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WIBO Week 3 – Identifying Your Target Market

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When I decided to take a closer look at the folks who like my music vs the musicians who like my music business info, I have to admit that this was an instinctual decision. I just had a feeling that I had (at least) two audiences. But now that I’ve started doing market research, it’s obvious that it’s two different groups of people.

For example, my research shows that most of the people who enjoy my music are female, while most of the musicians seeking music biz info are male. There are more differences, obviously, but even this information provides a strong indicator that I cannot market my CDs the same way that I market my musician eBooks. This is good stuff!!!

Later in the week, there was an Uptown Networking Night presented by Beverly Susan Carter in my neighborhood of Washington Heights. Beverly, a tax professional (and former WIBO teacher), hosted an event for creative entrepreneurs of all kinds. While I knew that Washington Heights and Inwood were filled with creative people, I started to see my community as a potential home base for my music biz activities. Can’t wait to see where my market research will lead!

For more info on Workshop in Business Opportunities, visit

My Next NYC Gig: “Soul in the Round” at The Underground on Oct. 6th

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Carla Hall & Friends for LIFEBeat, NYC 1999

I am very excited about my next gig, “Soul in the Round”, which takes place on Oct 6th at The Underground in NYC.

Many of the gigs that I’ve booked this year were presented by Make It Happen Entertainment, which is co-managed by Danny Brookings. At the last gig at Village Underground, rocker Jerome Jordan performed an acoustic set after mine, during which he mentioned how some of our songs had similar themes, and that we should do a gig together.

The light bulb went off in my head that we should do an acoustic show together, and perform “in the round”, Nashville-style. If you’re not familiar with this kind of performance, it’s when 4-5 songwriters share the stage at one time, taking turns singing their songs. It’s an intimate setting where songs and stories are shared, and the audience is treated to a one-of-a-kind evening. While I’ve seen pop and country songwriters perform “in the round”, I’ve never seen indie soul artists do this.

So while Jerome was doing his thing onstage, I told Danny about my idea for “Soul in The Round”. Not only did Danny love the idea, he immediately set a plan in motion. So now Make It Happen Entertainment will present its first “Soul in the Round” show! I’ll be sharing the stage with Jerome Jordan, Kiersten Gray, Khalil Madyun, and Ramoth Gilead, who are some of the top soul-folk/neo-soul/soul-rock performers in NYC.

This lineup is so fierce that I’d want to see it even if I wasn’t on it!

Photo Source: Carla Hall & Friends, fundraiser “in the round” for LIFEBeat, the Music Industry Fights AIDS. Taken at The Bitter End, June 17, 1999. Folks in photo (l-r): Tina Shafer, KJ Denhert, Jen Chapin, John Caban, Carla Lynne Hall

WIBO Week 2 – Market Research

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The second week of WIBO’s “How to Build a Growing Profitable Business is all about Market Research.

As we learned, it’s not enough to say that your market is EVERYBODY. Our fans, clients, and customers often have things in common, such as gender, age, geographic location, income level, etc. A target market is made up of the folks who are likely to visit your website and buy your product or service.

This week’s work is to find out who my target market is, and where they hang out.

I’m coming to find you!!! 😉

Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound!

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Marble Choir
Marble Collegiate Community Choir,
Regional Winners of Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Gospel Competition

Congratulations to Marble Collegiate Community Choir for winning Best Large Choir and Best Overall Winner AGAIN of the region during Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound competition! Led by Director, Djore Nance, Marble took home the regional medals (and $20,000!) for their version of “It is Well (with My Soul)”

Held last night in Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center, How Sweet the Sound travels to 14 cities to seek this year’s Best Church Choir in America. The hosts were CeCe Winans and Donald Lawrence. The esteemed judges were Marvin Sapp, Kurt Carr, and Fred Hammond.

I was a guest of my friend Geno who’s in the choir, and fortunate to spend the whole day with them as they rehearsed and sang. And sang. And SAAANG! It was an awesome experience to share their special day with them. I even got pulled into warming up with them, and it was lovely to be surrounded by all these strong gospel voices. When they won, it was like I won too!

The next day, I spent all day on YouTube, searching out songs that I had heard the night before, as well as seeking new songs. I’ve since loaded my iPod with tons of new gospel songs, and I’m enjoying immersing myself in a musical form that I didn’t grow up with. But hey, it’s never too late!

Marble Collegiate Community Gospel Choir singing “It is Well (with My Soul)” and winning Regional Awards at Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound event on Sept 22, 2010

Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) – Week 1 – Basic Requirements

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I just started taking a course called “How to Build a Growing Profitable Business”, which is presented by WIBO – Workshop in Business Opportunities, a non-profit organization in NYC that teaches aspiring and established business owners how to build their business. I heard about this course years ago, but the timing never seemed right. A few weeks ago, a couple of friends of mine signed up for this course, and I was like, “No way they’re taking this course before me!” and I signed up (hey, I never said I was perfect)!

For the next 16 weeks, we’ll meet once a week with successful entrepreneurs that lead the class and teach us about topics such as market research, marketing, financing, record keeping, cash flow, etc. It’s a practical class which includes case studies and discussions in which everyone will do homework on their own businesses. There’s even going to be a graduation in January 2011. I’m going to blog my experiences with the class so feel free to check in!

My company Moxie Entertainment has been in business since 1998, but much of my learning came from books, role modelling successful people, and good old trial and error. Since I don’t know what I don’t know, I’m taking this course to fill my knowledge gaps.

I’m especially looking forward to taking what I’ve learned and applying it to myself as an artist/entrepreneur, as well as my clients. As our course leader says, to have a business, you only have to sell something. In other words, if you’re a musician with a CD to sell, YOU’RE IN BUSINESS!

WIBO has been around since 1966, and it was started in Harlem by a man named Walter Geier. He saw the need for aspiring entrepreneurs to get business training, and they’ve had over 15,000 graduates for this program. They also have a great alumni program for WIBO graduates too. This course is offered every February
and September in 9 locations (3 in Manhattan, 2 in Brooklyn, 1 Bronx, 2 Queens, and Yonkers).

Week 1 of this course is about Basic Requirements of an entrepreneur:
* What is your product or service?
* What are your goals?
* What kind of person are you?
* How will you capitalize your strengths?
* How will you overcome your weaknesses?
* What technology will you use?
* What tasks will you complete by next class?

The regular price of this course is $199 but they offer a sliding scale based on annual income. They also offer the course free as a re-entry program for incarcerated individuals. You can learn even more from their website at