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This is not just about POLE. This is about BUSINESS.

The resources below are all for people who are new to starting a business.

That business may be a pole-related product, service, event business or a studio. That business may also be a solo-prenuer or contractor business as a SWer/stripper, a paid performer, or an instructor. Use the categories to sort. Some resources are only available to IPIA members.

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New content is being added weekly and posts are reviewed and updated regularly as new information becomes available.

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The importance of writing a mission and vision statement for your pole-based organization

Mission and vision statements are often associated with non-profit organizations but can be useful in for-profit organizations of all sizes (even individuals!) and all industries too. Keep reading for more information on what these statements are and how they can be useful to your pole-based business. What is a mission statement? Your mission statement basically…

Do you have a cancellation policy for your pole studio?

Most service-based businesses benefit from an official policy on how to handle scheduling, moving, and cancelling appointments. For pole studios and instructors, this information should be clearly communicated before your students signs up for a group or private class. Continue reading for tips on what to include in your policy and how to enforce it.…

Top 10 free resources for pole professionals

Building a business can be tough! Especially when it may start as a side hustle that you can’t spend a lot of time or money on. We’ve collected 10 free (a few free-mium) resources to help you on your pole business journey! Check out all the links below in two major categories “marketing” and “business.”…

5 questions to ask before hiring a new pole instructor

Are you a studio owner looking to hire a new pole instructor for your studio? Check out these open-ended questions below and add them to your hiring process! Are these the only questions you should ask? Nope! But they are a great way to see if someone is a good fit for your studio. Every…

IPIA Webinar: Aerial Ambition – Branding and Marketing Talkshop with Ashley Robinson

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Ten Tips for Creating a “Vibe” at Your Pole Dance Studio

We have all heard the term “vibe” in mainstream media. But have you thought of it in terms of pole dance studios? According to the Collins Dictionary, the informal definition of the word vibe is “the good or bad atmosphere that you sense with a person or in a place.” Of course a good atmosphere…

Top 7 questions to ask yourself before opening a pole studio

Opening any business is tough! Committing to a brick-and-mortar business is even harder. Typically, the cost for commercial real estate is expensive. Add build out costs and all the relevant pole equipment, and you’re suddenly looking at a very costly endeavor. Do you have 6-12 months of living expenses saved? Surprises happen! Even if you…

IPIA Webinar: Interview with Ezama Lo’i

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Pros and Cons of Drop-in versus Semester Classes

If you own or run a pole dance studio, you will undoubtedly have to make the decision on what type of class structure to provide. Typically, studios will provide drop-in classes, semester/series-type classes, or a combination of both. In this post, we will focus on the pros and cons of drop-in classes versus semester classes…

How to pick the best flooring for your pole studio

Picking the best flooring for your pole studio can be a challenge. We want it to be slidey but not too slippery, firm but not too hard, easy to keep clean, and, of course, reflective of our overall studio vibe. That’s a tall order – whew! Ask these questions before choosing a floor Before choosing…

How many poles can fit in your space?

Are you a new studio owner? Or do you want to be? If so, you’ve probably thought of this question a lot when looking for space for your studio. This post will cover some things to think about so you understand how many poles can fit in your space. The answer to that question translates…

Stage Pole Rental Sample Agreement

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What is an elevator pitch and why should I have one?

An elevator pitch is a business tool that you can whip out of your pocket to let others in your industry understand who you are, what you are passionate about, and what you bring to the table quickly and effectively. A well-scripted elevator pitch is handy at trade events, job fairs, when speaking to customers,…

IPIA Webinar: Ask Angie, “Psoas I was saying…”

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How to write a book for the pole industry

You’ve got a great idea, and you’ve always wanted to write a book, but how do you do it? We’ve talked to some of the heavy-hitting writers in the pole industry to learn how to get your book out of your head and on to paper. Why write a book? There are currently still very…

IPIA Webinar: Interview with Neola Wilby, Author of “Strength and Conditioning for Pole”

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Features versus benefits: How knowing the difference can improve your marketing

Just like the words “sales” and “marketing” are often used interchangeably, “features” and “benefits” often get jumbled together. We get the basic idea—features and benefits describe what you are selling—but what do these words really mean and why is knowing the difference important? Understanding the difference between features and benefits can help you fine-tune your…

Should I hire certified instructors?

