This Is A Voice

Singing teachers talk business!

September 24, 2021 Jeremy Fisher and Dr Gillyanne Kayes Season 3 Episode 2
This Is A Voice
Singing teachers talk business!
Show Notes Transcript

We're talking business, singing and marketing with founder of the Speakeasy Cooperative (SECO) Michelle Markwart Deveaux

We share what happened when Michelle coached us in our own business (Vocal Process), and the two MAJOR decisions we made that have turned our lives around.

We find out

  • The main reason why it's difficult to make your singing studio work financially
  • Why marketing yourself is essential in these days of the internet and the Pandemic
  • Why "nicheing" is better than "all genres, all ages, all levels" to get more (and better) students
  • Why being on the internet DOESN'T mean you have to go global
  • The difference between local and global, and which "brand" we are and why

The Vocal Process Learning Lounge
https://vocal-process-hub.teachable.com/p/the-vocal-technique-learning-lounge
Vocal Process's...
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The Speakeasy Cooperative and FaithCultureKiss studio  https://thespeakeasycooperative.com/
Michelle's...
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Michelle:

They're gonna get to your site, and they're gonna be like, okay, that's great that you can do all that, but can you help me? And if it's not clear that you can help me, then nine times out of 10 that's that three second decision where they're like, I'm just gonna go back to the Google, you know, back browser, go back to the Google search and find a site. And maybe the next site is like, blow, you know, be able to scream metal and make the most extreme sounds, it'll be amazing, then at least, you know, no, not for me. You know? And then maybe the next person, what do you actually, what does that person want to do with their singing and YouTube too, because YouTube and Pinterest are also search engines. So you know, what, what is the question they're asking? And this is, again, this is why it's hard to be a person in the arts and then find out Wait a second, I spent fucking years learning how to be good at my art. I have invested my life, my heart, my soul, my brain, my body into what I do, and now you're telling me I have to learn this entirely new skill set called business marketing. Well, fuck that noise.

Announcer:

This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.

Jeremy :

Hello and welcome to this is a voice Podcast Series 3 Episode 2 and we have a special guest today. Oh by the way on Jeremy Fisher

Gillyanne Kayes:

Gillyanne Kayes

Jeremy :

Dr Gillyanne Kayes and we have a very special guest today. This is Michelle Markwart Deveaux. And she is the owner of FaithCultureKiss studio and the founder of the Speakeasy Cooperative, and I just want to talk a little bit about your byline. "Simplify your life, reduce your effort and avoid mistakes so you can diminish anxiety and increase confidence without being an asshat." Welcome to the programme.

Michelle:

Well, thank you very much. I love your jingle now. It's gonna be stuck in my head.

Jeremy :

Isn't it great? So the first thing we need to ask you, Michelle is what's in your mug.

Michelle:

What is in my mug? So I have actually a gift from a speakeasy member. Her name is Naomi. And she sent me Canadian kick ass coffee. And it is extra dark roast. And into that I put some vegan peppermint chocolate creamer.

Jeremy :

Okay!

Unknown:

Just a touch, enough for flavour but not for sweet because I don't like sweet coffee.

Jeremy :

Okay, great. Wow,

Michelle:

What's in your mug?

Jeremy :

in mine is coconut coffee. So it's a coconut cappuccino. Just very nice. We just got a cappuccino maker froth maker yesterday, so of course I have to have it.

Michelle:

It's so frothy. Your foam is beautiful.

Gillyanne Kayes:

It's fantastic. Late season Darjeeling!

Michelle:

Whoo. What's the difference between late season and early season?

Jeremy :

Expense...

Gillyanne Kayes:

probably developed more flavour I would think. Fair, so I have like an aged one. I have a question.

Michelle:

I have an answer

Gillyanne Kayes:

Particularly for Brits, Aussies, basically Non-Us and Non-Canadians. What is a speakeasy? And why the speakeasy co operative?

Michelle:

I did not expect you to answer this wonderful question. This is fantastic. So, of course, I can't remember the exact dates but in the mid 1900s. Basically, if you really look, you can go real deep into this, by the way. Long story short is a speakeasy was a place where during Prohibition, which is a time when the government decided that people couldn't do alcohol, which is like, like, that's going to work, right? And speakeasies were places where illegal alcohol consumption occurred. They were called speakeasies, because you often needed a password, you needed to like lay low, you didn't want the police to find out that you were doing the wrong thing. And so that's what they literally were, but culturally, they wound up becoming kind of these locations where business people, some evil and some not so evil, would come together and make decisions about their own lives. So it's very it's quintessential United States bootstraperie, which is neither. I mean, that's a whole other discussion, but um, it was a place often that represented people from all backgrounds coming together, people from all ethnicities and races coming together, and kind of fighting against the government in terms of how they were making, and selling and sharing illegal goods. So, you know, I just thought it would be a great name. Because there's also the double entendre of, at the time, when I started speakeasy, there was not as generous of an online culture that there is now I would say that the online culture has shifted. I do think that speakeasy has something to do like our group Speakeasy Cooperative has something to do with that. And you know, there's that double entendre of like speaking, easy, like saying your piece, being clear, being kind and respectful, while having difficult conversations or conversations about controversial things, which is what happened in speakeasies. So that's kind of a little snapshot of what a speakeasy is.

Jeremy :

And we should also say that, one of the ways that we know you is that you've actually coached us

Gillyanne Kayes:

Yes, you have mentored us

Jeremy :

You have coached us in business, which has really been really fascinating, and has had so many knock on effects, all of which are good.

