barre.[d] studio Chapel Hill turned five months old yesterday. In some ways, it feels like the studio has been open for years. In other ways, it feels like five minutes. I’ve embraced the “fake it until you make it” methodology – there’s a lot of talking myself through things, Googling, pausing to take a deep breath, and crowdsourcing solutions. There’s also a lot of second guessing myself, questioning my sanity, and recognizing when it’s time to take a break.
There have been a lot of surprising moments. A lot of good moments. A lot of great moments. There have also been moments of frustration. Times where I want to walk away. Times where I have walked away, at least for the moment, to ground myself again. In just five months, I’ve already learned so much about owning a business, and still feel – and recognize – that I know nothing.
Five months deep, here are six things that no one told me about owning a barre studio.
Most of Your Work Goes Unnoticed
I “only” teach four times a week, on average, but I’m working constantly behind the scenes. I’m fielding emails, working with vendors, finding new marketing outlets, making community connections, planning events… I’m also trying to remember what cleaning products we need, keeping up with budgets, paying bills, doing taxes, lobbying for repairs with the rental company… The list goes on. I’m at the studio at odd hours – early mornings, late at night, during lunch. From the outside, it can appear you don’t “work” much because you aren’t teaching much. In reality, you’re hustling hard.
Accepting Help Is Okay
“If you want it done correctly, do it yourself” – the Wyland family motto. You’ll find my dad carrying the banner. I have always struggled to relinquish control. I was the person in the group project that took over, did most of the work, and insisted on presenting, to make sure it was “done right.” Obnoxious, I know. But owning a business is hard. Owning a business while working full-time, training, and also getting this coaching business off the ground? Hard times infinity. I’ve learned to accept my staffs’ offers of help. They want to help – it’s okay to let them.
You’ll Do Less of What You Love
Teaching is my favorite part of owning a studio. And as noted, I only do it about four times a week. I’d teach daily if I could, but if I did, I’d have less time to focus on other parts of the business. I’d also get pretty burned out. Thankfully, I have the world’s best staff (seriously – they’re the best) and can focus on those other areas of the business with the knowledge that my team is leading classes and kicking glutes like the pros they are.
Success Goes Where You Attention Goes
I’ve found that the area of the business getting my most attention is the area that flourishes. When I dedicate most of my attention to sales, we see a boost in sales, but I may not be able to pour into my instructors as much. If I focus on community building, our community blossoms, but I may push out less content on Instagram. It’s a constant check of priorities – this or that? Flyers or Facebook ads? Team bonding or walking the downtown sidewalks, introducing myself to fellow business owners? Calls with vendors or take a barre class? There’s also a lot of giving yourself grace for not being able to do it all, and learning how to prioritize what’s important.
Setting Expectations At The Offset Is Imperative
At our first staff meeting, I set expectations for my staff. Be on time for class, learn students’ names, clean the mats and swiffer the floors post class, start and finish classes on time… None of it was brand new information – they had heard it all during the hiring process and throughout teacher training – but setting those expectations is part of why my staff works so well together. They help each other clean up. One will work the desk while the other meets her clients pre-class. They jump in to cover for each other and they cheer each other on. And I can’t tell you what it means to come into the studio and find the toilet paper replaced, the towels folded, or the mats set out for my late Wednesday night class. They’re little things, but they’re little things that add up.
You’ll Want To Burn It Down
Some days really suck. There’s no way around it. We’ve certainly had our suck-filled days at barre.[d] studio Chapel Hill. I need a new floor (long story), a vent is taped into place to keep it in the wall, and our neighboring business isn’t a huge fan because of a soundproofing fail. There are days when it feels like it just isn’t worth it. But the funny thing is – those days? Those days always seem to end on a high note. A client shares how barre has helped her or a new opportunity pops up, and it just makes sense again.
This only scratches the surface of what I’ve learned these last five months. Owning a business is tough. It’s rewarding. It’s a lot of work. There are a lot of opinions on how you should do things, a lot of outside thoughts on what you are and aren’t doing.
And it’s a lot of fun. Sometimes, you can’t see the forest for the trees, but if you step back and take it all in, things are good.
Here’s to month six.