10 Tips for Self-Starter Entrepreneurs

Hero

I launched FinanceSuperhero in April 2016 to help others save money, get out of debt, earn more money, and live the best life possible. Send me an e-mail or a comment if I can help you in your journey. Thanks for reading!

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37 Responses

  1. Let the record show that Mrs. Superhero negotiated her compensation for writing this piece in advance: a Diet Coke and a lunch date this afternoon. 🙂

  2. Good for you Mrs FS! I love tip 7. It’s great you’ve found a skill in life, a passion for it, and the drive to monetize it! Great work and thanks for the post.

  3. This is just incredible! What a wonderful gift to share with folks who want to start a home-based business of any type. There is information here that is useful to everyone – and for a variety of reasons. It is clear that you have a large number of students because of all of your efforts. As a former teacher/administrator – #9 is incredibly important (and again, goes for everyone) – I was taught by a wise mentor that if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, just don’t say it at all. Nothing good comes from “bashing” others – and it is much more likely to come back and “bite” you. Another incredibly hard working teacher!

  4. ZJ Thorne says:

    These are great tips. Not bad-mouthing others is so helpful in all realms of life. I had a mentor who told me about bad behavior a former boss of mine had committed 20 years ago. She is still suffering the consequences from choices she made in the 90s and she does not even realize it. Being polite gets you so far.

    People who come to my LLC really want me to give them my services for free. I smile and refuse to negotiate. However, I keep hearing that my clients say really wonderful things about me and recommend me to others. I’m pleasantly doing something right.

    • Hero says:

      Good for you for sticking to your guns, ZJ. If you know the value of your work and treat people well, you’ll never give anyone a reason to say anything bad about you.

  5. Apathy Ends says:

    Thanks for putting this together, I didn’t even think about the tax benefits of using your house for a side business.

    I am surprised by how many customers you have! That is impressive!

  6. Jon says:

    A really nice post and great entrepreneurial lessons! There’s great synergy between your day job and your side gig which is fantastic. Another benefit that you failed to mention, is that SOMETIMES piano instructors are paid in cash and don’t declare it on their taxes. I’m not suggesting you do this.

    We have had the same piano teacher for our kids for over 10 years now and she always insists on cash! 🙂

    • Hero says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jon. Mrs. Superhero is mostly paid by check, which actually makes things easier for me (the business bookkeeper) and our CPA. I’m afraid Uncle Sam would be paying us a visit if we weren’t 100% transparent about the studio income.

  7. Lee Balders says:

    Mrs Superhero, this is an excellent article! Whilst many of the points are specific to music tuition, I think that all of it is applicable towards my field (fine art) and to anyone else in the arts. I’ll be sharing it with other creatives 🙂

  8. Untemplater says:

    That’s awesome you teach music. 28 students is a lot! I have two regular adult students that I teach about every other week. Teaching kids sounds like a much bigger commitment than teaching adults. Congrats on your successes and hosting recitals!

    • Hero says:

      From Mrs. Superhero: My husband mentioned that you teach when I saw your comment. Teaching kids is tough sometimes, but the fun times make up for the headaches in the long run.

  9. Great pointers Mrs FS! I also live in IL- small world!

    As a graduate student, I used to tutor on the side. When I got too many students to handle, I started to raise rates to cull the number of students. Eventually I was charging $50/hr for only 5 students but was making way more money that I did at the start.

    • Hero says:

      Living in Illinois the thing to do for PF bloggers. You’re number 4 or 5 that I’ve come across so far by my count, Preston.

      Raising your rates is a smart thing to do as demand increases. Once Mrs. Superhero started developing a waiting list, we knew that it was time to raise her rates.

  10. #7 has to be my favorite. It shows your passion for helping others learn a skill you have mastered. Just because you have a business doesn’t mean you can’t go the extra mile for someone who needs help, as you said. Great list of tips Mrs. FS!

    • Hero says:

      From Mrs. Superhero: Thanks for the kind words! I’ve tried to build my business reputation upon the manner in which I care for the kids I teach. A little extra effort goes a long way!

  11. Having a contract and not talking about money that often are absolutely key. For some reason people get really awkward when talking about payment or money. If you can keep that part minimal or better yet get some sort of automated payment system set up where you don’t have to ask them for a check or cash, that’s the best way.

    • Hero says:

      Travis, I really long for some kind of automated system when it comes time to record payments in the books at the beginning of every month. Mrs. Superhero passes of a huge stack of checks (not that I’m complaining, haha) and then I record the transactions in a log before heading to the bank. I used to use mobile deposit but realized it was taking a long time.

      A few students’ parents pay via PayPal, which is pretty nice.

  12. Staci @Streamline365 says:

    Not only do I love all of your advice, but now I love your wife’s too! Great guest post! So inspiring to see people doing what they love AND making money! Win/win!!!

  13. I love everything about this piece. Especially that your wife was compensated with a Diet Coke and lunch date. 🙂 I worked at a music studio in college. It reminds me so much of the studio Director I worked with – she had a huge heart and took great care of her students. I helped to manage the business end of it and contracts were really important! Brings back some great memories.

    • Hero says:

      That sounds like a great gig for a college student, Kelsey. Initially, we feared that a contract might upset some of the families within the studio, but it has been really helpful in clarifying expectations.

  14. Deb Dirksen says:

    I have a question, I have alot of piano music I don’t know the value but I would like to sell it. Do you know anyone or would you be interested in buying it. It was my moms and she passed, and I have so much stuff I don’t have room for it. Thank you.

    • Hero says:

      Thanks for your question, Deb. I would recommend contacting a local piano teacher to reach out about selling the music. You could also explore putting it on Ebay or Amazon. Finally, contacting a local university school of music might provide a few leads. Good luck!

  15. Thank you for the post. It the owner of the Mismi Piano Studio and co-author of the Brain-Based Piano Method I am always trying to learn more about all aspects related to my enterprises. I would like to give a few tips:
    1. Create an online contract. I use Inkdit. It saves time and it never gets lost. Both client and you keep s copy.
    2. Use an app to request money. I use venmo. It is free and works great. It allows me to charge the first they of the month.
    3. Use a method that it is an All-in-one fun, effective, mindful and creative. Today’s kids, teachers and parents need a method that understands their needs. I invite you to give it a try to my method. Learn mote at http://www.brainbasedpianomethod.com

  16. Your tips are spot on, Mrs. FS! I wish I had this post several years ago when I started my side hustle in SEO. 🙂

  17. Marc Miller says:

    Question on #7. Does Mr. Superhero manage the finance side of your business, and do you see value in that, so that you can solely focus on the operations side of things?

    • Hero says:

      Mr. Superhero here, good question, Marc. I manage most of the business end of the studio these days. I maintain all records as far as income and expenses are concerned, and I coordinate with our CPA at tax time. Mrs. Superhero essentially teaches and corresponds with students’ parents via e-mail. It has taken some time for us to develop a system that works, but it’s pretty smooth right now.

  18. DDave says:

    Ms superhero wears the pants! just kidding bud great advice. I bet writing off a room for your business is nice during tax season too. Or is it two rooms because you blog full time as well? Either way kudos!

    • Hero says:

      Haha, you’re right, she sorta does wear the pants in many situations. Last year, we only claimed one room. I have to chat with our CPA about our best strategy for 2016.

  1. July 27, 2016

    […] 10 Tips for Self-Starter Entrepreneurs […]

  2. July 30, 2016

    […] 10 Tips for Self-Starter Entrepreneurs […]

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