Unknown:

Great, I mean I'll take that any day. Thank you for saying that. You guys are fun to coach though, too. Because I think because you were early on in your thinking about what you do as a business and a service. I think you're already so many steps ahead than some people that I get to coach in terms of like, I don't have to convince you that this is a business, it's more like our coaching conversations get to go to the third and fourth levels of those things very quickly. Because I'm not trying to like convince you that it's okay to market or convince you that selling is a thing that you have to do or anything you know it we get to get into a complexity that I very much enjoy. So I enjoy coaching you, come back anytime.

Jeremy :

I want to just share with some people who may not know exactly what you do and why you do it. What is the thing? No, I'll rephrase that. The thing that I notice about you is, first of all, unashamed... Music is a business, can we really be real about this music is a business. If music isn't a business, then you're doing it for fun, you're doing it for not much money, you're doing it for whatever. And I think that there's a real dichotomy between the idea of being an artist, and the idea of earning money.

Michelle:

100%.

Jeremy :

And I think it's one of the areas that you cover so well, which is to help people understand that they're in a business to start with, and then help them build it. So what are the things that you notice about people when they come to you, and they don't quite know where they are or what they're doing, but they want to improve What's going on?

Michelle:

I think mostly, it's interesting, because mostly people I mean, like you read the byline of the Speakeasy Cooperative a little bit earlier. I think most people start just being overwhelmed, overworked and feeling underpaid, right? So the problem that we want solved is how do I survive when I... how do I survive? And how do I shift from surviving to thriving? And another thing I'm seeing a lot lately is, you know, the pandemic completely changed the marketplace.

Jeremy :

Oh yes!

Michelle:

Completely. And when I say that, I mean, there's research being done about this, I read a couple, read a couple studies, and like the American Marketing Association, and all of that, and like the British Marketing Association to you. And where literally the way people's brains are approaching sales. decision making is changing because of being online for so long. And now there's a different sales conversation and a different set of factors that people are looking at when they're choosing to buy things. And it's interesting because historically, especially in the United States, and I would guess also for UK, you can like match up kind of these shifts in marketing and the way people buy with major worldwide

catastrophic events:

World War One, World War Two, the pandemic because it is a global event now that we're all interconnected via the internet. And it's fascinating. So right now I'm getting a lot we get a lot of people who are like I need more students. And I don't know how to market. Because the only way that they like you were kind of saying earlier, the only way that they've gotten students before is by word of mouth. But if people aren't in the same room to talk about you, you know, then there's no word of mouth. And yeah, we'd like to think that the internet offers the same level of word of mouth, but it just doesn't inherently because of the system that it is. And social media is a great place to get your name out there and to establish like your presence in the universe. But at the end of the day, is that testimonial real or is that testimonial something someone wrote up, put quotes on and then slapped a first name and last initial on, you know, and so it's when you're having those face to face conversations, or those, you know, one on one conversations where you know, and trust the person talking to you, that's when you can trust the word of mouth. So we're getting that, in addition to the fact that from time in ad infinitum, all of eternity, that the arts are a very specific place in economics, there are very specific place in the economic profile of the world. And they are always going to suffer from something called cost disease. And that is when a service will always start to cost more over time, but won't necessarily be in line with the demand of the need to rise that, raise that cost. So you, you know, I think I'm going a little bit off on a bunny trail here. But that's what people come to, to build any business coaching really is I'm overwhelmed, I'm stuck, I want to make more money. I need more. And I And that, to me means I need more students, because they're very much like one on one business model is what they want to do. And, and they're tired.

Jeremy :

I was gonna say, I think there's something else as well, which is I can't work any harder.

Gillyanne Kayes:

There's only so many hours in the week. Yeah.

Michelle:

So well, that's part of the problem with like a kind of a cost disease model. And with these micro economics is the only levers you can pull to make more money. You cannot create more a 30 minute I was just talking to my client and good friend Liz Jackson Hearns of The Voice Lab in Chicago, she and I were like having this great conversation on the phone. And she said, you cannot teach a 30 minute lesson in anything other than 30 minutes.

Jeremy :

absolutely, yes

Michelle:

Like you can't change a 30 minute or 60 minute lesson. So inherently in the one on one model, you are creating a non self sustaining business model. And I think sometimes we as voice teachers or service base, any service based industry, but voice teachers, especially artists, we don't understand that inherently, our business model will not succeed. Unless we are very savvy about marketing that service model and then maybe diversifying revenue streams. And all of that, like it, it is inherently going to be hard to run an independent voice studio simply because of economics.

Gillyanne Kayes:

Um, can I say something about what happened with us? Earlier this year? I think in a meeting with Michelle, okay, is that all right? You can always cut it out if you don't want it. I was just thinking that we had this meeting It was either January or December, at the at the end of last year where we were talking about, you know, where we were how we had been able to have a good year in the pandemic. And we wanted to see Well, how do we make it sustainable because you know, this situation is not going to last forever. And we all talked about this together. And one of the things that we had been, you know really enjoying was the sense of excitement and pleasure and the the positive feedback we were getting about the online teachers courses we were running. They were all new for the pandemic. It felt so good. And the feedback I have to say, it is phenomenal. The feedback we get on those courses was amazing. And you said to us Yeah, but you have to get someone else to teach those courses.

Jeremy :

I think your exact term was stop being precious

Gillyanne Kayes:

That's where I was going. If that's in that position in your business model, but but we said no but they love us. They love us and that's when you said stop being Precious. Yeah. And

Michelle:

I'm mean

Gillyanne Kayes:

You are Yes, you're a beastie boss. but I went away afterwards. And I thought, huh, because you feel a sense of responsibility to those clients that you want to give them your best. And actually, the teachers we've trained are great. And I thought, what really Michelle is saying, it's not a sustainable business model. You have got to create a sustainable business model. Otherwise, there is no legacy. And we want to leave something, yes, we want to make a difference. And you can make a bigger difference. If you're throwing something in the pond, and it you know, it ripples out to a whole load of other people, you're not out there pushing that stone and pebble around the pond on your own all the time.

