I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too. - Steve Martin
And I get it. Most of us teachers starting teaching out of a love of sharing our gifts. We studied music, theory, composition, pedagogy, and history - but not business.
It’s similar to dentists. They go to dental school and learn all about taking care of us, their patients. It’s incredibly difficult and specialized. But as soon as they graduate, they are thrust into building a practice. Or they go and try to work for someone else. No one ever told them about how to start a business.
Some kids get it. They start lemonade stands and then move onto other products or services. One of my neighbor’s kids knocked on the door one Sunday morning and asked if we would like to buy breakfast services for the next month. She was only 8 years old! That’s cool.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. --Benjamin Franklin
In this article, I want to share with you a roadmap to a successful teaching business that anyone can do, whether you are just starting out or have been teaching for years. Along the way, we’ll discuss some limiting beliefs that can block your way to success as well as some empowering mental models that will accelerate your progress.
Over the last decade or so, I’ve built a successful teaching business. It wasn’t always easy and not everything worked. I’ve also taught this process to other teachers as a one-on-one coach and also in online training programs.
Think of it as the map of the territory. The thousand foot view. This first part is what you need to set up.
To be really useful, you should know where you are in the journey of your business.
Have you already found a core ideal audience and now need to tweak the operations? Are you looking to scale your success outside your geographic or client base area? This is a great article about stages of business.
Each one of these areas can be fully explored in a book, course, or months (years?) of coaching. The problem arises when one goes to find help on starting a successful small business, and they are inundated with very specific help in a very specific area. Usually, it’s one small part of this big picture. I wish I had a vision of this when I was just starting out. It’s my hope that this roadmap can be a guide for helping to know what you know and don’t know so you can then seek further information.
I have helped many music teachers and school owners around the world with problems on this map. Some needed help with the whole thing. Others just needed to tweak a small strategy within a small section.
Below are some recommended books that I think can eliminate much of the clutter. It’s the 20% that will give you the 80% effectiveness. The signal from the noise. Mindset is a big part of it and shifting from a habitual state of lack to abundance is key. But even as a self-directed learner, I believe if you are serious about your success, you need to invest in coaching.
By working with a coach you can greatly accelerate your progress and avoid the many pitfalls and dead-ends on your journey. If you would like to discuss private or group coaching, please contact me.