Ariella Vaccarino – Of Family, Music And Mompreneurship
Ariella Vaccarino is not only an accomplished voice teacher and opera singer over the past 18 years, she also happens to be a mompreneur. The mother of three boys started She Sings Out, Inc and created the “Voice Lessons To Go™” CD series of vocal warm-up exercises that to date has sold over 50,000 copies and downloads. She also has released “Voice Lessons To Go for Kids! v.1- Sing Out Proud!,” a CD designed for young singers (pre-kindergarten through 6th grade) to learn how to warm-up their voices and have fun while doing it.
Vaccarino never taught she’d become an entrepreneur, and it was only when she was balancing her first pregnancy and her career that she realized the expense of voice lessons on most families. She then started her own company with the intention of bringing quality healthy vocal instruction to people regardless of location, genre, or experience level. To reach a wider audience, the trained singer – who’ve sung on multiple film soundtracks – recorded the voice lessons she had been giving in person for years and started selling them, and in the process transformed her life from that of successful artist to a successful mompreneur. And having always been in love with music, this wasn’t as much as a business as it is a calling.
“I was born to music,” insists Vaccarino. “Ever since I can remember, I loved to sing and wanted to sing professionally. This destiny was crystal clear to me.” After pursuing an operatic career for so many years – dealing with auditioning, rejections, bad big personalities – she says the idea of creating voice lesson CDs and books and selling them in stores just seems wonderful. “I could finally ‘control’ my outcome.”
Managing Family and Business
An added bonus of running her own business was the fact she can still be around her children and still bring in the money. “Because of my business, I can have (hired) help, which removes the stress of the household from my shoulders, which definitely makes for a happier marriage!” She laughs, confessing that she’s terrible at household chores. “I can concentrate on my three kids and the fourth one coming, rather than separating the laundry!”
But Vaccarino concedes that managing a family and running a business is a crazy balance. She works on her business, such as packing CDs, calling stores and teaching lessons, while her four- and five year-olds are away in school. The paid help pitches in to take care of the remaining two year-old in the house, and Vaccarino’s also glad her mother-in-law is supportive and is around to help for most of the week. “I need to be able to immediately switch gears between motherhood and entrepreneurship,” she says.
And even then, she struggles. “There’s always some sacrifice. I need to constantly check in and see what I can tweak to give a kid more personal time, my business more attention, friends my interest, exercise time for myself, and my husband a non-exhausted wife!”
Don’t Wait For Perfection
Vaccarino’s advice to wannabe mompreneurs – find some sort of passive income. “While I am sleeping, my CDs and books are selling. That’s amazing to me,” Vaccarino crows. “Solve a problem in a package that is cheap to create and do it.”
She says she always have had many business ideas, but they require creating prototypes, getting funding etc, concepts that are foreign and scary to her. “Creating a recording of lessons I had been teaching for years, and writing them out into book form, was easy for me,” she adds. “It didn’t require thousands of dollars or outside resources. So I just did it.””I did not wait for perfection, either. I just went for it – I made my first CD on an impulse in one afternoon in my apartment on a borrowed DAT player.”
“I never imagined that I would sell over 50,000 and launch a respected brand. If I had waited for a music distributor to take on the project and put me up in an expensive studio, it would have never happened.”
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.