{CBB 20} The Summer We Didn’t Get Paid

CBB Episode 20 Cover

We are officially into Season 2 of the Creative Business Breakdown Podcast! AHHHH!!! We are beyond thrilled to be back, and cannot wait to share our stories and thoughts on so many juicy topics. Today’s topic is no exception. We are talking about something we’ve put off sharing with you for over a year.

We weren’t originally planning to tackle this topic so early in the season, but it felt super appropriate and timely after we wrapped up our morning meeting on Tuesday.

Every week, Rachel and I get together for a weekly meeting where we review our goals and financials. We talk about what needs to get accomplished, and we hash out some important details. We keep organized meeting notes and track all of our very specific goals on a huge white board that we update during each of our meetings. If you haven’t gotten into goal tracking yet, I highly recommend you get started and get specific!

Because of our goal tracking, we recognized during our meeting that in the month of August, we paid our team more than we had ever paid them before while still being sure to pay ourselves. That’s crazy talk considering what the past couple summers have looked like.

Summers in the past have been a rough time in the studio and are the very reason we made some huge changes and started tracking all of our goals very specifically. The past couple summers have been almost devastating for our business. We were literally trying to just make it from one month to the next. We have come so far since then and want to share with you the huge changes we made to make things work and turn our business around.

Before getting into things any further, if you haven’t already listened to Season 1 and you aren’t up to date on how our business came to be, take a listen to some of our earlier episodes you have the full scoop on where we’re coming from. We’re not going to take it all the way back in this episode, but we will rewind to 2 summers ago.

Summer 2015 was a monumental time in the life of Music Therapy Connections. Rachel and I knew that we had to expand into a larger space in order to continue growing the business and move in the direction that we wanted. It was a scary leap because at the time, it was just the two of us (plus one very new part-time teacher) moving into a space fit for a much larger team.

We were committed to renovating, furnishing, and filling 2,500 square feet of space all while Rachel was attempting to take some kind of maternity leave with her second child. Even though it was just the two of us in this space, we still had to pay our bills, which were growing rapidly.

Even with a small loan (the only loan we’ve ever taken as a business) we were working our tails off nearly around the clock and with very little financial compensation. At the end of the day, though, we knew we needed to be in that space and the growing bills lit a fire under us to grow our team and take on more students/clients.

We very quickly were able to pay off our loan and get ourselves paid as well. One of the best things we did to prepare for that summer was write out a specific action plan on how we were going to make the income we needed and set goals for when we would achieve those specific numbers. Writing out our plan helped make everything seem more manageable and helped us go into that crazy summer with realistic expectations.

By winter/spring 2016, Rachel and I had turned things, around but we were exhausted. We were letting things coast a little more because we both needed a mental break, and things were going fairly smoothy.

Then summer 2016 hit. Do you know what happens during the summer? Have you experienced this?

Families want a break from things. They go on vacations and kids want to do activities or camps and everyone wants some time away. That’s all fine and dandy, but we still have to pay the bills!

In the past, students not coming for lessons or music therapy sessions meant a drop in our income, but it was manageable because we didn’t have a team to support or huge overhead related to our location and business needs.

We made a huge mistake going into that summer by not taking the time to plan ahead. When all of our families wanted to take a break, we didn’t have the income to pay our team, our bills, and ourselves. You see, we used to have a different billing system where students were only invoiced for the lessons/sessions that they actually attended. At the end of the month they would get a bill that they would then have to pay.

That meant that when students took a break, our income drastically dropped. On top of that, we also ran into the issue of people simply not paying their bills which ate into our profits even further. For Rachel and I, summer 2016 is now referred to as The Summer We Didn’t Get Paid.

It was exhausting, draining, and disappointing. We had put so much love, time, and effort into everything about our business. Not getting paid for any of it was a huge letdown.

HOWEVER, it has led to some amazing changes that have since helped us have our most profitable year and summer yet. Looking back now, I’m so grateful for those months, because they helped us learn some valuable lessons and have given us a new perspective so that now every month we are paying ourselves we come from a place of gratitude and celebration.

Here are a couple of changes we made:

  • We uprooted our billing system and overhauled the way our families pay us.
  • We are firmly committed to the idea that we deserve to be paid for the work we do.
  • We learned to stick to what you know and what you’re good at.
  • We pared down the services and classes we offer in order to only offer our best.

