Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in dance education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jenny Levina, Founder of Dance Flavor, located in North Lauderdale, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Dance Flavor, we share our passion for dance with our clients. We believe that all dance styles should be accessible to all learners, regardless of age or prior experience. Our customers are people from all walks of life who want to learn to dance or engage with dance through shows, workshops, or online instruction. We aim to educate them about dance, fitness, injury prevention, and the latest techniques to help them get the most out of their dance experience with us.
Many of our dance students learn just for fun, so we make sure to keep our classes easy and constantly moving. The more serious students learn about technique and get ready for performances and dance competitions. And another group of our customers is those who book us for shows or private group classes at their events. About half of our bookings at this point are from repeat customers or customers recommending us to their friends.
Tell us about yourself
We wanted to create a different kind of dance studio, where students wouldn't be unceremoniously funneled through a sales channel but instead given their teacher's undivided attention and best advice. My partner and I both love to dance. We come from different dance backgrounds and continue to study different forms of dance because we see how the different techniques and musical expressions relate to one another across dance forms. We want to make sure that Dance Flavor reflects this. We are not just a Ballroom dance studio, or a Salsa or a Ballet studio. We are a Dance studio where we practice various forms of dance and pass this practice along to our students. This desire to create something unique, both in our own choreographies and in our teaching, is what keeps us going on those days when all you want to do is stay in bed watching Netflix.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Dance world can be very fragmented and competitive. It is definitely not an inclusive environment most of the time. This is why my greatest accomplishment to date is being able to bring inclusivity to my industry and have my model be accepted by the dance community. When my partner and I first started talking about the idea of combining different dance styles with our clients, we got a lot of blank stares. People didn't understand why we didn't want to just teach and dance one style like everybody else. Jack of all trades, master of none, we were told. But little by little, we started getting questions like, "What are you two doing that you are looking so good in your shows?" That's when we knew for sure that we were right all along. Limiting oneself is not a good approach to anything.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing is definitely being responsible for every aspect of the business. In a small business like Dance Flavor, there are not many people I can outsource to. And in my case, after I am done with our accounting, marketing, advertising, booking and confirming appointments, and answering phone calls and emails, I also have to be the one teaching lessons, as well as rehearsing and performing. It is a lot of responsibility, and it takes a lot of energy every day.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The first and most important tip I would give is to just start. Sure, do your research and make a plan, but the best business plan is just that. Putting yourself out there and hearing your first no is the hard part. The sooner you go through this, the sooner you will realize that it is not the end of the world, and the sooner you will get your first yes!
Tip number two: learn how to improvise. The reality is that no matter how much planning and thinking you do ahead of time, there will soon be a time when things don't go according to plan. You need to be able to think on your feet.
Tip number three: don't listen to anyone. This is kind of controversial, but it has always worked for me. Again, do all the research you want, but in the end, it is your business, not the experts on YouTube, and not even your customers. Get comfortable making your own decisions. You will not get every customer, and you will not make everyone in the world happy. That's fine. You need to run your business the way that makes you want to stay in business.
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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