In 2011, voice teacher Kylah Magee joined the ranks of millions of American entrepreneurs and decided to make her passion a career. Though she has taught music in various capacities over the past decade, Kylah finally said goodbye to her day job in 2012 and has since been putting her total energies into her at-home teaching studio, Nine Muses Studio, in Austin, Texas.
Oübly.com talked to Kylah about what it took to create her startup business and how it has developed since opening her doors.
First things first… Why teach voice lessons?
Though I had a secure job, I wasn’t happy doing it. I also knew that it would never be a fulfilling career for me, so I began thinking about what I wanted in my future. My fiancé and I were already talking about having a family, so I knew that it needed to be flexible. Of course, I also wanted to do something that I loved.
I’ve been a singer and performer most of my life. I got my BM in Vocal Performance, but soon enough realized that I enjoyed teaching music more than performing it. While in college and graduate school, I taught voice lessons to middle and high school students, so it was an easy choice for me.
Why did you decide to start your business in your home?
As far back as 2008, I was thinking about opening a music studio. I even researched commercial spaces all over Austin, but none of them fit what I was looking for or were affordable enough at the time.
Prior to starting Nine Muses Studio, I had turned my front room into my own private studio, so when I decided to start a business, doing it at home was the most economical option.
Upon arrival, my students walk right into the studio, so it doesn’t really feel like they’re in a person’s house. The space is used only for professional purposes. Plus, if a student needs to reschedule a lesson, I’m already at home. It’s convenient.
When did you know that it was time to quit your day job?
There came a time when I could no longer accommodate more students because of work. I realized that if I didn’t quit, I would possibly be sacrificing the future of my studio. That was the tipping point for me.
What’s been the biggest surprise as a business owner since starting Nine Muses Studio?
Summers are dead! I didn’t quite realize how the flow of business would change once school was out. Kids often go on vacation with their families during the summer months, or their parents decide to take a break to accommodate summer camps and other activities. Learning how to handle seasonal changes has been important since starting my business.
Was the decision to start your own business one you made on your own?
Yes and no. I had already thought about teaching voice lessons prior to meeting my now husband, but he didn’t know until later in our relationship. I told him straight out that I would not start Nine Muses Studio if he didn’t support it, but he’s been great throughout the entire process. He read over my initial business plan and now comes home to young students singing their hearts out in the house. He never complains, and I’m so appreciative of his support.
How did you find your first clients?
I started with Craigslist and still get a fair amount of students from those postings. I also send out mailers to every choir, music, and theater teacher at every school in town. I mail promotional materials each spring and fall to coincide with students’ school schedules.
One of my goals is to eventually become a referral only business, which would help me come into contact with more students that have serious musical aspirations. The more dedicated they are to their singing abilities, the further I can take them.
Do you think your location has affected your business in any way?
Definitely. Austin is a musical city and has many local bands. As of now, only a fraction of my students are in bands, but having so many musically minded people in this town has helped with finding students.
My students also have a wide range of musical interests, so I’ve been learning more about styles outside of my own classical background. I have students who love techno, hip-hop, rock, and of course, country.
I considered opening a music studio while living in both Los Angeles and Dallas, but Austin has given me the ideal backdrop for my business. I plan to be here for a long time!
Has your past job experience influenced or taught you anything about being a business owner?
I once worked for a woman who was great at networking. I, on the other hand, am more of an introvert. I realized by watching her, though, that no matter your business, networking is key for success. I was also lucky enough to work with a hugely accomplished entrepreneur who made a point of telling people to do what they love. His words absolutely motivated me, and I still have a wonderful relationship with him to this day.
What advice would you give to other individuals wanting to begin their own startups?
Don’t wait until you think you know everything about your business. Just do it. At the same time, you have to have a love for wanting to learn more.
Though I’m a classically trained singer, I’m open to teaching every musical style. I quickly realized that to be a great voice teacher, I had to embrace what my students wanted to learn.
All musical forms are legitimate, but if you don’t do it right, you can quickly ruin your vocal instrument. I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.
For more information on Nine Muses Studio, call (512) 354-6228 or visit ninemusesstudio.com.