Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in music education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mandi Galer, Owner of Sing Music Studio Inc., located in Mississauga, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Music School - we provide innovative music education, including music and movement for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, music lessons in voice and multiple instruments for children, teens, and adults, and have recently launched the 1st level of our unique, innovative curriculum that includes a weekly group class and private lesson for beginner students aged 4-7. As students level up, they will participate in bands with their peers in addition to private lessons.
Tell us about yourself
I moved out from home as a very young adult, and as a musician, it was quite challenging to make ends meet. Teaching music came naturally to me as I loved working with children (I babysat, nannied, volunteered in Kindergartens, and took a year of ECE before earning my diploma in music at Humber) and taught at music schools from my second year at Humber. After years of etching together a meager living that included bartending, administrative work, teaching for music schools, odd jobs, and gigging, it was time for me to build my own legacy with a larger purpose. I wanted to reach very young children marrying my vast early childhood and music knowledge as one of the few musicians who taught this age group. For many years I was comfortable teaching both lessons and music, and movement classes built my reputation in the community and had a thriving sole proprietorship while continuing to work and gig as a musician. I dreamt of opening a larger music school with teachers working for me, a bustling space, and allowing me to step back from working so many hours to focus on my personal life and life as a professional musician. This dream finally became a reality in 2019 when I incorporated my business and opened a space in Clarkson, Mississauga. Teaching is incredibly rewarding. Being able to bring on a team of educators who believe in my innovative vision for music education is motivation itself. Though what it really comes down to is the students and families. We are true to our mission of bringing a sparkle to the eyes of everyone we touch. That's it right there. We are unique, we are innovators in music education, and we are building better humans. We are true to our values as a business, and our mission and values truly motivate me. When I have a day that I am challenged, I take stock of what I have accomplished and what our purpose is, and I am recharged.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Definitely making the shift from sole proprietor to incorporated business with a storefront commercial space. Did I mention that I was pregnant with my first/only child at the time? What a massive undertaking. It definitely took a village. Then six months after we opened, there was a pandemic... and yet here we are. It was an incredibly long 3-year-first-year in business, lol, but we survived and conquered. And now, here we grow with love, empathy, and vision for our exciting future.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Hmmm, this is a tough one. Making the shift from being a one-woman show to managing multiple people has probably been the most difficult for me. It is challenging, though necessary, to give up all the hats. It's taken some time for me to really step into my leadership role and learn to lead in a manner that empowers my team. Drawing the boundaries to achieve a more balanced work/home life balance, especially while becoming a first-time mom and opening a business, has also been incredibly challenging. Actually, further to that, I would say one of the biggest struggles as a woman, mom, and entrepreneur is the guilt and pull between spending time with my daughter and building a thriving business. I have spent a crazy amount of time running on 1-2 hours of sleep to make everything happen. This has improved significantly as I learn, grow, systemize and learn to empower and trust my wonderful team.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your boundaries, set them, and follow through.
- Know your vision and strategize to get there. The key is long-term thinking.
- Educate yourself in the business of your industry. While we were on lockdown, I started a two-year program in Studio Evolution that is specific to music/dance/arts/yoga studios. This has been an absolute game-changer for me. It has equipped me with so many incredible tools to develop my business in every facet and has provided a wonderful support network.
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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