Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in music education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jacob Lamb, Founder of Lamb Lessons, located in Gloucester, MA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

This is Lamb Lessons, an online curriculum teaching beginner and seasoned musicians how to play their instruments! We're geared towards 16-50 yrs old and specialize in guitar and piano lessons. These are taught through videos, books, backing tracks, and more. We also have a community tab where students can meet other learners, ask questions, and submit what they're working on to receive feedback. My goal is to create a one-stop shop for learning your instrument, so you can focus on learning and playing rather than searching for material.

Tell us about yourself

When I was young, music was all that I wanted to do. I came from a very musical family - my father had gone to Berklee College of Music, and my mother sang in a Pops choir - both of them made music a priority in my house. I began writing and playing young, with my parents starting me in official lessons when I was seven. I picked up several instruments over the years and followed in my father's footsteps by attending Berklee myself. It was actually the only school I applied to - Berklee or bust!

I used music to serve in my local church, created covers online, and eventually began teaching private lessons. My father loved the idea of starting my own company, so I began planning to hire teachers and set them up with students. As the pandemic hit, private lessons all moved online. This was a great stepping stone between in-person lessons and the online curriculum - I was already teaching with a web camera! I began filming curriculum and writing theory books in 2021, utilizing websites like Skillshare and Udemy. Finally, in 2022 I moved those courses onto my own platform - which takes us to where I am today. I recently got married to my lovely wife, and providing for our new family and talking about kids really motivates me to grow this so I can be home with them and see my children grow.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

In a list of personal achievements, I don't think I could enjoy anything more than a nice moment with a student or when a student has a moment where things "click" and they get that "Aha!" I still teach live lessons online and always want to keep some great students as the curriculum grows. Working on a curriculum on my own can be difficult (I'm an extrovert through and through), but I've been so encouraged by kind messages about a course someone is using or seeing other teachers use my books to teach their own students.

Just recently (yesterday, at the time of writing this), I had a young guitar student working through a song he had asked to learn, and he began singing it as we looked over it. He casually mentioned that he didn't sing for people, I was the first to hear in years, and how shy he was about his voice. I myself have always had really bad stage fright when it comes to singing, so I knew his pain. We chatted about it, and he asked me to sing back to him, to which I obliged. It was a great moment for us both encouraging one another in our singing ability - teacher to student and student to teacher. He commented how our friendship grew deeper in that moment, which is so priceless to hear from a young student looking to connect with their teacher. 100,000 people could buy my course today, and that moment with that student will still be the type of accomplishment I think will mean something in the long run.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think there are a few things that just come with the territory. Every job will have some special and unique difficulties, and being a business owner is no different. Two of the big ones for me are "inconsistency" and "social expectations."

Inconsistency is a tough one, especially newly married. Whether that be an inconsistency of income, inconsistency in a daily schedule, inconsistency in what's needed of me to keep growing - it is all inconsistent. Every job and paycheck will be different than the last. That's hard to plan around with a new family, but my wife has been a trooper through it.

Social expectations are more about this general idea that since I work for myself and from home, I must be "free" during the day to do things. This issue is fading away as my work gets busier and people see that I have things to do, but that can also become an issue as social time is important. I've had a friend once say he didn't want to text me to make plans because he "knew how busy I was." That was a great self-check. It's really a balance of keeping work hours for work while also making the people around you know that they're valued and a priority.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

The first would be to know when to say yes and when to say no. Saying "yes" or "no" at the wrong times can leave you with no time to work or opportunities. Learning how to say "no" is huge.

Secondly - no matter your business, put good time into learning photography, cinematography, and editing. I can't say that enough. I truly don't know where my business would be without a good camera, editing software, and knowledge. Probably every idea I have for work would require some aspect of the photo, video, or graphic design. Boosting the aesthetics of your advertising, social channels, and even web design can be a make-or-break case - not to mention saving money not to outsource that work. I know for myself that I'll avoid businesses that don't "look" trustworthy. Grab a camera, grab an Adobe subscription, hop on YouTube and learn.

Thirdly, don't undervalue your work. I have a friend named Anders who works for himself and has really been great about reminding me of the worth and value of our talent and time. He always makes sure when we work together that I'm asking for a fair amount of compensation and that he isn't infringing on my time outside of our project or that it's not taking more of me than I thought it would. It's not only great having that reminder but also seeing it play out in him and watching him stand his ground in a very polite and firm manner with clients (not to mention - having a contract with clients helps you stand your ground)! Please never work without a contract.

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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