5 years. 5 years ago I was a 27 year old girl, freshly divorced (after a ten year relationship and 2 year marriage) and figuring out how to make a living on my own. Two years earlier, I had decided not to continue to pursue a career in elementary education. Now I had to move out and make a living off of a currently very small clientele personal training or figure out a plan B and figure it out fast. For a girl who had her entire life planned out, this threw more than a wrench in my plans. By the time I was 28, I was supposed to be married with 3 kids and working as a teacher. Instead, I was divorced with no kids and trying to make my way in the fitness industry. If you are around the industry at all, you will know what I mean when people ask what you will do for a “real job.” Well, what I learned quickly and for the first time in my life was that, when my back was against the wall, I’ll figure out a way. And that “real job?” Well, disagree with me if you want, but I finally realized that owning a business is a pretty REAL job.
Everyone has a story. And maybe after 5 years owning this business, my story is finally becoming clear to me. See, I didn’t grow up wanting to own my own business, or at least that’s what I thought. I grew up making my little sister do math worksheets while we played school in the basement and tumble with me outside. No, I never dreamed of owning my own business, especially a gym. I struggled with an eating disorder in high school, I played collegiate basketball, I competed in figure competitions after college, I saw my fair share of gym drama, I defended my reputation of a natural athlete, I had a near death experience from blood clots, I got divorced and yet somehow, I ended up here. I often ask myself, “How did I end up here?”
My dad, who is one of my best friends and my sounding board for so much, warned me about this business. “It’s a luxury for people. They may not always have the disposable income. What if you get sick or hurt and can’t train.” Many valid points. But he never told me no. And then there was landlord who was skeptical of a 27 year old girl opening a business to say the least. He even leased my space out to someone else before the date he was supposed to collect my money to get in! I spoke up and we made an agreement. He tried to tell me no but I’m pretty sure he’s been happy with the tenant he chose.
I started this business with the first and last month’s rent to get into my space. I had some equipment to get started, so I did. Looking back, I didn’t have a goal. I didn’t have a business plan. I didn’t take out a business loan. For the first time in my life, I HAD NO PLAN. But I also had no CHOICE. My back was against the wall and I had to make it work. If there was one thing I knew, it was how to teach people. It was how to motivate people. It was how to use my experiences to relate to people and it was how to read people. So no, I didn’t base my business on numbers. Some may call that crazy, frivolous, or plain old stupid. So how did I end up here? Sink or swim.