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110: How to create an online music business with Julia Termeer

This week I speak with Julia Termeer who is a violin teacher and the founder of the online music business violin school Julia’s Violin Academy.

She is also the author of the Amazon bestseller “The Ultimate Book for Violin Beginners”.

Her website Violinspiration.com shares easy violin tutorials, sheet music and inspiration to help people all across the world to learn to play the violin with joy.

Listen on to find out how to create income as an online music teacher.

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Show Notes:

Debbie:  

Hey everyone, thank you so much for joining us today. I’m here with Julia. Hey Julia, how are you? Hi there. Thank you so much for joining me today. So can you tell us a little bit more about you and why you live in offbeat? Yeah,

Julia: 

Thank you so much for having me. And this is actually really exciting for me because this is my first podcast interview ever and I love to listen to podcasts myself. So thank you so much for having me today. It’s so much fun to be on the other side.

Debbie: 

That’s amazing. I’m so glad that I’m the first one.

Julia:   

Well, the story of me starting my own business didn’t really start with the idea in mind from the start that I would live this offbeat life and build an online business. Actually, when I was very young, I always loved creating. So I was always creating songs for my school at the time. Or I will say even creating songs about homework. I was organizing workshops. I always like to create and organize my things and when I first read about online music business on the Internet, I was like, wow, this is such an amazing opportunity to create things and share it with a much bigger audience.

Because until that time, I’ve just been creating things for myself or maybe for my friends or created songs that I shared with small groups of people and then actual this big opportunity to actually start sharing on social media and to reach a much bigger group of people. So it actually started with the idea that I wanted to share my creations on the Internet to really contribute and not only create for myself, but also to contribute my creations and to have a purpose.

Debbie: 

It’s really incredible what you’ve done, Julia because you’ve taken your passion and you’ve made money from it and a lot of people, I mean that’s a dream come true, right? Especially for a creative person, for a musician, anyone creative people think that you’re going to be a starving artist. But we are at a time right now that because of the Internet we can really make money as we’ve never been able to before.

Julia: 

That’s definitely true. I feel like the Internet is an amazing opportunity, especially for creative types and I do believe that all of us have a creative spirit in them. Everyone can relate to feeling creative, especially as a child. Everybody likes to create, right? Everybody likes to draw something or to create something and yeah, I think this is an awesome opportunity to ignite that passion or I don’t know how to say that in English and to actually like create or, make a living out of it.

Debbie:   

Let’s go back to when you first had the idea and then when you wanted to start your own company and business, what were the first steps that you actually took it over?

Julia: 

When I first started my business, I actually just moved to Germany and I was starting an offline violin school actually at that time and at the time, I was reading a lot about marketing and how to market my offline school. And this is actually when I first stumbled upon the idea of building an online music  business and while I was at it, I was like, Oh yes, this is amazing. This would be an amazing way to spread even more of the things I’d like to create. So when I first started and read the article directly, the day after I started my youtube channel and I started to create my first video. So that was how I started. I started my youtube channel.

Debbie: 

How did it go from having a youtube channel to now having your own online music business?

Julia:

It has definitely been a long journey. It has been four years ago now since I started my youtube channel. And yes, it started with me posting tutorials and actually it was quite overwhelming because it felt like I needed to do so much in order to build a business that I’ve had in mind or that I envisioned for myself. And I was just reading like one step at a time. So creating a website, learning how to create websites, then learning how to do SEO and youtube and how to grow my social media. And after that, it’s creating ebooks, writing ebooks. So it has been a lot of little steps. And there wasn’t one secret thing, but just day in, day out, just working. And each day I was asking myself what is the most useful thing I can do right now to make this dream happen? And that was something different every day.

Debbie:    

And that’s the greatest thing about people like you, Julia, is you don’t stop. You keep going and looking back at everything, it was those little things that led up to the big things that are happening to your life right now. So sometimes it can get really overwhelming to look at other people’s lives and see their successes and you have to realize that they started with nothing like all of us, right? We started with nothing and then we kind of snowball from all of that because of all of the different things that we do, and now look at you. Four years later you have this incredible business and you have an online music business that was impossible to do before.

Julia:   

I think that also relates to always feeling like you have to have this special idea or the special fancy trick or something like that, but it is just really simple. It’s just very normal human beings, that are building an online music business. There’s nothing special about us other than that we really take action to try to realize our dreams. I think you can relate right? When building a podcast like the most important things is just to do something every day. You don’t need to take the perfect action, but most importantly is to do something.

Debbie: 

There’s nothing really special about any of us guys, it’s just a lot of hard work and dedication and really focusing yourself on your craft and making yourself better. Obviously, we all have some sort of talents, but if we don’t use it then it will not go anywhere.

Julia: 

I loved how you said to focus on your craft because that is basically what it is, right? If you do something day in, day out, you will automatically become better at it. And if you want to become an online entrepreneur, you don’t need to know a fancy trick. You just need to practice being an online entrepreneur every single day, just like my students need to practice violin, there’s no better way to become good at something than to practice it.

