My First Month Transitioning from Corporate Life to Entrepreneur
My first official day as an entrepreneur began April 3, 2018 - well for the second time but I'll explain that later:) The day prior I sent back my Corporate owned laptop, badge, phone, credit cards and basically everything I worked for the past 7 years and my safety net. It was bittersweet. You see, after my divorce and selling my first retail business this was my first corporate job coming out of that. It gave me everything, including my financial freedom. I have a savings, a 401K, investments and a hell of a lot of experience.
It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the company, the people and the work, it just wasn't fulfilling me and I felt myself searching for something that would satisfy my need to help others and work in an industry that I am truly passionate about. I started seeing signs from the Uinverse ever so slightly moving me in the direction towards health and fitness - or maybe it was my own subconcious just pushing me there:)
The decision wasn't easy, and it really came at an opportune time where I had a decision to make. My husband was offered a job offer in Denver, Colorado and after a lot of discussion we we came to the conclusion that rather than me getting another corporate job, I would pursue my passion in nutrition and fitness. Now, beyond that I wasn't sure exactly where I was going to start, but I just knew I needed to start educating myself and really focusing on strengthening my skills as a fitness instructor and health coach. You see, I've done this on the side for the past 4 years with friends and family. I even taught for a couple years after I first received my yoga certification in 2014. However, when I moved to New York in 2015 that just wasn't an option and working full time in the corporate world was all there was room for - so at least I thought. I wanted to enjoy the city, enjoy my new relationship and travel. And so that's what I did - and I did it whole-hardheartedly and don't regret it for a second.
I had a blast living in New York, had some amazing experiences, met some awesome friends and married my now husband and best friend. Shortly after we married in July 2016, we found out in November 2016 that I was pregnant! Wow, this was not something I thought would happen so rapidly, but it did so my corporate life wasn't going anywhere as it helped me to have a secure pregnancy, labor and 3 months of paid time off. In addition, I was able to work from home a couple days a week with my new baby until December 2017 and went back to work full time in January 2018. Don't get me wrong, my company and boss were amazing. Super flexible and let me enjoy the first few months of motherhood in a way that I will always be grateful.
However, moving into full time work in January away from my baby from 7am-6pm was probably the hardest transition of my life. I think that's when the wheels started turning that I needed to start making my way into something else - something that could be more flexible - but I thought that would be a few years down the road. I started getting my fitness certification through AFAA/NASM and all of the necessary certifications (CPR/AED) that would eventually enable me to start teaching in New York on the side to get my feet wet.
Well it turns out in Mid-February we found ourselves with a job opportunity for my husband across the country - in Denver, Colorado. Now, we had never even thought of moving out west. The thought had crossed our mind to move maybe south or to the Midwest but we loved New York and didn't know if we were ready to leave. However, after my husband flew out for an interview and he came back radiating about the opportunity and I could see it and feel it in his voice and demeanor - he lit up and he was ready to take the leap. We were both scared as hell. Not only did this require a cross country move but it meant we would both have to quite our jobs - which were both very good by the way. And we both worked very hard to get to where we were over the last 7 years. But it felt right. The opportunity, the location and the change were what we needed as a growing family.
The move itself from New York wasn't easy. We sold a bunch of stuff, left a lot behind and 8 suitcases and two Uber's later we were off to the airport. All three of us flew to Denver on March 4, 2018 and man was that a bittersweet day. We had been in transition as we were in the process of buying a place. We didn't want to move to the suburbs and decided we would stay in a more metro area so found a place downtown and while we were in the process we lived in a Residence Inn for 2 weeks. Yes, hotel life was pretty interesting. In addition to that, we had no source of transportation as moving from New York we didn't have a car - and most people don't living in the city. Public transportation is the norm. We decided we needed to start with at least 1 vehicle. So We started looking for something that would suit both of us for the time being. Because I was working from home wasn't as necessary but he definitely needed a car to get to and from work.
I started madly applying for fitness teaching jobs. Created a fitness resume, posted it on every job board. I had a shortlist of every fitness facility within 15 miles of downtown and I started emailing away and applying for every job possible. Within a couple of days, literally I had an offer from a fitness group that facilitates teachers in different locations and had two jobs lined up for the following week. Mind you, I hadn't taught in years. In the meantime, I decided to take as many fitness classes as possible. Spin, bootcamp, yoga, barre, anything. The great thing about trying new studios is they many times offer weekly or daily first time guest rates that can be anything from free to a deeply discounted rate from regular class rates.
