Productivity as a guitar tutor should be one of your priorities if you want to run a successful and sustainable guitar teaching business. In the early days, it is just exciting to get your first student and to keep them happy week after week. Soon you will pick up more students as your word of mouth marketing picks up, and you have to react to the increasing workflow.
The chances are, you are a guitarist and not a business person and this is fine as long as you pick up the key business skills along the way. You don’t need to be a business guru, but a solid grounding in business management, maximising your time and creating repeat business as well as a steady flow of new business all ensure you can continue doing what you love. As with customer flow, all customers have a life span with you and although I still have some of my very first students all these years on, they will also one day fly the nest, but this can be a good thing. Hear me out, your goal as the guitar tutor shouldn’t just be to make money doing what you love, but to get your students to the point where they can take their playing to the point of their own control. This may seem strange seeing as you won’t make money from teaching them anymore but the logic is that they will spread your name far and wide anyway if they become a great guitar player.
Teaching from Home versus Teaching At Your Student’s Home
This is a tough one because when you start out you just need to secure your first student regardless of if they will travel to you or if you need to travel to them. Some business people will argue this point all day, but from my experience I would walk up to to 45 minutes to a lesson and 45 minutes back just for my first £20 no matter if it was raining, snowing or boiling hot. It was this effort that got the ball rolling and allowed me to pick up a wealth of business skills, life skills and guitar skills, and only because I was thirsty for results. Obviously my business at this stage was not profitable, but before long I was able to save up for a a decent home studio set up so that I had a reason for my students to travel to me.
What Did I Find Out in Doing This
I began to see how one student became my project, I honed my teaching skills. I became increasingly good at preparing material. I became great at logically knowing the next steps to keep him progressing on the guitar. Perhaps most importantly though, I understood my teaching method, my angle which my students all know me for. This was invaluable and within a few months my first student would happily travel to me. In the next few weeks my word of mouth had spread and I was accumulating new students, it was exciting and the business moved forward steadily.
iPhone Timetable for Guitar Students – set reminder and never get an unexpected knock at your door
Potentially the single most useful tool my business has benefited from in 2012 has been the iPhone. Being able to set lessons in your iPhone calendar and set reminders for when to prepare the content for the lessons has been amazing for my business. To accompany this I recommend that you have a physical calendar in your bedroom with all your slots for each week detailed. This proves particularly helpful when you start to pick up new business and need to be able to list your free slots over the phone to potential new students. As you pick up more students you will find it hard to fit them into your routine and it will often appear that you just cant fit them in, take a closer look at your calendar before turning down business.
Have a Guitar Tutor Friend – share business to help each other through the highs and lows
If you are lucky enough to have a friend who also teaches guitar then be open-minded to the idea of sharing business with each other to help each other out through hard times and equally times when you can’t take on more students. If you don’t have a guitar tutor friend when you cant take on any new students then it is time to offer a student to another local tutor. You can do this as a kind gesture and potentially build a good industry connection or you can sell students. This sounds brash but it is simple business, if you supply one of your competitors with one student they may earn as much as what some of my longest standing students have given me – <£2000. Is paying £50 for that lead (new student) a good idea for that competitor tutor, I think it is!
This has been a taster of my experience and lessons learnt in running a guitar tuition business. I will be teaching you many more lessons on making money teaching guitar, running a successful guitar teaching business and keeping your students happy.
Image credit to Dave Stokes