Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karen Copeland, Owner of PILATESPlace, located in Priddis Greens, AB, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a boutique pilates studio in the foothills of Alberta. I teach mat pilates as well as Barre, and I often include a variety of props to keep it challenging. My clients range from age 15 - 85 years old. I teach private, semi-private, and group classes for up to 10. Aside from my studio, I have an Instagram business, @pilatesplaceyyc, and have over 200000 followers. I am working on providing more online sessions … stay tuned!
Tell us about yourself
I worked as a registered nurse at a Children's hospital for 18 years and then ran my own business for about seven years as a health management consultant for people with short and long-term disabilities, helping clients get back to work. I saw the need for preventative measures as well as rehabilitative ones throughout my career. I retired as an RN after 25 years.
I have also been a runner for many years. I ran in dozens of races, including multiple 1/2 and full marathons. Alongside my training, I practiced pilates to prevent injury. When I moved to the country, there were no studios around, so I decided to get my certification through Merrithew. I have had my STOTT PILATES instructor Certification for over five years.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating pilates converts! Many of my in-person clients have been with me since the beginning. Most of my growth has been through word of mouth. One of my clients is over 80 and rarely misses a session. My studio has created a small community of friends, which has been so rewarding. New clients are welcomed and encouraged, understanding that pilates is a lifestyle and takes time to progress safely. Also, my Instagram… who knew I would gain so many followers? Not me! I love the online community and look forward to bringing more exciting content in the fall using a membership model.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Honestly, the pandemic has been my biggest challenge. I know I am not alone in this!! Pivoting to online teaching was way out of my comfort zone, and I lost a lot of clients during this period. However, they happily returned when I reopened my studio. I am very thankful for this!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just start! Most people have already thought about it for ages & made a plan but are scared to start. Instagram is a great way to get your business out there. No one really sees you at the beginning, so the risk is low. Find your niche and go for it.
- Stick to it. It takes time, and success is not instant like it might appear on social media. Document what works and what doesn't. Find business and people that inspire you.
- If something is not working, change it. Don't give up.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you have made it this far, thank you!! Pilates is my passion, and I hope you follow along with me as I continue to provide safe and accessible workouts for everybody.
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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