When I started attending these classes, I became outwardly social. I had never done this before, let alone in a new location. All I knew was I needed to network, meet friends and really dive into these local communities. I started introducing myself and telling my story and quickly started to meet some great people. Many of which provided referrals and some of which I had started making personal connections and some business connections for potential studios to work at in the future. This wasn't like me because in New York, or anywhere else for that matter, when I was new somewhere I would just get into my usual fitness zone and rock it out. No need to speak to anyone, just do my thing. I wasn't trying to be rude, that's just my jam when it comes to fitness. However, this was going to be my life and I needed to do something different. That different way was say YES to everything, say hello to everyone and explore every potential opportunity! So that is exactly what I did.
My goal was to try 2-3 studios a week and I'm just now starting to scratch the surface. The other thing I did when I went to these studios was really watch and listen. Listen how they queued exercises, how they spoke to the class, watch how they taught and transitioned from one exercise to the next, what type of music they were playing, how the class responded and etc. I was learning constantly with every studio I went to I learned something new.
By the time I had to teach my first class I was incredibly nervous and rehearsed over and over again the night before. My first bootcamp I did an outline for class. Watched some YouTube videos on class format and did my research and used my own personal experience to lay out a class that was challenging and had variety. I showed up at my first class - about a 20 minute drive away - and wouldn't you have it, no one showed up. No ONE! All of that preparation, all of those nerves for nothing. What I did learn that I could prepare for a class and I got my first one out of the way, regardless if anyone showed up. The next day, I had two people show up. And we rocked it. They rocked it. I was started to gain some confidence.
Then the following week, I had my first yoga class to teach. Mind you,I hadn't' taught a yoga class in years - like in 3 years. I had taken several that week to prepare. I also really started to refine my own practice focusing on transitions, music and overall flow. I rehearsed several times, wrote down an outline, had my playlists set and was ready for class. Nervous as hell the night before, but I was as ready as I could be. The next day I showed up for class and had a great attendance! It was about 10 people. All teachers. I showed up at a high school to teach and realized as I got into the room after asking, no one had really done yoga. They were all pretty much beginners and wanted a "gentle yoga" class. Well guess what, that's not what I prepared! I prepared the opposite. I prepared a flowing and power yoga....well this is where experience and creativity come in - you just go with it and adjust on the fly. I didn't over think this and I just started to talk. Got them into position and worked from the ground up, working though every body part - just as I was taught. I also experienced a couple people in class with knee and hip problems - so had to make adjustments as there were some poses that just didn't work for them. So I adjusted them individually. You guys, this was HARD! However, this was a great experience for me starting out as a teacher. It made me get creative and it really helped me to understand how to improvise.
Now that I had a couple classes under my belt - specifically bootcamp and yoga - I was starting to gain more confidence. I was out grocery shopping on a Saturday for the family and for this blog and received a call from a manager at a club. I couldn't believe it, she had found me on a job board and called me up to see if I was interested in a position at their private community club. We chatted for a few minutes about my experience - which was very little - but nonetheless I had some. She wanted me to stop in and meet her so I did just that on that same day. She showed me around the club and it was beautiful. A new spin room, yoga room, Pilates room and a warehouse looking bootcamp room with lots of fun fitness "toys" to incorporate into my workouts. I was stoked! She explained how I would have creativity to do what I wanted and use whatever I wanted. She also gave me the flexibility to essentially create my own schedule. We sat down and she asked what I wanted to teach and when - was this real life? I mean I was beyond excited about this opportunity!
My first day was a Monday night, I was teaching a spin class followed by a bootcamp that night. Holy crap, was I nervous. Now spin is not easy to teach. Not only do you have to prep - and I did - I watched videos, read blogs, looked at pinterest for ideas and created a spin class choreographed to a playlist that was upbeat and fun. Now, I didn't know much about spin other than I had taken a million classes from SoulCycle to CycleBar to FlyWheel - you name it! I did it all. In both NYC and everywhere I had been traveling for work. I knew what a good spin class was like and I knew what a bad class was like. I also decided to take a few spin classes here in Denver to get an idea for what the format and instructors are like here and I went to some good ones and went to some not-so-good ones. But as you may know, classes really depend on the teacher - their energy, their knowledge and the creativity of the class. I tried to focus on all three for my first class. That Monday night I show up at class and I had two guys. Both in their mid-thirties that are pretty fit and know what they are doing. I pull out my card with my outline and stick in the cup holder of my bike and have it as my guide. I start the playlist and we blow through the class. I really focus on trying to push each class to their max and adding in a little flare with some not-so-great jokes but nonetheless it entertaining and they get a workout. First spin class - success!
