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Tryin to get my own business off the ground and want your input on something.

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by cassanova, Jun 16, 2004.

  1. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I'm tryin to get my own business off the ground. It would be teaching people how to play bass guitar. The only way I can think of obtaining clients for this (other than putting ad's in all the usual places) is to cold call people to basically find out who plays bass or not.

    This is what I came up with and Id like to get other teachers/business grads/business peoples opinions on it. I must admit, Im kinda proud of it, but know there is always room for improvement.

    "hello, mr/mrs____________. My name is ___________. I am conducting a confidential, independent census regarding music education and the need for private instruction in Pasco county.

    I assure you that this is not a slaes call & at no time durring our conversation will I try to sell you anything, nor will I ask you for/about any of your personal financial information.

    I know you're busy so I'll be very brief and wont even take 10 minutes of your time.

    With Pasco counties steadily & rapidly increasing growth rate, more students & adults than in years past are interested in learning the art of playing a musical instrument. Unfortunatly, a number of them will never fully know this joy. This is due to under financing, under staffing, and over crowding that are all to common problems that are plagueing the public shcool system today. There are also students that have an interest in studying an instrument such as piano, guitar, or bass guitar, that just isnt taught in the schools. This isnt fair to the student and could very well prevent them from having any future asperations of learning the fine art of music. Also as you may already know, music students do better in school and score higher SAT scores than non-music students.

    What Id like to do now is simply ask you a few quick questionsto determine the need for personal, private, music instruction in your area."

    Then I ask them about 4 or 5 questions to see if they or anyone in the household plays or wants to play bass. If they wind up playin bass or would consider lessons I'm going to mail them a flyer I created, along with a business letter that I'm working on.

    Id appriciate any input on how to make this "pitch" better. Especially from those who own their own business or are in the business field.
  2. Sorry, but cold calls don't sound like a good idea when it comes to music lessons, especially for bass.
  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I would expand the amount of instruments you can teach, all the private teachers around here can teach at least a few.

    I saw one ad for guitar, vocal, piano, and trumpet lessons. Never seen one for bass, especially only bass lessons.

    That or get affliated with a music store, lessons abound at a local store. Friend of mine instructs at one, and he stays busy with lessons from 12 to 6:30. The lessons are thirty minutes a week for 50 bucks a month.
  4. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I agree, people generally do not appreciate cold calls. Chances are, if someone wants to take lessons in a household, they would be actively seeking a teacher.

    Most fledgling businesses begin by good old networking. This is good, especially considering that advertisment not only cost a lot of money, but by advertising, you are automatically opening yourself up to competetion with more well-known businesses. With networking, you already have a built-in trust with the client. I'm sure there's plently of opportunities for you to network. My accountant is very sucessful and she never advertised, but get this: Her office is literally in the middle of nowhere. I mean, it's like Dukes of Hazard where it is; it's all dirt roads.

    Good luck in your endevour. I studied theory under a guitarist for a while. He made his living by giving lessons. I really don't know how much he was pulling in, but when I was studying under him, he was living in a pretty upscale apartment, and was just getting ready to move into a house before I quit.
  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Not a good idea Cass. In fact I'd say it's a stunningly bad idea, sorry. Stick with ads and flyers. It seems like searching for a needle in haystack anyway. You may be violating some laws these days, I'm not sure so I'd advise you to check if you push on with it.
  6. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    This is a good idea. The music stores around here all hold lessons through independent people, and they seem to be fairly well busy with work.
  7. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Sorry cass, I gotta agree.....telemarketing is a bad idea. Especially when you claim to not trying to sell anything, but in reality.....you're trying to sell your service as a teacher. Honestly, you wouldn't of even got that far with most people (including me) without being hung up on, I usually do as soon as I smell any kind of telemarketing, or survey type of calls.

    There's no such thing as free, or easy advertising....with the exception of simple networking. Getting your start through a music shop is no doubt your best bet. It's going to be tough going as a profession until you get the client list full. Best of luck!
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yep, watch out for the "no call list". Last I heard it's an eleven thousand dollar fine if you get caught calling someone on the list. I like the music store idea, I like posting small ads in neighborhood markets and retail stores, and I like the idea of contacting people who teach other kinds of instruments, and setting up a mutual referral. The Internet may or may not help you in a local context, but local papers like the PennySaver and the Recycler are good. One of the best ways to get students is to go to local jam sessions and target the people who sound like they need (and want) to improve.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree with all that has been said so far about it beeing a bad idea and illegal- but if you are short of ideas - why not ask , say Steve Lawson in his forum, how he goes about it - I know that he is a successful bass teacher!

