My (Monday) Morning Routine

As an entrepreneur and content creator (and you know: that’s not even half of the hats I wear!), most of my days vary greatly. But my Monday Morning Routine is very consistent, and I absolutely love it that way.

Keep reading for a “morning routine” blog post that focuses on one day of the week for me — because one day is the most routine that I’ve got!

Each Monday, I like to wake up around 6:00 am or 6:30 am. I occasionally post content from bed this early (because I’m always trying different things to play with the algorithm!). But usually, I spend about 20 minutes laying in bed and being on social media. (NOTE: Not recommended behavior for good mental health. Do something other than get on social media when you first wake up in the morning!)

Next, I typically let my dogs out, shower, then do a few household chores. (I hate dealing with these things as an actual part of my day, so I like getting them out of the way early so that I can enjoy the rest of what I’ve dubbed “Monday Funday.”)

After my shower, I make coffee, make my partner’s lunch for the day (tidbit: I love being domestic; not saying that sarcastically), take out the trash and recycling for the week, then load and run the dishwasher. Often, but not always, I’ll also start dinner this early — just something simple, such as putting chicken in the oven to bake or rice in the rice cooker. I also walk my dogs every Monday morning.

After the above, I’ll typically start my social media marketing for the day, spending time posting content that I’ve already created from the previous week on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Posting and engaging with our Dance Daze Dance Boards audience usually takes a few hours.

After this, I’ll usually spend some time working on things for the Dance Daze Dance Boards Brand Ambassador Program, such as sharing information about the latest trends on Instagram and TikTok, reviewing new ambassador applications, or responding to any emails or DMs about the program. Or, I’ll take a break for coffee and toast for breakfast. (I do enjoy always eating breakfast of some kind, but I usually keep breakfast fairly light!)

After this, I’ll usually either work on projects outside of Dance Daze Dance Boards (e.g., some volunteer marketing I do for a nonprofit organization), take a break, and maybe do some grocery shopping for the week.

This is usually how all of my Monday mornings go!

Do you have a day of the week or a time of the day that is significantly more structured than others? If so, tell me about it in a comment! I’d love to hear.

Chat soon, friend!

Saumirah

You Know What They Say: A Failure to Plan . . .

When I was younger, one of my favorite comedy movies was Sugar & Spice. (I have an eclectic taste in movies, so we’re not here to judge this reference.)

If you know me, you know that I tend to really like quotes, cheesy though they may be, and one that I picked up from the above-mentioned movie is: “A failure to plan is a plan for failure.”

I’ve said before, both here and on The Happy Dance Podcast, that I believe it’s really important to always, always have something wonderful toward which to look. Something to look forward to, said more simply.

In my opinion, always having something awesome on the horizon is motivating, inspiring, and gives us a reason for getting out of bed in the morning. I think this is true in life and that it can also be true in business.

You may call it “innovation” or “scaling.” I think it’s the concept of always creating new beginnings and continuing a thing by way of continually generating different ideas. I’ve found that focusing on improvement, or starting new programs, or developing new skills–all within the same business or under the umbrella of the same project–are great ways to keep the spark within a business and to keep making it fun and interesting. It gives us something to look forward to.

The longer that I work as an entrepreneur, the more strongly I believe that idea that “there’s always more where that came from” (which I believe I originally heard from fellow multi-passionate creative entrepreneur and lover-of-dance Marie Forleo). And, since there’s always more where the rest came from, there can always be something on the horizon to excite us, motivate us, and keep us going, even through the tougher or less interesting times in growing a business.

What do you have on the horizon for your business or project? Tell me about it in a comment!

Saumirah

Making Time + Being Present

I’ve been around long enough to know that “enough time” will never exist. It won’t exist in the course of a day, a week, and–if we’re doing it right–a lifetime.

