Landing the BIG one.

June 1, 2020

Dear Laura, 
I would like to try and get more corporate events or much larger events but it is only myself. How do I go about getting help. Do I teach someone how to paint, put an ad in looking for an experienced face painter. Not sure where to go. I would also like to know more about how you advertise or go about getting the gigs.    
                            -Michele

Hi Michele, 
    Thank you for your great questions! I would love to give you some thoughts. 
    Let’s first focus on getting help for larger gigs. Finding someone to hire/train is a big commitment for both them and you. Face painting training is normally expensive, but if you are training, it becomes ‘free,’ and you are in charge of EVERYTHING. There is a lot of work ‘managing’ that person: teaching them not only how to paint, but how to talk to kids and parents, what to wear, etc. 
    All this work can help you make make more money. When I am providing all training/supplies/ everything, I pay my helpers 50% commission (you can also pay them hourly, whatever works best for you). The pros: you get to employ someone, make more money, and accept larger jobs. The cons: you are working with inexperienced workers, there will be a difference in quality among the artists, and if they are unreliable, you might end up in a tight spot. 
    Option two: hire an experienced painter. For this I wouldn’t advertise; I would investigate. Painters love to paint, so they usually try to make it easy to find them. Put in some time on Facebook, and chances are you can find some painters in your area. The pros here: higher quality painting, more reliable, easier to get going, and they might hire you in turn.  The cons: higher cost to you, they might have established ways of painting/working that don’t match yours, and there may arise an element of competition.  You’ll need to be very clear what you will and won’t allow.
    Second question: how to get the work. Large corporate work is some of the ‘prize gems’ in the face painting world. It is a terrific rush to work with six other artists coloring people as fast as they can. In my experience you will sometimes find them, and they will sometimes find you, but there are things you can do once this COVID crisis is behind us. 
    #1- Get some good promotional material printed. Take your best photos and make a flier or postcard so that when you start talking about what offer, people can see what you are talking about. Make sure your work looks great, but more importantly, that the kids looks happy.
    #2- Cold calling- This is miserable, but there is a trick to it. Call bigger companies that are local and ask for the person in charge of planning special events (I would get an email address; the person you need to talk to might not enjoy having their pressing business interrupted to talk about the company picnic). Send that person an email that says something like, “I really love your business and what it does for the community. If you ever have family-friendly events I would love to come help you take care of the face painting” or something like that. Make sure to attach your awesome flier. If you know of another local painter that does that company party already, move on to a different company. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and it is bad form to snatch one off another painter’s plate. 
    #3 Go to where the businesses are! There are trade shows where local companies show off to each other. Rent a booth and make some noise.  We always stand out, and even people in suits tend to smile when they see us. 
    #4 Once you get some of these events, do a really good job, and you can usually keep them. Companies often do a summer party, a Christmas/holiday party, a customer appreciation/grand opening—this could potentially be three weekends per year, every year! It is great work. Plan to take extra time setting up and cleaning up so you can be available and professional. Always follow up with the person who hired you, and make some noise on social media about how great they are (giving back rocks, and it also says “you can hire me for a corporate event too” without having to come right out and say it).
    I hope some of these ideas help you! Thanks for reaching out and happy painting! 

Laura

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