More than just an anthem singer .....
I love being an #anthem singer, and see it as a huge honour to be invited to sing before a sporting fixture, whichever country I am representing and for whichever sport at whichever venue. I always try to impart the country's pride in their national anthem and to think about the words I am singing, just as I would for any other song I might perform at a #concert or #gala evening.
As a professional performer I am often seen on TV performing live at a national sporting event and it would be an easy assumption to think that this is all I do. But of course I am just the same as any other self-employed business person.
I have to market my company, (which is me) and ask for business in the same way as any other company owner does and follow up leads and contacts. You may have received one of my promotional emails !
I have to make sure that my shop window (website, social networking platforms etc) is in good order and up to date and that I maintain my legal obligations regarding tax, insurance etc and post my accounts in time, all of which involves practical input and planned time from me, and to keep costs down and be more profitable I do this myself in-house.
In addition I have to plan well ahead, making sure that what my client has asked for at the next concert or event is well rehearsed, words and music off book and that my vocal health is in place so that I sound great and meet my client's expectations and those of the audience also. I choose to eat healthily and only enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink, not put on weight, drink home made juice, go to bed reasonably early and take care of my health. This is just how I do it, I am not critical of anyone who has a different life style. As a self employed person I don't have a manager to spur me into action, I have to be self motivating in order to be effective, and this can be difficult sometimes. When the phone and emails have been quiet it can be difficult to get out of bed sometimes.
As any self employed business owner knows, the mental side of running your own business can take its toll - do I have the level of business coming in to meet my needs, how can I influence this, how much marketing do I need to do, who should I contact and network with in order to make ends meet / make a profit ? Not considering this side of your business can show visibly and audibly when you come to perform so again this is something I take into consideration on a day to day basis, and I find that running really helps and I am working towards running the London Marathon next year as I have a deferred place due to an injury this year.
Then there is the outward facing side of what I do, which relates to how I look, hair, skin, nails, make up, clothing. Looking great also mentally prepares me for my performance so I always arrive at the venue in good time to ensure that I look great and warm up vocally, properly sound check so that I feel confident about the performance yet to happen.
Being prepared means that I feel happy and look happy and relaxed and hopefully that rubs off on everyone else around me, who also feel confident and happy about what I am about to deliver. Any on site challenges can often be sorted out easily if you maintain a positive, well prepared and uncluttered mind frame.
Of course life is not without its upsets and disappointments, but being self employed has its benefits, which you should embrace willingly, and it has its downside. Sometimes you can feel that all your competitors are getting the work you would love, or you can feel isolated or affected by things you read on social networking, and it is important to try to keep all of these nagging doubts in perspective and try not to let them get in the way of all the good stuff that might be happening in your business and plough on - it is tough sometimes and you might need a shoulder to cry on occasionally, but giving up is not an option. I choose to only have one job, which is as a performer, so I rely on it as my livelihood like many musicians do.
I am not a famous celebrity, I am not mega wealthy, I don't have 'people', a stylist or a make up artist (maybe one day) - I only have one job - I am a performer. This is what I do, and I have the same challenges and concerns as any other self employed person, whether they run an employment agency, an IT company, coffee shop or a florist and we are all working for the same reasons, financial support, personal happiness and self achievement. Anything else is a bonus. And yes, killer fact, I would love to go on Strictly Come Dancing, I am just not famous enough.