Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in entertainment but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alan Tauber, Director of DrumConnection, located in Arlington, MA, USA.

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

DrumConnection: People are drawn to the West African djembe and dunun drums.
Do you now attend group classes in Brookline, Cambridge, Lexington, and other cities on a Djembe and Dunun that you have fixed in order to purchase new from us? Those who are enthusiastic about drum circles, wedding performances, or other types of events.

Tell us about yourself

I've been a drummer since I was 4. I studied a lot of music in the conservatories. Finally arriving in Africa in Guinea 22 years ago, I learned village style and ballet style djembe and dunun drumming with the greatest of the grates: Famoudou Konate, Mamady Keita, Wadaba, and Bolokada Conde.

I began DrumConnection in 1988. Soon we opened the store on Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington, Massachusetts, and held classes seven nights a week with approximately 18 to 35 students per class. Master class workshops at least six times a year, drawing people from around the United States and Canada.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I guess being responsible for bringing African and Drumming to the Boston area, starting DrumConnection, and growing up to be a seven-day-a-week business offering the finest in Djembes and other types of drums as well We were a full-rounded drum shop with an emphasis on the African.

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

It's a commitment of your life to the business. There are so many aspects to be covered, and sometimes you need assistance if you can afford it. There's bookkeeping, there's having enough teachers and good staff, and of course, excellent teachers are mini-trained by me and some master drummers on certain days of the week. I guess paying the rent, and the utilities just got to be too much, and the hours were just zapping me of my energy.

So 2019 is the year we close the store, and as I'm getting older, I appreciate the freedom I have to take care of my body and my mind and be healthier. I miss the days of having so much activity coming in and out of my store and music school on Mass Avenue in Arlington. I guess the hardest thing is keeping a balance between how much I teach physics and getting the bills paid.

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

Hire a good graphic designer. Not just somebody who plays around but somebody who has a position at a great company doing graphic design for them. A professional.

The way you present yourself graphically is extremely important and usually done poorly in the drumming world. How to get the word out is number two.

There are search engines and organic searches that work. Having your name in as many places as you can, from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to LinkedIn, Alignable, and many others, maintaining an accurate and easy-to-join mailing list, and keeping everything up-to-date and flowing nicely.

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.

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