Small Business Story – Brian Garner

  • First and last name

Brian Warner

  • Company name


  • Website address

  • Please describe exactly what your business does and your target market

    As a Music Therapist, I use music and/or the elements of music (melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre and lyrics) to assist people with their non-musical needs and objectives. I apply music therapy with

    • residents of seniors’ facilities;
    • people with developmental disabilities
    • people with severe mental health issues
    • and people with Autism
  • What makes your business different? What is that you do that makes your business unique

    Music Therapy is a relatively recent development in health care services. People are actively involved in their/our treatment. Together we determine peoples’ needs and goals and devise systematic goals to help people achieve their highest level of functioning in these targeted areas.

  • Why did you decide to start your own business? How did you get into your particular business? On returning home to Canada in January, 2006 after working for seven years as the Coordinator of Music Therapy at a large, state, residential treatment facility in Texas, I wanted to be totally responsible for the success of my venture. I could work where and when I wanted and not be tied up by budgets determined by people who knew absolutely nothing of the needs of my people and programmes.
  • What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?

    Just that : being responsible for the direction of treatment; for mistakes and financial losses as well as being responsible for gains, positive results and insights not before realized.

  • What’s the worst part of being and entrepreneur?
    • Being totally tied up in the whole venture especially including the apparent failure of a treatment regimen AND absorbing all of any loss incurred.
    • No vacation pay unless previously panned within pricing structure. AND
    • Putting that percentage away for that use!
  • How long have you been in business?

    This self-employed business – 2½ years; Music therapy itself : 10 ½ years

  • How did you raise the start-up cash?

    When I returned home from Texas, I cashed in my state pension (minus a hefty deduction) and used that to set myself up in business; get started

  • Identify and discuss a few lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
    • Never fear trying something new. You may surprise yourself. You never know what you really can do until you do it.
    • Learn from your mistakes
    • Keep (overly) complete records
    • Don’t get behind on bookkeeping!
  • What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
    • Smile!
    • Be positive about EVERYTHING!
    • Take things step by step
    • Hire and USE a knowledgeable accountant/bookkeeper
    • Innovate! Many different routes lead to the same destination
    • Always update your knowledge, credentials
  • Briefly, what are your goals and plans for the future?

Expand using: new music therapists as subcontractors and exploring new applications/areas

  • Any other information or advice you’d like to share?


    Be confident in yourself, your skills, your abilities

    Never be afraid to try something new.

    On meeting someone new, repeat their name many times within the initial contact or conversation. That name connection will be useful forever. People like to be referred to by their name. It is a sign of acknowledgement and respect.


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