One potato, two potato, three potato, four… How many business ideas will it take before I score?
As an entrepreneur, I have started so many different businesses. I did everything from starting out as a daycare provider to running a preschool. From web designing to restoring photos and creating videos. From housecleaning to a corporate office cleaning service. From creating designer chocolates to publishing my first book which led to me becoming a book publishing consultant. From becoming a fitness trainer and swim instructor to becoming a health coach. And from teaching English online to teaching piano in my home piano studio. Yes it has been quite an array of undertakings. Some were more successful than others, but I never got rich from any of them.
The main reason why teaching English online did not work well for me, was the time difference. Living on the west coast of the United States in the Pacific Standard Time Zone conflicted greatly with communicating overseas locations, where most of the people are that desire to learn English. Locally, there are so many sponsored programs and English as a second language classes that people can attend that it seemed futile for me to seek clients in the United States.
“Every penny I earned for my travel security, I earned as a piano teacher.”
The last business I tried was teaching beginning piano. I turned a bedroom into a home piano studio. Finding students was relatively easy, with no upfront cost, by setting up a merchant account through GroupOn.
What started as just a way to earn the money I needed to at least start taking some trips, ended up becoming the business I was the most deeply passionate about. I absolutely loved it. And I was so good at it too.
Even though my playing skills are not what I would consider masterful, I knew music theory. My students were progressing nicely and I put my all into making sure that they got the kind of music education they needed in order to become magnificent pianists. Most importantly, I kept it fun.
When it became apparent to me that the business that gave me so much joy, was also a business that wasn’t going to be as mobile as I needed it to be, I actually felt like an idiot for not setting up a business that I could manage from my computer while on the road. Oh sure, I did a few test runs with some of my students to see what it would be like to give piano online, but it just wasn’t the same. I also know that a lot of piano teachers do very well creating online piano courses, but I just never to around to creating one.
I had to make a choice. Stay home and continue to teach piano, or travel?
I decided that traveling sooner rather than later, especially at my age, needed to be my priority. So, I consoled myself by believing that I could always go back to teaching piano once I’ve had my fill of traveling.
Before I called it quits, I set a goal to save $20,000, which I reached and actually surpassed in just under one year. At that time I didn’t know I wouldn’t need it. I didn’t know I would figure out another way. I could have started my travels a lot sooner if I had.
How much money is enough money?
Just enough in case something doesn’t go as planned while you are traveling.
It goes without saying that you need to have the means to eventually pay for your expenses. As far as having immediately available and easily accessible cash I suggest that you at least have cash on hand for transportation and food for a few days while you decide what to do. You will also need a credit card with an available balance to get a hotel room. It’s also a good idea to have the means to purchase a last minute airline ticket home if need be.
Some people get away with flying by the seat of their pants in hopes that everything works out. But, I think as we get older, we become a little more sensible about what it’s going to take to survive. Let’s face it, as we get older, job opportunities dwindle and it’s not like we can go home to mom and dad’s house anymore for them to take care of us until we get back on our feet.
Being responsible, independent travelers means having your own independent means to pay for your journey.
Is the way you plan to fund your trips working for you?
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