08 Dec Ep. #102 Ep. #102 Directing Operations (of the worlds largest commercial dance franchise) with Jin Lee
Wowza, our guest today is not a dancer or choreographer, but if are, chances are she has impacted your life in some way… probably a BIG way. Jin Lee has been the Director of operations of Millennium Dance Complex for over 20 years. In this episode, we talk about getting the studio out of debt and through the pandemic, the impact social media has on the people that come through their door, and… having/not having babies! We talk a lot about following your guts and getting organized, so if you’re looking to get into the business and keep it all together, this episode is for you!
Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.
Dana: Hello Hello, my friends. Welcome. I’m Dana. This is words that move me so, so glad that you are here today. And I am so, so excited to be talking to a very old friend on this episode. Um, this, this special guest is not a dancer, but if you are a dancer, especially here in Los Angeles, chances are that she, and certainly her work have had a huge impact on you today. I am talking with Jin Lee, the director of operations at millennium dance complex. Yes, y’all. This is big and I cannot wait to share, but first wins. Oh, I’m excited about this one. Y’all this is, this is even better than the Superbowl commercial, really, truly in my heart. When I balance the two, this is big today. I am celebrating that. I am an official dog nanny, which sounds really funny is one word, Doug nanny to the greatest dog on the planet, not your dog, Mimi caves, dog, all live.
Speaker 1 00:01:53 It’s really you guys really I’m being very spoiled by taking care of this dog because she’s the sweetest thing loves the cuddle. Just, you know, does all the right things. It doesn’t do any of the wrong things like pee or poop in the house, or I don’t. I chew on things. I don’t know. She’s just very quiet, very calm, such a love. Um, you’re going to hear a little bit more about her and my thoughts about dogs in this episode today. Oh my goodness. You’ll also hear my thoughts about babies, which might surprise you. Um, but anyways, for those of you who know me having a dog is a big deal. So this is a major step for me. Um, dog, nanny, dog, winning, super stoked about that. Also I do want to say here in this wins segment, we are working on a way of incorporating your wins into the show.
I always ask you, what’s going well in your world and you hopefully say it to yourself, but, um, I’ve had so many of you sending your wins into me via voice note on Instagram. Please keep them coming. And, but I don’t actually have a way to, um, transfer the voice note from Instagram into any other application. So right now we’re kind of bottleneck, but keep sending the wins, um, because I will find a way to get them on the show. I just, man, maybe don’t send them in Instagram message of, sorry. I don’t have a clear plan yet. Stay tuned. Send me your wins. Any which way you please Instagram DM. That’s fine. I’ll find a way email. W T M M as in words, that move me, but don’t spell it. W T M M firstname.lastname@example.org is another way to send your wins in. I do want to be shouting y’all out on the pod. So do keep winning. Keep sending your wins and congratulations in advance. All right now. Okay. That was me and the preface about future audience wins. But now it is your turn listener. Tell me, tell me yourself or whoever is nearby right now. What is going well in your world?
Congratulations, my friend. Now keep saying them. Keep sending them, stay loud and proud. Keep winning, so happy for you. And if you aren’t already winning, this is a good segue. This episode might be a bump in the direction of winning because Jen and I are about to go in on what makes good business good, right? Making decisions, getting organized, getting with the right people, uh, getting over yourself and honestly getting over other people. Lots of good stuff. Lots of straight talk. Ooh, which reminds me, Jen and I are both spirited types who call on spirited adult language. So if you have littles nearby, perhaps this is one for the headphones. Uh, you can wear headphones or they can wear headphones or you can both wear headphones. I’m wearing headphones right now. I’m moving on my friends. Please enjoy this conversation with the fabulous Jin Lee.
Dana: All right. I think we’re doing it. Jen Lee. Welcome to words that move me. How are you? My friend.
Jin: Oh, good. How are you Dana?
Dana: I’m good. I’m good. In, in the, in the pre-show chit-chat Jen and I were talking about our dogs. Um, but now we’re going to talk about ourselves, Jen. I’m so excited. You’re here. I, I feel like I see you in passing maybe once a month and during COVID times nonce a month. Um, so we never get to go any, any deeper than the very tip of the iceberg. Hellos. How are you? So I’m excited. I’m excited to dig in a little bit, uh, protocol, common protocol on the podcast is that all my guests introduce themselves. Some love it, some hate it, but, um, I will yield the floor and let you simply tell us anything you want us to know about you us by the way is me and listeners, because it kind of is kind of deceiving when we’re just looking at each other. Yeah. What’d you get?