Michelle:

Right.

Gillyanne Kayes:

You know, and I think we did that for 20 years

Jeremy :

20-something years, it was one of the biggest things I think that we took out of the session that we had with you. Because I mean, I threw two problems at you. And I said, there are two things that I just don't know how to deal with. One was, I am packing up books, when people order books, it's me that packs them up in the in the office and post them by hand, and I was a. too tired and b. I didn't have the time to do it.

Gillyanne Kayes:

Plus Brexit.

Jeremy :

Plus Brexit. And then we were having to get to have to deal with import duties and taxes and all that stuff. And you said, well, then don't sell them. And I went, Oh, that's a radical idea!

Gillyanne Kayes:

We got rid of them all. It was a joy, an absolute joy.

Jeremy :

And the thing is that all the books are available. They're all available on Amazon

Gillyanne Kayes:

Buy them on Amazon.

Jeremy :

So Amazon can do it for me. Thank you. Thank you. That was good. That was the first problem. And the bigger issue. And one that I've been wrestling with for years was precisely what we're talking about, which is I we have so many things available, and so many courses and so many downloads and training resources. And I don't know which ones to tell people about. There's so much that even I don't know which one to focus on.

Michelle:

Yeah

Jeremy :

And that was when we came up with this idea of the Learning Lounge. And for people who don't know about the learning lounge, there are over 500 videos in the Learning Lounge at the moment, 500 resources, and it's the last 15 years of the work that we've done at Vocal Process all in one place. And it's all accessible for a monthly charge. And the monthly charge is less than a singing lesson.

Gillyanne Kayes:

Quite a lot less, I would hope

Jeremy :

It's certainly less than a singing lesson with us.

Gillyanne Kayes:

Can I just say as well, this is something like Michelle, because I'm what really want you to talk about this. Yeah. Why can people be highly regarded, admired, fantastic at what they do? And still not earn much? How does that happen? What do you have to say about it?

Michelle:

Yeah, I mean, kind of harkening back to what I was saying just a few minutes ago, but I think there's a couple of things going on here. I think you have some systemic issues around art, and mindset, and the cultural relevance of art, in terms of accessibility, and in terms of how people want to pay for art, or, you know, not pay for art, you know, this, the performing arts and arts, again, is inherently full of costs disease. So you have these two things going on, you have a system, like a data driven economic system. That is that makes the the cost of the service increasingly more expensive. While the desire for whatever is being sold, might stay and usually stays pretty static. And so it costs more and more and more for someone to provide a service, it doesn't cost more to provide a good, you can always figure out how to make a good, like a product, for less money, you can always Six Sigma that thing. Six Sigma is a way that you make lean manufacturing, right? You can always come to a product and figure out how to reduce your... increase your profit margin on it. But the only way you increase your profit margin on a service is by increasing the cost of the service which might not line up with the demand of the market.

Gillyanne Kayes:

Yeah.

Michelle:

So you get to a point as an individual where you're like I gotta pay my bills and all the sudden some money looks better than no money. Because math loves - Hierarchy of Needs says, If I can't feed myself, if I don't have water, if I don't have shelter, I do not feel safe. And if I do not feel safe, then I start making silly decisions. So you have this real economic problem in just the business model. And then you have this mindset that goes with it. Plus, then you have the myth of the starving artist, that there's some sort of like, "if you're making money at this, you've sold out", which is "you should be doing it for the love of the art" kind of situation. And I'm always like, of course, I'm doing this for the love of the art, like, if you're questioning that, then maybe that's on you, and not on me. And also, you're probably just mad that I'm making more money than you. Right. So I think there's a couple layers. But it all starts with inherently, you cannot create more time in your week, therefore you cannot create more capacity. The only way you can make more money is to sell more units of time for a higher cost more often, that's the only way to increase the profit margin. So you can be highly regarded and not make more money. Because it doesn't matter you if you need to make a million dollars a year in order to sustain your business and your life, but you only have between the two of you 80 hours to sell 40 hours of billable time, you're gonna have that's gonna be a lot of money for each of those hours.

Jeremy :

Right, and then expectation does not match

Michelle:

it doesn't match, you will have to, you'll have to do some things right, you'll either have to, you will have to create the value, that, and the results that are in line with that price point. And then you will have to find the people who want to align with that brand, that value and those results at that price point in order to make your numbers. You put that in September of 2021. After a global pandemic, when especially if you serve professionals, they literally have no income. Who are you going to sell to? You're inherently going to sell to hobbyists, you're gonna sell to people who always wanted to sing wealthy people who always wanted to sing, but never had a chance. And now they have time, your your, your client, your ideal client, avatar, whatever you want to call, it is completely going to shift. So I think people, you know, I hope I know, this is a little bit roundabout way to answer the question. But I think that's just the fact that it's a question shows that we're not clear on where this sits in an entire economic system.

Jeremy :

I want to put that into context of what we've been doing for the last 20 years because we absolutely fell into that trap, which is we would create, we would create something and people would be really enthusiastic about it. And then somebody else would create something similar, that was cheaper. And then we'd go Okay, we can't compete with that. So we're going to create something new, and we just carried on creating new stuff and new stuff and new stuff for 20 years.

Gillyanne Kayes:

People in our profession are creatives, you know, that's what we do. And it's great. You know, look at our green screen here. This is just a few of the things that we've produced.

Michelle:

Oh, I love it!

