The phrase “women in business” in the field of business and entrepreneurship is considered to be the historical exclusion of women in leadership roles. However in today’s society, this particular phase advocates for increased participation of women in business, which can aim to diversify the workforce and the contribution of ideas too. There is a more fair distribution of women in leadership and entrepreneurship roles now than there was previously.
Before we get into the business side of things, I had the privilege to interview Leong Jin Li, a dance teacher, who also owns her own business and is the dance principal for her own dance school, Bunheads Studio. Through this article, we will dive into the insights on what it's like to own a business as a woman and to also get to know the person behind Bunheads Studio!
Picture given by Leong Jin Li
Leong Jin Li has been a dancer for 14 years, trained at Aurora Dance School and a dance teacher for 22 years. Despite still being a dance teacher, Jin Li wanted to open her own dance school since has always been her passion to pass on knowledge, and most importantly, the joy of dance to others.
Jin Li’s studio, Bunheads, has been in operation since February 2015. Through this interview, I was able to learn from her the insights on how it’s like to run a business as a woman and what it takes to run a successful business behind the scenes!
Picture of Leong Jin Li, with her students, taken from Bunheads Studio account
What were your mission and goals at the start of your business?
My objective when I first started my business was to convey the joy of dancing and to showcase that dance is for everyone. My intentions in creating this business are to ensure that dancing continues on: not just as a leisure activity, but to allow people, young and old, to escape form their hectic lifestyles. Whether at school or at work, I want to help young dancers pursue their dreams of becoming professional dancers.
How did you garner your skills for it?
Learning specifically is key, no matter how old you are, for all intents and purposes contrary to popular belief. Through classes, competitions, workshops, online learning and even through teaching, you’ll for the most part learn new things everyday.
What changes have you made to your business strategy over the past few years?
Every year, I work harder to cultivate passionate dancers: to ensure that they leave the classroom feeling like they enjoyed every lesson. It takes time to expand a business. Slowly but steadily.
How would you describe your success so far and how much time did it take for you to earn a profit?
So far, my success has out danced my expectations. Never in my wildest fantasies did I see myself as successful and fulfilled. As for profit wise, it took around two years to turn a profit.
Picture provided by Leong Jin Li
How do you handle everything on the business side?
Like any other business owner, you just want to see and ensure that your company is known, lucrative, sustainable and growing.
Finally, what advice can you give for the youth, especially women who want to start their own business?
If you have a strong desire to start a business, GO FOR IT! Always prioritise your passion: promote and share it with others! Don’t take it with you to the grave.
Photo given by Leong Jin Li
By: Chin Mary Lynn Grace