From behind my computer I ‘m sitting here, glass of wine in hand, reflecting on what has led me to today. Over the next few days I will introduce you to some amazing women, who too, have their own story, lives, families and businesses. But who have made the extremely brave choice to make their own change, to take the leap to place their trust in themselves and in me. That’s a big fucking responsibility to me, one I take extremely seriously and find incredibly humbling. And so, as my business unfolds in a new way I’ve decided to share what led me to today (in the shortest version possible – maybe grab a wine too!).
***Disclaimer*** It’s holidays and my trusted proof readers are relaxing, so, in the spirit of embracing our fuck-ups, please excuse all spelling, grammar and ‘just could have sounded better’ in the name of creativity.
Ten years ago, in 2006 I left the film industry to become a Personal Trainer. I was taken under the wing of my personal trainer at the time, Simon Anderson (a legend), who was to become my mentor for the next nine months. Under his guidance and within the walls of Fitness First I found my feet. Never once being ‘given’ a client but always being offered solid business advice and protocols I went on to run a successful 30-40 session a week franchise of my own.
My son, Marley, was born in 2008 and I left the gym two weeks before his birth with the option to return, but with my head in a new space. New found motherhood and the desire to specialise – in something….
I took to writing a blog about my post-baby journey “Body Beyond Baby” I called it. (abandoned in July 2013 you can still find it here!).
I guess the rest is history….
A child that slept allowed me to easily transition blog to business and I ran my first Body Beyond Baby group exercise session when Marley was just three months old. From teeny tiny beginnings at the Oxford Street end of Centennial Park, myself and 3-4 other mums running sessions with babies in prams. My original goal; to pay for the two days I eventually put Marley into childcare.
In 2010 we welcomed India, I put a PT into my business to run sessions for six months while I managed the backend, a new baby and PND.
We steadily grew and by 2012 I was running a solid business. Sessions were busy and it was FUN!
But I had bigger dreams…..
In late 2012 I wanted to learn more. I stepped out of the fitness industry learning space and embarked upon my Key Person of Influence journey. A program and structure that suited me to the T! I had my speciality – Mums. I just needed a to-do list and to get shit done. That is exactly what I did, in most parts; I nailed my pitch, went nuts on my profile, published my book – ‘How to Love your Body as much as your Baby’ (which I wrote in 30days), was fully engaged with products and partnerships but for me, these were to unfold later. The journey was amazing. The network I was exposed to supported me and I was on fire.
I wanted out of the face to face side of my business to work ON the business – I thought franchise or license – take over the world! Except I wasn’t ready. From the outside everything was shiny and pretty, but the inside was messy. I didn’t know my numbers, I had no idea of my capacity and I was marketing all year round with no clear call to action.
I did it anyway. I took on contractors and I stepped out. And I ran my business to pay them. The financial years 2013-14 & 2014-15 saw my personal taxable income sit at $16k. I share this because it’s SO easily done. Especially within the Fitness Industry. We LOVE our jobs, our work is our passion, we love our training and can’t wait to share that with our clients. We don’t know our numbers.
I messed up.
At the end of 2015 I was back on deck. I missed knowing all of my clients by name and face. I missed helping and guiding them. I missed the heart of what I was doing and I HAD to make big changes to survive. It really was make or break for Body Beyond Baby.
In January 2016 I implemented Oversubscribed and it changed my world. With the ground work of the past 6.5yrs spent refining what I do and why, associating myself with the best Women’s Health Physiotherapists in Sydney, filtering my brand throughout the East and Inner West, writing my book, speaking at events, working on becoming known for what I do both personally and professionally I was ready for the change. I can now proudly say that our Body Beyond Baby group training sessions sell out. We have waitlists and advance bookings and we turn women away when we are full. A great problem to have and an amazing opportunity to reach further afield.
I wanted to work with others.
But through many trials and errors I knew that contractors, licensing and franchising weren’t for me. I wanted to educate our industry so we could help more and more women and collaborate with the best of the best to combine forces, support each other and together raise the standard of the way that women are looked after as they become mothers and return to exercise after having their babies.
Education – ‘Safe Return to Exercise‘ was born
My Fitness Australia accredited (12CEC’s) 2-day course to up-skill Fitness Professionals in working with mums – any mums – pregnant, early post-natal, five-years post-natal rolled out for the first time in Melbourne in 2016.
All women face a variation on a specific set of contraindications as they return to exercise and travel through life exercising as a mum. These things are need-to-know. And as fitness professionals, knowing them changes lives.
Collaboration – how do I help my baby support your baby?
In mid 2016 our affiliate and mentor program came to life. I partnered with Magdalena Hawley of Mums Going Strong Fitness on Sydney’s North Shore. She’s our trusted North Shore partner – delivering Safe Return to Exercise methods, partnering with local Women’s Health Physiotherapists, an all round top chick (and mum) and is ensuring every single woman that comes to her is looked after in the very best way.
By mentoring Mags in all of the shit I have managed to screw up and all of the stuff that I have managed to get right it makes me so very proud to say she is rocking it over there and has been a pleasure to work with. A super star to keep accountable, fun to collaborate with and knowing I can confidently send mums her way is invaluable.
As we move into 2017 I am so very excited to be welcoming some new mum-focused fitness professionals and businesses into our fold that I will introduce you to over the next couple of days.
I’m excited that I now have the experience and the tools (i.e. I’ve screwed up enough times) to help you to miss out all the crappy bits of my 8+ years of Body Beyond Baby and 10+ years of my fitness industry journey and to fast track your mum focused fitness business.
It still takes effort and there’s no magic wand. There’s still trial and error and there will still be mistakes. Ups and downs of business are inevitable but there are no excuses when it comes to knowing your numbers and tracking your progress – I’m very proud of my spreadsheets and they have pretty colours which I know you will love too 😉
Business isn’t rocket science – I have no degree, I left school officially at 18 (and skipped much of the two years before that). I don’t spell well and math is not a strong point, my geography sucks and my eight year old pronounces words I can’t read properly but you need good people with great experience and the willingness to share around you. And I am fucking passionate about sharing all of this with the right people. There’s shit to be done and I am blessed to already have some amazing women standing by my side – placing their trust in me, in us, creating a community and a network after the same mission.
We are laying the ground work of something the fitness industry has never seen before. In a world of scarcity and competition. We, as individual businesses are standing side by side and saying “I support you”, “I’ll stand by you”, “I’ll support your business as if it were my own” and “I’m not threatened by you because I know the stronger I build you, the stronger we build together and the stronger we build every woman that ever becomes a mother”