5 Reasons Why Guitar Teachers Earn Less Than $50,000 Per Year

The typical guitar teacher has less than 40 students and earns below $50,000 per year. The big problem is most have not grown their numbers in years. Why do so many guitar teachers stall in terms of growth? When you speak to them they will tell you its the economy or there is too much competition. Rarely will they admit it has anything to do with them. Well, if you are a guitar teacher who earns less than $50,000 per year and, have been doing so for more than a few years I am here to tell you it has everything to do with you but, that should be good news. There is very little you can do about the economy or your competition but you can change yourself. So lets explore the reasons why teachers fail to grow their businesses.

Undefined goals.

If you are earning under $50k p.a. and have done so for more than 3 years its probably a case of undefined goals. When asking guitar teachers what their financial goals are for the year I typically get, “I just want to be comfortable” or “As long as I can cover the bills and have a bit left over I’m happy”. This lack of clarity tends to lead us nowhere. Its difficult to define ‘comfortable’ or ‘happy’. As it was once described, it would be like watching a football match with no goal posts. The players would just be running around in circles. Start by setting your goals in clear definable terms. E.g. $100,000 per year after tax.

Low commitment.

Interesting enough this ties in with Reason 1. When our goals are undefined we have nothing to shoot for. Lacking a clear goal means there is nothing to commit to. Having a clear goal doesn’t automatically mean we will be committed of course. The goal gives us something to aim for but we must be willing to commit to achieving the goal no matter how long it takes. For example if you were clear about the $100k and committed to achieving it you will find a way and never give up until you reach it.

No responsibility.

The blame game is one we are all guilty of. If its not our parents fault its the politicians. If its not the them then its your neighbour or the economy or the students who don’t pay their fees. There is always someone to blame but unfortunately blame rarely if ever fixes the problem. Taking responsibility doesn’t mean you are in control of everything. Other people and circumstances are at times, to blame. Taking responsibility means to accept the situation and move on. You might not be responsible for a student who did not pay their fees but, you are responsible for creating a system to avoid it happening in the future.

Lack of Education.

In my early years of teaching guitar I thought I had all the answers. I had some good music teachers in my teens and early 20’s. I had not formally studied teaching so I was just modelling my own teachers. In terms of business my family had been a huge influence. My parents and grandparents were entrepreneurs. I also had been involved in retail sales and management for many years so I had a good skill set. Even so, I was still managing to fail. It was only when I started reading books, attending seminars and getting business coaching that things began to change. Education made all the difference to me and continues to make a difference to this very day. I would guess 99% of guitar teachers lack a business or teaching education. If you get educated you put yourself one step ahead of your competition.

Play it too safe.

In a study done on the difference between CEOs and non-CEOs they found calculated risk taking to be the difference. Most guitar teachers do not advertise and do not try out different ideas. For years I played it safe as a private guitar teacher but decided to take a risk. I switched to group teaching. At first it was difficult but it paid off big time. I went from working 50 hours a week to 20 hours earning twice as much. I should stress the ‘calculated’ part of the statement. This doesn’t mean taking silly risks. For example I wouldn’t recommend getting a $50k loan and putting into your first Facebook Ad campaign. Workout what you can reasonably afford to lose, do as much study as possible and then start by testing small. A calculated risk implies you have calculated the worst case scenario and will be able to absorb the loss.

If you work on the above 5 points your income is likely to rise above $50,000 and beyond. Ask yourself honestly if you are doing enough in each of these 5 key areas and take action on each. Feel free to post comments or questions below for review.
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