Debbie:

Absolutely. And You keep getting better every day. There’s going to be failures along the way, but it’s going to allow you to learn in the long run. And also make sure you stay tuned for the extended interview with Julia because she’s going to be talking more about how she started her online music business. So that’s going to be really exciting. So Julia, talking about failures, what has been the biggest setback that you have encountered?

Julia:

That’s a difficult question about this. I feel like there has been a lot of things that you’ve learned. Setbacks, little setbacks or definitely a lot of mistakes that I made.

I’ve never really felt any of these mistakes are setbacks because I always found something that I’ve learned from it or that it helped me to realize that I’m not doing something right. Maybe one of the mistakes I’ve recently made is that we just, we switched to a different payment provider in our membership sites. That is our main business is our membership site. Julia’s violin academy.

We accidentally deleted a part of our customer base. So that was definitely a big mistake and I was a little bit stressed out about this in the beginning. I was like, oh my God, that was like that big mistake because that was the same time that we actually got someone new on board.

But actually, in the end, it turned out fine and in the end, it was not a very big problem.

Debbie:

Well, you learned a very valuable lesson there.

Julia: 

If you think about setbacks there is no such thing as a real problem or something that will kill your business. There are of course things that can happen and you will lose a lot of income or a lot of opportunities. You can make a really big mistake, but in the end, I always have this deep trust in myself that I really, really want to do this. I feel this with all my heart.

This is not something I just do to make money and to then do the four hour work week, which by the way would also be a great idea for some people, but I already feel like this is more than just my business. This is my whole passion and I feel like a part of the way I want to contribute. So even if something goes wrong, I still want to continue. The spark inside of me. That is something that cannot go away with the loss of customers or income or any of the serious business.

Debbie:  

And you know what, Juliet, I’ve spoken about this before. One of the biggest things that are really crucial is having passion for what you’re doing, even if it’s not the actual craft, but maybe the process of what you’re doing. We’ll go a really long way because especially if you’re just starting out, there’s going to be a lot of setbacks that are going to be coming along the way. And if you don’t have any passion for what you’re doing for either the craft or the process, you’re not gonna last. It’s gonna fizzle out.

online music business

Julia:  

Yeah. And that is so important what you said, you need to have a passion for the process it is not necessary, that you need to have the biggest passion for the kind of topic you have your business about but, you do have to like being an entrepreneur and you do have to like that struggle. Do you know what I mean?

And I think we entrepreneurs, we all like this feeling of challenging yourself to do something that we think maybe we can not do. And I think to me, that is so similar to what my students feel when practicing the violin because as a violinist I know all about challenging yourself and I felt like this is just another challenge. Just like learning a musical instrument, building a business.

Debbie: 

Yeah, you’re so right Julia. So many challenges come our way and it’s also sometimes the endorphins you get from that. It’s just really exciting and you keep going and if you don’t have the mentality for this, that’s why a lot of people go back to their nine to fives, which there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. I’m so proud of those people that actually go outside of the box and try this.

Julia: 

I definitely believe so too. I think this is more for the adventurous kind of people that like to challenge themselves and learn new things all the time and to never feel secure in a way. On the other side, I have a lot of respect for people that go to normal jobs because I don’t know if I could do it because you need so much dedication to do the same thing every single day.

I think a lot of entrepreneurs would find it difficult to actually have a nine to five.

Debbie: 

Yeah, it’s true. It’s really funny. Yeah. Because a lot of people will look at our work and our businesses and say I dont know how you do it, and we say the same thing about them!

Julia: 

It’s just different challenges.

Debbie: 

Definitely different types of people in different types of challenges. How were you able to create income from the start and how do you continue to create income today?

Julia:   

At the start of my business, I was actually a freelance violinist. So I was playing music and bands and I would just earn money that way. So I was doing a lot of evening concerts and that was a lot of fun as well and that is how I initially made income. So as a freelance musician and then I also started teaching, so I got my freelance clients. So the first sources of income weren’t digital. They were just like freelance one to one or one to many in the case of a concert. But I wanted to get more digital income as well to get a sense of security that wherever I would go I could take this business with me.

And also I feel like if we have digital income, there’s a lot of more creativity involved because if you teach a lot, one to one, you will go through the same process with a lot of people. Whereas if you are creating online courses or books, you can create the course once and then have both the people that can benefit from it and you can actually get into a new topic. So it’s very exciting being a creator to create new things all the time. So I always like to go more in the direction of digital products. So at some point, I started creating ebooks. Then I was selling e-courses and now I have a membership site where it all comes together and there are books and courses on the site.

Debbie:

That is incredible because now it’s something that you can do from anywhere and a lot of my audience, obviously most of them will want to be able to do be location independent. How were you able to get the ideas for your courses and other digital products that are right for your ideal clients?

Julia:  

So for the people that are listening right now, if I were to start again, maybe I would make it more relatable, I would start with offering services again and I would find it really important that I can travel at the same time. I will just offer my services online.

