The biggest challenges of running your own teaching business in drama and singing

Jane 1


What are the biggest challenges about running your own business in Performing Arts?

The five things that spring to mind for me are:

  • Understanding how to market your business and not just rely on word of mouth
  • Operating safely
  • Recruiting and growing so that it doesn’t all rely on you
  • Getting through the month of August
  • Doing every aspect of the business alone

So taking each point step by step:

  • What is your market? And to say “children’ really isn’t good enough. There are approximately 9.1 million children in the UK today however not all of those are going to be your target market. You really need to understand who your market is, where they are and what sort of messages through which sorts of media they will be most open to listening too. You cannot build a business on reputation and recommendation alone – certainly not a sustainable one that meets all of your goals. Once you have set this plan in place you then need to start crafting your marketing strategy and it really isn’t as scary as it sounds.
  • Operating safely is IMPERATIVE! There are so many teachers that set themselves up in their own homes, within schools or community buildings that really do not have all the relevant documentation in place. A bullet proof risk assessment is a must and insurance as a bare minimum. Anyone could fall on your front steps or going up to the toilet before a lesson. You have to protect yourself and those that you teach. Equally it is important to understand what your responsibility is after an accident happens. Policies and procedures are so often overlooked and ‘passing the blame’ or presuming that that element is not your responsibility is the irresponsible way of running your business.
  • What do you want to achieve? What is your ultimate goal? Living day to day and week to week, month to month and year to year is brilliant and serves a great purpose but ultimately knowing your end goal is absolutely eye opening and helps you to get really focussed. It also means that if the goals are sizeable then you can start to plan how the teaching will not all be conducted by you. As much as we love teaching you only have so many hours in the day and there is a limit to what you can charge so you will need to get a system in place. It is why joining a supportive, systemised network can help. I was watching the programme about “Dominoes” pizzas last night and it was fascinating to watch their most successful millionaire franchisee! Franchises make millionaires so if you have big goals perhaps looking at a franchise network is a good idea.
  • This comes down to having a system again because you need to make money all the way through the year and ensuring that you have courses on in the holidays will help to sustain the business and avoid seasonality. Brainstorming ideas of what you could deliver in a short course is a great place to start.
  • It is lonely being self employed and running your own business. If you feel this way you should look at the options available to you in terms of a franchise because as they say ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and a team of people working towards the same end goal provides priceless support for you. The theory is that you become the average of the 5 people that you hang about most with – so surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial and it would be my biggest piece of advice for anyone setting out to achieve their dreams!