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Thread: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!




  1. #1
    Advanced BHUZzer Hala Jamal's Avatar
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    Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    A business opportunity has presented itself. I could become a studio owner and/or operator of an established yoga studio and add as many Oriental Dance classes as I want. Sounds like a dream!

    In my current career, I have benefits, annual raises, am unionized and on a permanent contract. Sounds like a dream!

    I've had a life-changing fall and am questioning everything, including my career. Now along comes the opportunity to live my secret dream: make a living from my long time love affair: dance and my new passion: hot yoga.

    Even as I type, it's obvious that you only live once so live the way you want: choose the studio!!! But I'm such a capricorn and love the stability of my current career, even if it drives me crazy.

    If you own or operate a yoga/dance studio, please share your experiences. Can I really support myself this way? What are the chances of burning out? We are only 2 professional dancers in the area (100km radius) but there a probably a few hot yoga teachers I could bring in (I will need days off!) AND I perform twice a week at the restaurant. Thank you for your thoughts and advice!

    Cheers


  2. #2
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    I have owned/operated a studio for 5 years.

    I've had to redefine 'making a living' as my income has been waaaay below the poverty line the entire time (although the studio has never lost money until this past year, when I went temporarily insane and decided I needed a second location).

    I didn't have the advantage of taking over an existing studio, but I did have the advantage of already having 8 or 9 full, running classes to move into the space. I had enough of a student base when I moved in to be profitable from the first month.

    The biggest issue is, I only really make money on the classes I personally teach. It's very hard to pay teachers a decent rate and still break even on their classes -- much less profit from them! But I can only personally teach about 10 class per week before my body starts breaking down.

    If you have a strong, regular performance income stream that might be enough to get you by. I haven't been performing very reguarly since I opened the studio.

    Unless you're in a situation where you can afford to risk your security (supportive marriage, adequate savings, no kids, job you could back to, or some other such situation) I think the ideal way to make the transition would be to keep the day job for a while (or find a part-time job with some security at least). You'd have to hire someone to help with legwork & clerical work... to help return phone calls/e-mails, process registrations, do the bookkeeping, and run flyers/posters/advertising around town for you. Put the bellydance classes in and see how they do... get things solid before you give up your day job.

    The exception to the above would be if the thing already stands to make money! Some people hate change, no matter what, so assume you're going to lose 10-20% of the existing yoga customer base when you take over. But if you already teach several classes per week and have a large student base, you're poised! Add your class revenues into 80% of the studio's revenues, subtract the expenses and see where you are... maybe it's all ready to go!

    (p.s. In lieu of hiring someone, you might want to look into mind/body online or jackrabbit software to help you manage registrations, bookkeeping and teacher pay. The studio may already use one of those packages, or something similar! I can't seem to make my session structure fit into any of those programs, but I think it would make my life way simpler if I could use them)


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    Questions to consider:

    What will you do if the current trendiness of belly dancing declines to lower levels? There is evidence to believe it's on the wane.

    Consider this Google Trends graph on the keyword "belly dancing" from 2004 to now: Google Trends: belly dancing

    What is the local competition with respect to studios offering belly dancing and studios offering yoga? What are their prices like, and how would they affect what YOU want to do? Remember that competition is more than just other places that offer yoga & belly dance. Competition can also include other exercise facilities, other recreational activities, etc.

    Why is the current studio owner looking to get out of the business? What are the hidden "problems" that might affect you? For example, I know of a no-longer-in-business yoga studio next to a railroad track. Its new owner converted it to a dance studio, and I used to teach there. When a train would go by, as it inevitably did during my classes, the blast of the train's whistle would be so loud that it drowned out my music and my voice. It would blast, and blast, and blast for a good 60-90 seconds. Imagine that happening during a yoga class. It also would make students late for class if the train was going through just as they were trying to come. Other examples of hidden problems - does the sex offender registry show a violent offender living near the studio? Is there adequate convenient parking to accommodate students? Is the neighborhood safe? Is the studio on a hill that could become dangerous in bad weather? Is the studio really easy to see from the street? Is there adequate convenient public transit to accommodate students who don't own cars?

    How would you feel about taking on a role that involves LOTS of paperwork? Lots and lots of it? Accounting, tracking which teachers need to be paid and how much, tax-related stuff, etc?

