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✏️ ON MY MIND
A salsa dancer’s journey into entrepreneurship
It was Nov 2007. I was on my way to Canada for an exciting job opportunity. A year before I left Sydney, I had taken up salsa dancing classes. I seriously felt like I had two left feet and almost quit after the first lesson. But I stuck with it.
When I landed in Toronto, I joined a salsa school. It was a great way to make friends in a new city. Eventually, I joined an intermediate salsa and bachata dance crew.
I also started to teach volunteer classes at a local church and danced regularly at the socials around town.
In March 2009, the global IT company let me go as part of their workforce reduction initiative. I wasn’t ready to return to Australia yet. So I needed to find income.
My amazing housemate Maria encouraged me to teach classes out of our living room.
I created the “Toronto Beginner Dance Lovers” group on Meetup .com, and within 2 weeks, I had 200 hundred new members.
5 people showed up for my first pay-what-you-can class, and I made $50. Soon I was getting paid to teach salsa around the city.
I had kicked off my career as an entrepreneur!
Although I continued doing this for another 12 or so months, I eventually gave it up when my passion became a job, and I was doing it solo. So it wasn’t as fun after a while. Also, my career in marketing was beginning to take off, so I wanted to invest my energy there.
I look back at that period with fond memories. I had a lot of fun, made awesome friends, and learned valuable lessons about myself and what’s possible.
Here are five entrepreneur lessons that I learned from salsa dancing:
1. Persistence is key
Learning salsa dancing wasn’t easy, and I almost quit after the first lesson. However, I persisted and eventually became an intermediate-level dancer. This taught me that persistence is key to achieving success, no matter how challenging the journey may be.
2. Creativity pays off
When I lost my job, I needed to find a new source of income quickly. By teaching salsa dancing classes out of my living room and creating a Meetup group, I could tap into my creativity and resourcefulness to create a successful side hustle.
3. Embrace failure
In salsa dancing, mistakes are inevitable, but they’re also opportunities for growth and improvement.
I remember a specific moment in my salsa dancing journey when I got a little too excited and moved too fast, stepping on my dance partner’s toes. As she winced in pain, I felt embarrassed and frustrated with myself for not being more careful.
Looking back, I realized that my eagerness to impress her and push myself out of my comfort zone had clouded my judgment, causing me to make a mistake.
In business, getting carried away with excitement and ambition is easy, but it’s important to remain grounded and not move too fast. Taking calculated risks and being mindful of our actions can help us to avoid missteps and achieve greater success in the long run.
Similarly, failure is a natural part of the journey. We can become stronger and more resilient entrepreneurs by embracing failure and learning from our mistakes.
4. Collaboration is key
During one of my beginner salsa lessons, when I was a student, I learned the importance of leading by feeling the pressure of my partner’s hands.
As we danced, I felt her tense up when I tried to lead her into a difficult move. It was then that I realized that being a strong leader isn’t just about taking charge; it’s also about sensing and responding to your partner’s cues. As I adjusted my lead and focused on working with my partner, I noticed her confidence grew, and the dance flowed more smoothly.
In entrepreneurship, just like in dance, collaboration, and trust are essential. By listening to and understanding the needs of our partners and customers, we can build stronger relationships and achieve greater success together.
5. Follow your curiosity and passion (even if it doesn’t work out)
Salsa dancing was a passion of mine, and it brought me joy and fulfillment. Similarly, entrepreneurship requires passion and dedication to be successful.
By following our passions and curiosity, we can create opportunities to explore, grow and develop our confidence and skills.
We are constantly evolving, and everything you’ve done in the past has prepared you for where you are today, and everything you do over the next few months and years is preparing you for the next thing.
🔨🧰 MARKETING TIP
Excited to share my latest guest article for Business Business Business.
In this article, I share my experience using ChatGPT for small business marketing and how it can be a valuable tool for:
– Generating unique marketing & branding ideas,
– Automating some parts of blog writing, and
– Optimizing social media management.
👍 3 THINGS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION
Jay Acunzu posted this on his Linkedin:
The problem is that creators are acting like bots.
If you know how to imbue your work with things that feel personal to you, then AI is your intern. But if you produce generalized expertise, no matter how smart, which anybody in your space could have created, then AI is your replacement.
If you’re worried about generative AI potentially replacing your job, or you’re just curious, this is a must read.
Find out how Bryan Konietzko got started at Nickelodeon and first came to create the world of Avatar and The Legend of Korra.
In case you didn’t know it Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my fave animated series of all time! (Cindy and I even dressed up as two of the characters at a dress-up party in Bali a few years ago. Here’s a pic.)
With so many podcasts out there, it can be difficult to stand out and attract new listeners. And the thought of having to invest in expensive advertising can feel daunting, especially for small podcast owners.
This article has some good tips for growing a small podcast without buying ads.
💸 WEALTH BUILDING TIP
Excited to do my taxes today! Not joking 😄 Here’s why:
— Marissa Goldberg (@mar15sa)
Feb 16, 2023
🐦 COOL TWEETS OF THE WEEK
I get a lot of DMs about this and my advice is always the same:
✍️Take the time to literally write out your desired “end state” lifestyle.
What does it look like?
WHAT would you do (and avoid doing)?
WHO would you be around?
WHERE would you be?
(Here’s my list👇)
— Kevin Dahlstrom (@Camp4)
Feb 15, 2023
There are times when you should write, work, build, draw every spare second.
And there are times when doing nothing is the most productive thing you can do.
— Sahil Lavingia (@shl)
May 31, 2019
The 90/9/1 rule always felt fishy to me.
Turns out, 55/25/20 might be more accurate.
Community managers, what are you seeing?
— Laguna -✈️ ETH Denver (@lagunacarta)
Jan 22, 2023
Customers hire products to do things for them just like managers hire people to do things for them.
Figure out what job your customer hires your product/service for and it’ll transform the way you market.
Here’s a good framework:
— Corey Haines (@coreyhainesco)
Feb 18, 2023
🔧 TOOL OF THE WEEK
Have you ever struggled with consistently creating new content for your social media? I know I have! That’s why I started using Repurpose, and it has been a MASSIVE TIME SAVER.
Not only does it allow me to seamlessly turn one video or podcast episode into over 15 pieces of content, but it will also publish the content automatically, saving me hours weekly. It’s seriously been a lifesaver!
You can publish or schedule directly to YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter and grow your audience across all channels.
If you’re looking for an easier and more efficient way to create and publish content, I highly recommend giving Repurpose a try. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
🤔 PARTING THOUGHTS
And before you say “video or didn’t happen,” here’s a video of me social dancing with my friend Luda in Toronto in 2008 😂
Enjoy your weekend!
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Forward it to someone else who might find it useful too.Consider supporting my work and becoming a paid subscriber.Reply and tell me what you liked about today’s newsletter, and/or ask a question that I can answer in a future newsletter (I’m always looking for ways to help my readers and topics to explore).