeah. And then yeah, there's meetup groups.


There's so many things online guys, just dive right in. I'm sure there's also Reddit pages. I haven't explored that, but I'm sure that they're there. Anyways, okay. So other things that we can do beyond networking, do you have any other things that you would like to add or is this like, this is a, Alex, just tell your next thing?


I feel like maybe we take a different stance than maybe some other people. We love a cold email. We love a cold call. Like we are here for it. I don't do it a lot, but I have had some success with cold emails, just like finding, hunting down some emails, popping into a store and being like, your store is really cute. This is what I do. Does that sound cool to you? So I have had some success with it. I know you've had success with it. And I'm not above a cold email. Again, I think maintaining the expectation, right? Like, don't think you're gonna look like you send out 50 cold emails that you're gonna book, all of them, right? Like, I think be realistic about the nature of what's happening with that communication. But I mean, we're not above it.


Yeah. I don't think we're above anything. I think whatever works for you and like you are able to put energy towards, like fucking do that. Like we're not here to tell you like to do or not do things. We're just like literally again, like giving you our experiences. And like, I think.


First, I want to explain the difference between cold emails and warm emails or like cold inquiries, not inquiries. What would that be? Like, it's like cold calling, which for you Gen Zers, cold calling is when like someone would call you up on the phone, which I know no one likes to use anymore and like try to do some marketing, whatever on you. Like when you're a teenager when your parents were like, you need to go walk in and ask for a job application.


Yes! Oh my god! That fucking sucked. Oh my god. That's the same vibe. That brought back a lot of really tough memories for me. No, it's okay. It's okay. I was a working girlie as a teenager, so I did a lot of that. I have no social skills at all. Can you please hire me? Here's my resume that has actually nothing on it. Thank you. So yeah.


The difference between cold and warm is like a warm lead or a warm inquiry or warm call email. I don't fucking know. Warm something. Warm communication. Warm communication is that basically it's like a referral, someone like gave your name to this person. It's like a trusted source. It's like... Oh, I like already have seen your Instagram like five million times and like I'm warmed up or like I got your email sequence and like I finally like you're in my head, right? Like it's something that's like pre-inputted for people.


Whereas cold is like you've literally never talked to them before in your life and you might be like emailing them with like, hey, this is me. This is who I am. And this is what I want to do for you. Like, let's set up a call or whatever. Or is this something you'd be interested in the future? And that is something that I know you and I have both done, as well as obviously like cold walking in to stores or whatever. And I've had success with it. That's how I landed quite a few gigs. And it happened to be like right person, right time, where people are like, oh my god, you're literally exactly what I'm looking for. Or like, oh my god, no, but like, it's kind of in my opinion, oh crap, I listened to something the other day about like planting seeds.


And I think that's basically what it is, is planting seeds and you never know where they're gonna grow or what's gonna grow sometimes. But it's kind of like those TikTok videos for, I know, okay, I'm speaking a different language, but there's like these TikTok videos of people like sprinkling wildflower seeds like all along the highway and it like grew in LA and it was so pretty and cute over the spring when there was so much water and stuff.


Anyways, you just like never know what's going to grow. And obviously, like the more you put out, like I said, with energy, like the more you'll get in return, like you might send 50 cold emails, but you might get two that are like really strong leads and clients that turn into like repeat clients. So it's building up your business if it's something that you've never done before. Like, yeah, walk into that store, ask somebody, hey, like this is what I do. And I'd love to work with you.


Genuine question, but also a shift.Is like a Yelp lead, would you consider that a warm lead? Yeah, because they have found your page in some capacity, as opposed to like you reaching out to the, you know, I don't know. Yeah, like, I guess so. I think it depends because Yelp does this thing where, when you're on the other side of like when you're the consumer on the consumer side and you're wanting to reach out to someone, it has this little thing that you can click that is very hidden that could say, we will also email similar businesses with this inquiry. And you can say yes or no. So they might just be giving an inquiry to one person, and then it sends it to like 10 that are also in the area and might be doing something similar. Like I get like sign inquiries all the time from Yelp that are like… they want like a neon sign or something, or like those big things that you see on a building. And I'm like, literally not what I do, but because signs is in my like services because I do provide signage. But okay. Yeah, literally. So I'm like, yeah. So I would say that could be either one, depending like they could be like, hi, I really love your work. Yeah, it's kind of a warm lead, but I would say probably like not as much because I feel like when it's like warm, it's something where it's like. Like the late warm lead.


