Coco is a body, mind and soul coach for women and the creator of Essence of Bellydance and Sensuous Dance Workout, her own dancing methods. Coco has danced all over the world, been on major TV-shows and has now created a teaching certification course and her first DVD.
Coco, tell us what you were doing before you really decided to pursue dancing
Since I can remember I loved architecture and dance. I was as fascinated by how design shapes our life as I was fascinated by the passionate emotions that run through my body when I dance.
I studied architecture parallel to developing my dance career. But after I gained the diploma, I knew I had to choose one passion if I wanted to create something that truly fulfilled me. I knew that when I chose to become an ambitious architect I wouldn’t have time for connecting to my body, mind and soul as much as I desired. And I knew from various jobs that if I wanted to stay the visionary architect I was, I would need to start as an underpaid intern and fight my way up to the top. That was against my freedom loving and peaceful nature.
On the other hand I had a vision for expanding my dance career and designing my own business and life of freedom and independence.
I knew that I could create breathtaking entertainment and take the beautiful art of belly dance from being an entertainment for restaurants or birthday parties to the stages of high-end events and TV-shows.
How did you start off?
I started by launching my shows in the high-end event business. I was the only belly dancer in this space. I danced for companies like L’Oreal, BMW and many others. I was obsessed with being the best dancer I could be. I studied contemporary dance in Europe and the art of belly dance in the Middle East. I worked on smoothing out every little blockage or anything that wasn’t completely perfect in my movement and artistic expression.
By being a perfectionist I discovered that everything that I did to improve my performance also cleared something in my mind and soul – and everything that I changed in my soul also made me a better dancer. This body, mind and soul connection is the foundation of my work. Through my studies I created my own method of belly dancing that I call the Essence of Bellydance.
In addition to this I created a method called Sensuous Dance Workout, a way to shape your body from head to toe while unleashing your sensuousness. It connects you to your inner self and can be deeply freeing and transformational. I call it the wild path to enlightenment.
I have just produced my first „Sensuous Dance Workout“ DVD so every woman can dance with me in her living room.
How did things develop from there?
I had a period of time when I was blocked. I was the best paid belly dancer in Germany, my performance fees started at 1000 Euro and I danced on the most prestigious events, but I didn’t see a possibility to grow from there. I love novelty and development but I didn’t know how to grow without sacrificing my freedom.
I was also coaching, teaching classes and international workshops and I had a huge wait list. Many students and mentors told me to license my method or found a school, but I resisted many years because I thought building such a business would cost me the freedom that I had chosen with being an independent artist.
The first leverage step was to start my YouTube channel to reach more women than I could teach in person. Through my travels I had many women around the world wanting to continue learning with me and I just couldn’t stand the thought that there were women out there wanting my classes but not being able to get them. The YouTube channel took off quickly. It was great to see my work spreading throughout the world without me needing to be present. I loved to connect to all the women in the comment section and to virtually dance with them in their living rooms.
The second leverage step came from following my heart: since I started to spend some winter weeks in warm countries some years ago I had the dream to live by the ocean. Last winter I decided to follow my desire no matter what. I decided to move to Spain and leave my Berlin life behind me. But my students didn’t want me to leave because there was nothing like my classes in Berlin.
I believe in going with my feminine flow and I receive my best ideas when I dance. And one morning while dancing all of a sudden I lost my growth-blockade: I knew that leveraging my business was exactly the right thing to do to expand my freedom. And I knew exactly how to do it.
The same evening I asked my students if they would like to be taught by some of my best students who would complete an extensive teacher training with me and I asked the girls that I envisioned as teachers if they would like to be the first teachers of my method and take over my Berlin classes. To my surprise – the girls were as enthusiastic about the idea as me.
Within two weeks we started our teacher training intensive, it was an amazing experience for me and my first four teachers. I learned that leading a team of passionate women who share my vision is not a burden, but true empowerment. It is as much an expansion for their lives as it is for mine. I am grateful seeing the Essence of Bellydance spirit live on in those amazing women.
This was the birth of my teacher certification program. In 2014 we will open the training to international teachers. It will be a high quality online course that everybody can join for themselves, but the dancers who want to become certified will need to apply for additional live trainings including the final exam.
What have been your highlights as a business owner?
I love the special atmosphere I create in my shows. I go on stage, see the crowd and feel the tension building up. That’s a powerful experience and I love to play with that energy. I love to captivate the audience and make them so excited that they will sit at the edge of their seats waiting to see what will happen next. It’s magic.
But my biggest reward is sharing my knowledge with women and seeing how it changes them. I see how the students go through the same process I went through. They discover their true beauty and fall in love with themselves. They find out how easy and fun life can be once they have that wisdom.
What would you say to aspiring entrepreneurs?
What I say to my coaching clients is that they have to uncover what is behind their dreams and visions and is wanting to break free. When we unleash our secret desires and our passions we get much more energy to live our dreams. Don’t be afraid of your passions and fears, ride them and you will live a life beyond your wildest dreams.
You don’t have to monetize everything that you love, but you need to live the things that want to live through you.
As you boldly go for what lightens you up, you will not only have the most fun, but attract your ideal customers and your ideal employees.
Another important tip when you are on the way to pursue your dream is to regularly check in with yourself, even though you have a lot to do. You need to take care of yourself and look inside. Stay continuously present and connected to your body, mind and soul. Enjoy every second of your life and every second of building your business, this is your life – now.
You can find out more about Coco on her blog: www.sensuousmind.com
Coco’s new DVD: www.sensuousworkout.com
Essence of Bellydance Training and free online classes: www.essencebellydance.com
Coco’s artist page: www.coco-berlin.de
Key takeaways from Coco’s experience
Coco pretty much sums it up when she talks about the importance of understanding what part of you is trying to break out and what is behind that. Really understanding who you are and what you have to offer is the key to starting the foundation of a successful, maintainable, profitable business. This sounds counter-intuitive but knowing yourself is the first step, knowing your market comes second. I love going through this self-discovery process with my clients.
I also love Coco’s advice on staying present and enjoying the moment and the journey. This is something I personally struggle with as I’m always wrapped up in all the big plans I have but having people like Coco in my life remind me to stay grounded and enjoy the present as well as getting excited about the future.
I hope you enjoyed reading Coco’s story!
Now I’d like to hear from you
Have you been thinking of starting a business and are torn between your two passions?
Have you had to chose in the past between two things you loved? How do you feel about that choice?
Let me know in the comments below…
You can read more business idea inspiration here and if you need a little help yourself with your business idea take a look at the business idea starter kit below.