Lifelong dancer and Embark Cohort graduate spins passion and talent into small business success
Elizabeth Goitia spent her entire childhood dancing, but once she started teaching at a local dance studio in college, the dream of directing her own dance program took shape in her heart.
“I’m blessed to have two incredibly hard-working and fearless parents who run their own business. They helped me see the benefits of being your own boss,” says Elizabeth. “Throughout my childhood, they instilled discipline, the importance of hard work, and the power of courage in me. Those qualities made the decision to open a business of my own that much more feasible.”
This spring, Elizabeth enrolled in the Embark Cohort at Pathway WBC. The Embark Cohort is designed for entrepreneurs who are in business, but want to work on their financials and business structure.
The seventh and final meeting of Embark is a pitch night where cohort members are divided into small groups and joined by Pathway Lending staff members. In these small groups, each cohort member practices their pitch, getting feedback and suggestions before pitching to the entire group. Like her peers, Elizabeth worked closely with her small group, polishing and refining her sales pitch for Artistic Elements Dance Complex.
Little did she know how perfectly timed this practice would be. Hear in Elizabeth’s own words what happened the very next day:
From dress rehearsal to show time…
“On Friday afternoon, the day after our pitch night and graduation, I got a call from a charter school in Nashville. They asked if I could come give a 15 minute pitch about our summer camp program to their families – on the following Monday. Over the weekend, I worked on the suggestions my small group and everyone else at pitch night gave me – really focusing on the importance of safe training at our studio.
Well, last night I was able to confidently stand in front of a group of about 100 complete strangers and give a strong pitch about the Artistic Elements dance program, and why we exist.
After the pitch, there were several school administrators who asked if Artistic Elements would be interested in coming to teach dance classes at their schools, which has always been a dream of mine and a goal of the program when I started on this journey. I also had several parents who have already joined our email list to get more information about our programs.
Whether or not I get students from that pitch isn’t the big success from last night. The success for me is that I stood up there with confidence in myself and my business while giving a strong, unwavering pitch about my dance studio to a room filled with strangers. Being an major introvert, that was a huge personal achievement!
I am so grateful to the Embark cohort for giving me the tools to jump into that situation with such little notice.”
Embark Cohort feedback from graduate Elizabeth Goitia
Now that Artistic Elements Dance Complex is open for business, we interviewed Elizabeth about her experience at Pathway WBC, and how enrolling in the Embark Cohort has furthered her business.
How has your business changed since week 1 of the Embark Cohort?
Oh, let me count the ways! I have a completely different understanding of the financial side of my business. Even if I do plan on having an accountant help with finances, it’s so important for me to understand the basics of accounting so I know what’s going on with the business.
Also, as a class, we spent a lot of time learning to look at our businesses from the client’s perspective. We learned the importance of speaking to their emotions and explaining how our business stands out from our competition. Even if what makes my business model so special seems obvious to me, I need to lay it out for potential clients.
What was your biggest “ah-ha” moment?
My biggest “ah-hah” was honestly in the final session of the cohort. When we sat down to discuss our pitch with Pathway Lending team members, my small group helped me understand the importance of the story behind my business. Making that emotional connection with my customers through my story has become an important part of my messaging.
Creating and running a small business is no small feat and the encouragement and support I received in those final moments were life changing and completely transformative to the way I will approach my business from now on.
If you had to pick one, what would be the biggest takeaway from your seven weeks in the Embark Cohort?
For me, the biggest takeaway is the community I’m now a part of. Leslie and Mason created an environment that was welcoming, encouraging and incredibly educational. Learning the ins and outs of how to be successful in my own business, while encouraging and being encouraged by others building their own businesses is invaluable. We even have a group text going to continue cheering for each other – I feel like I’m walking away with a whole new support team!
What would you tell other entrepreneurs looking for a push to start or grow their business?
What are you waiting for?! The team at Pathway WBC is passionate, knowledgeable and incredibly supportive. Pathway is a place for learning, growth, support and fun – join the party!
Before this cohort I had 1 client, and just 7 weeks later I had 16.
Throughout the course of the cohort I have hired two faculty members and intend to lock down one more before doors open. I have a different approach to the way I hire instructors and determine their pay based on the book we read as part of the Cohort (Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits by Greg Crabtree). After spending time in LivePlan and laying out future possibilities, I also have a better understanding of where I want my business to go and how I can make it happen.
I enjoyed the entire session so much. Each week kept getting better and better, and I love being a part of the Pathway WBC community.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
There are many benefits to running your own business, but what stands the most for me is the ability to create your own schedule, maintain flexibility for family and life event,s and most importantly, the opportunity to serve a community.
At the end of the day, you’re going to have to work hard at any job you have- it might as well be your own dream that’s getting all the attention.
You can learn more about Artistic Elements Dance Complex at artisticelementsdance.com.
Want to learn more about enrolling in a Pathway WBC Cohort?
We’re always recruiting for our cohorts. To get started and learn which cohort is right for you, come to an upcoming Blue Sky Business Modeling Workshop. We look forward to meeting you!