Other lessons we learned that we want to share:

  • Go back to the basics. Decide what your business stands for and figure out what pays the bills!
  • When you do something solely for money it is less likely to succeed.
  • Track what you want to attract. Set goals and track them religiously.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but instead you have to focus in on the things you love doing and what’s moving the needle forward.
  • Focus on the positives and the big picture!

You Can Do THIS!
No matter what, you’ll figure it out!
No matter where you are in your business in life, please reach out to us. Let us know what you are struggling with or what you are celebrating so we can help you along your journey! We love hearing from you!

{CBB 19} Guess Who’s Back…Back Again

Episode 19 - Creative Business Breakdown Podcast

I cannot believe our last episode was in February! In so many ways that feels like both an eternity ago and also like it was just yesterday!

Episode 19 of the Creative Business Breakdown podcast is a quick mini-episode to share with you that we are coming back for a whole new season of the podcast starting in October.

We wanted to take a few minutes to share with you a few of the reasons why we had to step away in February and let you in on our “why” behind come back and really “why” we are doing the podcast in the first place.

When we finished recording episode 18 of the CBB, we had big plans to continue recording episodes but we kept putting it off. I was so sick the week were originally going to record what was going to be episode 19 so we put it off until the following week. That following week Rachel was sick. After that, one of us was out of town.

Week after week, things kept coming up and getting in the way of recording a new episode. It felt like there was never a “good time” to record new content. And honestly, the longer we waited, the better it felt. When we finally had a conversation several weeks after putting off a new episode, we made the decision to officially take a season break. It felt easy to take a break. It felt right.

Our break was not due to lack of content. We have several full outlines of episodes we still want to record and have a massive list of topics we want to cover at some point! We definitely still have PLENTY to talk about.

Closing out a season of CBB felt right because Rachel and I were both moving on to new seasons in both our personal lives and business. We both have been dealing with a lot of big changes all happening at the same time. We needed time away and some space to really process so we could come back to you fresh and excited share about everything we’ve experienced recently.

We are thrilled to be back!!! We started our initial conversation about coming back during a meeting in June but the timing still wasn’t quite right. Not only were we still in the midst of some big changes and processing some large decisions (including Rachel no longer teaching lessons ), Rachel and I simply weren’t in the same place. We were both on the go, with our families, performing, traveling, and working in our other business throughout the entire summer. Outside our weekly meeting, we didn’t really see each other over the past few months.

When we started talking about reviving the podcast for Season 2, we had a serious sit down conversation regarding “why”. Our theme for the year has been “live your why”. We’ve wanted to have a concrete why behind what we are doing in our business. The podcast is so different from our regular business and it’s not a source of additional income at this point so why do it?

We eventually came to the game-changing revelation that the podcast doesn’t have to have the same “why” as our business. We had built up a lot of unnecessary pressure around something that simply brought us both joy and relief!! That’s our why: because we like doing it. The general nature of our business can be so heavy. We are therapists working with people all day! We make huge decisions and work through seemingly never-ending task list daily.

This podcast is an escape. It’s a chance to debrief, catch up, share the lessons we’ve learned, and just chat. It’s a shift away from everything else we do. The podcast is our time to chill and take a break away from our daily checklists that keep our business running and talk about what we want! There are no rules for this podcast! We talk about the hard stuff, but in a way that makes it seem fun and real and I absolutely love it!!!!!

I’m so incredibly excited to share that the podcast is officially re-launching in October. We have so many stories we are looking forward to sharing with you soon! We’re going to be talking about some really juicy material in upcoming episodes that you won’t want to miss! Be sure to catch up on old episodes now and subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss anything.

Also, a huge thank you to all of you who have reached out over the past several month! We so appreciate all of the positive feedback we’ve heard from every one of you! Please keep sharing your thoughts, feedback, questions and comments. We love hearing from you and looking forward to sharing more soon!

Thank you for joining along on our journey!

-Katey

{CBB 18} Location, Location, Location

I cannot believe we are on episode 18 of the Creative Business Breakdown and celebrating 18 months in our most recent location.  Our business has gone through several different transitions and locations over the past few years as an LLC.  In today’s episode we are covering a little bit of the history of our physical locations as well as the reasoning behind why we have made the moves/transitions that we have.  We also share a few lessons we’ve learned along the way and where we want to put our focus moving forward.