Jin: So my name is Jen Lee. I am the director of operations over at millennium dance complex. I have been running the studio for over 20 years.
That was one of my, one of my 20 questions.
Um, yeah, I mean, short and sweet. Okay.
Okay. I love it. Oh, well, we’re going to get, we’re going to get into deep and that’s still sweet at least I think, but we’ll find out. Um, I started working at millennium in 2005, so 16 years ago. Um, and I was teaching an adult ballet class on Saturday mornings. I started as a sub. You probably recall. And then I had my own adult ballet class, which work. It was my favorite time out of the whole week. Um, so at that point, had you been there for just several years? Do you remember that time? Very well.
Dana, everything’s such a blur.
Oh gosh, this just this past year has been a blur, a little loan,
I noticed that I remember certain aspects of like the earlier years, but a lot of them like, I’ve, I’ve actually forgotten a lot of stuff. I mean, I started when I was like, here was that 2000, 2000? Yeah, I started at, yeah.
Was your role at the time director of operations?
No, not at all. So here is how this all came about, um, History with millennium. Um, so I actually like never wanted to be in the arts whatsoever. My growing up Korean having a Korean father. He’s like, you’re either going to be a doctor or a lawyer and I hated school. I’m like, there’s no way I’m going to go to school for that long and get in debt. You know, my dad has always owned a business. He’s always had restaurants and bars and there goes my dog.
Yes. I loved the dog element of the podcast. Really excited.
He’s such a buzz. Um, but anyways, going back to, um, so I never saw myself in the arts industry at all because I sort of wanted to either like run my own thing, you know, entrepreneur business and or who knows, you know, I was fairly young.
You are going for other, just not Dr.
Yeah. Um, I love, I used to love photography though. So I love taking pictures when I was growing up and always in night, I thought I was pretty good at it. So I think at the age of 19, I decided I’m like, you know what, I’m just going to try this out. Who cares if it doesn’t work out? So I ended up going to school for photography, got super into it for two years. And I ended up getting an internship with a fashion photographer. So that same exact day, um, somebody had told me about Robert and Ann Marie and millennium dance complex. I’m like, I don’t even know that world. What is that world? Just because I’m like dancers,
Dancers make great subjects,
Right? Like just when I heard about like what they do there, I was very intrigued. So, but he was looking for an assistant at the time. Um, Robert was so Robert and, and, and, and
Robert and Ann are the owners,
Correct. They’re the owners of the studio, but this is a long story, by the way, they were the owners of the studio. Um, they were the owners of the studio at the time. And
At Morolandis though, or was it millennium
No, it was morolandis ways before when Ann Marie was, uh, running the show at moral Landis. So she is the originator So Robert Baker, he was a producer. So he was doing film and television. They ended up getting pregnant with Luke and, and wanted to spend time being a mom. And, you know, like just do that and not deal with the studio stuff. So Robert sort of, you know, started taking over and doing day to day operations, this and that. And they ended up moving to millennium and he started bringing in, you know, the celeb aspect of it. Yeah. I don’t know if you remember Robert back in the day, like the nicest guy. Yes. With everybody here you go free this free, that how, you know, take all the dance classes, you know, he’s a great person, um, great human being and, um, you know, the behind the scenes, they had a bunch of record labels that owed them money for,
Oh my goodness, wait, record labels, owing people, money don’t believe it.
So he needed an assistant at the time. And you know, there, they decided like, Hey, you know, he had a friend of a friend that was a mutual friend of mine also. And so she basically just told me like, oh, Hey, by the way, I don’t know why I thought of you, but I think you would really get along with this guy. And he’s looking for an assistant and I think you’d like the company amazing. So I ended up going on an interview and I had an interview with my fashion photographer on the same day I did back-to-back interviews. I went to the fashion photographer, interview book that, and then Everything, the, and then when I met with Robert, I saw the studio and you know what it’s like at the studio in It, it’s not like the nicest studio, but the old studio space you walk in, but there’s an energy, I think,
Buzzes it totally buzzes. And that the old one on Lankershim in the hallways. And you, so you had to connect with people, you know, like by default of going in and out touched like you were in contact. Oh my gosh. Yes.
