Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Courtney Reese, Owner of Desert Power Yoga, located in Moab, UT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a yoga and fitness studio in Moab, Utah. Moab is a big tourist destination, as we are the home of Arches & Canyonlands National Parks and outstanding climbing, mountain biking, rafting, and BASE jumping. The studio's customers include our local permanent and seasonal residents, as well as tourists traveling through.
Tell us about yourself
I first began practicing yoga in 2012 as a way to deal with the stresses that accompanied pursuing my Radiology degree. The first studio I attended always felt like a second home to me. I felt comfortable there. The only time I felt truly free from stress was while attending yoga classes. I decided that one day, I wanted to create a safe space for others to come and grow their own yoga practice.
I spent the next 6 years traveling and living in big cities around the world. I finally settled back in Denver and began to teach yoga full-time. I discovered the small town of Moab when I came to visit a childhood friend. I immediately fell in love with the breathtaking views and tight-knit community. I made my move to Moab in the summer of 2019. There was only one yoga studio that didn't offer the classes I was used to teaching - hot yoga, vinyasa yoga, barre, and pilates. I decided to open my own to bring new classes to the community.
Since opening in May 2020, our studio has grown from 6 instructors and 30 students to 14 instructors and nearly 200 members. We continue to get new students daily who are traveling through Moab. I'm motivated to give my all to growing the studio because I see how much the community and instructors need and love the space (myself included!). It's become a space where instructors and students alike can gather to grow their yoga practice with the support of their community.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been finding ways to support the local Moab community. We hold one donation-based class per week. The goal of this class is to make yoga accessible to individuals who may be on a budget or may not otherwise afford a regular drop-in price. Each month, we take the donations made from this class and donate them to a local non-profit. So far, we've worked with roughly 10 non-profits! That number continues to grow every year. We also donate class passes to annual non-profit auctions and will hold specific classes to raise money for them as well. Giving back to the community in multiple ways is something I consider to be my biggest accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing about being a business owner is knowing when to stop working! I find myself working on little bits throughout each day. I am trying to become better at having full days off, but work does sneak in there sometimes.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you're looking to start a business, I would recommend offering pop-ups for your business first to gauge interest and build your SEO on Google. I taught yoga under my yoga studio's name at the local community center for eight months before signing a lease for a brick-and-mortar business.
- Depending on your start-up costs, look into credit cards before taking out a loan. Loans automatically come with interest rates. Most credit cards offer 0% APR for 12-18 months. If you haven't paid them off by then, there are a lot of credit card companies that offer "Debt transfers", where you literally transfer one credit card to another. This will buy you another 12-18 months of 0% APR. *Please note that this is only a good option if you KNOW you are responsible with your spending.
- Try not to be disappointed if things are slow at first! All businesses take time to build. Word of mouth is your best friend. Try to find ways to hold community events at your space to get people in the door.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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