{CBB 36} How We’re Holding Ourselves Accountable

Episode 36: How We're Holding Ourselves Accountable | Creative Business Breakdown Podcast

A few days into 2019, we are still feeling super EXCITED (one of the words from our mantra!)and motivated when it comes to the goals we’ve set for ourselves, both personally and professionally.

In Episode 36, we are sharing how things are going so far, and the various ways in which we are holding ourselves accountable for the big goals we’re working to achieve this year.


 

Get our goal setting and tracking resources (and much more) by joining the Music Therapy CEO Project for just $12/month. All of the details are right here.

{CBB 35} Goal Setting for the New Year

Episode 35: Goal Setting for the New Year | Creative Business Breakdown Podcast

Happy New Year! We hope 2019 is off to an amazing start for you. We spent the second day of this new year setting business goals based on our new mantra (which we shared in Episode 34), and this year’s goal setting day looked and felt a little different than years’ past.

So in Episode 35 of the podcast, we are sharing how we approached the creation of our 2019 goals, how they are related to our mantra, what we learned through this process, and some other surprises that came up along the way.


 

If you would like to learn more about our mantra creation and goal setting processes, this is a perfect time to become a member of the Music Therapy CEO Project. Get all of the details right here!

{CBB 34} Our Mantra for 2019

Episode 34: Our Mantra for 2019 | Creative Business Breakdown Podcast

2018 is almost over! We’ve been very intentional about how we have spent the last couple weeks of this year, and we had a fun chat all about that for the podcast.

This episode is airing during the week between Christmas and New Year, when we’re in full-on prep mode for 2019. Before the ball drops, we wanted to share how we are wrapping up 2018 and getting ready for a fresh start.

In Episode 34, we are also sharing our mantra for 2019. We’ve been creating mantras to guide our business for the past 4 years, and they have proven to be incredibly effective in helping us streamline our work and mindset. We are SO excited about our mantra for the new year! Listen in to find out what it is.


 

Do you set a mantra at the beginning of the new year? If so, we would LOVE to hear what it is! Drop us an email or message us on social media to let us know. And don’t forget to check out the Music Therapy CEO Project, because for the month of January we are sharing some awesome resources about goal-setting and mantra creation.

We wish you the happiest New Year, and can’t wait to continue growing and creating with you in 2019!

Until next time,
Rachel & Katey

{CBB 33} 2018: Our Year in Review

Episode 33 - 2018: Our Year in Review | Creative Business Breakdown Podcast

Each year, we create a mantra for our business. 2018 was no exception, and our mantra for this year was “Expansion, Flow and Joy”. These 3 words played a huge role in all of the decisions we made, projects we pursued, and culture we cultivated at Music Therapy Connections.

As we near the end of 2018, we wanted to reflect on how the impact all 3 of these words had on every aspect of our business throughout the year. Listen to Episode 33 and find out how we expanded, flowed, and found joy in 2018.

In this episode, we also share how our mantras from years past continue to have a positive effect on us both personally and professionally. We’re looking forward to sharing our 2019 mantra with you in the next episode!

Until then,
Rachel & Katey

{CBB 32} Finishing Out the Year Strong and Prepping for 2019

After Thanksgiving, the remainder of the year usually feels like a race to the finish line. It’s a month filled with events like our big winter recital, company Christmas party, last class session of the year, and all the other things that come with the holiday season.

Keeping our heads in the game — AND keeping our team motivated — is no easy task. We would rather be curled up in front of the fire watching Hallmark movies than planning our marketing strategy for January, mapping out content for an entire year, and having business meetings as usual during these final weeks. 

But we know that putting in the work now will help set us up for a strong start to 2019, so in Episode 32 of the podcast, we’re talking all about how we do just that.

Listen in for tips on how to stay motivated at work during the holidays, how you can plan ahead for January, and how you can make the most of this season even while being focused and productive.



In this episode, we talk about the Music Therapy CEO Project: our new monthly subscription that provides you with the resources and tools to help improve your CEO mindset and move to the next level of business ownership.

For just $12/month, you’ll receive MT CEO materials (including videos, worksheets, sample documents, and much more) in your email inbox on the 1st of each month. Join us now and set yourself up for an amazing start to 2019!