For those of us “ambitious” souls (the word is in quotes because for my fellow dreamers and do-ers, you know there’s absolutely no other way we could be . . . . we’re not aspiring to be this way or this good, we simply are . . . . *smile*), there will always be another scent to smell, food to taste, sight to see, other world to experience, or other adventure to be had. We will always be hungry for all of life and all of its offerings.

But how can we go on this way if it always feels like we’re playing catch up and working with the bare minimum of the hours that have been allotted to us?

I believe that our ability to continue on and a sense of fulfillment in the actions we have taken may come from being present in each moment, so that each moment is given its full attention and can satisfy the needs of our soul in that time.

For example, a few minutes ago, I was creating new content for Dance Daze, Inc. Then, I got distracted (and was fully immersed) in making a few super quick updates to dancedaze.org and making notes in my iPhone for items I need to return to at a later date. Now, I’m sitting here, allowing my brain some space to think before heading out into the rain to walk my dogs and run off to the next thing.

The point, though, isn’t how much I feel compelled to do or about how much I’m accomplishing before 8:00 am. (But it must be said: Kudos to me. I’m am ROCKING the productivity so far this morning.) This point is that in each of these activities, I’ve allowed myself to be completely and entirely engaged.

Often, I become overwhelmed because I will sit down to write, and then I’ll think, “Oh, but this was my night to catch up on that Hulu show.” So then I’ll turn on Hulu and begin watching the show, only to pause it 10 minutes later because I’ve decided to return to the writing that should really take priority. Then, I’ll remember that I have a pile of dishes in the sink to wash, and I’ll hop up to get to those dishes. When I’m acting in this way, I’m not being fully present in anything.

I will say, for someone like me, being present in every single moment can be extremely difficult. Because I do live with a constant knowing of what else needs to be done. Sometimes, it’s almost painful to force myself to “relax” and “do nothing.”

But I’m working on it. Because I do believe that we can do it all, but not at the same time. I also believe that balance is impossible to reach, but that allowing (or forcing?) ourselves to be fully present in each task on which we are working (even if that is binge-watching a Netflix or Hulu original on a Saturday evening) will allow us a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that even if we aren’t always making the “right” choice, we are always choosing. And in choosing we are taking ownership of our life and happiness. And in that, I believe we will find a sense of satisfaction and peace.

Longer letter later, friends!

Saumirah

The Best Mindset to Start A Business

mark-adriane-muS2RraYRuQ-unsplash.jpgThe next launch of the Dance Ed Startup Course is happening in just over 5 weeks! This has gotten me thinking a lot about the first module, which is called The Pre-Game Head Game Work.

So what is this first module of the course all about? It’s about getting in the right head space to win. It’s about being prepared to lose. It’s about feeling completely ready to soar when your idea becomes a reality and you are suddenly speaking with real clients and running a real business.

Starting a business takes a lot of risk. It takes a lot of courage. It takes a lot of preparation and planning. So the first module of the Dance Ed Startup Course is a little quick-check for you and for me to make sure that you have your head in the game so that we can work together successfully over 8 weeks to start, streamline, or grow your dance businesses.

To do that, we are going to make sure a few specific expectations are in place. We will do that with the following 5 action steps.

1: Envision Yourself Winning

Before you start a business, or before you start focusing on specific ways to streamline and grow your business, you need to be able to see it happening. When I had a single student in a hip hop dance class of mine for a solid 8 months, I always knew there was a possibility that more students could show up for class that day. I could see the room full of students, and I would prepare music playlists and lesson plans as if I had a full class of students coming. I was able to see my future success (and I was also accepting the success of having a single consistent student, because 1 is better than 0!) before I had it.

Whether you’re enrolling in the Dance Ed Startup Course because you have been teaching dance classes for others for years and are ready to break away and launch your own program or start your own studio or if you’re an experienced dance studio owner looking for innovative ways to revitalize your existing programs and better support your new hires, you need to be able to imagine your success.

