PP 148: Starting Small with Natalie Perkins

Quick Show Notes: Natalie Perkins

Thinking about starting or buying a franchise? Dealing with mompreneur guilt? Struggle with self-care? Listen as Natalie Perkins and Kim discuss all these issues and more!

Natalie Perkins of Bella Ballerina & @thekimsutton discuss franchises and more: https://www.thekimsutton.com/pp148Click To Tweet

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Episode Transcription: Natalie Perkins

Kim Sutton: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. This is your host Kim Sutton and today I’m thrilled to have Natalie Perkins, the CEO of Bella Ballerina here with us. And I just have to tell you listeners, the reason why I’m already laughing is because I… You know, Positive Productivity is not all about perfection, and today I’m having difficulty remembering and saying my own podcast name.

Anyway, welcome Natalie. I’m so thrilled you’re here with us.

Natalie Perkins: I know. Me too. Thank you so much for having me. Really appreciate it.

Kim Sutton: Oh, you’re so welcome, Natalie. I would love if you would share with the listeners who you are, what you do and a little bit about your background.

Natalie Perkins: Okay, absolutely. So I own Bella Ballerina. We are a franchise of boutique dance studios for children, and we are based out of Virginia, but we are quickly expanding as we have begun to franchise in the last year and a half or so. And we’re just really excited about kind of this family of owners that we’re growing.

Natalie Perkins: We started in 2011 with our first studio in in Northern Virginia, just outside of DC. And in the two years following that we opened two other studios as well. And then shortly after began the process of franchising.

Natalie Perkins: So very quickly, we have taken this concept of dance for you know, kids 18 months to eight years old, and you know, sort of a recreational fashion where they come once a week we teach them value Jazz and tap and we put everything to storybook themes. So kind of taken this concept and really run with it. And it’s been such a fun adventure.

Kim Sutton: Oh, wow. So what does it look like and how much work was there to actually setting up the franchise model

Natalie Perkins: It’s not for the faint of heart, I will tell you that. It’s… It’s almost like starting a business all over again. Because we got to the point after opening a couple where I felt like I could open an actual studio with my eyes closed. You know, it was that was something I was very comfortable with.

Natalie Perkins: But then when it came to franchising you, you know, you have to think through all of the systems and having everything on paper and not just, oh, we know how we do it because we’ve been doing it for years, you know? So it was it was definitely a challenge to put all of the nitty gritty together and kind of package it in a way where, you know, a new studio owner would look at it and say, Okay, I know exactly what to do here. But it was it was something we were we were fairly good at already because we had systemized so much of what we did, really for the benefit of our customers. And so it was, it was a huge undertaking.

Natalie Perkins: And also because we wanted to provide our franchise owners with a lot of support in detail for how they could be successful doing it, because that’s really the name of the game, you know, is helping them be successful too.

Kim Sutton: How many studios do you have in the franchise right now.

Natalie Perkins: So by the end of this year, we will have seven studios, and it’s really been a huge, huge blessing because we have not advertised — not one bit — for these franchises. So it’s, it’s really just been word of mouth.

Natalie Perkins: And so this year, you know, going into 2018 you know, and really starting to like let the world know that we offer this. It’s really exciting because we’re really quickly gaining a lot of interest.

Kim Sutton: My family had dancers in it, my sister, actually the three of us all started really early and then one of my sisters went up all the way to the competition level. Do you do computation dance in your studios?

Natalie Perkins: Now? So I think there’s usually there’s like a, you know, people who maybe haven’t danced before don’t have kids who have dance, they see something like Dance Moms and they think that that’s what every dance studio is. And it’s kind of really a bad representation.

Natalie Perkins: Honestly, it’s… We have a recreational studio where kids come once a week for 45 minutes to an hour. It’s really low key. It’s really fun. There’s no stress, there’s no pressure, you know, we’re teaching the kids but we’re having fun at the same time. But yeah, we don’t we don’t get into competition. We don’t get into, you know, really all of that stuff. We just like to keep it light and fun and no pressure for them. So we kind of stay in our wheelhouse there.

Kim Sutton: I completely love the non stressful approach because I know that growing up, it was so stressful to see my sister. I mean, you miss one class, and you would be she would basically get rained. You know?

Natalie Perkins: Yeah

Kim Sutton: Absolutely there, but also in the franchise model. That way you don’t have to worry about going to Nationals or anything and having your different studios compete against each other. So that is fantastic.

Natalie Perkins: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: Having two little girls of my own, I definitely want to see them and dance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to listen to let it go and watch them dance all the moves out. But that is one of my hesitation hesitations. And the same with cheerleading, you know, because I know there’s that competition element. That’s part.

Natalie Perkins: Mm hmm.

