Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gina Paulhus, Owner of Home Bodies, located in Haverhill, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Home Bodies in-home fitness training provides personal training services to individuals all across the globe, both in-home and over Zoom or Facetime. Home Bodies is a team of elite trainers with a variety of specialties, including Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Certified, ISSA Nutrition Coach, and NASM Plant-Based Diets Specialist.
Tell us about yourself
I'm a Certified Personal Trainer through the ISSA. I started Home Bodies in 2004 after being discouraged while working as a trainer for various fitness chains. I found myself frustrated by the cookie-cutter approach that my managers wanted me to take when it came to training people. I also wasn't a fan of trying to sell everyone giant packages and supplements I didn't think they needed just because the chain wanted me to push them. I wanted to train people in a manner that felt authentic and ethical to me, as well as in a manner that utilized my ever-growing knowledge. I figured that there were already so many trainers at gyms and so many personal training studios, so it made sense for me to offer assistance to folks who needed help working out at home. The rest is history!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My mind immediately goes to all the people I have helped over the years. Noteworthy clients include a gentleman who I helped prevent knee surgery after dealing with bone-on-bone arthritis. I also helped him recover from heart surgery. He even accomplished his first chin-up in his late 60s. For his 70th birthday, he performed 7 of them! I also helped a woman with Parkinson's regain significant mobility and strength in order to help take some of the pressure off her family for her care. Another case that has meant a lot to me is helping a woman overcome the limitations she had from an abdominal hernia. She was able to go on to work a highly physical catering job and perform strength training safely once again. She aspires to return to Opera singing - a career that certainly uses the core quite a bit!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Early on, I realized I needed to add trainers or else start turning people away. I got myself into a health scare due to burning the candle at both ends when I first started out, and I am determined to never let that happen again! I have added some great staff that I would trust with my life to help out with clients. I also had to embrace this notion: "It's OK to bypass even a great opportunity." When something doesn't fit, it doesn't fit! There are only so many hours in a day, and it's critical that we, as business owners, take time for our own health and self-care. We can't pour from an empty cup! I also find it important to take a vacation where you are not available to interact with clients. Without that rest, the quality of our work goes down. We are only human, and we need that time to just be!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do your research before starting! Check out what your competitors are doing. While you never want to copy others, it can give you great ideas on what may or may not work for you.
- While running your business, make sure to do an inventory of how you are spending your time. Try to do more of what is creating the biggest return on investment, and let go of the rest. Don't let yourself be busy just for busy's sake!
- To grow a business and your skills, set aside time each week to learn something new. Make it part of your workday. An hour spent in continuing education will pay you back in your career tenfold. And you need to set aside time to promote your business, not just work in the business. If you can't or don't want to take the time for that, hire someone to help 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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