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Studio Growth Formula Checklist

Mar 13, 2022

LPR Studio Growth Formula:

Seven tips for building and growing your own studio business


  • Step 1 - Decide that this is for you:

One of the first things you need to do is decide that this is for you.

Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. No offense to anyone, but some of us are just meant to be worker bees. Some of us are not.

So, the first thing you need to ask is - Can I get by while I build my business? Unfortunately, most of us don’t think about becoming self-employed business owners because we don’t want to lose the security of the weekly paycheck or the benefits (health insurance, 401k, etc.).

We may have a family that depends upon us for food and shelter.

Understand this;  When you work for someone else, you are making them money. Usually, the only reason that you are even there is that you are making them money. If you went and did that same job on your own, you could make all the money for yourself. But then you have to do everything yourself as well. Marketing, contracts, negotiating rates and payments, dealing with clients, Insurance, rent, accounting, bookkeeping, etc. The list goes on and on. So sometimes it’s just easier if we work for someone else who does all that other stuff, and we don’t have to worry about it. We just have to show up, do a good enough job to get the work done, and get a check at the end of the week. Awesome!

The only thing is that we are miserable inside. We hate our lives because we are only surviving. We will never get ahead because we can only make so much working for someone else. There is a cap. A ceiling, if you will. The moment my employer told me that there was no raise available for me, even though he said I was one of their best employees, I knew it was time to go out on my own and do it myself. Yes, it was scary. I had a family that enjoyed living in a house and eating food every day. But I made it work. Now I can make as much money as I need to and then take the rest of the day off. I am much happier and much less stressed. I would suggest it to anyone even thinking about being their own boss. To GO! Make it happen. 


  • Step 2 - Basic Marketing:

The marketing aspect of owning and running your own business can be scary and overwhelming. First, you have to understand where to market for your audience or potential customers. For example, if you are opening a commercial studio, you wouldn’t want to advertise via a flyer in a laundromat.  

Marketing is better served by word of mouth in our world of studio ownership, production, and engineering. Having super happy clients who tell others about how awesome you are at doing your work is some of the best marketing that you can get.

One easy thing to do is maybe after a session with a client. Send them an email the next day thanking them for being an excellent client and telling them how much you enjoyed working on their project. Add a link to your Yelp page or your Google review page and ask them to leave a review for others to see. You will be surprised at how well this works. Make it super easy for them just to click the link and be able to say some nice words about you as a review. It’s best to do it the day after your session while their thoughts are fresh about the session they just had with you.
You can even automate this whole process, so you don’t have to send an email every time physically. More on this later.


  • Step 3 - You need to have a web presence:

A website. A simple landing page. It doesn’t have to be a large, extensive website. Less is more in this case.

Your domain name is essential for your brand. If you have a unique name, add the word “productions” at the end. Such as or, you might want to have a completely different name than your actual name. How about

You get the idea. Make sure to add the word ”productions” after. I’ll explain a little later about the benefits of doing that. You can use a service like GoDaddy, and they will register your domain and give you a simple website for a great rate. Or Squarespace is another service that will do the same thing for about $20 per month. Super not expensive for what you get and what you can do with it. If you are super frugal, try for your hosting. They have free hosting, which is not bad.

As for your Email- Gmail is great. Just try to create a new email for your brand that has your brand name for the email. Don’t use an email address like [email protected] or [email protected].

These are awesome for your friends. But try to stay a little more professional for your “Company.” You get it. I’m just preaching to the choir here. 

Suppose your website is 14 pages deep. Packed with information about who you are what you do. With tons of samples of your work. Pictures and links to your social media. Contact information. A bunch of menus for your potential clients to look around at all your stuff. - STOP! It’s too much.

You have like 3 seconds to grab a visitor's attention and give them what they came to your site for. Use that 3 seconds and get that client. Use the screen real estate “above the fold” to hook your visitor and give them a reason to contact you.
Don’t give your visitor a lot to do or think about on your website. If a potential customer has to scroll way down your page to find out what you can do for them, It puts them off, and they will immediately move on to the next page in their search. And they will NEVER come back to your site again.

And, you should only make it about what YOU can DO for them. A potential client only wants to know that you can do what needs to be done. Not what you want from them and who you are. They don’t care about your dog spot and how he likes to go camping. Save that for your personal site.

But, if you give them a reason to look past the fold with a killer headline and an even better sub-headline, they will be more likely to contact you. Once they do, they are yours forever. What you most want to get from them is their email address. Once you get them on your email list, you can market your services to them until they ask you to stop.

Here are some links to free or cheap website hosting and domain registration. - - - -


  • Step 4 - Social Media - SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Social Media and SEO marketing can get deep and lengthy. So, I won’t go too deep with it here. Instead, we will maybe make that a whole mini-course on that at some point. But, there is a lot to it. And, it can be excellent for letting potential clients know who we are and what we do.

