Think Like a Business Owner to Maximize Your FUN! AKA Do You Need an MBA to run a Micro Business

by | Feb 9, 2022 | 0 comments

Category: Business | Success

UPDATED: Feb 2, 2024

I know you, you sparkling radass.

You THRIVE on pedagogy courses.

You LAP up coaching books, or programs, or classes with insatiable lust. (Or at least you wish you could.)

You are one of the most well informed, educated coaches or teachers out there in what you do. Your coaching is exquisite. Your teaching transformative. You do good, delicious work with your clients.

Here at SECO, we call that “making the donuts”, and damn, baby, you can make some mighty fine donuts.

But making donuts and running a donut shop are two very different things – and if you think making donuts is fun – just wait till you get really good at running the donut shop!

Essential Business Skills for Modern Micro Business and Studio Owners

Here’s a (very) short list of things today’s micro business and studio owner needs to understand. In other words, what goes into running the donut shop:

  • How to develop an effective marketing strategy
  • How to develop a sales process that is ethical and leaves agency with the buyer
  • How to choose and use the right tools for different business models: payment gateways, scheduling software, and other online tech tools
  • How to create a sustainable business model, and what sustainable really means, and what business model really means (note: it’s not living hand to mouth, operating on a shoestring budget, or trying to solve deeper systemic economic issues by having payroll be 80% of your operating budget, and a business model is not a fee structure)
  • How to read a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and understand cash flow
  • Economics of their industry and how this affects overall business development and disruptive break-through business trends
  • Branding – the difference between personal and business and why it is worth caring about
  • Pricing and pricing ecosystems for justice and economic wellness, and ethical shareholder capitalism in a late stage capitalism world
  • Hiring and management (legalities, human resources, etc.)
  • (yes, that was a long short list. I hope this proves my point)

For a long time, it was possible to run a business that brought in “enough” money and had “enough” clients with little to no business or marketing training of any kind.

The culture of coaching, independent studio and multi-teacher studio ownership was one of oral tradition. It was seeped in “well, that’s how my teacher/mentor did it, and they seemed okay.” And they were. Ish.

Delicious donuts were enough.

This is no longer the case. Today, with all the ways that humans (you know, artists, parents, singers, instrumentalists, performers, coaches, the internet, and the cultural landscape have changed, it is imperative that the service-based business owner has a set of business skills that most certainly is not provided in any DMA, MA, or even B(F)A.

You need to know how to run the donut shop.

So how do you DO that? Do you get an MBA to run a donut shop?

It seems as one may need an MBA, in today’s entrepreneurial landscape.

I see the academic machine pushing and pushing to try to add MBA’s to music and art degrees, which is a topic for another day.

Personally, I do not believe a formal MBA is always the right answer for most of today’s coaches or music studio owners or other service based businesses.

You’ve got some decisions to make about the kind of donut shop owner you wanna be!

Why an MBA Would Be a Good Idea

  • If you are looking to increase your salary in terms of employability at a management level (such as being hired to run a music studio franchise, or work at a marketing firm that specializes in music studios), letters always help. Remember, the idea that degrees matter is based on the employee-employer model, not necessarily the entrepreneurial model.
  • If you want to network and make connections with other C-suite level business-y folk, in order to have access to like-minded people for potential future donut shops.
  • If you are looking to have an overarching understanding of corporate accounting, finance, and turn your business into a franchise or get venture capital to disrupt the market with a new kind of donut shop.
  • You need historical understanding of economics, finance, and theoretical principles of corporations with multiple levels of management and C-Suites and boards.
  • If you have the time, emotional energy, and money to invest in an MBA and you just want to, because you are a nerd like me.

Why an MBA May Not Be a Good Idea

  • If you don’t have the emotional bandwidth for a two-year program and its hard deadlines in a field that is irrelevant to you.
  • If you don’t have $30-100K laying around to invest or you don’t want to add to student loan debt.
  • If you are looking for the most relevant and up-to-date information about a very specific field. You don’t need general info, you need “you-based” info. I think of this as a degree in theater – you get the general degree, then you move to NYC and take classes and learn that specific landscape. MBA programs are well aware they are years behind the current landscape.
  • You don’t have time to dedicate because you are busy, well, making the donuts.
  • If you’re just not into getting an MBA because that kind of learning isn’t your jam.

What to Do Instead of an MBA – Straight Talk

Get into a program, group, or work with a business strategist and/or coach. I don’t care who or what (barring sleezy peeps) – just be sure it’s the right fit and the right time. Any program or coach that is worth their salt will be able to help you decide if they or their program are right for you.

Make sure they know how to run donut shops in general, not just their own donut shop.

