Photo by Kylee Lyles
I met Trannie Stevens, songwriter and entrepreneur, two years ago when she moved from Waco, Texas, to pursue her songwriting dreams in Nashville. Even as a young girl, Trannie knew she was destined to find her spot in the music industry, whether it be as an artist or songwriter. Although a Nashville outsider, her peppy spirit and outgoing personality helped her find a spot in the songwriting community.
Trannie has co-written with a few well-known Nashville songwriters including Jon Mabe, Jennifer Wayne, Jason Massey and Justin Ebach. She recently achieved a huge step in her creative career when she signed with Catch This Music, but getting to where she is now took a lot of hard work and persistence— songwriting everyday, singing at writers rounds and constantly networking.
After growing a catalog of over 200 songs, Trannie finally felt comfortable to reach out to publishing companies. She likes to compare this process to dating.
"You have people that lead you on," Trannie says, "and then you have people who are pursuing you and you know exactly what's going on. You just don't know when they are going to ask you to be their boyfriend or girlfriend."
After three months of "dating" Catch This Music, she was pulled in for her first publishing meeting. A few days later she was offered a publishing deal.
Check Trannie's music out on SoundCloud!
Living in Nashville and trying to pursue a career in songwriting can get pretty expensive, but as a business minded creative she quickly figured out a way to make a little side money. Trannie studied entrepreneurship and small business at Baylor University in her hometown.
Pup-Stars Pet Services became her brain child, which has grown to be a successful venture. Her mentor and friend Caroline Hobby, wife to Michael Hobby from A Thousand Horses, was her first client. Caroline passed the Pup-Stars' name around to fellow country artists and songwriters, and soon Trannie's pet sitting business took off.
Photo by Kylee Lyles
Eight months into it, she was struggling to keep up with pet sitting gigs and even had to turn some down. Trannie decided to hire her friends and fellow songwriters as Pup-Stars pet sitters.
Pup-Stars is now partnered with M Street Entertainment Group and non-profit Tiny But Mighty Fund in Nashville. Trannie plans to continue to grow and perfect the pet sitting business in order to reach a larger niche of people. Eventually, she hopes to sell her business to a fellow songwriter or creative looking to make good side money.
Trannie's advice for other Lashville women:
1. For songwriters, be careful timing your meetings with publishing companies — you don't want to meet with them too early. You will be ready when you have a catalog of 100 or more songs written that you feel confident in and others are excited about.
2. Publishers care who you are writing with.
3. Find a "cheerleader," a music industry insider, who is excited about the songs you are writing. Trannie's says her "cheerleaders" are Caroline Hobby and Jennifer Wayne.
4. For entrepreneurs, create a product or service that is valuable and so much of a necessity that customers are exciting to tell others about it.
5. Create a business that will be low expense (leverage time and requires little money) and generates high margins.
6. Your business will take time to grow. Patience is key!
7. Find your niche! Pup-Stars' niche is any person who travels a lot that has pets and the money to hire dog sitters.