How can I earn a living by giving guitar lessons?

I never did it for a living but I did get up to 7 clients /week.

A few pointers:

  1. Charge per month, payable every week. Otherwise you get a lot of cancellations.
  2. Try to get people to come to you, and back to back. This not only saves commute time, but it gives you an excuse to end one lesson when the next student shows up. Otherwise you get 5, 10, 30 minutes behind every day with flexible scheduling. That's money out of your pocket.
  3. Write a basic lesson plan and follow it with each student the best you can, with some room for customization (ie: student wants to learn the intro to ______). If you spend too much time planning custom lessons, you're losing money. Have a few riffs, concepts, and skills to learn for each level of comprehension (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and shuffle students between them as you see fit. Order > chaos. Method > madness.
  4. Don't budge on your rate, aka your worth. Be straight with prospects and don't say stuff like "I usually charge $_ but..." If you do this, you'll subconsciously start treating the low-paying students worse and putting less effort into their lessons and planning. Good customer setvice works both ways, charge what you're worth and they get what they paid for.
  5. Optional- ask new students to commit for at least 3-6 months. This doesn't need to be contractual but you only want students who will stick around. If you're spending more time looking for students than teaching them, you're doing it wrong.
  6. Marketing- Craigslist, as cluttered as it is, has been incredible for me. I moved to a new city and within 1 week had 2 students from a single post. Writing great copy and including a photo of yourself + credentials (300 shows, 1 studio album, etc) will do wonders for your engagement rate. Besides the web, you'll also experience high word-of-mouth interest because everyone brags about how they're learning an instrument.

Send me a private message if you want to bouce more ideas, this should get you started.