Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Megan Arnotti, Owner of Island Life Yoga & Nutrition, located in St. Louis, MO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I started my business, Island Life Yoga & Nutrition, in October 2018. Island Life is a small boutique-style yoga and fitness studio. We offer group yoga, Pilates classes, private personal training, and yoga in a small and lovely studio. We pride ourselves on being an accessible and intimidation-free space and welcome everyone, regardless of size, age, and gender. My entire philosophy is that your fitness should be convenient and feel good even if it's tough, help you to feel empowered and mobile, and help you live your best life. I believe a joyful approach to fitness works best long term, and that is the very ethos of Island Life.
Tell us about yourself
I wanted to open my business in my neighborhood because I absolutely love it here and saw the need for it. I have lived here for 12 years and always had to leave the neighborhood to go to the gym or a yoga class. And most Soulardians never want to leave the island (the nickname for our neighborhood) if they can help it, myself included. That's where the concept of Island Life began. I am very motivated by creating connections with my clients and helping them to do the same with each other. That's what makes group classes so successful- people look forward to seeing their new friends in class, and that helps motivate them to come back!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Making it through Covid was a pretty huge accomplishment for a small business like mine. But I have to say, I believe my biggest accomplishment and the thing I am most proud of has been the community I have created. All of these different people from totally different walks of life now know each other and smile and greet each other out in the world. Many of them are now friends, and that makes me very happy.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a business owner can be very isolating even if you have a great personal support system. As the boss and owner, all of the decisions and repercussions fall on you with no one to necessarily consult, and that can be very challenging and tiring but also incredibly rewarding when it works.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Wait and build more capital before you begin. The smaller the business loan you can get, the less stress you feel when it's time to open and crunch numbers.
- This might be more specific to my industry: always be ready to pivot! If something doesn't work, pivot and try something else. When yoga classes weren't bringing in enough money to pay the bills, I added personal training, which has been a wonderful addition to the studio's offerings.
- Take advantage of every free resource available to you. Most big cities have SCORE offices that offer free advice and mentorship to small business owners. I learned some valuable insights from that when we first opened.
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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