Success is entirely subjective. But, if you’re not careful, you can fall into default definitions of success as a music teacher rather than defining what success means to YOU.
If you chase those default definitions of what it means to be successful you might just wake up one day with the high income, the big house or the massive music school and realise…this isn’t good for you. This isn’t what you wanted, after all.
That’s why I want to challenge you to write down your own meaning of success today.
Create Your Post-it Note
Take out a post-it note and write your answers to each of these questions as you read this article.
How much money do you need?
Well, a million a year would be nice…
But would it?
Think about what making 1 million euro (or dollars or pounds) would really mean. It will probably answer some of the questions below before you’ve had a chance to even ask them because you’re unlikely to make that much teaching 10 students out of your front living room.
So, instead of just naming a nice fat juicy number, I want you to come up with a figure that would let you do everything you want to do. (And, unless you really want to own helicopters and horses, it’s probably not 1,000,00, is it?)
How many students do you want?
Too often, I see teachers cramming as many students as possible into their schedule. They assume that maxing out their time must be the goal, without pausing to think about whether it’s the right goal for them.
Most teachers could do with raising their rates. And if you’re teaching 40 students and you raise your rates by 5%, then suddenly you only need 38 students to make the same amount…while teaching less.
So, what’s your ideal student number? It might be less than you thought.
Do you want a team of teachers?
This is where we enter really potential harmful territory if we don’t understand our own definition of success as a music teacher.
Once you hit a certain level with enrollment and start to get a waiting list, the logical next step is to hire other teachers, right? Otherwise, we’re just leaving money sitting on the table!
Well, yes. But maybe you want to leave that money on the table. Maybe it’s not the right money for you.
Here’s the thing about hiring other teachers: it’s a different job. If you want that job, the position of studio owner/manager, then great! But if your favourite job is “teacher” and you loathe the idea of more admin, hiring and managing people – then this isn’t the position for you.
In short, if you would never consider applying for this job if it were advertised to you, then don’t create it for yourself.
Let me be crystal clear. I’ve got nothing against big music schools or teachers with this ambition. But there is this idea floating in the ether that this is what it means to be successful as a music teacher, and I want to tell you that it’s also perfectly fine to just want to stay a one teacher studio.
So, write the number of teachers on your ideal team on that post-it note. Even if it’s 1. 🙂
Do you want a commercial space?
There’s another vision of a successful or “serious” music studio hanging in the air, and that’s the image of a commercial space.
But maybe you like teaching from your living room. Maybe, you’re like me and love not having to commute anywhere, ever.
There are advantages and disadvantages to commercial and home studio locations, and whichever side you come down on is right for you. So, write it down!
Where will you stick your post-it?
I’d love to see some pictures of your completed post-its in the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers group on Facebook, or hear about your definitions of success in the comments below.