Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Theresa Faleti . We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Theresa , thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today It’s always helpful to hear about times when someone’s had to take a risk – how did they think through the decision, why did they take the risk, and what ended up happening. We’d love to hear about a risk you’ve taken.
One of the risks I’ve taken as a business owner was deciding to go on tour and teach my classes. It has been something I’ve wanted to do for years but didn’t actually have the guts to do until recently. Why would I be scared?, you may ask. Well, picture this. Imagine you decide to throw an event; spending money on the venue, supplies, and transportation. You spend weeks preparing for this event, including sending out invitations and promoting the best ways you can. You are filled with so much excitement but as time goes by, you start to notice that no one is sending in their RSVPs. The event is now days away and you come to the conclusion that no one is coming….
Planning events and having no one attend is something that I’ve feared for a while, so I decided to avoid it completely. Yet, I was constantly reminded that you will never know until you try. How would I know if people would actually show up or not if I didn’t go ahead and just do it? So I made the decision that the year 2022 would be the year that I took risks. I needed to host classes in different cities in order to grow my business and brand. Even if no one showed up, at least my biggest fear would be over and I could use it as a learning opportunity to help me prepare for future events. “The only thing that separates success from failure is one last attempt. Try one more time and you will get lucky.” -Apoorve Dubey.
In May, I decided to take the risk and book a venue to host my first tour class in Orlando for June 12th. If I could at least break even with ticket sales to cover the cost of the venue, I would call that a success. Unfortunately, my fear was becoming a reality. Weeks were passing by and NO ONE had purchased tickets. We were now two weeks away from the event and only one ticket was sold (someone purchased a ticket as a donation). I was receiving message after message of why people couldn’t attend the event. Soon my mind began to flood with thoughts of what to do: Do I cancel? Do I reschedule? Or do I step out on faith and see what happens? Either way, I wouldn’t be able to receive a refund for the venue. So I decided to stick it out and pray to The Most High for a miracle.
Days later, The Most High answered my prayers and things began to shift. I was able to connect with Facebook groups and friends who had connections in Orlando. The tickets began rolling in, even until the day of the event. And guess what? Class was a huge success! So much of a success that I am planning to host another class in Orlando soon!
My second stop was hosting a class in New York City on August 2nd. This was an even bigger risk because I was flying to an entirely different state. Yet, I knew I had to take this risk because I would gain more awareness and credibility from this opportunity. No one expects anything short of excellence when it comes to events and classes in New York. Needless to say, that class was a success as well and I will be returning next year.
Deciding to take the risk to go on tour has been one of the best things I could have done for my business and for myself. “If you risk nothing, then you risk everything” – Geena Davis.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
My name is Theresa and I am the owner of Afrofeteness LLC– Afro-caribbean inspired dance fitness that feels like a party. I have a passion for helping others in need and know that my purpose in life is to make a difference. I began my journey in the dance fitness industry as a Zumba Instructor and began teaching my first classes for non-profit organizations such as Children Beyond our Borders and City Year.
Some responses I’ve received about classes have been: “You’ve motivated me to start dancing again”, “Your classes help me to forget my problems”, “I work 65-80 hours a week and your class makes me feel joyful”, “You’ve helped me improve my dance skills”, “Your classes make me move muscles I didn’t know I had”, “I have 98% fat burn when I take your class!”
My intention behind every class is to uplift, empower, motivate, and bring joy to others. As someone who used to get made fun of for not knowing how to dance well, I never want anyone to feel shame or embarrassment in class regardless of their dance level. I aim to create a judgement free environment, so that everyone is free to be their most authentic self. There is enough darkness in this world, and I want to help be a light.
What sets me apart from others are my morals, values, personality, and relationship with The Most High. I pray for each person who will be attending class because I genuinely want the best for them in life. (They are unaware that I do this). You never know what someone is going through, and what could either be a breaking point or break through for them. We hold onto so many problems and need an outlet and a safe space. I aim to make sure that each person feels valued and seen, and to give them the best experience that I can. I have a big heart and a lot of passion, and that is seen in every class. One of the greatest commandments is to love our neighbor and I take that seriously.
Afrofeteness has helped women to reach their fitness goals, increase their confidence, improve their dance skills, learn about other cultures, relieve stress, experience joy and so much more!
Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
I knew that I was placed on Earth to make a positive impact in the lives of many all over the world. I was born with a heart to serve those in need and bring joy to others. In an Afrofeteness class, I want everyone to leave feeling empowered, joyful, or in some way better than the way that they came. I don’t think we realize the impact dance can have and how it can literally change someone’s life. Dance helps us to relieve stress, release trauma and emotions, express ourselves, connect with others, appreciate cultures, stay in shape, have fun and the list is ongoing.
Knowing that I am helping others on whatever journey that they are on, is what drives me. Hearing testimonies of how my content and classes have helped different people is confirmation that I am walking in my purpose. My ultimate goal is to create an Afrofeteness Philanthropy. Building an orphanage, creating dance classes for children living in impoverished communities, and creating classes for youth with special needs. I want to use my gifts and talents to give back and bring joy. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of The Most High’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
2020 was the year I was supposed to move to Colombia, South America and launch my dance fitness business. I had previously lived in Colombia teaching English, along with administering dance classes to underprivileged and displaced children.
After quitting my job as a toddler teacher in January 2019, the following month I decided to take a month off from the workforce and spend that time in Cartagena, Colombia. During this time, I began teaching a group of young ladies choreography and recording our dances. One of our videos started gaining a lot of attention, and many people became interested in taking classes with me. I was constantly receiving inquiries about classes, even after returning back to the U.S. So I made the decision that I would move back to Colombia the following year to launch my dance fitness business, since there was such a high demand.
Months before the expected big move, the Covid Pandemic began. Colombia was now out of the picture. I was left thinking: What am I supposed to do now? I had been planning this move for over a year. I began losing hope because I didn’t see myself becoming as successful in the U.S. as I would in Colombia. People there were begging for my classes. My new plan was to wait until the pandemic was over to begin anything in regard to my business. Yet, after speaking to my mom, she told me to start doing what I would’ve done if I were already in Colombia.
A few months later, in October of 2020, Afrofeteness officially became a LLC. I was now a business owner and could host classes under the name Afrofeteness. I partnered up with someone to create my logo and began getting serious about managing my social media platforms, especially TikTok. I then started to see the growth I didn’t think I could have in the U.S. That wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t take the steps to get started. Instead of waiting for the perfect time and location, taking action helped me get to where I am today. I am still on my journey, but have advanced a lot further from where I was at the starting point.
- Website: https://afrofeteness-llc.mailchimpsites.com/
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/afrofeteness?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/c/Afrofeteness
- Other: Link tree: https://linktr.ee/Afrofeteness Tik Tok: https://vm.tiktok.com/