I’m Liz London, a certified business coach specializing in working with unconventional entrepreneurs. I ran a bellydance performance troupe, owned a global dance center, and produced a seasonal adult variety show before taking a break from the stage and studio to start a family. Now I work with other dance and fitness instructors and performers around the country, helping them get started as a business, how to find more students and clients, and how to ensure their business is working smoothly and growing all the time.
Teaching pole dance classes is a great way to turn your passion into a paycheck, whether you open your own studio or work as a contractor in other studio spaces.
But before you get lost browsing sparkly logos and trendy costume designs, take a minute to run through this start-up checklist for opening a pole dance studio, teaching pole dance classes, or becoming a professional pole dance performer.
Browse latest pole wear trends from Queen Wear – costumes designed for pole dancers and aerialists.
Start-up Checklist for Opening a Pole Dance Studio:
1. Have you done any market research in your area to see how much competition there will be from other pole dance teachers? Are a lot of people looking for pole dance classes in your neighborhood or city? I recommend joining the NextDoor and Thumbtack apps for your areas to search how often inquiries are made from neighbors about trying new fitness classes like pole dancing.
2. Are you confident with your teaching skills? Can you answer common questions from potential customers, such as:
– What should I bring with me to my first pole dance class?
– Are you a stripper?
– Is pole dancing ok for seniors?
– Can I bring my 14-year-old daughter with me to class?
– Will I have to dress in skimpy clothes for class?
For body conscious students, you can always recommend bodysuits and leggings like this fun, yet modest, combination from Queen Wear. With kneepads built right into the leggings, your students will be comfortable and protected.
3. Do you know whether you need a business license to become a studio owner or teacher in your city?
4. Would you like to use your personal name as your business name, or have you picked out a business name?
5. Have you researched liability insurance policies that cover yourself, your equipment, your teaching venue, and your clients should someone become injured? Do you know what you would do if a student got injured in class?
6. Opening a pole dance studio can be expensive. In addition to licenses and insurance, there will the cost of renting your space, installing poles, providing good protective kneepads and practice wear for students, sound equipment, and more! How much do you estimate it will cost to start teaching pole dance classes?
Gear up for your students: Multi-functioning kneepads like these from Queen Wear offer versality for students learning different techniques and protection to keep your students comfortable in class
7. How will you spread the word about your services? Look into the cost of setting up a website or learning to do it yourself. (At the minimum, a DIY website will cost about $100/year to set up and maintain.) What about marketing costs? Spend some time researching and preparing your marketing strategy.
8. Are you prepared to hire a bookkeeper or do your bookkeeping yourself? You’ll need to track all your expenses and income associated with becoming a pole dance studio owner! It could be as simple as using a notepad in your car, an excel spreadsheet, or using a software that helps you keep up with your cash flow.
9. Will you use your personal phone for clients to contact you? If so, be sure your voicemail message is professional and lets potential clients know they’ve reached the right number. Will you also need a landline in your studio?
10. Will you train in people’s homes, in your home, in a studio space of your own, or in shared studio space? Have you considered the safety concerns associated with going into the homes of strangers or having them in yours? If you rent a shared space, be sure to do some practice work to make sure it is safe, private and comfortable for students, and enough space for people and the poles. Ask some friends of family to meet you there a few times to practice your classes before going public.
11. How will you get paid for your services? How much will you charge?
Not sure about all of the answers to these start-up questions?
Don’t worry, everything can be learned and practiced with the right resources and guidance! Becoming a dance and fitness instructor and performer is a fun process – just remember, if you don’t take your business seriously, no one else will, either!
Let us know – what are you most excited about in becoming a pole dance instructor? What areas are you not so sure about? We’re happy to help the pole dance community – leave us a comment or shoot us your questions for Liz. We’ll be sure to get them answered in future columns with Liz London, business coach for unconventional entrepreneurs!
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Liz London is a bellydancer, serial entrepreneur, author, and certified business coach. She’s run a global dance studio and produced a seasonal Vaudeville variety show, collaborating with aerialists, burlesque dancers, cirque performers, and other unconventional artists. Her book, The Business Bible for the Unconventional Entrepreneur, can be found on Amazon. Liz can be found coaching performers and studio owners in the art of running a great business, as well as providing community for badass female business owners over at www.TheLadybossNation.com