See you inside,
Rachel & Katey

{CBB 31} Our Boss Vacation (And Why You Should Take One, Too)

Episode 31: Our Boss Vacation (And Why You Should Take One, Too)

It’s truly amazing what a few days away can do for two business owners with a whole lot on their plates. Our boss vacation couldn’t have come at a better time, and spending it on the beach in Florida was the perfect way to disconnect from our daily lives, focus on completing our new project, spend some quality time together, and above all, enjoy some R&R.

As we discussed in previous episodes, this trip has been on our list of goals since we first became business partners back in 2014. It took 4 years to actually go through with booking it, but our inaugural boss vacation was worth the wait and will most likely become an annual occurrence!

In this episode, we’re spilling the beans on exactly how we spent our time in Clearwater Beach. We also talk about the planning process, how we made it happen financially, and the effect it had on us both personally and professionally. If you are thinking about taking a boss vacation yourself (and we think you should!), then hopefully this episode will provide you with the extra motivation to go for it.

We’re ALSO giving you the full scoop on the Music Therapy CEO Project, our brand-new program which combines a 5-credit CMTE course with an entire year of guidance and resources for music therapy business owners. We couldn’t be more excited about this new offering, and we’re looking forward to really diving in with our participants after enrollment closes on Friday.

If you have been thinking about enrolling, or want all the details, go ahead and click here for everything you need to know about the MT CEO Project. If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment here, contact us via social media, or send an email to info@musictherapyconnections.org. We can’t wait to see you inside!

Until then,
Rachel & Katey

{CBB 30} How Our Business Runs When We’re Away

Episode 30: How Our Business Runs When We're Away | Creative Business Breakdown Podcast

As we get ready to head to Florida for our “boss vacation” later this week, we can’t help but celebrate the fact that we are both able to physically step away from our business at the same time…while it continues to run without us!

This definitely wasn’t always the case, though, as we discuss on the podcast this week. For years and years, our business was only profitable when we were personally working with students, clients and groups. Katey and I were the only service providers (in addition to doing everything else in our business), so every sick day, holiday, or vacation day meant taking a financial hit.

The first big turning point was in 2015, at which point we had brought on our first part-time team members. In the episode, we talk about how it felt to both be away from the business at the same time while services continued to be provided in our studio. It was an amazing experience!

Since then, we have taken massive action and put systems into place so that we can take time away from MTC (often at the same time) while our team members keep the ship not only afloat, but THRIVING, in our absence.

We are so looking forward to sharing our boss vacation experience with you later this week! Make sure to follow us on Instagram for updates throughout the trip. No doubt, we’ll come back with plenty of material to share in future podcast episodes!

Until next time,
Rachel & Katey

{CBB 29} Why We’re Not Going to Conference

CBB Episode 29 - Why We're Not Going to Conference | Creative Business Breakdown

It’s been several months since we last recorded an episode of the CBB podcast, and it feels so good to be back! Thank you so much for your patience as we waited for the right time to return, as we’ve been going through lots of changes and growth in our business.

This seemed like the perfect opportunity to release a new episode, since it’s conference time in the world of music therapy. And for the last many years, the two of us have been amongst the 1,000+ music therapists in attendance at AMTA national conference. This year, however, we will not be heading to Dallas with our colleagues from all over the country.

We did not make that decision lightly, as conference is always such a valuable and enjoyable experience. But based on the needs of our business in this particular season, and taking into account our current goals, we’re sitting it out this time around.

We wish everyone who is attending #AMTA18 an amazing conference, and look forward to hearing all about it! In this episode, we talk about what we’ll be doing instead, and why we are so excited about our alternative plans.

It definitely feels strange not to be preparing and loading up our exhibit booth materials this month, and we have to admit that there is a little bit of FOMO going on as we see social media posts popping up related to #AMTA18. But, we are confident in our decision and looking forward to what is in store for us.

Are YOU attending conference this year? Why or why not? Let us know, and fill us in on what you’ve been up to in your business this fall. You can leave a comment on this blog post, or head over to our Instagram and continue the conversation there.

Until next time,
Rachel & Katey

{CBB 28} Generating Extra Income

Episode 28 of the Creative Business Breakdown Podcast

“What did you learn from this?” is a phrase I heard repetitively during my childhood and is a lesson that has been preached to me throughout my entire life. Growing up, I have memories of coming home from school excited to share an assignment with a grade of 98% and having my dad respond with, “Do you know how to fix your mistake for next time?”.