It's like, yeah, it's like, it's like, slowly boiling. I don't know. Okay. I don't know a great analogy for that. Okay. You've had some success with Yelp, yeah? Yeah, I have. I've actually gotten some really good things, but Yelp is definitely one of those things that's more similar to like the cold emailing where it's like, oh, it is the Wild West on Yelp. It is it is like you will get like the most random things because of that feature. In my opinion, I think because of that feature. Even though you have like 700 pictures on there of all the things that you do and people will be like, how did you do this other thing that like is literally not listed in your description or your photos or your website or anything? You're like, why, how did you get here? So yeah, I would say two out of every like 50 inquiries from Yelp, which is a very low percentage.


But you had a really cool one come through. I did. Yes, I actually can't. I cannot share exactly, but it was for celebrities. It was place cards for. Okay, so it was place cards for celebrities. And I can actually share that because I did those place cards, they hired me for us another project in which I did signage and semi murals. It was like lettering on like bathroom stalls, but they were like really cute ones. That sounds weird. And it was like really cool venue in LA and it was somebody sharing their skin. It was for the like the skincare launch event or something. That's awesome. And then I know another friend who got, we worked, we did a mural for Facebook together and she got that inquiry from Yelp.


Oh, I just get questions about painted rocks. That's it, that's all of them. I literally got like three of them. I was like, wow, never have I ever. But here we are, I guess this is my niche. According to .. that is a substantial amount of inquiries for painted rocks. Three's a trend. You know, making the Yelp people go, yep, this one, this one will paint your ass to which I say I will not paint your rocks. Why do so many people need their rocks painted? Please no. Oh Lordy. Oh my gosh.


On that note. So yeah, there are many search engine platforms, one of them being Yelp that you can put your stuff on. Another one being Google Business. Cat is laughing because she’s not on it. The Google Business. If you're not on Google Business and you want to be searchable in your area, it does help you to put your little profile on Google Business. You don't have to put your actual physical address, but it is a whole process to put your literal name on the map basically; your business name on the map. So Cat, I can walk you through that.


Yeah, but that is a short way. And then the other couple ones that are kind of like search engine type of platforms are Etsy and Pinterest, which maybe you can tell us a little bit about. Yeah, I mean, if you're product-based. Or you have a service that leads to a product like we do place card stuff like that I've had some success with that on Etsy and then I have actually had a couple inquiries come through Pinterest as well when I was on maternity leave. I did very concentrated amount of pinning during that time and then that fell off once my children started like doing things other than sleeping all day. So that has fallen off but that's the cool thing about Pinterest is it's like always generating in the way that people are sharing and whatever else.


It's just like very unique, um, in comparison to the way that I think other search engines work, um, and especially for artists, like creative businesses that I think are in our audience. We're very visual in terms of the services and things we offer. So I think that is potentially a good option. I've also gotten, um, some work from like different registries, or there's another like Nibtique. Oh, yeah. I have actually, I know I've seen some grumblings about it, but I've gotten a few inquiries from Nibtique. I have no idea why.


For those of you who don't know what Nibtique is, it's basically a directory of artists, specifically more like calligraphy based artists that someone in the industry created. I can't remember if it's paid or unpaid because when I joined it was like unpaid for a year or something and then now it's paid. But yeah, it's kind of like one of those things where like you could pay to be on it or like those vendor lists that sometimes like wedding venues have things like that. Where actually that's probably a good one too is like if you're in the wedding industry and like hitting up wedding, wedding venues or like whatever like those vendor lists are.


Like you said, venue-specific or being on a planner's preferred vendor list, or something along those lines. Especially, I think a lot of planners have stationers, but they may not have an event. But it's a new thing, right? So they might want to add something like that to their roster. So yeah, I think adding into that.


It has potential to plant a seed, to help your SEO for anyone. I don't think I actually spelled that out earlier. SEO is search engine optimization. It's basically how searchable are you. So yeah, well, and I think the obvious one is like social media. I know some people like really want to go viral, like on TikTok or reels or whatever. I don't really understand virality a little bit because I don't really know like the return that you get from that because you don't really have like a targeted following.