Jeremy :

Okay, if people are on the podcast, and they're not actually I may or may not put this up on YouTube, but we have pictures behind us of all the books. Well, no some of the books that we've done. And in fact, just behind my shoulder is the app. So we have a number one app, which is the One Minute Voice Warmup.

Michelle:

I love it!

Gillyanne Kayes:

We love to create Yeah, you know, but then what happens is people are, you know, that they know who you are. People definitely seem to know who we were. And you know, then they're going oh yes those people are so great. Now,

Jeremy :

what is it they do?

Gillyanne Kayes:

what is it that I do with them? What do I get from them?

Jeremy :

We have so many things so many products out there so many courses out there so many things out there that people went "It's great what you do, but I don't know what you do."

Gillyanne Kayes:

What an amazing smorgasbord. Yeah,

Michelle:

yeah. And this I think this is really important to talk about in 2021. And well, it's been important to talk about since the internet started to be the way people find us and the way that we can sell,is decision fatigue is a real thing y'all. Like and if it, there's so much there's so many studies about, like how many pieces of information a person can bring into their brain. And then before they get overwhelmed, right, this is why in like, when they, you know, if you read about how to write a sales page, or like something like that, five to seven bullet points, always an odd number, never, ever, ever, ever more than seven. Right? And five is kind of that perfect number. That's not because that's because of research. It's not, somebody didn't just make that up. That's because about five pieces of information is what we can digest, to decide if we want to take it or spit it out. So when you have this gigantic smorgasbord of things, if it's at least not organised in a way that is easy for the consumer to make a decision about, then they just do exactly what you said. They just think you're fancy. And they're like, oh, my goodness, look at all the things that they made. I'm gonna go over here where it's easy, and I know exactly what I'm gonna get. You know?

Gillyanne Kayes:

Absolutely, Yeah, yeah, let's go and buy the tuna sandwich.

Jeremy :

Yep.

Michelle:

Yeah, it's, it's funny, because I read, you know, I read this. This was a while ago, but I read like this little anecdotal article about Subway, do you have Subway in the UK, it's a sandwich place. So how, you know, Subway, the whole point of Subway is that you go in there, and you make your sandwich the way that you want it. Right. But the relationship like they did it, they did this like little kind of data gathering survey thing around all their franchises. And do you know what they sold more of? The pre-made sandwiches, the one where they where people can just point and say, that's the one I want? Not the ones where you can I mean, you and I are the people that are like, okay, I would like one quarter cup of shredded lettuce, but not the big lettuce. Can you give me three tomatoes across this? I mean, you and I are the creatives, right? We're the ones that will create a new sandwich every time.

Jeremy :

Absolutely.

Michelle:

Most people when they are in a decision making, all they want to do is solve the problem with what sounds good at the time.

Jeremy :

Yep.

Michelle:

So, um, I often say listen, let's just start out with like three offers, like how can we turn what you have into three offers at maybe three different price points, or three different levels of entry with three different scopes, meaning like, what they do, what purpose they serve, and then talk about the overall benefit for all of these and then decide which one of these things is going to work best for the particular buyer. And that's where, I think in our coaching, when we were talking about the Learning Library, and the Learning Lounge. That was that was a way to organise all of your amazingness into one offer. So it wasn't Oh my God, I'm at Subway and like, how many condiments do I want on my pedagogy sandwich. But that's the sandwich I want. Or I want a workshop sandwich or I want a one on one sandwich.

Jeremy :

I want to go to own and go a little break it down a bit further for people and I want to talk about marketing, because marketing is a dirty word. You know exactly like we had 20 years ago, I you know, I don't market myself

Gillyanne Kayes:

I don't need to advertise.

Jeremy :

I don't need to advertise. And the thing about marketing. I mean, people have all sorts of techniques and all sorts of things. And it's really quite frightening for somebody who is running a voice studio on their own, and they don't even know what it is. I mean, in my mind marketing is simply having a conversation with people and telling them what you do.

Michelle:

That is a tactic of marketing. Yes.

Jeremy :

Oh, so give us a more

Gillyanne Kayes:

leading response.

Michelle:

For those of you who do not see Jeremy's face right now, he just was like bitch! He's like, Challenge accepted. Okay. So marketing is creating knowledge of your service or product in the market. That's it.

Jeremy :

Okay.

Michelle:

How we do that can go well or can go not so well.

Jeremy :

Absolutely

Michelle:

And then how that marketing leads to a sales process can go well or not so well. Marketing is simply letting people know who you are and what you do. If we want to do marketing well, then we're going to establish a level of trust likability and understandability. often called KLT - know, like and trust factor - in the market, right? So that the marketing becomes How can I communicate the problems that I solve the way that I solve them, and my philosophies, and my business's core values and the way that I show up in the marketplace effectively, so that people will enter into a sales conversation with me. A great way to do that build KLT, get your name out there, establish trust, and relationship is network marketing. Having conversations, building relationships, really solving people's problems in real time, this is personally my favourite way to market because I'm not interested in like, you know, like, people will ask a question, and then like, you know, someone will like drop a link, you know, and I'm like, I don't, that's fine. And I will do that occasionally. But if someone's asking a question, the best way that I can serve them, and also show them what I can do and who I am, is to just answer the question. And then if it turns into like, a coaching session over messenger or something, then I have to be the person responsible enough to say, Okay, now we're getting into, like, full on, this is taking some time, and we need to do a deep dive. If you are interested in having a further conversation, now is the time to book an actual session, no pressure, you don't have to do that. But I hope what I've given you has given you enough information, to at least get started on your own. And then when you're ready to move on, you have the link!

Jeremy :

that's great. And it's about it's a relationship, you're building a relationship. And if sometimes those relationships work, and sometimes people just run, or sometimes the person who is talking to you doesn't actually want a relationship with you.

