I’ve watched as PrettyNerd has gone from piano student to piano instructor. Without knowing it, she started her side business in the most straightforward way possible, paralleling what Ramit, J.D., and others suggest.
PrettyNerd has played piano for fourteen years, and started giving private lessons a bit over a year ago. (She’ll tell you her whole piano story sometime, but it starts with a world famous composer, has been a cornerstone of her life since she was four years old, and is growing into her career as a professional instructor.)
She already has a strong start on her desired career: she’s just finished her first term in college and already has eight regular clients. She’s already cornered the piano instruction market in her community, acquiring clients solely through recommendations (and regularly has to turn down referrals), and has further tailored her offerings for the large local Polish community. When she decided to design business cards (after she already had 3-4 clients referring her to others), she intuitively included a simple but clear message to her target market: “I speak polish!”
(While my three years of foreign language classes went to waste, she’s nearly fluent in Spanish and native in both English and Polish.)
I try to support her talents by offering my IT skills, business acumen, and occasional thoughts on pedagogy. In future posts, I’ll discuss this case study in more detail, starting with her data-driven decision to increase her prices.