Six years ago, Dana Elliot left her job as a fourth grade teacher and took on the new role as the owner of the Teams of Tomorrow franchise in the Great San Antonio area.
All these years later, Elliot could not be happier with the decision she made. Not only is she enjoying the work that she’s doing, she enjoys the freedom it allows her.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s been the greatest thing I’ve done. For me, it’s the best of both worlds. I get to teach and see the kids everyday, but I’m not stuck in the same four walls everyday and it’s really nice. To me that’s the beauty of having your own business. I still work every day, but I get to go to different places.”
Like many TOT owners, Elliot received an introductory email that she initially brushed off. She said she remembers everyone looking so happy, but the timing wasn’t right for her. A year later, she received another email and decided to get more information.
She and her husband attended an informational meeting where they met Missy Washam and liked everything they heard. Elliot said she had always wanted to be a successful business owner, and after discussing the opportunity with her husband, she decided to go for it.
“I liked the idea of being able to do something that was fun but also worthwhile with children,” she said. “Kids need to move, they need activity. I liked the whole idea of the movement and the music and the curriculum… to teach something fun and still be teaching.”
TOT has since become a family affair for the Elliot’s. Elliot’s daughter is one of her teachers, and when August rolls around or performance nights are happening, everyone has a role. It’s not something they expected, but Dana said learning the business brought her family even more together.
“There were nights we’d all be sitting at the kitchen table putting labels on flyers,” she said. “We made handprinted ornaments, too. It was really cool. Our kitchen table was a mess for weeks, but it was a project we did as a family. It brought us together more in some way. Now, every August, we’ve got to put labels on the flyers. What I love is whenever we have the performances my son helps… my sister helps… even my mom helps. In that respect, it’s been unique to have something we can all participate in.”
Having her family’s support, both in her decision to become a franchise director and assisting her throughout the years has been critical to Dana and her success in her eyes.
“I couldn’t have done it without my family,” she said. “The support of my husband, daughter and son…having family there is very beneficial. There are a lot of things you have to do for the business. If you’re just one person it’s harder. I love the fact that I have my family to help.”
The past six years haven’t been perfectly smooth sailing for Elliot; she’s had trouble marketing in some school districts that have strict guidelines on passing out flyers and other materials, but the bumps in the road don’t bother her. She said she felt that TOT fully prepared her with an excellent game plan.
“TOT National has developed a good plan, and if you work the plan, the plan will work,” she said. “The training provided was extensive. There was lots of support the year I started. There was a coach that we’d be in contact with weekly. If we had problems, she’d have suggestions. The plan was good. I did it and it worked. It’s hard, it’s work and you get some no’s but you also get a lot of yes’s. I felt like I always had the backing of TOT National, and I still do.”
Elliot said TOT is truly her passion and said she’s never had a day she didn’t want to go to work, and her passion is rubbing off on others.
“My granddaughter was playing TOT one day,” she said. “She was the TOT teacher and all of her stuffed animals were set up. She put dots and cones and basketballs out and it was the most precious thing to see…just yesterday we were working on TOT stuff and she told me ‘I want to be a TOT teacher.’ She’s four years old and it’s just precious.”