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Ep. 138 How this fiery Canadian found her fierce as an online dance teacher who empowers women through fitness classes with Monica Gold

In this week’s episode, I speak with Monica Gold who is the founder of Find Your Fierce, a brand that strives to get women feeling confident, empowered and fierce through dance and fitness classes.

Listen on to find out how Monica became an online dance teacher who empowers women from all over the world.

Listen Below:

 

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Transcription :

Debbie:  

Hey everyone, thank you so much for joining us. I’m so excited to be here with Monica. Hey Monica, how are you?

Monica: 

Hey, I’m great. How are you?

Debbie: 

I am good. Can you tell us a little bit more about you and why you live an offbeat life?

Monica:  

I live in Toronto. I am a dance and fitness enthusiast. I love living a crazy, positive, adventurous life. I’m obsessed with making content. I absolutely love the creative process. And I guess those are a few reasons and I have wild hair, so I guess that’s offbeat.

Debbie:  

That is definitely offbeat and before we did this interview, I was talking to Monica and I was telling her, I saw her on social media, specifically on Instagram, and she is such a great dancer and you have this incredible life that you built for yourself. Did you always know that you wanted to be a dancer? I mean, when you went to school, was it something that you were just like, “I’m going to do this and then that’s it and I’m going to succeed in it?”

Monica: 

No. Funny enough, it’s like I still kind of feel it’s a little funny to call myself a dancer. I always had like an interesting relationship with the title itself. I guess also because I looked up to so many amazing dancers. I am proud to call myself a dancer today, but I definitely think that that’s a single facet of what I do.

Monica: 

And it’s almost just like my method for getting, I guess, my energy and positivity, and spreading fierceness to the people that are seeing all the videos. But no, I did not go to school for dance. I have danced my entire life. So, I always joke around and I say like, “Oh, I danced my way out of the womb”. I went to school, I majored in communications and minored in psychology – an accidental minor just because I love psychology. The first semester that I was actually in university, I didn’t take any dance classes, which was very weird for me because I had grown up dancing and I had dance competitively. And then even when I stopped dancing competitively, like midway through high school, I was still at dance three times a week.

ONLINE DANCE TEACHER

I just did it more recreationally and then, I went to university and I was like, “No, I have to concentrate, I have to focus….” In the meantime, I was in complete withdrawal, there’s definitely something about two things with dance that I think are super beneficial. One is the endorphins that I think just make me a happier and better person all around. Two is that when it’s in your schedule, it keeps you, honestly, more focused and more organized because you have this commitment and I think that’s why sometimes the busiest people are often the most productive, organized, structured, and stuff like that because you have to get everything done. So I had to get all my schoolwork done in order to work around and make sure that I could have this time to spend on dance.

Once I found the dance community where I was at school, I ended up taking pretty much every class that I could fit into my schedule. By the end of university, I was teaching three classes, one of which I had started at the university. So it was a very interesting journey but I honestly think that I did better in school because I had dance as my outlet and almost my structure.

Debbie: 

So, let’s go back to kind of when you finally decided that you were going to pursue this fully. You went to school for something completely different. But I feel like it’s also something that you’re using right now because you do communicate a lot. Aside from your dancing, you create these videos that also teach people how to do it.

Why did you decide to go and pursue this rather than what you went to school with? What was that process like?

Monica: 

Well, I mean, truthfully, what I majored in is quite broad. So, a lot of people actually go into marketing or branding or PR, media andi n a sense, when you really think about what I’m doing now, I’m kind of using all of that, but to promote something of my own that is tied to dance. So it’s definitely a different way of doing it but you could argue that those same skills are sort of being used or that same type of career path that someone who graduated with the major that I graduated in would use, but maybe for another company that’s selling a product. When I was in school I had a couple of other jobs too.

