I am a teacher who does not usually struggle with fixing a vocal problem or finessing a vocal line, but does struggle with keeping herself organized! I have three assistants at this time who help me overcome this deficiency. One manages my scheduling, a second manages my billing, and the third manages and arranges my student’s and vocal group’s performances. The latter two work just a few hours a month. The former oversees any lesson changes I need to make to accommodate my directing and performing or changes that may be requested by my students and their families, and she usually works 10 hours or so a month.
Over the years I have had assistants help me with different parts of my business and I have now learned where I am weakest and where it makes sense to “ask for help”.
I am a great teacher. I am not terrific with managing my billing- and I hate it! Music Teacher’s Helper has certainly aided me in this category, but I still dislike managing this side of my business. I have found a wonderful person to assist me with this portion of my business – and it has changed my life! Now she manages the billing, she sends a late billing after the 10th of the month to those who have overlooked their bill, and she is so worth the money I pay her! I also forward any emailed billing questions people have to her and she responds to those for me. I can manage that in the 5 minutes I have between students and my parents receive a much quicker response than when they had to wait for me to be done teaching. Plus I can teach more! Teaching is such a time intensive industry – the more time I can spend with my singers and the less time I can spend on my bookkeeping, the stronger my business has and does become. Plus – she is better at it than I am!
I have had a scheduler since my studio grew to more than 10 students because this area is a struggle for me. I now have a wonderful young woman whose sole job is to organize my student’s lessons. MTH is amazing for this task, but as I have 55 students through my studio every week, and happily, most of them are in and out of shows, competitions, rehearsals, and auditions and this becomes the managing of hundreds of lessons, make-up lessons and other potential changes each month. I also now offer performance groups for some of my students who rehearse every other week in lieu of private lessons that week, adding immensely to the complexity of scheduling. Having a go-to person for all things schedule related is fantastic! Again, she can manage this while I am teaching, and she can also respond to immediate changes needed, cancel for me if I am ill, or respond to a family quickly if an emergency arises. Again, this has strengthened my business.
My newest addition to my studio has been having a person to arrange outside performances. This person manages the details of arranging the performance locales, ASCAP issues, and the communications with my singers and their families. I have wanted to arrange trips to see different productions with my students for several years, and we are now offering that in my studio for the first time, because this wonderful new member of my team is managing this for me. This has allowed me to offer so much more to my students. In the past, I would have an idea that I couldn’t bring to fruition because I lacked the time to manage it. Now I have an individual whose job it is to manage this aspect of the studio for me. And it is wonderful!
The most difficult part of adding something new to your studio is the first step. I have found that having someone there chomping at the bit asking me for information on how I want to proceed causes me to move forward when life or busy or too much might stop me from doing so.
As your studio grows, I encourage you to reach out for “help” to increase your studio’s offerings and presence. In this economy you will be making a difference in more people’s lives, be able to find amazingly qualified people who will bring new ideas to your table and perhaps solve problems for you that you struggled with in the past (mine have!), and enable yourself to invest in your skills, your performance time, your own personal family and life, or to take more students off of your waiting list!
I have been thinking about adding an informative newsletter to my studio offerings for several years. I now have a person lined up to start a quarterly newsletter for my studio, ready to go, just waiting for me to take that next step….