Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrew Byrne, Owner of Andrew Byrne Studio Inc., located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a singing teacher in New York City with over 20 years of experience in the Broadway community. I'm also the author of the #1 Best-Seller "The Singing Athlete: Brain-Based Training for Your Voice." My students are professional performers who understand that they are elite athletes. They want to train with someone like me who can look at their singing through the lens of their bodies and their brains.
Tell us about yourself
I've been working toward my current career as a singing teacher since I was eighteen. I studied music (vocal pedagogy) but always with the lens of working with elite-level singers. Along the way, I have been certified in many physical and neurological training styles. I bring the best techniques from these fields back to the world of music to help vocalists sing their best.
What motivates me is how amazing the brain is; the awe-inspiring power of the nervous system makes me want to learn all I can about it. The vocal cords move SO fast (one thousand times a second for the operatic high C). The fact that the brain can control something, so complex at reflex speed is truly humbling.
I always say, "Never tell a brain what's impossible." I've seen performers achieve incredible vocal and physical recoveries from issues that seemed insurmountable. The fact that I get to participate in helping artists reach these results is the greatest joy of my life.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am very proud that I've earned my complete living in the arts for over 25 years, and I've done it by running my own company. The fact that I've been able to create a training space that reflects the things that I believe are important in the world is something that satisfies me greatly.
Another achievement is that I was able to self-publish a book on singing ("The Singing Athlete") that vastly exceeded my projected sales numbers and went to #1 on the Amazon best-seller list in my field.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest thing about running my own show is that it's all on my shoulders. There are parts of my business that come easily to me, and then there are parts that I don't enjoy as much. I've learned over the years to manage my weaknesses and ask for help in areas in which I don't excel.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Diversify your skills: Expand the scope of what you do since you never know what's coming. When everything shut down in 2020, the demand for voice lessons temporarily dried up. But because I am trained in so many other things, I pivoted to doing Covid rehab and personal training. I ended the year with only a slight income dip, and that felt like quite an achievement.
- Create a support system for your blind spots: When you're running your own thing, it's easy to feel isolated and like you have to do EVERYTHING. Having a weekly meeting with my business coach (Molly Mahoney) has been an invaluable help to my business growth. And meeting with my own trainer (Theresia Daniel) every week keeps me on track with my physical goals and makes sure that I practice what I preach.
- Listen to your gut: Along the way, there have been several opportunities offered to me that sounded good on paper but didn't "feel" right. In the end, I've always been glad that I've gone with my instinct. These gut feelings actually come from a specific part of the brain (the insular lobe), and one of the things I do is train people to access this brain area more regularly. When your internal map is highly developed, the correct path for your business is much easier to see.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
My main site is www.andrewbyrne.com, where you can get lots of free resources for developing your voice, body, and brain. The site for my book is thesingingathlete.com, where you can register for a video guide that will take you through the more than 150 exercises I write about in the book.
I love offering free content because, in the end, I want you to sing better, move better, and feel better.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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