Yeah, we’d like to just, you know, focus on the development and the learning aspect of what they’re doing. But also, you know, having fun so actually, when you were talking about them dancing around a frozen, it’s funny we have, so we have these these classes that are set to storybook themes. And so they’ll read a portion of a storybook. And then at the end of the class, we do a a story dance where they actually dress up in costumes that match that storybook theme, and we do some more like creative moves.

Natalie Perkins: I’m sort of reviewing the, the, you know what they’re learning, but in a fun way to this different music that coordinates with the story, and that really puts it over the top.

Natalie Perkins: You know, that’s really what kids are. They’re learning, but they don’t realize they’re learning because they’re having so much fun and doing these things that they love to do at home, but in a more like structured atmosphere.

Natalie Perkins: And we were realizing, too, just kind of going back to what you were saying about, you know, the stress that goes along with it, we were realizing that, you know, kids were saying no to dance and parents moreso were saying no to dance, because they didn’t want them to get all caught up in the competition aspect of it and have it be too serious, too young. And they were saying no to dance, because it was a year long commitment. You know, it was the entire school year. And when you’re when you have a three year old, it’s hard to commit to something for nine months, you know, so we broke our year into quarterly sessions. And we found that that was just easier to you know, to have parents didn’t feel like they had to commit and it was again, just a no pressure sort of option for them. And those two things combined are what really make our Can you is different and you know, make them special

Kim Sutton: Listeners, if any of you are near Troy, Ohio, can you please get in touch with Natalie and open up a studio here? Sorry, Natalie, I just

Natalie Perkins: I love that I will I would love to have studios in Ohio.

Kim Sutton: Yeah, my girls need that outlet. And I love the quarterly because it is such a commitment. I mean, I’ve got my two older boys who are committed to things all year round. And one of them just had an out of state soccer competition tournament this past weekend, which involves hotels and all of that. So it’s hard enough to juggle orchestra and Student Council, soccer practices, soccer games, mayor’s Council. I may have already said that, but that’s only two I’m scared. What happens when they’re all in school? I’m gonna be in trouble.

Natalie Perkins: Oh, I know. And I think it’s… It’s different for every parent, you know, like, every parent is looking for something different. And so ultimately there are some of our family families who are looking for more, they want their kids to come to dance multiple times a week, they want to be in competition, they want all of that. And that is fine. You know what, I’m actually happy to refer families out to other dance studios in our area who offer that.

Natalie Perkins: It’s just that’s not where we live, you know, because fundamentally, we want something that’s recreational, we want something for kids are coming once a week, and they’re not pressured to come any more than that. We give them performance opportunities through recitals and community events and things like that. But ultimately, it’s not going to take over your life, you know, and these kids are young, you know, they we max out at eight years old.

Natalie Perkins: So, again, fundamentally, from my point of view, with my own daughter, I just don’t think I would get involved in something before eight years old, that required multiple visits a week or, you know, a huge amounts of investment, because kids are fickle at that age, and that you don’t know where that’s gonna go. And so it made the most sense for us as we were developing our concept to kind of roll with that, you know, as opposed to being everything to everybody where you have competition and this style of dancing style dance and just, you know, all the way up to 18 years old and I, it just made sense to sort of stay in one specific niche and one specific way because that’s what that’s what I wanted for my own daughter, you know,

Kim Sutton: Natalie, before Bella Ballerina, what did you do?

Natalie Perkins: I did a lot of things. My… My running family joke is how many jobs I’ve had. But I think that they all prepared me you know, for what I was going to do eventually.

Natalie Perkins: I… I started out in the event planning industry. And then I kind of got sick of working till, you know, two in the morning every Friday, Saturday night. So I took a leap and went to work for a multi location Salon and Spa and was there for a couple years and learning kind of the ins and outs of the appointment based industry and really an industry where I focus on the experience of the guests. And then from there I went to work for a pediatric dentist which again sounds like a totally different industry, but they’re really really similar because everything was like a point Based in service based, and then I had worked there for about five years in the Pediatric Dentistry world when I realized like, I just couldn’t work for somebody else anymore. I needed to do my own thing.

Natalie Perkins: I came from an entrepreneurial family, and I just I knew that was always like the path that was gonna walk. So we started the studio and never looked back.

Kim Sutton: How did you decide to take it to a franchise model?

Natalie Perkins: Well, we always knew from the get go, that this was going to be a multi location plan. And and initially, we thought, oh, we’ll own 30 stores ourselves. And I mean, we and that’s still I mean, it’s definitely something that somebody could do. I mean, we could own 30 stores. But once we started franchising, we realized that our efforts were better focused, would be better focused on supporting our franchisees then running all of these studios by ourselves.