Oh my gosh. And as soon as I walked in, I was like, I don’t know what this place is, but I sold a lot of it. And as soon as I met Robert and like shook his hand, there was just an energy about him and him and I just fucking clicked. I didn’t even have to like make a decision within five minutes of talking with him. I was like, you know what, I’m going to go with him just because I saw the future of how this could be. And I saw my future of, I know there was potential there, you know, w working that job with Robert. And the first thing that I did when I started with millennium was I noticed how a lot of people owed him a lot of money. I mean, the invoices of rehearsal space that was being used and who remember those days, Dana, I mean, we had, J-Lo there for four months doing parcels for tour Britain,
With JT in their own time.
And it was like months and months. And of course that stuff all adds up over a hundred thousand dollars worth of rental invoices not
Wow. Paid. I was astounded. And so at the time Robert had this one guy, I forget his name, but he had one person coming in once a week to call about,
Oh no, no, that’s not how we make change.
I’m like, this is going to be my job for the first, like three months.
You were all bloodhound.
So good at it. Well, yes. Cause you’re direct. These are facts. The fact is you’re past.
Yes. And that’s it. But you, you know, with collections is you just have to be on, on top of them. And it’s not like they, sometimes of course they didn’t want to pay because you know, whatever the case may be, their budget was all, you know, sorry, we don’t have any more. We spent it all like, oh, well
That’s your problem.
Right. So within the first three months I collected over $80,000 for that.
Okay. You earned your keep. And then Robert was like, you’re promoted.
It basically was like, you know what? This is the best thing you’re in. I want you to help me run the studio. Here’s a title. And I want you to help me. Yeah. And you know, back then, Robert was there full time. I mean, we used to be a 24 hour rental facility. Like I remember pink used to want to only rent after hours. And it was literally from 12 to like 3:00 AM there. It was Robert. And he used to just be there constantly, you know, when the studio closed the studio. So of course he needed a lot of help. And, you know, I sort of came in and sort of cleaned house with the front desk. Staff got a little organized with our work study scholarship program that we have there. And we started like, you know, building getting organized, like having, having, you know, you needs, you need help when you want to grow a company, you always need to hire on people that know what they’re doing. Not that I knew what I was doing at the time, but you know, it was like a
Broker type person that figures it out.
And I, I’ve never had a job Dana, where I’ve actually been like, I enjoy going to work. You know, I really do, because I know there might be trauma. Like I’ve, you know, of course customer service, you’re always going to deal with like that nasty customer. But at the end of the day, like overall, like I get to see beautiful dancers, like just creating and doing their thing and like, how can I not be happy with,
Oh my gosh, that’s the one that’s what comes in and out of, of your door every day. It’s not people like buying goods. It’s people investing in themselves and in the future of dance and entertainment kind of at large, um, it is a special thing to be a part of that you feel it,
It was special. It’s so special. And just, and the students that come in and just the training that used to take place versus now like, Hmm. Okay. Holy smokes. You know, I want to talk about it. You know, I want to talk about it. I mean, I I’ve heard a lot of people say that cameras changed dance class, like cameras changed training. I have thoughts about that. Um, what do you think was the biggest shift in, and then, and then, and now,
I mean, definitely social media, for sure. But that’s, that’s a given, but one of the things that I did notice just the years, the decades at the, you know, into dance studio, I noticed how dancers now, like back in the day, you guys like really trained, you were there every day, like training, training, training. But now, I mean, some of these dancers are like fucking sponges. Yeah. Oh my God, you go into one dance class and they’re like, they copy the moves. It’s literally appalling. I’m like, how long has this person been training for? And it hasn’t been that long. They’re just naturally gifted. You think? So? I do. Yeah. It’s weird though, because I’m like, I don’t know if it’s a gift or if they can just mimic or if they can just, they’re good at copy.
You’ve heard of it, but do you know what I think it is as well, and this is not to toot your horn or the horn of social media, but I think teachers have gotten better. And this is not that people didn’t use to teach the shit out of dance class. I mean, my, my training regimen, I would not change an ounce of, I mean, the Mandy, Moore’s the Helene Phillips, Trovaris Wilson. Um, uh, Marty, you know, I was in Marty’s class, all, any, and all the times I think training has improved because those people taught more people how to teach, how to be great teachers. So part of is part of it is exposure and seeing things. But the other part is like, Marty’s generation also like jumped on convention. So they’re traveling the whole country, America anyways, gets to see them at least once a year. And then there’s the next generation that also teach non-conventional all the time. So they get them and me and my generation two times, four times a year, mix that with going to millennium or making a trip to LA well for a couple of weeks. And then you guys franchised. So that scale of education is so much more available. Now. I think students are better because the education available is better. Yeah,
Definitely. And with social media, like, I don’t know how
They’re just exposed to it.
