Before we get to what I thought was a colossal failure for me, let’s talk about an amazing winner – Melissa Burton! I know when you guest post it’s a given that you’re going to gush about the person you’re posting for but truly people, Melissa is amazing. She was one of the first bloggers to re-tweet or tweet about me and my blog when I didn’t know a tweet from a twit. She was also one of the first to start reading my blog and to actually find it interesting and, of course, I loved her back.
I love her Tunes for Tuesdays, I love that she’s obsessed with Duran Duran and that she has so much love for both NY and LA. She’s truly amazing and I can’t wait to meet her in person someday. When she asked me to guest post and told me she was going to open a private nutrition practice, I was giddy with excitement! I know she will be a success no matter what. I just want to be a part of it. So, here’s my contribution. My epic firing from my very first “real” fitness job:
When I left the corporate world for a position as Fitness Director at a large gym near my hometown, I took about a $10,000 pay cut. Why would I ever do such a thing? Because it was my dream job and my corporate job, although well paying, was sucking my will to live. After a lot of budget finagling, my husband (then fiancé) agreed that my will to live surpassed monetary gain and I took the job at the gym.
I was in heaven. I had a team of trainers whom I oversaw, I taught 6-8 classes per week and I worked with so many amazing people. Well, my peers were amazing. The owners? Not so much. They didn’t even workout at the gym they owned. Right? To say they were both out of touch with the needs and wants of our members is a horrendous understatement. Needless to say, I butt heads with them quite a bit when it came to how the trainers should be training, what conferences and workshops would be beneficial to attend and just the day to day focus of the team. They were focused on whether or not we had our name tags on and I was focused on the benefits and treatment of the clients. To say this relationship ended badly would also be a horrendous understatement.
I was there for three years before it all fell apart. I watched several excellent staff members get fired for various bogus reasons or (and far worse) be treated so badly that they finally just left. For me, it was a long time coming but one day in the spring I was brought into the owner’s office and told I was being let go. As it turns out, those were an excellent choice of words! At first however, I cried my eyes out. As difficult as my working environment could be, I loved the club. I loved my team of trainers and, maybe most of all, I loved teaching classes. I remember going home to the apartment I shared with my future husband and just balling my eyes out. You know what he said? This is good. This is just the opportunity you need.
Huh? I was a little stunned. Couldn’t he see how upset I was? Did he remember that we were in those very days, trying to get pre-approval for a mortgage for a house we were building? Only my entrepreneurial and ever optimistic husband could see me being fired as an opportunity. This is why I love him. He can always see what I don’t.
After I felt sorry for myself for about a week I started looking for a place to open my own studio. It was something I had been wanting to do for some time but was putting off until we built the house. It was time. My boss had “let me go” and go I did!
Six months later, I opened VITA – Train for Life because VITA means life and that’s why I think people should train. Training for races or to lose weight or improve your golf game are all well and good but really, you just need to sweat and move and exercise for the betterment of your life! We are meant to move and, sometimes, to move on in order to find opportunity and realize our dreams.
A lot of my dreams came true with the opening of my business. I realized that YES I CAN. I realized that If I build it, they will come – and come they did! Slowly but surely, I filled my personal training schedule and my classes. I even hired a few trainers and had so many amazing moments there. What I thought had been an ending to my dream job was only just the beginning to achieving so much more.
Like Melissa, I was terrified of putting myself (and our money!) out there. Here’s what helped me and I know will help Melissa as well:
1. Have integrity. Do what you think is right for your business and your clients and you can’t go wrong.
2. Walk the walk. The best example is the one you set. If your clients see that you live your words, they will believe in you and learn to believe in themselves. Motivation and inspiration are key.
3. Word of mouth brings in clients. Forget fancy marketing strategies, expensive advertising and local fairs. I’m not saying not to do those things but what always worked for me was word of mouth recommendations. Come in and try a class, bring a friend – you won’t be disappointed!
Melissa – I wish you so much luck and courage as you take on this new adventure! I know you will be successful because you have a passion for living a healthy lifestyle and, maybe more importantly, to help people do the same.
Now, when can connect to set-up an endurance eating plan for me?
Disclaimer: Allie has not been paid to write the very nice things she wrote about me – although I may owe her an endurance eating plan 😉 – MB/TVRD