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Full Time Pole: Natasha Wang

By on July 16, 2018

Photo by Faceiro – Chris Underwood

As part of our series on Full Time Pole Stars, we interview various stars on the business of being a pole star. For this installment, we talk to one of the original Pole Stars, Natasha Wang.

Describe your daily routine? How long to you spend training in the studio or gym and how long to you spend at a computer doing the administrative stuff?

When I’m at home in between teaching tours, my daily schedule looks kind of like this:

7:15am: Roll out of bed! 

7:45 – 10:30am: Morning pole training at BeSpun

11 – 11:45am: MSNBC + second coffee of the day

12pm: Afternoon Yoga 

2 – 6pm: Desk work – scheduling upcoming tours, booking travel, social media posts, planning workshop and class curriculums, X-Purr

6:45pm: OrangeTheory workout

8pm: Dinner

11pm: Bedtime

Do you work with any other service professionals to help with the stuff you’re not good at or don’t like? Such as accounting, social media, tour scheduling?

Poles on Tour has been overseeing my tour scheduling for the past 5 years, although I’m slowly taking over some of those responsibilities. Kristy Craig from Poles on Tour has also helped a great deal with my personal business, including assistance with social media, creating my website and marketing/promotional materials, overseeing product inventory, and creating graphics and designs for my personal merch.

Broadly, can you describe your income streams and frequency? For instance, do you make a regular salary at a studio + some merchandise sales? Or does all your income come in batches like from doing a tour?

Most of my income comes from tours. On a much smaller scale, I also receive income from merchandise sales (both my personal merchandise as well as MilaKrasna and X-Purr), private lessons and semi-regular teaching at BeSpun when home, and commissions from my partnerships with OpenDance Academy, 21grams and MilaKrasna. 

How do you manage your daily/monthly budget?

My musician husband recently returned to practicing law, so money is much less tight than in previous years, when I was supporting the household with my teaching pay. While I don’t exactly have a formal monthly budget, those lean years means I’ve now learned how to get by with relatively little. My indulgences include eating out, an OrangeTheory membership and workout clothes.

Photo by Alloy Images

Are you saving for retirement?

I have a SEP-IRA retirement account from when I worked in PRand a savings account in which I deposit $1K each month. 

Do you have a partner, spouse, parent, roommate or other person that helps you? With meeting your budget, acting as support “staff,” or other?

Yes – my husband has been both my tax accountant, graphic designer and stay-at-home chef, masseuse, and errand boy since I ventured out professionally on my own. Since he’s recently returned to work, he’s much more able to contribute financially, which will mean less teaching tours for me this year and more time starting a family. 

If you had another job before – what do you miss about it?

The financial stability, health insurance, retirement contributions and the intellectual stimulation.

Are you worried at all about longevity of your career? And of your body?

Absolutely. At 42, these are things I think about on the daily! 

What is your self-care and recovery regime?

I plan one day a week of complete physical rest. I usually spend that day camped out at the 24-hour Korean spa with my laptop and a stack of books and work from there. I also try to get bodywork done – once a week when I’m competition training, but ideally once a month. 

Have you ever been injured? How did that affect your career?

Not seriously, knock on wood, but I’ve been through my fair share of muscle strains and dislocated toes, but nothing that has forced me off the pole for long though. 

Is there anything you wish you knew before you started on this road?

I regret not being more fiscally responsible in my early days of touring and teaching and not planning for my retirement and putting enough away in savings. When you’re just starting out, the money feels like it’s flowing from everywhere – endorsements, sponsorships, teaching, performances, judging… A few years ago, I earned the same amount during a one-month workshop tour as working four months at my last PR job. It’s easy to spend this money frivolously (especially when you’re being paid in cash). And of course I didn’t always take into account the costs involved with touring – travel expense, food and sometimes lodging, and of course the intangible costs of time away from training, family and friends. Touring is the most fun you’ll ever have working, but it can be straining on your body, and if workshops don’t sell well, on your pocketbook. 

Photo by Diego Castillo Photography

Anything else you’d like to share with someone who is thinking of making the leap to being a full time pole-fessional (teacher, touring teacher, other)?

It’s the BEST job you’ll ever have. You’ll see first-hand the transformative effect pole has on your students, and to be the conduit for this change is one of the most amazing feelings. If you decide to try touring, you’ll get to see the world, meet amazing people and the income can be quite good. Just be prepared to hustle however. The competition is fierce these days, with lots of touring instructors, so make sure you carve out your niche, create good workshop descriptions, price your workshops fairly, and offer incentives for studios to book you. Some studios have declined hosting international instructors because workshops don’t always sell well and studios end of losing money, so if you can make the experience of booking you easier, more seamless and more financially sound for the studio, it helps the pole touring industry all around. 

 

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Colleen Jolly
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Colleen Jolly

is AFAA and elevatED certified pole dance enthusiast and entrepreneur. She has been poling for six years, runs and owns the International Pole Convention (PoleCon), teaches pole and lyra in the DC metro area at FIT4Polers and MyBodyShop, and is a partner and instructor with 123Poling.com. She loves performing, regularly competes, and lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two kitties.
Colleen Jolly
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