Pole dancing is still a new industry, and there is no one gold standard for certifications or benchmark for hiring certified or non-certified pole instructors. Newly certified instructors may have good intentions but have limited experience working with the myriad of ability levels typically found in a studio. Many teachers with years of experience don’t…

Writing effective customer surveys to get the data you need

Having a full understanding of your target audience’s wants and needs is crucial to running a small business. Pole studio owners or instructors probably spend lots of time face to face talking with customers, and that is a great way to get feedback and learn how you can improve your business. But when you don’t…

How to work with family and friends

Being a small business owner is tough! You are often working in your business serving customers and on your business, working to improve processes like marketing and sales usually ALL at the same time! Because of these challenges, and not being able to find more time in the day or successfully clone ourselves, we often…

PERFORMANCE AGREEMENT TEMPLATE

[administrator notice: content below memberonly level=”Group Membership for Businesses of 2-5 individuals, Student, Individual or Solo-Preneur”] Update this template as necessary based on the laws in your municipality. PERFORMANCE AGREEMENT   THIS CONTRACT (the “Agreement”) made and entered into this                  day of                                 ,                  (the “Execution Date”),   BETWEEN:                                                      of                                                   …

What is the difference between marketing and sales?

Wait—there is a difference between marketing and sales? Yes! The two terms are often used interchangeably, and their functions overlap and feed into each other, further confusing things. For example, at an event, you might hand out brochures and business cards, answer questions, and hold a raffle (marketing) but also sell several costume pieces (sales).…

ENTERTAINMENT / ARTIST CONTRACT

[administrator notice: content below memberonly level=”Group Membership for Businesses of 2-5 individuals, Student, Individual or Solo-Preneur”] Update this template as necessary based on the laws in your municipality.   This agreement, made one this date                                             between                                                                 (hereinafter referred to as (“Company”) and                                                                                            hereinafter referred to as “Performing Artist(s)”.   WITNESSETH, that Company…

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR AGREEMENT

[administrator notice: content below memberonly level=”Group Membership for Businesses of 2-5 individuals, Student, Individual or Solo-Preneur”] Update this template as necessary based on the laws in your municipality. INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR AGREEMENT   This agreement for the provision of pole dance and alternative fitness/dance lessons (“Agreement”) is made and entered into this                                                                     Day of                      …

Media Release Template

[administrator notice: content below memberonly level=”Group Membership for Businesses of 2-5 individuals, Student, Individual or Solo-Preneur”] Update this template as necessary based on the laws in your municipality. ENTERTAINER/PERFORMER RELEASE: AGREEMENT AND AUTHORIZATION TO BE IN MEDIA   THIS RELEASE (the “Agreement”) is made and entered into this                                          (the “Execution Date”),   BETWEEN:                                         …

Virtual PoleCon 2021: Queer Pole Panel

This panel was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2021 event held on October 17, 2021.  

Virtual PoleCon 2021: Stripper and Sex Worker Panel

This panel was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2021 event held on October 17, 2021.  

Virtual PoleCon 2021: Race and Cultural Appropriation Panel

This panel was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2021 event held on October 17, 2021.  

Virtual PoleCon 2021: Dangerous Curves Panel

This panel was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2021 event held on October 17, 2021.  

Virtual PoleCon 2021: Pole Business Panel

This panel was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2021 event held on October 17, 2021.  

Why you need a contract for basically everything

The pole industry can often feel like a very friendly place. And friends don’t ask friends for contracts, right? You’re *just* supposed to trust each other, right? WRONG! The very best thing you can do for yourself, and for your friends, is to have a contract. What is a contract? A contract, at its most…

IPIA Webinar: Funnel Hacking: The Death of the Website, Making Money On Social Media, and Leveraging Your Following with AccroBrandon

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IPIA Webinar: Business and Personal Finance with T.J. Buccini

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IPIA Webinar: About Joining the IPIA Board

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Do you need music licensing for virtual pole dance classes?