2: Be Prepared to Lose

There is risk involved with starting any new venture. Even when taking the most calculated risks, you will lose something. You will be making investments toward what you truly desire, but you will be giving away many things. You must be prepared to give away time, effort, and monetary resources. You may lose some time with friends and significant others. You will be giving away some mental space required for planning your next steps. You will need to invest financially in the business processes, studio space, props, or any area that you want to improve.

Also, you may need to toss out some old ways of thinking. By forging the new business and lifestyle that you want for yourself, you will be sacrificing your old beliefs and mindsets. If you’ve been struggling–with student and teacher recruitment, maintaining consistent income, marketing, or anything else–and if you’ve gotten used to the feeling of struggle, you will have to rid yourself of this.

Finally, be prepared to lose clients, even the ones you adore. Interests, finances, opportunities, and moods change frequently. This means that sometimes you will gain clients, and sometimes you will lose them. It is all part of the process of growth and change.

3: Have A Plan (A Failure to Plan Is A Plan for Failure)

Throughout the Dance Ed Startup Course, we will be creating lots of plans. We want to plan to start and grow your business with strategic marketing. We are going to plan class schedules, class themes, learning objectives, music playlists, reward and consequence systems, and more. We want to make plans for the business as a whole and for the day-to-day operations of working in dance education.

Maybe it is because of my background as a classroom teacher, but I love using the summer months to plan for the year ahead. In fact, I like to plan out the schedule for my entire dance year–from September through June–by June of the previous year. I also like to plan learning objectives and class themes for my classes at least one session (8 to 10 weeks in advance) at a time.

Students enrolled in Dance Ed Startup will learn the ways I do all of the above, and they’ll also be empowered to put their own spin on creating and planning themselves.

4: Think Big (Treat Your First Like Your Last)

Even when I only had a handful of students in my classes, I worked hard to maintain consistent marketing strategies and communication with my clients. Even though my studio is not as big as many dance studios out there, I work hard to maintain a professional website, active social media presence, and quality class programming.

In the Dance Ed Startup Course, we will use our mindset shifts, business plans, marketing plans, operational plans, and lesson plans to prepare for the eventual growth of our businesses in a big way.

We will treat each of our first projects as if they are the last creative works we will put into the world. We will give it our all.

5: Know When It’s Time To Walk Away

I don’t think of myself as a quitter in any way. In fact, I’ve been kicking hard and strong with my dance education organizations for about a decade now, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. However, there have been many ideas that I’ve abandoned over the years.

For example, I used to have class punch cards to encourage students to come to dance class regularly. When students got 10 punches, they got a free water bottle, dance bag, or leg warmers that I purchased from DiscountDance.com. While I still think this sounds like a great idea, it simply didn’t work well for my studio-based dance program. Though the built-in reward system was nice, the majority of my students were too young to be interested in having a punch card or in keeping track of where the card was between classes, which means parents had to do extra work to keep track of the tiny card. Also the cards and prizes cost money that wasn’t being directly being put back into the business. After the students received their bags or leg warmers, there was no lasting effect that clearly positively benefited both my students and my dance program. Finally, when I was running this reward system, the seasonal sessions of my program were running in 8 week blocks, though the cards required 10 punches to be complete. While I thought this was an extra incentive to continue into another session, I believe it created more inconvenience for families rather than an exciting reward system that enhanced their experience in my program.

The above is a simple example of walking away from a very small part of a business. However, there may come a time that you will decide to walk away from your dance business entirely.

You may lose interest, acquire unmanageable debt, receive lucrative opportunities for full-time employment in a different field, or you may even get a new idea for a dance or performing arts-related business that would take too much time away from this venture.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that if your work (not your job, but your work) doesn’t completely and entirely light you up and inspire you in limitless ways, you should leave it. So if any of these situations occur, you may have to make the difficult choice to leave something that you’ve built.

But unless or until that time comes, please believe we’re going to thug it out as hard as possible and grow our dance businesses!

I hope you’ll join me in the Dance Ed Startup Course, launching again on September 9, 2019!