There’s several clichés that everyone uses as advice when you’re starting a business:
“No one will tell you anything.
”Double the amount of money you think you need.”
“Get ready for some looong hours.”
You don’t understand the magnitude of these statements until you’re in the moment, building your dream and the world around you starts spinning at a million miles an hour. Relocating and building our new recording studio has been kind enough to bestow on my partner and I over a year of thirteen-hour days. Not to mention having to pry people for information they were not willing to give up, and an amount of money we thought would be adequate which has now turned out to be that magic number we should have doubled. Spending a lot of time talking with other business owners in conjunction with our Berklee educations (mine in business, my partner’s in MP&E) prepared us for some things, but those clichés are clichés for a reason. You can never be fully prepared for the curve balls owning your own business throws until you actually do it and by that point, you can’t go back and do it again– you have to do it right the first time.
In August of 2010, we started our relocation process after a small flood derailed our small Allston studio. With the help and support of Martin Dennehy in my Entrepreneurial Practicum through the fall of that year and Umass Boston’s small business advising program (highly recommended and provided for free by the US government) we were given the opportunity to apply for a federally backed small business loan. The government backs these loans 85% in the event of a default, so they are desirable for banks. There was a slim chance we would get one. Neither of us have much credit or collateral and the government isn’t giving money away like they used to. Several people told us that it wouldn’t happen but after months of waiting and paper working and waiting some more, we actually got the loan.
We picked a location in downtown Quincy, right across from the MBTA, after several attempts to lock down a lease and months of realtors not returning calls. No one wants to try and place a first time business, let alone a recording studio (something everyone perceives as noisy, regardless of any plans on our part to soundproof). This process took six full months. We thought we’d be open in three.
When we finally locked down the location, negotiating the lease, permitting, architectural plans, acoustical plans, locking down labor, and legal help, burned another few months. Several advantages here were having a lawyer, a carpenter, and several business owners in the family. ALWAYS hire a lawyer. I can’t stress this enough. They mediate the lease (something you’ll be stuck with for 5 or 10+ years in a commercial space) and other paperwork, take care of any issues with landlords, insurance, collections, and just about any other problem you can think of. A good lawyer is invaluable, no matter how savvy you think you are. I always wondered why so many lawyers made it onto executive boards in large corporations—and now we have one on ours.With the space locked down, we were ready to build—but that’s a whole other story for a different day with it’s own set of triumphs and problems.
Kim Pfluger graduated in 2010 with a degree in Music Business and Management. She opened Keep the Edge Studios with her partner and co-owner Keith Asack who also graduated in 2010 with a degree in Music Production and Engineering. Their space is located right off the red line in Quincy, MA.