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Starting from Scratch: a Recipe

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

starting from scratch, a freelance underground art business recipe

Beginning in the music industry with few resources can feel like stepping into a journey without a map for guidance. As amazingly useful textbooks plus online classes are for information, too often it would be just beautiful to have a little cookbook of recipes to apply to events, artists, or other causes. Recipes are only suggestions to replicate an experience. They can either be followed exactly to test out something the way someone else would do it or ideas may be substituted for adding personal touches to a new take on a proven method. There is no one way or right way to do anything. But providing value regardless of limitations requires some sort of planning. For those starting from scratch underground, here is a marketing recipe curated for the independent needs of freelancers.

What is needed- Brand knowledge, invitation acceptance, value reciprocation.


  • There are two components to brand knowledge: awareness and image.

  • Awareness is related to the strength of the brand trace in memory, which is measured as the consumer’s ability to identify the brand under different conditions.

  • Awareness includes recognition (ability to confirm prior exposure to the brand when given the brand as a cue) plus recall (ability to retrieve brand from memory when given the product category, the needs fulfilled by the category, or a purchase or usage situation as a cue).

  • Image is the perception that is formed in the customer’s mind about a product/service/company.

  • Image is the combination of attributes and benefits. Attributes are descriptive features that characterize a product or service. Benefits are the personal value and meaning that consumers attach to the product or service attributes.


  • The most effective marketing messages give the recipient or prospect a single, very clear, very short action to take next known as a call to action (CTA).

  • Communication is preferred over promotion, because promotion is a closed dialogue while communication is open and an effective means of providing contacts with what they want.

  • Products and services cannot just be developed to be sold to a mass market. Brands have to give someone something they want and then give it to them their way.

  • Buyers have more information available to them, and higher expectations for a relevant, personal experience when making a purchase. Giving them that delightful experience is inbound sales.

  • Selling to people who want to hear from the salesperson is more effective than interrupting strangers that don’t. Ask for permission to follow up after providing value. Permission is a real asset. If commitments are honored by continually providing value and prospects aren’t being spammed with irrelevant information, a powerful mutual advantage is created that can help build a deeper relationship with people who are interested in what the brand is offering.


  • A business is a repeatable process that creates and delivers something of value that other people want or need at a price they’re willing to pay in a way that satisfies the customers needs and expectations so that the business brings in enough profit to make it worthwhile for the owners to continue operation.

  • People come from different backgrounds with individual values. Not every person is a good customer. Brands cannot meet everyone’s needs.

  • If a brand focused energy on making everyone happy, it would water down its true purpose and resources while no longer maintaining consistency with its original focus by providing half attempted offerings to people who were never really aligned with what the company was doing.

  • By defining and targeting specific markets, brands can communicate with people who may be aware of a problem, considering options, or deciding on a solution the brand can take care of.

  • It is important for brands not to waste time on people who do not value them. Spend energy on the people who are already looking for what you do. Build a business that does not rely on the numbers to drive actions, but on innovation to impact lives and develop more business ideas.


1. Invest in your brand, especially graphics and art. Things to try if finances are an issue: offer work for trade, ask about payment plans, or look into self-employed help who will accept commissions based on sale from or use of work.

2. Deliver content to the right people at the right time by researching then acting on where your ideal audience spends their attention and how to capture it. Examples: age groups 15 - 36 may primarily be on Instagram, while people 25 - 60+ could still engage the most with Facebook; flyering college campuses will likely bring students to a late night dance party, but distributing material at high end stores and cafes can reach audiences who have more disposable income to spend on a higher ticket price; images still drive more engagement than text even though video drives more engagement than images online.

3. Establish a strong level of care that is provided to customers at every stage of the relationship (before they buy, when they buy, and after they buy). Test out a customer service policy by publishing, upholding, and revising as needed a declaration of how the company will treat its customers at every brand touch point.

4. Recognize the conditions of the marketplace as multipliers for resources in business. The extent to which value created in the minds of customers affects market performance depends on factors beyond the individual customer. Three such factors are: competitive superiority, channel and intermediary support, and customer size and profile. The value created in the minds of customers will translate to favorable market performance when competitors fail to provide a significant threat, when channel members and other intermediaries provide strong support, and when a sizable number of profitable customers are attracted to the brand.​


Above image from Go Funk Yourself 2/23/18 in the Howlin Wolf Den. More photos are available at

Resources for freelance underground marketing ideas to test linked at Reading list and online classes list are also on the site.

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