Working as a Dance Teacher – Hackett-Kyne Academy of Irish Dancing

Tell us a bit about your family?

I am married and we have a little boy who is 2 years and 2 months old and who is a cheeky little chappy.
I am also 1 of 2 children and I would love to have a brother or sister for my little man. Even though sibling rivalry can be horrible at times, I wouldn’t be without my brother and feel part of my determination has come from growing up with someone that tells you how it is and gets straight to the point. I don’t always appreciate it, and can be upsetting, but sometimes it also makes me think. The downside is that it can also hold me back. I tend to listen a lot to others opinion, even when it is negative.

What’s your business called?

Hackett-Kyne Academy of Irish Dancing

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Irish dancing and fitness classes for children and adults.

When did you start it and what inspired you to become a Mumpreneur?

I joined my business partner in 2010 after I passed my teachers exam.
What inspired me was my love for Irish dancing and teaching others to enjoy the style. It was through the Adult Education Centre that I began teaching the adults after I passed their teaching courses in 2005. I really enjoy teaching the children but I love teaching the adults too and encouraging them to do something they enjoy no matter what age they are.

How did you fund your start up?

I was working full time so it really started as a hobby and was just covering the cost of the halls and petrol really. The problem I have had to overcome lately is to start thinking of it as a business and not just a hobby, as I wasn’t making much money and with my little boy needing me more at home, I have been burning myself out and missing out on his 2 years of growing up where I was always rushing around.

How did you manage working around your children?

When I first started back after having my little boy, he was just 6 weeks old but it was just a couple of hours at a time, 3 times a week for a few months.
I was shattered so that was plenty of time. I found it very hard but it was also good for me to get out and do something for myself.
My husband, my parents and my husband’s parents have been fantastic and been there to help with child minding.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

Checking and replying to emails, sometimes for potential clients and sometimes responding to current clients questions.
Preparing for the next class and sorting out the accounts from the previous classes ensuring all details are up to date.

What challenges have you faced as a Mumpreneur and how have you overcome them?

Burn out was my biggest problem and it crept up on me before I knew it.
I first started back at dancing when my little boy was 6 weeks old. It was only 10 hours of teaching initially but then it went up to 15 hours of teaching a week before I knew it. The problem was that it wasn’t making much money to help with the mortgage and general bills. Therefore, I needed to go back to my job Graphic Design job in London for 2 days a week. They could only offer me 12pm-7pm shift on both days.
That was 14 hours out of the house plus the 15 hours already for dancing, then including travel for both jobs it was roughly 42 hours out of the house a week. I also have over 5-8 hours of paperwork to do at home a week for the dancing admin. There was also the fact that my son hasn’t been a great sleeper and I was mostly still doing paperwork until 1am/2am a lot of nights.
With all of that my biggest problem was BURNOUT. I was exhausted, which was really demotivating me and slowly making me dislike teaching, not enjoying my little boy or work and finding my world just spinning and not knowing how to stop it. Until I decided to contact a Life and Business Coach, Lucy Stanyer.
She has been absolutely fantastic at being able to help me out of the craziness.
Lucy has made me realise that I could be running my dancing school a lot more efficiently and not treating it just as a hobby so that the dancers and parents take it more seriously and she has given me a lot of useful information to help me with believing in myself to create a stronger studio. I have also cut my London job down to 1 day a week, soon to stop it completely. But currently working only 30 hours out of the house and I am now able to pick my son up from nursery and see him going to bed 5 nights as week where as it use to be only 3 nights a week and I was missing him so much.
I have so much more passion for my teaching again now, I am really enjoying it and getting more sleep and time with my little boy.

What’s the best thing about being self employed?

Being able to work it around my son so that I can spend the time with him.
I try to keep it near to home so that the commuting time is no where near as bad.

What are your plans for the future?

– To do a lot more with my fitness qualifications to encourage other dancers from different disciplines, mainly regarding their fitness.
– To run more hen days/nights.
– To work on my marketing a lot more now that I have more time to work on it.
– To start an Adult Irish dancing competition her in Kent, UK, as most competitions over here are for children and it would be great for the Over 25s to be able to compete without having to dance against the 16 year olds that they currently have to do here in England.
– To start up a parent and toddler Irish Dancing and Fitness class, where they can bring children (between 1 & 5 years old) to either join in or to play.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

My biggest advice to find someone that isn’t a relative, or at least someone that won’t judge you and your decision, but that is there to help and guide you. Lucy Stanyer was my saviour 🙂

WEBSITE, which is currently being updated –

About the business that didn’t work out

What was the business called and what did it do?

Celtic Tots – I am still looking to start this up again. It was’t actually a business, just an extra class for my current business.
It was a Tots class (for 1-4 year olds), teaching them music, beats and dancing to music before they progressed to the next classes within the academy.

How long did you run it for

6 months

What do you think went wrong?

My marketing and promoting was awful, due to lack of time.
The structure and planning was also awful for the same reason.

What did you learn from it?

Not to rush into setting classes up as it can give the academy a bad reputation if you start it up and then have to cancel it again.
Not spending the time on the marketing is a waste of time. Plus, because I had hardly any class members I was having to pay out a lot of money for hall hire and getting no income from it.

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