Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Paula Grenke, owner of Port Elmsley Music, located in Port Elmsley, ON, Canada.

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

I teach piano, saxophone, and music for young children. This doesn’t mean I only teach kids, though! I have students of all ages, including many adults who regretted not learning as kids.

Tell us about yourself

I first began teaching piano to a friend. When I realized I enjoyed it, I began to work for a studio in Ottawa. I ended up moving to Cape Breton Island, and there was no studio to join. So I struck out on my own. I love seeing the excitement and understanding in people’s faces when they learn new music they love or a new theory concept that just makes sense to them now! The pride in their accomplishments is the best part of my job.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Being asked to participate in local events, such as Festival of the Maples, BabyTalk, or playgroups as an entertainer and educator has been very rewarding.

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

The hardest thing for me is bookkeeping. Keeping on top of payment schedules and my own receipts is definitely a challenge!

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

  1. Social media can be a great tool for reaching people, but do can putting a flyer up at your local grocery store. Don’t undervalue the non-digital means of advertising.
  2. Have patience. Growing a business from scratch can be incredibly frustrating or heartbreaking, but have faith in yourself. If that doesn’t work, find people who love and support you!
  3. Bookkeeping tools exist! If paperwork and bookkeeping are your weak spots, there are plenty of programs and websites that help. They are worth every penny.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I can’t stress enough that you are never too young or too old to learn music. Don’t expect to become the next Mozart and learn for the fun of it!

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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