One year ago, I packed up my belongings in my cubicle and said goodbye to my full-time job.
I’d been working as a content writer at the Newsletter Pro. Monday through Friday, I interviewed successful entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, etc. about their personal lives, and wrote lead newsletter articles as if I were them.
Some days, I’d go in and talk to clients about how to be successful in life or their latest advice on money management. Other days, I’d go in and hear about how they met their significant others or their latest Nashville vacation. But for every fun article that I wrote, an article about school bus crashes in Texas or the cost efficiency of roofing materials followed.
Today, I don’t view my time as a content writer as a waste by any means. It was a necessary incubation period that allowed me to pick the brains of successful entrepreneurs and gave me time to prepare. Nearly every moment of the workday, I had my headphones on and would switch back and forth between indie music and musicpreneur/entrepreneur podcasts while writing.
For those six months, I learned a lot of valuable information, soaked up a lot of good music, wrote down my goals, and saved enough money to not fall flat on my face in the first year of working for myself.
By the end of May, I felt I was ready and made the leap.
Thanks to a few helpful individuals in Boise’s music scene, I found a small teaching space at Old Boise Music Studios for $100 a month, put an ad up on craigslist, joined the Thumbtack teaching app, and very slowly began building my student-base.
Even though it was slow at the beginning, teaching guitar made me feel like a fish in water again. I no longer had to fake enthusiasm at work because I was legitimately interested in helping others learn to play the instrument. Instead of calling clients on phones, sending emails, and hiding behind a desk all day, I got to help students face to face and have real interaction with people that wasn't dependent on technology.
Today, I no longer dread waking up early in the morning to go to work for 8 hours straight. Sunday rolls around and I don’t feel anxiety about the end of my weekend or the Monday to follow. Thursday or Friday rolls around and I think, "Oh yeah, it's the end of my work week and I forgot....again." Everyday feels like a day off because I legitimately love what I do.
In addition, teaching privately allows me to work the days and hours of my choosing, and have the freedom of flexibility. Some weeks, life gets busy for my students, so they reschedule for another time that week that works for them. I’m happy to accommodate because I want them to have their lesson and I look forward to seeing them every week. Some weeks, I have live shows, go to music conferences, or book tours for my music project, and my students are flexible with me as well.
Most months, I make the same amount I made at my full-time job, and during the busier seasons of the year, I exceed that. But more importantly, working for myself allows me the freedom to charge what I feel my time and education is worth instead of having an organization determine that number for me.
Today, I teach a steady 15-20 students every week from all age groups and walks of life and enjoy them all equally! I teach 5-8 year old girls who tell me I’m their best friend, pre-teens, teenagers, college students, recent graduates, blue-collar folk, white-collar folk, elementary and high-school teachers, doctors, lawyers, middle-aged guys my dad’s age who play golf, stay-at-home moms, and retirees. I also teach several people with mental illnesses, learning disabilities, and autism.
I teach regardless of age, race, income level, religious or sexual orientation, gender, or lack of gender. I teach students regardless of their ACT/SAT Score, final GPA, employment or citizenship status.
And in case you were wondering -- No, your hands aren’t too big or small to play guitar.
In the past year that I’ve taught guitar lessons full-time, I’ve learned that anyone can learn to play guitar. Anyone. One year later, I thoroughly enjoy teaching everyone who walks in Old Boise Music Studios to take lessons from me. Every guitar student is unique, has a different taste in music, and may have slightly different goals, but no one is off limits from enjoying the pursuit of learning to play guitar and enjoying music.
To learn more about guitar lessons and my rates/availability, visit http://analete.com/guitarlessons