“What?!? My mistake!?! What about all of the things I did right?!?”, I asked myself. Of course my parents celebrated my accomplishments, but they always encouraged my sister and I to take a critical look at what we were doing and the mistakes that we made so that we would continue to grow. My parents would sit with us and help us work through our mistakes one by one or have us point out what we should have done instead.

While I may have resented it at the time, I now understand that they wanted us to move beyond learning the material and memorizing the facts required for a single test or assignment and instead learn how to problem solve, plan ahead, and learn from our mistakes.

I don’t think I’ve ever fully acknowledged the impact of those sage words of wisdom until recently. As Rachel and I have been doing a lot of reflecting and business planning recently, we’ve come to the realization that being a business owner is really one huge test in the lesson of learning from your mistakes.

In previous episodes we’ve talked about some of the mistakes we’ve learned from already and the things we have done to implement change and how we’ve grown because of those decisions. A couple of those changes include pursuing new music therapy contracts with large facilities and completely overhauling our billing system. As we moved into 2018, we wanted to tackle another one of the big issues in our business: inconsistent income throughout the year.

Because our business tends to work around the school calendar, we run into the unique challenge of planning (and billing) contract services around their schedule. This means we have less income when schools are on spring/winter breaks or when they are out of session for holidays. Because this was a totally new process to us last year, we weren’t sure what to expect as far as budgeting with our new contracts and billing system.

While the clients in our studio all pay a tuition fee that is even and reliable throughout the year, our income from class registrations and outside contracts varies and from months to month. With a full year of these contract services under our belts, we now have a better idea of how to plan ahead.

At the end of December when Rachel and I sat down to plan out our goals for the year, we decided to also take a look at our year. We wrote down exactly were we anticipated seeing deficits due to holidays or fewer class registrations, and began planning our course, class, and product launch dates very specifically in order to make up for the lost income.

In January, we made a few huge decisions that we knew would cause a temporary loss of income in the business. At the end of the month we knew we were going to need to generate an additional bit of income to cover those expenses without taking a huge cut to our personal income. Again, Rachel and I sat down with our calendar. We met and created a very specific goal including how much we needed to make and by what date. We considered how many additional hours/resources we could put toward making that goal a reality. We came up with a plan and in the end exceeded our original goal.

If you are interested in learning more about what that plan looked like, be sure to listen to the episode. What I think is most important about this episode though, is WHY it worked. We used a pretty simple outline to achieve our goal. I hope you find it helpful in achieving all of your goals.

Set a specific goal by asking the important “W” questions.

  • What am I looking to achieve?
  • When do I need to have this completed?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • What’s it going to take?
  • What is my plan and how can I break this into smaller pieces?
  • Who is going to be impacted and how?
  • What resources can I put toward this goal?

Track your goal.

  • Physically track your goal throughout the process
  • Write it down (we use a calendar, a white board, and Trello)
  • Keep yourself accountable by sharing your goal

Celebrate your victories along the way.

  • Share your progress
  • See the value in what your are doing
  • Get excited & have fun!! (Rachel and I sent emojis in our slack channel every time we got a new sale!! )

We are constantly working to improve our business by learning from all of the decisions we’ve made in the past. While we’ve made some good choice along the way, we also know that nothing is perfect. As our business continues to evolve we will continue to learn from our mistakes in order to make changes, and move forward in all we do. We continue working toward new goals during every season in our business and strive to meet those goals through the 3 simple steps outlined above.

We hope you walk away from this episode feeling inspired to tackle a new goal or project!! Let us know what you are working on and how we can help!

Until Next Time,
Katey & Rachel

{CBB 27} A Look Back at 2017 + Our Mantra for 2018

Episode 27 | Creative Business Breakdown Podcast

I know we’re already a few weeks into 2018, but I don’t think it’s ever too late to wish you all a Happy New Year! We are so excited for everything 2018 has in store and to share more with you throughout this awesome adventure!

Most years, I feel like we have a lot of unfinished business when we are transitioning from December into January. But this year feels like a fresh start, and we couldn’t be more thrilled! We wrapped up 2017 really nicely and would love to share a little with you about our 2017 journey and goals before moving on to what 2018 has in store.

For the past few years, we’ve created a mantra where we highlight a few keywords that we want to use as our focus throughout the year. You can check out more about our 2016 and 2017 mantras and goals in previous blog posts.