Yeah, of course. And I mean, you remember back in the day too, like, I mean, there weren’t that many dancers. Right. I want to see the statistics Yeah. Versus now So much more.
Well, it’s funny because I don’t try, I don’t train as much anymore. I’m 35 now. And so the last time I went to an in-person audition, I can’t even remember the last time I went to take class at millennium. I was like, oh, I know no one, like I know nobody. It was the most surreal feeling. So, but yeah, there, there are boatloads every day. I’m assuming, because dance, I think has never been more popular.
Yeah. I think dance is getting, and that’s the greatest thing is dance has finally been totally seen as, you know what, this is, this can be a career, you know, back then it was like, yeah, unless you were that super talented backup dancer booking that tour, you know? And then with, so you think you in dance, I think had a big thing with
Cause they, I mean, it was everywhere. You know, people saw how talented dancers are and I think jobs became more available for dancers. So it is definitely a great thing in the dance community. I mean, now it’s a little different of course, with COVID and that hitting. But I still see like so many dancers, like these young kids from
New faces all the time,
new faces from Baltimore, You know, class cards, new registration, she Just moved out. She’s like, I just moved out to LA. I want to pursue my dance career.
You’re like, that’ll be $25.
I’m like, it’s such a trip.
I know, I love it. I mean, I you’re catching me on a, I’m babysitting a dog this week. I’m feeling rosy. I’m wearing a raspberry Baret. I am feeling very funky and uh, light, but I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s a good thing to have, uh, a large and enthusiastic community. It can be tough on the education front. Um, helping a young workforce become acquainted with the progress that’s been made by, by elder generations in terms of, I’ll say being organized in general, but talking about professionalism, um, it can be hard to keep, to keep a large community educated all the time when there’s the return rate is so fast. Um, but I think it’s an asset, but we can talk a little bit more about why in a second, but I want to ask I’m backing up a little bit. Cause I’m fascinated. You mentioned in the early, early days, being able to see a future with this company and feeling like this is going to be big. This is going to, this is going to go somewhere. I can be a part of it. I want to, I want to be a part of it is the future that you imagined then anything at all? Like what is happening?
Yeah, for sure. Like I knew that this company was headed that way. I give, we worked, it worked hard and I mean just, you know what it’s like in the dance industry, like there isn’t that many dance studios out there that are as established as millennia professionals at a professional level, you know, of course where the professional dancers come teach, train, do it all, you know, like rehearse. Like I knew that franchise was going to be, I totally saw it. And from the beginning actually did it like, wow. Yeah.
So you were deliberately working towards the franchise thing.
That’s something that we have always discussed back at the house. You know, that’s always been a dream, definitely, but we never knew how to make it come to fruition. But it was also one of those things with this one thing about millennium and Anna and Robert, what, especially Ann Marie, she, things just come at the best time. Timing is
Yeah. She is very Like the magic of because not a lot of people know her because she’s not around the studio. Of course, a lot, you know, she had Luke and then, you know, I forget how, how, what the age differences. And then she had the twins, you know, Sean and Avalon. And she had them a little bit at a later age. I think she was 42 at the time when she had Sean Inovalon. So, you know, she was busy, three kids. Good, lower I’m Jin, I’m a single human person. I mean, I’m a married human person, but I’m one body. I have a dog in the other room right now and I’m perspiring all day. Okay. Are they hungry? Do they need to poop? Do they need to pee? Do I have enough money for this? Like it really, that whole thing. It’s fascinating. I can’t, it
You’re like, no, give me, let me just be the director of the biggest franchise, professional dance studio in the world. And I’m fine. I’m good with that.
This is why I don’t want kids. Dana. I am.
Yeah. And on board with you, do you, do you feel like you’re getting pressure about that?
No. Okay. My boo and I are on the same boat
And I mine, mine and me and mine. Yes. It is definitely helpful.
It’s so helpful because I I couldn’t imagine, like, if he did want kids, like I would second guess it. And I’m like, no, I don’t want that. Like, if I don’t want them, I’m not going to have them, but he is so on the same boat, we’re going to just rescue dogs for the rest of our lives. I don’t know they with that.
