The Nitty-Gritty:

  • How Debra Giunta’s vision for Design Dance led her to make specific hiring decisions as the company grew in scale
  • Why she waited 6 years to hire herself on full-time
  • How her dance program and curriculum adapts depending on the school she’s partnering with
  • What she looks for in the people she hires—and how that’s evolved over time

I’m pretty sure I took myself to Starbucks for an iced latte with the first 10 bucks I made with my business.

From there, everything I earned went into the family kitty.

I started my business with a vision of paying myself… and not much else.

Many years later, this is the #1 thing I regret from those early business years. Had I spent more time considering where I was going and how I could reinvest in my business to get there faster, I think I’d be in a very different place right now.

That said, I don’t beat myself up about it. I did the best I could with the information I had at the time.

Today, I do things very differently.

I invest in my team. I invest in professional tools. I invest in our growth. And, as I’m starting a second company, I’m reexamining how I do those things with a fresh mind.

By the way, if you missed the 411 on my new company, Yellow House Media, you can catch up by listening to Episode 232.

A huge part of what we do here at What Works—and inside The What Works Network—is purposefully expose you to business owners who have taken a different path. I want to equip you with more information, options, and experiences than I had all those years ago.

That’s what this whole Scaling Up series has been about.

Today’s conversation is the last in our series on Scaling Up. We’ve covered a lot of territory —everything from starting with scale in mind, to intentionally not scaling, to leveraging your special sauce, to building certification programs, and more.

But today’s conversation gives us a crash course in how all these things can fit together and it tackles another common dilemma business owners with scale on the brain face.

Is your first priority paying yourself? Or is your top priority paying someone else?

My guest is Debra Giunta, the founder of Design Dance, a community dance education company that’s reaching over 1500 K-12 students with arts education and social-emotional learning every year.

I talk with Debra about her vision for Design Dance and how it led her to making important choices about when she started hiring help. We also talk about how Design Dance has expanded from its original school partner into 50 different sites, how she hires teachers to manage all those programs, and the nitty-gritty of how the business runs on the inside.

We’ll find out What Works for Debra Giunta in just a minute—but first, I have a favor to ask you.

If you enjoy this kind of outside the online business box content, I’d love for you to leave us a rating & review on Apple Podcasts. Your reviews help us reach more small business owners with this kind of content—and they make me smile, because, yes, I check our reviews every gosh darn day.

Just last week, a reviewer gave us 5 stars and said: “This podcast is so refreshing in a sea of ‘do more’ and ‘grow faster.’ I love listening, and the monthly themes make it easy to stay engaged and not get bored. Thanks for truly making a difference in my business and life, Tara!”

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Now, let’s find out what works for Debra Giunta!