Spend your precious time and mental capacity wrestling through essential decisions and learning new information with people who can help you run your donut shop, your way. This is best done in real time, especially if you have ADHD, dyslexia, are on the Autism spectrum, or are healing from trauma-induced decision fatigue and fear.

Pay good money to get that information and the strategic insight that goes with it.

And for the love of all things holy, do NOT try to DIY it for more than a couple of years.

Read, explore, make big mistakes, implement, rework. If you are new to owning your business, or young (yes, I am going there) I think DIYing it for a couple of years is essential. If you’ve been running your studio for many years, and things are “fine” but not profitable or sustainable, your season of DIY is probably over.

If you are feeling pulled away from being a teacher or owning a studio and are sensing the call to transition into another field (let’s make party hats instead!), get support now.

If you are leaving an employment position and want to transition into self-employment – start now.

And I say this with all love – if you believe you don’t have enough time or money to invest in these things, to my mind, this is proof that the business is unsustainable.

If you cannot afford to invest in your business with time or money, you do not have a business, you have a hobby.

If you’re working with the right coach for you, or are in the right program, the issue of affordability will be solved soon enough. Because while making donuts gives us instant gratification, running donut shops takes time.

Why I Am So Aggressive Passionate About Coaches, Voice Teachers, and other Service Biz Owners Seeing Themselves as Business Owners

It is no secret that I myself run a company that does just the thing I am telling you to invest in. I would be very pleased if you and I had the opportunity to see if our programs were right for you. You can do that by booking here, actually.

However, my words here are not only a shameless plug.

It’s a blatent plea to our entire industry:

Please, PLEASE, let us ALL know how to run our businesses better so we can eradicate the curse of scarcity, the legacy of financial fear, and the starving artist “badge of honor” we have borne for millennia. We must make room for a new generation of music and coaching professionals who, unlike their predecessors, will never have to worry about where the rent will come from.

Let us model for and equip the next generation of music professionals, coaches, web designers, body workers, singer-songwriters, and studio owners what it’s like to run businesses that enable access to quality health care, fund retirement accounts, and even (hold on to your hats!), go on vacation twice a year.

At The SpeakEasy Cooperative® we make a comparatively small impact in the work we do 1:1 and in small groups, yet the ripple effect is not lost on me.

I am keenly aware that if every person we work with builds something sustainable and innovative, from a place of power and peace, they are inherently going to be able to help their colleagues, clients, and friends do the same.

Every micro business owner who knows the way to create offers and price them, understands marketing, and shows up in their core values is another ship that enables the tide to rise for all others.

No more racing to the bottom. No more having to start non-profit after non-profit to supplement teacher and artist pay at the whim of donor feelings. No more defending pricing and policies.

We are here to drive value up, up, up. We are here to eradicate cost disease.

Let’s not merely make donuts – let’s change the donut industry!

So What Are You Going to Sell Me, Michelle?

As mentioned above, we have opened the application process to one of our programs – the How to Run Your Biz Without Hating Your Boss Accelerator Program.

You missed it! Monday Feb 27, 2023, “Speakin’ Easy with Michelle” was all about GROUPS! As is, yes, you can be a part of one, and yes, there are many ways to create one, and no, you don’t have to be a “Lone Wolf” – and it’s not the badge of honor that you may think it is – it may actually be holding you back!

Click here to watch the Live Replay

This program is designed to empower you with the most important and relevant aspects of an MBA in coaching, voice, and music studio management while leaving out the irrelevant and outdated information that no longer applies.

H2RA is the solution to a problem that we are dedicated to solving. We follow the advice we give: Create for what you hate.

And we hate creatives being undervalued, overworked, and ill-equipped.

H2RA is ten months, it’s intense, and we have consistent feedback that it’s the premier “all in one” program out there. (No pressure, amiright?)

Explore the program by clicking on the big ol’ button below.

Consider this your formal invitation to one of the higher-level programs we offer in The SpeakEasy Cooperative®.

Consider this your call to become a donut shop BeastyBoss™, a donut innovator, all while you’re having a great time making donuts.

All My BeastyBoss,

Michelle Markwart Deveaux blog signature


A micro business is any business that has less than 10 employees. The annual revenue is less than $500K a year. Most sole proprietorships and single member LLC’s are micro businesses. This includes life coaches, body work and health coaches, voice teachers, multi teacher studios, website designers and agencies and other freelancers.


Michelle Markwart Deveaux

Michelle Markwart Deveaux (124)

As CEO of FaithCultureKiss Studios, LLC, I lead underestimated humans through the personal and professional development needed to create successful solo and team-based businesses.

Did you find this helpful?

Please consider sharing with your colleagues so they can grow too.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

pink star

More Posts in this Category