Natalie Perkins: So after we opened three stores, and then we kind of started that franchising, you know, process and so now that’s where our attention is focused. And what we use our stores for is really the beta tester for everything that we roll out. You know… So we test it in our stores, make sure it’s perfect before we give it to everybody else.

Kim Sutton: How do you balance time between running your own stores and building growing and maintaining the franchises franchise? This is how you say it franchisees?

Natalie Perkins: Yeah, franchises.

Kim Sutton: Yeah.

Natalie Perkins: Well, it’s, It has to do with having a phenomenal team. We have the best team in place, because, to be honest, our stores are in Virginia. I live in California. So I am only even in the same state as my stores four or five times a year, four or five times a year, I’d say.

Natalie Perkins: And so having, you know, people who are a huge part of your company culture, you know, understand explicitly the way things need to be done are just really working really cohesively as a team. That’s that’s the number one thing that keeps us successful. And helps me balance my time.

Natalie Perkins: But I do focus most of my time on the growth of new studios and helping franchisees and things. And like I said, I only go back a couple times a year. And it’s been more of a struggle to balance, you know, like family time and franchise time and things like that. More so than it has been to balance our own studios and then the franchises because they just, they, they work like a well oiled machine at this point.

Kim Sutton: Were you in Virginia when you open and then move to California? I’m curious, and I’m sure the listeners are on how that works as well.

Natalie Perkins: Yeah, we were we were living just outside of the DC area. That’s where our stores are. And we actually lived in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, which is it’s all super close to each other. So we we lived about 30 minutes from where we opened our stores and and we were there for… We lived in that area for about 15 years. And then we moved for my husband’s job out to California.

Natalie Perkins: And we knew we were going to be possibly moving somewhere else. And I said to myself, you know what we’re where I’m most my time is spent on franchising anyway in this process and not so much in the stores. So, a year before we moved, I started going down to the studios only about three days a month, because I thought if I can’t do it, when I live here, I’m definitely not gonna be able to do it when I live farther away. And my plan was to come back like once a month and sort of, you know, mimic that work, that work schedule. And once we moved, I realized it was actually they were doing so well and really so productive, that I really only needed to come back about four or five times a year, which was it was a really positive realization because they were doing so well without me. You know, having my hands and everything It was great.

Kim Sutton: Do you consider yourself to have a healthy work life balance?

Natalie Perkins: Um…

Kim Sutton: This is not a trick question.

Natalie Perkins: No, I don’t. I don’t think… I don’t know. I… I think it’s a really hard question because I don’t think… I think if you’re being honest about it, I don’t think there is necessarily such a thing as balance because balance to me…and I’m a Libra.

(Transcription still being cleaned up. Thanks for checking it out!)

Natalie Perkins: So, you know, I always get that scale going. It’s like, I think of balances, like, trying to have things equal on both sides. Like, that’s the goal of any, you know, balance scale. And I don’t think it ever is that way. I think sometimes it’s tipped to work. And I think sometimes it’s tipped to family. And I think if you accept that, and sort of move forward, sort of unapologetically, you know, to say, Hey, listen, when I’m working, you know, and I’ve told my husband, that’s when I’m working. Don’t call me unless the house is on fire or somebody like bleeding, right? And, and when I’m home, you know, and really like on vacation or something when my family, the girls at work, they know don’t bother me because I’m spending time with my family. So again, unless the buildings on fire or there’s something that can’t wait, don’t bother me with it. And so I think really is that realizing that there’s going to be an unevenness But that it goes back and forth is probably the closest you’re ever going to get. And to not feel guilty for that unevenness because it goes both ways. And it’s going to switch back at some point. And it wasn’t until last year that I realized that I didn’t have to feel guilty for that, that my, my business really took off because then I was truly dedicated to what I was working at the time working on at the time and not focused on feeling guilty about what I was maybe missing out on or neglecting or turning my my attention away from.

That is so fabulous. And it was actually the same timeframe for me that I started pulling back and taking or I should say, reclaiming my nights and weekends. But I still in full disclosure, even up until this morning have felt bad or felt guilty about saying no.

Yeah, I just I can’t feel like guilty about saying, No, I can’t go on that field trip with your class because I have work and sometimes that’s going to take precedence and because you know what, for every field trip that I can’t make it to, I’m there every day at the bus when she gets off the bus and I’m there every holiday. And I’m not saying, Oh, I have to rearrange my work schedule, or I can’t travel, you know, to my family’s house because I have to work and I only have so many vacation days, like there’s so many other positive things. You can’t let that like mom guilt essentially bring you down. Right. And I realized to this last year, that a lot of it was not even just me, you know, projecting that on myself, a lot of it’s outside pressure that you don’t even realize is there, because it’s just so ingrained in the way that we think about working moms, you know, or working women and, you know, questions like, I’ve been at work functions before in the evening, and, and my husband’s not even with me, and somebody else say, oh, who’s at home with your daughter? And I’m thinking Who cares? You know, like, probably my husband or babies or what does it matter? You know, this is this is time that I’m here for a work function. What does it matter like? I’ve got that figured out, it’s not for you to be concerned with them. They’re thinking, you know, they’re sort of asking in a way where it’s like, oh, why don’t you feel bad that you’re not at home with your daughter or with your spouse? I’m thinking No. Why? Why does that matter? You know,

