Monday, September 10, 2012

My own space - making the big move

I know many dance teachers go through this same process, so I thought I'd share mine with you.   The first of August, just 5 weeks ago, my landlord decided to move to a different smaller space.  So, I had to move too.  Over the past 11 years, I've built a nice dance business in a small community in Wisconsin.
Over those same 11 years, I've rented studio space from a local fitness center, so while we had some dedicated area of the building the space was never really "ours."   But the price was right, the space was nice and it worked...that is until Aug. 1.

Within the past fuve weeks, I've rennovated the basement of an old church built in 1856 to be our new home.  It's been a ton of work and a huge learning opportunity for not only me but for my family who is helping.  My husband for years has been telling me to get my own space, but for some reason I was afraid of upsetting the status quo of what was working for me.  I should have listened to him sooner.

Now, I can't believe I waited so long.  We haven't had our first class yet, or our open house, and we aren't even done with the finishing touches yet-- but it's almost dream come true.  My own dance school. I often just stand in the middle of the one of the studios and stare at it. One time I even shouted "5,6,7,8" just to see if it sounded right.   Silly I know, but my mind races with images of kids dancing, me teaching and the awesome creative process that comes when I dance and teach dance.  People often say dance becomes part of your soul and I truely believe that.  I am at my best when I'm in my "dance element". 

Here's what I've learned so far:

Find people who know what they are doing and pay them to do it.
Be nice to your husband because he can do a lot of stuff and save you a lot of money. (Thanks Honey!)
Be prepared for a daily trip to the home center for supplies.
Don't pay up front for anything until you know it is done right..
Be prepared for the worst - yes, we had this...beautiful vinyl flooring installed friday...dehumidifier hose dropped and leaked water under it for 24 hrs...not a beautiful sight the next day. 
Everything can be fixed with enough effort (and money).  So don't cry.
Just because its your vision and looks completely obvious to you doesn't mean others can see it.
Everything costs more than you planned.  Just don't look at the credit card balance for a while.
Dance suppliers often cost more money than other solutions, so you need to do your homework.
Some dance suppliers are worth the extra money cause they know what they are doing.
Dance parents can be amazing supporters and volunteers, but you need to ask for help.
Doing Fall registration and remodeling at the same time is not a great idea - avoid if at all possible.
Keep your website and Facebook pages updated so your customers know what's happening.

I'll have photos of our rennovation soon to post.  I can't wait to hang my Releve' dance posters in my new space and finish the look of the space.  I didn't realize just how important the posters would be in my new space, but I really need the "pop" they'll provide.

Looking forward to a fun fall in our new location.  I think this old church is enjoying a little new life being brought back into it.  It's fun to rennovate a space and make it part of the creative process I enjoy so much.

Dancingly Yours,


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EmilyDynamic said...

That is a Great story and has inspired me to push forwards and get my own dance studios! I wish you all the best and appreciate the great tips. Now I just have to find a husband to help with the handy work...! E x

DeAnne Boegli said...

Emily - so happy you are inspired! Go for it and break a leg!

Good luck with the husband part...:)

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Releve' Dance Poster sample

Releve' Dance Poster sample
sample of poster