Case Study: Harmonica Academy – A Profitable Side Business

Case Study: Harmonica Academy – A Profitable Side Business

“To be honest, I’m a musician, and that’s what I want to do: play music. I do have a passion for teaching you know, it’s been my profession. I’ve been a university lecturer for many years. But that’s not what I wake up in the morning wanting to do, I want to play instruments. Curriculum development has been my career, so integrating that [the music] into a teaching platform is something that I could do. I’m an international class player.”

Tony Eyers – Harmonica Academy


Tony Eyers runs Harmonica Academy, a membership site that offers tutorials, classes and workshops for people who are interested in learning the harmonica. Tony offers detailed harmonica instruction on his site, as well as encouragement, motivation, and lots of free samples. He also runs a second site with SubHub, which offers his harmonica instruction in Spanish.

Tony is another of our long-time clients and has been working with SubHub for an amazing ten years.

A significant part of his income

Tony’s passion for the harmonica, and sharing his skills, has developed over the years into a significant part of his income. So much so, in fact, that he’s intending to transition his career into being a full-time musician and music teacher. It goes to show that with time and dedication, you really can profit from your passion!

Tony says, “I have Harmonica Academy and which is essentially the same site but translated into Spanish. It’s a significant part of my income. My main thing is I’m a training consultant, so that’s a major part of my income. But with that said, these sites are quite a significant part of my income and I’m sort of at a career transition stage of moving from being a technical engineering type person, to one who makes a living from music and music instruction.”

The only one-stop solution

When Tony began his search for an online solution that could handle his needs, he looked at a number of different options. Being technically minded he was confident that he’d be capable of building what was needed himself, but then he stumbled across SubHub and realised that he didn’t have to. Here was the one-stop solution he needed – a platform that fulfilled all his needs without needing additional plugins or hacks.

Tony says, “I’ve got an engineering background in IT-related things, and so experience in constructing various systems. Back then, much more than now, to create a subscription-based site required various technical things to be put in and to be to made to work. I looked around and SubHub was the only turnkey solution. At that stage there weren’t any competitors. I considered doing it myself and I probably would have been capable. I think it would have been challenging. I had the skills, but it still would have been challenging. It’s less so, these days, but I’m very happy for my sites to be on SubHub, and I have no plans of shifting, ever.


Tony’s approach to customer service

One thing that has been key to Tony’s success is his attitude to customer service, and he encourages anyone running a membership site not to neglect this part of their business. He says, “I check my sites every day and if anyone is having issues, I fix them immediately. I offer a refund, no questions asked. I make a point of providing immediate refunds. If you take money from someone you’ve never met, who’s on the other side of the world, who’s trusted you, that’s a contract that you have entered into that you have to honour. And you do that by providing the service that’s been paid for and stuff like that. And then, if they don’t like it, by giving the money back. I interact with the site and with my customers daily, and fix any problems, but the rest of the time the site runs itself.”

Support from SubHub

Although Tony is very capable of fixing the majority of issues that crop up with his sites, he still appreciates a little extra help from the SubHub team from time to time. And like all our clients, he is instrumental in driving forward changes to the platform that all our clients can benefit from.

Tony says, SubHub has been very good, support-wise. At times, there have been issues and the response is very professional, I have never had an instance where it hasn’t been. In the early years, I had a lot of frustration because there were things that I wanted to do which didn’t get done. And I’ve been involved with software development, so I understand why they didn’t get done. The sign-up process [for new members] used to be very agricultural and you had put in your full address and a whole a lot of other details, which in my case was completely unnecessary. So I paid SubHub to create a one page sign-up, and it was worth it. And I’m still using it. So, over the years, the things I’ve asked for have all been done. And now the site has what I want.”

A strong relationship

Something else Tony appreciates, and has encouraged him to stay with us for so long, is the fact that he’s had a chance to build a strong relationship with the people who are taking care of his business. SubHub is quite unusual in the tech world because we have a very low staff turnover, and Tony has been dealing with the same people for the last ten years.

Tony says, One of the things I really like about SubHub, and I think is quite unusual, is that people stay there for long, long time. People make careers there. Usually you’ll have someone for six months and then they move on, and you have this constant churn. However the SubHub workplace is set up, it seems to be set up in a way that suits people, so they stay, which is very nice for someone like me. I don’t know how long Louise has been there, but I’ve been dealing with her for years, and she knows me and knows what I do. That’s really nice and is pretty unusual.”

Advice for building a membership website

Finally, Tony had this advice for anyone who is interested in building a membership site, I would definitely recommend trying SubHub, because it’s a one-stop shop. You don’t have to worry about technical things, you don’t have to glue this thing together and glue that thing together. If it breaks then SubHub fix it, so you don’t have to. If anyone came to me and said, ‘I’m setting up a subscription site, what do you recommend?’ I’d say SubHub. You just set up your test site, then you literally just create your content.”

Thanks so much for sharing your SubHub story, Tony.


For more information on Tony and Harmonica Academy, you can visit the site here (and the Spanish version here). And if Tony’s story has inspired you to get your own membership site up and running, then make sure to sign up for your free trial here.

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