I’ve almost felt the same. Or I should say, I have felt the same. When people want to know how I run my business, and I have my three littles in daycare during the day, however, I have to tell you, if they were not in daycare during the day, not only would I not get anything done, but I would be resenting that because this is who I am. And just because we have kids doesn’t mean we stop with the rest of our life and our passions. Oh, absolutely. I have no intention of setting my own dreams, putting them on hold for the next 18 plus or minus years, because I have children, not at all.

When you think I mean, think about it, wouldn’t you give the same suggestion to your kids? Like, if you saw they had a passion and a dream about something, and then all of a sudden they put the brakes on it for something that I mean, you know, it means something to them, but maybe like, you know, you see a way they could do both? Like, why not do both? That’s the encouragement I would give to my own daughter. So why would I not take that same advice? You know, and it’s, it’s something that you have to you have to let your family and onto you know, you can’t be because eventually you’re right, like if you were, I told my husband this all the time, I say, working at home, is like the equivalent of you taking our child to work with you every single day, and having her sit at your desk right next to you and do whatever homework, it doesn’t matter. You would have to occupy her no matter how old she is. She’s gonna be looking to you for something for lunch, whatever, whatever it is. Do how ease you think that would be to have our kid at work with you every single day. It’s just it’s not realistic. And that’s the same thing. It’s not realistic to have your kid at home with you trying to run a company either. But at the end of the day, that’s what a lot Do women do and they find a way around it and whether that means part time daycare or preschool or once they’re like my daughter’s in elementary school. So I am home, you know, by myself for a majority of the day now, but she comes home at three o’clock, most people’s, you know, workday doesn’t end to three o’clock they get until at least five. And so now I’m taking her to an activity squeezing in an hour of work, you know, on my computer sitting while she’s doing her activity and maybe in another hour at night to make that happen to have as much balance as possible. But, you know, at the end, it’s hard. It’s really hard at the end of the day.

Oh, it’s absolutely hard. And listeners, there’s a part of this episode that by the time it goes out, we’ll have been edited out. When my kids my older two kids got home from school because the dogs started barking and they come storming into my office. But I’ve actually had to say to them before their dad who I’m no longer married to works in a bank. And I’ve said how would you think your dad would feel if I took you to his office? You got on whatever you’re on, and you could, and you were blasting it so he could hear it. You know, just because I’m working at home does not mean that you can be as loud and as obnoxious as you want to be. It doesn’t work. So this is my office first.

Right? Exactly. And you have to set you have to set those boundaries with your family when you work from home. And it’s funny because my daughter yesterday, she went to the bus stop, she comes running back. And she was oh my gosh, I forgot my violin when she had violin, you know, class at school that day music class and had forgotten so she ran all the way back from the bus stop and then realize that by the time she ran back, she was not going to make it back to the bus stop and sign in time for the bus. So I was like, of course, I’ll just bring you to school. Of course, some of the you know, it’s not a big deal. You know, she was all like, oh, what am I going to do? And so I said, No, of course I was driving to school, and all the way to school. She was saying, I’m so glad I have a stay at home mom. I’m so glad I’m a stay at home mom and she caught her And said, Oh, well, not like stay at home, but like that you work from home. And I thought that was funny that she made that distinction because she realizes, it’s not just about staying at home, I’m not just at home, when she’s gone, I’m working here, there was a purpose to this. And, you know, that’s, that’s, again, it’s my hope for her to kind of see that you can do both, and grow up with that mentality. So that way, she’s not just necessarily saying, Well, I have this passion, and I’m gonna have to put it on hold. You know, if you if you want to, that’s fine. Everybody should be able to do what they want. But at the end of the day, you shouldn’t feel forced to do one or the other.

Natalie have actually had to go through a struggle with clients. Because often my clients are the ones who push a little bit harder than my kids. Because they know I’m a work at home mom. So yeah, we can ask Kim to work past five o’clock eastern and heck, we can keep on messaging her at 11pm because she’s at home. And she can work any hours that she wants to. I know. Yeah, no, you can’t,

there’s a good reason for Do Not Disturb settings on your phone. Mine goes and do not disturb from 7pm until 6am, which 6am is actually where I live is 9am. Eastern. So, I agree, it’s like you have to you have to set those boundaries and sometimes from your clients sometimes from yourself, because I know myself, I love working on my business, I work 24 hours a day, you know, and sometimes to the detriment of my family and and that’s okay, you know, to feel that way. But I do have to realize that I have to turn it off something you have to purposely turn it off. And you have to say no, to, you know, requests that come in that early in the morning and that late at night, it just not everything is possible all the time.

