Ask Rhee Gold | Stepping back

Advice for dance teachers

Q: Dear Rhee,

I am proud to have made it through many trials and tribulations during 27 years of studio ownership. My business has been a godsend, and I love that I have created a special studio community where 200 kids feel safe.

Although I see myself continuing to run the business and teach, I’ve worked six days a week for almost 27 years and would like to cut back to maybe three or four days. I want time to enjoy my grandchildren and take family trips that aren’t connected to studio activities.

But the situation that has helped me grow my business now prevents me from stepping back. I’m the owner everyone knows. I know every student’s name and have conversations with parents. When I am not teaching, I am in my office. Parents are comfortable asking me questions. I know this is the reason many of my families chose my school.

Of the two people who help me out in the office, neither has the personality of a “front person” who goes out of her way to be friendly to children and parents. I have created a trap for myself that I can’t get out of and I don’t know what to do. Do you have any ideas or advice to share? —Kiana


A: Dear Kiana,

Good for you for working six days a week for 27 years! First, pat yourself on the back for giving all you could to your studio. Second, pull up your bootstraps and do whatever it takes to give yourself the time off you deserve.

What about your two office employees? Could they be holding back because they know how good you are at connecting with your clients? Maybe if given the chance, one of these two workers could handle this task for you.

Talk to your office employees about what you want to accomplish. Let them know that you’re considering asking one of them to step up to the plate and become the front person for the studio on your days off. Discuss how important friendly customer service is to the success of your business. Then train one or both in the skills you feel that they need for the position.

You have nothing to lose. You can occasionally drop in to see how things are going and remain in touch with your clientele. If things don’t turn out the way you want, you can start interviewing to fill this position with someone more satisfactory.

Understand that whoever fills this job will not be you. But that doesn’t mean your new front person won’t accomplish what you want.

It’s time to give yourself a break and prioritize your life and your family. I believe you can make this happen. Go for it! —Rhee