How to Increase Revenue From Your Belly Dance Studio

Updated on September 1, 2019
Tricia Deed profile image

Tricia Deed offers proven business suggestions based on her experience.

Professional belly dancing performer dancing with Isis Wings.
Professional belly dancing performer dancing with Isis Wings. | Source

Starting up a Belly Dancing Business

Opening a belly dance studio is very exciting. You may feel nervous and having doubts about your decision to become a business owner. But have no fear, you will lose these feelings very quickly: in fact, probably on the day you open your doors for business.

Your business plan will include so many things to do that the responsibilities of maintaining a healthy business will push any unnecessary worries out of your mind.

A solo owner operating a dance business will have to wear many hats every day. If you can get others to put on those hats once in a while, that can help.

Family or friends can help develop a website, respond to emails, do customer service for retailing, and create promotional material. They can help prepare and decorate the studio. The studio atmosphere adds to the mystique of this dance.

Job Description

As a solo owner or entrepreneur, prepare yourself in the beginning to work every facet of the business. Lending institutions label this type of business as "high risk," so use your own money; you will spend it wisely. But you will need to hire an attorney and an accountant.

Your working hats will include:

  • Owner. Take overall responsibility for everything that concerns your school.
  • Advertiser. Let everyone know about your business.
  • Marketer. Discover the best method for selling your products and services.
  • Salesperson. Sell constantly, never stop.
  • Secretary and treasurer. Keep records and do banking.
  • Contract writer. Make customers understand the prices and payment programs for performances, classes, and other things.
  • Collector. Sometimes you may have to collect for services delivered. This situation can usually be avoided by writing a good contract which includes prices and refund policies.
  • Accountant and bookkeeper. Do as much as you can, but hire a professional accountant to prepare taxes.
  • Counselor. Understand your students and offer them positive feedback.
  • Planner. Plan every day, so you can keep your working goals on target.
  • Visionary, creator, and researcher. Create choreography and any ideas that may help your school to prosper.
  • Scheduler. Arrange the everyday class schedule.
  • Promoter. Promote both non-profit and profit shows.
  • Costumer and prop designer: Know the appropriate costuming and props needed for performances.
  • Photographer and videographer: Take promo shots or hire a photographer.
  • Housekeeper: Clean the studio.

Savings Account

Before you start the business, build a savings account which will offer a financial cushion during the first five years.

You should plan your operational finances for a year, but be prepared for unexpected expenses that disrupt the best prepared plans.

It is better to supplement studio expenses with personal income than to borrow money from others and bear the added burden of paying loans with interest.

Revenue Sources

There are 5 basic revenue sources:

  1. Classes
  2. Retailing merchandise
  3. Performance revenue
  4. Selling logo merchandise
  5. Workshops and seminars

Other supplemental income such as creating videos, writing a book. or experimenting with other ideas may or will add to the income.

1. Lesson Plans and Classes

These are 5 Basic revenue sources.

As an instructor, schedule different grade levels in the school—beginner, intermediate, and different levels of advanced—and set the cost for each level. Design a schedule for the number of times the student will attend and a payment plan. After the student has completed a program, celebrate with a graduation recital or party.

What can the student do after taking a basic course?

  • Offer further training with a master class.
  • Offer performing routines and entertainment skills for soloists and troupes..
  • Offer other types of classes which you or hired instructors may teach. Teach Egyptian, Turkish, Moroccan, Modern styles for cabaret or night club performing, Folkloric, Ethnic, and the new American tribal dances which are emerging.
  • Specialty classes might include cane, sword, drums, assorted veils, drumming and advanced zill patterns, costume design and construction, acting and performing skills for private parties, conventions, and cultural weddings.

Sources of additional income:

  • Schedule class recitals and adult shows.
  • Sell tickets and refreshments at workshops and seminars.
  • Sell video or DVD recordings of the show.
  • Rent spaces to vendors.
  • Sell merchandise at all belly dancing events.

Turkish Costumes

Belly dancing dresses in a local market in Turkey.
Belly dancing dresses in a local market in Turkey. | Source

2. Retailing Merchandise

Retailing merchandise is essential for dance studios. Belly dancers need costumes, accessories, jewelry, dance props, percussion instruments such as zills and drums, music CDs as well as DVDs,

Where can you sell merchandise? Outlets include other workshops and seminars sponsored by others, local consignment shops, outdoor performances, and online.

A belly dancer with head wrap exposing her performing eyes.
A belly dancer with head wrap exposing her performing eyes. | Source

3. Revenue From Performances

The three most important revenue sources for a dance studio owner are classes—keep them full—merchandise, and party and show performances.

In the beginning, for your performances, entertainers may need to be hired from other sources. After students have been trained there will always be a select few who want to perform.

Take advantage of outdoor shows in cultural events. These events are excellent for building dancers' confidence in front of large audiences. Stage performances are best at belly dancing workshops and seminars.

Performances can generate additional income when:

  • You are hired for paid gigs.
  • Students are hired for paid gigs (price includes agent's fee).

Paid sources:

  • Private parties
  • Conventions
  • Instructor/performer at belly dancing seminars and workshops
  • Restaurants
  • Cruise lines
  • Cultural weddings
  • National and international events
  • Product promotions
  • Advertising
  • Movies
  • Television
  • DVDs

How to Get Gigs

Advertise and market in traditional ways, or more important, build a website which is open to the world. Market your services and products through these pages.

4. Advertising Props (Logo Merchandise)

Sell T-shirts and other advertising props with your school logo. This is a two-fold profit situation. When the customer pays for the T-shirt, he or she contributes to both advertising costs and income.

5. Workshops and Seminars

A workshop is usually for a day; seminars are 2 days and 3 nights. Typically, Friday and Saturday include night performances for the general public, and Saturday and Sunday include day classes. Tickets are sold in package units to prospective students. Charge an entry fee per individual for the evening performance. Sell snacks and beverages.

These classes may be taught by you or by a hired national or international instructor.

Dance School Owners: Are You a Successful Owner of Your Business?

  • Do you specialize in teaching one style of belly dancing, or do you teach several styles?
  • Do you include retailing in your business?
  • Do you hire out performers?
  • Are you teaching on a national or international level?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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