Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shay Kostabi, Co-Founder of Fitness Career Mastery, located in Yucca Valley, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My husband and I are the founders of our business, Fitness Career Mastery. We provide business coaching for Boutique Studio owners and Online Creators in the Fitness and Wellness Space. We also provide Continuing Education for Group Fitness Instructors.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up dancing and went to a conservatory in NYC to study acting. My background is in performing arts and production. I fell in love with fitness through my own personal journey and decided to shift gears and pursue a career in the fitness industry. At the time, the market was cut-throat in New York City, but honestly, teaching and training came very easily to me.
My reputation grew very quickly, and I recognized that there was a gap between education and application for fitness professionals. After 6 years of teaching, training other instructors, and creating programs for fitness businesses, I launched my own consulting company in New York City. Meanwhile, my best friend and future husband were doing the same thing for a company we both worked for in China. He launched the Fitness Career Mastery Podcast of which I was a frequent guest. This opened the doors for me, and I began working with clients all over the world.
We decided to join forces, and I brought my consulting services under the FCM umbrella. After we got married, we had a couple of successful years traveling the globe and helping boutique studio owners train their instructor teams and launch their businesses. When the pandemic hit, we had to pivot very quickly, not only to save our own business but to support and ultimately save our client's businesses. We now run virtual 1:1 and group business coaching programs. Last year we launched an online Conservatory for Fitness Instructors and Business owners looking for advanced skills to improve their member experience.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think one of our biggest accomplishments happened during, and because of, the pandemic. Because we are a small team, we have the ability to act and face the face of challenges. We saw an opportunity to serve our community that would also contribute to the growth of our business. We wrote and launched an online program called "learn to live stream" in four days.
This decision helped hundreds of fitness professionals survive and thrive during one of the most difficult challenges of our lifetime. We re-invested our profit into business coaching, and that course turned into what is now called the Secrets of Brand Building. We are happy to say we helped to keep ALL of our client's doors open and supported the launch of 54 new businesses during the pandemic.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I'd say the most difficult thing is personal management. By that, I mean maintaining inner accountability. Adhering to self-imposed timelines, sticking to a regular schedule, and establishing boundaries. Because there is no one to report to and nobody looking over your shoulder, the only person you have to answer to is yourself. And your clients, of course. Managing yourself requires immense discipline, inner fortitude, excellent organizational skill, and the ability to remain objective and self-aware. It's not easy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Try not to get ahead of yourself and skip to the good parts, like your website and logo.
- Do your due diligence and market research.
- Focus on a problem that you are uniquely equipped to solve for a specific type of client and limit your offers until you've mastered the basics.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you have the vision to create your own brand or run your own business, then you are capable of achieving it. Nobody can read a label from the inside of the bottle, and even the most successful CEOs have coaches. Invest in a mentor or coach who can help you bring your work to the world in a way that resonates with who you're meant to serve. And above all, be yourself so the people looking for you can find you.
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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