    How much do you know about "business" skills? For example, have you taken college business classes or read books on how to run one's own business? The more you know, the more pitfalls you may be able to avoid.

    What compromises are you willing to make? For example, are you willing to offer a style of belly dance or flavor of yoga that you don't personally approve of, just to bring people in the door? Would you put up with an instructor that you personally think is not a very skillful yogini or dancer but IS able to recruit and retain large numbers of students?

    (continued in next message)


  4. #4
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    More questions to consider:

    How entrepreneurial is your personality? Do you like the security of a steady job, or do you like the excitement of controlling your own destiny? Are you disciplined at managing your time, or do you need the structure of external forces pushing you to do the tasks you need to do? Are you a really, really good networker who will join/attend organizations such as women's networks, rotary club, Elk/Eagles/Moose lodges, etc. to promote your business? Are you really, really good at thinking outside the box and finding not-so-obvious ways to build your business?

    What are your people skills like? How much interpersonal charisma do you personally have? How good are you at cat-herding? How good would you be at dealing with conflict, such as instructors who show up late for classes or fail to show up at all? How would you handle student complaints about instructor skill, class not being what they expected, or instructors spouting opinions about political stuff in class? How good are you at negotiating - negotiating with instructors, negotiating with students, etc?


  5. #5
    Advanced BHUZzer Hala Jamal's Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    So much wonderful food for thought! Thank you, ladies. I have a lot to think about.


  6. #6
    Master BHUZzer RaqOn's Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    As a CPA and belly dance studio owner, I have many suggestions. I also have a breakeven spreadsheet that may help you. But it may be easier if you call me :)


  7. #7
    Advanced BHUZzer Hala Jamal's Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    RaqOn: yay! and okay! and I love Bhuz!


  8. #8
    Established BHUZzer OMullaney's Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    Hala-
    This may not be what you want to hear but I'd say to stick with your career as long as you can. I have a top level corporate job. I almost left last year to pursue a dream. Instead, I kept my job but pursued my dream at the same time. I failed. Not because I had two jobs. The economy is so difficult that to rely on a steady healthy income from individuals was not possible. I am so happy I did not leave my corporate job. Lucky for me, my year end bonus covered my loss. Otherwise, I'd be bankrupt (and unemployed). I think it is best for me to stay corporate as long as they'll have me and when it ends, I will try my dream again. I will have nothing to lose then.
    Last edited by OMullaney; 02-08-2012 at 11:10 AM. Reason: spelling
    *Shira* and showtime like this.


  9. #9
    Advanced BHUZzer showtime's Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    Best case scenario: you open a highly successful business, you have to expand quickly and are asked to mentor others on how to be successful so quickly.

    Worse case scenario: the economy does not improve and discretionary funds are non-existent for most people. IMO the first things to eliminate would probably include hobby expenses. That could include dance, costuming, yoga, soccer, basketball, art, candle-making, soap-making, etc. I fear the economy will be slow to recover. If you do take over the studio do you have a back-up plan? Can you return to your current job?

    If you are determined to make it work of course we wish you the best. But stability is necessary in my life, I simply cannot fathom living without strong insurance, regular income, my 401K, paid vacations, sick days, etc. But of course we are not speaking of me making such a choice. Either way I admire your passion. If not now - maybe you could open a studio some time in the future. Tough choice. Your concerns are wise, it is best to give the decision serious thought, time and lots of research.


  10. #10
    Official BHUZzer Dahabiya's Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    I figure I would give you my point of view as well. I opened my studio not long ago, a few months only. I have a very good rent deal for a while and a business grant to make it possible. I don't have any yoga but I have many other classes other than bellydance including Zumba. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else and I would hate a corporate job as much as I dream of having a good vacation. My life is a vacation in a way. I do what I love since the moment I wake up until I go to bed. Now, I am a very simple person with very few needs, no kids and married to a supportive husband that is following his own dream. Small house, very few bills and pretty happy. Now, if I had kids I would not be as happy with my low income. But right now I think it is great. You might want to be flexible with your classes. I love bellydance but Shira is right. Bellydance is not as popular anymore. So you always have to follow the market. Think about that. Good luck on making your decision.


  11. #11
    Master BHUZzer RaqOn's Avatar
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    Re: Do you run/own a yoga/bellydance studio? Advice needed!

    PSSS your inbox is full :)


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