    Or ask the question of others, who are already bass teachers...?
  10. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    Play it slick - try and set up some showswhere your target audiance will be, for example if you want to teach 14 year olds contact local school and try to set up some kind of drum+bass show to 'raise awareness' on live music etc. All the kids learning bass at the time are bound to consider it, plus there's the chance you could haul a few in.

    Also, you could go into a teaching partnership/circle with such a drummer..

    I have to aggree with the mas son how totally none-triumphnat the call idea is, sorry. Word of mouth (from people seeing you at your shows/from other students) is probbaly your best mate here!
  11. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    If you want to try to reach a market that might not be actively pursuing bass lessons, maybe try places where you can advertise to bored kids, instead of just anyone.

    ...like sending (or posting) flyers to school music teachers (maybe kids want to play bass but the school doesn't offer it), rec centers, skate parks, bars that host open jams, in shopping malls, video game stores, record stores, school/college bulletin boards, whatever. And maybe most importantly, word of mouth. Tell everyone that you're looking for students, maybe someone will know someone who wants lessons or needs to reduce their schedule or something. Maybe even go out and play at some open jams if you don't already: networking is key.

    Also, I'd be afraid of violating those "do not call" lists.
  12. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    I would have loved to find a true "bass teacher" in my area. All the bass teachers in this area were really guitar teachers who would pick up a bass. I have been playing over twenty years but would jump on the chance for lessons with a quality "bass teacher". That is the way I would market it IMHO.
  13. Why not try advertising in school newsletters? If not, you could always try to get yourself a gig at a local school, play during a break for them, then hand out flyers asking if they want to start lessons etc. Schools are always a great place to target - so many easily influenced minds. Tell them that you'll teach them to be better than Mark Hoppus (which'll take about 2 lessons) and you're set!

  14. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Im not very worried about breaking any laws if I should attempt this. I am currently researshing all my states laws to make sure I dont violate any. That'd just be plain stupid if I didnt do that.

    Ive also actually posted ad's in the music stores, they've taken them all down telling me that it takes away from their business. Ive even talked to as many as I could and none are willing to swing any business to anyone else. Again they say its bad for their business.

    There are a few ideas listed from others that I havent thought of or tried, but overall Ive already covered the bulk of ideas listed.

    Not to sound rude to anyone, but I was asking if the "pitch" was good or not, and asking for ways to improve on it. I didnt ask if the idea of cold calling people was good or not.

    This however is a last resort of mine. Im going to try the ideas that were suggested, the ones I didnt think of before and see how that goes first. I like all of you dont exactly relish the idea of telemarketers either.
  15. vbass


    May 7, 2004
    Bay Area, CA
    Ok - I think your pitch is pretty good. One thing I would note is that I would try to stay away from sounding like a telemarketer as much as possible. I've always found that when I'm trying to sell something (which is basically what you're doing by calling them) that the more personal and less salesmany (new word) that you are the better your chances of them hearing you out and eventually purchasing the product. Maintain your professionalism but shorten the speech as much as possible. IE: I wouldn't start up the conversation with a 2 minute spiel because then it's likely when you open it up for them to say whether or not they want you to continue, they will decline. Just like I would (were I not a musician already) if you called me and just started blabbing about overcrowding in schools, etc.
  16. bassturtle


    Apr 9, 2004
    I agree. I have the instructors at my store set up as independant contractors. They collect all the lesson money and are basically running their own businesses within my business. They simply pay me a monthy rental fee for the lesson room that they use. Something like this might work well for you.

    If you really want to be out on your own, then at least stop by some music stores and let them know that you are a local bass instructor working from your house. That way if their bass instructor is booked or if they don't have a bass instructor they can pass your name on to people who are looking for lessons. I do this with a piano/vocal instructor in my town. I don't provide vocal or piano lessons at my shop so I simply refer people to this guy.

    Bottom line - you'll have better luck getting started by affiliating yourself with a music store.
  17. bassturtle


    Apr 9, 2004
    Ooops...I missed this part :D Ignore the above thread.
  18. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA

    Check out the above.

    I, too, am hoping to expand the number of students I currently have. I posted the above thread to get more information into how this is done. For me, a lot of it was because I just wanted 2 days of teaching a week, not something full time. I wanted a complimentary job, because I really love teaching.

    What I have learned is that networking is key. Becoming a central figure in music stores, open mics, festivals, and things of the like are very important. I'll load AIM again, and we can talk.
  19. bassturtle


    Apr 9, 2004
    That's key. Too many musicians start teaching because it's "easy money" but that is not the case. You're gonna earn EVERY penny you make.
  20. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000

    Jazzbo, Im so sorry. I totally forgot you posted that thread. Sorry if I made extra work for you or any of the other mods in this forum.

    I personally would like 3-4 students a day, 5 days a week. This will provide me with at least enough income to barely get by while I go back to college.