“Tracking key metrics works so well with LivePlan because you don't have to do it yourself at all. It does it for you.”​​​​

The journey to success as a musician is often a battle between pursuing your dreams and doing something that pays the bills.

Sometimes, musicians are forced to conclude that in order to be successful, they have to abandon their passion. Faced with such a prospect, jazz guitarist Marc-Andre Seguin got creative.

Fusing music and entrepreneurship

An established jazz musician in Gatineau, Canada, with years of experience as a composer, performer, and teacher, Marc-Andre was discouraged by the lack of full-time jazz guitar players who had an online presence providing quality, authentic teaching services.

To fill this need, he created a website to help students who wished to learn jazz guitar. “I started a blog and videos and lessons in 2009 to basically teach others, because I was a struggling musician,” he says. “I found that websites could open new doors in teaching, performance, revenues, and opportunities.”

He started JazzGuitarLessons.net, a space where budding jazz guitarists can find the resources they need to learn how to play jazz guitar. His mission? To bring free jazz guitar lessons to aspiring musicians, and provide authentic, unique content that actually helps students learn.

Marc-Andre and his Godin Montreal Premiere
Marc-Andre and his Godin Montreal Premiere.

An authentic face

When it came to online jazz guitar instruction, not only was it difficult to find free, quality informational content, but Marc-Andre also felt that there was a lack of authenticity.

“What I noticed was that there's a lot of faceless websites,” says Marc-Andre. “So you go in, there's a ton of lessons, but you don't really know the guy.”

“I started a blog and videos and lessons in 2009 to basically teach others, because I was a struggling musician.”

He also felt that the cultivated unapproachability of the jazz culture needed to be broken down. “There's a dogma in jazz which is like, ‘Oh I know everything, I have this Ph.D. in performance so I know every chord and every scale in the book, so you should respect me for that,’” explains Marc-Andre. “That's not my persona for teaching.”

Rather than focus on building himself up as a “jazz guru,” Marc-Andre hoped to create a space with “no B.S. lessons,” no bland videos, and no boring, faceless teacher. He aimed to create resources that were both professional and helpful, but with the addition of a friendly, authentic face. This led to the creation of JazzGuitarLessons.net, with the slogan, “improve your jazz guitar playing with a real teacher.”

Marc-Andre at work on LivePlan
Marc-Andre at work on LivePlan.

From an “artist on a quest” to entrepreneur

As a budding entrepreneur with no formal business background, Marc-Andre began to learn as much as possible about how to run his business successfully. “It was hard to imagine, because I was more of a dreamer, like an artist on a quest,” he says.

With his attention focused on growing his new online business, Marc-Andre discovered LivePlan. “I love LivePlan; I've been using it for a while now, and it's a great opportunity,” he says. In 2014, he was actually able to transition to running JazzGuitarLessons.net full time, using his business plan to help him strategically expand his reach.

His mission? To bring free jazz guitar lessons to aspiring musicians, and provide authentic, unique content that actually helps students learn.

Marc-Andre uses LivePlan to help set goals for his business, and track his success. “It used to be a spreadsheet before I found LivePlan,” he says. “Now I set monthly targets; I break the monthly revenue forecasts into specifically what product is going to bring in the revenue.”

Not only has it become easier for Marc-Andre to track his success, but also to see what is happening in his business at any given time. “That's where LivePlan comes into play, because I can see it in real time,” he says.

Being able to see exactly what is happening in his business has helped Marc-Andre get a clearer sense of the health of his business overall, and understand what is working and what isn’t. “LivePlan has been crucial in looking into the finer granularity of forecasting,” he explains.

Marc-Andre’s guitar collection
Marc-Andre’s guitar collection.

Facing fears and making the numbers easy

Getting a clear picture of his financial forecasts has been invaluable to Marc-Andre and the growth of JazzGuitarLessons.net. However, there was definitely a learning curve—and that’s where LivePlan came in.

Before using LivePlan, Marc-Andre admits that, like so many business owners, he was guilty of hiding from his numbers. “My problem was like the ostrich, having my head in the sand,” he says.

“LivePlan has been crucial in looking into the finer granularity of forecasting.”

At first, Marc-Andre avoided setting specific, measurable monthly goals for his business, and tried to look the other way. “I didn't want to do it at first,“ he says. “I was against doing it because I felt it would screw up the magic of it. I operated mostly on wishful thinking.”

It wasn’t that Marc-Andre didn’t feel comfortable around numbers. “I love numbers,” he says. “But back then, I think my subconscious knew that if I put them on paper, it would become a reality and I would be accountable for them.”

“I would be responsible for making this come true, so it was scary,” he explains.

However, facing that fear made all the difference. Marc-Andre found that using LivePlan made it easier to look at the numbers and focus on the things that drove his business. This, in turn, helped his business grow and evolve. Learning to face his fears and not just operate on wishful thinking was a turning point for the business. “It's so simple, but it changed my life,” says Marc-Andre.

Marc-Andre’s office setup
Marc-Andre’s office setup.

Using LivePlan to grow stronger

For Marc-Andre, using LivePlan to plan and run his business has been essential to his growth. LivePlan integrates with his Quickbooks account, making it easier to assess where he is and where he wants to be. “I use QuickBooks Online, so after QuickBooks Online is connected, the data rolls in,” he says. “I can compare forecasts and really know what's happening.”

He is also able to track key metrics, like the number of customers that cancel and the average revenue per customer. “It works so well with LivePlan, because you don't have to do it yourself at all,” he says. “It does it for you.”

“I have such a better clarity of thought because I can see the impact of marketing by using LivePlan versus just using a spreadsheet.”

He also uses LivePlan to get a sense of how effective his marketing activities are. “In the same vein, I have such a better clarity of thought because I can see the impact of marketing by using LivePlan versus just using a spreadsheet,” he says.

Ultimately, using LivePlan has enabled Marc-Andre to more easily and more efficiently track the health of his business overall. Rather than using spreadsheets to calculate everything himself, he is able to see it all in LivePlan. “Some things I didn't see at all in my business before because these computations would take forever in a spreadsheet, so I didn't even know I could compute that and look at it,” he says. “That's really what I learned about business using LivePlan.”

Marc-Andre's practice diary, where he works on material for his next album
Marc-Andre's practice diary, where he works on material for his next album.

Inspiration and secrets to success

In terms of inspiration, Marc-Andre looks to the great jazz musicians that he admires for their creativity and intelligence.

“...the secret to my success is to just face your fears. Do the things that are uncomfortable, but make it real.”

“I read somewhere that jazz musicians, maybe not the average ones, but the big, big jazz musicians that have the most impact on the music, are amongst the smartest people on earth,” he says. “It's very impressive to see the broadness of how their brain can adapt to the situation, and I think it comes from playing music which is basically improvised.”

He also attributes much of his success to continual planning, tracking, and an overall attitude of accountability as an entrepreneur. “If you rely on yourself, you will get a kick in the ass to do the things to make it right,” he says.

He also adds that learning to face his fears has ultimately been hugely impactful in bringing about his success. “Probably the secret to my success is to just face your fears,” he says. “Do the things that are uncomfortable, but make it real.”


More success stories See All

arrow bottom for cta

Seen enough?

In just 60 seconds you could be building your plan the fast and easy way, risk-free for 60 days.

GET STARTED