The Internet is an amazing tool to help you start and grow your own teaching business…being “online” gives you access to resources that guitar teachers 20 years ago could have only dreamed about. Everything from tools to help you schedule your lesson appointments easier to tools that allow you to get paid more efficiently (and everything in between) are available at the click of a mouse, and some of them are even COMPLETELY FREE.
Since Start Teaching Guitar is one of those free online resources you can use to grow your teaching business, I thought I’d put together a list of 10 more online resources you should know about. There are obviously many others I could add to the list, but here are 10 of my current favorites:
10 Online Resources To Help You Grow Your Teaching Business
1) Music Teacher’s Helper
Music Teacher’s Helper is a really cool way to manage your teaching business…it gives you a suite of online tools that help you take care of billing, accounting and bookkeeping, scheduling your lessons, sending reminders, tracking your lesson notes and even setting up a basic website. The cool thing about MTH is that all of these tools are built into a single well-designed web interface that lets you manage everything from one place. It was built by music teachers with YOUR teaching business in mind, and it will save you tons of time and frustration. You can sign up for a FREE TRIAL ACCOUNT at MusicTeachersHelper.com…give it a try and you won’t be disappointed.
You definitely want to be accepting credit cards from your students. The easier it is for people to pay you, the fewer hassles you’ll have with billing, invoices and collections. Square is the coolest solution for accepting credit cards that I’ve seen in the last 10 years. You just sign up for a free Square account and they send you a small card swiper (also free) that plugs right into your smart phone (iPhone or Android). You install the free Square app, sign in, plug in the swiper and you can accept payments right there in your teaching studio. Square is the perfect solution for getting paid ON THE SPOT. I just noticed today that PayPal is playing catch-up with these guys, and has released their own card swiper and smart phone app…we’ll have to wait and see if they can beat Square’s current momentum in the marketplace. You can get more info and sign up at SquareUp.com.
There are lots of music teacher directories on the web, but RockStarTraining.com is special. It’s more than just a place to set up a profile and “hang out your shingle” as a guitar teacher…these guys re-invest 50% of the revenue they generate into advertising to help you get more students. That means BETTER SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS for you, which turns into MORE NEW STUDENTS. Their prices are very affordable and their marketing is great. You can sign up at RockStarTraining.com.
4) Neck Diagrams
Creating lesson plans, diagrams and handouts for your students is always a time-consuming process. You either have to spend HOURS creating them yourself, use something free from the Internet that may not be exactly what you want…or just write them out by hand in the middle of a lesson. Neck Diagrams is the perfect solution to this problem. It’s a cool software app that runs on both Mac and Windows, and it lets you create professional-looking fretboard diagrams, chords diagrams and other useful lesson plan objects quickly and easily. Go to NeckDiagrams.com to get more info and download a FREE TRIAL to check it out.
If you haven’t heard of Skype by now, you probably live under a rock. It’s the world-wide standard for voice and video communications over the web. You’ve probably used it to talk to your Mom, or to a friend who lives on the other side of the world…but it’s the perfect tool for TEACHING WEBCAM LESSONS. You can use it to expand your local teaching business and take it world-wide, and it’s a great way to teach lessons in the mornings when your local students might not be available (due to the magical power of “time zones”). Check out this guest article by Joe Walker on how to teach guitar lessons using Skype…it’s easier than you think!
If you’re not using email lists to market your teaching business, you’re losing money. An email list is one of the best ways to build an “audience” of prospects to market to, and Aweber is the best email list management service available. There are several “email list providers” out there to choose from, but Aweber is the most full-featured and easy to use service I’ve ever worked with. If you’re new to email marketing, I put together a complete multimedia training course that shows you how to set up and use Aweber to grow your teaching business step-by-step.
7) Google Docs
In the old days (before 2005), you had to purchase a copy of Microsoft Office or use one of it’s free variants (Open Office, etc.) if you wanted to do word processing, spreadsheets and other business desktop applications. Thanks to our friends at Google, you can create and use word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentation slides all for free using Google Docs. It runs right in your web browser and lets you access your documents from any computer with an Internet connection. Since your files reside “in the cloud”, you never have to worry about losing them…and you can collaborate with other people over the web and work together in the same documents at the same time. Google Docs are perfect for keeping track of your lesson notes, your budget, your marketing…you name it. If you haven’t already done so, check it out and see what you’ve been missing.
Mind mapping is a cool way to capture your business ideas, organize them in a way that makes sense and share them with other people. There are some free desktop-based mind mapping tools (like FreeMind), but my favorite is a web-based application called Mind Meister. It takes all the cool features of FreeMind and puts them into a tool you can run in your web browser…which gives you the same benefits you get from Google Docs: you can access your mind maps from any computer with an Internet connection, your mind maps are automatically backed up and you can share and collaborate with other people easily. I love using mind maps for planning (I use them for all of my podcast episodes) and they’re also great for keeping track of your to-do lists. Mind Meister will let you do up to 3 mind maps for free…check it out and let me know what you think!
Craigslist is another one of those sites everybody knows about…you’ve probably used it before to buy a piece of furniture or to sell that elliptical machine you never found the time to use. It’s also a really effective place to ADVERTISE your guitar teaching business, and best of all…it’s FREE! The beauty of Craigslist is that it gives you access to targeted LOCAL people in your area…tons of potential students are checking Craigslist all the time for music equipment and other stuff. It’s the perfect place to tell them all about what you can offer them as a guitar teacher and drive them back to your website and email list. Sign up for a free account and Craigslist will let you keep track of your ads and make the whole process even easier.
The last online tool I want to tell you about is the free blogging platform called WordPress. It’s a website-building framework that lets you put together a world-class website in the blink of an eye and gives you access to all the features you need to make it show up in the search engines. Music Teacher’s Helper is a great tool for managing the “private” side of your teaching business, but WordPress is perfect for the “public” stuff, like marketing your teaching business online. The real advantage WordPress gives you is the ability to create a professional website for your teaching business YOURSELF…there’s no need to hire a web developer or a graphics designer to build or maintain it for you. Don’t believe me? Check out the free video I put together that literally shows you how to set up your own teaching website from beginning to end in 30 minutes or less using WordPress.
Like I said before, these are just a handful of the tools available on the Internet to help you be more successful as a guitar teacher, and there are new ones being developed all the time. Taking advantage of tools like these can really help you grow your business FASTER and EASIER than trying to do it on your own the old fashioned way.
Do you have any experience with these online tools, or maybe some recommendations for others that should be on the list? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!