I'm now into my third week of teaching and starting to get the hang of it, gaining confidence by the day and start adding more and more classes with new students in new locations every time. This is probably the hardest part of my job - not knowing what to expect or how to prepare. The one guideline I always set is prepare something pretty basic and add some flare or intensity as you go. The same is true in the reverse. You can always decrease the intensity and if the class looks like they are dying after 20 minutes, scale it back. This is something I'm sure to get better at as time goes on and the more classes I teach. But for now, this is how I run my classes.
In addition to teaching, I'm also doing a Holistic Nutrition Program that requires about 10 hours of week of study time, lectures, assignments and etc. This is something I love learning about. I love food. I love learning about how food affects the body. I love experimenting with food in the kitchen. This was obviously a natural and next step. In the program, I love the lectures, I love the assignments and most of all I love the information I'm able to absorb after each module. Now this is a year long program and throughout I am supposed to obtain clients to coach into a healthier lifestyle. Now, I'm not sure how it will turn it out, but I do know I love to teach people how to live healthier lives and the more information I learn the more I can teach others and share of my own knowledge and experience. I also have my own experience to draw from which are very well versed in the struggle of the journey into healthy living.
Another part I must note about my personal brand and business is growing my website and blog. Expanding upon the recipe base, creating tools in which people can follow as a guide to make their journey into healthier living that much easier. I'm working on creating an organized and well thought out guide to help people follow. This is difficult for me as in the past, I've always just shared information and I wasn't aware that people actually wanted a guide. What I'm learning is what I know about health and nutrition is far beyond what is the norm and people really like to have something to refer to help them achieve their goals. Therefore, I will be creating tools that help do just that. Stay tuned for more to come in May!
Motivation is another entire post on its own that I want to write about but its worth mentioning here as it is a part of my daily life. Owning your own business and getting up every single day without anything that absolutely has to be done or you'll get fired. Ok that may be extreme but what I mean is with the unlimited flexibility it is sometimes hard to focus and prioritize on the things you want and/or need to accomplish. So many tasks can get in the way that it makes it very hard to stay on track. There's also that element of oh I don't feel great today, or its gorgous outside and I don't want to stay in here and work....the list goes on. You get what I'm saying in that you have to not only have your tasks and daily objectives but it's best if you prioritize and have a list of things that need to be accomplished and when to keep you on track. It really helps me by having things scheduled in advance. I'm not an organized person, as my husband will attest, to but I do keep my business finances organized and try to stay on my daily task list!
In addition to all of this, I am first and foremost a mom to my 9 month old baby girl. Yes, she is in a great daycare program so I can work but I also try to spend as much time with her as possible. Whether that's taking her in later on days, picking her up early a couple days a week and etc. She is my number one priority and if she needs me, I'm there first. Always. I also have a husband that I need to spend time with and we need time together as a family. That takes time I could be spending on business things, but its a priority and I take it seriously. We have family days on Sunday and Saturday night I'm with my husband or we spend time as a family. In the evenings during the week on the days I'm not teaching we have dinner together after I put the baby to bed and we talk. Its a balance and sometimes I feel myself being tugged in so many directions but the bottom line is that if your family doesn't come first and you don't keep your relationships in check it can create an entire collapse of everything else around you and at some point something has got to give. I love my business, teaching, blogging, responding to messages and everything that comes with this but I will never lose sight of the why in my life - and that is my family. I do this for my own personal love of helping others but I'm not whole if I don't nourish my soul with my family time. So to be a better coach, a better teacher, a better entrepreneur I have to maintain balance and sometimes its harder than others. But, if we do what we love and nourish what we hold closest to our hearts we can never fail.
Thank you for following my journey so far. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave a comment below as I'd love to hear from you with your feedback! If you don't already follow me on Facebook, you can follow my group there or on Instagram as I will start to host live events and challenges to keep you motivated on your journey to a healthier you!
Have a healthy week!