August 20, 2021
How Starting a Business Made Me a Better Singer

It’s great to be back on the LO blog! Last time, I shared, (Tips for better audition outfits), but this time, I’m sharing my entrepreneurial journey. At Calvert & Co. Styling I help people level up in life by elevating their style and building simpler, more stylish wardrobes. Our website launched this week and I couldn’t be more excited for all the growth ahead. Oh, and I’m also a singer! You can catch me this fall in my house debut at Amarillo opera - click here for more info!

But I didn’t always have a dual career as a singer and personal stylist. In fact, this is quite new. Calvert & Co. Styling isn’t even a year old yet!

Like many singers, I worked part-time pre-pandemic. In fact, I often worked multiple part-time jobs such as teaching voice, a church job, retail, etc. It allowed me a little steady income, the flexibility to have coaching and lessons, and the ability to take time off for auditions and traveling gigs. The hustle was real though, and I never felt like I was truly making a return on my investment (i.e. singing wasn’t paying for itself!). Plus, I felt like I had a whole lot more to offer the world than just a few performances a year.

Fast forward, COVID hits, and one of the companies I’m working for part-time furloughs me. My other part-time job is for a local personal styling business and the owner keeps us on through the worst of it. A few months later though, she made the choice to close her doors and pivot the business. I spoke to a lot of singer friends during this time who were thinking about switching careers or changing the trajectory of theirs by pursuing tenure-track University positions. I also spoke to a few friends who, like me, knew they were meant to keep singing but could not imagine going forward the same way they did in the past. 

The starving artist is not a stereotype we have to accept. 

Back to the story – during the lockdown, a few friends and neighbors knew I was working for a stylist and asked if I could virtually help with their wardrobes. At first, I thought I’d make a little side money helping 2 or 3 people during lockdown but within a week I realized that I was supposed to do it for real. I was called to open my own personal styling company. 

So, I did. 

I made it official and started an LLC. I got the Instagram going, created my services, and started selling! And guess what? It was the most freeing thing I could have done for myself. I am committed to singing but I’m also committed to my business, Calvert & Co. Styling. Having dual careers has taken so much pressure and stress off of my back about singing. It has reignited my creativity and given me an even stronger sense of purpose.

Starting my business also helped me come to terms with the perfectionism that had been plaguing my singing for years. I now live by the phrase “practice makes progress” in business, singing, and life.

If you want to start your own business, don’t look up “side-hustle” ideas on the internet or “next great business model”. Look at your skill set. I already had the tools and passion I needed to start Calvert & Co. Styling, I just didn’t realize it. I was a Fashion Marketing major at University for a year and a half before switching to music. Odds are, you have your own story, your own interests, and your own unique talents that will translate beautifully to a dual career. 

Whatever your passion is, I encourage you to do it alongside singing. Maybe you’ll be a freelance web designer, a real estate agent, or the CEO of a company that informs, equips, and empowers singers (I’m looking at you, Soula!). 

I believe the future of classical music will be filled with versatile artists who know their value and contribute to the world in multi-faceted ways. So, here’s to dual careers! 

Ivy Calvert is a professional classical singer and owner and chief stylist at Calvert & Co. Styling. You can follow her singing career @ivycalvert and her company @calvertandco.styling on Instagram and Facebook. 

Written by:

Ivy Calvert

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