Recently, I sorted my sleeping pattern. Out of bed at 7:30am on the dot. It was rather nice actually, while it lasted. I miss that.
So here I am, it’s 4:18am on 12th March 2012. My first proper blog. I might as well start with what’s keeping me up until this ludicrous hour in the morning.
For the past 3 years I have been first and foremost a full time drum teacher. I run a drum school called the Midland Academy of Drumming (MAD – aren’t I clever!) and during this time I have taught well into the hundreds of students. While I fully enjoy teaching and intend to carry on, I’m starting to discover that my interests are starting to shift quite heavily towards the glamorous world of entrepreneurialism.
It all began when I founded MAD in late 2008 with my friend and mentor Andy Edwards. All of a sudden I had dived head first into the world of business with no idea where to start or what to do next. So I did some research, I set up a website, promoted it, and the students started coming. Within a matter of months I had optimized the website enough to be receiving a surprising amount of new bookings that kept me very busy. The whole process was truly fascinating and the concept of self employment was (and still is) a massive buzz for me. Knowing that I get out what I put in, and that I can be my own boss is the kind of freedom that I imagine many people can only dream of.
Now, just three years on, the Midland Academy of Drumming is one of the busiest independent drum schools in the West Midlands.
About a year ago while the drum school was ticking over very nicely I decided that sitting and watching the world go by wasn’t for me. I was doing 30+ hour weeks. I was earning a pretty comfortable living. I bought a nice car, I kitted out my drum studio and all was rather dandy. But I didn’t want to be repeating the same routine day in day out any more than the guy that sits in the office from 9-5 every day repeating the same menial tasks, no matter how much better off I felt. I’m reminded of a quote by one of my favourite bloggers Steve Pavlina:
Excessive routine is the enemy of intelligence. Exposing yourself to the same types of input over and over again won’t help you grow. You’ll merely satisfy your mind’s expectations instead of pushing it to form new patterns.
I definitely did feel in a far luckier position than most people in that I was able to a job that I enjoyed that did involve a fair amount of creativity. However, I still had to feel like there was more to come; I needed something to be excited about. I had the bug.
So I began considering how I could expand my business and take it to new levels. I began brainstorming and came up with a few interesting ideas, but the main thing that let every idea down was getting it to market and reaching a target audience. One of the hardest parts of any event or product launch is getting people to be interested enough to attend or spend. And it hit me, that itself WAS the idea. All I needed was a community of drummers. No matter which way I looked at it, having a large community of drummers would much more easily allow me the freedom to express my creativity without having to worry about how I would get the word out. Sure, great products speak for themselves and nothing holds more clout than the word of mouth, but having an active group of people would make everything infinitely more easy.
West Midland drummers was born.
“Great!” I thought, I’ll build a community of West Midland based drummers. Then if I want to hold a drum clinic, or a workshop, or sell a product I’ve invented, I can! It wasn’t long though until I realised this could be rolled out on a much bigger scale.
So the Drummer’s Database was born. I decided I wanted to form a global community of drummers. I wanted to connect drummers from all corners of the earth. I recruited two of my closest friends Chris Nagel and Mark Poulter to help with content and moderation and we have been chipping away at it since.
About a month ago, the Drummer’s Database hit a rather poignant milestone – 1 year in action. In those mere 12 months it has grown to over 26,000 members. Now comes the next part. I’ve proved that I can build a loyal community, now it’s time to make it the best.
- Watch this space -