10 Reasons Why Guitar Teachers Struggle Financially And How You Can Make More Money Teaching Guitar
by Tom Hess
Do you feel frustrated, burned out and underpaid as a guitar teacher? Do you struggle to make enough money teaching guitar to have the life that you want? Do you believe it is unrealistic to make a very good living by teaching others how to play guitar?
Many guitar teachers would answer “Yes” to the questions above and would admit to feeling skeptical about their potential to earn significant income ($100,000 per year or more) from teaching music. In reality, it is not only “possible” but actually very realistic to make A LOT of money as a guitar teacher while at the same time keeping your guitar lessons very affordable for your guitar students.
Although most guitar teachers fall far short of this potential, the good news is that you can choose (at any time) to learn how to improve your guitar teaching business and make more money teaching guitar.
To help you take the first step towards this goal, I want to share with you 10 of the most common reasons why the vast majority of guitar teachers struggle financially. If you can identify yourself with any of the points listed below, you will have uncovered the obstacles you must overcome in order to move closer to making A LOT of money teaching guitar.
You do not know how to consistently attract a LARGE number of guitar students.
Many guitar teachers are only aware of a limited number of ways to promote their lessons and attract new guitar students. To make matters worse, any of the marketing that is done is usually carried out in very ineffective ways. Highly successful guitar teachers use a large variety of proven strategies to get more guitar students all year long and never become too dependent on any single method of growing their guitar teaching business. Take this free guitar teaching test to find out how effective you are at attracting new guitar students.
You do not know how to keep your guitar students for a long time.
Most guitar teachers focus their energy primarily on finding "new" guitar students but little if any effort is invested into keeping their current students remaining students for a long period of time. If your average student studies guitar with you for less than 2 years, then you have a problem that needs to be fixed.
Increasing your "retention rate" (the amount of time your guitar students stay with you) will help you to sustain your business much more easily, since you will no longer need a constant flow of new guitar students just to "maintain" your current level of income (to replace the income from those students who quit). This allows you to grow your guitar teaching business a whole lot faster with a lot less effort.
You do not know how to transform your "average" guitar students into "exceptional" musicians on a consistent basis.
The more effective you are as a guitar teacher, and the more you are able to help your guitar students to reach their musical goals, the more new students you will receive through referrals and word of mouth. All guitar teachers who earn annual six-figure incomes have a very strong reputation for helping their guitar students become awesome musicians quickly and this is one of the reasons why they are able to build VERY successful guitar teaching businesses. If you struggle in this area, get guitar teacher training.
You don't earn money on holidays, sick days or vacation time.
One of the most frustrating problems for guitar teachers is not getting paid for all weeks of the year, regardless of whether or not you (or your guitar students) show up for the lesson. Guitar teachers typically assume that their choices are limited to taking time off "or" getting paid to teach more guitar lessons. Fortunately, it is possible to not only do BOTH (take time off AND get paid) but also deliver MASSIVE amounts of value to your guitar students in the process, so that they are more than happy to pay you for the days when you are not meeting with them (yes, you read that correctly). If you want to get some ideas on how to do this in your guitar teaching business, download this free eBook on how to make money teaching guitar.
Your guitar teaching rates are too low.
A lot of guitar teachers (particularly those who are starting out) make the mistake of "lowering" their guitar teaching rates in hopes of attracting more guitar students. In addition to obviously decreasing the amount of money you earn from each student, this approach also fails for at least 2 important reasons:
Lowering your guitar teaching rates makes your guitar lessons appear to be of lower quality (especially in the minds of those guitar students who are willing to pay MORE to receive higher quality guitar lessons and believe that "you get what you pay for").
The more your guitar students pay to study with you, the more accountable they feel to "themselves" to get the most out of their investment. As a result, they practice more, pay more attention during their lessons and become better guitar players faster. So when you reduce your lesson rates, you are denying your guitar students the opportunity to get the most value from your lessons.
Truly successful and the highest earning guitar teachers NEVER try to attract guitar students by "lowering their prices". Instead, they focus on "building more value" and becoming more effective as guitar teachers to make their guitar teaching rates seem low in comparison to the overwhelming value and results they provide.
