AD 5years facebook graphicSunday was Aerial Dance’s 5 year anniversary. For 5 years we’ve been teaching Pole Exercise in the Fox River Valley. We’ve had thousands of women through our door, switched locations, built a gorgeous state of the art pole studio, then build a gorgeous state of the art aerial studio, grown in number of students, started memberships, and increased our classes offerings.
Sunday passed fairly quietly. Minus a Facebook post, we didn’t throw a party or do anything big. Why? Because I didn’t know what to do! I didn’t know how to celebrate that we’ve made it when so many companies (80%) fail. I’m so grateful to all the people who’ve made this happen. Yes, I’m the owner, but this company wouldn’t have made it without so many other people building it. And when I reflect on the success of Aerial Dance, it really comes down to a few things:
Passion. I started Aerial Dance because I LOVE POLE. I couldn’t workout in the area unless I created the option for me to do so. So Aerial Dance was born. I will always be grateful to Rod at Premiere Fitness for helping realize that first space. Then as my passion for pole ebbed and flowed with my injuries and plateaus, watching others grow in strength and confidence became my passion. I truly believe women in our society need empowerment and I’m so excited and honored to be able to help that journey.
Sacrifice. The biggest word I think of when I think why my company made it when others haven’t is sacrifice. No one in their right mind starts a pole studio with the thought of “I’m gonna make money.” Because anyone with two brain cells knows you won’t. If you’re lucky, and run a great company, you’ll pay your staff well and cover expenses. It is EXPENSIVE to be in this industry. A little known fact is that for the first two-ish years of the company I moved in with my parents so I didn’t have rent so I could pay the company rent. I didn’t take a paycheck at all from the company until year 3 and even now it is inconsistent. If I want to do something special (like bring a guest artist to train my staff or put on a Christmas Show) that costs a lot, I don’t pay myself so the company can afford it. I believe in the company and will do whatever I have to personally to make it successful. I’m grateful that I don’t have an expensive lifestyle (though I dream some day of having cable TV) and have a second job so I can sacrifice when I need to have my company grow.
Luck. Man have I been lucky. I was lucky that Rod had built a pole studio and had no one to teach. I was lucky¬† every amazing woman who walked into this studio took the risk to try something new. I was lucky the flood wasn’t worse in January and we were able to get through it. I was lucky that when we wanted to expand there was space in our building to have a second studio. I am beyond lucky, and thank my stars every day, that I found women who were passionate about pole and believed in the mission of empowerment enough to sacrifice in their own lives to become instructors. Seriously, my staff makes me the luckiest person on the planet.
Sunday was an uneventful day. I was proud of what I’d built but didn’t know if anyone else would care about the anniversary. It really touched my heart that there were so many warm Facebook messages about the accomplishment. And when one of my instructions gave me a card, it brought tears to my eyes. It means so much to think of what we’ve built, what the sacrifices have created, and how far we can go because of the love and support of this community we created. Congratulations to all the amazing women of Aerial Dance for 5 years!