Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alyssa Taubin, Owner of Positive Spin Pole Dance Fitness, located in Seattle, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Positive Spin Pole Dance Fitness strives to be a socially conscious space that supports traditionally underrepresented individuals and their allies in their journey to grow as people and as dancers. With an almost entirely LGBTQ+ staff, we primarily work with the queer community of all ages, including queer youth, in our pole fitness for teens program, which is the first comprehensive youth-focused pole program in the country. We are also home to a one-of-a-kind year-long instructor training program where we focus on increasing the diversity among pole instructors in our area and creating instructors who have an in-depth knowledge of social justice and inclusivity. Positive Spin works to break down conventional ideas of who can participate in activities like pole through a combination of community, compassion, and silliness.
Tell us about yourself
I started Positive Spin when I got laid off from my day job at age 22. I got rid of my bedroom furniture and started teaching pole from my bedroom, which resulted in my sleeping on the floor for two years. Initially, I didn't see myself as a business owner, being 22 with a degree in musical theatre, but I quickly fell in love with the way growing the business helped me constantly learn new skills and allowed me to bring people together. Today, Positive Spin has a 3,000 sqft commercial space and 15 employees.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It's hard to point to one accomplishment as the biggest! We've won fancy awards and moved into impressive spaces, but I feel most proud when someone shares a story about how we were the first place they felt comfortable being fully themselves.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The emotional pieces that I didn't expect! There are so many people I care about in the business, between my staff and students, and I can't always give everyone exactly what they want. It weighs on me to have to say no to individuals in order to make the best choice for the community, and it takes intentional internal work for me to focus my energy on all the value I'm able to provide rather than the moments when I have to say no. I have anti-capitalist values, but unfortunately, we exist in a capitalist society, so I am constantly trying to live my values while setting us up for sustainable success.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get specific on who you want to work with, and don't worry about the people who don't fall into that category.
- Focus on building authentic relationships with the people you work with. If you can't be your authentic self around someone, they are not a good fit for your team. You are creating a space that you'll be spending a lot of time in, so you want it to be with people you are excited to spend time with.
- Treat your team how you want to be treated, but also treat YOU the way you want to be treated. It is easy for business owners to either put themselves last or get greedy when they find success. Finding balance in this area is key to keeping yourself and your people feeling valued and energized.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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