Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Menina Fortunato, Founder of DANCE WITH MENINA, located in Burbank, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a dance entertainment company that produces dance-related educational programs, events, and productions. My latest business venture is helping moms get their dream bodies through fun dance-based workouts without sacrificing time with their kids.
Tell us about yourself
I come from a family of business owners. My grandparents owned a convenience store and wine distribution company in Portugal. I have been helping my mother produce dance competitions across Canada since age 13 and helping my father operate and teach at his dance studio at age 12. I have never had a traditional 9-5 job in my life. I have dedicated my entire life to DANCE as a dance educator, performer, producer, and choreographer.
I have been teaching dance for 25+ years and have an extensive dance background performing on TV, film, live shows, and commercials all over the world (over 40 countries). I have taught thousands of dancers worldwide, from small children to professionals and everyone in between. I enjoy the freedom of entrepreneurship and the flexibility to work when I want with unlimited income potential. My family motivates me to succeed and keep pushing forward no matter how hard life gets.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I started my own dance entertainment company in my 20s, producing dance-related events, educational programs, and productions. I was a guest instructor on VHI's Celebrity Fit Club and a guest judge on the TV show Dance Moms. I have shared the stage or the screen as a dancer with Britney Spears, Beyonce, Earth Wind & Fire, Beyonce, Maluma, Carmen Electra, ZZ Top, Luis Miguel, Rain (Bi), Carrie Underwood, and MC Hammer, to name a few. I have also performed as a dancer on America's Got Talent, Latin American Music Awards, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Star Trek: Enterprise, Spike TV's Guy's Choice Awards, MAD TV, and was Jennifer Garner's Dance Double on Alias.
I created PRENATAL DANCE during my first pregnancy in 2010 & released the DVD on Amazon in 2012. PRENATAL DANCE caught the attention of major media outlets that led to international exposure on TV shows, magazines, red carpet events, and news articles in Canada, the US, and the UK. PRENATAL DANCE was named one of the “Hollywood must-have products” at the Pre-Golden Globe Baby Boom Boom Gifting Suites. This DVD got into the hands of many celebrities, including Christina Milian, Melissa Joan Hart, and Shanola Hampton.
After baby #3, I created an on-demand postnatal program so moms can take my classes from home at their convenience from my new web app. After a year of focusing on postnatal dance, I added classes for moms without babies and decided to rebrand all my programs as DANCE WITH MENINA, which now serves moms at every stage of motherhood: prenatal, postnatal dance & beyond. Now my programs are way more than just dance. I offer holistic transformational programs that will transform your mind, body, and soul so you can be a happier, healthier & fit mom.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing about being a business owner is the unpredictability and instability of revenue. Just when you think your business is stable, unexpected events can derail your progress (i.e., a pandemic, lockdowns). As a solopreneur, a mom of 3, and a wife, it is challenging to balance my time in all areas of my life. After I had my 3rd baby at home during the lockdown in 2020, I suddenly wasn’t able to travel, teach, perform or produce any live dance events due to the pandemic restrictions.
My dance career of 25+ years came to a halt & I was going through an identity crisis. I had to lean on my husband financially for the first time in my life. It really crushed my ego and had me feeling lost and frustrated. This crisis inspired me to create an entire online dance fitness program for moms from the comfort of home. Sometimes the hardest times in our lives inspire greatness. "Life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you."
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your passion and monetize it so you will never work a day in your life.
- Work on personal development and growth. Your business will only grow when you grow.
- Be innovative to stand out in the crowd and go the extra mile to serve your clients. Your reputation is everything!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
All my mom fitness programs are on-demand and accessible through my web app:
• MONTHLY MEMBERSHIP - This program is best for moms who want to dance/work out part-time at their own pace.
• 6-WEEK DANCE CHALLENGE - This program is a great way to jump-start your fitness through fun dance workouts. This is great for moms with babies who are looking to find their groove again while bonding with their babies.
• SUPER MOMS BOOTCAMP - This program is a 6-month transformational program for moms who are serious about making a lifestyle change.
You can also see the client results through this link.
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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