Hello, my name is Elliott and I interviewed Debora to get her perspective on business ownership. Debora is 27 years old and she is from Jundiai, Brazil. She is currently a business owner of the dance company Portal do Egito. Debora’s company was originally created in Brazil, where it is still thriving today, but she decided to move to the United States, and more specifically, Arizona, to begin a new chapter for herself, as well as her company Portal do Egito. Debora began dancing at the age of 7, and began teaching dance at the age of 15. Debora eventually had so many students she decided to open up her very own dance school at the age of 17. This gives Debora 20 years of dance experience, 12 years of teaching dance, and 10 years of running her own dance company. This is absolutely an incredible amount of work and experience and she is still only 27 years old. Although Debora enjoyed teaching dance, she wanted to offer something more to her students. That is why she decided to attend a local university and receive her bachelor’s degree in physical education at the age of 20. She now has plans to further her education and knowledge by pursuing a degree in acupuncture.
After Debora told me about who she is and what she has accomplished, I began to dig deeper into what it is like being a business owner and the job duties it entails. The first thing she told me when I asked her, What are your most important duties as the business owner of Portal do Egito? She immediately responded with, “Everything!” I was a bit taken back by this response because I figured there must be more important duties than others, so I asked Debora a question along those lines. Debora replied with, “There may be tasks that take longer or that may seem more important, but at the end of the day, I am responsible for everything from paying the teachers, organizing schedules, interacting with everyone, and even cleaning up the bathroom.” This response by Debora helped me understand more of what it takes to be a business owner. You need to be able to do anything and everything that needs to be done at a moments notice. Now that I could finally understand what ‘everything’ meant for Debora, I had to ask her what the most important communication tasks were for her company. She pondered over the question for a moment, and she believes the most important communication tasks for her are when she is teaching dance classes, explaining to the other dance teachers what they should be doing and talking about in their dance classes, and finally, how she communicates with all of the students outside of class. Because Debora is the owner of the school, everyone comes to her when they have a question, comment, or concern. Debora can give power and duties to her teachers, and sometimes even her students, but in the end, she is the one that has to make sure everything gets done in the correct way. The most rewarding aspect of Debora’s work is seeing the students have fun. Debora does like to see the students improve, but that is not her main goal. She realizes that for the most part, her students come to her school to have fun and to express who they are. That is why Debora never grades students, instead, she gives her students constructive feedback that they can use to further improve themselves. Debora does not see the value in giving her students grades like A, B, C, etc. She wants to interact with each student and tell them what she sees, and she also wants to hear what the students have to say about their dancing journey because it helps her to better understand them.
These next two questions that I asked Debora were probably the most important part of the interview because she had fantastic answers. 1. What is the best advice you ever heard about how to be a successful business owner? “It is important to have discipline, but in some situations instead of only listening to reason, you should listen to your heart before making important decisions.” 2. What is the best advice you could give to a young person wishing to become a business owner? “Never give up, and do not compare yourself to others, everyone has their own time to develop their skills to be a good business owner, life experience is the key to building your own path.” Debora’s perspective on business ownership is unique and useful advice for any current or future business owner.