Lessons Learned from Serving 8868 Students This Year

Lessons Learned from Serving 8868 Students This Year

June 28, 20244 min read

We are celebrating servicing 8,868 students this season. And did we learn a lot! We have a nonprofit organization where we teach dance and we are so excited because we are scaling again for next season and we've added a drama and theater program and a fine arts program so we can continue to serve and make a bigger impact in our community.

I want to share with you my takeaways. This year was definitely a learning year. We really ramped up and did some new things this year. We received a grant where we had to tweak our program slightly, and what that did for us is it let us see where the gaps were, what we did really, really well, and what we need to tweak because of the scale and the amount of students that we're serving. It was very eye-opening for me to see where those leaks were. We're always growing and we want to be sure that we’re showing up in the best light possible and really thinking about our client journey and how we serve them, and we’re coming at it strategically. I want us to be known as the best. We are the best. There is no argument. There is no denying that we are the best mobile arts education outreach program in the Central Valley here in California. 

First, I want to take a moment and just celebrate. I am huge on everybody celebrating their wins and the reality is that just like many of you, maybe I don't celebrate my wins as hugely as I should. Serving almost 9,000 students is a big freaking deal. The impact that we made this year, not only on the students' lives, but it's a ripple effect. Staff members and teachers at school sites are telling us how amazing it was, and how it's changed the way that they are going to show up in their classrooms.

We get to decide if we're committed to our vision and our why and steadily keeping pace and chugging forward in spite of setbacks. There will be gut-wrenching blows. There will be moments where you're like, I am not cut out for this. When I audibly first said that my big, audacious, scary goal for this year was 12,000 students, my admin team, my management team, and my leadership team, the look on their faces was priceless. There were some that were excited, like that's gonna be so amazing. There were some who looked at me like I lost my mind. 

I am fiercely committed to three things:

(1) I am committed to creating an impact in our community, in the lives of our students, in the lives of their families, and in the lives of teachers. so important. And you and I both like, we could go on and on and on about that. 

(2) I am committed to building an empire. What that means is that I am not only making this huge impact locally, but I am creating jobs in my community. I am making sure that the ripple effect is felt and that these kiddos who are being touched by our program are going to take with them the seeds that we've planted and they're going to apply them and they are going to be people in our community who are giving back, who are worthwhile, who are productive members of our community, that we are increasing the sustainability of our community by creating jobs and creating revenue and all the things that come with it. Building an empire to me is creating something that is felt in our community.

(3) I'm here to create a legacy that lives long after I am gone.

Here are my takeaways that are critical to your success.

  1. Your team is critical. Having the right butts in seats is critical. You can have someone who is an A+ teacher, but if you try to move them into a different position that they are not meant for, it can become disastrous. And it’s all about communication. 

  2. Update your systems and SOPs. We need to be constantly looking at our systems every year. If something isn’t working any longer, find a better way, and then train everyone on the new system. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just tweak the systems as you grow and change and scale. 

  3. Show up strong. I learned a lot this year about myself. I am not average and what I do is not average. But yet in my mind, sometimes I was feeling like a failure because I didn't hit that crazy audacious goal of 12,000 students this year. I told myself, you only served almost 9000. What?! That’s not a failure. Serving that many students is many, many more than we served the year before. We did it!

We have some big, hairy, audacious goals for this upcoming year, too. My team and I are committed to making them happen. Everyone on my team believes that we're not average. We're awesome,. Our community and the students in our community deserve the opportunity to experience Arts Enrichment For All.

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Erin Burd

Erin Burd, is a Women’s Empowerment and Business Coach, Author and Speaker. She started Birdy’s Kids In Motion and Dance Biz in a Bag on a budget of only $300.00 and built a six-figure business in just two years. Erin is passionate about paying it forward and created the $100K Studio Dance Blueprint and the Mobile Studio Mastermind and has coached multiple women entrepreneurs to launch their business on a small budget and how to take their business to six-figures.

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