I have had trouble before, but man, I have got a big bag of trouble now. This is the chapter where everything falls apart, then there’s a wedding, and then our heroine emerges victorious once again, ready to build her next empire.
What I’m saying is, “stay tuned.” I have mad ninja skills and will figure this out. Somehow.
My big show, Shake the Bay just happened on May 20th. Beautiful show. Beautiful audience; I just wish there had been more of them. A lot more. Because we had incredible performers on a big stage on a Saturday night in San Francisco to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association… and we sold 60 tickets. Folks just did not care to show up.
I lost about $1,300 and made nothing for the cause.
My studio is closing on June 30th. I believe that one will cost me $25k and a friendship. I don’t know yet. I believe due to my former friend’s stupidity, it will cost me much more.
In the seven months it has been open, the studio has never made enough money to cover our monthly expenses. Not surprising, but, we need it to at least cover the rent. When I started this venture, my partner and I were going to be 50/50 on everything. That did not work out. She couldn’t come up with all the money and didn’t show up to do the work. I offered to buy her out twice, each time she refused and said she didn’t need another boss. She kept screwing up the work she did do. She didn’t show up to a class she was supposed to teach and I got contacted by the student that came to an empty business… Twice. I could go on and on about her mistakes. She had personal issues that made me want to be nice. It was hard because I had put a significant amount of money, effort, and time into the studio and my creative time for my own personal projects was practically nonexistent because I was so busy managing her.
On May 10th, I told her I loved her and just wanted to be her friend again. I said the disagreements we were having mean we do not make good business partners, she needs to have less responsibility now due to her personal life. I offered to move her to staff and start paying her immediately. As owners, we agreed not to get paid until our monthly expenses were covered by monthly revenue. I thought that her getting a paycheck would incentivize her to get her class attendance in better shape, ultimately keeping the business open so we would all still have a studio. She said she wanted me to pay her back her investment. I told her that I would never get my investment back, which is much greater than hers, but if I ever did, she had to know I would give her the small amount she wanted. I told her I would agree to give her ownership of some of our studio equipment, valued slightly higher than her investment. She said she had to think about it.
We had a ceasefire for Shake the Bay. Meanwhile… she got a lawyer.
When I finally got her to talk to me about it, she said she wants money. Not only her investment, but she said she had never been paid for any of her work. She refused to go to the bank with me to get her off our account. I had been protecting her. I was doing all the work while she took half the credit, and I was ok with that while she took care of her personal stuff, because I was her friend and loved her. But, then she became a liability. My offer to move her to staff and pay her would have relieved some of her stress and could have potentially kept our doors open long-term.
So I’m really sad right now. My heart is broken. I will mourn that friendship and will be sad that my studio has slipped away. I wanted it to be a great place for the community. I had four ladies in my noon mixed level belly dance class, and three others in my basics class yesterday. I absolutely love teaching and don’t want to believe I have to give up my studio so soon. I think some of my students will cry when they read this.
I believe I already have a handle on the next chapter of life… I mean the one after my wedding and honeymoon, of course! I found a new project that just might solve it all. And, I can still provide Skype lessons and private and semi-private lessons at home for students that are sad about the studio closing. Maybe I’ll find a place that will work for another sword class soon; that seems to be popular! My Marilyn Monroe group will be performing in July at Carnival of Stars, and I’m sure I’ll find plenty more ways to continue sharing some sparkle.
Good stuff is forthcoming. I can feel it. I get to marry Super Steve in 15 days.