How a Hula-Hooping Entrepreneur Uses Intuit GoPayment to Boost Sales

Loving the entrepreneurial life is often a matter of making money from your passion. As owner of Rock-a-hoola Hoops, Angel Rutsch has done just that.

The Intuit Small Business Blog caught up with Rutsch to learn more about her operation — which teaches classes, organizes parties, and sells custom-made hoops — and about how she uses Intuit GoPayment to spread her love of hooping across Maryland and Virginia.

ISBB: What inspired Rock-a-hoola?

Rutsch: I bought a Hula-Hoop as a birthday gift to myself and finally found a fitness routine that I was passionate about! Having taken many workshops and classes over the course of two years, I decided that I could be the one teaching others! After 15 years as a corporate professional, I was also hungry for an alternative career. With that, Rock-a-hoola was born.

How do you market your services?

I do most of my marketing at wine and art festivals and occasionally attend small-business or woman-owned business fairs. Setting up a hot pink booth with colorful hoops for people to play with and buy is usually all it takes to draw a crowd! I also reach out to local schools, gyms, dance studios, and weight-loss storefronts to offer hooping classes.

You offer custom-made hoops, hoop-making parties, and hoop instruction. Which offering is the most popular?

The most successful area of my business is selling custom-made hoops. It’s a small investment that ensures laughter and movement, and it’s simple and convenient to use. There’s also the nostalgic “fun factor”: Most people loved hula-hooping as kids!

What’s the most interesting event you’ve hosted?

“Bucket list” parties! These events are usually a group of middle-aged women who join forces to conquer life goals. Typically, they were never able to hoop as a child and are now determined to learn; it’s my job to teach the “unteachable.” It’s incredible to be part of such a fun event where women so supportive and encouraging of one another.

What was business life like before and after you started to use Intuit GoPayment?

Life before Intuit GoPayment meant I lost sales when potential customers didn’t carry cash, and I always [was uncertain] whether a check I was accepting was “good.” Using GoPayment gives my clients an easier way to pay for services at all price points, whether it’s an inexpensive glitter tattoo or a child’s birthday party with custom-made hoops for all of the guests. I also love the follow-up data I have on customers when I use GoPayment.

What are three workout “tricks” that hooping novices can work into their waist-whittling routines?

1. Reverse your hoop. Once you’ve got basic hooping down, stop it and swing it in the opposite direction.

2. Move those feet. Try to master three different foot stances by switching out of your comfort zone. For example, if you naturally put your right foot forward, do the opposite. If you position your feet wide and hoop circularly, try putting a foot forward and hooping in a forward motion instead. Then, make a front-to-back motion while switching your feet.  Rotate through these three stances until you can move through all three quickly, and with control.

3. Make arm circles. Once you’ve mastered the three stances, make small, forward arm circles. Reverse the circles, then reverse them again, making bigger circles. Then “draw” big circles backward. With arms pointing up to the ceiling, draw imaginary circles, moving your arms in unison, starting small and getting bigger. These moves are simple but very challenging!

About Stephanie Taylor Christensen

Stephanie Taylor Christensen holds a master’s degree in marketing and has 13 years of marketing management experience for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. She is a regular contributor to sites like ForbesWoman, Real Simple, Mint, Minyanville, and SheKnows, and writes for several private business clients. Her work is frequently syndicated and sourced by Yahoo! Finance, SFGate, TodayShow.com, and The New York Times. She is also a small business owner, having founded WellnessOnLess.com, and Om for Mom Prenatal Yoga in Columbus, Ohio. Connect with her on Twitter @WellnessOnLess.
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