Jessica Scheitler is that rare breed who fully understands both creative and business-minded people. She grew up at Central Dance Academy, a competition studio in Le Mars, Iowa, and studied dance at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. She worked as an independent choreographer after college and learned how to effectively make money through dance. With arts in her DNA and finances at the forefront of her mind, she minored in arts administration and mathematics and ultimately became an enrolled agent (a federally licensed tax practitioner). Now she owns her own business, Financial Groove, which offers accounting help for performers and studio owners all over the world.
Dance Teacher: What are your most popular seminars for the Dance Teacher Summit?
Jessica Scheitler: I like to cover two main things for studio owners. In "Everyday Money Moves to Get Results," I talk about the small details of working in their businesses, like organization, streamlining their records process, creating good habits and utilizing their accounting software. In "Produce the Big Picture: Financial Leadership," I ask them to take the time to be the CEO and work on their business—look at the bigger picture to reach their vision and goals instead of spending all their time on just what's urgent.
DT: What's one small daily thing we can do to improve business?
JS: Save receipts. If you travel to Nationals and buy a meal on the company, you need to save that receipt. I recommend using a receipt app where you can quickly and simply scan it in the moment. Write down the business purpose, who you were with and what you talked about. By doing that right away, you save yourself a ton of time later. If you wait, you're likely to forget the details of the meeting by the time you go to look at it or hand it off to the bookkeeper.
DT: What's your best big-picture advice for studio owners?
JS: I often see them come up with great ideas and get a whole bunch of stuff started, but then spread themselves too thin trying to bring it to fruition. I recommend they look at things strategically as a business owner. Know ahead of time what you have the capacity to take on. Apply daily habits (like saving receipts) so you have the data needed to make informed decisions about what you really can do.