#1
Hello,

I work everyday at a local music store for 38 hours a week for $11/hr. I have decided that I really want to pursue teaching full time (guitar), but the problem is I have NO CLUE have to transition safely to having enough students to make ends meet. I teach a few students at the store I work at, which is a start. I have a background of teaching in high school and college and am well liked by all of my students and parents.

Again though, how the hell do I get there? I have confidence that I could obtain 30 students, which is what i have determined would equal my current salary. I just have no clue the best way to transition without going into poverty. Should I look for a job with better hours? (I currently work from 9-6 BLEHH) Has anyone here ever dealt with this transition, or anyone have any tips? Thanks as always!
#2
You'll probably have to burn it at both ends for a while. I'm trying to make a similar transition into making most of my income in performance and teaching. Making any kind of big career/lifestyle change takes a ton of effort. If it's something you really love doing, it won't feel like much of a burden. Exhausting maybe, but not burdensome.

And depending where you live, you can probably charge more like $40/hr for teaching. I make "only" $34/hr but that's because my employer finds my students for me.

I would also say that if you have reliable full time job with benefits, hang on to that. Pursue your non-music career as far as you can in 40 hours a week. Your limit is time, not energy, so don't waste one job trying to accommodate the other. Working a regular 9-5 was actually the best thing that ever happened to my music career: no surprise shifts, gig nights always open, no goofy late/early hours, reliable income, full benefits... I wouldn't think about shifting gears until you actually have a solid move to displace a lot of that. If you're in the USA, you risk losing health insurance below 30 hours a week, and that's a pretty big thing to leave to chance. There's no sense in working 70+ hour weeks between two jobs and getting benefits from neither.

Plus, many of the people you'll be dealing with as a teacher -do- work 9-5, so they'll be taking lessons in the evening anyway. 
Last edited by cdgraves at Apr 14, 2017,
#3
I have never made a dime teaching guitar. I'm nowhere near good enough to even consider it. Therefore, every word of advice I'm about to type is relaying information I learned from other people who ARE skilled and talented enough to teach and who have been successful at it. 

1. I've known a few guitarists who earned part of their living through teaching, but they all also made additional income from session work and paying gigs. 

2. Accumulating a roster of students is usually a slow process, and a never ending one. There are too many students who quit after a few lessons. 

3. Teaching in conjunction with a music store, leasing a room for lessons as a contractor, is usually a safer business model than teaching in your home or renting office space somewhere. From what I've been told, there are more than one business model for teaching at a store. Some stores hire the teachers as employees or 1099 contractors. Others have arrangement like hair-dressers, where the teacher pays a cut from every lesson taught to the store, but the store helps book the students for the teachers. 

4. What cdgraves said has a lot of wisdom. Paying gigs are usually at night, though session work (if you can get it) is usually during business hours. Chances are that most of your potential students are in school Monday through Friday daytime, so you'll be doing a lot of teaching in late afternoons, evenings, and weekends. 

None of those things I mentioned should talk you out of teaching. But they are things you should seriously consider.