- Set Clear Goals: Begin by defining your musical objectives and the milestones you aim to achieve. Whether it's mastering a challenging technique, learning new repertoire or a new instrument, or honing your improvisational skills, clarity in your goals will guide your efforts and help you stay focused amidst the busy-ness.
- Establish Boundaries: While teaching and family commitments come first, it's essential to delineate boundaries to safeguard time for personal musical pursuits so that we don't become musically stagnant. Communicate your needs to your students and loved ones, setting realistic expectations and carving out dedicated time for practice or time with an ensemble.
- Create a Flexible Schedule: Acknowledge that different seasons may afford varying amounts of time for personal musical endeavors. Design a flexible schedule that adapts to the demands of teaching and family life, allocating resources accordingly. During busier periods, focus on maintaining consistency in practice habits, while in quieter seasons, seize the opportunity to delve deeper!
- Practice with Purpose: Maximize the efficiency of your practice sessions by prioritizing quality over quantity. Identify specific areas for improvement and tailor your practice routine accordingly. Embrace focused repetition, targeted exercises, and use your goals to establish priorities that make the most of your available time.
- Embrace the Power of Reflection: Use downtime between teaching engagements and family responsibilities to reflect on your musical skills. Evaluate your progress, identify areas of growth, and strategize ways to overcome challenges. Cultivate a mindset of continuous improvement, seeking opportunities for learning and development in every season.
- Seek Support and Accountability: Surround yourself with a supportive network of fellow musicians, mentors, and loved ones who understand and respect your commitments. Lean on them for encouragement, advice, and accountability as you navigate the complexities of balancing teaching, family life, and personal musical growth.
- Build an Emergency Fund: Start by establishing a buffer fund to cover essential expenses during lean months. Aim to save enough to cover three to six months' worth of living expenses, providing a safety net to fall back on when work is scarce.
- Embrace Budgeting: Take control of your finances by creating a detailed budget that accounts for both fixed and variable expenses. Prioritize essential costs while identifying areas where you can cut back or optimize spending. Base your budget off of a low month so that you are not surprised by the low months and are able to save for the low months during the higher months.
- Diversify Your Income: Explore multiple revenue streams within your freelance niche to mitigate the impact of inconsistent income. Consider offering additional services, products, or leveraging passive income streams to supplement your primary source of revenue (this is where the GOLD of HBR comes into play! Message me the word "HBR" to learn more!)
- Establish Clear Payment Terms: Set clear payment terms and policies with your clients to ensure timely and consistent compensation. Consider implementing upfront deposits, milestone payments, late fees, and/or invoicing reminders to maintain a steady cash flow.
- Plan for Taxes: As a freelancer, you're responsible for managing your own taxes. Set aside a portion of your income each month for taxes, keeping track of deductible business expenses and maximizing tax-saving opportunities. I have been asked about my system for this a lot lately. Would it be helpful for me to put something together for you that's customized for music teachers? Message me if so and let me know.
- Fair Rates: Know your worth and advocate for fair compensation for your services. Research industry and local standards, communicate the value you bring to your clients, and don't be afraid to negotiate rates that reflect your expertise and experience.
- Invest in Continuous Learning: Stay ahead of the curve by investing in professional development and expanding your skill set. Allocate time and resources for courses, workshops, or certifications that enhance your marketability and open doors to new opportunities. I have a few recommendations for this musically and entrepreneurally (yes, I just made up a word, ha!) if you need!
- Prioritize Work-Life Balance: Maintain boundaries between work and personal life to prevent run-down fatigue and maintain overall well-being. Schedule regular breaks, establish a dedicated workspace, and prioritize self-care activities to recharge and stay productive.
Photo by Wes Hicks
- Embrace Growth Mindset: Think of setbacks as plot twists in your creative story. Roll with the punches a bit—see challenges not as roadblocks but as detours leading to unexpected inspiration. Let the journey be just as important as the finished masterpiece.
- Sketch Your Goals: Self-employment can get messy, especially for creative people. Jot down clear, achievable goals. Break down your big ideas into actionable steps, infusing variety to keep things lively if that's your thing! Tailor your plan to fit your unique strengths, ensuring that your goals become a playground for your creativity rather than a mundane to-do list that you don't even feel like doing.
- Take Creative Breathers: Creativity thrives in a well-rested mind. Take breaks to recharge and let ideas percolate -- it's great to use a notebook or the notes app on your phone to keep track of these ideas! Balance work and life like a pro—your best work often emerges from a rested and rejuvenated mind. Remember, you can't force creativity; sometimes, stepping away allows it to flow back naturally.
