My Story, Meet Colleen

my story Colleen

My pathway to Resourceful Dance has been completely indirect and crazy. From starting off in culinary school and making thousands of cupcakes each day to operating my sister’s dance school and being a mom, nothing about my story is predictable and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Growing up I always knew one thing- I loved to dance but dancing professionally was not what I was going to do. The starving artist lifestyle and the unpredictability of the profession just weren’t for me. Throughout college, despite my life goals, I studied dance like I was going to dance forever. I was in everything and danced on the weekends. Instead of tailgating with all my non-dancer friends, I was in rehearsal (now does that show dedication or what?!). I loved the physical side of dance. Sweating, working hard, challenging myself, and striving to be the best made me happy so I just kept going.

After graduating I hung up my dancing shoes(or so I thought) and decided to head down another path: baking. As random as that seems, both dance and baking are surprisingly similar. To be successful, they both require extreme dedication, patience, and skill. Just like dance, baking/cake decorating maintains a delicate balance of natural talent and practice. You need both to be great. All that combined with my love for sweets, I was hooked.

While teaching at my sister’s studio one night a week, I took on the role of account manager at a wholesale bakery in Chicago. Along with making thousands (yes I mean thousands) of cupcakes each day, I headed up a major retail account. I also took on more and more responsibility within the bakery every day. Here, I learned the in’s and out’s of efficiency, project management, and if I’m being honest-how to work really hard.

I thought this was what I was meant to do. I was good at my job and for a long time, really enjoyed it. Every night I left sweaty and mentally exhausted and that felt good (much like how I would leave a difficult dance rehearsal-no wonder I liked it!). After opening a second location far away from my family and working 100+ hours a week for much longer than I wanted to, I was burnt out and was needing a change

Shortly after, I got my wish when I found out I was expecting my first child. 6 months pregnant, I returned to my sister’s dance studio to take on the Operations Director role. She was welcoming her first daughter as well. When I first agreed to my new position I thought it was just until my little one wasn’t so little anymore. Something to help Meagan out as she helped me out. We both wanted to stay home with our little bundles as much as possible and thought we could help each other make that happen. Working together, and not just one night a week, was awesome. I loved having an excuse to talk to my sister every day and having someone to share my work with, it was a blast

At her studio, Meagan and I were forced to create more work-life balance with the arrival of our first daughters. We wore about 10 different hats on any given day- teacher, janitor, mentor, marketing director, administrator, etc. It was hard to let go of control but we really had no choice. At first, there was guilt about putting work on other people. Then there was worry that the studio would suffer as a result of our absence. It took time, energy, and trust to teach other people the in’s and out’s of the studio but I can honestly say that it was all worth it!

In order to spend more time with our families, we re-structured systems and built new ones entirely. We automated everything we could and figured out ways to reduce costs and increase sales. For those couple years, my sister and I were able to work part-time and stay home with our kids as much as possible.

teaching-her-young

During the last years there, the daily operations at the studio hummed like a new car but the business wasn’t growing. We were trying to do it all and the growing your business part just didn’t ever get done. Meagan and I realized that we couldn’t be the only dance studio professionals to experience this. We were doing a thousand things at once but still weren’t able to do it all!

When Meagan decided to sell her business this last year I was supportive because I felt that it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t as much fun as it once was. We both were busy with 2 daughters and both lived too far (from the studio and from each other). It was just time. They say when one door closes, one door opens and Resourceful Dance was that new beginning we were both looking for. It allows us to not only share what we are passionate about but also to work together again and that is more than I could I have ever hoped for!

It seems there is a common problem throughout the industry of trying to survive the daily grind all while struggling to expand and grow. Our mission at Resourceful Dance is to be the answer. We identify the shortcomings and fill in the holes with concrete systems that work. Whether you need more time for yourself or want to focus on the things you actually LIKE to do, we are ready to help you do it. Resourceful Dance provides tools and support alongside a community of studio owners and directors. Let’s face it, it can be lonely doing everything yourself! Resourceful Dance can be your place to get feedback, create accountability, or just be a place to get some inspiration.

We could not be more excited to embark on this new adventure, are you are ready to come along?!

Colleen from Resourceful Dance tells her story. From dance to baking she tells it all!

 

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