I’m sure you know what I mean when I say entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart!
The hustle is real, the grind is real and the sacrifices are real. Studio owners do it because we have this deep, personal mission to transform kids’ lives: we want to inspire them with dance and see them use that inspiration to live out their full potential.
In addition to this mission, we have chosen to be entrepreneurs because we want to achieve success according to our own rules. We want to carve out our own paths. As fellow entrepreneur and inventor Lori Greiner has said, we are the people who’d rather work 80 hours a week for ourselves than 40 for someone else!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my journey in entrepreneurship, it’s that the rewards of this life don’t come free:
You earn your way to them, with the investment of your time, your money, your personal sacrifices, and of course, your blood, sweat, and tears. You choose to take risks (calculated ones!) so you and your business can see fruit from your labor.
When I talk to other studio owners, there are a lot of common “rewards” that people desire out of their entrepreneurial adventure. They include things like: spending more time with family; having a flexible schedule; traveling more; planning for retirement; investing in a special cause; sending kids to college; or becoming debt-free.
I want you to know that reaping rewards like these, whichever ones are meaningful to you, is possible! They don’t just have to be distant dreams; you can plan for them to be a reality. By getting the right infrastructure in place at your studio, you will have the freedom to enjoy the rewards that are most important in your life.
In my experience, that means getting to work on building these three foundations:
1. Raise up the leaders on your team
Identify your key players who want to be more and continue to offer them positions where they can succeed, grow, and be challenged. You need others to step up and embrace leadership at your studio so that you are not the only go-to expert. Over time, you will build a team so strong that your customers will trust them as much as they trust you!
2. Put systems in place
With your leadership team in place, make sure you have systems for everything. Whether it’s a flow for how your studio conducts trial classes or the way you prepare for and produce the recital, proven and documented systems need to be organized and set in place. Make sure every project has a champion who can take it to the finish line. A great way to work on your systems with your team is with a rhythm calendar, a document that includes every task at the studio, who is responsible for it, and when it needs to happen.
3. Inspect what you expect
Once you’ve spent the time and effort setting up a strong infrastructure, don’t wash your hands of everything. Don’t fall into the trap thinking that no one needs you anymore! You must “inspect what you expect” by checking in with your team on a regular basis, having performance reviews, conducting classroom visits, and meeting dance parents in the hallway, at conferences, and at events. You must still lead your studio, even if you are no longer managing all aspects of the operations.
It was only because of my studio’s solid infrastructure that I was able to drop everything and be by my son’s side for solid month after a snowboarding accident a little over a year.
While that accident was certainly no reward, the flexibility I needed was. It was right there when I needed it most.
No one missed me being present at work. I was grateful to have been in a position where I could focus solely on my son without the studio needing me. At that time in my family’s life, I was glad to have set up my business with the right people and systems.
Take the time to think about which rewards you want to get out of entrepreneurship. Work on what needs to happen at your studio for those rewards to become a reality. This life is what you make of it! You’ll never regret the effort you spend making sure that your business foundation is strong.