Resources too good not to share....

As part of building a sustainable business as a solo-preneur, I did a lot of research early this year on how to get my accounting and finances under control.  I found two great resources that I am happy to share with you.

Mark and I are both independent contractors, so every receipt is important when it comes time to do our taxes. I always have felt pretty stressed out about what to do with those receipts and how would I find them when I need them. My research led me to Shoeboxed - an affordable and extremely useful service that scans and digitizes receipts. I just stick my receipts in an envelope and send them off to them and they handle the rest. In a few days my reciepts show up online and I can categorize them to my heart's delight.  There are lots of great features, but they can explain them better than I can - just go to and check out their plans.  They even have a free plan if you like to scan the receipts yourself. I had a back stock of them so I opted for a yearly plan that included an initial scan of 300 receipts (or a combination of receipts, business cards and even documents!)

I was searching for an accounting software solution that I could use on both my Mac and Mark's pc.  I found several good programs that were much more affordable than Quickbooks and easier to set-up and use but most had a fee of some sort and limitations that I wasn't totally happy with.  Then I found Waveaccounting.  I am in love. Wave is absolutely free, connects to all our bank accounts and lets us see our personal and business finances all in one place. (Disclaimer - you must be ok with having all your financial data in the cloud.)

The customer support was phenomenal. I know they're a fairly new business, but they have quite a subscriber base already in place and every question I asked via the support interface was answered thoroughly, courteously and with a real sense that my questions (read I) mattered to them. I hope they build a much more rich FAQ and/or support forum in the future, but I had no problem getting the answers I needed from Ehab - my main support contact.  They also love getting user feedback and suggestions - which I enjoy - I feel like I actually get to have a voice in the way the product is shaped. It's the solution I've waited a long time to find!  To find out more go to:


Getting the word out!

Check out my ballroom and social dance instruction listing on Thumbtack.  I think it looks great and I hope to get some new business from it. If you have a moment and feel inclined, I'd love if you'd leave a positive review of my teaching on their site - you can do so here.  It will help me get ranked higher and hopefully attract more wonderful students like you!


Good dancing is always in fashion

I was surfing Youtube looking for some waltz videos and I came upon this one from 1979.

I just love the poofy skirts - they look a bit like tutus. Not only has the costuming evolved since then, but the dancing sure has too. So has the dance business.

When I began teaching, I worked for a very sales oriented studio. They still exist - generally these studios have a club like atmosphere where socializing is a high priority and sales pressure can be pretty intense.  The quality of dancing isn't the primary focus - # of lessons sold is. Many teachers (like myself) began in these "studio systems" and rebelled once we discovered competition dancing. 

The number of independent dance teachers has grown greatly since I began teaching over 20 years ago.  Mostly independent teachers focus on teaching over selling and often they have a greater level of training (which they pay for out of their own pockets) and therefore offer a greater lesson value to their students.  The challenge with independent teachers and studios is creating community for thier students - that social aspect that really is beneficial and makes dancing that much more fun.

I'm excited to be working at Ballroom Unlimited with other independent teachers. As I become more integrated into the studio, I am finding that there is a wonderful community in place there. I am just developing my business plan and of high priority in it is to bring together the best benefits from both systems to create an atmosphere for my students where they recieve top notch instruction while having fun and making new, quality social contacts.

In the coming weeks I'll be developing class curriculums as well as working on building a resource of dance information and I'll try to keep you posted on new developments here.



The Surgeon General Recommends Dancing

I came across this article in the New York Times Magazine. Turns out the Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, agrees with me - at least on this one point!

What sort of exercise do you recommend for people who don’t love it?
I want exercise to be fun; don’t want it to be work. I don’t want it to be so routine that you’re bored with it. We used to jump rope a lot and double Dutch and went to a disco to have fun and enjoy ourselves. We didn’t go to the disco because somebody said, Go dance for 30 minutes.

When was this? When did you go to a disco?
When I was younger. I want us to get back to doing things because they’re fun.

Maybe we need to dance more as a nation.
Yes, I love to dance, and whenever I’m at events and places with music, I will dance. That exercise is medicine. It’s better than most pills.

Read the full article on the NYTimes website.

I particularly love that last comment. I've long wondered how to communicate to people that dancing is the best anti-depressant there is. Music, movement, social and physical contact are all to credit. And when you're dancing all those factors are coming together at the same time. 

Dont' take my word for it, ask the Surgeon General!

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