There’s always the first time for everything. At our peak time, Cuban Salsa School had classes 4 nights a week, plus regular weekly, monthly and annual socials, also occasional workshops and other events. We of course didn’t start this way. We started with just one night per week, with only one class for complete beginners followed by another for more experienced dancers. Whatever your reasons are to start your own dance class, hopefully our #businessinsight series can help you find your own feet as you grow your own class(es). Yes, your journey will be exciting, but remember that it is a lot of hard work, requires commitment and responsibility, and it’s also fraught with diplomatic land mines. Let’s take some baby steps for now.
Find Your Why
First, ask yourself why do you want to start a dance class? This will be the starting point before you plan on doing your next steps. Is it because there’s no dance groups/classes at all in your city? Do you want to introduce a new style of dance you had learned elsewhere? Perhaps there are dance venues/classes, but not at a convenient night? Perhaps for you it’s a natural step forward to start teaching after acquiring enough dance skills to do so? Do you want the class to be an extra source of income? Do you notice lack of skills in your dance scene and think you can help some people? Let the answer to this be your motivation to start up your own dance class. If you want it badly enough, this will keep you focus in the long run when you’re facing obstacles ahead.
Define Your Ideal Students
Who’s the class for? Is it solely for professional dancers? Or are you happy to accept recreational dancers as well? Is it for a performance group? Or is more for social dancers? Are the age range, gender, fitness, and/or previous experience important? Describe this as detailed as you can so that it can help you create a well-targeted marketing plan for when you advertise your class later.
Find Your Venue
Determine what would be your ideal venue first, and then have a plan B and C too in case it doesn’t work out. Will you need a studio with wooden floor and wall mirrors? Would you prefer a more social atmosphere such as a function room in a bar or a restaurant perhaps? Would a community hall with a sound system be more of what you have in mind? Could a church hall work with your plan? Do your research and make sure that the area you’re aiming for hasn’t already got a similar dance class on the same day/evening. No need to start a holy war in your area by deliberately alienating the current teacher(s) and dividing existing dancing scene.
Take Care of the Legal Stuff
Make sure you take care of the legal stuff early on as you start your dance class. The least you need to do is to register yourself as self-employed and acquire a general liability insurance. Insurance will normally cover you for injuries and damages to property, and some venues actually require you to have this to use their premises. You can look for an insurance company that specialises on dance instructors.
Create Your Profile
Your potential students will want to know what they’re signing up for, hence the need for you to create your profile. You can choose to have a website to make you look more professional, or you can start with a free Facebook page to start with. First impression is important and an online presence is a must have in this digital age. We’ll go over the marketing part separately as it needs more in-depth coverage.
Get Yourself Found
Once you have your profile set up, then you’ll need to start spreading the word. You can start by asking your friends and family to share your profile, and/or you can start placing ads on various platforms. Look out for another article touching the marketing part of starting your dance class.
These are your very first steps in starting your own dance class. Being self-employed means you’ll need to manage the running of the class(es), as well as be a marketer. It will be manageable doing it yourself in the beginning, but it’s always a good idea to leave room to grow and adapt your plans as you grow. We’re here to be of assistance to our fellow instructors and hope you’ll find our #businessinsight series helpful.