All studios, events, and performances need to have a license to play music in-person. With the rise of virtual events, do the same rules apply? The answer is a little more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.” Traditional music licensing US Copyright Law requires you to have a license, or the artist’s written permission,…

How to build a personal brand

“Branding” is one of those terms thrown around a lot these days, but no one really knows what it means or how it applies to their life or business. A famous person, sure—but a regular human? How could that possibly be relevant? What is a personal brand? A personal brand is a combination of actions,…

IPIA Webinar: How get the most from your next professional photography shoot with these tips from Candra Cain

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Sample Budget Pole Event Template

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IPIA Webinar: Developing your Dream Niche 101 with Mica Saunders

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How to price your pole-based product business

Pole-based business products might include (but are not limited to) merchandise, apparel, shoes, accessories, products to improve or modify your grip, apparatus, apparatus cleaners, apparatus attachments/improvements, books (ebooks or physical), templates, online/virtual/pre-recorded tutorials/workout programs, or other products that are focused on or tangential to the pole industry. Pricing products involves a different methodology than pricing…

How to price your pole-based service business

Pole-based business services might include (but are not limited to) teaching pole or pole adjacent movement, fitness or mindset coaching for competitors, business coaching for other pole businesses, providing fitness trainer type support for conditioning, physical therapy specific to polers or even sex education consultation services that involve a pole. Pricing services involves a different…

How pole-based businesses can avoid copyright infringement

Online content is everywhere and because it’s easily accessible, it may feel like you can repurpose whatever content you find online for your own uses including for your business. However, just because it can be found publicly doesn’t mean you automatically have the rights to use it. All content is created by someone and they…

How to find the best commercial space for your pole studio

There are many ways to start a pole studio. Some pole-preneurs choose virtual or mobile options or even teaching individuals or small groups out of their home as affordable ways to start a pole studio and then grow into a commercial or retail space. Other studio owners choose to locate their studio in a commercial…

How to create a budget for your pole business

The basic purpose of a budget is to understand the difference between your revenue, money coming into your business, and your expenses, money going out of your business. Understanding this information can help you adjust your expectations or your spending habits to maximize the potential profit from your business or to make corrections to ensure…

COVID Waiver Template

[administrator notice: content below memberonly level=”Group Membership for Businesses of 2-5 individuals, Student, Individual or Solo-Preneur”] Update this template as necessary based on the laws in your municipality. ASSUMPTION OF THE RISK AND WAIVER OF LIABILITY RELATING TO CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19   The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization.…

How do I get healthcare as an independent contractor?

If you work for a business as a 1099 consultant/contractor, then that company in the United States (US) is not legally required to offer you healthcare coverage. If you own your own business (such as a LLC or as an INC) and do not have employees, then you also qualify as a 1099 consultant/contractor for…

How to Run a Virtual Class

Many pole instructors and studios are switching to virtual classes to serve a global audience and to protect against the spread of infectious disease. Whether you are starting your first teaching business online, porting an in-person business to being virtual or looking for hybrid solutions, here are some tips on how to set up your…

The Importance of Documenting Injuries that Occur in Your Pole Studio

We have previously discussed the importance of having an emergency action plan specific to your pole studio. Why is this so important? Because pole injuries will occur in your studio, and it is best to have a plan in place to handle them. Although it is impossible to predict every injury that will occur, handling…

Injury Report Template

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Emergency Action Plan Template

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Does Your Pole Studio Have an Emergency Action Plan?

Injuries are bound to happen in a pole studio. Pole dancers put their bodies through extreme demands including climbing, inverting, stretching, and dancing at high levels of intensity. Sure, the benefits outweigh the risks. But is your studio prepared for those risks? Would if there is a fire at your studio? Do you have a…

How to Pick the Right Poles for Your Pole-based Business

Selecting the right poles for your pole-based business is a fairly straightforward process.  There are a handful of companies manufacturing freestanding and mounted poles currently with more manufacturers entering the market world-wide each year. Determine your studio needs How you plan to deliver your pole-related services will help you determine your pole needs. Determining your…