It wasn’t until just recently that it even occurred to me that being on the West Coast your day could start a lot earlier.

Then Oh yeah. There’s definitely didn’t occur to me. Yeah, there’s definitely times where most I mean, most of my business is on the east coast. So there’s definitely times where I’ve been up at 6am, giving a webinar or whatever, because I know that’s what’s most convenient for our clients. Or even, I mean, to be quite honest, we, we developed a private label retail line of products of dancewear, for our stores and to sell, which actually will soon be available on Amazon. But we had, because I was working with manufacturers overseas, I’m having to stay up till you know, getting up early in the morning to talk to our east coast, studio owners or our studios itself, and then I’m up late at night till, you know, midnight, one o’clock in the morning talking to people overseas in Australia who there’s a couple programs of ours who run in Australia and New Zealand and then I have you know, people in China and we’re working with so it’s like, you’re all over the place. And it’s hard you got to you know, you got to be available for everybody when it makes sense for them. Be also gonna take care of yourself as well.

Oh, absolutely. I completely agree. What systems do you have in place in your business that help everything to flow a little bit easier?

Well, I think, you know, we have, like I said, we have a great team of people in Virginia running our studios. And that is, that’s where most of the systems fall into place. Because without them, I would have to have a lot more of my attention turn to turn to them. And so I think a lot of it is everybody understanding very specifically what their role is, what their responsibilities are, and the expectations of that. And that seems really common sense. Like you would think everybody just has a job description, and they know specifically what they’re supposed to do, and they know exactly what the expectation is. But you’d be surprised how many times that is not in place in most companies, people have a general idea of what they’re supposed to do. things kind of come up, they put out fires, they problem solve, but there’s no specificity as to as to exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and when. And so we actually for both our studio owners, and our Our managers in our stores we have, we give them all planners and we have about a million sets of really pretty stickers. We’re all women. So we can we fall in love with that stuff. But we, we make sure that everybody has planned out to the tee what they’re supposed to be doing when, and we have templates for everything. So like if one person’s job is to send out emails, they’re not, you know, responsible for creating the graphics and the branding and the emails that they’re templated their job is just sending out the emails with the specific information that they need for that particular time. And, you know, things like that really helped because it doesn’t, it takes the burden off of them sometimes to you know, recreate the wheel, everything sort of already done for them. And then also it just puts those expectations in place. And then I’m not having to be I’m not a micromanager. I hate being micromanage. So, I hate micromanaging other people. I almost can’t do it. So it takes that burden off of me to have to like check back over some of these work. It takes the burden off of them. It’s you do what you do when you’re supposed to do But that’s it’s really overlooked. And they’re really basic things. But I think that’s, that’s really key.

What differentiates Bella ballerina from other franchise models?

When we were looking to franchise one of the things that I started by doing is looking at other franchise models and not just like in even in the industry that we were in, but just other ones in general to see like, what do they look like, you know, what kind of support does the corporation have the franchise or lend to their franchisees and I honestly was kind of floored at how little support there was, it was some you know, are very basic. It’s like, here’s, you know, our brand that you can use and here’s how the store is supposed to look. But how it runs is kind of entirely up to you, which, you know, gives that store on our a little bit of flexibility, but it also doesn’t ensure the same success is whatever the model is that they’re supposed to be following. And also, you know, on the flip side, there’s people who are very, very, very specific, but again, Didn’t really offer much support, it was just going to tell you how to do things, but we’re not going to really help you through those rough times, you know, through whatever they provided or didn’t provide. So, it was really important to me that, you know, our franchisees felt very supported throughout the process of opening and their growth, because we knew that most likely the studio owners would be either first time business owners or new to something like this, and would need as much support as possible. And it’s something I wish I had, you know, I wish I had, I had some great people I worked with when we opened but I wish I had, you know, a business mentor at the time who could have helped me avoid a lot of mistakes, because we’ve been really successful, but also, you know, we made mistakes along the way as well.

What were some of the biggest learning tools and resources that have helped you along the way in building your company? I know you said that you’ve looked at other franchise models, but was there anything else in specific that helped you

Yeah, I mean, really just looking at other companies what other successful companies have done? It’s not I don’t know that there’s been, you know, one particular tool, but just borrowing inspiration, you know, from other companies and saying, hey, this works for them. How can it make it work back? We make it work for us, even if it needs to be like altered or changed in some way. And even just the different industries that I had worked in, you know, previously, it was like, here’s a concept that worked really well for us there. How could it work really well for us here because I think, in some regard, Business is business. And, you know, the way that a business interacts with its customers is what’s most important, and there are things that work all the time, no matter what business you’re in, and there’s things that fail no matter what business you’re in. So looking to other just other businesses and other business mentors to, you know, kind of help us integrate things that make our customers love us was really the best tool that we’ve utilized.

