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What it really takes to grow a hoop community

What it really takes to build a community - Sunny Diz

Sunny Diz, Hoop-It Greece, takes us on her journey from zero students to a thriving hoop community in Greece. She shares with us the advice that changed it all.

I started hooping back in 2008 in Brighton, UK. When I packed my bags back to my home country, I left some space in the bag for a big dream: to create a hoop community in Greece.

There I was, in 2009 in Athens holding a hoop in one hand and my day job (architecture) in the other hand, looking for hoopers in my area. But there we zero hoopers. ZERO!

For a couple of years I was hooping in secret, so nobody could see me or make fun of me, because deeply in my mind I was thinking that hooping was indeed only for kids, that I was way too old to hoop. I believed the clichés.

When I realised it wasn’t fun hiding and it wasn’t fun hooping alone, I quit hooping for a couple of years,

When I learned about the Hoop Love Coaching program from Hooplovers, I felt it was the sign I was waiting for. And it really was. Not a sign but the greatest possible boost I could ever have.

This brings us to 2014.

5 years later, I teach 3-4 weekly classes for adults, 1-2 kids classes and 2-3 workshops every month.  I coach a hoop performance team with 3 lovely hoop ladies, I have taught at amazing hoop retreats and conventions around Europe and I have a lot of Greek hooper friends.

It’s a success story someone might say. Yes it is a success! But didn’t felt like that all the way…

There were times I felt I was going nowhere, that every single step was another failure. And that led every single time to feel  “not good enough”, “not strong enough” “not even a hooper”.

I made this confession to a friend a couple of years ago. I told him “I feel that I am doing so many things, but nothing seems to work. My classes are still empty plus I don’t make enough money to live. I feel exhausted from trying and hitting my head upon a wall”

His answer really changed my life…

He said “you know, when you use a hand water pump you need to put a lot of your energy in at the beginning, but you cannot see the water coming out of it. It takes time for the water to flow and when it starts flowing, then you will need less power. But if you never pump hard enough, the water isn’t going to flow at all

Yes! He said the magic word. FLOW.

And then it came to me. Setting a hoop business is like approaching hoop flow. Same story. So what do we need to find our flow in hooping? What do we, as teachers advise our students to do when hooping? We can use the same advice to grow our hoop community, to fill our hoop classes (and at the end to make money out of it!)

1. It’s ok if it drops

Yes. It is ok if we fail. It is ok if students don’t show up to our classes. This is the way to realize we are doing something wrong (wrong, not bad), and something needs to change.

2. Practice makes perfect

We weren’t born with a hoop around our waist and we weren’t born as hoop entrepreneurs. We need to practice different methods of promoting, teaching, getting out there. Some will work, some won’t. The only thing you have to do is to try.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others

If you have students with amazing dancing, ballet background and skills, you might have heard other beginner hoopers complaining about “how does she do it and I can’t?” Of course this happens to us as hoop entrepreneurs. How come Miss Hooper X has so many students and I don’t…and so on. Of course it happened to me. I started my hoop biz in Greece during an enormous crisis of economy and I was expecting students to come to my class and pay 8-10euros while many people around where homeless, or unemployed. So what could I do? And this takes us to the next point

4. Maybe you aren’t using the right hoop

Using a children’s hoop to start hooping is so frustrating and we all know it. So maybe it’s not you. Maybe is the things around you. And someone might say “I cannot change the things around”. Yes that’s true. But if you can’t find the right hoop in your local market, then maybe you have to order online, from another country. So what if you go online and share your passion with the world hoop community?

And sometimes things change. They changed for me. Greece is no longer in that awful economic situation. People can afford my classes. If I gave up before that, I wouldn’t be able to know it.

5. Be patient

It took me a couple of months to nail shoulder hooping. I needed to wait for my body to understand the movement, to feel the hoop. It also took me years to flow with the hoop. So what? What if we quit before getting there? It took me around 10 years to get almost where I wanted with my hoop biz, so what? What if I quit before making my dreams came true?

6. Look for inspiration – meet other hoopers

If you have ever been in a hoop jam, you would know how inspiring it is to watch other people hooping. How many ideas for your own flow you can take from others. This can happen to your hoop biz if you meet other entrepreneurs. For me it worked by observing promotion policies from big companies. There was a telecommunication company offering 1&1 tickets for cinema or movies. And I did it. 1& 1 for my classes. For a whole semester, I was offering 2 sign-ups for the cost of one. Well…it worked! The class was full, plus I earned more than I would without this idea!

And just a small reminder for the end…

If you ever feel that growing your hoop biz or hoop community is way too hard, remember the smile on your face when you nailed waist hooping for the first time!

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This article is written by a Hoop Love Coach Sunny Diz

Sunny Diz is a Qualified Hoop Love Coach who spreads the hoop love all across Greece from 2010. She started hooping in Brighton, UK in 2008, while taking a master course in Architecture and promised herself to find a way to combine hoop dance and architecture for a better and healthier life. She founded Hoop it! in 2012 in order to share the happiness of hooping and the unlimited power of exercising through playing. Sunny teaches hoop dance and hoop fitness workshops and classes, based in Athens, she organizes hoop events and performs in festivals all over Greece, inspiring people to stay connected to their inner selves and to the power of “now”.

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