By Studio Growth Coach, Kristy Ellis
In a recent discussion, we have heard from studio owners who love their business and want nothing more than to see it thrive but also have partners that do not work in the business with them. It is a constant juggle. They may or may not be supportive and they may or may not have their own career.
When I started my studio, I was 20 and it was completely my decision. The only input my partner had was to say “it’s going to be hard but I will support you”.
And he did.
We married not long after I had started the studio, and he continued to be supportive – helping at concerts, waiting patiently for me to get home, driving costumes and props to competitions, even helping behind the reception desk when we were short-staffed. But one thing he was not interested in was working for the studio.
Coming from a conservative family, a female entrepreneur is somewhat a myth.
Finding others that are like-minded and share your business drive is so important. It helps you stay focused, gives you more determination to succeed in your own business and most importantly is allows you the freedom to feel ‘normal’. Entrepreneurs are simply wired differently.
It is also important for your partner to connect with others that have a similar life experience. Learning that you are not alone and being able to talk about the frustrations of being a partner of a business owner.
For any relationship, both partners must show respect and communication for each other and their interests. Having a partner that does not share your enthusiasm for your business can be difficult but understand it is your passion – not theirs. I believe that whether your partner works in the business or not, they both have similar tensions and challenges.
If your partner does not work in your business, this can positively bring different perspective and experiences. Having a different perspective can also bring new, innovative ideas to your business. Just as you expect your partner to listen to everything you are going through at work, take the time to hear their response.
Don’t just jump to “you don’t understand”… perhaps they don’t (because they aren’t at the studio 24/7), but their job may have another way of dealing with a similar situation that you have not yet considered.
Learning to treat your business as a job.
As much as we love our studios and want it to keep growing and improving, there must also be time for your priority – family. Leaving work unfinished is okay! I promise it will still be there when you get back to your computer. Life is so short. If you are not feeling fulfilled in any aspect of your life then you need to look at re-balancing the scales and making more time to enjoy your business success.
Make it hard to access your work from home. Or, if you have a home office, close the door when it’s time to finish work. Give yourself boundaries. If you are taking ‘time off’ for the weekend, delete your business apps, email accounts and social accounts from your personal phone. Learn to schedule everything in advance so you can have time-off. Get some physical separation between you and your work. Learn to use auto-reply – regularly. Train your staff to understand what is urgent (life-threatening) and what can wait 24 hours.
Communicating what is a time-sensitive period of your business (recitals, competitions, annual registrations) is important in showing your partner when you are most needed in the studio. But you must also allow time away in the ‘quiet’ periods. Having systems and procedures in place will help with finding time to spend with your family.
Remember that business owners generally undervalue and underestimate their time. Learn to under promise and over deliver (including how long it will take you to lock up the studio)
Stick to your business plan.
Write down your goals for the next 3 months, 6 months, year, 5 years… and stick to it. If an opportunity arises, check your business plan. Is it part of your immediate goal or something further down the track? Stop adding to your list – there is always more. Don’t be afraid to say “not right now”.
Ensure you have time to reward either you or your family. Set milestones for your business and once they are reached, treat yourself to a massage, a weekend away, a new car, something your family can look forward to and see that the hard work (and long hours) are paying off.
If you are looking for more insights, support and resources to help you grow your studio and reclaim your life, there is no better place than right here in the Dance Studio Owners Association.