Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in music but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michael Grande, Creator of Card Chords, located in Marlboro, NJ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Card Chords were developed to help beginner guitar players learn to play guitar without taking music lessons. We have found many music school owners have purchased sets of Card Chords for their instructors to use to help teach beginner guitar players as well.

Tell us about yourself

I am a serial entrepreneur. I opened my first music school, The Staten Island School of Rock (no association to the franchise), in 2004 in New York City. I have since opened a second music school in New Jersey called Rock Out Loud and opened my third music school last May in Tampa, Florida, called The Music Box. On November 2, 2019, five months after opening up Rock Out Loud, I had to close due to COVID-19. On July 4, 2021, I launched Rock Out Loud Live, the world's first United States Patented Virtual Music Lesson Portal. Today, Rock Out Loud Live is used to teach virtual music lessons in 172 countries!

I should also mention that I was a full-time CTO and Certified Ethical Hacker for a financial firm on Park Ave in NYC. After 23 years in technology, I was let go for not getting vaccinated. In an effort to come up with $3,000 a month for medical benefits for my family and me, I developed the Card Chords. In just a month, I was Amazon's number 1 seller in guitar accessories. Needless to say, I am able to afford medical benefits.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is less about the product I create or the service I provide. It is the ability to pivot when change comes to you by surprise. The confidence you build within, when you can pivot and be successful in the process, builds a level of confidence that allows me to continue to innovate with not an ounce of fear.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The hardest thing about being a business owner is finding the right person for the right job. I call it, 'Finding your seat on the bus". Put someone in the wrong seat, and they will fail, put someone in the right seat and they thrive.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Find someone who has done (and succeeded) what you want to do (or similar) and study them, interview them or read about them. Success leaves clues!
  2. Be persistent. I LOVE when people tell me NO. If I had taken "NO" for an answer and stopped persisting, I would not achieve a fraction of the success I have had.
  3. Surround yourself with people SMARTER than you. You become who you hang around. Hang around successful people, and you will be successful.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.