Oh my gosh. That’s awesome. If you ever need a dog sitter, I like to, I don’t know if I can take on multiple at once because my stress level with the single one dog, uh, but maybe I’ll get there. I do have, I do have the aptitude for growth and self-improvement maybe I’ll become a multiple dog owner someday. Um, okay. So that’s cool. I agree. And I have noticed something odd and I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this on the podcast, but my husband is a multi-type. He has many things. He is an extremely technical person. He is not a dancer, but he is more of an artist than most of the quote unquote artists that I know. Um, he graduated with his degree in sculpture. He went to pursue a PhD in visual neuroscience. He now is a rapid prototyping specialist who does cameras, displays lenses, light camera, arrays, all sorts of very cool optical stuff and cool general stuff. He does very cool stuff. And I am surprised actually, that in his kind of world of colleagues and friends, he has more examples of people, um, kind of doing the check, the boxes where, you know, they’re a young, single person doing really awesome and interesting work. And then they start dating someone seriously, and then they get married and then they get a house and then they have kids and then they have a van and then they stop doing interesting work. Oddly enough, you would expect the same to be true for women like me, but it isn’t actually, I have so many great examples of women who, you know, check the boxes, got the husband, got the house, got, maybe got the van who knows and had the kids and are still crushing. So I, I didn’t really feel the pressure that it was like one or the other have kids or have a career. Um, I have I have great examples. You look at Napoleon and Tabitha, you look at Alison and Twitch. You don’t look at, I mean, I know a lot of women with kids that are still crushing it in the game. And so it wasn’t that pressure at all. I really feel like my body and my time and my money, I like the way they are. And people keep telling me it’ll change. You’re going to feel it one day, you should freeze your eggs. Like you keep saying that, but I am 35. I haven’t felt it yet. And I’m going to stick with my guts, my, my, my small guts that have not yet been destroyed, human life Creole on there, which is where babies happen. Everyone in your guts to soon, you know, you’re getting the technical breakdown here. Oh, interesting. Okay. I love that. I know that about you now. I love you.
Can’t have babies. I think it’s great. Yeah. Say that again. No, I love that. We share those. Yeah. It doesn’t surprise me at all. I, I seriously, well, you’ve heard me now talk about dogs 18 times, but when I walked down the street and a baby passes, I’m like, oh, look, I’m a small person, but a dog passes. And I’m like, oh my God, beep beep beep I will trot off to go follow this little. I I’m a dog person, not a baby person. I do have nieces. And I love them very much. They are not listening because they’re four and seven 11 nieces. Okay. Okay. Let’s let’s refocus. Now. Not that talking about babies is not a, is a bad thing. I think this is a good thing. Um, but I am seriously curious because after starting the podcast, I started a, uh, community that sort of grew from this, this kind of bundle of loyal listeners who I decided to connect more with, like on, in a, I almost said face-to-face, which is cute screen to screen level.
So now I have a small community of, you know, people interested in creative careers and I know not all of them want to become backup dancers. Not all of them want to become, you know, choreographers or master teachers or teaching on a convention. But they all have a similar skillset, which is like dance. Most of them is, have been dancing for a long time, but they’re also they’re leaders and they’re oddballs and they don’t have the typical path. Right. And so I think, I think that you didn’t either. So I think you’re a great example, a really great person to be talking to my listeners about kind of that moment where you like, oh, this feels right. I’m going to do this thing. So when I’m wanting to hear more about is like, if you can talk about that, how do you make decisions? How do you follow your gut? How do you know that? Like, Ugh, that’s the path for me. I mean, even on something like the decision to franchise, that was something you always knew, but how did you know Utah, Miami, Denver, like you make decisions all the time. How do you, how do you decide?
We didn’t know where, but I mean, of course there’s always like the big dance markets, right? Utah. I mean, that’s a given
You guys all, how do you measure that? How do you, how do you know? I mean, I know cause I travel on a convention co, is that how, you know, okay.
Conventions, you go to UC and you, even though I haven’t been to jump or any of the other conventions or Tremaine or whatever, but I know where like the big talented dancers are because at millennium, when we get these big groups from Utah, they’re taking class and they’re doing private lessons with one of our instructors. I see how talented they are.
Wow. So there is a totally symbiotic relationship between convention circuits and professional training studios. I should have known that. That is like the most obvious thing. I really was not clued into that.
Yeah, for sure. And you see like how talented they are. So if you put a lamb in their city, like, you know, it’s going to thrive, but also, you know, people think it’s so easy to like run a business. And even with millennium, we even with a name like granted, yes, you’re buying the name. They come to millennium LA, come train with me. I give him, you know, a to Z, like, this is how you run a dance studio. And we try to support them as much as possible by helping them connect with choreographers. But it’s still running a business.