To give you a little history, Rachel and I used to be two different businesses working from two very different locations.   Rachel was teaching out of her home while I was traveling to see clients in each of their individual homes.  As Rachel’s personal life underwent several changes (i.e. the birth of her first child), I was wasting a great deal of time and energy on the road and working out of my car.   Three years ago this February, Rachel and I sat down to discuss how we could more together more functionally and make the most of our time, space, energy, and unique talents. 

When we decided to form our LLC, we also took the leap into renting our first space.  Our first location was perfect for just the two of us.  We were renting a couple of studio rooms within a music store and using a large room within their building occasionally for groups.  With this new, set location we were both able able to fill our schedules by adding services and taking on new students.  As Rachel and I quickly filled every time slot we had available, our income grew but quickly hit a plateau.  There are only so many hours in the day and after filing those hours weren’t able to grow any further.  As we looked to our future goals for our business, it quickly became apparent that we would need a larger space that was all our own. 

When we were looking to find a new location, there were several things we had on our list of wants/needs.  We wanted a location with:

  • the opportunity to control/decorate any way we needed.
  • a seperate entrance for our clients
  • a large sign
  • several seperate small rooms
  • multi-stall bathrooms
  • a waiting area
  • a large area for groups
  • some sound proofing between walls
  • room to grow
  • natural light & windows

Being a music therapy business (especially one that works with children) presents its own unique set of challenges that can be a turn off to realtors.  When realtors hear that we are musicians they immediately red flag us for being too loud and disruptive to other tenants.  We had to be persistent in order to even get a foot in the door and needed to provide a full explanation of what we do and what kind of noise we really make.

As we looked at potential locations, we made a list of our top three.  Each location had a special set of circumstances that made it both the perfect location for us but also came with a series of challenges.

Location #1 – Pros: It was a brand new structure in the newest part of our community.  It was close to a highway entrance and had ample parking.  Because the structure was brand new we could build out the space in whatever way we wanted! Cons:  COST.  Not only was the rent higher because the property was new, but the cost of simply building out that location was astronomical and would have required a large loan.  Also, deciding how to build out a new building can be a daunting task.  For us it would have been especially challenging because we had no idea what our business would look like 3 years down the road.   The location was also a little too far from the center of town and could be isolating to some of our clients.

Location #2 – Pros: Cost.  This property fit perfectly in our budget. It had so many of the features we were looking for including a large group space and a few smaller rooms already set up the way we needed.  The location was also more central as well.  Cons: This was an older building that would have needed a little more TLC and could have some small structural issues moving forward. While the space was nicely divided, it would have required us to get creative to make the space function exactly the way we needed.  The entrance also led to multiple business spaces.

Location #3 – Pros: GREAT LOCATION with awesome visibility and a large sign.   There is a separate entrance for our clients and the rooms were all ready set up in a way that we needed.  Cons: We were concerned that this space would be too large and possibly out of our budget, but was on the border line.  The interior also needed updating, including new carpet and a fresh coat of paint on EVERYTHING!

In the end, we decided on location #3.  It has been perfect for us and we have very quickly grown into the space, filling every room several days of the week.  We’ve even been afraid that we would outgrow this space.  Before signing a contract, we negotiated with the owner regarding updates in order to keep everything within our tight budget.  He has always been splendid to work with and covered the cost of new carpet while we repainted the entire interior. 🙂

During the process of looking for and leasing a property, we learned several lessons that we shared throughout the episode:

