As part of Health and Wellness week, we interviewed Marisa De Silva about the Alexander Technique and how it can support your students' vocals and overall wellness.…
I have been running my teaching studio for a good many years now, and I am very lucky to have been quite successful at it. I know nothing about marketing. I’m not good at bookkeeping. My financial skills are quite basic. I’ve never take a course in business in my entire life. Yet for some reason I’ve managed to have a successful business for the past 16 years. I’m not sure I understand it all myself, but what I do know is there are several principles I have always followed, which I believe have been the “secret to success” for me.
First and foremost, I LOVE what I do. I absolutely cherish my job. I have never once dreaded going to work since I opened my studio. My love for teaching singing is my PRIMARY motivation for doing what I do, not money. I am firmly convinced financial success is the natural by-product of doing what we love to do. Anyone who opens a vocal studio with the primary motivation of making a lot of money will more than likely be unpleasantly surprised. But those who truly LOVE teaching singing will find they will always have what it takes to keep going until they reach the success they desire.
Second, I am always educating myself. I subscribe to all the periodicals and pour over them regularly. I have a massive collection of textbooks on the singing voice, vocal pedagogy and vocal methods. I read about singing constantly. I try to attend classes and workshops whenever they are available to me, and I watch master classes online when they are available as well. We are all extremely fortunate in IVA that our education is truly a cut above all the rest, and we don’t have to search much farther than our own back yards to find continuing education that is exemplary. It’s never been enough for me to do the minimum education necessary. I always do the MAXIMUM.
Third, I strive to be highly involved in vocal technique in my local community. I have established open dialogues with the best laryngologists in my area, as well as the best style coaches and vocal professors in the universities. Remember, referrals run two ways. The more you establish relationships with other vocal professionals in your area and refer students to them, the more likely those same professionals will reciprocate.
Fourth, I make sure I don’t establish any sense of competition with other vocal studios in my area. I have only kind things to say about other voice teachers, and am truly supportive of their success. If someone is doing something I disagree with, I can tell a student we don’t agree on a topic, but there is definitely room for all types of teaching. When I get a student from another voice studio, I make it a point that, even though I do things differently from their previous teacher, I support what their objectives were.
Fifth, I find experts to do the things I don’t understand. This means things like website design, SEO, marketing, accounting, taxes, bookkeeping, studio decor, etc. I know I’m good at teaching, but that doesn’t mean I’m any good at all the other things that go along with running a successful studio. As soon as any money started coming in I immediately began to reinvest it by finding the best experts I could afford to do the things I wasn’t any good at doing. I continue to do the same to this very day. I always do my best to keep an open mind and LISTEN to what the experts tell me, rather than thinking I have any idea of what I’m talking about on topics I have no training in.
Sixth, whenever I have had a setback in my business, I have always refused to give up; I dug my heels in and stuck with it. If there was a lull in business which caused down time, I would take that time for doing constructive things like self-education, or for completing the tasks my marketing experts had given me to do. During dips in business, I would give away some voice lessons in order to keep my teaching “out there” and continue building my reputation. No matter what, I have never taken “No” for an answer when it comes to the success of my studio.
In summary, I think a few of the reasons I have done as well as I have over the years, is:
- I love what I do;
- I strive to be my very best at what I do, and constantly continue my education;
- I am active in my local community;
- I support other studios;
- I consult experts in all that I don’t understand;
- I never give up.
I know YOU can have an enormously successful teaching studio. You have all the tools to support your success. It’s all up to YOU!
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