Getting Paid for Your Work

A reader wanted clarification about how to get paid for your work in organizing a concert and wanted to know if “salaries” are expenses.
First, if you have to pay the technician to set the lights and the fellow on spot, you pay them a salary. So, yes, salaries are expenses. The real question then is, “are you a legitimate salary?” And the answer is the same – yes – provided you’re providing a service that someone who warrants a salary would have to be paid.
What matters the most is how much is raised. If you raise $100,000 for the benefit, and you payout 90% of it in expenses and salaries, the people you do the benefit for are going to be sorely disappointed and you’ll have a hard time getting anyone else to hire you. Who could blame them – not me. However, if you hold a benefit concert for something like breast cancer research for an organization like the American Cancer Society, or Breast Cancer Research Fund or Susan G. Komen for the Cure local chapter you will present them with a business plan. You’ll outline:
1. The program or drawing card entertainment or event
2. How many tickets should be sold and your method of selling them (that’s a whole other discussion)
3. The ancillary income producers like auctions or raffles
4. How much the event should gross
5. A fully disclosed list of expenses
Included in list of expenses will be key personnel to make it happen. List them by function not the name of the person. However, I would always disclose any duties I’ll be doing, but I prefer to show the real cost of hiring someone to do the job and then show my discounted amount or that I’ll be donating X% to the cause. I would also tell them that this amount will cover some of my personal expenses (rent, food, etc.) and that for my additional professional time, I’ll receive 10% of the net proceeds. In almost all cases if you can show and then deliver to a foundation that you can make them the amount you’re saying, they’re thrilled to have you receive a nice bonus. If you’re paying singer fees and you sing (which you must do—you need the pub and experience), you get paid the same as the other singers plus your work for directing, producing and whatever else.
The bottom line is going to rule here. As noted, I’m a big advocate of total openness or transparency. And for everyone involved benefitting—you included.
Do this and you’ll be like several of my students who have created a nice business producing benefit concerts.
Don’t lose out on the silly season that is upon us—the penultimate political election year. Candidates need produced events. People want to be entertained at those speech filled events. It’s a good time to be a singer and a producer.

Mark Stoddard

About Mark Stoddard

Mark Stoddard is a business leader, professor, marketer and consultant who has been helping singers get jobs for more than 20 years. On the singing front he staged more than 100 professional shows aboard cruise ships that employed classical singers, pianists and strings. He's also coached singers on how to sell their CDs and other products, use the social media and how to negotiate contracts. He's been the CEO, President or Owner of the nation's largest financial newsletter printing company, a residential and home study education company teaching finance and business, an international cruise and tour operation, and a non-profit fundraising organization. As an author he's written 17 books on business and marketing (including one just for singers—Marketing Singers) as well as a full-length musical, several plays and a book of short stories and poems. His classes at the Classical Singer Convention are always rated with the highest ratings.


Follow Mark online at


You can buy Mark's book Marketing Singers at

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