Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Taylor Carpenter, owner of Taylor Carpenter Personal Training, located in Charlotte, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I have a one-on-one personal training studio in Charlotte, NC, and I also provide online programming. For every client I have, I work with individuals, whether in person or online. In my startup years, I dabbled with group training, pairs, and boot camps and quickly realized that was not something I enjoyed. I do not specifically target a "type" of the client as I've trained kids, a few in their 80s, professional athletes, etc. But I think the bulk of the people I work with, regardless of their goals, is a little more reserved and prefer the one-on-one setting vs. the chain gym or CrossFit type environment.
I prefer having a variety of clients where some may focus on weight loss, some strength, some weight gain, some technical improvements, etc. If I had one "type," the workday may become a bit too redundant.
Tell us about yourself
I enjoy being my own boss, making my own hours, and shouldering 100% of the responsibility. I've been at other jobs where the decision-making made absolutely no sense in the fitness industry and outside of it. I know I can rely on myself; I'm prompt; if work needs to be done, it will get done and always has. I've been in my studio for 10+ years, and it keeps growing; it keeps improving, so that keeps me at day after day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It has gone by very quickly, but as I said above, I've had my own studio for 10+ years now. I'm in a business park with maybe 15-20 other units, and I'm the tenant that has been here the longest. I'm in a very fast-growing community of Charlotte, NC, where rent is skyrocketing, but I'm still comfortable where I'm at. Thankfully a large portion of my clients have been pretty long term and have been with me most of that time to make things pretty stable.
A quick Google search from a lending tree provides the following: "18.4% of private sector businesses in the U.S. fail within the first year. After five years, 49.7% have faltered, while after ten years, 65.5% of businesses have failed." I've made it ten years and feel confident I'll still be here a while.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Getting started is really the hardest. I'm starting up my online training slow than I started my in-person training, and I'm essentially looking at it as a 2nd job or 2nd business. The grind of opening up the personal training business I don't know if I could do again. Those first three years or so, I was working seven days per week and who knows how many hours. When clients were coming in, I was not turning anyone away. For the first three years or so, everything was a test. I had not run a business before, so many of my choices were fine, but after five years or so, I had made the operation efficient and smooth. I was able to afford to allocate my taxes/bookkeeping to an accountant; I was able to get people to handle my website, and I was able to understand that not all work needed to be done immediately.
The startup is a MEGA grind, and it's not for everyone, it'll probably break most people, and they'll get burned out and quit. I think the fitness industry has always been known for having an extremely high turnover rate. In hindsight, I was working 10x harder than I needed to, but it was all a part of learning the business and learning my own skillset. I could probably speak endlessly over the various major and minor adjustments I've made to.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Understand your skillset and be honest as to whether you're cut out for it or not. It's definitely not for everyone.
- Try not to get in debt; get what you can afford. When I started my gym, I was getting items off craigslist paid in full with cash. I did not have the nicest gym, but I wasn't paying more than anything was worth, and it was still effective. As the business grew now, I bought brand new gear from Rogue, EliteFTS, Kabuki, etc., and everything is top of the line, and I've never put anything on credit or accumulated any debt for my purchases.
- The best article I ever read was about two paragraphs long, and I think it was off Forbes. It is more or less said as a business owner, do not waste your time doing minimum-wage tasks. If you pay an extra fee to pay printer paper off Amazon instead of running to Walmart yourself and picking it up, just pay the fee. If you make $100/hr, then don't spend your own time doing $10/hr work. Allocate, so you have more time to do the heavy lifting. It's hard when you start out because money may be tight, but your time is limited, and you're trying to use it as efficiently as possible.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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