How do you start your day?
At 5:45am, when my husband and my one-year-old son are still asleep, I sneak into the kitchen and make a cup of coffee while I’m getting dressed. My clothes are all laid out the night before so I can dress quickly. I drink my coffee and grab a quick bite to eat —banana/yogurt, hard boiled egg, high fiber cereal—then I’m out the door. Sometimes I bike to work, other times I’m lazy and I’ll take a cab.
Who inspires you?
Other business owners who have started businesses from the ground up, with little resources.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your teen-aged self?
Trust your gut and create a path to reach your goal.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
It was someone else who suggested I consider becoming a trainer. It was great advice! Sometimes others see things in us that we don’t see ourselves.
What do you need to get through each day?
Some quiet time for myself – lunch, a workout, 20 minutes to surf the Internet.
Briefly describe your business and your inspiration for it.
My business is a boutique personal training and wellness company. We specialize in private training, nutrition, triathlon/running coaching, post-rehab fitness, and we offer other fitness and wellness modalities like yoga, massage, group classes.
How has your passion fueled your business?
I was a ballet dancer growing up, and continued that art throughout college. I moved to NYC to pursue that career, and fell into personal training because someone suggested it. I quickly found that it was rewarding and became successful at it. I really enjoy teaching people how to move their bodies and become healthier and stronger. I also love when people, who have chronic injuries or are in pain, feel better after working with me after a few sessions. Exercise is amazing medicine.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I was working for a large gym chain and it was hard to implement new program ideas that I had for clients. I wanted to tailor programs specifically to each person’s goals and I just couldn’t do that working at a large company. Now that I have my own business, I can really do what I want, and collaborate with other health and wellness providers and doctors to help clients reach their fitness goals.
What was the tipping point for realizing you had a good business?
When new clients were coming in and I couldn’t fit them on my schedule. You only have so many 7am time slots each week. And also, staff retention; personal trainers are very transient—but retaining the same trainers and coaches on staff for many years also says a lot about a business.
What has been the key to your success?
Listening to clients. Helping them develop and stick to a program. Being reliable.
What lessons have you learned along the way that you wish you would have known at the beginning of your start-up career?
You can’t please all people, all of the time. And sometimes it isn’t personal, it’s just business.
What challenges did you face in the early days of being the Founder of your own business?
I don’t have a business degree, so a lot of the logistics of starting a business I had to figure out on my own. Having reliable sources to ask questions was key – accountants, lawyers, etc.
What is the biggest mistake you have made in your business to date, and how have you moved past it?
I don’t think there was any big mistakes that I made. Of course, there have been roadblocks and small emergencies, but again, if you have the right people helping you and advising you, I don’t think anything is that difficult to get around. If your business is strong, a bump in the road won’t derail it.
What would you have done differently?
Nothing. You learn from all sorts of experiences, and next time you handle things differently.
When self-doubt hits, what do you do?
Talk things through with people who have been there before or have more experience.
What is your biggest fear as an entrepreneur?
Expanding too fast.
What aspects of being a start-up entrepreneur do you love and/or hate?
I love: making my own schedule; taking vacations or working extra when I can, not when someone else tells me to; implementing our unique programs for clients.
Which books, articles, blogs have helped to shape your business and/or leadership style?
I read the New York Times business section and blog articles on small business. Sometimes the articles are relevant to my business and other times not; but I’ve gotten some great ideas on how to structure and deal with staff and clients.
Are there any go-to resources that you have found useful in running your business?
MindBody Online has been great. I can’t believe I ever ran a business before without it.
What do you think the most important attribute a female entrepreneur/ business owner can possess?
Don’t consider yourself different than your male counterparts. If anything, believe you’re better!
What do you do outside the office to help you stay creative/productive?
I go to classes and workshops. I’ll go online, and watch TV to get ideas. I’ll talk to people about what they are doing. I travel to different cities and experience what is trending in those cities.
What would you say to another woman who asked you if they should take the leap and start their own business?
Go for it!