Virtual PoleCon 2020: Everything But the Performance

This workshop was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2020 event held on October 17, 2020. Everything But the Performance by Irmingard Mayer: So you’ve trained to a level where you feel ready to perform. You have the skills and creative ideas. But have you thought about the other elements involved in performance? This workshop will…

Virtual PoleCon 2020: Pole Studios and Instructors Insurance 101

This workshop was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2020 event held on October 17, 2020. Pole Studios and Instructors Insurance 101 with Tom Wojciechowski: An easy-to-understand approach to the insurance products available for Pole Studios and Instructors.  From recommended policies and the exposures we are covering to pricing and policy limits, independent contractor instructor liability and…

Virtual PoleCon 2020: Pole Business Panel

This panel was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2020 event held on October 17, 2020. Pole Business Panel lead by Colleen Jolly: Small business is hard and a small business in the pole industry is even harder. Hear from a variety of types of businesses in our industry through our panel discuss important business topics…

Virtual PoleCon 2020: Building a Public Brand

This workshop was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2020 event held on October 17, 2020. Building a Public Brand with Nikki St. John: Everything you put on the internet is public and everyone is going virtual these days. How do you build a public brand that cuts through the noise and really represents you and…

How to make the transition from pole dancer to stripper

No matter how many lap dance, striptease, and floorwork workshops you have taken as a pole dance enthusiast, none of those classes can fully prepare you for life as a stripper. Being a stripper not only requires the physical prowess of pole enthusiasts but also the talents of a top-notch salesperson who can engage and…

How to set up a non-profit pole-based organization

Starting a nonprofit company/organization/entity/business (all used interchangeably in this resource) is similar to setting up a for-profit company with some key differences. The information below is on the steps needed to set up a non-profit pole-based company in the US. Making sure you qualify as a non-profit business All businesses—for profit or non-profit—start in the…

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

What is Intellectual property? Intellectual property is what makes you and your business unique. This could be your visual or movement arts, your methods for teaching, how you structure classes, the products in your business, how you conduct your services or other. To be fully protected under law, it’s best to protect your intellectual property…

What is the difference between licensing and franchising?

Licensing and franchising are both different legal structures you can use to grow your pole-based business. While both of these options take time, they often take less time than having you manage multiple locations of your business and can increase your reach in different locations for different markets, all around the world. For those who…

Using the Business Model Canvas to Illustrate Your Organization

For decades, business books and seminars have encouraged entrepreneurs to build a business plan, which usually includes an executive statement, financial projections, the organizational structure, etc. Ideally, the plan paints a picture of your business operations so that potential investors and other stakeholders can decide whether they want to take a risk on you/your organization.…

What is the difference between employees and contractors?

Choosing to have employees, contractors or a mix of the two is very important for the health of your business. Choosing the wrong type can cost you penalty fees and lots of hassle with local, state and federal government entities. If you have the option to be an employee or a contractor, you also should…

Understanding Employee Payroll and Payroll Services

What is Payroll? Payroll is the list of employees your company pays on a regular basis. This usually includes the amount of money received for time work/tasks completed and may also include benefits distributions or even accrued time off. Payroll can be weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, monthly or at some other regularity. There is also no…

How to Build a Website, Step by Step

This resource focuses on each step to purchasing, hosting, and building a website. A website is a good way to showcase all of your products and services, tell the world about your business, and help promote it online. While having a good social media presence is also important, you don’t own that content and you…

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the general term for the type of marketing brands use to promote themselves on social media platforms. The goal is to convert visitors to interacting with your brand, whether that is purchasing a product or service, engaging with your posts, or learning more about what you provide. Social media platforms have…

What Insurance Do You Need for Your Pole Business?

