Dance AND run your own social media business? Yes please!
Rachel Levitt interviews entrepreneur Nicole Dymianiw on her business Social Media for Dance. This is part one of our Businesses Run by Dancers series that will also include Brianna Clarke on her podcast Artversations (Dec 13) and Tina Pereira on Ballerina Couture (Dec 20).
Nicole Dymianiw has a career that many in the dance world will envy. She teaches, choreographs, adjudicates for competitions AND runs her own business. Creating Social Media for Dance has given her the flexibility to pursue her other passions in the industry, as well as put to use skills she developed in the corporate world.
How does she do it? This powerhouse spills it all to A Dance Way of Life.
Tell me about yourself as a dancer…
I started dancing when I was three, and thirty one years later I’m still going strong! I competed starting at the age of five and continued throughout university on the Brock dance team. In my third year of university I started teaching for studio out in Port Colbourne.
After I got out of university I still continued to teach. There was a year that I was working full time at an office job and teaching six days a week and then once competition season started I was adjudicating pretty much every weekend, and I burned out like crazy.
I still teach, I teach for a studio right now out in Milton. A couple years ago I took a step back and just wanted to focus on choreography and teaching workshop classes, but not so much teaching five days a week.
How did Social Media for Dance start?
I was on vacation in Mexico almost two years ago, and one of the competition directors that my boyfriend and I work for was out there too. We met up for dinner, and we got to talking about social media.
She said “we could really use somebody to take over our social media. Running a competition, you know that you need to have a social media presence but it’s the last thing that’s on your mind. It’s one of the things that take up the most work, the most headspace, you have to really think about what to post, when to post, all of the things that encompasses social media.” So, I said “well I’ll take it over.”
I posted in a private group that I was a part of to see if anybody was looking for somebody to manage their social media accounts, and that led to a girl that I know who runs a studio in Barrie contacting me.
And then it grew. I was adjudicating a competition out west, and I was working with a woman who runs a dance travel business. She said she was looking for somebody to take over her social media and I went “ding!” Lightbulb went off in my brain and I thought “hey, I can maybe actually do this for a living. I can use my educational background [communications], I’ve worked in a bunch of different industries in the corporate world, so I know how to manage websites, I know how to manage individuals…” All of the experience that I’ve gained from my 9 to 5 life and my experience in dance all seemed to fit together.
About a year and half ago I was finally able to leave my full time 9 to 5 and just branch out on my own into Social Media for Dance.
What are common mistakes that dancers make on their social media?
I wouldn’t say mistakes, I think it’s just not being aware of what to post, when to post, posting too much or too little.
And curating your feed. When somebody goes to your social media, you don’t want to have twelve million different colors and backgrounds and pictures. Some of my clients have a specific appeal that they want to present to their audience. One of my clients is strictly black and white with a bit of purple and that’s it. Others are “go crazy and do whatever you want.”
I think it’s more of the lack of knowledge when it comes to social media instead of mistakes that are made.
What are some problems that you see with A Dance Way of Life’s Instagram page?
When I look at that, I’m not sure what your overall message is or who you’re trying to appeal to.
Some of questions Nicole would ask us if she was taking over our social media:
· Who is your target audience?
· What do you want people to think about when they look at your page?
· What are some key words that you want to pop in their head?
· What are other Instagram accounts that you follow that you really like? What are some things that you like about these Instagram accounts that you want brought into yours.
· Are there certain colors, themes, images that you want so that when somebody looks at your account it’s cohesive.
Examples of posts Nicole has created for clients:
Why do you like running your own business alongside dancing?
It really fits and it allows me to be flexible. Especially with social media, it’s great because you can schedule content ahead of time. For example, I’m going away next week for a couple days and I’m able to build and schedule all of the posts for my clients for this week, next week and for weeks in advance, and then I don’t have to worry.
I also only need an internet source, so I can basically work from anywhere in the world. And it allows me to teach in the afternoons, I don’t have to ask for time off.
How did you make this business profitable? What tips would you give to other dancers to help them make money by running their own side business?
Being motivated is a big thing that comes when running your own business, because you don’t have anyone really telling you what to do.
I did a lot of research first on starting your own business, and a lot of forums and articles I read said that you should have X amount of money in your bank account before you quit a day job or anything like that.
So, I started building up my database and my clientele. By the time I left my day job I had about six or seven clients under my belt to the point where I was working all day and working all night and I thought if I were to quit my day job: I have what they say to have in the bank account, and I have income from all of my clients, I also adjudicate dance competitions from March until May every single weekend, so I had other sources for income as well.
It’s scary going out on your own. Especially if you’ve worked for somebody or in a corporate world for as long as I did. And you just kind of have to take that leap. If you have all of your ducks in a row as much as you think you do and you have that reserve, then if you think you can do it then just take that leap.
I will never look back, I kind of wish I had done it sooner, but I’m glad I did it and I wouldn’t change it.
What skills has dance helped you develop that have now helped you in business?
Time management is huge. As we grow up dancing and competing, you need to balance school and dance. My mom always said school came first. If your marks dropped, dance would drop. So, I had to figure out how to make sure that I could keep my grades up and still take all of the dance classes that I wanted to take.
Also, rejection. When you’re in the dance industry, you’re in the rejection industry. Like how many noes do you hear all of the time? “No your hair is too blonde, no you’re too skinny, no your legs aren’t long enough, no no no no.”
Either you’re going to be that person that goes “well, I guess I have to dye my hair a different color or something” or you’re the type of person that will go “well, those types of noes are eventually going to turn into a yes. What can I do in myself or with myself to turn those noes into yeses?”
If you were going to turn this interview into a social media post, what would you have me post?