I did a co-op at McCain foods, which was actually an amazing company but just not for me. Fried foods are not my passion although great company – I will say that. It was just so random for me but you get experience, in all these different ways and through all these different jobs. And I was working in a clothing company. While I started Find Your Fears, I started really calling my classes that I was teaching at studio “Find Your Fierce” because I loved the idea of the name and what it represented and it reminded me of strong, fierce females that I always enjoyed looking at when it came to what they produced music video-wise and in concerts. All of Beyonces, the J. Los, Shakiras. All those amazing females in music who are also dancers.

It’s funny that in many careers you can say, “I’ll stay here, I’ll get some experience. Then, I’ll save up and I’ll go and do my thing after.” With dance, you actually don’t have that luxury because with age, unfortunately, it becomes more challenging. So, it’s really a career path that you have to almost take advantage of while you are young and your body isn’t too soar or anything like that. You can only fight aging so much although I’m praying that I have the same structure and stamina as J. Lo.

Debbie:

J. Lo does not age at all. She still looks like how she used to.

Monica: 

Exactly, like I swear she looks better now.

So, I’m praying for that and she’s still performing but dance is something that’s very hard on the body and sometimes you have to look at your timeline and your opportunities and you kind of have to say, “Is this something that I can wait for or is this something that, truthfully, I kinda have to do now? Or never?”

Debbie:  

Yeah, I think that’s a really hard thing to do, especially when you’re very young and it’s hard for you to kind of focus like that unless you have a good background and people who really support you with that. And it’s harder when you’re alone, especially. Now, when were preparing to create your company, Find Your Fierce, and to go all in, how did you prepare for it? What was that big change like for you?

Monica:   

At first I was only teaching was teaching at a studio once a week and then, I had started my workshops. So, the plan was to grow the workshops and to focus on that, focus on content creation. There was actually like a full one year period where I challenged myself to quit. Well, one obviously stay and be consistent on social media and posting because that’s how most people actually find out about my classes. And the other was I am going to release a new video on YouTube every single week. And that was a challenge for myself. And there were times when I tried to backlog at first and be like, “Yay! Shot! A bunch of stuff and we’re going to start launching now.” And I had them, but there’s a point where things sort of get caught up and you have to catch up as well.

Because obviously certain times are busier than others and most of the content that I put out is with additional people. It’s not just sort of… I didn’t film it on my own, like technically sure I could, but I love the visual aspect of a big group of dancers. I’ve always loved that. Just visually, I think that it’s so I dunno… I just love it. But I guess it’s fierce you could say.

Debbie:  

The main thing that you’re doing is you’re creating these incredible videos, right? Because that’s obviously something that you need to do in order to teach your audience how to do the steps and the moves that you need to do. What type of process was that? Also, how did you know exactly what it was in the video that you needed to put out in order to teach them the right way?

Monica:  

So, I’ve been teaching for a little bit and each video has its own vibe, theme, story, and some of them are more intense than others. But regardless, when you listen to music, take away even dance, music has a story and you can interpret that in a variety of different ways and that’s why I think most people relate to music is because whatever experience we’re going through, they can put something in there. And I’ve always been obsessed with music videos, I love, love, love music videos and the concepts and all of that. So, when I would start coming up with choreography, it would always be inspired by the music. Sometimes you can take that literally for what it is and sort of try to act that out or rather dance that out. And sometimes you take on sort of a different interpretation, maybe, different than what you would normally think about the song.

But either way, you come up with your theme, your story, your emotions that are happening. You communicate that to the dancers. In dance, you talk a lot about texture, dynamics, and essentially you want to be able to speak whatever is in your head to them so that they can translate that into dance as well. And when I’m coming up with choreography, I think about that also. What’s the vibe? Is it creepy? Is it happy? Is it positive? Is it about love? Is it about friendship? Is it about empowerment? Any theme that you have in a book, you can dance that out. Again, it’s a different method of communication.

Debbie:   

That is such a great aspect of it too, because you can become so creative when you’re doing your dances. And I’m sure it’s so much fun when you’re actually teaching them as well.

