From Underdog to Business Entrepreneur: How This Music Instructor Increased His Income by 150% in Three Years

After having his work hours cut during the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to take his career into his own hands.

Shane Calkins is a music instructor located in Ontario, Canada. After having his work hours cut during the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to take his career into his own hands. He now works for himself as a self-managed musician and guitar teacher making 6x his 2020 income. 

A Sudden Change in Plans

Two years into his university career, Shane took a role as a third-party musical instructor at a music store. He immediately loved teaching students. Sharing his love for music and seeing his student’s passion grow with every lesson made teaching an extremely fulfilling career for him. But above all, it was a safe and secure job…. that is until the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suddenly Shane found himself no longer teaching his students and losing a considerable portion of his income due to the lockdowns. For Shane, this abrupt change in his reality was devastating. “I was pretty scared when the pandemic hit, and I could barely make ends meet. That fear really hit when we all found out how long this pandemic really would be,” Shane tells Seshhub. He had fully imagined his future for the next five years, none of which included a massive pay cut. 

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

As daunting as becoming an entrepreneur seemed, Shane had his back against a wall, so he decided to take matters into his own hands and make lemonade out of lemons. He started posting ads on Facebook and Kijiji as a music instructor offering guitar lessons online, but this quickly snowballed into something much bigger. “I was posting ads exclusively for the Ottawa area, but then I had a eureka moment. I thought, since everything was online, why don’t I extend my reach to all of Ontario?” Effectively utilizing the digital world, Shane began posting ads and reaching out to people all over Ontario, then all over Canada, and eventually the rest of the world. In 2023, Shane has increased his 2020 income by almost 150%, and he has more time to explore other aspects of his passion.

“I have so much more control over my life and income now that I work for myself. I spend a lot of time teaching my students and building more organic relationships with them and their parents, but I also have more time to create individualized lesson plans that suit my student’s unique learning styles,” Shane says. “Aside from that, my personal life has been thriving. I can now take on more performance gigs, post more videos on my YouTube channel, and dedicate quality time to my loved ones.” 

Looking Forward

With all the success Shane has achieved in the last year, Shane shows no sign of slowing down. He currently has a lot of plans to grow his business. Some of these plans include developing his website to become a more robust reflection of his brand and services, selling more downloads, and of course, reaching more students. 

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