Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Lozano, Owner of Steadfast Dance Center, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Steadfast Dance Center is a dance home to youth dancers on the Southside of Chicago. We are working to build up the next generation of artists by teaching dance to youth ages 18mo-17yrs. We offer a variety of dance classes, including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Latin, and more.
Tell us about yourself
Opening a dance studio was not on my life agenda. However, after having my first child, I was looking to get back into teaching dance when a group of parents from a studio I taught at years prior were looking for a dance instructor to teach their students as their studio had recently shut down. They found space at a local non-for-profit that allowed us to use the vacant apartment above their office. Another instructor and I taught the students in the living room for about a year until we grew so much that we were turning students away.
One of the parents approached me about making this newly formed dance family official. Although I was hesitant, I felt responsible for these young dancers and wanted to support their passion for dance as many dance teaching artists had done for me in the past. Ultimately the students and their families, as well as my dedicated, talented staff, motivate me to push forward and keep the Steadfast family alive and well.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am most proud of our dancers that I taught when they were as young as 6yrs old and now in high school and college doing amazing things. I like to think that Steadfast played a role in supporting and inspiring them to reach for their dreams.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The most challenging part for me is that I see Steadfast as an extension of me, the studio as my dance home, and my students as my dance family. With all of that, it feels much like a parent/ child relationship. I feel responsible for growth, development, and success.
Along with that comes the never-ending feeling that you could be doing more. Most parents talk about guilt and second-guessing choices made and how to lead them down the right path. Owning a business has many similarities to parenting your children.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- With a clear goal, structure, and plan, you can do it!
- Be patient with yourself and your growth. It takes time and tenacity.
- You do not have to wear all the hats. Get help and support from staff and mentors.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Although being your own boss comes with many perks, you have to put in the work, and having a daily schedule with deadlines is crucial. Don't be afraid to ask for help, as you may have the skill set to do everything. You cannot do everything, at least not for very long. Lastly, don't get discouraged by competitors.
No one runs your business the way you do. Find what makes your business unique and run with that. Keep similar businesses in your side view. However, look ahead to the businesses you admire. Continue to be inspired by your dreams, your customers, and those in the business who are more successful. Surround yourself with those who love and support you because when it gets tough, they will help to remind you why you do what you do.
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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