  • Patience is so important. New properties come on the market every day!!  It is ok to take your time and wait for the right fit for you.
  • Location is everything!  We have gotten so many comments from the families we work with regarding how convenient our location is.
  • Having a separate entrance where clients can walk in the door, know where they are going, and feel at home from their first time entering our space was incredibly important to us.  Take time to figure out what you (and your clients) value and how that factors into what you need in your space. 
  • Having a business plan and goals can help inform your decisions when it comes to finding a physical space.  We are so lucky that we went with a larger space.  We had to have a serious conversation regarding how we wanted to grow.   Even though the space we were in felt massive when we moved in, within six months, it felt like we had perfectly settled in and filled every room.
  • A coat of paint and the right decor can make a HUGE difference.  However, you do not have to go into debt to create the perfect space from day one. Get thrifty, look for deals, and know that you can always upgrade as you grow.
  • Make the most of what you have and do what is right for your business.  Not every business needs a separate physical location. If driving to client homes is what makes sense for your business then stick with that. Decide what you NEED and what you are ready for before jumping into something that isn’t the right fit for you.   When it was just Rachel working by herself, she was most profitable when working out of her own home. What is going to be the most profitable for you?
  • Crunch the numbers.  What can you afford?  Have you taken into account all of the extra little things that you will need?  (ex. furniture, shelving, cleaning services, insurance, a sign, advertising, wifi, etc).  Are you leasing or buying?  Are utilities & maintenance included in your lease?  Get specific. Ask all the questions. And plan as much as you can so you know what to expect without getting in over your head.
  • It is ok to take out a small loan to open the doors to your business as long as you have a plan to be profitable and be able to pay off that loan and still pay yourself.
  • Be ready to walk away and say no.  Negotiate in order to get what you need.  Know what you want, stick to your guns, and stand your ground.  People will try to take advantage of you when creating a contract, especially if they know you are in love with the property/product they are trying to sell you. 
  • Ask for help!  If your forte is not reading contracts/negotiating or if you don’t know the right questions to ask, find someone who will go with you to look at spaces or who will help you work through an agreement.  I definitely had my husband take a second walk through of the spaces we were looking at so that we could get a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective.  I asked my family and friends for advice and what questions they would ask a realtor.  It is always helpful to have an extra person in your corner rooting for you and helping you stay focused on what you really need.

We say it in every episode and mean it from the bottom of our hearts: do what is right for you and your business.  Always make your decisions based on what you and your company need in order to help you live the life you want. Take time to ask yourself what you will need moving forward and be patient so you find the perfect solution. 

Until Next Time,

Katey & Rachel

{CBB 17} The Curse of the Creative: Taking On Too Many Things

CBB 17 Cover

We are both amazingly blessed as creatives as well as feeling cursed. We feel so incredibly inspired by everything around us, basically all the time.  We have ideas that pop up all the time and that come from every direction.  We want to have our hands in so many things and want to turn all of our ideas into profitable business ventures. It is like being on inspiration overload. When you have a variety of skills and want to explore new ideas and projects, everything feels like a possibility even though we want to be more intentional and focused during this year.  It can be incredibly challenging to say no to other ideas, find our focus, and prioritize what we want to/need to do because we have all of our different projects.

On top of having the tasks associated with the Creative Business Breakdown, our courses, our classes, and our brick-and-mortar business (Music Therapy Connections), Rachel and I also have our own individual projects outside of our joint ventures.  That adds up to at least a half dozen large projects/businesses each and we often feel scattered,  especially when we are work from home or in an office with other people where there are other people and tasks vying for our attention.  It is incredibly difficult to determine where to put our attention when there are so many different “hats”.

In today’s episode we break down some of the strategies we use when trying to determine where to put our focus and how we set our priorities.

  • Having a set meeting time with a set agenda – We got back to the sit down meetings we so enjoy!! Within a shared folder in google drive, Rachel and I keep all of our meeting notes where we keep a running list of all of our ideas, our assigned tasks, and what we need to be working on.  Our set meeting time also allows us to check-in and discuss if something needs to be addressed immediately or if it can be tabled for future discussion.  Our notes also give us a written document to go back to in the future.
  • Trello – Our shared (and individual) trello boards give us a place to brain dump all of the tasks that need to be done.  That means not only writing down the BIG tasks, but also breaking them down into smaller checklists that make sense for you.
  • Set deadlines – Even if a project doesn’t have an actual required deadline, creating a concrete deadline for yourself and sharing it with someone (i.e. an accountability partner) who will keep you on track can be incredibly helpful in achieving your goals and in a timely manner
  • Creating time and space to work – Set aside a set amount of time to actually work on what needs to get done and create a short (3 items max.) list of what you want to accomplish in that time. Be sure to have a space that is free from distractions so you can do your best work.
  • Decide what to do with new ideas – New ideas can be a big distraction during your set work time.  Do what you need to in order to stay on track.  That can mean spending a short amount of time working on your new idea or writing it down and letting the idea sit (on paper) for a while, until you are ready to come back.
  • Determine the Pros and Cons of your Project – How is what you are working on or what you want to work on going to benefit your end goal? Ask yourself where you really want to be an where your wants/needs intersect?
  • Write it DOWN!!! – I’ve said it dozens of time. Write down what your must get down and check it off as you go.  Pull out the 1-3 things that HAVE to get done and decide when to do them.
  • Use Your Energy and Motivation When You Have It – Keep your short list handy so that when you have the energy and motivation to tackle a new project, you can go at it with full force!