Normally I would ask, if you were given the opportunity to go back and redo anything, would you still do it the same but it sounds to me like you got such great experience and knowledge out of all your past jobs. I can’t imagine that your answer would be anything.

No, I would You’re right. I wouldn’t. I mean, I had and I had some I had some great experiences I had some really negative experiences to you know, necessarily what people that I had some of that had worked for in the past and I I wouldn’t change that either because it made me realize what kind of employer I wanted to be and what kind of business I want to run and how I want to treat my customers so as much you know, positive and negative as I’d gone through I wouldn’t I wouldn’t change anything right? There’s always things hindsight you know, by your own business you would change and usually that’s as you grow you realize you know, what’s important and what what you have to protect and what you you know what you’re good with letting go and a you know, those things, of course, are are easy after the fact to say Oh, yeah, you know, I wish I did. Done that differently but that’s that’s what’s great about it you know that’s great about me being able to say to another franchisee hey, here’s here’s what’s really important at the end of the day and here’s what please don’t stress over you know and and not even just people in our franchises I talked to business owners all the time mostly women business owners and you know just kind of imparting their our experience and what what has worked what hasn’t suggestions, you know all of that I love I love being involved in that being able to help people learn from from my past experience to

do you have a solid self care routine

now I doubt I’m I’m probably the worst at it because I’m the girl who’s like, Oh, you know, I need to exercise more and I need to do this and that and I it just never happens and it’s usually at the at the you know, hand of me putting more time into my business or my family or whatever, you know, it’s just that’s that’s always been my excuse. I’m definitely better about it. self care in the sense that I put myself first more so than I used to, but nothing that’s like a regimented routine. I wish I did.

Oh, I don’t have a routine. I know listeners shocked me shocked me when I tried to talk to you about it. But well, let me take that back a second. I did not exercise my extent of exercising is toddler wrangling, trying to get them dressed for school or to eat their dinner and chasing them around when they have permanent permanent markers. You know, that is the extent of my exercise. Oh, yeah, but Sure.

Yeah, I don’t amount stays my husband like, you know, last Sunday, I don’t even really eat most days until about two o’clock. I have coffee in the morning and then I get working and I forget about lunch and I just I don’t eat until like, and then I’m starving, you know, and then I’m not like eating anything inside. But it’s, you know, just, it’s sort of, it’s one of those things that it’s a it’s an ever progressing

animal that I just added Trying to, you know, I try and get better at it and you try and take care of yourself more, but you get the hangry

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. See, I can’t wait until two o’clock because by two o’clock if I haven’t eaten, then I am an absolute monster. I mean, and my, my clients know that I’m usually nice. And my team members know that I’m usually nice and I don’t really like the word nice, but that’s just what came up. However, when I start getting short, even my husband will say when did you eat something last? What would you like to eat? My only answer then that’s usually when one word answers come out of my mouth. Eventually something like

food food thing?

Yeah. Yeah. What I forget. And this is so TMI, I’m sorry to you and listeners. I forget that there’s such thing as a bladder until I realized that I’ve been sitting at my desk for six hours and I haven’t moved. That is so not good. Do not do that listeners and I stand up and all of a sudden it’s like

oh yeah it’s almost painful sometimes I do the same thing I forget to go to the bathroom until it’s like oh my gosh I have to go right now. And then the other thing that’s that’s horrible about that is I also feel like going The bathroom is a huge waste of time. To go a lot during the day is like I feel like it’s a waste it’s like I have to stop whatever I’m doing and you know walk away and go to the bathroom it’s it’s kind of a funny way to look at it but same thing with eating like to stop and make lunch for only myself and then eat it seems like a huge waste of time. But yeah, I don’t know. I just, I do get hangry and the only benefit is that I’m here by myself at two o’clock. No, there’s nobody to take it out on you know during the week for the most part.

I feel sorry for my husband because not only do I get hangry but my girls get it really bad to me they are hungry and if I am hungry too You better watch out because then you’ve got the three women well they’re not women. Yeah three females in the house all with the hungry grumpies yeah is bad news is there is

there’s a Is there such a word for like hungry and whiny because that’s what my daughter gets. It’s I mean, I shouldn’t say it’s like hi name that sounds funny but like hungry and whiny is is usually the I think the little kid version of angry No, you

know what, I’m gonna put that up to the listeners, please visit the show notes page at thekimsutton.com/pp148 and help us come up for the combination word for hungry and whiny. Because I would love to know that too. Actually, I was just recording an episode yesterday, which won’t be released for another week, but it’s Alana Pratt. Oh, yeah, yeah. A mutual connection. And we coined the phrase hate to say this now because it will be talked about in our episode next week, cramming for crazy and amazing.

