How long have you been in the fitness industry?
Since 1998, I’ve enjoyed a range of roles aside from Director of HBF – gym floor and personal training team manager, presenter, blogger, personal trainer and group fitness instructor.
What did you do before fitness?
After I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Psychology and Visual Arts I worked in video production. I was also fortunate to learn valuable customer service skills while working casually in retail for over 10 years while studying.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Being recognised in the Australian Health and Fitness Industry Awards every year since 2010. Building a thriving business that has survived 16 years in a highly competitive industry, and helping thousands of people to transform the way they feel about themselves, is something I’m incredibly proud of.
What mistakes did you make along the way?
In the past I have been so busy helping everyone else to achieve and maintain a healthy balance, I’ve forgotten my own need to rest and recuperate. Fitness Professionals are an energetic, passionate bunch and we have the tendency to burn out if we’re not careful about our own wellbeing.
What are the best bits about running your own business?
I’m drawn to the efficiency, independence, creativity, ability to mentor others, flexibility, always working in alignment with your goals and values, and the fact that I’m building something that is truly my own.
What are the hardest parts?
Seasonal fluctuations in income, learning to make the tough decisions, getting away for a holiday!
How have you differentiated your business?
All my business decisions are made with my values in mind. I will never compromise on my own personal values or the vision of HBF in order to boost profits or popularity. In our industry it’s easy to be swayed by trends and extremes, and tempting to give into promising the ‘quick fix’ solutions that people wish existed, but we’ve always stuck to our message of a healthy balance.
We see that people are already awesome. They don’t need a six-pack, a thigh gap, a certain dress size or a rock hard butt to have a happy life or to feel fabulous. Our bodies, hearts and minds are capable of amazing things. Some people have forgotten this, while others have never even discovered it. We see it, and we help them to transform the way they feel about themselves so they see it too.
Where did you seek advice from when setting up your business and along the way?
In the beginning it was so much trial and error!
I was fortunate enough to start HBF with an amazing business partner, Amanda Hall, which gave us a great start. I’m so grateful that friends and family have supported and given their time and advice over the years. I meet regularly with small business operators and colleagues to discuss ideas, and our staff are brilliant at assisting guide HBF. The team at Fitness Australia have been so helpful and inspiring too. Many years ago I did a business mentoring course with The Australian Businesswomen’s Network, and a couple of years ago I studied my Diploma of Management at Swinburne. Both these courses were so valuable for boosting my knowledge quickly to the next level.
How has the fitness industry changed in the time you have been working in it, and how have you adapted to these changes?
The industry has grown so much. There really wasn’t that much competition when I started HBF. We’ve had to learn how to stand out in a very crowded market. Technology has changed a great deal and now it’s less about print marketing and all about social media and content marketing. I think trends come and go even quicker now that they spread so quickly over social media. What hasn’t changed is the importance of relationships in business.
Be a sponge! Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Listen to them, watch and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to ask (nicely). Give often. Never feel like you know it all already, but also never feel like you have nothing to bring to the table. Stay humble, say yes to opportunities, gather as much experience as possible and take some leaps of faith. If there’s no fire in your belly you’re probably on the wrong path for you.
What do you look for when hiring Personal Trainers to represent you and your business? (experience, qualifications, personal characteristics, etc)?
I truly believe that character is the most important factor. We can teach the skills required to instruct awesome classes, but I can’t make a trainer truly care about our clients or become passionate about what we stand for.
We find people who are passionate about our vision, who genuinely want to help people, and who have a great work ethic and attitude. Demonstrate the kind of person you are, explain what you’re passionate about and provide concrete examples of that drive, passion and attitude and you’re well on your way to securing your dream job. Don’t question yourself because of a lack of experience or short list of qualifications!
One thing many successful business operators have in common is they have all won business awards. How have these awards helped your business?
The awards definitely assist brand awareness, credibility, and assist in making us an employer of choice. The application process is so worth the many hours it takes because we clarify our goals, the steps needed to achieve them, and ensures that continuous quality improvement is at the forefront of our minds.
What are the key lessons you have learnt along the way?
You can find out more about Healthy Balance Fitness at www.healthybalancefitness.com.au