Have you ever thought about it before?
Maybe you think about it all the time and stay up late at night worrying about your future.
What do you think about, exactly?
How will you pay the bills when you can no longer teach?
What kind of security are you providing for yourself?
Will you even be able to feed yourself when you’ve stopped performing?
Dancers aren’t taught to think long term.
Our heads are full of the here and now…how will I pay the bills this month?
Imagine for a moment that dance was not just a job or a way to make some extra money each month.
Imagine dance is your vocation. A gift you are meant to share with the world for as long as you live—and beyond.
I’ve been thinking a lot about money lately.
Not just how to get more of it, but the true nature of money.
What is it about those little pieces of paper or numbers on a computer screen that mean so much to us?
Money is energy. It is a way of exchanging value for value.
You provide value to people by teaching a class…
In return, they provide you with money.
You then use that money to buy other things you value, like food and electricity and the occasional new costume.
So, if money is given in exchange for value…
Then naturally, the way to get more money is to give more value to the world.
Create more offers, packages, classes or performances.
Reach more people.
Give more while receiving value in return.
The receiving is important.
If you empty yourself with giving and giving…
Then eventually you run out.
If you’ve ever tried to hold regular classes without charging, you know this.
Eventually, you run out of interest for the class…
And your run out of students.
Sooner or later, they just stop coming.
Free works great to attract people…
But it’s a terrible long-term plan.
Free doesn’t work in the long term because there’s no exchange of value.
What is your long-term plan?
Are you expanding…
Striving to reach more people?
Are you creating new offers and new ideas to enrich the lives of those you currently serve?
Or are you contracting?
Are you staying small and hoping you can keep your current level of income for another year or two?
Are you looking at other successful dancers with jealous eyes…
Why is everything so easy for her?
If you’re expanding, you’ll feel it in your body…
And you’ll see it in your bank account.
If you’re contracting…
That’s all well and good, but how do you expand when you’re already stretched too thin?
Not enough time…
Not enough energy…
Not enough students…
Not enough studio space…
Not enough…Blah, blah, blah
Stop contracting your energy…
And start expanding it.
There’s always something you can do.
Here are some ways to start growing your business over the long term:
1. Marketing is expansive by nature. It’s nothing more than getting the word out to more and more people.
Growing your brand.
Growing your email list.
Growing your classes.
The more people you reach, the more value you can deliver, the more money you make.
Take one small step to market yourself every day…
And you’ll make a difference.
2. Creating new offers is also expansive.
If you’re a teacher, teach!
How can you expand into other areas?
What else can you teach?
And where else can you do it? (After all, studio time can be expensive and hard to come by.)
If you’re a performer, perform!
Can you turn a simple wedding gig into more value?
How can you reengage past clients?
Can you transform a one-time gig into something monthly or bi-monthly?
You’ll never know unless you ask!
Don’t worry that you don’t have enough time…
It’s the only way anything ever gets done.
3. Reaching new audiences is one of the best ways to expand.
This is one of my personal favorites.
I love combining dance with other areas of interest to come up with a whole new demographic to serve.
I combined my love of marketing with dance to create Belly Dance Business Academy.
And I’ve helped others combine dance with some pretty crazy things like accounting and fitness and fibromyalgia.
When you develop brand new audiences, you get a new group of people who may never have thought about dancing or hiring a dancer for a party.
You get more people to serve.
The best part?
There’s no competition from other dancers…It’s just you, baby.
Talk about potential to expand!
What other interests do you have? How could you fuse them with belly dance to create a new audience?
4. Building permanent assets.
The hardest part about making money with dance is the nature of dance itself.
It’s here, and then it’s gone.
In an instant.
You can’t hang it on the wall.
You can’t listen to it on your iPod.
(That’s also what makes it so awesome, by the way!)
The trouble is all your effort goes into teaching one class…
Or dancing one gig…
You receive value for it (you get paid)…
And then it’s done.
You have to start over.
If you look at some of the most successful, and business-savvy dancers in the world…
You’ll see that they are busy building permanent assets.
They are creating lasting works of art.
Princess Farhana is one of my favorite examples of this.
She doesn’t just teach classes and workshops…
She writes books…
She creates DVDs…
She reaches out beyond belly dance into the worlds of photography, makeup, burlesque, acting, music, costumes…
She is ever-expanding…
And created an entire system that teaches others…
And serves others…
And allows them to serve even more people.
It’s easy to look at that list of products and programs and think I’ll never be able to build all that!
But remember–even the most successful dancer with 27 DVDs and 4 best selling books had to start somewhere.
You don’t create permanent assets overnight.
You build them one at a time. (That’s why it’s called long term.)
You don’t have to be a big international superstar to do this…
All three are local teachers who created their own DVDs as a way to expand.
I can tell you for a fact these ladies all took their projects one step at a time.
They didn’t have any more time than you…
They didn’t have any more energy than you…
They didn’t have any more courage than you…
They just decided to expand.
They asked questions…
They received help…
What can you create to add long-term lasting value?
Just start where you are.
And ask yourself…
How can I expand my audience?
How can I expand my offerings?
How can I expand my reach?
How can I expand my brand into products that provide value in the long term?
You can do it.
I believe in you!