With SEO, it’s all about having words that get picked up by search engines such a Google, Yahoo, and YouTube - Again, more on this in a later publication.

Marketing only on social media is not the best marketing strategy. As others post on the social media site you are posting on; your post goes further down. At that point, someone would need to scroll deep to see your marketing post.

A site like Youtube is better for your marketing because it is a search engine. It’s like the number two search engine. People go there to search for things. If your post on Youtube has the correct work they are searching for, guess who’s post will come up when someone is looking for something with that word in their search. Yup. There you go. Start a YouTube channel today. 

I am fortunate that I am married to a wonderful person that knows more about social media marketing than I ever want to know. So I will only touch on a few points here.

Again, your social media presence should be very professional. Of course, you can still have your personal social media outlets for your friends and family. But, I suggest making a professional presence for your business and keeping it professional. 

I am not a marketing genius or anything like that. I have just seen some pretty bad social media situations from other people in my profession. Keep your social media clean and professional. I mean, if I go to your Instagram and I am immediately bombarded with videos and pictures of questionable content. I will be less likely to DM you about anything, especially hiring you.

There is a whole technology to how the SEO words and algorithms of different social media outlets work, and I won’t go into it here. It’s simply too much information. But, I can tell you that consistency is a thing. You should post to your business social media at least once per day, if not more. You will build an incredible following in short order. And those will all be organic. DON’T BUY YOUR FOLLOWERS. Your potential clients can tell. For instance, if you have 250,000 followers and only follow 30 people. When you post to your social media, you only get 18 likes. You bought your followers. Try not to do that.

Again, Social media marketing can work for you and your business. You just have to understand the basics or the algorithms of each outlet.

We will try to put a mini-course together specifically for your studio business to help with more specific items such as SEO and Social Media algorithms.

Look for that soon.


  • Step 5 - Registering your business - DBA? LLC? S-Corp? Partnerships?

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or business consultant at all. I have just done my research and figured out the best way to do what we do legally without spending a bunch of money on lawyers and corporate fees. I am in California. The laws and rules for business may differ in your area, especially the cost of registering your business, But things are about the same wherever you are. So make sure to check the rules in your local area.

You should register your business to make your business legit. There are many benefits.

You could simply come up with a name for your business and start collecting money for your services. However, you are not registered and will run into issues when it comes to banking, gear purchasing, insurance-liability issues, etc.

This section will break down the difference between DBA, LLC, S-Corp., etc. Regardless of how you structure your business. Just get er done. And be happy. 

Let’s understand the difference between DBA and LLC -

A DBA (Doing Business As) or Fictitious Business Name Registration is probably the easiest and cheapest way to get started. You can always scale it up later if you need to.

Here are a few links to where you can register your business no matter where you are. -

There is much more information on the above links.

Registering your business as a DBA will allow you to open a bank account with your company name. It will enable you to file a schedule C form (Business use tax deductions) when you do your taxes at the end of the year, even if you keep your regular job. You can combine everything because you are doing business as a Sole Proprietor. As we will discuss later, this opens up a whole new way of thinking about making money and purchasing things you can use for your business.

An LLC (Sole Proprietorship) is very similar to the DBA, except that it will limit your liability if something goes wrong and you get sued and lose. Your assets are protected. With an LLC, you and your company are different entities. Your stuff is your stuff, and your LLC’s stuff is your LLC’s stuff. See what I did there? This subject can get very technical. And like I said earlier, I am not a lawyer. I’ve just done some research and figured stuff out on my own. But it seems pretty straightforward.

Another big difference here in California, specifically Los Angeles, is that an LLC is expensive to register and maintain. And you also have to estimate your income taxes and pay them in advance every quarter. Whereas with a DBA, you can hold off until tax time to file your taxes. Yes, with both, you still have access to a schedule C when filing your taxes. The big difference there is that you might make too much money and have to pay a large tax bill come April 15th with either of these.

I, myself, am a DBA. I find it works for me. I don’t hold a ton of tangible property like land, homes, rental properties, etc., that can be attached if I were to be sued and lose. So, the DBA thing works for me. It’s just me doing business as a sole proprietor DBA. One might think that having the “LLC” after your name is prestigious and make someone feel more important, But is it worth the extra $800 per year? For me, not really.

Do your research, find out which is best for your situation, and register your business. 

I might suggest starting with a DBA (sole proprietorship) to get going, and if you decide later that you need extra protection as an LLC. Upgrade. 

