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Joe Hanson: Dear Aspiring MC, Sometimes You’re Going to Have to Do Some Jobs For Free



Nothing is free, even in Freetown! Yes, these words remind everyone that services are to be paid for no matter how little they are.

The thought of becoming a professional Master of Ceremonies is good enough fuel to keep you going, but you need to look into growing your craft as well as making income. The right balance is key. So, how do you grow your skill and how do you get paid?

Sell and grow your brand for free!
When you host/anchor events, what you are selling is a product – in this case, your services. When you deliver on your job, what people will remember is the brand – in this case, yourself. So, you are a product and a brand. What’s the easiest way for people to discover your Master of Ceremonies services if they do not see you in the marketplace? The marketplace here refers to events (weddings, luncheons, parties, corporate gathering, etc.).

The best way to launch your brand/product as an MC is to be visible and this means that you need to do as many jobs as you can.

You will need to accept jobs pro bono with the aim of developing your product and brand. I usually see it as experiential marketing, whereby people get a first-hand experience of what you are offering. Avoid seeing yourself as one of the biggest when you only just started on your journey.

Take free or little paying jobs to hone your skills and develop your confidence, stage fright, communication skills and audience relationship. After all, you will need to start somewhere and nobody will be willing to risk a massive event for an MC with limited exposure and experience.

Garner experience and exposure. Oblige to host a friend’s party, a family gettogether, a school’s reunion party, a cousins wedding. You’ll notice how slowly you’re improving different areas of your skill set.

For me, I did a lot of free jobs when I started, including poorly paid jobs. I can recall in 2007, I travelled to Benin to MC a wedding and was paid ₦15,000. That money wasn’t my worry! My worry was about how I could deliver while containing the joy that my product/brand was spreading. From Lagos, Benin, Abuja, Uyo, everywhere.

The biggest mistake MCs make is that they place the cart before the horse. They start off their career by focusing on making money while neglecting to grow the brand first.

When a brand/product has been tested and trusted, then it can have a price tag. Do those free jobs. Take that next call for an MC with honorarium on offer. Embark on that journey to the venue without allowing the distance stop you. Keep in mind that there are amazing benefits.

Maybe I’m overstressing it, but you really will notice how your ability to manage both small or large crowds become impressive, how your stage fright is a thing that no longer exists, how your voice doesn’t crack at the sight of guests, how your command of the English Language is more articulate, how you find it easier to communicate and manage mishaps when you do more jobs.

View free jobs as experiential marketing and once the product has been certified approved, you can put a price tag on it.

Let’s discuss tips on what to wear or not for an MC in the next article.


  1. Hilda Okafor

    August 2, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks Joe…..this is for me???

  2. Ib

    August 3, 2018 at 12:30 am

    Absolutely Joe…..I met one of the most prolific MCs for Igbo events in the UK recently, he was telling me how he hosted a big event for free. His friend was berating him for that. however at that same event, Bianca Onoh was present and was awed by his style that she specially requested his details and has assured that he will anchor her next event and fly him in to wherever it is.

    Ali baba also MC’ed Dangote’s daughter’s wedding for free but the exposure and net worth in that room will make up for his fee over and over again for years to come.

    Compering events for free is an investment in self that pays off massively. Pls follow me on instagram ib_ogan. Thanks

    • iamjoehanson

      August 3, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      I Got you!

    • Star

      August 6, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Yes the writer is on point, when you look at your client you should be able to tell when to do free jobs not only for mc jobs this strategy can go for many other jobs too.

  3. Educational website

    August 3, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Well money isn’t everything sometimes one have to do what he knows how to do best for free and that free to the person he did it for will forever be grateful but often times people do make jest of it because to them they would belittle the person which to me is very bad.. This post is inspiring tho’

  4. Nemyinspired

    August 3, 2018 at 10:40 am

    The importance of Volunteer work cannot be overstressed but because of the poor economy of the country, people find it difficult to get by talk more of working for free

  5. Benjamin

    November 1, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Learning from my oga. Have an MC job next weekend. I’ll try read more of these.

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