They run there.
They’re not in LA, which is the biggest market for commercial in dance industry market. They’re not in LA and that’s who we are. We’re a commercial dance studio. And
So how are you doing in Utah and stuff?
Of course like you toss great. But like Miami, we had a millennium in Miami. We thought that it would do well, but they ended up closing.
They didn’t know that.
Yes. So a couple of the franchises that we did open because it’s an individually owned franchise. Got it. Somebody else that has a history and dance one way or another or history and business, and they somehow want to get involved in the dance industry. So, you know, they basically presented to Ann Marie and we meet with them and figure out like, oh, are they a good fit? Sometimes we have said yes. Even though in the beginning of those times, like we have said, I don’t think this is going to go well, but they’re so adamant about it. And so if they think, if they think that they, they have what it takes to run a millennium, then like we’re going to let them try, you know? And that’s their dream as well. So who are we to say from the get-go like, I’m sorry, I’m going to crush your dream and not give you the franchise. Right. You know,
o you give him a chance and you give them the tools you say, basically this is the structure we use. Yes. It may or may not work for you because we’re in different places, different audiences.
Okay. It has definitely worked for some of our franchisers, but some of them have been closed like Miami closed. And unfortunately after COVID Denver closed. Um, but, but that was just because due to COVID as
Well. I mean, we saw it here too. You guys Survived. Yeah. You had, um,
I had to close my fitness business. I fitness business, my sister and my brother-in-law. Um, but of course we, it was six months opened and then COVID hit. So it was,
I’m sorry for that. It doesn’t sound like you were devastated about that. If you did sound like it, I might be more gentle in this, but I’m like it. How do you, how do you feel about that? One of these try again,
One of those situations where it was fucking COVID
You’re right. You’re like I would take this personal, but it is 100% not personal. There’s no way to take that personal.
It was a little personal in the aspect of these fucking commercial owners, property owners thinking, oh, I’m sorry. I expect you to pay your full rent during COVID Like, how do you do that? How do you do that? How do you, when you are completely shut down, how do you, do you get in debt
And debt soul to the devil?
Yeah. No, you just can’t. So you have to make that fucking soul crushing decision and say, Hey, I just put my life savings or whatever it is, it wasn’t my life savings. But you know, my mother-in-law my sister, they put a lot of their money in there and you know, we just made the decision. Like we would rather do this then, you know, go more in debt. And I’m sure it was like that with a lot of businesses. And it’s not to say, and same thing with millennials, millennials were in debt, all that rent from 14 months of closure. Oh, you got no joke. That’s all. But the great thing about our property owner, she was very cool about it. She’s like, look, I know you guys are a great business. You’re good tenant. Don’t pay me anything until you have
It. Oh my God. Wow.
That’s unheard of that’s Magic that I tell you
Right. Knowing who to do business with is half the business.
Yeah, no, definitely. Um, but, and definitely has like that little, you know, extra, the blessing. Yes. With Ann Marie, like, you know, she’s an ex dancer herself, so she understands the struggles of dance and you know, the industry itself, she’s been there, she’s done it, you know? Um, but she is appreciative of, and you know, not a lot of, a lot of people know the history of millennials and the owners and what not, so yeah.
Yeah. That’s very special. Yes. Special targeting. Um, okay. Huh. It’s, it’s really cool to hear about Robert and Ann Marie as people like, as humans, because I’ve always seen them as, you know, the pillars of the place that is the pillar of my world. So that’s cool. Yeah. I’m fascinated to hear also that you had a side business because you know, where are we, is it an LA thing or is it just a human thing? Am I over simplifying by saying that, that, or maybe it’s just like this period in time that we have like the big thing that we do, but then we also have like the thing that we love for me, it’s the podcast, in my words, that being in the community. Um, but now I’m curious to hear, because millennium, you have, you guys have the kids program, the work-study program rentals, masterclasses, regular class schedules, and then you have your side things. How do you keep organized? Are you a pen and paper gal? Is there software that I need to be buying? What is, what do you do?
Well, I mean, the software that we have at millennia, we use the mind body system and that’s the software that we actually was. Well, that part was my idea as well. When mind body first came about into the market, you know, back in the day we were using class cards, of course these punch cards, fuck. When I first started
Yes. Physical punch card with a hole puncher. Yes.
