Dancing is a versatile way to get a good sweat in while having a great time. While there are so many great dance studios in Austin, some people have the goal of starting their own. The hardest thing about starting any business of your own is knowing what resources you need to do it.
Based in Austin, Corazon Latino Dance Studio was founded by Fanny Gonzales in 2009, but she didn’t always have the loyal clientele she does now. Gonzales explains that she began working for other studios, but her real dream was to start her own.
“When I came to Austin, I worked at a bunch of different fitness places for 12 years,” Gonzales says. “I dreamed about opening my own business and I finally said, ‘This is the moment,’ because a lot of people knew me, and I had a lot of followers.”
Here are some essential tips from Gonzales’ experience if you’re thinking of starting a successful dance studio.
The first thing you need when starting your own business is passion. Whether your passion comes from inspiration, your own dance experience or simply from the idea of starting a business, this passion is going to give you the drive you need to start your own studio.
Gonzales originally began her dance career in Venezuela where she had three small businesses. However, once she moved to the U.S., she didn’t have the same momentum that she did in her home country.
Before starting her own studio, she worked at places like 24 Hour Fitness and the YMCA. However, her passion for starting her own business was sparked again as she began meeting more people and making connections with other dancers. Although she loved working at other fitness centers, she hoped to make her own personal bonds with her clients.
“I love what I do,” Gonzalez says. “I love dance, I love the music, the people and their transformations through exercise. I just love connecting with the community.”
Gonzales also emphasizes the importance of planning ahead. When she first started her studio in Austin, she had a small space as she thought it would be perfect for her clientele. However, her business began growing rapidly.
“I started out renting a space, but then I had to move to a bigger place,” Gonzales says. “I just had too many people — like over 600 people.”
When starting a dance studio, you have to think of what your end goal is. For Gonzales, she wanted to create a studio that would reach a wide group of people, but some people might want something on a smaller scale. Try to plan accordingly to what you imagine your studio as.
Be aware that even though passion is essential to starting a dance studio, so is experience. You don’t necessarily have to have experience with starting a business, but some dance experience is obviously necessary.
Gonzales has had years of experience with many different types of dance, which is why she can safely and effectively run a dance studio. Gonzales is able to recognize when her clients are feeling uncomfortable or a certain dance move is hurting them and can offer safe alternatives to fit their needs.
“If they’re feeling tired, I tell them to march in place,” Gonzales says. “If they have joint problems, or something like that, and a position is uncomfortable, I can give them a different position to do. I can also recommend different styles of dancing to different people.”
It is also important to keep in mind that dance studios can be costly. If you want to start a small-scale studio in your garage, the budget may be lower. However, for a bigger studio, it’s going to cost much more.
Most dance studios have wall-sized mirrors, ballet bars and hardwood floors, which can easily rack up to thousands of dollars for purchase and installation. Even if you can afford those things, they are just the basics of dance studio equipment. Depending on what type of dance you’re teaching, you will need specific materials such as yoga mats, dance shoes, and live or pre-recorded music, which can quickly add up.
The average cost of building a dance studio is $10,000, so plan accordingly.
While starting your own dance studio sounds fun, it is a lot of work. However, if you have the passion and drive to do it, you most definitely can. Just be sure to plan ahead, make connections and save up funds — this will make your dancing endeavors so much easier.