Lora Jane Hyden never intended to go into business. She intended to earn a living dancing, particularly ballet. But if she was going to earn a living in ballet and live in her home town Paintsville, she had no choice but to start her own business.
“I would hate to spend my life behind a desk, but honestly, I had never taken one business class. My idea was to try it for a year,” said Lora Jane, thinking that she might not garner enough business to sustain her. But at year’s end, her success was beyond her expectations. By 2005 she won an Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored by a consortium of regional development organizations.
“We are bursting at the seams. Dance is flourishing here.”
Active and athletic as a high school student, Lora Jane played tennis and golf, and was a competitive swimmer for seven years. While a student at Morehead State University, Lora Jane struck a deal with a local dance studio – she would teach and help manage the studio in exchange for dancing lessons. She ended up graduating from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, with a concentration in dance. She also studied music and art.
After graduation, she landed a job at a Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Florida and was prepared to move when she got word from MACED Business Development Associate Regina Becknell that her low-interest business start-up loan was approved. But she had absolutely no business experience. She sought help from a Small Business Development Center in Pikeville who helped her with a business plan.
Her first week, Lora Jane had five dance students. The number grew, week after week. As the number of students grew, so did her knowledge of running a business, taking advice from MACED staff to manage taxes, cash flow and the importance of using a business accounting software such as Quickbooks.
Classes are busy, with a daily schedule
running each evening from five to nine featuring new programs in acting and music
. Lora Jane hopes to offer voice and art classes in the future.
Lora Jane also participates in performing arts in the region. Eastern Kentuckians have enjoyed Lora Jane’s performances in Jenny Wiley Theater productions such as The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and Hurray for Hollywood.
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