Oh, that’s awesome.

Yeah, isn’t it? I just loved it.

Episode. Yeah, I know. We’ll have to bring you into the circle and figure out what we’re gonna do with it. Actually, we’ll probably have to have a conversation like in the next couple days because very soon these episodes are going out.

My go to phrase is usually amazeballs. That’s amazeballs.

Or we also use awesome sauce.

awesome sauce. Yes, that’s a great one.

Yep. But amazeballs that’s gone through our house, too. It just occurred to me though, that hasn’t gone through recently. I’m going to have to keep that one out because two year olds and a four year old saying awesome balls.

There you go. That’s a good way to get it. That’s a great way to get a call from school.

Yeah, and it wouldn’t be the first choice expression. Let me tell you that is Yeah, my mouth My husband’s mouth have both drastically cleaned up since littles have entered. Going back to self care though, I’ve realized that one of the things I really needed to tackle and I have been really well was sleep, because I was staying up till one two in the morning and then I was getting up at five and six. And I seriously probably went two years getting 234 hours a night. And then major anxiety set, and I really couldn’t do it anymore. So although it’s a little bit different for me because I am in the Eastern Time Zone, unlike you, but I’ve actually stopped turning off my alarm. And I will wake up when my little start yelling from their bedroom that they have to use the bathroom in the morning.

That’s a good wake up call.

Yeah, it’s actually Mama. I gotta go pee. Yeah. And just so you and listeners know we had to actually turn their doorknob around. Because those child safety locks don’t work they like they were pulling on them. So they were just flipping right off. And we have gotten locked in their bedroom because they thought it was funny and they locked the door so we closed the door to tuck them in. And all of a sudden we’re locked in their bedroom. So actually on that day, we had to put my 11 year old out the window so you could let us all out

oh my gosh,

no pouring in my house.

Oh my goodness. Yeah, no. Anyway, I think your point about sleep is really is really key. And I think it’s actually a very easily ignored part of like, what people consider self care. But yeah, I actually I learned the lesson about sleep very early in college because I met my husband in college and you know, once we were dating and we were the only people that we each cared about, you know, it became less important to like go out and go party and do and so I wasn’t interested in that we ended up always going to bed around 10 o’clock and 10 o’clock. You know, College is really early for most kids, they go to bed one two in the morning consistently and then I’d be in class and I’d be looking around and people are falling asleep and they’re, they’re struggling, you know, they’re really struggling and I’m thinking, why is this so hard? Like, I felt like class was pretty easy. And I I realized that it was just lack of sleep, really. And so, for me, I was like, Oh, that’s the enough sleep things are easier. You know, you’re not so stressed. You’re not you’re not mad all the time. Like it’s sleep is a huge part of that.

I actually had the opposite college experience, not because I was partying at all. I was an interior architecture student. So we spent a lot of time working on drawings, working on models, and I went to art school. So while there was the whole rest of the student body outside of our department that was out partying. We were the ones who were in the studio, actually, not me I was I prefer to work in my room where I could focus, but all night and especially the last three nights before critiques, a lot of us just didn’t sleep. Some of us, not me included, when actually go those last two nights without sleep at all. So by the time some of us got to the critique, we were shaking office, so much caffeine and like on my app, and that was just not good. But then I started to think because I had done these all nighters in college, I started to think, Oh, I can do all nighters as an adult, and I try. But it was just not good. And I realized those eight hours of sleep would speed up. Or maybe I should say, magnify my efficiency and my productivity for the next day. So something that would have taken eight hours to do with no sleep now took two just because I had eight hours of sleep instead of two.

Oh, absolutely. I mean, if you’re, if you’re honest with yourself, if you’re looking at your computer screen at two, three in the morning, you’re not you’re not actively really doing much in a half an hour or an hour timeframe. You’re You’re not doing the same, you know, you’re not producing the same or like you said, being as efficient as you would at 10 o’clock that same morning. So is it really a good use of the time to stay up and pull an all nighter or work that late? I mean, it’s one thing to do once in a while, if you have a deadline, you need to get something done or whatever, but you, you really almost have to prepare for it isn’t really possible. And, you know, you’re right. It’s not, it’s just not a productive way to work.

Oh, exactly. And I’ve actually set a timer on my phone or a reminder for 10 o’clock every night. Electronics off time to get ready for bed, bed in bed in an hour. Because I even try not always successfully to get away from all electronics, including my phone an hour before bed, because I’ve realized that the sleep quality just goes up so tremendously.

