Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jane Curth, co-founder, and CEO of FitFixNow, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Times are tough. In terms of physical health, people are facing higher and higher levels of obesity-related disorders. In terms of mental health, people are reporting feelings of loneliness and isolation that are stronger than ever, compounded by ever-increasing stress and anxiety.
There are many causes for this, but they all have one thing in common — exercise and living a healthy lifestyle can help fix them! It’s incredible the dramatic effect of proper diet and exercise on issues from type-2 diabetes and cognitive function to depression and anxiety.
But fitness has many barriers to entry for laypeople that are necessary for success, including:
-Lack of knowledge or proper instruction
-Lack of experience
-Lack of support systems
-Lack of accountability
Fitness professionals provide all of this and more. This is why fitness professionals are such an essential part of the solution to a multitude of global health issues.
FitFixNow provides continuing education to fitness professionals. By training the trainer, we’re able to educate them on everything from how to coach more effectively, how to put together more unique and effective workouts, how to present themselves better, and overall, how to make a positive change in the world around them. Furthermore, we do this in a way that is the most accessible, most user-friendly way possible. It puts control of learning in the hands of the fitness professional so that we can meet their needs on their schedule.
Tell us about yourself
I have been a personal trainer for over twenty years, and I spent my entire professional career teaching kinesiology at the college level. I helped the school develop the first online curricula for their classes and was instrumental in implementing the technology, bringing online education to the department.
After I retired, I reflected on how much I enjoyed teaching my profession online, seeing how many more people I was able to reach. I wanted to combine my passion for fitness and wellness with my passion for education. When I discovered that my education and experience qualified me to teach continuing education, I decided to give it a shot.
I was always disappointed with continuing education. It was either some very uninteresting, minor coursework out of a book or on a DVD, or it was a conference that — while engaging and entertaining, was always more expensive than I could really afford at the time.
I decided to start a company that would offer engaging courses that people would be interested in and to do it online to help as many fitness professionals as possible!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is seeing my customers succeed. One young mother emailed us to let us know that she listened to her courses while getting her daughters dressed and ready for school. Then, she was able to get her certificate for the course when they left for school.
Any parent can understand how that freedom can make all the difference. Being able to help make people’s lives just a little bit easier is what I consider to be a huge accomplishment. The smallest difference can sometimes require a whole lot of work — but it’s work that I’ve been happy to put in! These stories have been the norm, and it’s always incredibly humbling and gratifying. This is my biggest accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Knowing when to turn everything off. When I was a professor, I didn’t have to worry about the electric bill for my classroom or the kind of server that our online courses used. As a business owner, I have to worry about everything involved, from when a customer first sees an advertisement to long after they’ve used our product. There are websites, technology platforms, and talented people who all have to come together to make it work. And I’m on the hook when something goes wrong.
Work-life balance is a challenge, especially when I factor in that I’m already in retirement. So I have to make sure that the things I choose to do with my time are meaningful. This is probably the hardest part for me.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you’re not curious about it, don’t do it. If you don’t find your thoughts wandering to whatever your business is when you’re not working, then you have to wonder how much you really enjoy it. You might be able to hold on with a job you don’t enjoy, but owning a business is a whole different story. This doesn’t mean you sacrifice work-life balance by always thinking about your business. This means that you naturally want to think about the business out of enjoyment. So you have to be very honest with yourself and careful. When you’re curious about something, you don’t panic when something breaks — you take it apart and tinker with it until it works again. This is the essence of entrepreneurship: fixing broken things that don’t have or come with instructions. To do this, you must be very curious.
- Your goals will almost always take longer than you think to achieve. Be patient. When we started, we went nearly a full year without a single sale. Expenses piled up, but something was wrong. This is where we had to do a lot of learning about marketing and exposure. We had to learn that a great product was not enough. People had to learn about it. Then, when we did start selling products, it was only a trickle. So be patient, both with yourself and others. There’s a big difference between “sitting still” and “doing nothing.”
- Don’t put the cart before the horse. Businesses evolve naturally in their market environment. If you have big dreams and goals, that’s great! Just understand that it will take many steps and stages to get there. If you try to “grow” into a bigger stage before you’re ready, it might fall apart. But more likely, it will never get off the ground.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I feel incredibly blessed in my life to be able to have an impact on others. I owe so much of what I’ve accomplished to those who have helped to guide me that I want to pass along what I’ve learned as well. We function better when we work together. I just recommend that other entrepreneurs keep that in mind.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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