Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Francesca Fortunato, Founder of Dance For Joy NYC, located in New York, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a freelance dance and fitness instructor in New York City, specializing in teaching older adults.

Tell us about yourself

I have always danced and, for most of my young adult life, was striving for a performing arts career (acting as well as dance.) I had some good opportunities and roles but never: "made it" in any big way. In my forties, I segued to a career as a Youth Minister, teaching dance classes once or twice per week at senior centers as a side gig. I lost my last church job at the end of 2020 because COVID closure had caused the church to lose income, and they had to cut staff. When senior centers reopened, I decided to see whether I could grow my side gig into a business. I now teach between seven and nine classes per week.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Learning not to be afraid of self-marketing. I have gotten most of my bookings by sending unsolicited emails to senior centers and following up with phone classes. That was really scary at first, but it's working!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

No paid time off, ever.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. If it's not something you love, don't do it.
  2. Know your worth, don't ask for less money than you deserve.
  3. Set aside specific time for the less fun parts, like marketing and invoicing.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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