Music School Growth
Today on the show I wanted to talk about the three most important ways to grow your music teaching business. It’s really not so much an emphasis on your business, it’s more an emphasis on yourself. I guarantee you if you do these three things on a consistent and daily basis your music studio will have no choice but to grow. The three things are
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Does This Sound Like You?
I don’t know about you, but when I started my music school I knew a lot about music. I felt really comfortable teaching music and I felt confident about teaching, but I knew absolutely nothing about how to run a business. Perhaps you can relate to this dynamic. Perhaps your story is similar to mine
Can you imagine if it was the other way around? Imagine if you knew a lot about business. Maybe you got your MBA in college and you decided to start a music school all by yourself, and you were going to be the teacher. You’d have an easy time attracting students but a really tough time retaining them.
Music School Growth Begins with Knowledge
Perhaps that’s an extreme example, but there’s a similar dynamic playing out in your own music school when you know very little about business and very little about marketing, yet you’re trying to make the engine of your business go and you have a lack of knowledge. Without a firm knowledge of marketing philosophy and strategy, you’ll have a tough time attracting students but will probably be able to retain the ones you do have.
Some of it is intuitive of course. When I think of the early days of my music school the fact that I didn’t know anything about business and about marketing and about sales – it didn’t really matter that much. Music lessons are a hot commodity. A majority of parents that have a little extra money each month to spend on their children are going to consider or contemplate the possibility of music lessons. But your business can only go so far if you lack a strong foundation of business and marketing knowledge.
Marketing Has More to do With Psychology Than Technology
I know some of you might think to yourself “I know the business and the marketing stuff is important, but I don’t really love it. It stresses me out. It’s a source of anxiety. I have a hard time getting passionate about it.” That’s certainly how I felt.
But I ultimately understood that marketing isn’t so much about learning different marketing hacks and tactics. It’s not really about mastering the back end of Facebook Ads Manager. It’s not so much about technology. It’s more about psychology and understanding how your customers think.
How to Avoid Marketing Overwhelm
Once I understood or looked at marketing that way, I became excited about it, and that helped my business grow, and as my business grew I began to realize or became more aware of all the moving parts in my business.
When my music school was small, maybe 40 to 80 students, all of those moving parts existed in my music school, but they were so easy to manage when it was just me. As the school grew so did those moving parts, and I really became overwhelmed with them. I didn’t know how to manage operations, how to manage employees, how to structure my business, and how to lead my business.
Step 1: Self Education
So here’s just a really simple formula I’d like to share with you that you can apply to your music school. I apply this to myself. It’s to devote 20 minutes a day, maybe even 15 minutes a day, to learning. Go out and buy yourself a nice hardcover notebook, and that notebook is going to be a book that you’re going to write for yourself.
Devote time each day to learning. I’m really into reading books, and perhaps that’s maybe too much of a time commitment for you at this point. If you become really passionate about marketing a business you’re going to eventually be drawn towards reading books. But I initially encourage you to start with this.
Look Up Marketing and Business Videos
Go onto YouTube and look up “best of marketing”, “how to market my small business”, “how to market my business on social media”. By looking up these questions on YouTube, or Google if you enjoy reading blogs, you’re going to begin to identify who are some of the leading voices in marketing and business growth.
Start with the top videos on YouTube on these different topics. Get out your notebook, play a video. If within three to five minutes you’re not completely hooked, you’re not completely engaged, move on to the next video. When you find a video with a message that resonates with you, start taking notes. You do this every day, 15-20 minutes, within a few weeks your knowledge of marketing and business growth will already see some major improvements.
Read a Book in 20 Minutes
I use this app called Blinkist. I did pay for it, it wasn’t that much money. Blinkist takes books and condenses them down into a 20-minute read. They figure out what are the core components of the book, cut it down to just a 20-minute audiobook. Something you can do is look up the best marketing books, look them up on Blinkist, and devote your 20 minutes to listening to these books and take notes.
Some of the books on Blinkist don’t have audio, but they at least have notes of the book, like Cliff Notes. These are a 10-15 minute read. Look at those notes and then make notes yourself in your notebook.
I wouldn’t necessarily commit to listening to podcasts yet. It’s a little bit more of a longer time commitment. The problem with podcasts is sometimes there’s a lot of back and forth banter. I’d recommend starting out with YouTube videos, reading blogs, or listening to Blinkist 20 minutes a day.
Music School Growth in Just Three Months
You do that for two to three months, your notebook is going to be filling up with some really great information. You’re going to begin to identify who are some of the thought leaders that you really like. You’re going to naturally venture over to their website maybe at that point, subscribe to their podcast, or purchase one of their books.
15 to 20 minutes a day, you can do it. Cut back 15 to 20 minutes of your TV watching every day. How much time do you spend watching Netflix a day? Just cut out a little bit of that time. Cut back on your time that you spend mindlessly scrolling through social media. We’re all guilty of it. If you’re looking to come up with some more time in your day cutting back on your social media scroll time is really a great place to start.
Eventually, you’re going to fill up this notebook where you’ve been taking notes and you’re going to feel so proud. You’re going to feel so good reading through your notes. I’m constantly reviewing my notes in my notebooks and getting new ideas from them.
Step 2: Strategy
Your marketing needs a game plan. Without a game plan, all this learning can feel overwhelming. Your entire business has to rest on the shoulders of strategy and setting timelines and saying, “Okay, for the next 60 days I’m really going to focus on Instagram. I really like some of these videos that I’ve learned about Instagram and my strategy is going to be I’m going to do four in-feed posts every week, I’m going to do four IG reels a week, and I’m going to do two to three stories a day.” There’s your strategy overview.
Then you’re going to maybe break down different post types, different themes in your post. I’m going to have a post that’s going to be an inspiration, one that’s going to be educational, one that’s going to be entertaining.
Set a 90 Day Game Plan
So many music schools market on the fly. This step two, strategy, is so crucial. Your strategy could be also be mapped out in your notebook. What I like to do is come up with a 90-day strategy that I’m going to commit to for 90 days, and then I reassess after those 90 days how my strategy is performing.
Step 3: Action
This one of the most difficult steps, and obviously the most important. It’s easy to commit to self-education and take notes. You feel like a student again. If you’re a musician you’re used to being a student. You’re a student of music. Coming up with the strategy requires some brainpower, but you’re still dreaming on paper. But committing to action, the follow-through is always the hard part.
The Fear Factor
Being able to hold yourself accountable is always the hard part. Your ability to act or your inability to act and your tendency to make up excuses for why you’re not acting, are barriers that you place before yourself. When it’s time to act, this is when fear often sets in. What if I’m a failure in my attempts to implement the strategy?
Fear of Success
Some people are fearful, oddly enough, of success. They don’t feel like they deserve it. They want to be successful, but the idea of success creates some sort of internal tension for them. When it’s time to act in your business it’s the equivalent of standing on the edge of the diving board. You know exactly what you’re going to do. You’re going to dive into the water. You know exactly what your plan is. You’ve thought it out in your head. You know how you’re going to bend your body to go into the dive position, but you’re crippled by fear, and the same applies to your business. When it’s time to act many of us are crippled by fear.
If you can overcome that fear if you can jump off that diving board and experience the results of that leap if you can experience success. The success that’s occurring is because you’ve educated yourself, you’ve come up with a strategy and you’re committed to action, you’re committed to taking that leap… Okay, maybe you did a belly flop the first time you tried to dive and it hurt a little bit, but you know what you need to do. You’ve got your plan. You try it again.
If you commit to these three things, self-education, strategy, and action, I guarantee you you will achieve new heights in your music teaching business.
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