Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Johanna Andre, Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach and Personal Trainer,based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I help people all over the world (the beauty of online coaching is that it doesn’t matter where you are based) that wish to take control of their lives, work on their health, and become the best version of themselves. It has a broad target audience. A lot of people that come to me want to lose weight; others want to build muscle, and others simply want to find a healthy lifestyle that they can sustain forever. No matter the goal, I help them achieve it through a mix of nutrition, movement, behavior, and mindset change while making sure they develop a healthy relationship with food, exercise, and themselves.

The majority of the people that come to me need to break free from "diet culture" and self-imposed rules regarding what healthy food, a healthy lifestyle, and a healthy body look like. They want to find balance. We achieve this by busting common industry myths, creating their own "rules" to live by, redefining health, and pursuing healthy habits from a place of self-love and self-care rather than self-hatred or self-criticism. I don't do restricted diets or deprivation. Instead, I teach my coachees how to fuel themselves with adequate and nutritious food that supports what they wish to achieve. I teach them to go from restriction to nourishment.

From the fear of food to a love for food, I help them find a way of exercising that they love and that suits their lives and goals. I help them discover or rediscover a love for a healthy, active, and fulfilling lifestyle that they can sustain forever. I help them create structure AND flexibility in their habits and lives, because that is how you eliminate the all-or-nothing mindset, and that is how you achieve the balance that we all want. With this approach, you never need to fear "falling off track." And, of course, we have lots of fun in the process!

Tell us about yourself

I am a competitive bikini fitness athlete that is crazy about all things health, food, exercise, mindset, and lifestyle. Growing up, I struggled with disordered eating and a negative self-image because of my troubled relationships with food, exercise, and myself. For many years, I was stuck in diet culture, living a life controlled by food rules and compulsive exercise. Until I had had enough and started to educate myself about food, training, the body, and the mind. Fast forward many years, and I have truly found food freedom and a healthy lifestyle that I absolutely love. I love exercising, I love food, and I love working on myself for myself. I feel great. And I want everyone else to feel and experience what I am feeling in their own way.

My purpose in life is to help people achieve this same freedom and love for food, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle as I have to find their own fitness and health, their own balance, and realize they don't need to suffer to reach their goals. It should be an enjoyable journey. A healthy lifestyle should add to your life, not make it worse or feel like a sacrifice. We all deserve happiness and health and to live our best lives. I truly believe that we all carry unique powers within us to be and do whatever we want to be and do, and if we only dare to tune in and embrace our own potential, we are limitless. No goal is too big. This is what I want my coachees to experience. I want them to feel unstoppable and powerful. And seeing them embark on this journey and be a part of it is what motivates me every single day.

Having a positive impact on someone's life is what motivates me. Seeing someone fall in love with their life motivates me. Seeing someone take charge, reach for their goals, realize their worth, and find self-love motivates me. That motivates me to help someone clear up the confusion about health—what and how to eat, what and how to move, and so on. Honestly, I could go on and on.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

As cliché as it might sound, my biggest accomplishment as a business owner in the field that I am in is being able to have a positive impact on people's health and lives. The fact that people trust me and allow me to be a part of their transformations and guide and support them toward profound life changes is something I will never take for granted.

The relationship I build with my clients and witnessing their growth while reaching and going for their goals and exploring what health means to them—is my biggest blessing and continuous accomplishment. Everyone's journey is unique, and every time I get to be a part of someone's process, it is my own accomplishment.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Being your own boss is the best and most rewarding thing in the world, but to say it is easy would be a lie. Being a business owner and your own boss comes with many challenges. But I guess that for many of us, that is also one of the reasons why we choose entrepreneurship. We want to challenge ourselves and push boundaries. A story, in my opinion, always has two sides. For example, being self-employed means, you don't have a boss that holds you accountable, which means you have to hold yourself accountable. This is very hard at times, but it also comes with a level of freedom that you don't have when working for someone else.

For me, one of the hardest things about being a business owner is the times when fear, perfectionism, and self-doubt kick in, and I get a hit of imposter syndrome. I think we all experience this every now and then, and in these moments, you have to be the one to pick yourself up and keep going despite wanting to give up. No one will do it for you. Being able to be that person for yourself takes a lot of self-knowledge, courage, and strength. It is easy to get comfortable and stay safe. But we don't grow in our comfort zones.

I am getting better and better at navigating these moments. And I tell myself the same things that I tell my coachees: The more resistance you feel, the more reason there is to do it. I know that when I start doubting myself or feeling a fear of failure, I need to push through and do it anyway. It is a sign I need to take action. It is a sign I am moving forward and growing. I see it as a challenge I need to embrace. Another cliché, but very true: Fear the fear and do it anyway.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Become really good at what you do. Never stop learning or educating yourself. Invest as much in yourself and expand your knowledge as you are investing in your business.
  2. Do not let perfectionism or fear of failure hold you back. No matter what, take action. Even the smallest action in the right direction will help you stay in forward motion. Remember action, not perfection. Progress, not perfection. Process, not perfection.
  3. Take time away from work regularly. It may seem counterproductive, but spending time recharging and disconnecting from work will only make you MORE productive, creative, and innovative in your business, as well as have more fun at work. For me, this means making time for friends and my partner, avoiding social media, and spending time alone. Simply put, I enjoy anything that takes my mind off of work and allows me to unwind. I always feel so energized and inspired to come back to work afterward.

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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