You know, I’ve pretty much decided to bite the bullet and just start my own dance studio once I move to Greater Los Angeles. I’ll need some kind of job or business to support myself — the money raised by liquidating my house won’t last forever, especially in light of how (unlike now) I’ll be paying rent and be sinking much of it into having a child — so why not pursue the endeavor that animates me the most, that I have the clearest vision of?
It’s a scary prospect for me in some ways, but maybe that just means I’m stepping out of my comfort zone in the best sense of the word; certainly, the fact that carving out my own domain is riskier and demands more investment than getting a regular job yet somehow seems less daunting, much less dreary, and vastly more inspiring should be telling.
Follow my Role Model? Follow my Dream?
It’s also hit me recently that it’s telling that the only person I know who has a life that I’d want to emulate and could realistically attain in the near future is a girlboss type who owns a successful event-venue-cum-dance-studio and has literally never worked as someone else’s employee. And had even less experience in the dance space than I do before starting up her place, contrary to the usual certified-world-champion-to-studio-owner pipeline. When I think of where I’d like to be in a few years, or even when my mind wanders to the question of where other people I know could be in a few years, my mind often ups and wanders to her example.
So why not do what my intuition seems to be telling me to do and take the plunge? I’ll be thirty years old soon; life is too short, especially where I am now, to do anything other than reach for my dream. As I described it last year around this time:
Real teak floors, big real wood fireplace, flowers dangling down from the trellised ceiling, bar in back with all-copper utensils and wine racks galore clad in rich dark woods, doors and windows all open to let in fresh air from the Pacific Ocean…that all sounds so great, and evokes quite an image in my mind. I’d love to have a place like that.
Why not just get a place like that? I haven’t researched the specifics, but from what I’ve been able to establish as ballpark figures for renting commercial spaces in high-end areas of LA (which includes the parts close to the ocean in proximity to the rest of the dance industry), as well as the costs of outfitting a dance studio, and the expenses associated with starting up and maintaining the business aspects…they are realistic numbers. The startup costs for a dance studio like I’m envisioning would not be outside my price range, especially if I could get business financing from a bank or some such.
Figuring up potential revenue streams — not just from dance classes, lessons, and parties, but also hosting weddings and other events, as well as utilizing it as a multipurpose arts and fitness space — reveals that profitability, perhaps substantial profitability, could be achieved even if we bake in relatively high costs and expenses. The sort of space I have in mind would be a fairly unique offering, particularly if it were located very close to the beach, but there are more than enough venues in operation in the area that are similar enough to suggest a large, strong, and healthy market exists for what I’d be offering.
Such venues aren’t known as the progenitors of great personal fortunes, but some of them can be profitable enough to make a good living, certainly as good a living as I could make by utilizing my skills in the conventional employment market. Besides, as I’ve been ruminating on here recently, for a ballroom-dancing MBA whose primary work experience is managing my own investments, owning a dance studio is about the only possibility that even could utilize all of my skills!
Dance Studio? Startup? Real Estate? Why not all of them! And more…
And as I write in that post I linked to it need not be the only business I’m in; indeed, my wild idea to get some sort of role at a startup company, perhaps one related to space travel, would if anything be burnished by being a successful owner of a high-profile business, one that would give me tremendous opportunities to network with a wide variety of upwardly mobile people (particularly valuable in the startup realm, since a lot of the positions I might be interested in spread through word of mouth and aren’t publicly listed).
Such a business as a dance studio also has synergies with the real estate track I’m interested in; there’s overlap with commercial real estate and property management already, and the social networks and opportunities one gains from studio ownership will help me in my journey as an agent or the owner of some other sort of real estate business. More wildly, I could pursue becoming an RIA (the license that enables me to become a financial advisor and give investment advice); I’m pretty sure I’d be good at it, and while it’s off-the-wall to run an RIA out of a dance studio, at least it would be distinct. “Hey, if you need help with real estate or finances I can also handle that for you right here at the back office of your friendly beachside studio!” 🙃
A Place of Business to call my own: the Missing Piece in my Life?
Really, this gets to the point that having an actual place of business that I could put down roots in and be proud of would be stupendously good for me; it provides a built-in space where I’d feel a lot more comfortable practicing and giving lessons than anything I’ve got access to now, as well as a ready-made platform to implement almost any of the ideas I have for what I might like to do, be it artistic, social, or financial, ranging far beyond just dance.
An awful lot of people in the dance space get into studio ownership because they’re competitive champions and it’s a logical next step for them, but they have little talent for or interest in the instructional or business side of it; I don’t really have that problem, as someone who possesses about an equal interest in all three of these aspects. Nor do I have much else that jumps out to me as something to support myself that I could get started on immediately upon arrival in California, something as attainable and realistic as it would be fulfilling.
Bonus Points: Entrepreneurial Path makes Single Parenting a lot more realistic…
So it might be the role that’s about perfect for me at this stage of my life, particularly since I’m planning to be a single parent soon, which infamously has friction with working a regular job; with my own place of business I could just have my child side-by-side with me right there the whole time if I wanted to. Being my own boss also means I could arrange my own schedule, which is of critical importance to me since I really like to travel, and have been dreading the prospect of needing to be an employee and having to beg for enough days to scramble together to maybe be able to spend a couple days out-of-state. As a business owner, in stark contrast, if I wanted to up and take my daughter away to Europe for the whole summer I could.
The prospect of me (and her and any subsequent children) having a home-away-from-home for business purposes appeals to me too, as does an environment where my future daughter could be brought up well, and perhaps even having something concrete that I could pass along when she comes of age, a family business all ready for her to take over and call her own. Wouldn’t that be nice? It would certainly help with my ambition to enable her to start a family of her own as soon as she wants to, rather than having to grub at workplaces after a lifetime of incarceration in schools just to have a chance at keeping her household’s head above water.
I’ll have to look into it in more detail, and frankly I’ve already hit something of a dead end when it comes to the information available online, but the more I research into it the more it seems that yes, I could really do this and be successful at it! All it would take is the will to make the jump…