As a full-time hooper and hooping business owner, what is it like when you face obstacles or when things aren’t going as successfully as you’d hoped? What would you say is the most important thing to consider before you set out to create hooping as a career?
– Hoop Entrepreneurs
Dear Hoop Entrepreneurs,
I get asked this question quite a bit actually and first I always like to dispel some myths. I think from the outside it may seem like I just have my business all together and everything is hunky dory. My life is wonderful and I wouldn’t do anything else, but it hasn’t been a walk in the park either and I still have yet to meet the financial goals I’ve set out for myself. Success exists on other levels besides financial though (thank god) and those other less quantifiable ways are much of what keeps me doing this. Watching the community grow to what it is and feeling proud of my part in it helps me not quit when the going gets tough. But, I digress… It’s a complex question. While part of me wants to say “Don’t quit your day job”, the other part of me knows how important it is to follow your heart and do what you love, even if it is risky.
First off, my general advice is if you do have a job that you enjoy and pays your bills, keep it as long as you can, even if you eventually want to make Hooping your full time career. Like any creative service industry job, a Hoop Dance business takes time to build and has a lot of moving parts. There are so many times over the years that I wished I had another job that I enjoyed to take some of the pressure off and make the whole process a little more comfortable. The problem is that hooping is so much fun that you may want to jump ship immediately and take your chances. I advise keeping your bread-winning occupation and developing your hoop skills, network and business on nights and weekends. I urge you to BREATHE and take your time with this!
Any career around Hooping (unless you have millions of dollars to invest) is generally a small business with many ups and downs. As large as the hoop community has grown, and continues to grow, it is still a very small niche market. Hooping is making its way into the mainstream, as an option in alternative fitness, but that is also a niche market, if not a slightly larger one. So here are some things to ask yourself before you embark on a career in Hoop Dance:
1. Am I comfortable with the uncertainty of a sometimes-sporadic income? I have thought many times what a relief it would be to simply go in to work somewhere and be guaranteed a paycheck every two weeks.
2. How saturated is the place I live with other teachers and hoop makers? If you live in a place where you are the sole hoop provider/teacher you will tend to have more success right off the bat.
3. Am I comfortable talking with lots and lots of people and even approaching strangers in order to get more business? Carrying a hoop around with you everywhere is a good way to drum up new clients and interest!
4. Do I have enough free time and money to invest in both my own hoop skills, developing a network, promotion, website design and maintenance, making hoops (and other related products), shipping and customer service (just to start with)? At first it will likely be you (or you and a partner if you are lucky) needing to do ALL of this!
5. Am I prepared for, and willing to accept, the shift that comes in my personal relationship to the hoop when I shift it from a hobby to a career? Once you turn hooping into something that needs to make you money, the additional stress that can cause may effectively ruin the fun!
6. What aspects of Hooping and Hoop Dance do I want to focus on? Performance, Hoop making and workshops are just a few. You can specialize in just one, but for most a blend of all three (and more) are the way to make a modest, but workable and fun living with hoop dance.
Also, I would spend the time to educate yourself about running a small business. Marie Forleo’s B-School program is one option that is amazing (My partner in crime Rayna McInturf is in it right now!). I think the people that do the best are the ones that choose to really look at it as a business and treat it as such. In many ways, I am just beginning to do this now and am excited for the shift!
Above all, follow your heart. No one can tell you what you should or shouldn’t embark upon. Sometimes the choices that look the craziest from the outside are exactly where we need to be!
Good luck and happy hooping~
Anah aka Hoopalicious
Need some advice from Hoopalicious? Anah “Hoopalicious” Reichenbach has traveled the world teaching and performing and is highly regarded as the founder of the modern hoop dance movement. In fact, her Hoop Revolution™ curriculum is the foundation for most well-known hoop dance curriculums out there today so if you’ve got a question just ask at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anah appears in The Hooping Life documentary and was our first inductee into the Hooper Hall of Fame. She lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.