And in my opinion, it's not really like where other like where people who would be hiring you would follow you so much as like other art hobbyists or calligraphy hobbyists or like other business owners.


Yeah, no. And I think a lot of a handful of calligraphers, at least that I know, have had a lot of success that have generated from like videos that have gone viral and things like that. But I think the timing of when they went viral was very much had something to do with that. I think going viral now is not the same as it was like 2019, 2020. Like I think the way that going viral was pushing to certain audiences or whatever, I think it worked a little bit.


I'm not on TikTok, so don't take this. Like, you know, like hundreds of thousands of views, but then you look and there's like not a lot of engagement. You don't necessarily get a lot of followers from that anymore. Like it just might be like one really cool video because of the way you shot it or you know, whatever else. So I don't know that translates the same way that it used to. I think it always will serve the purpose of putting you, your business, your service in front of more eyes. So right, if we're going back to a data standpoint, like when more people are seeing it, there's more opportunities for the right person to see it. An event planner, you know, someone working for these brands or whatever else. So I think it increases the likelihood that your intended audience will see it, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's gonna convert, if that makes sense, to a lead, a book, anything. Yeah. Especially not something-


I always consider it kind of like a vanity metric, right? Like, it's cool you got more followers, likes, engagement, whatever, views. What is it serving other than your vanity? Like 95% of the time, right? It's like the 5% of the time. Sure, yeah, someone could absolutely book things. And same, like you're right, I actually do know like a couple artists that like, because they went viral on like a specific video, like a certain person did see them and like they booked an event from it.


But like in terms of like a marketing strategy, like, I don't know if it's like in anyone's best interest to like one- It should be the only strategy maybe. Like it can absolutely be part of a whole kind of approach would be why, how to assess why you'd be looking at that.


And like the scariest thing for me, and I remember asking this, like we had like a, like right after she went like super viral, um, for like a lot of things, we had like a brief conversation about that. And we had a good conversation, again, very brief, and it was on Instagram, but I was like, how do you, what do you do now? And it was like, after you have that many people, I would feel this expectation to upkeep those types of videos or that sort of content, and more often, because now people have eyes on you, and it's kind of like, OK, what do you do with that quote unquote fame that you just got to keep people on your page?


Do you feel like you can still exist as the same human? Do you feel like you now have to put on a show? So I think those are good questions to ask yourself, the why of all that. But no, I remember that because I was like, damn, she was like, whoa, this happened so fast. I was like, oh yeah, that's how it happens, right? Yeah. So yeah, not your best and only strategy. But if you're into that and you wanna be a content creator and you're up for that. Not either of us, but yeah, go girly. You go, you go Glen CoCo.


I'm posting one time. I'm going to be going viral. I'll tell you that right now. Again, I got. Very reasonable expectations over here.


My Instagram is my portfolio is like, this is what I'm doing. This is my work, and I don't remember the last time I got an inquiry from social media, honestly.


Yeah, I don't think I maybe like one or two in the entirety of my business. Like it's my like, OK, so I want to share things. I share things I want to see. Like my intention when I'm posting is not to like book a lot of these things. Like that's just not. Yeah, I'm trying to make it enjoyable because I was having a tough time with social media for a while there. So again, it's a choice I made for my business might not be the choice you make for your business, or it might, right? But I think accompanying that with correct expectations. So I know I'm not putting in a lot of effort in that way. I know I'm not investing in that with the hope of the returns because I want it to be a fun place for me.


And I think the beginning, I will say, the beginning of my career as an artist, most of my inquiries were social media, actually. It's just like now that I do less like product based things, it's a little different, right? Like how you present yourself as service based versus someone who's like selling products and wants a lot of followers and needs a lot of eyes because you have to keep the warm and that whole like funnel of that. Yep. Yeah.


Another one that people are starting to finally turn to, which I added myself last year and I'm like so proud of myself. I got to like over a thousand connections on LinkedIn. I, when I first got on LinkedIn, I was like, this is, how is this not illegal? Like you can connect with so many people and then you literally get to like market just to them. That's another one I've gotten a few inquiries from. And if not inquiries, making people warm and cozy. Yeah, with all the things that I post on there.


