Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sharon Bon, Owner of Dame Más Dance, located in Thunder Bay, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Dame Más Dance offers African (kizomba) and Latin (salsa and bachata) dance classes at the beginner and intermediate level to adult (16+) men and women. In addition to group and private dance lessons, we offer Zumba Fitness classes (on-demand video and in-person), wedding choreography services, dance workshops, and performances for special events.
Tell us about yourself
I took my first dance class rather late in life (at the age of 45). For about a year, I would attend classes sporadically due to family commitments. In April 2015, I decided to make the time to commit to regular lessons, and my progress soared. I expanded to more dance genres, attending many dance workshops in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Minneapolis, and New York. In January 2017, I became an assistant instructor at the dance studio that I had been attending, eventually taking on some managerial roles as well. I was devastated when the studio closed in 2019. Eight months later, I decided to take the leap to open up my own studio.
I have said that I didn't go looking for dance; dance found me. When a friend suggested that I come out to a dance class, I was going through some difficult times in my marriage. I realized that when I am dancing, I am in my happy place. I am truly living in the present moment, not thinking about what happened earlier in the day and not thinking about what will happen later. One day my nine-year-old son commented that he was happy to see how much happier I was when I was dancing. At that moment, I knew that I had to keep dancing not only for my own well-being but for my family's well-being also.
I decided to become a dance instructor because I wanted to share with others the happiness that I experience when I dance. Seeing the joy on my students' faces at the end of a class is my motivation. I am humbled by their appreciation of us as dance instructors, and this encourages me to spread the love for dance.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is having amazing, loyal clients/students. My business is growing slowly (the pandemic was a difficult period), but my students give me the strength to keep moving forward. They feel like a part of an extended family. I even have students actively recruiting for my business because they really want me to succeed. For that, I am truly grateful.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Marketing is one of the hardest parts of being a business owner for me. Trying to get your name out there and get more eyes on your business is a time-consuming process. Before I had a business, I was not that engaged on social media. Now I realize how important a tool it is for people to discover you and for you to attract the right clients to your business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your passion and then see how you can make that work for you in a business. Having that passion helps to motivate you to push on during difficult times.
- If you don't have a degree in business, take entrepreneurship training courses to develop the skills required for running a successful business. There is so much more to running a business than marketing and sales.
- Learn to ask for help when it's needed. When you are just starting out, there is a tendency to want to do everything, especially if funds are limited. Learn how to delegate tasks to avoid burnout, and make sure that you have a good work/life balance.
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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