6 Things I Learned from Co-Owning a Business for 6 years

“Own a dance studio,” they said…. “It’ll be fun,” the said…. And they were right!! After 6 years in business, I can safely say that spending time in the studio with you all is what I look forward to most each week. 

BUT!! That’s not to say that it’s been easy. It hasn’t. Each week brings new challenges, and to push through each one of those challenges every week for 6 years can be exhausting! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

With working through all the ups and downs, both Rishone and I have learned a lot – about dance, business, people, and ourselves….

Here are 6 of my biggest learning lessons from the past 6 years:

1. You have to be uncomfortable if you want to grow 

In order to grow, you have to change. And as we all know, change is not easy! But I’m proud to say that I’m a much different dancer and choreographer than I was 6 years ago. And that’s because (with the help of Rishone), I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to learn different things. I’ve dug into the nitty, gritty details of improving my technique and movement. (Thank the Lord cause my grooves needed some serious help! I’ve learned about Hip Hop culture and my place in it (which that was a very uncomfortable journey that I’m still on!). Cause it’s not just the change it self that’s difficult. It’s hard to fully evaluate yourself and be honest with yourself about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. But in order to change something, you must first evaluate where you are today. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea how to get where you want to be.

2. Working with someone is hard work

For anyone who thinks that owning a business is automatically easier with two people…. It’s a lie! Of course, I absolutely love owning a business with Rishone, but it has not been easy. Rishone and I work every week to better our business and at the hear of that is us working to strengthen our relationship. This means better communication, working through conflict, having patience… These are all really hard things especially considering how different we both are as people. But I’m glad to say that all those painful conversations where we didn’t see eye to eye have all been worth it. We’ve learned how to work through those disagreements. And I think the biggest driving factor for why we’ve been able to come out on the other side of some really hard situations between each other is because of the genuine love we have for each other. Keeping that in mind throughout those challenging times has helped to keep us focused on pushing through for a better result, instead of simply throwing the towel in and giving up.

3. Consistency really is Key 

The only reason Musicality Central still exists today is because we have been consistent AF over the past 6 years. In the beginning, we had one, two, maybe four people on a good day… Some days we had no one show up for class. But we kept going. Because when you’re consistent, you create momentum, and not only for yourself, but for the people around you. The way you stay consistent is to stay focused on WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. If we were teaching dance to because Instagram famous or for the attention, you better believe, we would have quite years ago. But that’s not why we do what we do. We teach because we want to share our genuine love for dance with the world. We teach because we know the impact it has on our clients happiness. We teach because it makes us and you all better people. Because all of these “why’s” have been our focus, we’ve remained consistent.

4. Roll with the punches

Exhibit A – The Pandemic! Man, we certainly had to roll with the punches over these past two years. We had to figure out how to create a completely new business model with online classes and work through all the mini punches along the way with that journey, like mics not working or the internet cutting out. Not to mention dealing with the masks and social distancing once we got back into the studio. Things don’t always go to plan, whether it be a full-blown pandemic or simply forgetting a full 8 count of a routine while teaching it. I’ve learned that there’s no need to freak out. “Everything is figureoutable!” (Marie Forleo). So if I have a class that felt clunky and that our students left with blind spots and questions marks in the routine, I try not to let that get me down. Don’t get me wrong, I might feel sad or frustrated initially that the class didn’t go as well as I wanted, but Rishone and I will take a look and see what I can do to make the class better the next week, and I prepare accordingly. And this evaluation process is a CONSTANT work in progress for me.

5. It’s OK to Suck

This is kind of a tangent to # 1 and #4, cause really these all tie in together. This is something we preach in every single one of our classes: We do not expect you to be perfect! And this is something that I’ve also had to learn for myself. There have been routines that I’ve created where I watch back a video of it, and I feel sick to my stomach because I don’t like what I had created. But just as much as we tell you all that growing as a dancer is a journey, I’ve had to learn that growing as a choreography also takes time, and not to be too hard on myself if I create something that doesn’t quite seem to “click.” I’ve also experienced this as a dancer, even with my own choreography, where I watch myself back in a video and think, “wow, you really didn’t look as good as you thought you did, Susie.” This can be frustrating hard for anyone who struggles with perfectionism. But I’m learning that it’s OK to not be good at everything, cause like I talked about in #1, this is how we grow. But you have to first evaluate and stay consistent with working on your craft!

6. My Purpose in Life is to Connect and have Impact

I’ve actually already written a full blog on this alone. (Definitely take some time to read Story Time with Susie – Finding My Purpose if you haven’t already!) Through this whole dance journey, I’ve learned that I feel most like my authentic self when I am teaching and dancing. And when I’m authentic to me, that’s when I have a real impact on the people around me.

With all these learning lessons, I need to add one major takeaway… I love you guys so much! You all make my week, every single week, and I’m so thankful to have so many wonderful clients and people in my life because of dance.

So thank you for believing in Musicality Central and us. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you all!

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