I also wanted to note, if you are a mix of product-based and service-based business, you can vend at events. If you're a vendor at a Christmas market, or not Christmas holiday market, or craft fairs or art shows or whatever, that's another way where people can see what you do and you can share these are the other services you offer. I actually was like every… Every December I consider going to vend at an event to do custom ornaments. And I'm like, I could literally not even charge enough to make what I make hourly with brands and stuff. Plus having to do all the materials and stuff.


I’m doing a hybrid event this weekend. I'm doing on-site for X amount of hours and then I'm also offering ornaments for purchase.


I love that, see? Creative. You must be a creative. You should be creative for a living. I must be a creative. You should do that. I should have a business. I shouldn't make an Etsy. You should make an Etsy. Yeah, Etsy is another way. Put your thing. I don't think I've ever got an event inquiry from Etsy. But yeah, there's plenty of things where you can market yourself and be putting your stuff into the world. So…


What is the biggest transitioning? But that was a perfect point. If you're putting yourself in the world, what do you need to make available to the people you are wanting to contact you? And I know it's like one of your biggest pet peeves is when people are biggest pet peeve. Like, what is your name? Put your name in your profile. If your thing is lovely event calligrapher. And I go to your profile and I don't know where the fuck you live, what country you're in, I don't know what your email is, I don't know what your name is. For the love of everything in the world, like please put this information in your Instagram bio, in your LinkedIn bio, in your Facebook bio, make your Google page, like make yourself accessible to the world because how the hell are people gonna find you if you're not findable?


And make it easy for people. I think a lot of people might be like, oh, link in my bio. And then it's like, they have to go from, like if you're using social media, you have to go from a post to your profile to your website. Then they have to go to your contact page. Every click, you're losing people along the way. Make it very easy for them to be like, hi, yes, I would like to book you. One to two clicks. I mean, maybe not possible with one to two always. But yes, literally like.


the least amount of clicks. Yeah. Have your link to your website in your Instagram bio. Have your email in your Instagram bio. Have your name in your bio. There's a whole button for a lot of these. Yeah. There's buttons. Go investigate. Go investigate all the little tools. If you're all the little business tools on Instagram, they literally have videos and articles that can help you out. But yeah, please, if you want to be searchable, make yourself searchable.


This is another thing which I think we could probably discuss with the only person I actually like no one have seen their ads is Shina from Crooked Calligraphy doing like Instagram ads but like definitely Facebook ads. I don't like to pay to play for literally anything in life but if you are into that you can always like put ads out. I see tattoo artists doing this all the time. The amount I want to book tattoos like on a daily basis because I see the same Instagram ad. There's this one in San Diego that I'm dying to get a flower piece from. But I'm ready to book because I have seen their Instagram ad on my stories so many times because I'm the targeted audience for it. And this is on my personal and business pages. It's not even on my tattoo page that I'm getting this ad. It's through my other pages. Those are other things that you can do to get in front of people. I think I have done one maybe like once or twice when I was like promoting products like ornaments or something or maybe signs. I don't can't remember. But like I know Shinah like she does her like she sells a lot of her courses through that. So there's opportunities like if you want to if you have that money like to invest and that's accessible to you like that's also something you can do.


So given all that information, Cat. What are your thoughts on doing gigs for exposure? I've done them. Again, I'm here with the unpopular opinions. I've done them, and they have been successful. I have gotten my return out of them and then some. So I think it is not all of them. I think you should be selective about it. I think you should have a contract in place around certain things. So it should not, whatever. It's up to you.


I needed more than just like, oh, these people are going to be there and potentially going to see you. Like, I had some specific things outlined that I was like, you know, I want these types of things to be done or whatever else. So, I mean, I've done it. I'm down. Like, I think there's a space where it can be beneficial. Again, I think it's about expectation management. The other piece of these things that I agreed to were I was not expecting to come out with anybody.


You know, reaching out for services or booking from them, right? It was almost more like a networking event for me, I guess, in that way, where I was just going in, like it was either something I wanted to do for experience or I just thought it was really cool. Um, sometimes I initiate that conversation because I really want to work with them because I feel like I align or it's just really cool or, you know, whatever else.


