Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in musical education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gauthier Aubé, Founder of Wakademy, located in Dijon, Bourgogne, France.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I created Wakademy, an online school for didgeridoo players (wind instrument from Aboriginal people from Australia)! This school allows learning the didgeridoo with a real accompaniment because, in addition to the online courses, the students can send me a video per month to have audio feedback from me. I also give a masterclass in France, Switzerland, and Belgium, which allows me to know my students better and to accompany them at best. And to help in the learning process, I created Wakatoo, a card game to create didgeridoo rhythms!
Tell us about yourself
I had been playing didgeridoo for 15 years when my twin brother told me I should start a blog! That was in 2016. At that time, even if I was recognized worldwide (I had just come back from Russia, where I had given masterclass and concerts), I could not make a living from my passion. When I discovered the blog, it changed my life. I could bring a vision of the didgeridoo, thoughts, and advice. I could share my knowledge and start living from it! In traditional terms, the didgeridoo is one of the oldest instruments in the world, and yet in contemporary terms, it is still very young: about 30 years old! So there is everything to discover and to theorize; this is what motivates me to teach my instrument and also to develop my music. I am releasing a new album on December 13th, "L'ENVOL"!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This is certainly the launch of Wakademy. I was very surprised at the amounts reached! I launched my didgeridoo blog in 2016, and I quickly got readers. And it's only two years later that I decided to launch Wakademy with online training, the player's map, a forum, Wakatoo... So I had more than 3000 people on my email list. When we opened the doors of Wakademy in October 2018, we sold 200 online courses and 40.000€ of turnover. At that time, I was living on less than 1000€ per month, so it was a (positive!) shock to see that I could earn so much money with the didgeridoo. Of course, I'm talking about turnover, and we were two in the business (my developer at the time), but still, it was huge!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think the biggest challenge for me was managing the stress that it gave me. I wanted to live up to the expectations of my students. I wanted everything to be perfect. I also wanted to give a lot. In short, I put a lot of stress on myself, and it ended up taking a toll on my personal life. Over time, I have learned to trust myself and my community. I think that if we do our best, if we are honest and sincere, then people will be kind, even if we make mistakes!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Difficult question! But here is what comes to me spontaneously:
- Train yourself.
When you start out, you never know where to begin, and you often think you know more than you do! For example, in the music world, marketing has a bad image. Most artists think they know what marketing is: a dirty thing that only serves to manipulate people. Through training, I learned that marketing is a tool for listening to the needs of others. It's up to us to use it for good or bad!
- Open your mind.
If it took me so long to make a decent living from my passion, it's because I thought for too long that it wasn't possible! In fact, the longest and most difficult process was to change this belief. It took me about 15 years to figure that out, but once I understood that it was possible, I made a decent living in less than three years!
- Be patient and confident.
I can see that the more time goes by, the more I reap the fruits of my labor. You have to be confident in the fact that with constant work, perseverance, and questioning, you will eventually get there!
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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