"I started Maggie's Music Academy in 2017 to supplement my family's income after stepping down from a decent salaried music teaching job in a neighboring county.
Our rural mountain county has a very poor history of supporting music & arts education which has left our community dry and devoid of arts enrichment.
Having two children under the age of 4, I decided to help change that and see what I could do to help build the music community and advocate for music in our schools."
Maggie said although she had policies and things in place to help her grow, the loss of students also resulted in her losing confidence in herself. She began bending her rules to attempt to please people and keep more students from leaving.
"That first year and a half was super tough...
I almost quit numerous times because I wasn't attracting quality students yet. At the end of the first year, I revised my policies and emphasized a year-long commitment to my private lesson policy and a semester commitment for Musikgarten. This made a huge difference and we immediately started to retain."
Maggie said she had to learn confidence and how to market myself.
"I created scripts in my mind to explain my policies in friendly, accessible terms when I spoke with people. I had to find "my people" that would support me and be loyal to me and recommend me to others.
I also had significant adrenal issues that had developed from working 60-80 hours/week with a newborn and a child under 3 that I had to overcome. I had to get over the fear of losing students (my self worth was so shot that losing even one was terrifying.) And honestly, I had to develop consistency (which simply takes time)."
Four years in, Maggie says she has found her "people," has grown exponentially, AND significantly improved her retention rates... she's had a 100% retention rate this year despite COVID!!!
"They are in my studio, loving it and thriving! I am so grateful that *all* my families that started with me last year ended with me last year, even through Covid. I am honored that even with a price increase, they are still recommending us continuously to their friends and on social media. I just completed a cost analysis for moving to a commercial space and hiring teacher(s). In doing so, we have come to realize that part of what makes us special is our small, authentic community feel where families get to know each other, kids play and perform for each other, and we can have group classes outside on a hillside (Sound of Music anyone?!) by using local community facilities folks are already familiar with.
But we still have goals.
My greatest desire has been to buy a house in the town we claim and work in. My husband and I have thought that this was impossible if I didn't have "a real job." And although I do not know if I will ever teach public school again (I have a killer resume, so that's kind of sad), but *this week* we will put an offer on a very nice house with extra space for an in-home studio in the community we desire! We can finally afford it!
Since our private lessons are full, my goal for this year is to increase enrollment in my group classes and raise private rates to average for my area. (I undercut the market when I first opened and it worked! But now it's time to make it right.) It would be nice to be able to expand and offer more later, but we want to be healthy first and foremost."
I asked Maggie if she could go back in time and give herself ONE piece of advice, what she'd say...
"Give it time, be consistent, and figure out what you do best.
You've absolutely got what it takes, and your people will find you!"
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
The most valuable part of my business is the relationships.
If my student doesn't learn as much as the next kid but they have a passion for playing/singing and love doing it with us, then I've done my job.
- Send Christmas cards.
- Remember birthdays.
- Send them pictures of their first lesson, and schedule duet videos to be sent to parents on holidays.
Appropriately challenge them and hold them accountable. Focus on proper practice (and equip them to do so). Celebrate & brag on their successes. Create community and give them wonderful reasons to share your name (like when they brag on what their own kids can do!) Help them develop other valuable relationships within your walls. Create accountability. Love on them even when they didn't practice.
Be authentic and prepared.
You've got this!"
Thank you SO MUCH, Maggie, for sharing your story with us. It's inspiring to see your journey and we can't wait to hear more over time about both your success and the lasting impact you are having on your community!
👉 Hey Readers,
We see your passion, and know you want to dive deeper and be a positive influence on your students.
But if you are lacking money, time, and/or resources, aren’t you limiting your ability to impact the lives of your students?
It seems like it would be hard to focus on helping others if your basic needs aren’t being met.
Bottom line: Shane and I believe music and art is more important and valuable than people realize. We want to help YOU because kids of all ages need YOU. Especially right now...
We are looking for 10 studio owners who want help growing and streamlining their studios over the course of 90 days.
We’d be working with you personally to help you fill your studio with more students (if that’s what you need), but also help you fulfill YOUR goals for your studio and prevent burnout.
Click the link below to apply and schedule a free Zoom chat to see if we're a good fit:
***Applications must be submitted by December 5th.***
Your worth as a Music Teacher
“Purpose is an essential element of you...
It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.
Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill.
Whatever you choose for a career path, remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
- Chadwick Boseman
Even though you know you have a purpose, it doesn't always feel like you do.
That's why I LOVE the quote above from Chadwick Boseman.
Your purpose as a music teacher is to positively influence and impact the lives of your students.
But the things that make you DOUBT your purpose are actually the things that make you BETTER at what you do! It fuels the flame...
As you grow, you're going to realize you need to tighten your make up policy, increase tuition rates, etc ... and some parents will try to disrespect you.
Ultimately, the more you stand for yourself, the more you respect yourself, and the more you believe in yourself, you'll receive doubts and pushback DIRECTLY from those whom you put your career's purpose in.
It's going to happen, but it is opposite of what you think...
The pushback and the struggles you will face will SHAPE YOU FOR YOUR PURPOSE.
- You have to refine the boring business side of owning a music business in order to have a BIGGER impact.
- In order to impact MORE STUDENTS, you have to limit your make ups so you have time for MORE Students.
- In order to focus on giving students the BEST lessons possible, you don't have time to worry about how to pay the bills. You HAVE TO charge a reasonable rate for lessons in order to be able to FOCUS and give your students the BEST QUALITY lessons possible.
See the trend?
Believe in yourself. Respect yourself. Your students NEED you.
What's in the way of fulfilling YOUR purpose with your undivided attention?