We tend to have a to-do list that is far too long and tend to have too many projects piled up at once.  We are challenging you to eliminate something from your list today and let us know what is working for you.

Until Next Time,

Katey & Rachel

{CBB 16} Getting Back on Track After a Challenging Month

Getting Back on Track After a Challenging Month // Creative Business Breakdown Podcast

This month has been a little bit of a doozy!!!  We have simply been trying to coast and move through the month day by day.  Between illness and travel, Rachel and I have been trying to simply stay on track and have been relying on each other to stay afloat and keep on the right track.  We started the year by outlining some awesome goals and creating our mantra for the year.  We’ve known what we want to get done, but life has gotten in the way recently.  We were so excited by our goals at the beginning of the year and ready to take them on, that when life got a little hairy, we started feeling a little disappointed and frustrated.   In today’s episode we talked about how were are dealing with the rollercoaster of life that we have been on and how were plan to take on February with a new mindset.

Even though life has been a little messy and we haven’t been putting in the serious hustle that we have in the past, we realized, with some further reflection, that in being able to take time away from work and being able to just let our business coast we ARE meeting some of our bigger goals. We recognize that we have put in place some awesome strategies and systems that are proving their efficacy as we’ve had to each step away this month for one reason or another.  We’ve been able to cut some of the waste in our business by simply cutting out the unnecessary tasks that have saved us time, energy, and money.  We’ve been able to share more of ourselves with our families and friends.  AND we’ve been able to live our why by taking time away when we want and need it.  Things have been running smoothly and without having to put in a whole lot of extra effort because of all of the work we’ve done in the past.

Even though we are definitely happy (a little proud) that we have been able to run on auto-pilot, we are definitely wanting to work more actively toward our goals and refocus our attention in the month of February.  In order to work toward those goals more effectively, we outlined 3 strategies that we are going to be reintroducing to our business and using more diligently, especially in the coming month:

  • Creating a Structured Plan by Assigning Tasks & Getting Specific in Trello – We want to set our big goals into motion by breaking them down into smaller, specific tasks that are achievable throughout each day, week, and month. Every time we take time to plan out exactly what we need to accomplish, we get it done and achieve our goals in a much more timely and successful manner.
  • Weekly Business Meetings – These are short business meetings where we can regularly check-in with one another, get on the same page, and figure out what where we need to be headed.
  • Chalkboard Method – Writing it down is the most important thing you can do in achieving goals. Simply be creating the space fro something to exist, you are creating the opportunity for it to happen and to be successful.  Creating something that is visual and trackable has been a game changer for us!  We talked a little about our chalkboard door in our facebook live video during our recording of today’s episode.

 

We’d love to hear more about how you are staying on track in both life and business and how you keep working toward your goals even in the midst of craziness.

Until Next Time,

Katey & Rachel

 

{CBB 15} Validation in a Creative Field

CBB 15: Finding Validation in a Creative Field

We are in a very creative, but also very clinical field.  Marrying the creative and clinical sides together can get tricky, especially when we spend time around other professionals doing the same job.  It’s so easy for Rachel and I to both lose our sense of validity both within our professional practice and as music therapists.  Today, we are talking about how we find validation in our daily work and own our legitimacy as business owners.

Music therapy looks so different for each setting and with each individual music therapist. Though we all have the same background, initial training, and competencies we have to meet, our individual skills sets differ as we continue our training/work and develop a unique set of personal assets. It is easy to get caught in a comparison trap or set up unrealistic expectations by trying to emulate our heroes and can feel frustrating when those ideals aren’t achieved.

Instead of letting our selves feel caught in the trap of comparison or looking to outside sources for validation, we are actively working to build ourselves up in what we do every day and finding what works for us. Here are some of the ideas we shared that could be helpful for you in your business and practice.

