I’ve been a musician my whole life. Raised by a family of musicians, including one who was a professional drummer in Portland, I grew up with a love for music. I think I passed that down to my kids as well! My son first wanted to learn to play the piano, but we realized within a few weeks that piano wasn’t the right fit. Then he wanted to play drums. He was only seven at the time. As I sat listening to him play, I realized I wanted to play drums too! We started taking back-to-back lessons. We’d sit in on each other’s lessons. From there I never stopped. I went to drum camps and learned wherever I could. Next thing I knew I was teaching drumming.
Before becoming a drumming instructor, I was an instrumental music director at a high school. I did the whole shooting match: marching band, orchestra, percussion ensemble, you name it. I was teaching five or six classes a day, and had to work weekends and evenings to stay on top of everything. I had met with another marching band director when I started the job. His words kept going through my head. “Whatever you do, don’t start a marching band. You’ll end up divorced.” Fortunately that didn’t happen because my husband is an amazing and very supportive man. But, I was starting to fray at the edges.
After six years I needed a break. I decided to stop teaching and went back to school. Then I took on my first private student and realized I loved working one-on-one. Now, instead of slogging it out 70 hours a week, I can set my own hours. I love drums – and I love running my own business!
When I’m not teaching drums, I spend time planning my next entrepreneurial venture, which I call The Practice Pad. It’s an online business where teachers can practice with their students through a subscription membership. I think it’s really important to make music accessible to everyone, so I’m planning to include scholarships for kids who couldn’t otherwise afford the membership.
My advice to other women entrepreneurs? Do NOT go into debt. It’s so important to grow with the cash you have on hand. As you get more cash, that’s the time to make your next move. But not before!
I also encourage women entrepreneurs to embrace their mistakes. Because the bottom line is that you will make mistakes. Failure is actually good and is an important part of growing your business.
Finally, I encourage you to be very courageous. We all have a choice. We can either be fearful or we can be courageous. I remember a time in my life when I could have been stopped by my fears. But I chose courage instead! I decided to go back to grad school at the age of 54. I wouldn’t graduate until I was 57. At the time, I was thinking “what the heck am I doing?” But then a strong voice inside spoke up and said “you have to do this.” So I just went for it. And I’m so glad that I did.