When I first started my small studio, I had big ideas of growing my business quickly. I wanted to be known as a business owner, not the typical image of piano teacher. “Oh, what a lovely hobby!” Then, I actually started running my business. I had budgeted a certain amount of time towards my business. The first year, I blew past that time budget so fast my head was spinning.
While I’m certainly not perfect at the life-work balance, it has improved each year & I am finally at the point where I can be happy with my choices. I want ALL teachers to feel confident & happy with the choices they are making in their businesses. We all have different goals, priorities, & responsibilities … many that have nothing to do with teaching, but have a huge bearing on how we are able to do our jobs.
One of the most important decisions I made was to have a SMALL studio as a travelling teacher. I had worried about having people on my wait list for too long. Should I grow my studio size? After analyzing the pros & cons, plus the time commitment involved, I opted not to hire another teacher. Instead, I have opted to have a boutique studio.
A boutique what?
A boutique is “a business that serves a sophisticated or specialized clientele” (according to Google, which I have been informed knows everything).
Okay, bear with me while I go on a slight tangent. I love following blogs. It boggles my mind that we are able to collect on the wisdom of great individuals in our chosen profession … from all over the world! But, a lot of what I have read over the years has either focused on growing a small studio or ideas that are well suited for non-travelling studios (or both). Neither of which applied to my situation.
Then, I had a brilliant insight.
A small studio does not have to be limited. I can be unique from any other travelling studio. I can be the boutique studio that people wait & wait to get into because they hear that it is completely worth the wait.
And, when I realized that … well, I took the ideas for growing my studio & modified them to ensure my clients advertise for me so I always have a wait list. I took the ideas for non-travelling studios & tried to figure out ways that they could work in my studio. Sometimes, an idea has needed a year (or even more) to marinate before I have come up with a way for it to work or the time to be ready for it to implement.
And, the best part? I continued to learn from all those amazing individuals who have shared what works in their studios! Oftentimes, those ideas that have taken the longest to come to fruition have needed me reading the articles of many different individuals. It has taken an idea from here, another from over there, & modifying several others into a cohesive whole that works for me & my clients.
Your ideal boutique studio
Your vision for your studio may change over time & that’s okay. My starting vision of having a studio that consistently improves & has new offerings for clients hasn’t changed. But, the evolution of that vision is drastically different from what I had originally planned.
I still have my days (& weeks) where I feel like I should be doing more. And, with the upcoming winter, I’ll admit I will be rather jealous of all the teachers warm in their studios. But, when I look at the overall vision I know that I am making the right choices for me.
Regardless of how many students you have or where your studio is located, embrace your uniqueness. We have sophisticated clientele (after all they chose us, right?) & we offer a specialized service.
Let’s fight against the stereotype of the ho-hum piano teacher by telling others what makes our studios unique so they see how truly amazing we are at what we do.
I would love to hear from you! What vision do you have for your boutique studio? And, how does that fit with the overall vision you have for your personal life?