Michelle:

Exactly.

Jeremy :

And that's really interesting, when you find that out, and you stop worrying about, oh, you know, what did I do to drive that person away? you didn't nothing to drive that person away! They didn't want a relationship with you in the first place.

Michelle:

Yeah, and there's a lot of reasons why they didn't want that, right. Like, you know, I'm really into believing the best about people even when they're an asshat. Because I, I really think at the end of the day, people are literally just scared to death, that they're not going to be able to pay their bills. And they're worried about what everybody else thinks they're worried about how they are perceived by other teachers, by other singers, they're worried about so many things. And, you know, part of that I've said it before, but, you know, part of that is just because we literally put ourselves into a field where we're all getting judged all the time, and people are telling us yes or no. So that mentality crosses over into a business setting. And it's not very helpful. It's not helpful to think you are always auditioning for everybody all the time. And that that person could reject you at any time. And that is both ways. Because here's the other thing, too, about larger brands. So brands like yours. Um, you know, I, I humbly say, a brand like mine is people will literally not want to work with us, because they're afraid that we're too fancy for them.

Jeremy :

We've actually had that comment recently, which somebody said, you know, you're frightening, because you know, so much.

Michelle:

Yes!

Jeremy :

But actually, when we work with you, you're lovely.

Michelle:

Yeah, it's, and you know, part of that is my own fault, right? Like, oh, apparently, what we're putting out there, the expectations we're creating, you know, with the way we talk, the way we engage is building kind of this belief around who we are and what we do. And I just got the feedback yesterday from someone even about Speakeasy. They said, Oh, well, all the people in speakeasy are really smart, and I don't have any degrees. So I can't join. And I was like, facepalm, because so many of our members don't have any degrees at all. Like we are all self taught. I don't have a degree in voice. Did you know that?

Jeremy :

No

Michelle:

Yeah, Gillyanne knows. I don't have a degree in voice. I have a degree in sacred music, but bachelor's, but my master's is in worship theology in the arts. I went to University of Northern Colorado for a couple years and musical theatre and vocal performance. I was a mess but the the point is like we are self taught, and we are highly competent teachers by using hey look products like what Gillyanne and Jeremy sell products like products like that teach us pedagogy and engage us and force us to teach in real time. One thing that I really love about products like yours and offers like yours and services, outside of the academic situation is that it is so much more real time. And it is so much more effective than a university education in terms of how to become a teacher. And I, because I know that if I have a pedagogy question, you know, now I now I teach teachers how to teach. But when I started out, having those that access to a non academic pedagogy environment, Meribeth, God, you know, rest her soul, having access to these things where I could bring a question about my 65 year old student and my 12 year old student, and, you know, my, my male voice change student, my female voice change student, you know, my professional student, all of the different kinds of people and voices and issues that came to me, I could figure those out in real time, where you're not doing that in a necessarily in a university situation, you're getting kind of like one type of student, you know, and that was totally like off on a bunny trail. But it's to the point of branding and marketing.

Jeremy :

It's an interesting one, because one of the reasons I think that we have been so successful and also stayed at the top of the field is because we can turn on a dime. Yeah, a new piece of research comes in a new piece of information, a new piece of knowledge comes in, and we go, do we do we go with that? Okay, yeah, that really makes sense to us. Okay, let's change what we do.

Gillyanne Kayes:

Could we talk about the whole thing of transitioning to online teaching, which is something that many people were forced to do during the pandemic, and quite a few, including us again, yay, we love this. We're staying here.

Jeremy :

Finally, the world has caught up with us.

Gillyanne Kayes:

And I know you've spoken about this, Michelle, and I'm some quite a lot of teachers have made that decision. Do you want to say something about that?

Michelle:

I feel a little bit vindicated. To be honest. It's awful. I'm an awful human. And so I've been teaching online for way before the pandemic, right? As many other as many of my colleagues have. And I, I feel like thank God, somebody figured, like, I'm like, so sad that it took a global pandemic, I really hate that it had to take something so catastrophic to kind of validate this way this delivery model. But I'm, I'm thrilled, because that means that more teachers will get to teach people that they're good at teaching. And more singers and performers will find the right teacher for them, so they can truly become agents of their own talent.

Jeremy :

I love that.

Michelle:

And I'm so glad that it happened. And I think now that people have kind of caught up to the tech technology side of it, you know, they're the other good thing. Good thing that being forced to go online did is it, you know, there were a lot of products and tech, things that were kind of in creation getting kind of pumped through, that basically were like, We better get on this deck. So now, there's like, a lot of technology you can use to do even greater things online, if you so choose that, in addition to a changing pedagogy, because it is a different pedagogy in my opinion.

Jeremy :

It is

Michelle:

Um, so I love it. And I think it's great. I have a so in my voice studio, I have both. I teach online and we are in a place where in the nation where we're in California, California has the lowest caseload, my particular zip code doesn't - is very - there's a risk tolerance that I'm comfortable with by having people in my space, not all people, but just a couple of people a week. And so I am going hybrid. And it's interesting, because the I think, I think the thing that's still everyone trying to catch up on is how to market differently. Because if you want to stay online, you're essentially unless you decide to stay local, right and you're like, I am a local Online studio, you're gonna have to market differently to a global market because 7 billion people in the world. And then let's say 500 million of them want to be singers? Well, I can guarantee you don't want to work with all those 500 million people.

