Throwback Thursday: High School Senior Pic – So classy with that red rose!
I can’t believe that it was only about 6 weeks ago that I wrote my fun-sized dissertation about stay-at-home-wifery. All still true, by the way! Something I never told you guys? I kid you not, THE VERY NEXT DAY after writing that little gem, I got a call for an interview at a public school in Denver. I was elated and laughed to myself to sleep that night. The irony of it all! Well, the joke was on me because the next day they canceled my interview. After I had the outfit picked out and everything! I had been so sure that my pink polka dots, pencil skirt, and pointy pumps would win them over!
Maybe I should have cried, but the truth is that I sighed with relief. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was I nervous about the interview. I was just happy that I had actually gotten a call from a public school. I wasn’t sure my name was even on the list! I love the internet. Except when it comes to job hunting. I just hated having no clue about whether I was evening being considered or why I was being passed over.
I totally wanted to throw a pity party, complete with cupcakes and stripey straws. I missed my old job, all of my students, my family, my friends, and now Kevin was gone for 10+ hours a day at his new job. Waaah. I turned to puppy therapy and extra WODs to keep me sane. But I also got to work. I had a million ideas (as usual), but teaching piano was at the top of my list. Here are some of the things that worked for me to kickstart my business:
- I took the internet by storm! Although we had been in Denver for almost a year, we had recently moved to the completely opposite side of the city and even changed churches. The internet was my only choice for finding potential students.
- The very first thing I did was build a website. People need to be able to Google you!!! Because I am a lazy cheater, I used Wix. I didn’t want it to look like just another WordPress blog. I was a bit hesitant to put any money into this venture, but if I wasn’t going to bet on me, who would!? By the way, I highly recommend Wix. It’s super easy to use and makes you look like a genius. I’m kind of sad that my secret is out. The things I do for you guys. Of course, I also paid for the custom domain. Because have blahblahblah.wix.com is just not attractive.
- I took advantage of some free sites. Facebook and Thumbtack. I had never even heard of thumbtack before, but signing up for the free account has earned me two students. So that’s totally worth it in my book. You can also pay to receive “leads.” I find that annoying so I don’t do that. If someone contacts you directly, that’s free! Also, of course, Craigslist. I read in some piano teacher forums (haha) that good parents don’t find piano teachers on Craigslist. Wrong. At least 50% of my students are Craigslist kids, and they rule!
- I mentioned to our realtor that I was considering starting a piano studio business and she suggested that I contact the infamous Highlands Mommies. I’m not allowed to be in the club because I don’t have any human children, but they were more than happy to post a little ad for me. I have gotten 4+ students from their forum.
- I created a DIY Groupon (sort of) and offered 4 piano lessons for $50 to new students. This was a HUGE hit. Of course, because it’s a steal, and secondly because it seems like less of a commitment. This has had its pros and cons. However, some of these issues are solved by the fact that my students are required to pay upfront and I have some other strict policies in place. Opportunity cost, my friends!
- I did some other random free things like create Spotify playlists, create a Pinterest account, a Vimeo account, Google Places, and probably more that I’m not thinking of right now. No Twitter though. You’ve read my blog — I’m not pithy.
- P.S. I think it’s working! I got a call last week from a mom in Canada who had found me on Google! We talked for almost fifteen minutes and even set up an initial meeting time. Oops!!!
- Be confident!! I have confidence alone! I have confidence in ME! I know it might sound stuck-up… But I’m a good teacher, and I know it. I’m well-educated, experienced, and passionate about both children and piano. I am totally sold on what I’m selling! I probably told Kevin 100 times while I was applying for jobs - I would hire me! Additionally, I am very convinced that piano lessons is extremely beneficial and enjoyable. But do you have any idea how much I hate talking on the phone to strangers? I would seriously be nervous if I had to call for an appointment to get my eyes checked. And now my phone number is plastered all over the internet. I’m not a fan. But here’s my secret. Whenever I talk to parents/potential students, I act like they’ve already decided 100% to take lessons with me. I can get away with this because I have a sickeningly sweet kindergarten teacher voice and nobody feels like I’m pushing them around. All I do is offer one or two times that I’m available for the first lesson and get them to set it up. It doesn’t matter if I have 100 different times available. I only offer two in a sort of nonchalant attempt to appear successful (haha). Although it’s now the truth, and I’ve had at least 90% success with this strategy. I’ve only ever met 2 students who have decided not to take lessons with me, and that’s because they decided to stay with the teach they already had and loved for 4 years.
Remember when I use to creep up to spy on Kevin’s office window?
- Budget! After watching the debate tonight, I think I know how to balance a budget better than either candidate. Kidding. All the taxes talk went in one ear and the other. Okay. So let’s be real. If you’re a regular reader, you probably realize that my cute and funny husband, Kevin James, is the real breadwinner here. As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve made the decision to make lifestyle choices that can be supported by one income. Would I approach this differently if I was single? Uhhh… yeah. I’d definitely be moonlighting. Like the people on Scrubs. While I’m fortunate in that area, I’m also married to a
ChandlerSenior Financial Analyst who is known at the office as the Excel wizard. Sigh. So I downloaded LibreOffice and graciously allowed Kevin create me a spreadsheet. I track expenses, revenue, lesson dates, and reimbursements. I buy my students’ piano books from Amazon, and they reimburse me so that has to be tracked as well. I’m also planning a budget of how the piano studio income will be spent now that I’m clearly in the black (hooray!). Probably at least 50% will go back to the studio since we are planning to do a little remodeling in the front bedroom for it. And 5% will go to the closest Starbucks.
- Keep dreaming, making goals, and lists! I’m really a joy to live with because I always have a new idea that I’m bouncing off of Kevin. Or Boyd. Or Pippa. Whoever is listening. Sometimes I realize they are stupid. Sometimes it’s something I don’t know how to do without my mom’s help (she seriously knows how to do anything). At least 50% of the ideas are impractical, but that’s the beauty of it. That’s where you start.
Some related reads:
- Create + Connect Project
- Finance Tips for the Self-Employed
- 10 Tips for Successfully Working from Home
- Biz Ladies (my fave)
- Color in My Piano - Piano teaching blog.
Thank you for all of your recent comments lately cheering on my new baby business! They are much appreciated!! Also Boyd ate a Q-Tip today. xoxo