Studio Booking Software Articles

heaven on earthI own and operate a small piano studio out of my home, and the summertime is always a bit of a financial struggle for me.

When I took piano lessons growing up, we always continued our lessons during the summer.  They were a bit more sporadic, since my teacher usually took a vacation and my family usually took a vacation, but it certainly wasn’t as though we took the summer off.

When I began teaching piano in Milwaukee, I was surprised to discover that teachers in the area gave summers completely off from piano lessons.  Most of my students expected that I would be doing this same thing.  My first year of teaching, though it went against my instincts and desires, I decided to appease the masses and gave my students the summer off.

I will never do it again. 

Here are the latest updates we've made to Studio Helper. We've fixed the pdf invoice to make it appear exactly as the web version. When editing invoice payments, it was creating a credit even though the invoice has already been fully paid. This is fixed now. On the 'Teacher Roster' report, old deleted packages were still showing up. We've fixed this. Teachers were not able to access some of...

Read More

Befriend Your Local Music Store, Grow Your Studio

Back when I was in graduate school, I saw that my local music store was hiring voice teachers.  A job that allowed me to set my own hours and teach what I knew best?  Perfect.  I applied for the job and was hired soon after.

It turns out that I was the only voice teacher they hired, which translated into LOTS of students.  I enjoyed teaching them, but I soon realized that the music store setting was not for me.  I couldn’t bear to part with those high studio fees every month, and I didn’t like the fact that my studio was a shared space with other teachers.  So I kindly thanked the store manager for giving me the opportunity to teach there, said goodbye to the other employees, and closed up shop.

But that wasn’t the end of my relationship with the music store. 

FourHourWorkWeekI have just finished reading both Tim Ferris’ book, ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ & Michael E Gerber’s, ‘The E Myth Revisited.’ They are both wonderful reads for generating new and interesting angles on how to manage your studio or school. Today I wanted to discuss some of the tools I have implemented, based in part on Ferris’ suggestions, on getting tasks done for my music school, the Brooklyn Music Factory.I use an iMac desktop, an iPad, and an iPhone regularly everyday so I need all applications to be Mac friendly and I really want them to support all three devices (though they don’t always do it equally well.)

Tool #1:
Studio Helper
I use this daily to track all clients and outstanding balances due. I encourage all clients to use the Paypal ‘make a payment’ link and so all payments flow easily into Paypal and then into Studio Helper. Essential!

Tool #2:
Paypal App
I have the Paypal App on both my iPhone and my iPad. I regularly use it to quickly withdraw funds from my Paypal account and deposit them into my Citi business account. It takes less than a minute and can happen from anywhere I happen to be in the world.

Tool #3:
Evernote
An absolutely essential tool for me that I use to basically capture any and every idea I have about how I can grow my business. For example, recently I was on the hunt for a new commercial space to hour our school. I walked the neighborhood and snapped photos on my iPhone (in Evernote) of anything I saw I liked. I then added any text notes concerning details about each property (though the contact info was already usually in the photo). I finally made a single ‘notebook’ within Evernote that included all the photos of properties and my text. After synching with my iMac at home, I could organize and decide which properties seemed worth following up on.

Although your studio may be based on furthering artistic pursuits, a studio is a business, and a good part of its success depends on being realistic about this.  I taught and helped manage one music school where the board of directors hired an orchestra conductor with fundraising expertise as the school’s director.  Unfortunately, she’d had no business experience and not only didn’t understand how to make the business work, but didn’t even know how to ask the right questions.working-together

Understanding the business part of your work is essential, but it’s crucial to recognize that size matters.  Getting an MBA or reading big business advice books may not give you what you need to handle a small business.

That’s because most studios are small businesses.  It is possible, of course, that you are part of a chain of studios.  In that case, you may function as a middle manager, and must hew to the budgets and regulations of a larger corporation.

However, since most studios are small businesses, it’s important to realize thatskyscraper a lot of the popular business advice out there may not apply very well to you.  Clarifying which business practices suit you and your day-to-day work can have a big impact on how you handle your work, how you can best work with staff, students, and community, and how to handle competition.

I’d like to tell you a couple of brief stories about how I learned that some business “wisdom” was not geared towards my business, and what I did about it.