Jeremy :

Not at the same time

Michelle:

Listen, how are you going to find the version of singer you want to work with? Right? And that, to your point about marketing, right is, that's where it gets hard, because the larger the pool, and you only have your hours that you're selling, right? Like you you have you are scarcity, you are inherently a supply and demand a very low supply business. Even multi-teacher studios, I mean, you can have 15 teachers, but if every teacher is teaching 10 hours a week, that's only 150 hours that you can sell, remember, 500 million singers, right? You still it's inherently a low supply business. So you got to get real specific on who you can serve, and how exactly you serve them. And the results that those people are looking for you are the person that can provide them. And it opens a whole other new door around marketing in terms of SEO, Search Engine Optimization, and what your website does and what a funnel is, right? Like what's the customer journey from knowing you to signing on with you like, and I think pre online teaching, that was a much simpler process.

Jeremy :

Okay, I want to I want to break some of this down for the listeners. There's a really interesting one. The first thing was my face when you said you're online but only as a local online business. I went why why on earth? Would you do that? Because when you are online, you literally have the world at your feet. And even 10 years ago, we were coaching people in

Gillyanne Kayes:

Australia Australia, Vietnam.

Jeremy :

Vietnam, all over the place, because people can can get at you.

Michelle:

So here's what I think is I actually think the local online business post, I mean, pandemic rate, I think it's a pretty viable thing. Because not everybody wants to have a global presence. There's some there, there's a mindset that comes with someone who wants to have a global presence. Right? Like we're crazy people, we we enjoy, like, I enjoy knowing that I have this connection with someone in the UK, that I could be like, I'm going in the UK, I'm going to call Gillyanne and see if I can come look at their beautiful house on their farm. You know, like that excites me, where I think we have a lot of voice teachers. They're introverted, they're more small, they're smaller people, they don't want a global presence. They just want their 20 hours a week, or they're 15 hours a week. And that's okay, having a micro business and I would dare say a nano business, which is like, less than six figures, you're the only employee in you know, air quotes, employee, you know, you're taking, it's all you that's 100% okay, and I think having a local online business is one where you say, We serve the needs of the people who are not who are risk averse to in person things. But we want to have that perception of closeness and realness, I could still run into you at the grocery store. And maybe you can create events, right? Like, we're gonna have a potluck at the park where that's a low risk tolerance thing to do. And everybody can get together or maybe like, do a singing event at the park, you know, or something like that.

Jeremy :

That's nice

Michelle:

And then, with a local online business, you can also do transitional, like hybrid teaching, where maybe once a month they come in if, again, if your risk tolerance is good for that. I don't, I'm not sure, I think part of the bad Well, maybe not bad, but part of the challenge with the online market is the assumption that it has to be global. And I don't think it has to, it is global, because anybody can Google you and accidentally find you. But you don't have to be global if you have an online business. If you don't want to be right. And you can be if you do

Gillyanne Kayes:

I think you've made a very good point. I think that's really interesting. I think that's going to be very useful for people to hear.

Jeremy :

There's something in a way the opposite thing, which is if you do want to go bigger than local, almost the first thing you need to do is to be able to decide what it is that you have.

Michelle:

Oh my gosh, that's, again, the larger the pool that you're talking to the more specific you have to be in terms of like finding the person at this end of the pool, and then that under the pool and over there and this depth of the pool. And because the people are all over the big pool,

Jeremy :

I think this is one of the things that people get really frightened about when they are moving into a slightly bigger arena. Yeah, but I've got to be available and match everybody. And the answer is exactly the opposite. You need to be really specific on what it is that you do, and then you will attract the people to you.

Michelle:

Yeah, what's so interesting, I love that you're bringing this up, because I think what it does is it shines a really big light on the difference between what you actually do versus how you market. Because again, the marketing isn't there, and the niching down and kind of the ideal client avatars and all of this, it's not there, so that you're saying no to people. It's not there so that, you know, you're putting a big x in front of every person that isn't exactly the 25 year old Tibetan throat singer who likes to knit and own six llamas like, right

Jeremy :

That was my previous life

Michelle:

that was a previous life. The reason Oh, and by the way, before anyone gets at me, I had a student like this. So this is a specific person, I am not just like appropriating Tibetan culture for my analogy. So just out there. Marketing is there in order for people to find you. So that because they have questions, that's how people find what they need, they ask a question. So they either ask the question to themselves, or they ask a question to a group, or they ask a question to the internet, or they ask a question to their library, or their high school drama teacher or their local unit, they ask a question, I have a need. Here's my question. And so with the marketing, the the goal is that we have the answer to the question, high enough up in any sort of ranking on social media, in terms of algorithm or in search engine optimization, that when they ask the question, our site, or our identity comes up as the answer. That doesn't mean that you say no to someone that you really want to work with that, you know, you can help that doesn't fit exactly that specificity. And, you know, I, I 100% hear you. But I have more than one ideal client, you know, and it's that fear, it's that like, but if I don't serve everyone, then I'm not going to get anyone. And it's like, well, the opposite is true, though. Because, again, back to the way our brains work. And the way that we're processing information, you can put this times 25, after the pandemic,

Jeremy :

Yep.

Michelle:

...all ages, all levels? That I am sure that that is, if I'm not very clear on what you can do, even if it's not exactly what I think you need to do, or I think I need pardon me, I will go somewher else to a place that is givin me an answer, even if it's no the exact answer I want. S great example of this is like so let's say you go to like local teacher, or like a small someone who wants to have a nano business, right, someone w o wants to make under six f gures, like they're c mfortable in that they don't w nt to have necessarily global p esence. They just want to t ach their 15 students a week, r ght? And you go to their w bsite, and they say, all g nres... teacher can do that, I am sure.

Jeremy :

Are you?

Michelle:

Well, I'll be generous and say, I'm Oh, sure that that teacher can, I mean, I can't do that.