I think you just want to have some type of an expectation that is clear on both ends and you kind of maintain your expectations for what you are wanting out of it. But if you can maintain that and you feel good about it, like, I'm not above it.


I feel like we need more about this because it sounds like we can do like a whole ass episode on everything you were just kind of saying. I'm like… when would you ever work for exposure? Like, I think that's a dirty word. Sorry, I'm using the word dirty. I feel like it's appropriate. This context makes sense. This context is, okay. I do feel like it's a dirty word. And I would say usually it's not worth it. Like there's not a return on investment, but like you were saying you had done it when there was a contract and deliverables that were like being exchanged. And that is very different.


And I think it's different if I initiate it versus them initiating it, right? Like, I think there is something very different about someone sliding into your DMs and being like, hey, girl, can you exchange $5,000 of services because there's going to be three influencers there? Like, am I just going to attract more people that just want to try to exchange my services for exposure, right? So there's a lot of analysis, I think, that needs to go into it. But I was very selective about the ones I chose. I chose about three or four that I have done. All of them, I would say, were successful. Love that. I'm in the minority. Probably, definitely, yes. Yeah. I think that just kind of like... Did I just throw you off?


Yeah, you did. It's okay. But I feel like that basically just summed up like we need to have a whole other episode about that because I did not expect that much to come out of your mouth with that question. I thought that was gonna be like, no, or like this one time, but you were just like, all the stories, so it's amazing. No, I love it.


I'm here for those potential opportunities. I'm here for a swap. Oh my God. Yeah, I love a good swap. Okay, we're gonna have to have, we're gonna have a whole episode on that because like when's a perfect swap. We need like a non-traditional event, something. Yeah, like actual examples of like when it actually works out. Yeah. So I think basically, the moral of the story, to end and sum up all of this, is that everyone's journey is different.


How you book events might be different from how someone else books events. One is not better than the other. I think it's always great to, if you're also a data girly, to look at the data of where are your leads coming from and if there's anything where you're like, oh, this is working for me, keep doing it. And if it's like, oh, this is like not working for me. And like, I really like, no one finds me on Google and no one finds me on social media. And those are the two places that I'm putting the most work into. Like, okay, yeah, like, we're gonna have to do some problem solving, you know? So yeah, I think it's like, there's a mix of everything. There's no one way to get inquiries. There's not one way to book events. We just gave you like a slew of them. I'm not even gonna summarize it because we gave you so many. So hopefully you listened.


But yeah, like figure out how you're booking things, see what's working, see so you can replicate it and whatever's not working, maybe stop putting your energy into. I have definitely done that too, where it's like, oh, that's not working. So it might be a different strategy that you need to try on that platform or it might just be like that platform is not for you, not for your services, not for your niche.


The other piece of it too, again, I'm gonna keep going back to mindset, but there's just, I think truly, there's so many uncontrollable things when you're reaching out, right? So even if like social media, you were really successful at one point, right? We can't control the algorithm. So you have to decide, do you want to keep pouring into that? Do you want to make a pivot to something else, right? Like what might have served you, even if it was for a very long time in your business, may, for whatever reason that's out of your control overnight, no longer serve your business in the same way. So I think that's where you got to kind of make that pivot or choice to pivot or not for yourself. And then just maintain expectations based on whatever choice you're going to make.


Yeah. So if there's any other ideas that you have, ways that you've booked events that we somehow missed, let us know. If anything was helpful, also let us know. We love hearing what you learned. What you might decide that you want to do more of, what inspired you, please tag us. It's at Keeping Up With The Calligs on Instagram. We did decide to use the page.


We hope this has been super helpful for you. We hope that you book all the events and we hope you keep listening. And the next few episodes we're going to continue to talk about events because that's what we're here for. That's what this whole podcast is about.


That's it. If you are liking our podcast, we did hit 250 downloads, which we are fucking pumped about. Please continue to share, leave us a review rate, subscribe to all of those things on all of the platforms, wherever you're listening. It's just like five stars. Yeah. We love that. Feel good. We thought we were literally going to have like three people and that was, we were pumped about that. So we're happy you are here. All right. Love you all.


Bye!