- Bounce Back Like a Champ: Resilience is your secret weapon. Treat setbacks as mere hiccups. Bounce back, adapt, and let each challenge make you stronger. A resilient mindset is your greatest ally in the unpredictable world of self-employment. And if you feel like this is a struggle for you, Big Think transformed my mind around these ideas!
- Learn as You Go: Think of your creative journey as an ongoing workshop. Stay curious, adapt to new trends, and keep learning. The more skills you add to your toolkit, the better equipped you'll be to paint your entrepreneurial canvas. I love that HBR (my business mentor's course) is constantly being updated and added to (which I have access to for life!) so that I can keep learning and growing and adapt to new things happening in the market, social media, and world.
- Surround Yourself with Positivity: Create a vibe that fuels your creativity. Build a network of fellow creatives and mentors who understand the self-employment world (join us music teacher moms over here doing just that if you'd like!). Positivity is contagious—let it be the background music to your creative process.
- Set Realistic but Big-Reaching Expectations: Acknowledge that starting and running a business is a gradual process, and success may not happen overnight. Set realistic and achievable goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Celebrate small victories and understand that setbacks are a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey, but know that ultimately the sky is the limit! Taking Big Think was a HUGE help for me on this part of the journey, especially when I began doubting myself.
- Establish a Routine: Maintain a balanced routine that includes dedicated time for work, rest, and self-care. Establishing a consistent schedule can help create a sense of stability and predictability, reducing stress and anxiety associated with the uncertainties of entrepreneurship. Creating "must-dos" versus just a "to-do" list can really streamline this process.
- Seek Support: Don't hesitate to reach out for support from friends, family, or fellow entrepreneurs (this is why I offer Music Leadership Coaching and the Freelance Music Teacher Moms group!). Sharing your challenges and successes with others can provide valuable perspectives and emotional support. Consider joining a business community or networking group locally to connect with like-minded individuals who can offer guidance and encouragement too.
- Prioritize Self-Care: Make self-care a priority by incorporating activities that promote mental and physical well-being. This may include regular exercise, sufficient sleep, healthy eating habits, and mindfulness practices. The Jumpstart was super key for me in making this simple and attainable rather than overwhelming. Taking care of your physical health can positively impact your mental resilience and ability to navigate the demands of entrepreneurship.
- Learn to Delegate: Recognize that you can't do everything on your own. Delegate tasks that are outside your expertise or that can be handled by others, whether it's hiring employees, outsourcing certain functions, streamlining processes (I love to help people with how to do this!), or seeking support from business partners. This not only reduces your workload but also helps prevent burnout.
Every music teacher out there asks, 'How can I make extra income during the summer and/or during the school year?' We don't get paid enough, or maybe we're even bored during the summer not making any music (is this possible?!?). Or we just want to make some extra spending money to do fun things with the kids (raises hand -- I just went strawberry picking with my 8mo and it was a blast!).
But maybe you don't like teaching lessons or you don't want to deal with the schedules around vacations and hassle of that, etc...
So, here are 3 income streams (you can start today!) that are NOT teaching private lessons:
#1 Affiliate Marketing -- you can share about stuff that you like and use (teaching related or not!) with your friends and make income from it. Your friends aren't charged more for it; the companies who use affiliate marketing are spending their marketing budget on this instead of on billboards and ads because it WORKS. I learned how to do it well without feeling salesy from my business mentor, you can check out her course all about it here! And it doesn't take much time, you can work it around naptime or other busy schedules of life.
#2 Baby Music Classes! There are SO many moms out there who are looking for cheap & fun things to do with their littles, especially first time moms (haha, that was/is me!) who are looking to meet people. Find a park and teach a baby music class for moms and their littles! Need help with marketing? Happy to help, I've coached people through this process so they get more turn-out for their classes without having to go through community education and plan WAY in advance or charge a LOT because they have fees. Tip? As long as your parks don't have rules around renting space in the summer, you can just find a local park to teach your class and have a rain date if needed!
#3 Coaching/Consulting -- are you an expert in a certain topic (could be music or otherwise) that you could help people with? Maybe you have a hobby that you'd love to teach people how to do. You can walk them through that step by step with a coaching program (live or evergreen or a combo)! This is just a tiny sliver, tip-of-the-iceberg tip from the massive signature program that is HBR (Home Based Revolution), the multiple income stream course & coaching program by my own business mentor. Check it out here (& reach out for a massive discount code if you're interested!).
Considering becoming self-employed but you're a planner and want to look at how budgeting and the money side of things might look? I made a tips list that was stuff I wish I'd known before diving into the self-employed world, things I learned myself work best. Check it out here!