Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alessa Caridi, Founder and Owner of JōbuFIT, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
To all the hardworking professional bodies out there: you know that knee bounce, pen twirl, or ankle shake? What about the tired computer eyes and cramping keyboard hands? Or how about the midday slump that has your brain wanting to shut down and just mindlessly swipe through social? And you must be familiar with the back, shoulder, and neck pain that creeps up just when you need to be productive and finish your work… Well, I’m here for you and your workday!
I created JōbuFIT, a workspace movement and wellness company, to help computer-based professionals stop stress, get rid of body pain, and create a healthy workstyle (aka lifestyle at work). I have truly created fitness that fits into your workday and workspace: No, I don’t have you do crunches or pushups next to your desk. No, you don’t need to break into a sweat to create a healthy, strong body. Just because it’s a quick fitness move and you can do it, doesn’t make it workspace approved.
I’ve created 8-min or less movement and stretching videos that teach you how to properly align your body, stretch away stress, bring life back to your forgotten body parts (your fingers, toes, and eyes), and get you moving in the one space you must be – your workspace. And everything I demonstrate and teach was created to 100% fit into your workspace and workday. That means there is no need to change your clothing, block out large amounts of time in your calendar, or even stop a digital meeting to stay healthy and strong – I have quite a few incognito fitness moves ready to go for you, aka fitness you can do while on calls and no one knows you are doing them.
I’ve also created an eight-week program to train your brain – and your workday schedule - to crave movement within your workday. I start so small with things you are already doing, you don’t even know you are building a healthy workstyle (workstyle = your lifestyle at work).
Tell us about yourself
I come from a family of doctors. (I start there because that has really affected the way I examine everything.) As a young girl, my father was still in medical school. And like many little girls, there were two things I loved: coloring and my papa. So, when I saw he had to color (the Gray’s Anatomy coloring book) for school, I knew I needed to “do work” with him. My mother caught on to this desire very quickly and began copying pages from my father’s books so I wouldn’t destroy his studies. That is where my passion for understanding the human body came from.
Growing up in a family of doctors, I was taught to understand things like the quadricep has four muscles that cover the front and side of the femur, not just that my leg has muscles that move it. Also, I thought everyone knew where to find your clavicle, but when I went to university, I found I was in the minority.
I grew up on stage doing ballet, tap, and contemporary dance; this was the other major influence in my life. I learned to express myself through movement and challenge my body to do some truly amazing things. Throughout my childhood, I danced for over 20 hours per week and put my hard work to the test when my dance company traveled to compete and perform. It was through performance that my confidence was developed. On the opposite end, dance also taught me how to deal with rejection and how to persevere despite rejection. Most importantly – and most relevant to what I currently do- dance was my first introduction to the power of proper posture. It taught me how to command a room, reduce body pain, and overcome stage fright.
I am what my parents had deemed their “independent child” when I began looking for universities to apply to. My parents had one restriction: it had to be on the continental US. (I grew up on the East Coast, and they knew I wanted to go as far as possible- I always had the travel bug.) So, when I was accepted into the dance department at the University of California, Los Angeles, there was no question about where I would go. I finished with a BA in World Arts and Cultures, Dance Concentration with a focus on anatomy. While in undergrad studies, I had the opportunity to study dance in Paris and Florence. This time abroad was what initially piqued my interest in the way other cultures live, work, and value their citizens’ time and lifestyles.
I finished undergrad with big plans of dancing all over the world, and instead, the unthinkable happened, I broke my foot – okay, my big toe- but that still meant no dancing until it healed. So I had to find a way to support myself, and that’s when Pilates came into my life. Pilates was the perfect combination of movement, flow, and anatomy. It just made sense to me. And I quickly realized that I really enjoyed helping people perfect their healthy selves. We all need to move more!
I know that was a lot to share, but what I do and my passion for doing it truly developed as I developed through each life stage. Family life sparked my love for the human body, dance helped me understand how the human body works and just how little the average person knows about the vessel we live in, and Pilates gave me the tools to train others to get rid of body pain and create sustainable high productivity.
What really motivates me to do what I do, are the lightbulb moments I see on peoples’ faces, when I get a message from someone who watched a video of mine or listened to a podcast interview, or when I get a thank you note from an event coordinator or producer because of the actual positive impact I had on their workdays. Something as simple as organizing a workday schedule that allows for movement (through my 50-10 ratio workstyle) or as big as learning how to properly align your body, so catchphrases like tech neck and sitting is the new smoking no longer have an impact on your workday.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I was honored to have spoken at the United Nations for the Women Entrepreneurship Day Organization’s Global Conference. I was in a room full of female entrepreneurs, foreign diplomats, and press from all over the world, listening to some of the biggest names in business, science, and creativity talk on panels and lectures, and, within that day, my message was seen as important enough to be given space and heard.
Another accomplishment is I wrote THE book on workday health. The Ultimate Workspace Toolkit: Your Guide to Solving the Aches, Pains, and Productivity Problems of Your Workday. In this book, you can follow simple steps to sit and stand at your desk correctly to reduce body pain, adjust your personal workspace to increase productivity, stretch to destress, add movement to maintain mobility and increase energy and strength, exercise for the overworked and forgotten body parts: fingers, toes, and eyes, play games to give your brain a mini-break and learn something new about your body, create a culture of healthy living by holding a walking meeting and establishing hourly health schedule… and so much more!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The answer is simple, but the problem never goes away: Finding the motivation to push on, especially after a bump in the road. It can feel like you are shouting into a void with all social media and competing press opportunities, but those who persevere can make a difference.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your tribe. You need people in your corner. Not just family members or life-long friends, but people who are going through similar situations that you can bounce ideas off of and be your cheerleader when you need it.
- Find people to do the tasks you know you can’t do. For example, I know I could figure out my taxes and balance my books, but that’s what I’d be doing, figuring it out. There are many things on my to-do list that I know I have skills to accomplish and things I need to do. So, I will leave the numbers and legal paperwork to the professionals and get back to accomplishing and working in my business.
- Never stop learning. There are too many people who claim they are experts because they spent one week doing something or took one online class – it is really feeling like we are in an age of dumbing things down. The only way to rise about all that noise is to actually study and learn and continue to use your brain. And, not just learn about the professional world you live in but exercise your brain; you will end up well-rounded and age gracefully. One of my favorite things to do is learn another language.
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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