Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Iana Komarnytska, Founder of Iana Dance, located in Toronto, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Iana Dance Club was created to help belly dancer students and professionals navigate their dance life. It is an online educational platform with 300+ on-demand pre-recorded classes/lectures that allow participants to craft a training program that works specifically for them.
This project started a few years ago as a simple Patreon channel with a couple of tutorials to boost consistency in dancer's practice but quickly got transformed into the most complete training resource, as described by our current members, with various technique drills, choreographies, intensives, and full-length courses.
Along with the Iana Dance Club, I also host the Belly Dance Life podcast, a series of audio interviews with artists who work in the belly dance industry all around the world.
It has been running for almost five years with over 200 episodes released and delivers a free weekly portion of dance inspiration to our listeners.
Tell us about yourself
I started my professional dance career as a solo performer in Toronto/Canada. After a successful 5-year experience of being a full-time dancer, I switched my focus to teaching and blogging activities and wanted to share all my experiences with other uprising dancers. That’s how the idea of my independent courses, such as Learn How to Belly Dance and Business Course for Belly Dancers, came to life.
With time I understood that I wanted to go beyond typical online courses. I always paid attention to my own needs as a dancer who constantly aims to grow and dedicates a lot of time to practice on my own: what are my main struggles, what are barriers to growth, and how can I overcome my own blindspots in situations when I don’t have a mentor.
All these self-observations became the principal basis of the Iana Dance Club and the Belly Dance Life podcast, and the most rewarding feedback I receive from the customers is to hear that they finally found an online platform that helps them to feel motivated, connected to the community, provides guidance but leave space for free exploration.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think the fact itself that I’m living as a full-time belly dancer. Building a business around my desired lifestyle and not vice versa is very important for me. But what is even more precious is the fact that I built a business that truly helps and serves other people without sacrificing my own values or sense of freedom.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The most difficult thing is to balance work/rest time. As a business owner, you have an endless to-do list, and it’s a never-ending process, so sometimes you just need to stop and take some time off work. Creating healthy boundaries in your communication with clients also can be a game-changers.
It’s important to remember, although easy to forget, that you need to feel truly restored and fulfilled in order to give your best in business and serve customers to your full potential.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Choose something that you truly enjoy doing and build your business around it.
- Listen to what your customers say, and address their needs in a way that aligns with your own interests.
- Don’t be afraid to ‘fire’ some of the customers. Your time and nerves are your most valuable assets, especially in the long-term run.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.