Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Beth Giles, Owner of Nia with Beth Giles, located in Minneapolis, MN, USA.

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

I am a movement teacher, a joy seeker, a community builder, and a dancer. I'm in the business of helping people feel better with dance and movement that is healing, energizing, and conditioning. I teach Nia, a fusion fitness and lifestyle practice that combines dance arts, martial arts, and healing arts founded in 1983 by Debbie and Carlos Rosas. This unique practice goes deeper than a typical group fitness workout. Each class has a focus and an intention. We move together, choosing Joy — universal life-force energy. The music is soul-stirring, and the movements are adaptable to all levels of fitness.

For those who want to take the practice more deeply into their bodies and lives, Nia offers many levels of intensive training. I'm a Nia Black Belt, and I've been offering classes, workshops, and dance parties, both online and in person, since 2013. My students are women and men of all ages, shapes, and sizes. I offer classes in Minneapolis, St. Paul, outdoors at Hidden Falls Park in the summer, and online from the comfort of your home.

Tell us about yourself

I've always loved music and dancing—from tap and ballet as a little girl to creating choreography as a member of a dance line team in high school—moving and grooving to music has been my passion. I took my first Nia class in Chicago in 2004, and the music, movement, and magic of the 60-minute session landed in my body, mind, and soul as something I had never experienced in an "exercise" class - I felt so good, I felt my emotions moving with me as I moved my body and I felt alive!

I trained to be a Nia teacher in 2012. I started my business, Nia with Beth Giles in 2014, offering 8-10 classes a week to a variety of audiences and many different venues. My students are amazing and wonderful women and men. They motivate me to bring variety, richness, and passion to my teaching. Nia offers a lot of freedom within a class, there are steps and choreography based on the 52 foundational moves of the practice, and within that, there is the invitation for each student to explore, be creative and have fun!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The pandemic in 2020 brought challenges to all businesses, and in my area of work, the studios, fitness centers, and gyms all had to close down for the lockdown. I moved all my classes online on March 16, 2020, and that quick shift to an entirely new way of interacting and teaching a movement class has been my biggest challenge. I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I was able to figure out the technology, create a home dance studio and continue to attract new students. The benefits included people getting their chance to be together during a very difficult time, and friends and students from all over the country and the world could join classes from home.

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

I find that adjusting to the slower times of business, like the summer months in Minnesota, makes me realize that as a business owner, I must continue to value the present moment while always keeping an eye on the next season. I do everything myself, marketing, social media, creating a website, and updating my registration site. Teaching and dancing with others is a great reward for the behind-the-scenes work.

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

Make sure you schedule some downtime for yourself regularly. It takes a lot of energy and time to run your own business. Invite friends and colleagues to regularly brainstorm with you to help grow your business and nurture your connections within your business network. There will be bumps in the road along the way, so take them in stride. One of my favorite sayings is, "if you stumble, make it part of the dance."

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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