Advertising for your home studio business is relatively easy; taking out ads on sites like CraigsList are free and effective. Also consider putting up fliers at music shops around the area.
Aside from that, there's four tips I always give new project studios opening for use by the public:
Be Realistic. Don't let your mouth write checks your skills can't cash. When taking on clients, be realistic with not only what you can offer, but limit the spin on your skills to help keep the band's expectations in check. Always be prepared with an honest demo CD of what your skills can do. If you can't do what you say you can, you'll have some very unhappy customers on your hands, not to mention a bad reputation. If your studio isn't prepared for the project, don't take it on. Also remember this tip when asking for your fee; know what other studios charge in your area and charge accordingly for what you can offer.
Be Patient. Getting a good reputation for quality work takes time. Don't be afraid to do some free projects at first - you get good resume material, and the band gets a recording done for free, and your quality work may get you some referrals. Once you've honed your skills and have some good examples of your best work, it'll be a lot easier to approach bands more seriously. This process takes time, but it's in your best interest to follow it. Also, don't be afraid to network with bands at shows -- carry some business cards with you.
Quality, Not Quantity. Simple fact: a good home studio with solid gear will always work out better than a larger studio with semi-pro gear. If your goal is to go into business from home, consider purchasing better microphones and recording equiment from the start instead of upgrading later. You can attract more business with quality, carefully selected gear that works very well.
- Nothing Leaves Before The Check Clears. I touched on this in our previous article, Five Studio Tips To Live By, but it's important enough for me to repeat: never, ever let anything you work on leave the studio until you're paid in full, unless you know and trust the person. If something happens and you and your client have a falling out, chances are you won't get paid for your work, and they still have a rough mix to use for whatever they wish. I've been burned a few times, as has almost every engineer I know.