How I Grew From 140 to 700 Students in 2 Years | Ep 223

Get a Mentor, Be a Mentor

There’s one phrase that I heard years ago that really stuck with me: “Get a mentor, be a mentor.”


The idea is that it’s important to have a mentor, but it’s also important to be a mentor as well. One thing that I have found with being a mentor to other business owners is that I learned so much from it because I’m not emotionally involved in the business. I’m able to apply the skills that I’ve learned about business to the person that I’m mentoring.


Sometimes, I’m amazed at how easy it is for me to come up with solutions to their problems because I have experience, but more importantly, because I’m emotionally detached from the business.


A Mentor Provides Clarity

Just as having a mentor is great for the same reasons, my business mentors that I’ve had over the years can quite often solve a problem for me within seconds, a problem that I’ve been grappling with for days. Again, they’re not emotionally invested in my business, so it’s easy for them to come up with a solution.


I’ll never forget, years ago, one of my instructors came to me to inform me that he had just taken a position as a general manager at the School of Rock. So I called my mentor and I said, “What should I do?” And he’s like, “You need to go right back into the school and fire him. He’s got all these students. Everyone loves him. It’s gonna be very disruptive to my life.” And he said, “Look, you’ve got the competition now inside of your building teaching your students. He also has access to all of your information. He could very well be getting phone numbers right now from his students so that he can steal them from you.”


It was so obvious once he pointed that out to me, but he didn’t have to deal with the difficulty of firing him and having to live with the consequences of me letting him go. But he was right; it was the smartest and wisest decision.


That’s why I think it’s really important to be involved in some sort of business growth program, maybe a mastermind group or, you know, I’ve heard mixed things about hiring a business coach, but I think hiring a business coach can be really helpful.


Network With Experienced Business Owners

Perhaps there’s a retired business owner in your community, maybe at your church, that you can connect with who would love to work with you for free even. I have two business mentors: one’s my uncle, and one’s a family friend. Both of these guys are in their late 80s or early 90s. They’ve got a ton of experience. It helps them keep active, feel like they’re still contributing.


There are different communities out there for music school owners to be a part of, to network with other business owners. And they don’t necessarily have to be music school owners. I once joined a networking group when I owned my music school, and I was the only school owner. There were all different types of business owners, and it was fascinating. 


I paid monthly dues and participated for a few months. I learned a lot by hearing about the challenges that owners faced in different industries, and the different owners gave me great feedback when I shared with them the challenges I had in my music school.


The BAM Squad

Today on the show, I’m going to speak with two different music school owners who are part of Jonny Wilson’s program, Build a Music School. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. Most people call it the BAM Squad, BAM standing for Build a Music School. It’s a really great program. I actually went through the program myself, and it’s very thorough and in-depth.


It’s presented as an online training with tons of resources and even offers free curriculum that you can implement into your music school. But the different people in the BAM Squad are part of small mastermind groups, which people have shared with me that they love. They appreciate the resources and online training regarding business management, growth, and marketing, but it’s really the mastermind groups that they say they value the most. I’m also in the BAM Squad Facebook group, where great conversations are happening.


And hey, speaking of Facebook groups, if you’re not in the Music Lessons and Marketing Facebook group, we’d love to have you join us. Just look up Music Lessons and Marketing on Facebook. There are lots of great marketing tips and conversations about how to scale and better run a music school.


Scaling Music School Business with BAM

So today we’re going to hear from two different people in the BAM Squad. We’re going to hear from Kelly Kennedy. She’s the owner of Kennedy School of Music based in New Zealand. And as I look out my window right now, watching the snow come down, being in New Zealand seems like a pretty great place to be.


And we’re also going to hear from Nick Tucker, the owner of Spark School of Music and Dance, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Both Kelly and Nick have really had amazing results in the BAM Squad. I was particularly intrigued to speak with Kelly Kennedy, who went from 140 students to 700 students after being a member of the BAM Squad for just three years.


What’s so interesting is that she had owned her music school for around 11 years, building it up to 140 students. Then, within just three years of being a member of the BAM Squad, she more than tripled the size of her business.


See How The BAM Program Works

And, of course, the number one question I had was why and how? How did you do this? What did you do differently? And she’s certainly going to share all that with you. I do want to point out that I am an affiliate of Jonny Wilson’s program, Build a Music School. He offers a seven-day free trial, which is great.


You can really see the whole program in its entirety by taking advantage of this seven-day free trial. Now you’re not gonna be in a mastermind group, of course. You’re not gonna be in the Facebook group, but you really can see how the program works.


What I encourage you to do is to get a notebook and devote maybe 15 to 30 minutes a day for seven days to learn what you can. Perhaps focus on the areas in his program that you feel would benefit you or are real pain points or struggles that you currently have. Then, after seven days, decide whether it makes sense to join the program or not. And don’t think of this program as an expense; think of it as an investment.


Even if you don’t choose this program and you want to seek out maybe a private business coach or some other program, devoting time and money to building your knowledge of business, leadership, and marketing is invaluable. It can never be taken away from you.


Spend Less Money on Ads

Many music school owners start their businesses with a real sense of music and education, and a genuine confidence in teaching. But many of us have little to no knowledge when it comes to business and leadership, and I certainly consider myself to be somebody like that. The more I learned about business, marketing, leadership, and management, the more my music school grew.


The secret wasn’t spending more money on ads. The secret to my success was investing more in myself and my knowledge.


So if you want to check out this free seven-day trial of Build a Music School, you can go to, as in B-A-M. Before I queue up my conversation with Kelly Kennedy and Nick Tucker, here’s a quick word from today’s sponsor, Piano Jam.

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