Debbie: 

When you finally started your business, what was your “what now?” moment? Because we all have that, right? We finally do whatever it is that we want to do, but then we get to that moment where we’re saying to ourselves, “Oh my God, what did I do? What now? What was that like for you?”

Monica:  

I guess for me it came with thinking about additional opportunities and what I truly wanted to do for the future. If I am completely honest with myself, I think that, again, I was very much drawn to jumping into it because I knew that my timeline was probably shorter. You could sit at a desk and do work as much as you want, there’s so many jobs that you can do forever. I hope that I can teach dancing forever. I want to be one of those grandmas dancing. But, realistically, I was really drawn to, “Okay, it’s now or never. Do it! Jump!”

I think that in planning, there could have been additional thoughts surrounding. In five years, sort of, am I still doing this? In 10 years, am I still doing this? How do I see this evolving? And sometimes you have to trust yourself that you will figure that out. because again, it’s one of those moments that it’s a push, it’s now or never. With that said, I think that my “what now?” came with, “Okay, I’m running these workshops, what am I going to do next? Where am I being pulled to? Do I want to try something new? Do I want to pivot? Do I want to continue doing this? Do I want to take stuff more online? Do I want to keep stuff live? Do I want a studio?” And these are all the questions running through my head because it’s sort of that, “Okay, what have I done and what happens now and what happens next and next and next and where do I see this going?”

So funny enough, I had gone to New York, to your hometown, and there’s actually a ton of dance fitness places in New York.

Debbie:  

They’re everywhere.

Monica:

And I went and I was blown away and I was like, “This is so cool. It’s such a fun way to work out.” I’m not a big fan of the treadmill so, getting your cardio in a fun way for me is like, “Oh my God, this is the greatest thing ever.” So, I always had people looking at my videos online and they’d be like, “Oh, it’s so cool. I love it. Amazing. Bu’t I can never do that.” I ask them, “Why? What do you mean? We break it down in class? It’s different. Some classes are beginners, some thoughts are intermediate. Obviously, you’d want to come to the more beginner ones.”‘

But they are just so intimidated. So I was like, “Well, I wonder if I could try running a class that’s like one of these dance fitness classes in New York.” And so I was like, “Okay, that’s an interesting potential next step, right?” Part of the journey is trial and error. So, I was like, “Okay, let’s bring this here. Let’s run these classes. Let’s see how people respond to it. Let’s see if there’s a market for it in Toronto.” And so I started running the classes and it’s actually an even bigger part of my offering right now because there’s been a very good reception to it. It is hidden, secret cardio because you don’t actually realize that you’re working out because you’re so focused on the moves and it’s the music, the lights.

So yeah, that has sort of the next step and less noise.

Debbie:  

So, Monica, how did you translate these dance classes and put it online so that people can pretty much reach you from wherever they are? Was that a big transition for you or was it a natural one? And how were you able to find the clients when you actually put that online?

Monica:

So, I would say it’s a fairly natural transition. People ask for tutorials all the time and I think one of the biggest questions for me was sort of, “Is this something that I put out there or is this something that I try to monetize?” And I think that that’s a big question that a lot of people in the online space deal with because we want to give out so much. And for me, I actually found that, at least at this moment in time, I’ve really enjoyed being able to provide that to other people who maybe they can’t get to a dance class, maybe they can’t afford a dance class. My life would be very different if I didn’t have dance in it. And so I was like, “You know what, I’m going to put these out.”

There’s such a good reception from people who end up learning them. They feel good. I understand the endorphins that I get from dance and I can only imagine that they get the same and it’s fulfilling in its own way. I think that, again, was sort of a choice that I made. And I hope that it benefits those people that are actually watching.

Debbie: 

Yeah. So, when you wanted to start Find Your Fierce and you took your choreography and put it online and started this business, what was your savings like? Did you actually save money to start this? And how did you make it last and make it work so that you can actually make this more fruitful?

