Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nikki Gaither, Founder of PNW Wedding Dance, located in Portland, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
PNW Wedding Dance creates choreographed routines for wedding dances, including but not limited to the first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, garter dance, bridesmaid or groomsmen dance, flash mobs, or line dancing instruction at your reception.
Tell us about yourself
In 2015 I was working at a local dance studio and was given the opportunity to create a flash mob for a wedding. The bride-to-be thought no one would dance at her wedding, so her fiancé threw her a surprise flash mob. It was an extremely meaningful and impactful experience, and it made me want to do more of the same. So in 2016, I threw my hat in the ring and started my business, "PDX Flash Mob." Over the years, I realized that I gravitated more towards working with couples one on one than putting on big productions, so I rebranded my business to "PNW Wedding Dance."
The thing that motivates me each day to continue with PNW Wedding Dance is watching my couples grow over the course of lessons. Most of my couples have no dance experience whatsoever and come into our first lesson telling me how "they can't dance." By the end, they always look sharp and feel so good. Proving people wrong - meaning showing them that they CAN do something they want to do but feel insecure about - is such a great feeling. It's super rewarding for the couple and individual and is one of the most rewarding parts of my job...seeing that transformation and watching them fall in love with dancing.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think my biggest accomplishment so far as a business owner was pivoting successfully during the height of the pandemic. I started offering online dance lessons (which have been really wonderful!) and holding outdoor practices. Dance lessons during the pandemic have been an important boost for mental health...for both my clients and me.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think the hardest thing for me can be making decisions on my own. Since I'm the only one in charge, all choices (and consequences of those choices) land on my shoulders. I try to do my research online, poll friends and family, and network with other people in my industry to gather data before I make big decisions so I can do my best to set myself and my business up for success.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- JUMP! I think the hardest step to take is the first one...to just START your business. To go for it. I've heard many business owners say that their business evolved and took them to a place they never imagined when they first started it. So don't overthink it too much. Just jump in, put your name out there and see what happens.
- Network. Networking within your industry not only gives you great leads once others trust your product and you, but those groups are a great resource for questions regarding anything business related, from contracts to which marketing platforms work best.
- Trust your gut. At the end of the day, the decisions I make in regards to my business come from experience with my business. Only you know all the ins and outs of your business and what might work best to continue being successful.
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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