You do not have a strict lesson policy.
If you have no policy in place for your guitar teaching business, or if you do not enforce the policy you do have, most likely you will run into one or more of the following problems:
Your guitar students will begin to not respect your time and their investment in studying with you. Many will be late with their payment for lessons and/or will ask to reschedule their lessons frequently to fit their schedule.
As a result of point 1, your guitar students will also not practice as much as they should and will fail to make real progress.
You will become frustrated, burned out and will waste a lot of time chasing your students for late payments and teaching dozens of (unpaid) make up lessons during the year.
If you want to stop struggling financially AND if you want your guitar students to take their lessons with you seriously and make real progress in their guitar playing, implement a strict guitar lesson policy and enforce it strongly with all of your students. You can get some ideas on how to design an effective guitar lesson policy in this free eBook about making money teaching guitar.
You do not understand how to help your guitar students on a deeper level than simply "teaching guitar".
The mistake that most guitar teachers make is forgetting (or not realizing) that the most important part of their job is teaching "people" first and "music" second. If you want to be truly successful at attracting and keeping A LOT of guitar students year after year, you must communicate (and prove) to your students the following:
That you honestly and sincerely care about helping them become better guitar players.
That you relate to the struggle and frustration they are going through in their guitar playing (because you have been through it yourself).
That you will COMMIT to do everything possible to help them achieve the results they want.
Building such connection with your guitar students (and then following through and delivering in a big way on the promises you made) will go a LONG way towards helping your students become very loyal to you, continue studying guitar with you for years and help you make a lot more money in the process.
You stand in your own way.
Guitar teachers typically only think about three main variables when it comes to increasing their income from teaching guitar:
Their guitar teaching rate.
The number of guitar students they teach.
The number of hours they teach each week.
If you approach growing your guitar teaching business by focusing only on the elements above, you are SEVERELY limiting your income growth. Although these variables do affect your guitar teaching income, they are only the tip of the iceberg of all the things that you can do to make more money teaching guitar. Would you believe it if I told you that you can triple or quadruple your annual guitar teaching income "without" raising your guitar teaching rates or teaching more hours? Watch this guitar teaching business video to learn how.
You think that private guitar lessons are the best way to teach others to play guitar.
Although this guitar teaching format can be very effective for some situations, it is a big myth that teaching guitar "only" one-on-one produces the best results for your guitar students. In addition, this way of teaching SEVERELY limits your income potential. Combining private guitar lessons with group classes and other innovative teaching formats will allow you to not only make A WHOLE LOT more money than you are making right now, but also to help your guitar students make much faster progress in ways that would be impossible to do in private lessons only. In the guitar teaching business video mentioned above, I go into a lot more detail about how these "innovative guitar teaching formats" will help you to dramatically transform your guitar teaching and deliver greater results for your guitar students.
You have no true overall strategy to get from where you are now to a 6-figure annual income.
Highly successful guitar teachers do not build their guitar teaching empires "by accident" or by "luck". It takes a very strategic and well thought-out plan that is implemented over time to reach such a level of success. Most guitar teachers do not have such a plan in place and instead get all of their knowledge about teaching guitar and attracting more guitar students from copying other guitar teachers. The problem with this approach is that the vast majority of other guitar teachers are ALSO struggling financially. So copying their methods will only lead you to the same mediocre results that are commonplace among guitar teachers. To become a highly successful teaching guitar and earn a lot of money doing it, you must learn from someone who understands exactly what it takes to become the best guitar teacher in your area and who has trained others to do the same.
If you have seen yourself in any of the points described above, you have now discovered the biggest problems that are holding you back from earning the income that you deserve from teaching guitar. Apply the suggestions from the article and you will notice a much faster growth in your guitar teaching business as well as a much greater enthusiasm and progress for your guitar students.
To help you implement these ideas a lot more quickly, check out these additional free guitar teaching resources:
Are you committed to becoming a great guitar teacher? If so, let me show you how to make a living by teaching guitar.