Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Putting Myself Out There for the End Goal

Mood: Ever so Happy and Content
Listening to: Piya Haji Ali – A.R. Rahman, because the man is a genius

Warning: This post will be a wine soaked one. I’ve heard they can either be brilliant (mostly to the drunken idiot doing the writing) or stupid, I’ll leave it up to you. You’ve been warned.

There has been a lot of talk lately in the G household about business ideas and how we really do need to get busy on deciding how to bilk society out of some money through a home grown business. The problem with this burst of mental activity is that neither Daddy G nor I have ever run a home business. Hell, I’ve never even been in an office (or cubicle!) or my own.

Daddy G came up with the idea that we should somehow be capitalizing on the fact that we brought a real live piano to India in a shipping container. In fact, since I am able to play the piano, I should give lessons!

Whoa there Sparky. Let’s slow this enthusiasm train down a bit hmm?

Let’s get this out there first thing. I LOVE the business idea. I am all about that. Love it.  The piano idea….well…it’s taking a little while to adjust to.

I guess I am qualified to teach piano lessons. I took lessons for 12 years (6 years old – 18 years old) when I was younger and participated in various competitions and qualifications. Mainly Syllabus programs. We do indeed have a real live piano in our apartment. I do not have a problem explaining what I know in terms that people can understand. I am currently teaching my two daughters to play the piano. The problem begins with the fact that I’ve never wanted to teach anything. Ever. I just don’t see myself as teacher material. Can I teach? I’m pretty sure I can. Do I want to? Well, erm, not so much. Let’s qualify a little. I do not mind teaching for a determined amount of time. What I do not want is to get pigeon holed into teaching piano lessons for the rest of my life. Just not my cup o tea. Yes. Hyperbole, I am great at it. The thing is, I’ve been a housewife for the past 10 years. I am at a point where I crave getting out of the house and put my business degree to good use. I do not want to get stuck in my house for something that I don’t really enjoy. As it is, I have an insane amount of free time and I love it.  Why should I get stuck at home long term to teach lessons. I got a business degree for a reason – that’s what I want to do.

So here’s what’s floating around in my brain. The initial business idea that Daddy G and I had was an after school center for kids. There is generally a dearth of after care options for people who work in Bangalore, so we thought this would be a good place to start. I like children. Well, I like them most of the time. So Daddy G was thinking that teaching piano would be a great place to get an idea of whether or not we really wanted to pursue the entrepreneurial ideas. It would also give him a better idea on how I would do dealing with other people in a business setting. To be fair, I’ve never had an office job. I also am not a rockstar at confrontation and telling people what to do. I think I’d do an ok job because I can tell my kids what to do all day long, but apparently, as Daddy G kindly informed me, life doesn’t work exactly like that. He wants a test run before we start investing G family funds into a business venture. Fair enough. I want to ensure that our little experiment has an end date. I don’t mind teaching lessons in combination with an afterschool 
program, and indeed that is part of the plan, I just don’t want that to be as far as our idea goes.

There’s also the little problem I have with not entirely feeling comfortable performing in front of others. Looking back, I absolutely do not know how I was able to do competitions and recitals for the 12 years I was in lessons. These weren’t little gatherings either, the piano was up on a proper church stage with lots people  These days, it takes quite a bit of alcohol and gritting my teeth to play in front of other people. There are very, very few friends who have ever seen me play the piano. Daddy G likes to joke that it is only a decorative object in our house. The relationship I have with my piano is complicated. I love it like an extension of my body. Like with singing (which I am also decent at), I am just not comfortable showing off in front of other people. As I’ve mentioned before, music is a deeply personal and almost spiritual thing for me. I generally keep my cards close to my chest, and playing music in front of other people is sharing with them something deeply personal. Above all, I have a fear of not playing well. I know I can play, but I absolutely hate making mistakes when playing for others.

My Plan: I’ve been playing with my patio door open, knowing that other people can hear me. Even if I make mistakes, I keep playing.  I'm hoping this will up my comfort level. I also figure if this is what Daddy G needs in terms of getting some confidence in terms of my playing for other people, let’s do it. After all, I uprooted and moved half way around the world for the adventure of a lifetime, why should I be scared of this either. Bring it on. These Dutch genes don’t back down from scary stuff. I’ve also been open with Daddy G about my ambivalence about teaching on a long term basis, which is also a pretty big deal for both of us. As with all married couples, it gets complicated sometimes, and this is one of those places. We’ve both kept open minds and a determination to see this through.

I’d love to hear your input. As usual, I love comments. Is anyone doing it entrepreneurial style? Holla.



  1. I think it's a great idea - but I'm not the cautious type so I would just jump straight in without the trial.

    I haven't done anything of this sort before - everything I've done has been on a volunteer basis for schools (mostly) - and investing my own funds was never a question (which is good because I don't have any).

    Anyway, I was talking to a friend in the States about after school programs that he runs - and I would imagine that they would be very welcome in a place like Bangalore.

    Good luck on this and I'll be interested to hear how things turn out!

  2. As usual, Lady in Red, thank you for your encouraging comments. I'll definitely keep any and all readers updated as to how this turns out.