  • Realizing your specialty – It is perfectly fine to say no to certain work.  You do not have to work with every person or take on every project. Realize what you love doing and what you don’t.
  • Embrace what you are best at – Take stock of what you are and are not good at so you can play to your strengths and ask for help when needed.  What are you an expert in?What would someone else say are your strengths?
  • Instead of getting caught up in the “I should be doing” or “why am I not doing”, have a personal pep talk and recognize what you have been doing or are doing!
  • Save pieces of positive feedback to go back to (ex. emails, voicemails, notes, etc.)
  • Write it down – Keep a running list of the positive things you are doing, have done, and want to do.  Write down the positive things in your day. What is your big or small win for the day?
  • Mindset is everything!! Your mindset makes all the difference in your success and growth.  What attitude do you want to have?  How can you achieve that?
  • Share the burden – If you don’t have an awesome business partner like I do, find someone you can talk to, openly, about everything! You can solve so many problems by just talking out loud and sharing what’s on your mind.
  • Track your goals – Find a way to actually track where you are and where you have been. Seeing your progress is inspiring and helps you to keep progressing.

No matter where you are in life or in business, there is a way to celebrate your success and find validation. Celebrate your little victories and find ways to build yourself up every day! If you are still looking for some answers or ideas, check out our new course, Setting Yourself Up for Success.

Until next time,

Katey & Rachel

 

 

{CBB 14} Waste Less – Investing in the Right Tools

Investing in the Right Tools

Today, we are going a little more in-depth on one of the parts of our new motto for the year, “Waste Less, Share More, Live Your Why”.  We specifically want to talk about all of the waste in this episode and get really specific about the ways we are cutting some of the financial waste from our business.

We know for a fact that we have wasted a lot of time and energy on things in the past, but we’ve also probably wasted a lot of money as well. We’ve been scattering our precious resources in too many places and spreading ourselves far too thin by being involved in “so many” things and using “so many” incredible but unnecessary tools.

We know just how tempting it can be to subscribe to all of the amazing services out there, opt-in to all the courses, and buy all of the tools that will “help your business run more smoothly”. In this segment, we challenge you to take a closer look at your business, your purchases, and your decisions and see where you can cut the waste.

There are so many incredible products, services, and subscriptions out there that could probably enhance our business in some way or another, but we are saying no to most of them right now and trying to evaluate what the best tools are for our business RIGHT NOW.  Here are some of the main points we covered in our latest episode:

  • Weigh the pros/cons of each tool against the financial commitment and what you will actually be gaining. The $5.99 subscriptions seem tempting but add up quickly.
  • Investing in and using too many tools can create a sense of overwhelm and can get in your way within your business by being more of a distraction or stressor.
  • Easy to get excited in your new business and want to buy all the things. Create a Wish List of things you want. You may go back and find you don’t need those things after all.
  • You don’t need “stuff” to do good work or be profitable. Do the work and be your best. Use what you have for now and know that you can add more tools with time and without putting yourself in financial turmoil. You can operate without debt. There is a time and a place, a rhyme and a reason, for every tool but that doesn’t mean you need them right now.
  • Do not fall into the comparison trap. It’s so easy to compare your business to others’ in regards to size, tools, and where you are spending and how much money you are spending within your business.  You need to do what is best for your business in your own time.
  • Occasionally, Take stock of the tools you are using to see if they are still valuable for you.  We’ve been taking stock recently and realized there are some tools we haven’t been using.
  • There is No Magic Bullet. Your success isn’t so much in the tools you purchase but more in the work that you do and making what you have work for you.

Let us know what your essential tools are!

Until next time,
Katey & Rachel

{CBB 13} Our New Life-Changing Motto

CBB 13 Cover

Cleaning up from the holidays is almost like starting the year over with a clean slate. We take stock of what we have, put all of the old stuff away, clean up everything from the holidays and start fresh. In our business, we use the start of the year to hit the refresh button on everything.

We sat down for a long series of meetings the other day to review some of our goals from last year and hash out some of our goals and ideas for the new year (using two of our favorite tools, Trello & Google Drive). We’ve experienced so many changes over the past couple years and added so much to our business that we have been feeling scattered. We are working to find a better, more sustainable way to proceed with everything we are doing this year and in doing so we want to be really intentional with this year so we can find our flow.

