It is time to get back to writing!!! So here goes :) Since the beginning of this year, I feel like we have been caught up in a whirlwind. Time is passing by us so quickly...good days, great days, better days and some not so great days. Joshua had what we thought was going to be his last surgical procedure back in December. Although, he has since experienced a few set backs, that have at times created some interesting obstacles and challenges for us as well as another needed procedure in May. More on that later....Last year, we decided to return to south Texas with a renewed intention to grow our presence here in this market. Just so you know, this is a lengthy process breaking into the RV market here in south Texas (also in Arizona). Come to find out, these two markets are really competitive and sought after markets for entertainers....who knew! Entertainers flock from all around the country and Canada to these destinations, like us, they too are looking for warmer destinations and opportunities. In fact, many of the venues in these areas refuse to hire entertainers outside of an annual event called an Entertainers Showcase. Here is a brief picture of what this event looks like. First of all, a prospective entertainer gets to submit an application before a set deadline and pay a fee to even be considered for the event. Then once accepted, you are assigned a specific time on a specified date in which to audition (sell yourself) in exactly 9 minutes...no exceptions!!! Each entertainer gets to set up a table with all of your marketing materials and information. As an entertainer, you get to sit at your table (along with about 25-32 other entertainers) from 7am - 5pm waiting for your assigned performance time. Approximately, 150 - 200 activity directors, assistants, venue managers and guests watch a platform; each section of the platform in a different stage of setting up, performing or breaking down after a performance. Entertainers are also expected to be present the entire day (to be respectful to all of the entertainers). I found that part to be very interesting, fun and I learned so much. Through that experience, I learned so much about other entertainers, what the market is looking for and the diversity of entertainment and talent available. Also, I got to meet and visit with others in our industry. Such a great opportunity to learn from our peers and others that are doing things we want to do!! Along with knowledge.....we met and gained new friends too :) After your performance is complete, you are then directed to a private room/area to meet with prospective venues wanting to book/negotiate dates and fees for the upcoming season (in the next year or even two years away!)
To be clear, this was not our first rodeo at this event. When we first began this journey, we had our hearts set on this very event and believed it was the answer to our success. Our first audition was back in January 2017, when everything that could go wrong did - and our 9 minutes was very sobering. I sat at the booking table without one person coming to book a date and I was not surprised....disappointed and not surprised. However, everything happens for a reason. Although, at the time it felt like a huge punch in the gut, an utter failure. Since then we have learned so much, we took a risk and found out we had more to learn before we were ready for this step. Through that experience, we have learned so much more about promoting, cold calls and commitment. We have grown so much on the business side, in our confidence, creating our brand, perfecting our stage presence as well as not putting all our eggs in one basket ;) We don't always know why things happen the way they do at the time and there is soooooo much power in the unknown!!!
It was daunting returning to this event three years later. Our disappointment and fear still felt very fresh. I found myself hoping that no one would recognize us from before LOL. Joshua and I had already decided, we were not going to put any pressure on this event to do anything more. In fact, we decided we were going out there to have FUN and put the past behind us. This event would not define who we are or what we have to offer!!!
We were not without obstacles facing the event this year that is for sure! At this point, we had created the finances for the application fee, submitted the application before the deadline and there was plenty of obstacles throughout that process too (far too many to mention here lol) Our travel/tour/surgery schedule lined up perfectly...YAY!!! Then just days before the BIG DAY, Joshua experienced some serious health complications and needed to be seen at the ER. After leaving the ER, the brakes on our mini van failed!!! At this point, we are located an hour and a half from the bus back on the island, no brakes and fresh out of the ER.....just one day away from the showcase!! If this experience didn't give us every opportunity to quit, I don't know what would LOL. Joshua and I took on each challenge one step at a time, calmly and with our intention clear to conquer our past experience.
Joshua did our best to set ourselves up to succeed in every way we could. We chose to spend the extra money to reserve an RV site located right on the site of the showcase. This allowed Joshua to still be present without being uncomfortable, he could rest while I was present at our table to do what I do best....connect and promote who we are :) Our intentions were very clear, when it was our turn to take the stage (we were second to the last performers that day) WE ROCKED IT and WE HAD FUN...therefore our audience did too!!! This event was such a BIG success for us this year and we plan to be a part of it again next year. This experience has given us confidence to enter another showcase like this in Arizona for April 2020!!! Wish us luck as we continue to learn and GROW!!