Why I started my company

| July 25, 2007 | 1 Reply

Enrique was a top-notch musician. He had gotten a music performance degree a few years back, and followed his passion into music. He played all over San Diego, and was the drummer for our regional-touring rock band, Across The Room.

One Saturday afternoon, the band had just finished an acoustic set at a sea-side coffee house. I was the band’s very bad lead singer, and I invited him to join me for a margarita (no salt). Enrique couldn’t go because he had to quickly pack up his drums, go fill up his tank, and drive 30 minutes to another part of town. He was giving drum lessons to a 12-year old at the student’s home.

An hour later, I was sipping the margarita (Patrone) when he got the call. Enrique had driven over to the student’s home, and no one was home. He waited, tried calling, but they were a no show. Frustrated, Enrique drove back to the Mexican cantina and ordered a double.

Enrique’s Struggle

There, I talked with Enrique about the music business, and the teaching business. He explained to me how difficult it was for him to find students, and for students to find him. You see, most of us who have a passion for music, dance, or another creative outlet are just beginners, and we have no idea where to go, what to look for, and how to learn. So, what happens is we order a DVD, or try to download some guitar tabs, get frustrated, and quit without finding our true artist within.

After we calculated the marketing, the flyers (hanging up at the grocery store), gas money, the no-shows, and the wear & tear on his equipment, we found that Enrique was making less than minimum wage.

I was shocked! Here was my good friend, my band partner, and an unbelievably talented and accomplished artist making less than a Burger King drive-thru worker.  He and his wife just had a new baby, and between changing diapers, working a second job, waiting for no-show students, and rehearsing to keep up his art, he barely had time to build his own business and find his own students.

What We Do

It was this day I decided to start the business. It was started out of a genuine desire to help creative people connect with each other. We didn’t have the funds or people to blow out an entire active social network, and we would have wrestled with the cold start problem even if we did. So we built slowly – one user at a time.

Over the past 20 months, we’ve matched enough students to fill a football stadium. These people not only create online friends, but real-world connections. And while that’s all good (especially with no financial backing), we’re looking to take our business to the next level.

Most music and creative sites are chasing the artists who are really good, cut albums, and need to market themselves. This makes up 3-4% of the entire body of creative enthusiasts. What we do is give a home to the other 96%.

While it’s much more glamorous to be associated with a rock star, we feel there is a bigger unmet demand for the dude trying to figure out how to string a guitar.

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Category: Entrepreneur Insights, Music, Start-Ups

  • Johnny

    wow – that’s a cool story. Keep up the good work.