I have a very special guest today: Kimberly Lewis! Kimberly is the founder of the Phoenix Suns Dance Team and runs her own dance studio in Phoenix, Dance Studio 111. Oh, and she happens to be my mom.
I’ve mentioned her several times before so I’m so excited to have her join us today to instill some of the confidence she has and raised us kids with!
How she came up with the idea for the Phoenix Suns Dance Team
My mom had a thriving dancing career, working in both New York City and California within the field. While dancing in LA, my dad got traded to Phoenix, Arizona, for his NFL career. She had this great career herself but was suddenly moving to a city where there weren’t many opportunities for dancers.
“It was kind of a culture shock,” she said about moving to Phoenix and not finding many choreography jobs – so she made one up for herself.
I was a young toddler at the time and with my dad being a pro-athlete, she was mostly a single mom who was trying to keep her career going while being a mom. She still remembers getting to Phoenix and trying to figure out what her next move was when she had a lightbulb moment while watching a Phoenix Suns basketball game: She was going to create a dance team for the Phoenix Suns.
How she pitched herself
Here’s what I love about my mom: She has no fear. And that’s what helped her sell this idea.
“I got the Yellow Pages out, went through the Yellow Pages and looked up the Phoenix Suns organization,” my mom said. She just cold-called them and pitched her idea to start a dance team. They simply said they were uninterested and hung up – but she didn’t take that as an answer. She called for a week until she physically went to the office to talk to the right people and make her pitch in-person so they couldn’t hang up. She emphasized how she could add value to what they were doing by using dance to highlight their beloved mascot. And she got the green light to have a dance team perform at the opening game.
In six months, she created a dance team, had costumes made, trained the mascot and came up with routines for everyone to pull off for the opening game. After that game, they hired her for the season. The dance team is now getting ready to celebrate 30 years in 2020.
How to create your own opportunities
I can’t say it any better than my mom. Here are some of my favorite quotes from her about going after your dreams and creating your own opportunities:
- “You just go for it. You don’t think about it. You just make it happen. You can do anything in life you choose to do but you have to make it happen yourself. I didn’t wait around for somebody to give me a job opportunity. I went after something I wanted.”
- “What’s the worst that can happen? They say ‘no’ and you’re in the same place you were before.”
- “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else is going to believe in you.”
- “You cannot give up…You have to get over all of those hurdles and just keep going.”
- “Be secure with yourself. Have the confidence in yourself and believe in yourself. When you believe in yourself, others are going to believe in yourself and it’s gonna happen.”
- “Don’t even think at any point in your life you cannot go for something. Because you can. You have to keep that mindset.”
- “You have to talk to yourself. You have to compliment yourself. Say ‘You can do this. I can do this. I can make this happen.’”
To the moms listening
One thing I really wanted my mom to share is her advice to other mothers who may feel like they can’t go after career opportunities because they’re caring for their kids – and it’s just not true.
After doing the Suns Dance Team, my mom started her own dance studio for children in Phoenix called Dance Studio 111.
“I took a big leap of faith,” she said, as she was going through a divorce and needed to take out a loan to pull this off. But she did it – four years later, the business had grown so much that they needed a bigger location.
“I think a lot of people are afraid to ask for help,” my mom said. “I have not done this on my own. I have a great support system. I reached out and asked for help and that’s OK.” I personally have amazing relationships with so many of the women who helped my mom as she created this new career. Having her go after her dreams only helped me create more relationships and a sense of my own potential.
Not sure how to market yourself? Get involved with your community
One of the best things my mom did when it came to marketing her dance studio was getting involved with her community. It gave her a chance to make connections, give back, and to showcase her business.
While so much of marketing today is done on social media, you just cannot beat making physical connections with people and pitching your business in-person. This worked for her when she pitched the Phoenix Suns Dance Team and it works for her today as she continues to grow her dance studio. Go, get involved and meet people beyond the screen!
My favorite advice she ever gave me
“Just remember there’s something beautiful just around the corner and it’s gonna happen.”
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