Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in training and education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Victoria Peralta, Owner of Strive Dance and Music Company, located in Lyons, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are Strive Dance Company (expanded into Strive Music Company), a performing arts company offering dance and music lessons in Lyons, Illinois. Our customers are students of all ages who are interested in quality education in dance and music. We offer personalized recreational classes and competitive classes for all in a variety of styles. Our customers are empowered creatives who strive to be the best they can be!
Tell us about yourself
My name is Victoria Peralta, and I am the Owner and Creative Director of Strive Dance Company and Strive Music Company. I've been dancing and working with music for 20+ years and have been teaching professionally for 15 years. I've found over the years that dance and music go hand in hand, so when the opportunity presented itself to expand into music, it felt right. I worked at a different academy prior to starting my own company. Although I learned a lot through that position, I realized that my creativity and style needed a space to flourish. I had an explosive amount of ideas I needed to place somewhere. I started my company at 22 years old in my grade school gym, renting space hourly. I became a little fish in a big pond and realized that my life's purpose was HUGE, and I had a duty to fulfill this purpose. I've established a clear and strong brand within my company, and locals trust the "Strive" name. I am motivated by the personal relationships I've formed with my students and their families. This isn't just a job for me (or my amazing staff). We truly care about each student and want to provide a nurturing, fun, and safe environment that empowers all to explore their creativity, strengths, and even weakness. Our studio is a space to grow not only as a dancer and/or musician but also as a person. I'm proud to see that I've created a space where all feel welcome no matter how many classes they take per week. You are always important at Strive!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was surviving the pandemic when so many businesses didn't. We got creative with the way we handled classes, and I truly didn't know if my business would make it. So many families rallied behind me, and I believe all of that positive energy kept us open. I'm really thankful and grateful daily to do what I love. Our 8th Recital, "Above the Waves," was our first live show back since the pandemic, and I have never felt more proud than on this day. Next year will be our 10 Year Anniversary Recital, and our numbers and enrollment are the strongest they've ever been. We expanded into a new studio space along with the music launch this year, and our ten-year is going to be electric. This is all bigger than me. It really is!
I also just found out I was named a 2023 "30 Under 40" recipient by the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry for making a major impact within my community and profession. This is on my vision board, and it's really special to see it manifest!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing about being a business owner is the uncertainty of it all. It's truly a rollercoaster, and during the "downs," it would be so much easier to give up. You need to surround yourself with people who encourage you and support you, even if that circle is small. I've learned that people struggle to see others thriving due to their own trauma, but "people throw rocks at things that shine," as Ms. Swift once said. You must always have faith in yourself. This is a lesson I instill in my own students often.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Believe in the impossible. I once told a friend that I believe and manifest to the point of delusion. If you can believe hard enough, you can make it happen.
- Keep your circle small. This includes family, friends, and even employees. Set a clear vision and brand, and anyone or anything that doesn't align with that . . . doesn't align.
- Make sure you LOVE it. I truly love what I do, and I thrive in the creativity of dance and music. I am truly passionate about my job, and that realness and raw aspect always shine through. This is my heart and my story, too.
I named Strive after my favorite quote, which I put in my 8th-grade yearbook as my words to live by. I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart. Make sure you love it. Make sure you're in it with all of your heart.
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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