So for instance, giving classes as a teacher on the Internet that is just the same as offline classes, so I wouldn’t directly start with online courses because I am a true believer of creating results with one or a small group of people first before getting into online courses. Because first, you need to prove that you can actually help people with the information you have. And to go through that process with a lot of clients will actually give you a very idea of what a course needs to entail. So actually teaching a lot of offline students or teaching a lot of freelance students. So, teaching a lot as a freelance teacher helped me to get a really clear idea of what everybody needs that is learning the violin.

Debbie: 

That’s a really great idea because then you will be able to find out what their problems are and then you can solve it by creating the e-course. So that’s a really good way to do it. And to also know if you have clients that want your services.

Julia: 

And it will both give you confidence and it will make you more proficient at what you are teaching. If you’re teaching courses, it will make you a more proficient teacher if you actually already know you can create results for your students.

Debbie:

What are the marketing techniques that you have used that have been effective for your business?

Julia: 

I think my main marketing techniques are one content marketing, so putting stuff out for free and especially in combination with search engine optimization, which is a completely another topic that would be too much to talk about. But definitely look it up if you are interested in doing content marketing. So content marketing is basically creating videos, creating blog posts. In my case, I created a lot of videos and I combined content marketing with opt-ins actually just like you are doing Debbie with your podcast. So content marketing and then combining it with opt ins. And in each piece of content, you actually offer an extra opt-in and extra for the subscriber. And then a lot of my sales came from email marketing in the end.

Debbie: 

That is such a great tool to use because a lot of people love content creation but they don’t know how to be able to get opt-ins from that. So we’ll talk about that in the extended interview as well.

Now let’s look forward to 40-50 years from now and you’re looking back at your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you want to be remembered for?

Julia: 

I think this is a really difficult question and I think what is really important to me is to live from a place of love, maybe that sounds really weird and spiritual or something like that right now. But what I mean with that is that I want to create like in business and in my life, I want to live from a place of really caring for other people and for my environment and at the same time also receiving love from my environment. So I feel like that is most important to me in my life, that I want to love and be loved.

If I imagine my business growing further, this is also what I would like my clients to get, which is a really positive experience where they feel really seen. And that I’m spreading positive vibes in the end to the world. And another thing that I’m really, really fascinated about is to give back with my business. This is also one of the reasons I’m really motivated to grow my business, is to actually be able to share a part of my income with people that are not as fortunate as me, that are maybe not born in Western countries and had all the possibilities in the world and really affected by group called effective altruism and this is a group that are spending their lives in the pursuit of doing good in the world. And I would really, really like to be a person that does that.

Debbie: 

Yeah. And that would be the biggest things that we can definitely do is not just do good for ourselves, but also for other people and to spread whatever happiness and good fortune that we have as well. Not just money wise, but also with what we’ve learned now.

Juliet, if someone’s listening to this, and they want to do something similar to what you’re doing in your business, what would be the best piece of advice you can give them?

Julia:   

It really depends on where this person is because I really feel like it’s different for everybody. It depends on if they already know what they want to do or if they have no idea yet. Could you tell me what’s kind of person you have in mind?

Debbie:           

Somebody who is a creative musician like you and they also want to maybe do online music business because they want to be able to live and work from anywhere.

Julia: 

I think the first thing that is important if you want to start an online music business and if you are a musician and want to teach on the Internet, I think is to grow an audience. Because without an audience you don’t have anybody that will find you or see you or that you can sell anything to. So I think the first step you need to take is to build up an audience. And I think especially in the music space, youtube is the place to go or any kind of video content because that is where you can teach most easily. So that would be the first step to take.

And I also think I would tell that person there’s no one right way or no one secret way. If you really want to do this, you will find a way, that is the whole idea that if you will take a little step every day you will do this. And of course, you need to be a little bit smart about it. So you do need to find ways to reach people and to actually build products. But if you are doing both of that, I think you will be moving in the right direction.

Debbie:           

Of course, we are going to dive deeper into this in our extended interview.

Julia are there any current projects that you are doing right now that you are most excited about?

Julia:               

One thing I’m really excited about currently is that I just organized my first violin camp/retreat. We actually rented a castle in the Netherlands and we are holding a camp there for all our members. We are meeting up there for a week of offline violin playing. So I’m really excited that and meeting my members in real life and also just for this new experience because it’s the first time and it has always been a dream of mine.

Debbie:   

You’re going all out! Your first retreat and it is in a castle! If our listeners want to know more about you where can they find you?

My website is www.violinspiration.com. And if they want to sign up for lessons with me, if you want to learn the violin, you can find me at www.juliasviolinacademy.com

Debbie:  

Thank you so much, Julia, for joining us today. I really appreciate all of the tips that you gave us.

Julia: 

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

Listen to the extended interview with Julia where she shares the step by step tips to starting your own business.


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Show Credits

Audio Engineer: Ben Smith


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