We’ve heard the words “you do so much” repeatedly over the past year and, for a while, interpreted that phrase in a positive light. We’ve been so excited about all of our ideas that we’ve lost sight of some of our priorities and lost focus on what we really want/need. As we’ve taken a step back, we’ve seen that we are definitely doing too much and that we need to be taking a different approach and implementing new strategies.

Our motto for 2016 was “simplify, streamline, selfcare”. Due, in part, to this motto, we have achieved so much over the past year and took the time to first write out all of those accomplished at the start of our business meeting. We excelled in so many areas (even achieving a 5-year goals several years early), but also completely ignored parts of our business in it’s application. We’ve swept some big issues under the rug that need to be dealt with in a more hands on manner. We’ve already made some huge decisions this year and you’ll be able to see a few of those changes over the next few months on our website, in our products, and even in some of our physical services.

Even though we are taking a new approach, nothing big we are working on, none of our services, and none of our projects are technically going away. We are simply moving some things around, editing/streamlining some processes, and making things more succinct and sustainable so we can continue to move forward in our business in the best way possible. With that, comes our motto for 2017.


Waste less. Share more. Live our why.

Waste Less – Time, energy, resources. We only have so much time in a single day and are limited on physical resources as well, so we are working to be more effective with what we do have. That will mean making some serious changes and being truly intentional with what we are doing.

Share More – We are so excited about everything we have to offer that want to be better at sharing those things with you!! We don’t want to share an overwhelming amount of material with you but do want to share our best content, conversations, and more in a way that makes the most sense. We want to embody our true selves in all we do and break down barriers by sharing more of our personal story/selves along the way.

Live Your Why – What is the intent and purpose behind what we are doing? Busy seems to be the new, hip trend. If you need to be busy, be busy for a purpose. We want to do what aligns most with our why. That means asking the hard questions up front, determining the why behind what we are working on, and letting everything flow in the way it is meant to instead of forcing pieces to fit into place.

This motto is one we are trying to live in every aspect of our lives but also believe it can be a good fit for almost everyone. Please feel free to share our message, adopt our motto, and tell us your thoughts on the new year! Most importantly, determine the best motto for you and your business.

We’ve got so many exciting new things headed your way! Stay tuned for our new course coming out 1/17/17!! In the meantime, sign up for mailing list so you can get our secret episode, work through our free course, and get updates on new courses and free secret episodes as they come out!

Until next time,
Katey & Rachel

{CBB 12} A Year In Review

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How has Christmas already come and gone!?!  This year has absolutely flown!! We are still in the spirit though and holidays have us feeling a little nostalgic.  In today’s episode we are reminiscing about what this year has meant to us as well as outlining some goals for the New Year.

Oh 2016!  You have been a doozy. It’s hard to know where to start so I’ll quickly run down some of the big things we’ve been through and accomplished over the past 12 months. Here are the overarching themes that helped us make the most out of our year:

  • Before starting into 2016, we held the longest business meeting we’ve ever had! 10 HOURS…. We were starting the year with a team of 10 and did a lot of brain work in our meeting so we could make some big decisions and create a vision for the year. Everything felt like a hot mess at the beginning of the year and we both felt a little out of control. Out of that meeting came our game-changing mantra for the year: Simplify, Streamline, Self-Care
  • Self-care has taken a huge role in our every day life and work.  Rachel and I have held each other accountable for engaging in self-care on a regular basis.  That has looked different for both of us  and you can read more on our personal pages (Rachel Here and Katey Here)! However, we have read some of the same motivating books that we mention in this episode and about recommend to anyone. (“You Are a Badass” & “Big Magic“)
  • We have be working to create a shift in our mindset, trying tirelessly to adjust our thinking and perception regarding everything business and life.  Our mindset is the single biggest change that we have made & has had the largest impact.  Setting our values, living in abundance and appreciation, taking care of ourselves, and finding a new perspective and been LIFE CHANGING!!!
  • Simplifying and streamlining our systems has allowed our business to be more profitable.  We have found ways to save ourselves a lot of time and energy in a way that make a financial difference for our business.

