Finally Open for Business

. Posted in small Business questions


I can hardly believe Harmony Music Studio has been open for well over a month now. The last few months have been overwhelmingly busy and stressful, but the reward has far outweighed any hardship.

Really, I have nothing to complain about…my husband was so supportive and took it upon himself to be in charge of the main construction and sound - proofing….while I was in charge of equipment, furniture, and decorating. Doing most of the work ourselves allowed us to stretch the budget much farther and achieve a beautiful end result. Yes, we stayed up til- 3 many nights doing projects like wiring…but we had to make constant decisions like -buy new computers and software or pay a company thousands of dollars for the labor-.

Although we joke that we sold our souls to Lowe-s, our marriage is still intact; there were no major injuries during this project, and no construction catastrophes in the process. There are still small tasks, like setting up the technology in the large studio room and touching up walls, but we met our deadline and students began coming for lessons on Oct. 1.

Pleasant Surprises and Unexpected Challenges

The first few weeks of the studio have released several sighs of relief. Yes, there have been unexpected occurrences like the sink overflowing during a lesson (oops), but, mostly good experiences. The nicest surprise is how well the vision of the waiting is being implemented. I wanted to create an atmosphere that would draw the family in and not force parents to wait in the car or be in a hurry to leave. Parents have somewhere they can relax and the students LOVE the music games on the computer. Most of the students take advantage of any extra computer time and it is great to see this reinforcing what is taught during lessons.

The other huge sigh of relief is that all the research and extra work to sound proof the studio actually worked. Almost every company we spoke to said this was a hit or miss process. Since each space is different, we would not know if the materials we used would actually work until it was put to the test. We were dreading the possibility of having to open up the walls again to make changes. It is so nice to teach in an atmosphere where the kids can focus instead of being distracted by what is happening in another lesson.

Although, the studio is running quite smoothly during afternoon operating hours, the time during the day has posed practical and technical challenges. Learning time management is a daily challenge and a list of priorities has become my life-line. Between registering and scheduling students, keeping up with the software for the kids to play on, accounting, buying books for the students, making sure the materials are stocked, finding time to practice, and cleaning the studio before students arrive, there is never a dull moment in my day.

I feel a bit overwhelmed since I am also teaching in the afternoons and I have realized that not everything is going to get done. Then, in the evening, after the students leave, my husband and I work on the small projects that were left incomplete (lots of return trips to Lowe-s). This last week the business was finally starting to run itself a bit more; hopefully this is a sign that things will not always be so chaotic.

What-s Next?

So, what does the future hold for Harmony Music Studio? My first priority is ordering some of the Intuit software that I won to help me with accounting and setting up a website. I am also in the process of hiring a guitar teacher and one more piano teacher. My long term goal is to set up the large studio room for group lessons and small summer camps. I hope to design a curriculum for the camps and do a trial run this summer.

It is still hard to believe that I am running my own business, have a beautiful studio to teach out of, and have the opportunity to impact the lives of so many children in a positive way.

Ioana Sherman owns and runs Harmony Music Studio in Chapel Hill, N. C. She was the grand prize winner of Intuit's Small Business United Grant Competition and used her grant money to build the studio. View all posts by Ioana Sherman This entry was posted in Local, Starting a Business and tagged Harmony Music Studio, Ioana Sherman. Bookmark the permalink.
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