Follow your dreams. It’s what they tell you as soon as you learn to dance or play guitar. What they don’t tell you is — prepare for building maintenance and customer service.
For entrepreneurs of any stripe, reality is coming and it’s a cold drink of water. It takes a lot of work and unglamorous work at that, once you get to the promised land. Really savvy operators can turn that insight into another opportunity. That’s what Tim Benson did after following his dream of working in the music business.
Tim Benson is the owner and founder of the Music Academy of Acadiana, located right here in Lafayette. He started the academy after his band broke up and spending a few years teaching lessons privately.
One thing Tim figured out about running a music school: A lot of them have pretty crummy customer service. So he hatched a new company and service called PhoneScore, which provides feedback and reviews of how employees handle telephone interactions.
Bad phone etiquette is a weak link in marketing for a lot of businesses, Tim says. Many will spend loads of cash on SEO and advertising, only to introduce their brands to customers with a lousy greeting. Oh, and Tim helps with the SEO stuff too. He founded NetScore, a digital marketing service that helps brands with content, digital ad placements, newsletter campaigns and more.
Tim grew up in Carencro and along with his business ventures is still living the dream as a gigging musician.
Allison Brandon spent years in dance and theater instruction before taking the plunge to follow her dream: opening an arts education and performing arts center here in Lafayette: Wonderland Center for the Performing Arts.
The school grew out of small scale productions she developed from a weekly program for kids. Wonderland brought that idea to a much bigger stage, literally. Wonderland organizes some serious productions and houses a suite of theater and performing arts classes, most of it formatted for kids and teens. It hosts private lessons for voice, piano, dance, audition prep and even some specialty courses like Greek theater.
The community around Wonderland has grown considerably since Allison opened her first brick-and-mortar space in 2017. Today it works with about 120 students and employs a staff of 15, including 12 teachers.
This is Allison’s first time on Out to Lunch IRL but not her first time on the show. Her debut appearance was during the Covid 19 pandemic when we were all working remotely on Zoom. This IRL edition of Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette.
Photos by Astor Morgan who for the record does not act, dance, or play in a band. Okay, correction, he does dance on occasion.