Some of the specific events that took place in our year include the following:

  • We started the year by adding a LOT of new classes and then almost immediately got rid of all of them so we could focus in on what we specialize in within our company.  We cut a lot of programs so we could grow our business by focusing on what was working instead of further diving our attention and resources thus creating a strain on our business.
  • Rachel and I made the decision to not take on ANY new direct service work ourselves.  We have so much that we take care within the business. on top of all of our time spent with our students/clients.  We sat down and determined what our value was within the business and determined the most important things we need to be focusing on during the few hours we have available within our days.  Taking on new clients personally is unfair to our business, our selves, our employees and our students.
  • Our first intern finished her internship in March and we hired her on the spot! Since then, we have built a position from scratch that is now full time!!!
  • In August we started with our second music therapy intern.  She is continuing to document her intern journey in her Intern’s Corner blog.   We have learned so much being internship directors and love the experience.
  • We started a HUGE NEW CONTRACT with a local school where our team members provide music therapy services.
  • At the beginning of September we completely revised our payment system and overhauled our policies!  It has changed our relationship with our families and team members in the most positive way as well as creating consistency financially.
  • On top of everything else, Rachel and I went on a couple work road trips together which was an awesome new adventure!

With all of that being said, we’ve both been thinking about the coming year and what we want to see.  Going into 2016, we were both exhausted and burnt out!  The big goal for 2016 was to pull back, go back to basics, and simplify everything so our business could continue.  Because we’ve made so many changes throughout the year, we are feeling invigorated and ready to take on new and exciting things in 2017.

Rachel talked about her focus for the new year in the episode with the word, share.   Sharing resources, experiences, time with family, and more.  Giving more.  My word for the new year is intention.  I want to waste less (time, energy, money, etc) and be more present in the time and experiences I am a part of.  We are definitely on the same page with wanting to reach more of our potential and follow our passions within our work and individual lives!  Stay tuned for our next episode in the new year where we reveal our new mantra and get more specific about what this year will hold.

Wishing you Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year!!  

Until next time,
Katey & Rachel

{CBB 11} Growing Your Team

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Your team is the face of your company so talking about it can be stressful.  We’ve been talking a lot about our team and team members over the past few weeks and months as our business continues to shift and grow.  We’ve changed up some of the roles of our team members, added to or revised their individual roles, and are currently looking for another new team member.

Growing our team has required an immense amount of trust and a multitude of difficult conversations.  Coming to the conclusion that we need to bring on additional team members is never an easy decision and one that leads to asking a lot of questions.  Each time we’ve considered adding a new position, we’ve had to ask our selves the same serious of questions:

  • Do we have enough work to add another person?
  • Will this position grow?
  • Are we offering a position that anyone would want?
  • What characteristics are we looking for in a new team member?
  • What is their role going to look like?
  • How will this impact our business?
  • What will my role look like and what new responsibilities will I have as a business owner?

You have to determine within your own business whether adding a position or growing your team is the right step for you.  Adding a new position can seem appealing and exciting but with a team comes a huge new set of responsibilities and outcomes that can impact both your business and personal life.

We have gone through the process of adding a team member several times now and still have not perfected the process.  However, we have learned a lot along the way and shared a few of those lessons in todays episode:

  • Adding a team member starts with a a mental shift.  Abandoning the “I can do it all” mentality can be incredible challenging and requires a great deal of trust in order to allow someone else to share in the responsibility.
  • We’ve reached our applicants through a variety of methods including social media, indeed.com, our big sign, and our website. We’ve also used some non-traditional methods to customize our search.  When we were looking for our first lesson instructor we contacted local music colleges around graduation time to inform them of our new position.
  • Crafting our vision for our team and revising as we go have been essential in moving forward.  We have revised roles and continued to sculpt our team as we go based on what we have already learned and continue to learn every day.
  • Deciding what we want to specialize in or want to be known for has helped us to find the right clientele and teachers.  We have limited our services to a select few so that we can focus on highlighting them
  • Spending time with our team members and figuring out what their specific skills and hidden talents are so team members can do what they love and enjoy.
  • Keeping an open dialogue so we can all grow together.  We try to show our team members that they are valued by having an open door policy, sharing experiences with them, and talking regularly.  We try to have a positive attitude throughout our office and be proactive in solving issues as they come up.

No matter where you are in your business, determine what the best fit for you is in the moment and know that it can always change.

Until Next Time,

Katey and Rachel