And then we upgraded class cards, which, you know, I told Robert, I’m like, Hey, we like roll with the times. Come on, we got to have like something, but definitely it’s great for marketing too, to have that card, you know, for all the students to have, blah, blah, blah. So, and then now when mind body came about into the world, um, you know, they were looking for a software system and a lot of dance studios have Jack rabbit. I dunno, part of this software. It’s great.
I have heard of Jack rabbits though. I hear they’re fast. Is the software also fast because,
But it’s only good for studios with a company like their company crew, because you can charge and add different prices for costumes and all of which we don’t need none of that shit because we don’t have a company crew right now. So, you know, more or less, it was all about getting organized with signing students. And how do we keep track of all this money that’s flowing through? But also like in, I mean, everything used to be, I mean, you should’ve seen my spreadsheets of, you know, our statements and finances and I’m just like, this is it’s too much, But once off where it’s like a freaking breeze,
Okay, my buddy, good to know every yoga studio or fitness that I’m a part of using buddy. So they must be doing something right? Yeah,
Yeah. No, for sure. A lot of studios use my system. So yeah, that bad really helps me get, uh, that helped me get organized, but also, you know, hiring the right people like before, uh, we used to have our CFO and our CFO at the time ended up getting cancer. He trained me how to keep books, you know, how to, you know, um, balance out our checkbooks. But I mean, just imagine the, the checks that we’re writing as a company, to the payroll and all of that, it’s like, I don’t have an accounting degree.
Yeah. That’s the big stuff. And you don’t want to mess up in that department,
But it was also a great thing to learn because I’m a hands-on type of person, like give me the fucking cliff notes. So it was actually a great thing. I was very happy to learn all of this and, you know, and come to figure out, which really helped me in my personal life too, how to stay organized in finances and whatnot. So it was very helpful. But afterwards, like, as your company grows, like there’s so much I can do, like I can’t,
I can’t have staff
And you know, do everything with finance and what not. So we hired another bookkeeper. She comes in once a week, does all of our books during tax season. So by the way,
And who calls people now, when you guys are owed money, is that still you? Oh my God.
Oh, by the way, Aina nobody owes us money.
Can you better get it through that is brilliant. You just pay zero tolerance tolerance. You guys do not tolerate racism or sexism to stance. I’ll never forget. I love that. That’s where millennium is. Oh, okay. I do have one more question for you. I’m so curious because I think that people listening, maybe in the beginning stages of, um, wanting to start a dance business, whether that be a studio or, you know, more of a personal entity, but I think you’re a person that has done a lot and done it very well and done it gracefully. Uh, so I’m wondering if there’s any advice that you would give or simply something you wish you knew at the beginning. Like, can we save people time other than listening to everything that you’ve already said, which is gold? Is there anything you would have said specifically to yourself? That’s like, Ooh, you’re going to need to know this. This is important.
Um, one thing that always look for like that new talent give people opportunities because there have been certain occasions, certain it’s very rare, but a few people have crossed paths that I forgot to grab at the time. One thing with millennium and myself, when I hire choreographers instructors at the studio, I’m really all about energy. You know, I want to bring people that are like humble. I want to bring people in that are like, have a good energy about them. Um, I don’t want somebody who I’m going to have to like work at, you know, struggle, trains. I just keep them at bay. That’s why I don’t like hiring certain people because I don’t want to deal with their drama, you know? And you know that they’re gonna be dramatic. So it’s just not worth the time and energy. Like, come on guys. It’s just dance. It’s not that serious. And that’s what we tell people at the end of the fucking day. Like you guys, it’s not that serious. It’s just dance. Let’s just be amazing to each other. Why not be, it’s such a like creative field. It’s such a nice energy. And like, just, I don’t know. It’s just, you don’t need that attitude.
You know what I will say, this is what it comes down to always is balance balance, because it is important for us in our community to think that this is fucking important. It’s important for us to think like, maybe this is that important. Yeah. And not everything is a life or death situation. So like it CA it’s about both. It’s about being able to embody, I think this is vital. Number one, I think I’m really good at it. I think I can create value in this space. And if things don’t work out my way, that’s okay. Or if, you know, if people have the wrong idea about me, that’s okay. It kind of having this check and balance mentality of, you know, the approach of, of all of this. That’s important. Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up.
