15 minutes with member, Kathleen Connell
Soloist Kathleen Connell calls herself the queen of outsourcing, but it’s the special bond with her singing students that she loves best.
Describe your “aha” moment; when did your business idea first come to you?
I think I needed a “kick” to actually take a plunge and begin my private practice, teaching singing. I had noticed several people on the staff of the schools I was teaching and received undignified exits, and I just didn’t want that. I went to a careers counsellor and she suggested I join Flying Solo. Within weeks I was at a Flying Solo conference in Sydney; I was inspired and decided if I didn’t take the chance to run a private practice, I would be an old lady with lots of regrets.
Describe the current “why” of your business
To expertly teach aspiring singers a secure, flexible technique for singing in a range of styles and genres.
List your three biggest business goals; which of them scare you the most and why?
To seek a new teaching premises in or near the CBD; there are several complexities regarding this goal and I will need time and commitment to find the right site.
I want to expand my practice and develop new initiatives; this is the one that scares me because I actually have to put myself in the market as a credible consultant. It feels like starting all over again, and that’s uncomfortable.
"I value myself and my skills, not with arrogance but with confidence"
Thirdly I want to maintain the current practice and keep enjoying the clients, the craft and the process. I wouldn’t be the first person to say any job can have its repetitive and mundane aspects. Good personal development can help, but you need to act on changes.
Has anything surprised you about working for yourself?
Just that I have done it! I don’t have a background in sole trading, but I’ve taken to the business side of things with energy and commitment. When I look back I see tremendous growth both in teaching and business, but perhaps more importantly myself. (And that’s not just aging!) I’m calmer, have accepted I’m not capable of doing everything for a business to run well and have become a queen of outsourcing. I value myself and my skills, not with arrogance but with confidence and a sense that life is about continuous learning.
What’s the best part of the life you’re living now you’re a soloist?
One of the best parts of my business is working with a range of clients who are not necessarily looking for career outcomes but are dedicated to enriching their lives with the craft of singing. The relationship I share with my clients and their goals is quite special.
Got a tip you’d like to share with our community about soloism?
Having a routine is essential for me. My day is incomplete without my three kilometre, brisk morning walk. On those days when the routine is shaky I’m a bit down on myself, but recover with a good sleep and a little plan for the next day. I like seeing those lines through the ‘to do’ list!