The Journey of Becoming a Business-Loving Independent Music Educator
(A semi-dramatization of real events.)
IN THE BEGINNING:
I’m so excited to start teaching private lessons! This is gonna be the best job ever. I’ll get to do something that I’m passionate about… and it’s fun! That whole “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life thing” is gonna be sweet.
BONUS: I won’t have to answer to a boss ever again!
SIX MONTHS IN:
Getting enough students is taking longer than I thought. I’m working three jobs just to make ends meet. Why does the teacher down the street seem to get all the students? Maybe I need to relax my rules and lower my rates…
TWELVE MONTHS LATER:
Whew! The studio is full. I’m finally able to quit that online tutoring job and just focus on music teaching. It wasn’t that hard to fill up that schedule (I guess)… I just had to take on every single person who inquired.
They want to learn music and I want to teach music… match made in heaven! No screening necessary. The long (and kind of odd) hours are a bit intense, but now that I’m full I can just relax and just teach.
TWO MONTHS AFTERWARDS:
Wait… you want a reschedule for today because you forgot that you had a lesson?.
… You need to take a month off while you go on vacation?
… Your only availability is at 9am on Sundays?
… You don’t have a piano and you’re telling me after your sixth lesson?
… You didn’t practice because you left your books in the car?!?
THREE MORE MONTHS PASS…
**emerges from what feels like endless days of research through FB forums, podcasts, and blog posts.**
Okay — now I have a five page long list of rules and expectations for my studio: I’ve got a makeup policy, a late fee policy, three no-food-in-the-studio rules, a gentle no-show reminder, and a social media contract. These new policies and rates will totally make everything work!
I just have to send them out…
THIRTY-SIX WEEKS LATER:
Now that it’s the beginning of next school year, I can totally send out those new policies. Yep. This is the
best only time of year to make changes!
It’ll be fine. The world will not end. (Just take a deep breath and send the email already!!!)
**closes eyes and pushes buttons** (meep!)
ONE WEEK LATER:
Omg, omg, omg. THE WORLD IS ENDING!!! A few clients got upset after I set clear boundaries. So many awkward emails and texts! Maybe those policy changes weren’t such a good idea… **panic sets in**
Now that I’m not functioning at 100% schedule capacity it must totally mean I’m failing at life and business owning and won’t be able to make ends meet. Obviously people are quitting because they hate me and I’m a bad person and a fraud of a teacher!
THE NEXT DAY:
No one else is quitting? *checks monthly projection* You mean I’m not actually destitute or a failure at running a business? You know… the people who quit happened to be the ones who kept wanting me to bend every rule. Huh. That’s interesting.
Wait… one of my clients wrote me a nice note thanking me for the “clear and valuable communications” I’ve been sending out? And they wanted to know if I had room for another student because they have a friend who they told about the studio? Wow. Didn’t expect that.
… I just might be able to make this work.
A COUPLE MONTHS LATER:
I can’t believe it… just signed on two new clients who are absolute ideal matches for what I offer as an educator AND studio owner. They were excited about joining my studio even after I went over the expectations and rates. Wow… I’m actually running a pretty darn successful business.
And you know what?
I work for the best boss ever.