Small Gigs: Are They Worth It?

We’ve all been there. Agonizing over whether or not to accept the dreaded “small gig.” Will something bigger or better come along? Is it worth the traffic, gas money and 25-minute parking space hunt? Or the 8 block trek through the rain to a crowded subway ride, armpits in your face? Is this job a potential “in” towards a future ongoing relationship? A much-needed opportunity to meet a new client? Could you really use the extra $100 this month? Do you want to turn it down and have lunch with a friend instead but feel annoyingly obligated to accept every offer? Cuz karma? While in the end only YOU can answer these questions for yourself, here are a few tips to help make the decision a bit easier.

Realistically Assess the Situation

Nobody knows you and your limitations/constraints better than you. Remember that YOU are ultimately in control of each job you decide to pursue. As a guide, here are some important factors to consider:

Your experience level. If you are an experienced model who books consistently, it’s really imperative that you understand your value. Having a minimum booking amount in mind will help you automatically filter out offers that are probably not a good use of your time, and save you the headache of having to justify turning down small jobs over and over again. Make the call and don’t look back.

Your location/commute. If you live on the outskirts of a large market like LA or NYC, you already know that a long commute likely won’t be worth it for you if the job is only 1–2 hours long. Sure, you might gain experience — but ask yourself if it’s worthwhile (i.e., ecomm photos from the knee down.) It’s best to only travel into the city for jobs that ARE worth the trip for you.

Your work schedule/availability. For models that also have day jobs, you’ll want to make sure that any jobs you take are realistically be worth taking the day off work so you can prioritize your time accordingly. If you’re only available on weekends, make sure to consider an amount or experience that makes it worth giving up your brunch with friends, or family time, on a Saturday.

Understand Your Client Base

Sure, some productions have a strict budget, but oftentimes, clients are flexible with budgets for the right model. Don’t worry too much about “missing out” by raising your rates or standards — doing so will definitely not price you out of the majority of jobs, but instead may encourage clients to offer what you require in order to ensure you are motivated to make the booking happen. I can’t tell you how many times I raised my rates as a model and clients stuck with me. In fact, online booking platforms like AGENT are leading the way with features like automatic job minimums for models, which can be set and adjusted by the models at anytime.

Being Flexible is OK

None of these guidelines need to be set in stone! People change their minds all the time, it’s part of growing and learning. Or, just being moody! You have every right to accept or decline small jobs based on any number of factors in your life. Perhaps you’re having a very slow week, had a last-minute cancellation, or are just in the mood to pick up any extra gigs you can. What’s most important is that you are happy with the work and feel valued.

A career model for 15 years, I've seen everything there is to see in the business. I am now a full time writer/author who enjoys constantly learning new things.