Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Justin Stoney, Founder of New York Vocal Coaching, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the founder of New York Vocal Coaching in New York City. For 17 years, we have been serving singers in NYC. Over the years, we developed international relationships as well. We now serve singers and voice teachers from all over the globe. Our sister companies include speech training, acting classes, and musical instrument training. We continue to grow in what we're able to offer and who we have the opportunity to work with.
Tell us about yourself
After swearing that I never wanted to be and never would be a Voice Teacher, I "fell into" voice teaching following a crazy experience of being pulled from my own audition to play for Broadway auditions. They needed a pianist last minute, so I volunteered to do it without realizing who I would be playing for and who I would be meeting. Afterward, the casting director took me aside and shared that he saw a great vocal coach in me. I shrugged this off, but soon after, I thought I would try it out. I've been booked with students ever since - so much so that I had to take on other teachers to help me.
NYVC has been a blessing since the day it started. At a certain point, I decided I was going "all in," I have dedicated myself to vocal pedagogy ever since. I love having the ability and opportunity to mentor singers and voice teachers. My work focuses on the individuality and uniqueness of every singer and helping them to realize their vocal potential in the most efficient and strategic way possible. But my most favorite part about what I do is seeing lives changed every day. In my experience, the inner journey is deeply connected to the singing journey. When a person moves forward in their singing journey, they simultaneously move forward on their inner journey - and vice versa. This is the most beautiful and rewarding part of what I do!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say the biggest accomplishment was when we got so big that I needed to rent out our own studio space, and then that got too small, so we built a bigger space. But also that, aside from our physical studios, our reach has surpassed NYC and gone across the globe. I get to interact with and teach people from all over the world. In a sense, the whole world is our studio now. And that's a really special experience.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest part is that, at the end of the day, everything falls on you and there is always work to be done. It is a huge blessing to have a company that has international reach. But the responsibility that comes with that is also far-reaching and needs constant attention.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Never say never. Stay open to possibilities and ideas!
- Don't look hard at what other people are doing. Stay focused on your work and your goals.
- Give and be generous.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I recently published my book "Sing Like Never Before"! It took me about seven years to write, and it's meant to be a resource for singers and voice teachers who are looking for practical and digestible vocal information.
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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