Our mantra for 2017 was waste less, share more, and live our why. We knew that our mantra was absolutely perfect from the first moment we said it out loud. We ran with that mantra throughout all of 2017 and have a lot to show for our efforts. It wasn’t easy, but it definitely helped us focus on the bigger picture throughout the year and helped us to grow our business and ourselves.

Taking that mantra seriously meant taking a step back from the podcasts to really look at our business and our priorities. It meant taking time for self-reflection and briefly giving up one of the things we have loved doing in order to reassess our overall goals and figure out how to improve our business.

At the start of 2017, we were simply doing too much! We had our hands in everything, and it overwhelming. We were both feeling exhausted and torn in a million directions all of the time. We felt the need to reassess every part of our business. To give you a little more insight into the work that we did, let’s break down our mantra for 2017 and share with you a few of the ways that we changed our business.

Waste less.

Wasting less means so many things, but one of the biggest changes we made regarding waste was creating fewer physical products. We moved from creating CDs and binders every month for our classes to sharing MP3s and online downloads instead. We brought fewer physical products to our national conference and created a more cohesive product catalog.

On top of that, we did away with one of our websites and moved all of our products into one location. We also stopped making several products and moved toward creating resources that we felt better fit our business and helped move the needle forward. By making just a few changes, we have saved a lot of time, money, and energy.

Share more.

One of the biggest changes that we made was being more transparent with both our team and the families to whom we provide services. We’ve worked to be more honest, up front, and real about everything that is and was happening within the business. When we returned to the podcast, we also got more real with all of our listeners by sharing personal stories and providing insight about the hardships we’ve experienced in our business. Even though we didn’t share more physical products, we shared more throughout our community both online and in person by engaging in conversations and presenting to groups.

Live our why.

Over the past few years of working together, Rachel and I have had the opportunity to learn about our strengths and our weaknesses and really hone in on the things that we like to do, and have definitely learned about the things that we don’t like to do. We’ve grown our company and continued to strive to each do what we love. Finding balance and focus has often been a struggle, though. In growing our business, it’s been easy to lose track of the why behind what were are doing.

Through “living our why”, we wanted to bring intention back to everything we are doing. We have been in hustle and go mode for so long that we made it a priority to step back and figure out what was really important to each of us. We took time to figure out our whys and our passions and share them with each other so that we could start making changes in our business that align with our values. We have started to question absolutely everything that we do now, even down to the most trivial tasks in order to determine if they are really necessary to help us move the needle forward.

We have been searching for the why behind everything that we’re doing, and really trying to focus in on the things that will help us be our best, live our best lives, and go home happy.

Throughout our “assessment” we found that we really needed to give up a little bit of control. So that we could start living more of our why, we delegated some of the administrative tasks in our business and some of the smaller things to other people on our team. We created new roles and gained perspective from other people. We started taking a step back from the direct service aspect of the company and instead focused on what we both really want for ourselves and our company.

One of the big things that Rachel did in 2017 was gave up teaching lessons. She felt like she was spending too much time away from her children and wanted to be more family focused. I also started taking a step back from direct service so that I can find more balance and spend time with the people that I love.

2017 was a HUGE year of accomplishments. If we took time to list them all, it would take hours. Here are just a few of the highlights from 2017 that were due in huge part to our goals.

  • We received a steady paycheck every month of the year for the first time!
  • We saw explosive growth of our early childhood classes
  • We brought on one of our team members in an administrative role and expanded their position (She is a systems and spreadsheet goddess <3)
  • We did a little remodel on our second waiting room
  • We presented at both local and national events.
  • We launched new courses

As we moved into 2018, we definitely wanted to have a new mantra. This year’s mantra is:

Expansion, Flow, and Joy

I won’t go into too much detail for now, but we are so excited about this year’s mantra. In 2017, We got a taste of what it means to be truly joyful as business owners. We are looking to find more joy throughout 2018 and in all of the little things that we do. We definitely know that we are striving for expansion and growth in 2018, but we want to make it a more natural process and find flow in all we are doing. Muscle-ing our way through 2018 is the last thing either of us wants. We want to let it flow naturally and joyously as we strive for expansion throughout the year.

(Post-recording update: During the episode, we talked about interviewing possible candidates for a new position with MTC. Laura Tam has officially accept the position and we are excited to have her join our music therapy team at the start of February! Welcome Laura!)

We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment, find us on Instagram, or even send us an email. Let us know what your goals are in 2018 so we can support you throughout the year. We want to cheer you on!

Until next time,
Katey & Rachel