Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in dance education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shimkiri Figar, Co-Founder of Jersey City Ballroom, located in Jersey City, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Jersey City Ballroom is a dance studio that offers lessons in Latin, Ballroom, Swing, Salsa, and more for all ages and backgrounds. Our diverse student body includes adults, kids, teens, people who have no dance experience, dance professionals in other styles who want to add ballroom and Latin to their repertoire, and engaged couples preparing for their wedding dance... we really welcome anyone who wants to learn how to partner dance or further their dancing!
Tell us about yourself
I love dancing and teaching dance! When I was competing professionally in International Latin with my husband, dance partner, and Co-Founder Werner Figar while teaching dancing full-time, it really struck us that all of the locations that we were teaching at didn't have quite the atmosphere and vibe to connect people together through a love of dance. We started Jersey City Ballroom to build a community through dancing, and that love for dancing, movement, and community continues to motivate me every day to do what I do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Seeing the joy that ballroom dancing brings our students. It is so rewarding to coach a student all the way to winning the Pro-Am World Latin Championships and to find out how a student gained more confidence in themselves through a Latin performance team or that our lessons and classes helped someone feel more comfortable mingling at a social event such as a holiday party or Salsa club, or seeing how delighted a wedding couple is when they learn the skills to partner dance together for their first dance exactly the way they envisioned. It's also truly satisfying to know that there are students who have created long-term friendships based on meeting each other through our dance studio.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Know when to delegate! I always want things to run smoothly for our students, our staff, and our instruction team; however, I cannot do it all by myself, and learning how to count on others has been an important lesson.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Build your team. Even if you are a solopreneur, you will still need others to lean on, if not within your business, then outside of your business in your personal life.
- Find the positive. Not every situation will be a positive one when running your own business; however, afterward, finding the parts of the outcome that are on the better side can help to put things in perspective.
- Keep growing. As a business owner, I find it important and enriching to keep educating myself in emerging best practices and also in my field of dance/movement. There are many great resources available through books, podcasts, and seminars, and much is available online as well.
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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