Not an easy read.....
I work in a company that has a presence in a really aggressive retail environment, and I've spent a long time playing guitar in bands.
I will use a caveat here: There are some venues who will try their best to understand the players viewpoint and that's to their credit enormously.
I've come to the conclusion that Artists do not understand retail markets.
It's not about how long you invest in playing and learning songs. It's not about how much you invest in equipment.
It's not about how much it takes you to get to the gig.
It's not about how much your mortgage is.
It's not about how much you put into your performance.
It's not about the message you put across.
What it IS about is how much money you get people to put over the bar. You can put all the emotion you want into your performance. You're in a random market.
If you only go out for £200 "minimum", don't get a gig in a pub that holds 20 people. No matter if you've heard "they are a good crowd". 20 people can't put enough brass behind a bar to pay you, no matter what your ego tells you.
Sorry if that offends the "working " crowd.