20something profile: Amanda
I graduated college with a BFA degree in dance studies from Post LIU in 2009. I always knew I wanted to be a dancer, and I worked hard to be as well rounded in dance as I could. I knew I wanted to perform, teach, choreograph and eventually own a dance school. After graduating, I became a part time dance teacher for two schools in the NY area. I was fortunate enough to have an apprenticeship with Le Dance Company in NYC, and shortly after, I received a job as a soloist in BalaSole dance Company for their fall 2010 season in NYC.
As time went on, I became unhappy teaching at one of the dance schools, so I started thinking about opening a school of my own. Performing is fun and great, but it’s very hard to live off it. I thought I was young enough to establish my own dance school and then have the option to go back to performing later on down the road.
I had no money put away to start a business, however. I called on a space, and the opportunity of a lifetime arose. The studio was built from scratch and designed to my requests! I was able to get some money, but it was very expensive. Most banks offer what is called a “start up business loan,” but they actually require the business show two years’ worth of tax returns. It was like a bad joke. I needed to be in business three years to be eligible to receive a start up loan from every bank offering it.
Although these are not the best economic times, I have been successful in completing one year in business. I started with 30 students and finished the year with 90 students. This year, I anticipate we will grow even more. I learned that you just have to be prepared and willing to do things outside the box. Sometimes that is more costly at first, but in the long run, it pays off. I also couldn’t have done this without support from my parents. Opening a business is a huge undertaking physically and financially. It has been worth it though!!