Jeremy :

I can't do that either

Michelle:

But hey, there's got to be people out there. I mean, I'm serious, there's got to be better, you know, more prepared teachers out there than I that's fine, except the person looking for, for, for a specific thing that they want to do with their voice. They're gonna get to your site, and they're gonna be like, okay, that's great that you can do all that, but can you help me? And if it's not clear that you can't help me, then nine times out of 10 that's that three second decision where they're like, I'm just gonna go back to the Google, you know, back browser, go back to the Google search and find the site. And maybe the next site is like, blow, you know, be able to scream metal and make the most extreme sounds. It'll be amazing, then at least, you know, no, not for me. You know? And then maybe the next person, what do you actually do? What does that person want to do with their singing and YouTube too? because YouTube and Pinterest are also search engines. So, you know, what, what is the question they're asking. And this is, again, this is why it's hard to be a person in the arts and then find out Wait a second, I spent fucking years learning how to be good at my art. I have invested my life, my heart, my soul, my brain, my body into what I do. And now you're telling me I have to learn this entirely new skill set called business marketing. Well, fuck that noise. It is it resent, resent making.

Jeremy :

But, but, and, there is a thing here, which is people when they look at exactly what you're saying, they don't realise that in choosing in fining down, in finding their niche in finding something that they can focus on the other people will understand and get, what they don't realise is they will get students that match them better. And everybody wins. everybody wins

Michelle:

100%. And I think, you know, the previous thought about you don't have to say no, is for when you're still going, there's like a mountain, right? Like you're going up the mountain. Imagine me pretending to show people walk up a mountain, and there's a peak of the mountain, you're going up the mountain and you're still pretty scared, right? you're brand new to marketing, you're brand new to website development, you're not sure how to market you know, you're good at what you do. So you get scared. And there's that there's that scarcity mindset that tells you it's not going to show up for you. And so sometimes just for your own mental health, you have to say yes to things you don't want to say yes to.

Jeremy :

Been there

Michelle:

You know, like just, you have to decide which thing is more painful right now, not having the money in the bank and freaking out and tossing and turning at 3am. Or just like teaching this person that isn't perfect for me. You know, like which pain is worse, and many people because of again, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, money equaling safety factors in our, you know, in our economic system, they're gonna take the less than ideal client. But then as they get up toward that peak, that tipping point or rollover point, where they start to get more and more clients that they're like, Oh, I'm, this is exactly what I want to do these, it's working, then they get to the top of the peak, and the ball starts rolling down the hill, and they're like, now I understand, it's actually better for everybody, when I turn that less than ideal person away, and even pass them on to someone else. It's better for my reputation, it's better for my mental health, it's better for my friend, teacher or my colleague's reputation and their mental health. And it certainly is better for this performer.

Gillyanne Kayes:

Do you find that some singing teachers because it's very much what we think of as a freelance mentality. And, you know, we started off life as freelancers

Jeremy :

We still are

Gillyanne Kayes:

when you take every job that comes. Because you never know when the next one will come. So you have all these students? Do you find that some teachers in the studios are getting to that point, and they're reluctant to actually let go, in order that the ball can really roll? Because they're afraid that it's not going to keep on going?

Michelle:

100%? Yeah. And and I think that's a very, like, that's a real fear. You know, um, because, you know, the problem with feelings is that they convince us that they're also facts. So, what happens is, it's working, right? Like you're saying yes to every gig, you're running yourself ragged, you're taking every student and it's working, you're making the money you want to make, you're enjoying the reputation that you want to enjoy. It seems like it's working. So then you get to that place where I can't do like, I literally don't have capacity for this anymore. You say to yourself, right? And now you're like, but that's what has worked all the other times if I stopped doing that, causation versus correlation, right, like if I If This Then That, if I stop working like a hound, hustle culture, then then I will not have the reputation I want. I will not have the money I want. I will not just like because the only data set you have is hustle works. And I think that it's interesting. At the beginning you said like what kind of people come to Speakeasy like what do you have to work with? That's I could add that to the list is like just this is why we say personal development that leads to professional development, because it's breaking kind of a mindset of like you only have one data set that you're working on. And that's why this is scary. Because the only information you have is telling you that hustle culture works, and that charging low, you know, whatever it is, that is the old way, you have a lot of proof. And it's really scary to ask a person to be like, I need you to trust me, I've done this with a lot of people over a lot of times, I can give you a case study after case study of people who shifted their business model into something that looked like it shouldn't work, less work for more money, and more mental health? And more rest, like that shouldn't work. So there's that gap, there's that or that chasm they have to leap and that is courage. That is, requires a level of bravery that not every person has to begin with. And then Gosh, capacity, such diminished capacity right now and allostatic load. Because of the pandemic to on top of that, it's like it's hard to get people to take risks right now. Because there's so many things to be risk averse about that have nothing to do with our businesses,

Jeremy :

we can recommend taking that risk. We really can from experience

Gillyanne Kayes:

Well we had to

Jeremy :

Not only did we have to but it made sense to us. And we went okay, we'll do it. And it has really paid off. There is one little recording that I want to play, which we said we would, which is we had somebody talk about the Learning Lounge, our Learning Lounge, and I was so pleased with the way that she described it, I just want to play it to you. It's two minutes This is if you like this is what we sell.