Yeah. And I think it’s also because we deal with so many women in our industry that deal with insecurities and, and at the end of the day though, like you guys just do, do what you’re here for stop looking at the other people. Like, you know, it’s not that serious. Do you? It’s difficult. I think for
I’m curious because you, you watched dance class happen way more often than I do. I mean, I teach a lot, but I’m looking for very different things when I’m teaching than you are when you’re just observing this ecosystem. Do you notice that, oh, kind of that, that self-doubt in the kind of the shutdown, you see it more in women than in men.
I see a more in women than men, of course, because also they’re a little more, you know, I see it, I see it from the front desk, you know, as soon as they walk into this space, sometimes it’s like, you know, they’re not from here. It’s the millennium, they’re wide eyed, bushy tailed, but a little reserved, you know, I have definitely seen two things either. They like will shine on the dance floor and my training and whatnot, or you can see how reserved they are. They’re not giving it their all. And, and, or they’re too worried about what they look like to others. You know, one of the greatest things I think about millennium is like, nobody cares.
Well, you can say that because you’ve worked there for 20 years. But I remember specifically the first time that I was training there and getting called out in a group, you feel like everyone can, this is important. Add several quarters to that. I can definitely see where the pressure comes from. But the pressure is
That is definitely different than like, when you’re like learning the routine while you’re learning the routine in class. Right? Like, is anybody looking at each other? Yeah.
Looking at themselves constantly. And they check too, because I’m always making jokes and trying to be a show. Nobody cares about me.
Everyone is just looking at themselves. They worry about, you know, like, oh, I don’t want to get, I don’t want to be seen because I look like a mess. That’s right. You know? And I’m like, no, and not every video do you guys like we video every single, Which from top to bottom, too much data, too much data. We don’t have enough. We don’t have a hard drive farm big enough for that. But there is a thing I think a lot of people are doing lately. It’s teaching camera, free classes, period. It’s stated that’s part of how they advertise. And that’s an interesting thing. And then there is the other kind of more to be expected. Probably the majority of classes that happen at millennium is like, the class becomes the commercial for the class or for the teacher. And there’s some muddiness there that’s in terms of like, when I pay you to take this class, am I paying you to help you make more money by using me to advertise for your class? There is like economically, there’s an interesting thing there that’s been happening. Now. I think that the value of being able to practice being on camera after a very quick, after a, you know, 60 minute class, and then can you perform for a piece of glass and plastic?
I think that’s a valuable thing to practice. I would pay to practice that I love coaching myself, like talking myself through mentalities that helped me deal with pressure, which is entirely created in my head. The camera did not actually change anything about the room. It just changed the way I’m thinking. So I like practicing in front of camera, like practicing that moment of like, what am I, what have I missed? What if I’m not present in the world? Sees it forever. Yeah. I it’s, it’s a good thing to practice. I like it. And I like that. Um, I like that it can be optional a dancer. It’s important that a dancer can remember, even if you are called out in the last group, you can decline. You can say, no, we’re good. Yeah. That’s, that’s, that’s totally power.
Right. But that’s what these kids don’t understand. Like, yes. The power part. Just say no, if you don’t feel like it don’t do anything, you don’t feel like doing. And you do get a lot of just to watch, like the three, the three that are performing, you know, just to watch like, like in Marty’s class, like to watch you Ivan and bong, or whoever’s in class, like, Hey, they’re going to learn a lot from that too.
Oh, here’s the circling back. And you can learn a lot 1400 times in a row. You can watch that Intuit is ingrained on your eyelids. And I think that’s the other reason why people are great at dance because they are truly studying it, watching at insane rate, like the amount that dance used to be on my retina. It was like four hours a day when I was at class. But now it is wake up and YouTube then afternoon tick-tock then class and then watch the footage from class. It’s like the majority of the days people devouring dance, I’m here for it. I think it’s good for business I’m so, so, so glad that you came in and shared a little bit of the backstory of millennium and your history with it. Um, I’m inspired to organize my life. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m feeling very much like a business woman or like I have, I can, I can make decisions that make a big change. Um, so that’s cool. Thank you so much for that. Awesome.
Thank you so much for having me Dana
You’re welcome. I am so grateful for you. Thanks Jen. Talk to you soon.
Dana: Oh right. All right. A lot to take in there. They know, I love how Jin found herself a part of something special that she didn’t necessarily know anything about, but she trusted her gut. She went for it. She learned fast. Um, I love that she sees the long game. I love that when she talks. It’s real talk. Uh, Jin is this example of how freeing it can be to have your ish together. I know that’s certainly easier said than done, but you got this dance links. I know you do. I’m certain that you do. I’ll get out there, get real organized. And of course keep it very, very funky. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye
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