Your Name: Katie Hughes, PhD

Business Name: Dance Yourself Fit LLC

Type of Business: E-Commerce

Business Location: United States

U.S. State: North Carolina


Reason for starting
Students in my Zumba Fitness classes wouldn’t buy the dance shoes I recommended because they cost too much. I was working full time and I wanted to get the education of an MBA without paying for it. I had an idea of how to solve my student’s problem with a new-to-the-market solution called Slip-On Dancers that transform your running shoes into dancing shoes in seconds. When I started, my fellow supervisors were all going back to school to get their MBAs. I though to myself, “If I put my own money into a company, I will learn the lessons that much better. And I’ll learn what I need to know.” I decided to start my own company around my idea for Slip-On Dancers to let you in your running shoes.

How do you define success?
In a black and white sense, success is meeting your goals. However, to say that someone is successful, to me, means that they have their life all together. They know where they’re going. They have a plan for how to get there. They have shown an ability to take actions that lead them consistently towards their goals. At the same time, they are happy with their life and their situation. They don’t work 80 hour weeks and they have a social network that supports them.

Biggest Success
When we sponsored our first Zumba convention shortly after starting the business to test the idea, we sold out. All 1000 pairs of Slip-On Dancers we took to the show were sold. Since then, we have been a profitable company. 4 months later, I was able to quit my job to run my company full-time without taking a pay cut. That enabled me to move closer to my family and work from home while managing my business.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Getting the word out about a new-to-the-market solution was been difficult. People look at our product online and don’t see how it will be useful to them. They only realized the difference it makes when they try it on. I have addressed the difficulty in two main ways. First, I reached out to Zumba and Jazzercise fitness instructors and got them on board with the product. We reached them at their conventions and through their magazines. If the teacher wears one and likes it, then the students will be willing to at least try it on. Once they try it on, they will understand. Secondly, I got Zumba Fitness on board with creating their own version of the Carpet Dancer. Because of Zumba Fitness’ brand dominance, if they recommend something, more people listen.

Who is your most important role model?
My most important role model at this time in my life is Timothy Ferriss. The 4-Hour Work Week first got my started with the idea that I could have my own business. I set up my business around effectiveness and systems. The result is that I am not as required in day-to-day activities. My business would look very different if I had not read that book.