How To: Start Your Own Business – The Thoughts

Two weeks ago, I announced that I was going to pursue a dream of mine by opening my own piano studio. Here are the thoughts I encountered as I went through my 2 weeks “officially” working on the steps to achieve this dream.

1. “Whoo! I announced my dream and I never imagined this many people would support my idea. How exciting”!

2. “Alright, where should I start? I don’t have a piano, a studio space yet, or any students. Hmm…”.

3. “Okay, this is actually proving pretty difficult. This is a ‘chicken vs. the egg’ type problem – which comes first? The studio or the students”?

4. “Actually, this is very frustrating. How am I supposed to find prospective students if I don’t have an official studio space? How can I sign a lease for a studio space without any idea of how many students I may have”??

5. “I am very disheartened”.

6. “Back to the drawing board, I suppose. Let’s work on marketing materials and just go-with-the-flow on not having a studio space at the moment. Lightbulb! Community boards! That’s a great place to post things”.

7. “Except, all of the community boards in the community will only accept ‘non-profit’ marketing materials. Okay, sure. That makes sense to me, except, WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO MARKET MYSELF ON SUCH A LIMITED BUDGET”?!?

8. “Let’s try the internet. I have a smidgen of knowledge on creating a website, Google verification, and generally how to get your information as ‘top search-ability’ on Google”.

9. “…Never in my life has something felt more fruitless and futile”.

10. “Wow, the week has flown by! I should probably plan my music therapy sessions for tomorrow…”.

Needless to say, my first 2 weeks working on this new project had a lot of ups and downs. If you had asked me at the time, I would’ve said I felt more “down” than up at any given point. It was extremely difficult to determine how to prioritize the steps necessary to start this little business. I did my best to work on learning more about my website, how to market myself in the community, and researching various companies that pair students with teachers interested in taking lessons.

By the end of the week, I was fairly disheartened and knew I needed to take a break from my thoughts and considerations over the weekend. However, by a miracle (or kismet incident) I received a random email from a community member I had not yet met. This person found my email through my website/marketing materials and informed me of a sale happening where full, upright pianos were being sold very cheaply, and potentially even being given away. What?!? How can this be?! My husband and I rushed over to the sale, found a very decent piano that would be perfect for beginning and intermediate fingers and put down a $5 deposit. Five dollars! We left after placing our deposit and thought all of the thoughts….

Was this piano worth any money? We don’t have a studio space, so where can we move this piano if we come back tomorrow? How much repair does it need and is it worth the cost? How are we going to move it? How much will it cost to move it? If we move it home temporarily, will we be willing to move it again and pay for moving again? And so on, and so on. Eventually, we never made an official decision but we both knew in our hearts (while attempting to quiet our minds) that this was our kismet piano. It was meant to be, regardless.

We came back the next morning prepared to move the piano to our home (with the help of some colleagues and friends who knew how to move a piano) and then next thing we knew, there was a working piano sitting in our living room!

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The entire process was a whirlwind and extremely fortunate. I had been searching for similar, used pianos, willing to spend a couple hundred dollars, and we found this one at an outrageously reduced cost. Not only did we save money on the piano itself, but our friends/colleagues who helped us move the piano accepted only gas fare and lunch in payment. How did all of this happen and so quickly? Was it pure luck, fate, and/or an answer to our prayers?

I believe it was a combination of these things, but I don’t want to discount a very large contributing factor, which is to say – in short – me. I played a very large role in how this came about because I spent the last two weeks working and researching, making decisions, communicating my ideas and hopes, and pursuing perspectives from other people. Although I didn’t always have a physical result of my work, I worked endlessly on this project. I don’t believe that this piano would have been handed to me if I had simply waited around for it. I received the email informing me of the sale because I spent days working on fliers, creating business cards, emailing perspective students/families, posting my fliers, and simply telling everyone I could what I was hoping to accomplish and why. Sharing my dream with others.

I am so thankful for this community person who took the time to think of me, send me an email, and help me with this physical aspect of my dream. I don’t diminish what that simple act has done for me so far, but I also am proud of the outcome my work has produced. I’ve said it before, but it is always easy to be lost in the challenges, difficulties, and frustrations of working towards something you want to achieve. That’s why it is so important to recognize a small (or, in this case, piano-sized) victory when it arrives.

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