Surround yourself with the kind of people who will push you to be better and to grow.
Dallas Dance was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. He has always been an advocate of public schools and had an interest in education. He attended Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English Education. He received his master’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision.
He continued his education and received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Study from Virginia Commons University in downtown Richmond, Virginia. At the age of thirty, he was appointed a Presidential Commission as the youngest superintendent in the history of our nation.
Currently, Dr. Dallas Dance has his own consulting practice. His practice has gained success through the caring, compassion and attentiveness he has for his clients. His passion is to assist individuals by providing his clients with solutions that assist them in focusing their lives on a meaningful and productive path.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I started consulting because people would just bring their problems to me. I got excited about solving them. Whether it was a personal friend or a colleague, I just got excited problem solving with them. I believe that problems can be solved with strategies. I wanted to make sure to monetize it because I was passionate about it. I took a leap of faith and started my own consulting practice that focused on it. Through the grace of God and a good strategy and some good relationships, we’ve been able to continue to accelerate the practice.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am not sure if I have a “typical” day. One thing I had to do is to create a new normal. Creating a new normal was one of my challenges starting out. I was in an office setting from 8-5. You can’t bring that into an entrepreneurial business. You are constantly on. As you’re building your business you are focused on that. If I am not on-site with a client or I am not traveling, I am up at four in the morning. I do my workout. I am on the phone by six with my overseas clients. I work until 11 before I take a break. I run errands or take clients out to lunch. I want to make sure to maintain solid relationships and build new ones. I want to know them authentically as people. I meet with my team in the afternoon. We do virtual meetings with potential clients. We also work on business development. I set aside two hours a day where I am just doing work for the company. I want to grow as an entrepreneur. I want to bring on new employees. There isn’t a typical day for me other than working with the twenty-five clients that I am coaching three or four days per week.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life through people. The ideas are usually my ideas but I hone those ideas through people. I help them bring the ideas out as though the idea is their own. I help people to see the opportunity that they have to participate in those ideas. I get people excited about what the future can look like around those ideas. Ideas can not be brought to life without people. It goes back to getting people excited about an idea and then building a strategy around it. I have brought at least eighty percent of my ideas to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me is the future of education in conjunction with technology. We will never be able to replace the mental capacity that people bring to the table. We may be able to replace certain functions that people are doing, and that is where the excitement of technology comes in. But there is no way technology can replace the innovation and creativity that we have. It excites me that we are getting back to a place to where a lot of things can be remote can be automated and we are able to hone in on the creativity that people bring to the table. The future of technology excites me. Artificial Intelligence is a huge part of the technology that will allow us to automate certain functions so that people can really shine and showcase their best potential.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit of mine that I do every single day is to workout. I need physical activity every day. We can’t get to a point where we forget to take care of ourselves as we take care of others. There is no way you can take care of others if you’re neglecting yourself. It is a very disciplined habit that I follow. You have to stay mentally and emotionally and spiritually unencumbered. I take care of that early in the day because it makes me more productive. It makes me more energized and excited to be able to take care of others during the day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self that it is okay to slow down. Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I’d known that. I was a superintendent at the age of 30 and that is unheard of. The average age of a superintendent is about mid-fifties. There are three things I would tell myself beyond slow-down. First, there is no such thing as a perfect person. Because of that, there is no such thing as a perfect leader. Leaders should never try to appear perfect. People believe in leaders through their ability to be imperfect which allow them to be genuine. Second, It is okay to make a mistake. When you make a mistake, you acknowledge your mistake, learn from it and then move on, rather than beat our selves up. Beating yourself up with not allow healing. Last, relationships are our strength and at the end of the day, those are the people who most matter. We have to develop and nurture those relationships as much as we do for our clients. My younger self was too driven to follow those truths. Now, I have this perspective of truth in mind always.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One of the things that not everyone believes is that every problem can be solved. I can be talking to a CEO or an elected official and when they tell me their problem and I tell them that it can be solved, they are surprised. I believe that every problem can be solved through people and through a good strategy. We might have to adjust a few things, but we can solve anything. We may have to put the right people in the right place but it can be solved. Many people do not believe that.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One of the things that I do as an entrepreneur is surrounding myself with the kind of people who will push me to be better and to grow. I would encourage everyone to do that. You can not run a successful business if you have people around who can not build genuine relationships. I surround myself with people who push me to be a better person, personally and professionally. Also, reach out for mentors. No one is perfect. Connect with your mentors.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that I always do is kind of quality assurance. I make sure that our current clients are always taken care of first. I know if they are happy and they are fulfilled they will want to retain us. We also ask them if there is anyone else that they know of that we may be able to help and assist. We have built our business through our referrals. I always make sure to take care of our current clients and the quality of service that we provide to them.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first started out my practice, we had 7 clients pulled away from us. This can be a 24/7 hour media cycle. If there are media that hits that can be detrimental to the company, you can lose clients. It was a setback, but I took it as a learning opportunity. We just need to adjust our strategy. I saw it as a growth strategy. We share information with our clients that needs to be shared. After eight months, we were stronger than ever.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
People are always looking for more time in a day. I don’t believe people need more time as much as they need to learn how to prioritize their time. We need a product that can analyze and assist us in prioritizing the things most important in our lives. It should be an app that can keep us on track. We are doing “stuff” by we are not getting things done.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I am a member of a small church. The pastor asked for a donation for one of a college student to be successful. I donated a hundred dollars. Her father was so appreciative that he is introducing me to an executive at an airline that could potentially propel us into incredible growth.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Our CRM is Dubsado it allows people to sign up for our newsletter and tracks those people who wanted to have access to us. The software sends out automated emails to them to continue communications. We will also know what issues they may be addressed if they require a phone conversation. We have enough information to be able to help them right from the start.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Ego is the Enemy. It teaches you how to get out of your own way.
What is your favorite quote?
Without struggle, there is no progress.
• Surrounding yourself with the kind of people who will push you to be better and to grow.
• Make sure that our current clients are always taken care of first. I know if they are happy and they are fulfilled.
• You can not run a successful business if you have people around who can not build genuine relationships.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.