Recently I conducted an interview with Melanie Gibbs, owner of Boca Dance Studio in Boca Raton, FL. I met Melanie when I spoke at Rhee Gold’s DanceLIfe Conference last summer in Phoenix. I have been mentoring with her since February and she recently became a Founding Member of More Than Just Great Dancing™. Not only that, but she has become a real friend. I have visited her studio once and she has visited my studio in Wisconsin twice. I am so happy to introduce this dynamic woman to you!
MTJGD: How long have you owned the studio?
Melanie: 8 years. We bought is from a longtime dance community friend who was retiring and we were at a point in our careers where we were ready to stabilize financially and time-wise.
MTJGD: What is your favorite thing about owning a studio?
Melanie: From a business perspective, the time flexibility. From a personal/fulfillment perspective, the opportunity to work with kids every day (basically playing for a living, LOL)!
MTJGD: What is your biggest challenge as studio owner?
Melanie: My biggest challenge is balancing the studio owner’s many roles: marketing, accountant, therapist, teacher, human resources manager, etc. Knowing when I will be best utilized in each role is a challenge.
MTJGD: Why did you become a MTGJD studio?
Melanie: I realized that I wasn’t going to get where I wanted to go by myself – it was a huge relief to find an organization that spoke DIRECTLY to my needs and gave me a model that I could put into place immediately. I feel like other organizations are so big and out of touch with the individual studio owner that they were never really considerations for me. I was attracted to the small, personal nature of MTJGD and the idea that it could give me ideas and techniques that could be implemented now and could be tweaked to fit my studio.
MTJGD: What is you goal for the next 3 years and how will MTJGD help you get there?
Melanie: Financial freedom and significance in the community. These two things are “tentpoles” of the program and I know I’m already on my way.
MTJGD: What is the best advice you have for other studio owners?
Melanie: Step out of the classroom or from behind the desk, even for a short time. Give yourself perspective on your business and see yourself as the CEO, not the janitor. This doesn’t mean you don’t pitch in and work, it just means you’re working with a different purpose. Get out of the task mentality and get into the management mindset – this was SO hard for me but it made a HUGE difference in my business!
MTJGD: Is there anything else you would like studio owners to know?
Melanie: I have only been behaving differently for probably six months, but already I see a huge change in my business and I know people see a change in me. I am viewed as a leader now much more than I used to be – I am pushing myself every day to do the difficult, scary thing instead of the easy thing and I feel the difference. My enrollment is already at 260 in my first week of classes – a big number for us! I view decisions through “owner glasses” now instead of “employee glasses”….thank you for everything!