Partnerships? I might also suggest that getting into a partnership opens up a host of other problems when you start talking about banking, money, loans, taxes, etc. You might end up not enjoying being partners after dealing with money and taxes as a partner if you go into a partnership with a friend or family member. That sometimes doesn’t end well. Remember what they say, “if you want to lose a friend, go into business with them.”

If you want to go into business with a friend or family member, You should each register your DBA and just have an agreement between you that you are going to share work and proceeds. That way, no legal recourse will break up the friendship. If one person starts being funky about business, just do your own business. 

Again, these are only suggestions, and you should do your research and figure out which is best for you and your brand.

Moving on!


  • Step 6- Tips for acquiring gear for your business:

How you can grow your equipment and your business without costing a ton of money. You essentially can get your gear for FREE!

You can buy gear without actually paying for equipment. What? Yes, you heard me. Buy gear that will help grow your business without actually paying for gear. This is a great way to expand and grow your business without having wealthy parents, a trust fund, or huge inheritance, or spending your college fund money.


Let’s’ discuss:

You might have a laptop, a simple interface, and a microphone when you're starting out. Maybe Pro Tools or Logic. Or Audacity or GarageBand. You, my friend, have a studio business.

Let’s say you need a better microphone. The mic that you want costs $4000. Your checking account only has enough to pay your rent this month and maybe a trip to Taco Bell on Tuesday when they have those 2 for 1 taco deals going on. Trust. I’ve been there.

Now. Let’s assume that if you get this $4000 microphone, you could, in turn, get more clients because you have this particular mic. You could also charge more money for your services because you have this specific microphone. Therefore, having this microphone is going to be well worth it. So, how can you get this microphone if you only have a few dollars in the bank? You could just save up your extra cash and buy the mic when you have enough saved. Or, you could consider LEASING this microphone from a leasing company that deals primarily with entertainment/production companies.

Sure. Like any other finance deal, a lease on a car or other stuff will cost a bit more in the long run. It’s still cheaper than taking a loan or borrowing money from your Uncle Pete. But I can also show you how to get the gear for free in the long run.

Suppose you lease this microphone and say some new monitors or room treatment to make your studio sound good. Let’s say your entire amount comes to $10k. If you are like me, You don’t have an extra $10k just sitting around. I mean, you might. Great job. Go get the gear and get to work. But in case you don’t have $10k just sitting around. Consider leasing the equipment.

Here’s why. When you lease, you get the gear upfront for a small downpayment. Usually two times the monthly payment. Plus, maybe a $200 fee for the broker). Which comes out to maybe $900? 

Now you have the new gear in your studio and can start making the extra money you need to make the monthly payments. For example, let’s say your monthly payments are $250 per month. Honestly, if you can’t make an extra $250 with your studio, especially if you have that excellent new mic and speakers…..Come on. That’s not difficult. You can grow your business and your income to match the overhead of the lease payment.

Here comes the free part. When you file your income taxes for the following year, lease payments for gear are a 100% tax deduction for your business while you are leasing. So, you are getting all the money back from the payments you make as a tax deduction on the tax you owe on the money you make with the new gear you lease. Are you following along?

Even more remarkable - After your lease is up. You can usually buy the gear from the leasing company for a small amount. Sometimes, it’s a $1 buy-out.

Now that you have purchased some gear, you can get another tax deduction because you bought some equipment. Albeit that deduction is less. And you can amortize it over multiple tax years. It’s still a fantastic deal. You are, in effect, making money by buying gear. BOOM! (I just dropped the mic) - Not the expensive one you just bought, but you know what I mean.

So. the next time, you need to get some new gear. LEASE IT!

Check out All Media Capital - Providence Leasing

These guys are pros at leasing deals for studios and production companies. We’ve been working with them for multiple deals over the past decade. So tell em I said hello.


  • Step 7 - Basic Ethics

Ethics is the art of doing things the correct way. Such as, remember “The Golden Rule” - Treat others as you would want to be treated”

That is all it is. Things like don’t use cracked (stolen) software in your studio. Don’t try to “Get Over” on clients. Don’t try to get something for nothing. It probably is stolen if the deal is too good to be true. If you run into a deal where someone is selling a microphone on craigslist, and you know it’s too good to be true. Don’t buy it. Really? A microphone that you know would cost $3k at Guitar Center if you bought it new is being sold for $150? Sure. It’s not hot at all…… 

The little thing called Karma will come and get you later, for sure.

Keep it clean, keep it real, and you kind of can’t lose here. You will grow. You will get better at your craft and be happy because you are now doing something that you love for your living, and it’s incredible!

Seriously, if you were to be super clean about how you do your business, then your business will reap those benefits like anything else in life. Of course, you should keep your house in order.


I hope that some of these tips will come in handy at some point in your career. Of course, if you ever have any questions, you can always reach out. 

[email protected]

[email protected]