Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jonathan Keltai, Nutritionists and Personal Trainer, based in Chester, CT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I run a personal training and nutrition coaching business. I work with busy professionals and everyday people who are looking to improve their health. That could mean putting on muscle, losing weight, improving cardiovascular strength, or simply looking to add some healthy habits to their routine. I primarily work one-on-one but also run a group behavioral nutrition program that simplifies what it means to eat healthily. I teach people simple nutrition basics and how to leverage their routine and environment to empower them to make better choices long-term.
Tell us about yourself
I ended myself working a job at an office after completing my undergraduate degree in 2009, despite having little interest in it. I quickly learned happiness would come from doing something that I truly cared about – and health and fitness were always something that was important to me. I quit my job, got my first training certification, and moved to New York City. It took a few months of searching, but I eventually landed a training position at one of the top gyms in the city.
Over the next six years, I became one of the top trainers nationwide at the company. I took every possible opportunity, whether that meant training at 6 am or 8 pm, 13 sessions in a day, or working seven days a week. During this time, I also went back to school and earned two master’s degrees in nutrition and exercise physiology. Everything seemed to be falling into place until my gym closed its doors one night without notice. I automatically became a business owner within one day, I pivoted my business and became an independent trainer for the first time.
I got a handle of what it took to run my own business: managing current clients, scheduling, bookkeeping, seeking referrals, traveling to different gyms across the city, etc. until all of a sudden – March 2020. The world shut down, and I had to pivot once again. I was able to move my business completely online within a week and never looked back. It was stressful and scary at the time, but these changes allowed my family and me to move out of New York City and gave me the opportunity to run my entire business remotely.
Running your own business isn’t easy. You face novel challenges every day and have to adapt continually to what’s thrown at you. There are ups and downs and a ton of responsibilities that fall completely on you. It is mentally and physically exhausting, but these three things motivate me each and every day:
- I want to be the best for myself. I want to feel like I’m always pursuing my full potential.
- I want to be the best for my clients. I want to make sure that I do everything I can to provide the most helpful service for them.
- I want to be the best for my family. I want to do everything I can to provide them with the best life possible.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been my ability to foster close, long-lasting relationships. I’ve known most of the people I work with for a decade or more. It’s proof that they continue to see value in the service I provide which means the world to me.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
So many things are difficult for a business owner. One thing I struggle with is comparing myself to others. It’s easy to see other professionals’ level of success and begin to feel “less than.” What’s rarely talked about is how those people went through the same challenges and hardships on their long road to success. While difficult, it’s important to focus on you and the people you serve while blocking everything else out.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The first tip I’d have for someone looking to start a business is to get comfortable with doing uncomfortable things. We all have strengths and limitations. Leveraging your strengths tends to come naturally for most. Fighting through what you perceive to be your shortcomings is what will set you apart from others.
My second tip would be to focus on building relationships. Network as much as possible. Find people who might have similar goals and values as you but different strengths and aptitudes. Offer to help others. The more positivity you put out, the higher the likelihood that others will think of you when the time is right.
Finally, and ironically the number one theme I teach clients who want to accomplish health or fitness goals is to focus on doing something productive each day. It doesn’t matter how big or small it may seem. Continuing to build consistency and focusing on the small things you can do each and every day will compound over time.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Starting and running a business is hard for everyone. No one has it easy. Once you stop trying, that’s it. Success is only possible if you continue to keep pushing.
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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