My name is Julie, or you may know me by my dance name, Mira. I’ve been a professional belly dance performer and teacher since 1990. I’ve had classes that soared and some that bombed. I’ve produced sold out theatrical galas, and countless small recitals. I’ve performed bellygrams in grocery stores and helped find a cure for Leukemia by dancing for donations. I’ve sold costumes on ebay and imported wholesale from Turkey. In my dance career, I think I’ve pretty much done it all (except drumming. Dumbeks make my wrists hurt!) I’m also a professional marketer and copywriter.
The reason I started this place is because I’m sick and tired of watching wonderful dancers and teachers quit simply because they don’t know how to make enough money to pay the rent. It’s not like we expect to be millionaires as dancers (though wouldn’t that be nice.) Most of us just want to be paid a fair wage for the time and effort we put into our performances, classes and other ventures.
I’ve heard it said over and over that you can’t make any money with belly dance. Baloney! Dance has value. It has a cost. But in order to make money, you have to be able to market yourself. You don’t have to be a smarmy salesman. You don’t have to be a sales “monster”. You don’t even have to spend a ton of time at it. You just have to believe in yourself, in your skills, and in the value of your product. Once you do that–the rest is just a skill set. One you can learn easily. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely work involved–but it doesn’t have to be drudgery. And there are systems you can set up to make it flow more smoothly, so you can get back to doing what you love–dancing!
So, why a belly dance business academy? Can’t you just go to any old business class down the block and get this same information?
And here’s why.
1) Belly dance is its own culture. It has rules and traditions and expectations. As a dancer myself, I understand these rules and expectations. A college business professor is not going to understand the dynamics of negotiating a restaurant gig with an owner who only speaks Arabic. Or the frustration of undercutting. Or how to attract workshop sponsors. All our lessons are written FOR belly dancers, BY belly dancers.
2) Most “business classes” are outdated. Professors who teach in academic settings have a tendency to stay stuck in the past. (no offense to any business professor or class. I’m speaking generally, here) As a marketing consultant in my day job, I’m in the real marketing world. I help small businesses and entrepreneurs find real-world solutions that are on the cutting edge of internet (and soon mobile) marketing technology. I’m not a techie by any stretch, but I do seek out tools and techniques that are easy to use and then show others how to use them.
3) Best of all, I genuinely like sales and marketing. I love hearing success stories from my clients. It’s the best part of my job. I’m hopeful that my enthusiasm will show through in my writing and that some of it will rub off on you. You may never love marketing, but you don’t have to hate or fear it either.
So, welcome to the Belly Dance Business Academy! You’re in a safe place where you can learn a lot about yourself, about marketing, and about the business world in general. I’m a student, too. I make mistakes and fail, just like we all do. The best way for all of us to experience stunning success is if we share our resources and insights. So, I encourage you to post comments, send email, and communicate your joys and frustrations. And if you’d like to learn these skills with an amazing group of dancers who will support your work, you might want to look into joining The Circle.
After all, life is so much better when you have friends to share it with.
I believe in you!