Santa Cruz SBDC

Rivendell Music Academy

“Getting started and having the SBDC as a resource gave me the confidence and perspective I needed to grow my business”

All Client Stories

Dylan Sheehan is a passionate musician and teacher who took his passion and turned it into a successful business. Founder of Rivendell Music Academy, Dylan spreads the joy of music through interactive and fun music lessons, helping his students develop their musical skills and appreciation for music in a nurturing and supportive environment.

After being a music teacher for almost a decade, Dylan had started experiencing burnout so he realized it was time to embark on a new journey. It was in 2020 that Dylan signed up for services at the SBDC to start building his brand and ultimately launch his business.

Paired with Keith Holtaway, Dylan first focused on addressing some basic questions and then discussed the need to expand his workplace. Advisor Keith Holtaway shared his insights about the different types of lease options available for Dylan in Felton, the timing of the expansion, rental rates in Santa Cruz, and clauses one may add to a lease.

In terms of funding, Dylan became interested in expanding his business by hiring more teachers, purchasing additional instruments and increasing his marketing efforts. To do so, Keith suggested he applied for the Dream Fund Grant, which consists of an intensive seven-week training for newer businesses and the opportunity to receive a grant of up to $10,000. After completing the training, Keith guided Dylan through the application process, including the completion of Profit & Loss projections and a compelling narrative.

Dylan has achieved many remarkable milestones that speak to his dedication and hard work. Not only has he been awarded the Dream Fund grant, which has allowed him to expand his music studio, but he has also hired two new teachers to help him fulfill his mission of spreading the joy of music to his community.

Dylan’s short-term goal is to continue growing his new studio, ensuring that his two teachers have full schedules and that the studio is running smoothly. In the long term, he aims to move into a bigger space and hire more teachers to offer after-school and summer programs, diversifying his services to reach even more people. Above all, Dylan hopes to help people become confident in their musical abilities and to foster a strong community of musicians in the San Lorenzo Valley and Santa Cruz areas. His passion for music and his commitment to his community are truly inspiring.