Today’s topic is one that I believe will resonate with just about every instrumental teacher around the world: how to build a sustainable, comfortable income when working for yourself.
Remember, this is part two of my two-part blog series about my new music teaching resource: Music Teacher Startup.
If you missed part one of this series last week, I’d go back and read that first.
If you’ve read it, let’s dig in.
Read to the end to find out how to sign up for my new online seminar which is on this week!
One of the toughest things about instrumental teaching when you’re only just scraping by financially is that you try and save every student and every relationship no matter how bad it’s getting.
This can lead to resentment from both parties, teachers dreading forthcoming lessons and a toxic relationship between teacher and student.
What if there was a way that you could stop feeling like a glorified babysitter and happily say farewell to those students who are a bad fit for your studio, who don’t seem to care about lessons and who make no progress week after week?
What if you had the freedom to say yes and no to any students you wanted, without having to worry about your bank balance?
Well, it all comes down to having more income – to earning more money as a music teacher.
If you’re earning more money, it means you have the power to choose your students. You have more flexibility in your scheduling and you can choose the hours you work.
Up until this point, I’ve always taught music teachers that there are four things you can do if you want to increase your income or the time you have available for yourself:
Option 1: Increase your hourly rate. This means that you can teach fewer students in the same amount of time. But I know that for many of you, raising rates isn’t a possibility.
Option 2: Teach more students at the same time. So that means adding buddy, pairs or group teaching formats to your studio. But what if you don’t like teaching groups, or don’t have the space, or really just LOVE 1-on-1 teaching? What options are left? Well in that case, I’ve been giving you option 3…
Option 3: Hire another teacher to take on some of your students. This frees up more time for you and brings in income that isn’t dependent on your own teaching. But again, for many of you, the process of finding, interviewing, hiring, paying, insuring, training and supporting another teacher just isn’t for you either.
Option 4: Make money through value-add activities in your studio. For example, running summer camps or composing workshops, clubs, activities or special studio events.
But what if you can’t charge more, you don’t want to teach groups or summer camps and you don’t want to become a boss, but you’d love some extra income and flexibility in your teaching hours?
Well, there’s actually an Option 5 that’s going to change everything for you.
It’s an option that doesn’t involve teaching more hours or more students, doesn’t rely on teaching after school and weekends and doesn’t trade time for money.
It’s an option that you can work on during the daytime when you’re not able to teach and it’s an income that you can build even if you have to move location.
And importantly, it’s an option that potentially allows you to have a much greater impact on the world.
The more I’ve talked to teachers about this option, the more they’ve wanted my help implementing it.
So what’s this secret option all about?
Back in 2014 I was working full-time as a piano teacher in a high school PLUS teaching after school and on weekends and struggling to make ends meet.
On the side, I’ve been blogging and releasing videos for piano teachers since 2010 and I knew many of them were desperate for help teaching pop music.
So at the end of 2014, I developed and released my first online course for piano teachers called PianoFlix: How to Teach Pop Piano.
This was an 8-module online course designed to take classically-trained teachers step-by-step through the progress of teaching students songs that they wanted to learn and by the time I closed the doors on the course, I’d made $40,000.
The skills I learnt building and promoting that course, and the success it had, enabled me to then create and launch my Inner Circle piano teachers’ membership site.
The Inner Circle now has more than 1,000 members in more than 20 countries, allowing me to influence, support and guide teachers all around the world.
So in the last few years, it’s understandable that I’ve had more and more teachers come to me and ask:
“How did you sell your course? How did you build your membership?” and “I’ve got this cool idea – how should I launch it?”…
So it got me thinking: How can I share the skills I’ve learnt building my business in order to support teachers like you, to do the same thing?
And that’s what the new Music Teacher Startup course is all about: helping you create new income streams for your studio through offering online products and services.
Music Teacher Startup will take you step-by-step through the entire process of designing, creating, marketing and launching an online product or service from start to finish – even if you’ve never done this before.
Whether you’ve already created an online product or service and been struggling to get the marketing right or whether this is a completely new opportunity for you and you have no idea where to start, Music Teacher Startup has you covered.
This course takes you step-by-step through the process of developing, creating, marketing and selling an online product or service and is divided into 10 modules featuring a 20-30 minute video of me personally teaching each strategy PLUS access to links, examples, case studies, slides and further reading in the downloadable notebook.
Basically, wherever you’re at, I’ll help you get started without making all the mistakes I made along the way in building my business!
Now, I understand you may have some apprehensions:
You may be nervous and feeling like this is so far removed from your skills and experience that it couldn’t possibly be possible.
You may already have an idea for a product or service, or have even created something in the past, but never made many sales and have been looking for help with the marketing
Or perhaps you’ve just got a voice in the back of your head that says this whole online business/entrepreneurship thing sounds pretty cool and how do I get started?
Earning more money and teaching less hours is possible.
But if you are a bit nervous about taking that next step, I’d like to invite you to join me on a webinar when I’ll be unpacking exactly how this could look in your own business, how the process works, the mindset required and giving you answers to all your questions.
My one-hour free online seminar is in a few days and is titled: How Savvy Music Teachers Make More Money without Teaching More Students!
I anticipate this will be a popular webinar and, as we have a limit of 500 teachers in the room, so I recommend you grab your seat now.
A replay will be made available if you can’t join us live, but if you’re serious about the possibility of creating an online business for your own studio, I strongly suggest you make this a priority.Sign up now
I can’t wait to help you build the online business of your dreams.
See you on the webinar!
Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.