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I’ve even thought about taking. I think a lot of people use their phones as alarm clocks. I’ve even considered just getting an actual Alarm Clock again, and moving, charging my phone outside of my bedroom because the other thing I’ll do is I’ll wake up, sometimes, you know, 530 in the morning, not that I have to get up at 530 in the morning, but I just will happen to wake up and rather than try and close my eyes again, go back to sleep, I just pick up my phone and I start working or I start, you know, scrolling through Facebook or whatever it is. And, you know, that’s, that’s not really the best habit to get into. So, you know, to think about ways that you can remove those sort of work, whether it’s work or electronics, but remove those distractions from your life on a daily basis. So that way your your focus is really on yourself and your self care whether you’re willing to put the time in or ignore it, you know, it almost forces you to pay I’m going to spend more time in bed sleeping today as opposed to getting up and starting work when really it’s it’s not even nearly Time to get up yet. You know, I haven’t really gotten enough sleep. So I think you can do to almost customize it for your own life. You know,

I heard about an app this morning. It’s not gonna mean the name quite yet, but if it works, actually now I have to name it then I, my mobile watchdog. And it’s for parents to watch over basically what their kids are doing on their mobile devices. But what I’m thinking is it would be great if there was something for entrepreneurs and for adults, that just like in the case you’re talking about, we can still use the phone for our alarms. And if we get an emergency call, I know you said you have you’re set to do not disturb. But there will still be people who call and phone to accept those phone calls. But until that set time of day, that it even blocks us from going on those apps

that we have. Well, there’s some there’s a it’s an app, but it’s also a, I think a small piece of equipment called circle, and it’s made by Disney and the intention is to have you no limitations on let’s say YouTube or Facebook or something for your kids. But also it can control every device that’s hooked up to in your house. So you can have hours where just you know you cannot go online, you cannot use these apps, you cannot use the internet, you cannot use whatever it is. And you could easily set up your own phone to sync with that as well. So even though the intention is for kids as an adult, you know, you could kind of limit yourself to you know, feed her. If you’re a serial, Facebook, you know, feed person and you’re looking at it all day to either limit the amount of time you go on it or limit the hours that you’re on it.

listeners, again, everything that we talk about including circle and all the other resources that we’ve talked about will be in the show notes which you can find at the KIM sutton.com forward slash pp 148 I am definitely going to have to go look at circle Yeah, it’s cool I

don’t have it personally. I’ve seen it advertised a bunch of considered you know, getting it really for for my daughter and myself

for that reason, but I think I think it’s definitely something worthwhile to look

at. There’s there’s a lot of options out there though. Yeah.

And I thought I just had a good idea I’m glad somebody else had up before me because with chronic idea disorder, I would have been tempted to create it myself. And now I don’t have to. Natalie, this has been a fantastic conversation. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. Where can listeners find out more about you? And do you have a way that they can learn more about Fela ballerina and possibly get involved?

Yeah, absolutely. So you can always visit us at Bella ballerina calm. It’ll tell you all about our studios and give you a link there to get information. If you were interested in opening your own studio. You can also take a really fun quiz to see if you would be a successful franchise owner by going to Bella ballerina.com slash positive.

Fantastic and are you on social media that they can connect with you on there as well?

Absolutely. We are on Facebook at Bella ballerina or facebook.com slash Bella ballerina studio and also on Instagram at this time. Name kind of extension. And you can also if you’re interested, you know, or even are already a dance teacher that kind of focuses on this preschool crowd. We also have a Facebook group for preschool dance teacher. So if you just searched preschool dance teacher to zillah group out there. And we have an amazing group of really engaged members there as well.

That’s incredible. Thank you so much. And again, listeners that will all these links will be in the show notes. Natalie, do you have any parting words of wisdom or advice that you could offer to the listeners?

I think you know, if somebody is looking to start a business, whether it’s you know, some work or something they’re interested in or their own business, their own concept, and my my words of advice to new entrepreneurs are always just, you know, when you’re, when you’re going into it to really consider why you’re doing it. And usually that’ll allow you to find the things that you are really looking forward to enjoying about your business and the things that you’re dreading about enjoy. You know about opening a business And the things that you’re good at and the things that you are looking forward to are the things that you yourself should handle, and the things that you are not good at and the things that you’re dreading about it, you know, maybe it’s accounting or maybe it’s, you know, something else. But those are the things that you should step out to other people because you can’t do it all. You cannot do it all in your own business and you need to find good resources. And setting yourself up that way really ensures your success and your own personal enjoyment once you start down that road. Because otherwise, you’ll end up resenting, you know, all the reasons that you want to start your business to begin with. So it’s really about finding good resources and knowing your limitations.