Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michelle Farrell, Founder of Michelle Farrell Fitness, located in Lynn, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I support folks with getting strong(er), simplifying food, embracing their bodies & thriving in all stages of life via size and weight inclusive strength training programs and a non-diet approach to nutrition. I particularly love working with folks who are beginners to strength training and witnessing them lifting heavy things that they never thought were actually something they could do. I work with folks worldwide online and in person in my garage gym in Lynn, MA.
I aim to create a welcoming and inclusive space for all bodies and humans to be able to comfortably explore movement (mostly strength training with dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells). My fitness and nutrition spaces are LGBTQIA+ affirming, trauma-informed and size-inclusive.
Tell us about yourself
As someone who has a history of disordered patterns of fitness and nutrition and feeling uncomfortable in my body, I have been on and off every diet and fad fitness plan known to humankind. When I first earned my personal training certificate, I believed the purpose was to help folks lose weight - until I learned more and did my own work with my relationship with food and fitness.
There is so much toxicity in the fitness space, and what keeps me going is being a part of the force and movement to bring about change in the industry to smash these systems of injustice (patriarchy, racism, homo/transphobia, ablism, etc.) and create truly inclusive and welcoming spaces where all humans with all shapes and size bodies can explore movement, lift heavy, and discover nutrition habits that leave them whole and satisfied without diet culture messaging that actually harms and pushes many folks away from gyms and fitness spaces.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishments actually belong to my clients. When they are empowered to lift a new personal best and/or begin to fuel their bodies to support their lives and lift and not restrict, those moments and accomplishments mean everything to me! This past June 2022, one of my clients participated in an inclusive powerlifting competition, Pull for Pride, and hit a deadlift PR of 405#. This moment was so powerful and joyful - for him and me.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the most challenging things that comes with being a business owner is keeping the work/life balance. It is very easy for me to get into work mode, especially because a lot of it can be done on my phone, so I have created pretty rigid boundaries around my work hours and when I respond to emails and texts, check on client progress in my app and even scheduling live session appointments (online and in person).
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just get started, and don't worry about being perfect or having everything "just right." Perfectionism is a by-product of white supremacy and just holds you back! You have something special to offer the world - don't hold it back!
- At first, it might feel like everything is a whole lot of effort for very little payoff. Keep going. The momentum of consistency will pay off but it's very unlikely it will be overnight, even though it appears this is what happens when watching people on social media.
- You are the CEO of your business. You can structure your business the way that it best suits you and your clients: thinking outside of the box and not doing it just like everyone else is what will make you most happy and unique!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
In addition to fitness and nutrition coaching, I am also a special education teacher (headed into my 19th school year!) My passion for making learning accessible for everyone translates into the work I do as a coach: meeting folks where they are at and progressing them through variations that work for them with the right amount of challenge and patience!
I am also the co-host of the Strong and Simple Podcast with my colleague, Marissa Szabo, and co-owner of Straight Up Strong, an online fitness community for women over 40 with a focus on thriving in midlife. My business partner is Tina Tang. We started Straight Up strong in June 2020 in response to the pandemic shutdown and folks seeking movement and community from home.
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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