Creative industries have a notorious reputation for underpaying the professionals who work in them. Any creative knows all too well the struggle of finding the balance of financial stability and passion in their work. In order to survive, creatives are breaking out of traditional money models and finding new revenue streams to keep them going. Dance Break founders Zen and Ashley are innovating the dance industry with their concept of bringing this art form to the corporate arena. We got a chance to sit down with them to find out how they did it. You can read the full interview below:
We are Zen Rashed and Ashley Chatman, the co-founders and creators of Dance Break. We are both established and dedicated dance instructors based in Los Angeles, CA who share a strong passion for changing people’s lives through fitness and movement.
The inspiration to create Dance Break came from our experience working in the corporate business field and of course our shared passion for dance. We were looking for a way to merge business and dance together to “recharge” the workdays of business professionals, and thus Dance Break was born.
We spent a lot of time determining our target audience and how we would approach companies with Dance Break. Our initial approach is offering qualifying companies Free Dance Break demos to introduce the concept and showcase the many benefits Dance Break has to offer. This is an offer that is current, because we launched the business a little over a month ago.
We are both still working part-time jobs because we are in the start-up phase. However, we are diligently working on creating business opportunities that will allow us to quit our jobs and focus on Dance Break full-time. Our market is vast, so we are projecting to transition into being full-time in the near future.
This is a great question… Honestly, because we love what we do, we are rarely met with the conflict of creativity and making business decisions. Zen has an MBA, so this allows her to find balance between having a creative outlook and making smart business decisions. Ashley also has an extensive educational background and experience in business. The duality of being creative, but also having strong business backgrounds helps us maintain a strong balance. We have also defined roles within our partnership. Ashley handles most of the creative decisions while Zen focuses more on managing business operations.
One of our mentors gave us a great piece of business advice on OPM, which stands for “Other Peoples’ Money.” Creatives’/new business owners tend to come up with so many great ideas and often get stuck on trying to figure out how to finance these great ideas. Well this is where OPM comes in. There is always a company or an individual that has the necessary resources and budget to finance a project that can they can also benefit from. Creating fruitful relationships that can save your business money and at the same time get a project going is one of the best moves a creative/new business owner(s) can make.
Also, we’ve learned that having a strong passion for what we do is one of the most valuable philosophies in our business. We didn’t start Dance Break just to make money, but we also wanted to make a difference and offer an experience designed to enhance the lives of others. It’s our passion that gives us purpose and will be what sustains through the highs and lows of our entrepreneurial endeavors.