All pole business owners need multiple types of insurance to protect from various financial threats. Most Common Insurance Needs for Pole Businesses The most common insurance for pole businesses is General Liability insurance. General Liability Insurance General Liability insurance is the most common insurance that all pole businesses including studios and solo-preneurs such as instructors…

How to chose a Legal Structure that is Best for Your Pole Business

When starting your business it’s very important to choose the right legal business structure. The structures outline the registration mechanics, your liability within the business, the way you manage the business, how the business is taxed, and restrictions on selling the business. There are multiple legal structures, but the two most popular for small businesses…

How to Start Your Own Pole Business

So you want to start your own business? Maybe it’s a studio, maybe it’s creating a new grip, maybe it’s an event. You’ve got a great idea, some extra time on your hands and now you are ready to be your own boss. Sound familiar? Then read on! All businesses start in the same way:…

How to Foster Professionalism in the Pole Industry

Professionalism in its most basic form is how you conduct yourself in a business environment. In a corporate setting, professionalism is often conflated with unimportant issues like appearance and word choice, allowing well-meaning managers to focus on the length of skirts, the color of hair and the use of the word “fuck.” A definition from…

Creating an Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is a valuable way to communicate with your employees. It should include all policies and procedures that are relevant to your business. Provide an employee handbook upon first hiring a new employee and provide training so they know how to be successful at their job. Training may be in-person or remote and…

Liability Waiver Template

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What is a Liability Waiver?

If you are conducting online or in person classes, your insurance will likely require you to have a liability waiver. If you are participating in an activity such as performing or teaching, or attending a class, the business hosting those activities will likely require you to sign a liability waiver. Sometimes liability waivers are combined…

Business Plan Template

All businesses start in the fundamentally same way: figuring out what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Begin this conversation with yourself and your trusted support system such as a spouse or friends, formally or informally answering those questions. You can use a formal process like a SWOT analysis to assist you in answering…

The Only 3 Marketing Tips You’ll Ever Need

While there may be a hot, new marketing tool that does dramatically help your business grow, most marketing know-how boils down to three basic elements: do it do it consistently figure out who you’re marketing to and tailor 1 and 2 to suit their preferences. Do It The worst thing you can do for your…

How to Fund Your Pole Based Business

From getting capital to start up your business, propel your business forward or just to manage cash flow between slow months, getting more money is always a challenge. There is no “best way” to fund a business, rather there are lots of options that will help you start or continue to fund your business. You…

General Tax Information

This resource is a general post focused on US-based pole dance instructors, performers or SWer/strippers and those with LLC-structured pole businesses. What to Expect Tax law changes and updates every year, sometimes those updates are small and sometimes they dramatic and wide-ranging. Make sure to stay up-to-date on any tax laws that change. Reference the…

What is a Non-Compete Agreement?

Non Compete Agreements or Non Compete Clauses (NCAs or NCCs respectively) are designed to protect an employer’s business through limiting an employee’s access to rival/other businesses. Historically they were used most frequently in executive level employment or high tech companies where competition is fierce; now they are popping up everywhere from “event planners to chefs…

Marketing Plan Template

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How to Create a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan can take many forms. At the most basic level, it is a commitment to engage with your customers and potential customers in a specific way (or set of ways) on a regular basis with the intent to sell them your product and/or service. The concept of “engaging with your customers” takes many…

Model Release Form

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Creating a Pole-based Event Business

If you are looking to create, run or found a pole-related event of any size from a studio showcase to a multi-day event, ask yourself these six questions before officially starting to build your plan and your budget: Why am I running this event? Your mission. Your event and your business in general should be…

What is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a straightforward, yet powerful process to help you make informed, business decisions. SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You can use this process as a planning tool for opening or revamping studio, for creating an event, making a new product or even in positioning your…

What to Expect from Paid Photoshoots

Instructors, performers, SWers and other pole businesses can all benefit from having professional photoshoots to improve their brand image! This post is focused on an individual working either in a trade photoshoot or paid photoshoot capacity. For information on building up a photo portfolio to use in your own marketing where you would pay the…

How to Get a Paid Pole Gig

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What is SAG and Why as a Performer You Should Care?

SAG for short or SAG-AFTRA as the full name is the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It is an American labor union representing approximately 160,000 film and television actors, journalists, radio personalities, recording artists, singers, voice actors, and other media professionals worldwide. It is  not solely restricted to actors…

What to Expect from a Paid Pole Gig as a Newbie

As a performer, paid roles can vary by who hires you, what/who you’re actually performing for, the purpose of the performance, etc. If you’re booked to perform on any type of professional set tied to a known musician, TV show or film, you will be expected to be: Prompt and arrive on time or earlier.…

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