Joanna:

I have to confess our Sunday morning two hours, I get about an hour in and then my poor brain just can't take it anymore I need time to digest which is why the learning lounge by dividing it down into sections. Honestly, it's utterly brilliant because it's giving me the opportunity to look at one section at a time. And so I'm listening to it, I'm watching you and your fabulous hand movements. I'm making notes in my journal because I my hand writing kind of girl. And and I'm doing it so all the different things that you say, "try this" so I'm actually making weird noises while I'm watching it. So I just wanted to say thank you. And the what's prompted this is that I've just been watching section six, which is the vocal fold hand movements and M1 M2. I am a vocal coach have been for 20 years and confident in my abilities as a vocal coach. However, I need to know more about how the voice works, which is why I'm on this course. And just that seven minute video, I've been watching it over and over and I've made my diagrams in my journal. And I've listened and I've watched Jeremy's hand movements and everything. And I've had massive Penny drop moments. So I stand by what I said on our last group meeting, please can we have a penny drop sign I might even make one for you. Who knows. But I just can't say thank you enough the Learning Lounge dividing it down into sections so I don't have to rely on what I remembered from the Sunday session because I won't be putting into sections. All of your hand movements just really, really helped me visualise what's going on. I'm writing things down. I'm drawing my own diagrams. I'm having a good go. I'm doing the hand movements with you Jeremy so I can feel what it's going like. And yeah, I've waffled on for 2 minutes 20. But just wanted to say thank you. I'm understanding as much as I can. I'm going at the speed that I can and I can feel the brain cell on fire. So thank you very much. See you all soon.

Michelle:

I LOVE IT! I love that person

Jeremy :

That was Joanna. And Joanna is on our accreditation programme. And one of the things that we do when we do our live trainings is that we call record everything and chunk it down. So that those chunks then go into another section of the of the Vocal Process hub. So what she's talking about is this multimodal learning, which I've been a fan of for so long,

Gillyanne Kayes:

and they get into the Learning Lounge because there are certain study guides that they have to do each month. Yeah. So that's what she's talking about.

Jeremy :

I mean, this is the thing that the great thing and I think this is the plus that people don't think about on on something like the Learning Lounge where you have such a huge range of videos and resources is that you can play it and you can replay it and you can do it in your own time and If you're awake at three in the morning, you can do it then as well.

Michelle:

Amen

Jeremy :

And it doesn't disturb anyone. So that so that was the Learning Lounge, we'll leave a link in the show notes. Is there anything that you want to flag?

Michelle:

Does that is that like, do I want to like talk about some stuff I sell?

Gillyanne Kayes:

Go on

Michelle:

It's funny. I sell, sell sell like it's a dirty word. SELLLLLL! Okay, um, well, I would invite any person, any person who's interested in what we were talking about today and making those shifts in an environment where people talk things out, they share ideas cooperate in order to make each other a rising tide lifting all ships. If that sounds interesting to you, and charming to you, then I would absolutely invite you to join the Speakeasy Cooperative, in the Speakeasy Cooperative, we also have a Learning Lounge. But it's much different than Jeremy and Gillyanne's. And I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but I think Speakeasy members even get a little happy smiley face

Gillyanne Kayes:

we Yes, yes, yes.

Jeremy :

They do. So the members get a little interesting package from us on the Learning Lounge.

Michelle:

Yeah, which I'm excited about. Thank you for doing that. And that's a great example of the cooperative part. There's a tonne of people in there who offer deals to Speakeasy members all the time. It's fantastic. Um, anyway, so that would be kind of your gateway, right? It's a very low monthly cost, you can come and go as you please. And then there's lots of information about like, where to start and the trainings to watch. And then we do, you know, three live events a month, there's tonnes of stuff in there so much, it's a fire hose, you don't have to do it all, hey, come for the training, stay for the love. That's what I say, right? And, and then if you're interested in kind of really doing a deep dive on your business, whether you're brand new, or you want to pivot. And you this is any voice related business, not just voice teachers, but we have a lot of body workers. And in there, we have a lot of academics who have side businesses that are around performing, you might be interested in the how to run your voice biz without hating your boss programme, which will start next year. And that goes from everything. Like we do everything in there, we help you do all of that. So it's like group coaching, and training and all of that in a very small cohort. And then, of course, there's one on one coaching that you can get at a reduced fee in the Speakeasy Cooperative. But I do have some very limited slots of one on one coaching. And I do have plenty of people actually in the UK, and they just drop in every once in a while. And that's great fun, too. So we are here to help you to answer questions. Also, if you're not ready to make an investment yet, FaithCultureKiss studio for voice and acting Facebook page, my blog, on the SpeakeasyCooperative.com there's lots of Oh, you should I always forget this, you should sign up for my newsletter. And that that is always mean just kind of thrown some nuggets out there to help people out with their business as well. So thanks for that. That's what I'm selling today. What are you selling today?

Jeremy :

we're gonna put all of those links in show notes. So all you need to do or people need to do when they listen to the podcast is go to the show notes, and all the links will be there. And we'll also put links to our own Learning Lounge so that you can find out more about that. And in fact, on the Learning Lounge, I said, there's more than 500 videos in there now. And I've made about 10% of them free. So you can get to see something from every single resource just by clicking on the link and scrolling down.

Gillyanne Kayes:

Yeah, you can have a good browse.

Jeremy :

You certainly can. Great. It has been amazing talking to you. Thanks for listening. We'll have to do it again.

Gillyanne Kayes:

Yeah. Thank you so much. I'm sure that people will want you to come back. Yes.

Michelle:

Oh, well, I would love it. Hi, everybody. I love you. You're fabulous.

Jeremy :

So we'll keep you posted. If anybody has got any questions for us or for Michelle, please go to Speakpipe.com/VocalProcess and recorders thing that we can play.

Gillyanne Kayes:

We could have some very interesting q&a is couldn't we?

Michelle:

I would love that. That sounds great.

Jeremy :

Yeah, that'd be great. Michelle, it's been a pleasure. Thank you very much.

Michelle:

Thank you.

Jeremy :

This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.