Monica:  

Yeah, for sure. As I’ve mentioned I was working an office job before and so I did have savings and I sort of, in a way, gave myself a timeline. And I was like, “Okay, try this for a year, see how it goes.” And then, you have to go with the flow; of the way that business is going, right? If it sustains you for that year, you make another choice, “Do I keep doing this? Do I need an additional form to sustain me.” I was lucky also, the first year of business is always difficult but luckily, I had a decent group that continued to take my workshops and I also, because of the content that I put out, even though cost money to make content, however, you get strategic and you get scrappy and you figure out how to do that on a budget.

ONLINE DANCE TEACHER

Because I was putting out so much content, I started to gain more followers and because of that I actually got more, collaborative deals going on and sponsorship deals and things like that where I worked with either clothing brands or I worked with the music companies like Warner Music Canada or Universal/Sony. So, there was a variety of other things going on. There were performances. So, it’s kind of you find new ways to make it work and then you also have to ask yourself, “What are my goals? What degree of success do I want from this? What will make me happy? What will make me satisfied? What will allow me to live the life that I live.” Those are constant questions that I ask myself all the time so that I can plan for what’s next.

Debbie:   

Yeah. So, speaking of that, Monica, let’s fast forward to 50 years from now and you’re looking back at your life. What legacy would you like to leave and what do you want to be remembered for?

Monica: 

I’d love to be able to say that I helped make women feel more confident and to feel happier. At the end of the day, that I think is my truest “why”. I mean, I’d love to make everyone feel happier. It doesn’t specifically have to be women, but I do know that my audience is more catered to women and I just want them just want them to feel confident and happy. And I heard so many times that people would come into the workshops, come to class in order to gain additional confidence. And yeah, my biggest thing is I just want them to be happy.

Debbie:  

And I love the videos that you’re creating because it definitely makes you happy and they’re so addicting. Even if I am not dancing with you, I’m just watching you do your thing which is awesome.

Monica:  

Whoa, I’m so happy.

Debbie:

So, another exciting thing that is happening is Monica and I actually found each other because Peggy the amazing founder of Blank Room, she got us all together and about 18 other women to co-write this book called Branding Quickies. Can you tell us a little bit more about our book Monica and where people can find it?

Monica: 

Yeah, for sure. So, the book is all about branding and it has so many amazing tidbits of knowledge from different people’s stories on how they branded themselves. You can purchase it on Amazon and please do let us know how you like it. Leave a review. Those are super, super helpful and I’m sure all of us who have contributed to it would really appreciate that.

Debbie:  

Yes, we definitely would appreciate that. Now, aside from the book, what are you currently working on that is really exciting to you?

Monica: 

Right now, I’m already in 20/20 planning mode. We’re not quite there yet but I’m always, again, like I said, reevaluating sort of where I want to be, where I want to go. And for me, I’m playing with the digital realm. I’m not going to speak too much to it, but I am obsessed with digital. I love it. I love my live classes, but I’m super intrigued by digital – stuff coming online. I will leave it at that.

Debbie:  

Well, we can’t wait to see what else you’re going to be doing in the near future and also make sure to check out our extended interview because Monica is going to be sharing with us how to use video to really create a successful brand. Thank you. So, Monica, if our listeners want to know more about you, where can they find you?

Monica: 

You guys can find me on Instagram. That’s probably the best place at @monicagold1. If you need to get in contact with me further, you can DM there, you can email me. All of that information is up there.

Debbie: 

Well, thank you so much, Monica, for being here with us today. I really appreciate it.

Monica:  

Thank you so much for having me.

GET THE EXTENDED INTERVIEW WHERE MONICA SHARES HOW TO CREATE VIDEOS TO SUCCESSFULLY BRAND YOUR BUSINESS. 

 


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Show Credits:

Audio Engineer: Ben Smith

 


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