I guess it was at a very young age when I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur even though I had no idea it had a name but I knew I wanted to be a dance studio owner & dance teacher. When I was around middle school age I began helping teach at the local dance studio where I had been taking classes for many years. I loved it! I loved the creativity, the relationships, the costumes, the congratulations on show night; that was my spotlight.
Years go by and I continued teaching and taking lessons until I was about 19 and I was the oldest student there. Then it all came to a screaming halt, I had to be a grown up, I had to get a job and go to college and do all of these grown up things that didn’t leave much time for dancing and teaching dance classes. It wasn’t until I had met my husband and we were in our own apartment, pregnant with our second child, spit balling fictious name ideas for my dream studio and where I would have it and all of the ins and outs of what I could and would do.
Within a few weeks I got approval from my church to rent space in an unused Sunday school room, didn’t expect that but knew it was God’s way of saying this is what I was supposed to be doing even though His timing could have been better and I began advertising for this small family based dance studio of my dreams. I wrote out a business plan and took one of the fictious names my husband spit out and turned it into an ever growing small business filled with passion and love. I started out with four student that first year, a little disheartening but I held my head high and kept on dancing. Little did I know a well-known dance teacher’s daughter was opening up her New York City style dance studio only a few blocks from mine the same year.
But my dreams of being a dance teacher at a studio of my own had come true no madder how many students I had I was thankful for this beginning. Now, seven years later, I remain a proud, passionate studio owner and dance teacher. I love every student that crosses my path unconditionally and I have loving relationships with every family. I like to refer to my studio as a “mom & pop” dance studio making just enough to get by and loving every minute of it.
I have learned so many valuable lessons through my years as an entrepreneur that working other jobs (the ones that keep the lights on) just weren’t bucket filling enough for me. I thrive on creativity and choreographing beautiful ballet numbers that bring all of the grandmas in the audience to tears and tap numbers that Fred Astaire would be proud of. My cup is full when I see a student achieve perfection on a step that they had been working on for weeks and when they have fallen and get back up to try again.
The smiles of the students when they try on their costumes and see their trophies brings me to tears because I know those moments are what I lived for in my youth. I have learned to have thick skin, or a backbone as some may say.
Growing up, I tried to make everyone in my life happy, smiling is my favorite! This is an unrealistic goal for anyone in business, yes you want to make your customers happy but you can’t pick six different costumes just because not everyone in the class likes them. You will never achieve greatness by trying to please everyone along the way. That is not only a lesson I have learned for my studio but within my personal life as well.
Know yourself well enough to say this is my creative vision and have a plan and execute that plan accordingly, those parents and nay sayers will thank you for it later. In having a backbone I have learned that in the eyes of those at my studio and those close to me I am the “expert” in the field of dance at my studio so I am the one with all of the necessary information needed to make each year a success and I need to act that way. I have been dancing my entire life, and teaching dance for a majority of it too so why wouldn’t I be an expert in how I teach and run my studio.
Take ownership of your legacy. I am so proud of myself for the Entrepreneur I have grown to be and I am so excited that my studio is alive and doing well. Random tidbit: Did you know most small businesses close up within the first five years of opening?” Well not Dance-A-Licious Dance Studio, no siree!