If you have started or are thinking of starting a Zumba or other dance fitness business, I’ll cover both the basics, triumphs and failures.
The truth is, I never actually had the dream to be a fitness instructor. I did however scribble on a piece of paper my goals in 2009 that I wanted to be fit and inspire and delight others. I wrote that when I was massively overweight after carrying my first child who died in my arms at 6 weeks of age. So you can imagine that was an IMPOSSIBLE dream when I wrote it…or so I thought.
You don’t have to be the dancer or fitness type
My husband at the time was the fitness person, Latino, dancer and the type who thrives being the centre of attention. I was completely the opposite. Chunky, unco, shy on stage and always considered myself a behind-the-scenes kinda gal. Anyway he ended up being a Zumba Education Specialist (ZES) he was THAT good.
So we we split up while I was pregnant with my second child, taking the stage was not actually on my mind. What I learned later was that you actually don’t have to be the dancer or fitness type. You just need to move to the beat with laughter, joy and bring happiness.You can grow and evolve on the journey with your students as you get better and better.
Loyalty is a luxury
I was so fortunate and forever grateful that the beautiful instructors continued to stay on with me-the-scientist as their fitness class manager.
I found this incredibly humbling and it helped me pay my bills during single parenting and keep my house! What I later learned was that this type of loyalty in any business where you hire a person who are in themselves an independent contractor is rare.
Later I had new instructors leave and try to take participants. When you dig a bit deeper in the industry, you’ll hear countless stories of how joint ventures (where an established instructor trains up a person to cover classes) often end in heart ache.
Everyone grows – including those you trust
You can’t really blame your instructors for wanting to start up on their own. Because if you’ve done your job right – empowered them, marketed them well, praised them publicly consistently and worked hard to create a loyal following, it’s no surprise that might want to grow out of the role of being an employee and into the role of having their own business.
You need to add value to keep instructors
When you subcontract people who, in essence, are a licensed entrepreneur in the dance fitness program they trained in, you need to provide a lot of ease and value to make it worthwhile. I did this by;
- Organising venue
- Paying for public liability insurance, music licensing
- Supplying the equipment, lighting
- Often getting there before hand to set up so they just had to plug and play
- Marketing materials, constant marketing, did I say marketing?
- Keeping in contact with regular participants
- Creating, hosting and organising events
- Creating themed evenings
- Creating promotions
- Developing the clothing line and items for sale
Be mindful of your boundaries
madeTo expand on this, they were completely able to take the 100 or so clients and open their own class. After all, they were the stars, had the following, the skills and all the qualifications and certification. I was basically a nobody of any influence in the fitness world. But instead they chose to taking a small cut for teaching class and pass the rest to me. How aaaahhhmazing! We are all still friends to this day!
Eventually they moved on and new instructors came in. These new instructors ended up rallying up against me and splitting off to teach their own classes, hoping to persuade all the people they were teaching to move over to their own independent class. This left me with no-one to teach but myself. Most likely they were thinking or hoping I would sink and fail, after all I had a one and three year old and according to them I didn’t have what it takes.
I tell you what, I dug my heels in so hard! I was determined if someone was going to threaten me and my kids, then if I was going to go down, I’d rather down down kicking!
So I stepped on stage like I owned it.
Sure I wasn’t very good at first but I stuck at it and people stuck by me. I called out to those who resonated with positive empowering vibe and sought to make the people have a fabulously happy great time!
What you need to know to succeed in dance fitness
This whole journey taught me a great deal of things and I want to share you what I learned that I believe you need to succeed in running your own dance fitness business classes.
Step out of your comfort zone!
Ok, so basically I was forced to step out of my comfort zone because the instructors who worked for me left, but it was the biggest gift they could possibly give me! Without that, perhaps I would not have had the courage in myself to do it. I went on to become a good instructor with the most amazing community. We hosted events, created events and had a lot of fun making an impact.
Focus on what is positive
The biggest lesson here is that when the shiz hits the fan, you simply can’t care about what other people think. It’s easier said then done, but it works. I was in sooooo much emotional pain that I believe it prevented me from getting massively depressed. My baby had died, my husband couldn’t stop cheating, I felt not good enough. I was pregnant, fat, lonely and felt worthless. I believe teaching Zumba kept me out of depression, gave m
My baby had died, my husband couldn’t stop cheating, I felt not good enough. I was pregnant, fat, lonely and entrenched in worthlessness. I believe teaching Zumba kept me out of depression, gave me confidence and helped spring release my inner boxed up bubble of child-like joy onto the world.