Sundays are off. I go to the beach. I cook. I have brunch with friends. Taking time off, even if it’s just a little bit, is so important to recharge, and to come in with a fresh focus.
Nicole LaBonde is the creatrix of CABARRET, a new dance fitness class in South Florida that blends toning, strengthening barre work and cardio burlesque dance- a calorie-burning, muscle-sculpting, sexy workout!
Nicole also does public speaking coaching through Public Persona, LLC. Public Persona uses theatre techniques to teach public speaking and leadership skills in private sessions, group classes and for universities and corporations.
She is a certified Pilates instructor through the prestigious Romana’s Pilates program. She teaches private and group sessions at True Pilates Miami.
Nicole is also a consultant for the international nutritional and wellness company, Isagenix.
Nicole has created dances for Miami Children’s Theater, the Center City Opera Theater, the Denver Independent Choreographers Project, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and more. Professional acting and dance performance credits include the Miami Stage Company, Hedgerow Theatre, Broadway Theatre of Pitman, and Underground DanceWorks.
Nicole is also a contributing writer on Health & Fitness for Business Heroine, an online magazine for female entrepreneurs.
What are you working on right now?
I have two businesses up and running right now- CABARRET, a dance fitness program that is 1/2 barre, 1/2 burlesque, and Public Persona, LLC, which is a coaching and consulting firm that uses theatre techniques to teach public speaking skills.
Where did the idea for CABARRET come from?
I developed CABARRET because I wanted a dance fitness class I would take. Barre classes really had nothing to do with the barre. Other dance fitness classes, while cardio, never really taught a dance, reducing muscle memory and coordination benefits, and, it just wasn’t as fun!
Public Persona actually came to me while I was sitting in jury duty just a little over a year ago. The 2 lawyers had serious presenting difficulties- one “um” ‘d his way through every speech. The other didn’t have a character that resonated with his audience (the jury); we felt like he was constantly talking down to us. I knew both men could make better presentation, and that I had the skills to help them.
How do you make money?
For CABARRET, I work in various gyms and studios, so I’m paid per class I teach. I’m also developing a teacher training program. In that, people will pay to attend an all-day workshop, and then pay for their test.
With Public Persona, I teach private and group classes. I also conduct workshops on location for schools and corporations.
What does your typical day look like?
There is no such thing as a typical day! Each day is different based on the classes and sessions I”m scheduled to teach. What is consistent is that I have a serious color-coded system, in both the Stickies and the Google Calendar apps, to help me keep track of it all.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I like to start with a test group. For CABARRET, that was a class at the Pilates studio where I was already teaching. For Public Persona, that was a seminar at a university where I was already teaching a fitness class. See the trend? I start with a group I know already likes my work and my style of teaching, and offer them something more. Pick a group that will be honest, but supportive, because you are learning and growing.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The growth of the entrepreneurial mindset really excites me. More and more people are realizing that the corporate career we all were told was the “safe way”, isn’t safe at all. True freedom and security is found in working for yourself!
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Oh. Well. The worst job I ever had was working as a recreational therapist for mentally challenged adults. This was actually my first job out of college. While an extremely emotionally rewarding job in practice, it was 80% paperwork and 20% client work. I soon got burnt out, because I just wasn’t making the difference I wanted to, and was constantly swamped with paper. I learned quickly that a job can look amazing on paper, sound great in theory, and really suck in the day to day. The truth is, until you live it, you really don’t know it. And that applies to every area of life!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start my two businesses? I’d do one at a time. Launching two was crazy. I did it. I’m doing it. But sometimes, it’s a lot!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Use a calendar app. Google, iCal, whatever. Even a day planner. Don’t assume you’ll remember everything. Check it frequently. I use mine to guide my work for the day. So if I have downtime between classes, I can pull it out and say, “Oh, I need to make a follow up call.” or “I put out a new press release yesterday, but never put it on Facebook, let’s do that now.”
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I hate asking for help. And entrepreneurship, even though you work for yourself, you are not in it alone. I spent the first few months just pushing through on my own. Getting tired, frustrated, and not seeing any results. I hired a coach and joined an accountability group. The brainpower, support, assistance and accountability that comes from this is great for keeping me motivated and focused, and giving me a safe place to turn when I need help.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
North Miami needs a good, local/organic coffee shop. Anyone interested? I’d be your best customer!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
If I could change one thing, I would change how women talk to and about one another. We are often catty, snide and downright mean, instead of being supportive, encouraging, inspiring and offering our assistance. I think the best way to go about affecting this change is model it myself, and then to encourage confidence in other women. We speak harshly out of our insecurities, not our confidence. When we are confident in ourselves, we’ll be more likely to speak with love and generosity.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Hootsuite- love scheduling my tweets a week at a time
ShortStackapp maker for Facebook- Love how easy it is to use.
Squarespace website builder- I find it more user friendly than WordPress and their Customer Service is out of this world!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Linchpin by Seth Godin. Godin is a brilliant writer on business, leadership and marketing. And, in my opinion, Linchpin is his best book. He really looks at the inner and outer work required to have a fulfilling work life.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
@yfentrepreneur- Young Female Entrepreneur- great resources, live tweetchats, perfect for support and questions
@BusinessHeroine- Business Heroine Magazine- online mag for female entrepreneurs. Great for case studies, actionable steps, and girl power.
@FastCompany- from the magazine- business news you can use
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Probably Saturday. I was at a coaching event by Jeffery Combs. He’s brilliant. And funny. But mainly, in-your-face brilliant.
Who is your hero?
I’d have to say my friend Stacy. Single mom, entrepreneur. funny, fearless and all-around amazing. She’s been through so much, and has come out the other side triumphant. I am inspired and challenged by her daily.
How do you handle the stress and pressure of owning a business?
Well, as I mentioned I have two, so it’s a lot. But the answer is– have a system. My Google calendar, and the Stickies app on my Macbook are color-coded and constantly open. I work off the stickies in each block of time on my Google Cal for each business. And I sync my Macbook, iPad and phone daily- so I’m always working with my most current information.
How do you handle stress and pressure?
I take Sundays off. I’m pretty strict about it. I used to work just about 24/7. But I realized my mind and body were not at their best. So now, Sundays are off. I go to the beach. I cook. I have brunch with friends. Taking time off, even if it’s just a little bit, is so important to recharge, and to come in with a fresh focus.