“I think there’s a difference between being self-employed and business owners. A lot of entrepreneurs are self-employed,” said Consuela Y. Buckley, owner of creative staffing firm Sway Enterprises. “If you have the mindset to say, ‘I’m going to build a business and figure out what I can do to create revenue without working around the clock all of the time’, you’ll have the best of both worlds.”
A professional dancer and choreographer, Buckley figured out how to incorporate her passion of dance into a business model thirteen years ago. Today Sway Enterprises is the umbrella company of enrichment visual arts, etiquette and dance programs that operate within several Dallas school districts. The company also produces instructional dance DVDs, dancewear and hosts a business coaching institute for performing artists.
Being a Business Owner
In 1999 while a student at Texas Christian University, Buckley began teaching dance classes in her free time. Following up on an open call for dance instructors, Buckley jumped at the opportunity to gain practical experience.
“When Sway Enterprises was founded I didn’t know what it was. I just knew I wanted to dance and work with children. I was a sophomore in college and some opportunities came up where a few folks were looking for dance instructors in their school district,” Buckley said.
“More opportunities came and I wasn’t able to fulfill all of them at the time, so I asked a girlfriend of mine to teach some of the classes and I’d train and pay her.
We did that for a few years and started to grow. I realized ‘Hey this is actually a business that I can live off of and run remotely.’”
After graduating, Buckley moved to New York to pursue other dance avenues leaving newly hired instructors to run classes and other business at Sway Enterprises. While training with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Footprint Dance Company, participating in television and off-Broadway shows, Buckley operated her business from afar.