If you’re a working musician or actor, you’re probably well-versed in side hustles. If you’re ready to be your own boss, consider opening a business teaching kids and turn your passion into your full-time job. You can make a living through your craft in many ways, but teaching children is a fulfilling way to inspire a love for the arts in the next generation and keep your skills in top shape.
Whether you’ve taught classes before or are just beginning, launching in-person or online music or theater school can be a big task! We’re here to help you get started and have a little fun along the way.
1. Figure out what and how you’ll teach
What subjects are you a master of? What do you want to teach? Do you have any colleagues or connections that you’ll hire to help instruct future students? Thinking through these questions can help you narrow down the scope of what your business will offer.
If you’re looking to teach music classes for kids, are you ready to invest in mini-instruments and crafting silly original songs? If you’re going to teach music lessons, you’ll want to consider what instruments you already have mastery of. Think about whether your business will specialize in one or a wide range of instruments. For example, if you’re opening a strings studio for children you will potentially want to hire someone with violin, viola, cello, bass, and guitar skills. If you’re an expert in brass, you’ll want to look into hiring instructors who can teach trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium, and even the tuba! If you’re going to teach toddler music classes, will you have access to kid drums, maracas, tambourines, and other fun sound-makers? We have a full guide on teaching music to kids, which includes music lesson plans and activities, so you can get inspiration for your classes. Likewise, you can explore teaching theatre to kids in our other guide.
If your specialties are in acting and theatre, you’ll want to ask yourself similar questions. Will you specialize in stage or film or combine the two? Will you teach musical theater and voice lessons or strictly stick to acting? Will you specialize in audition prep or focus more on teaching acting as a skill? There’s no right or wrong answer, but outlining the scope of your offerings early will help you define your business and build your brand.
2. Build your brand
Now that you’re thinking about how your business will function, consider the identity or brand you’d like to build. Many acting and music teachers go by their personal name, which is simple and direct — especially if you’re focused on building a business in your local community.
If you want to teach online classes, you may want to consider a name for your business that is distinct from your personal name. A distinct business name can set you apart from the competition, especially if you’re hoping to make your children’s activity business your full-time job! For many freelance artists, legitimizing your business with a brand and identity can build trust with potential clients.
Once you decide on a brand name, you can start creating a website and social media pages. Consider what types of activities you will offer, such as private lessons, camps, or semester-long classes.
3. Draft a business plan
Once you’re ready to start your in-person or virtual studio, you’ll need a written plan. Following a template may help you stay organized and aligned with any other instructors or team members you’re building your business with.
A traditional business plan should have the following parts:
- Executive Summary: A simple summary of your business and its mission
- Company Description: A longer description of your company and who and how you serve your community
- Market Analysis: Research and findings focused on the demand for your business as well as competitors in your community and online.
- Organization and Management: Explain who you employ, their role in your company, and who is responsible for what. If you don’t have employees yet, you can explain your many roles here.
- Services and products you offer: This section is for considerations like what do you teach? Do you sell any products like instruments or costumes?
- Marketing and sales plan: Add details on how you plan to market your business here. You can evolve this section over time, but we suggest using it to organize your marketing efforts.
- Financial projections: This section is for considerations like: how much money did you save or borrow to start this business? How much money do you expect to make?
When your plan is complete, you’ll have a path to starting your business! This business plan can also be helpful if you are taking out a small business loan, or having outside investment. It shows that you are serious, have professional experience in your field, and a path to profitability.
4. Determine your rates
If you’re teaching private lessons or group classes, you’ll want to research pricing in your community. Start by looking into what rates businesses similar to the business you are starting charge for their services. Then, compare your education to those of similar teachers. If you have a degree in music or theater, professional experience, and a resume to prove it make sure to highlight those points on your website to illustrate that your lessons and classes are a premium service. You’ll want to factor in your business costs to your rates to make sure that the services you’re selling cover your expenses. You’ll want to make sure your rates for private lessons and classes are clearly listed on your website for parents to find!
5. Decide on a physical or digital location
Whether you’re looking to learn how to launch a children’s music business or drama business, you’ll need to decide where you want to teach in and through what formats. Your team can choose to teach classes in-person, online, or in a combination model. If you pursue a physical studio, be mindful of rehearsal spaces and what sort of sound systems you’ll need to support your art. If you’re teaching acting, you’ll potentially need a small stage where students can rehearse and perform.
If you aren’t ready to sign a lease on a commercial space, you can consider renting building lobbies, local public facilities like outdoor parks, schools, or even sharing spaces with other businesses.
6. Get business management and registration software
Once you’ve written a business plan and decided how you’ll teach, you need to focus on how to make running your business easy. You’ll need a way to collect student registrations and payments in-person and online. Finding a good registration software allows you to break up with manual processes, spreadsheets, or outdated links on your website. Good registration software also makes it easy for parents to discover and book activities with your business again and again.
If you’re starting a children’s activity business — whether that be in music, theater, or voice — Sawyer Tools has everything you need to make registration easy for your team and your customers. See why thousands of businesses love Sawyer Tools and why you will too.
7. Focus on community
As you start your business, remember to put your community first. To connect with potential students, you’ll need to market to their families. Consider joining local parent Facebook groups, partnering with your local business bureau, offering free trials, and consider hosting free events to get the word out. Connecting with your community is key to unlocking success for years to come!
We can’t wait to see how your business grows! To get more information on streamlining your art or dance business for kids, connect with a member of our team today.