It was 2004 when I took the biggest risk of my life and created the career of my dreams from scratch. I had been working for a while at a job that I thought was going to be my ideal career. Unfortunately, this path was nothing like I had anticipated. After the first year, I was showing signs of becoming the person I knew didn’t want to become. I was suddenly a negative person and it showed up in all areas of my life. I came home every evening feeling a weight of anxiety and stress.
On one of these nights when I had come home full of my usual work-related complaints, my husband asked me, “Why do you keep going back if you’re so unhappy? You spend most of your life there – it’s not worth the stress.”
That comment made me stop and consider where I was going and who I was becoming. I thought, “I spend five days a week here, usually at least eight hours per day. What am I getting from this? What does it do for me?” Sadly I wasn’t getting anything from this – this was actually making me toxic and I was bringing it home and letting it damage my personal life. Something had to change whether I was ready for it, or not.
I was hardly ready and the scariest part was deciding how I was going to make the shift. Yes I was in a position where I could do anything I wanted, but it was on me to make it work and make an income. How could I come up with a new dream career path when this toxic job was supposed to be what I wanted? I could have simply changed employers and remained in the same industry, but that would have inevitably bred the same negative and unhappy girl I didn’t want to be anymore. I exhausted all options and the only career change I could imagine involved health and fitness. At the time I was training for my second fitness competition. This was my only other passion, plus I had already gained credentials in sports nutrition and personal training. This felt like a good fit and a good decision but with this also meant I would lose my benefits, and consistent salary as well as a stable job. Once I left, there would be no turning back. This was scary!
I knew that I wanted to be my own boss. I also knew it isn’t easy starting new as a trainer without any clients. But I was willing to try. I was confident that my strong work ethic and willingness to do whatever it takes would carry me through succeeding my own business. The more I considered it, the more comfortable I was with the idea of helping others with their fitness. After much thought and discussion with my husband, I finalized that decision and took the plunge.
The plan was to give myself a few months to see what it was like being my own boss. If it did not feel right, I would then fall back on a position in a gym setting or something similar. Words can’t describe how determined I was to not have to go that route.
So, I left my job and became a self-employed trainer. How was I going to get clients? I was terrified of failure – terrified of making a bad decision. It certainly wasn’t the safe choice for a stable career. On top of that, my husband was preparing to take care of our monthly expenses fully until my business progressed. How long was that going to take? There were so many unknowns. I don’t like the feeling of having to rely on others, which made the change even more uncomfortable
It was in this first week of self-employment that I went for a walk with an old colleague. She happened to ask for some help losing weight.
Coincidentally, one of my first ideas was to start a boot camp class. I offered to sign her up for an extremely cheap price in hopes of drawing in more potential long-term clients and to gain experience working with various people. She shared the opportunity with a few friends and sooner than later I had too much interest to hold just one class. I wanted to ensure they were all getting the most value out of their class, so I set up 2 classes of 10 girls each. From there we would schedule 1 month of training at a time. Each time I started a new month I increased the price. I LOVED helping people. It was so much fun! It was often challenging but so rewarding.
By Fall of that first year, the outdoor classes were ending. I picked up some new personal training clients from those contacts I had made through Spring/Summer classes. Then the business just kept expanding from there. Each business decision I made was always based on the needs of my clients. That seemed to work well and still works for me to this day.
I’ve gone from teaching fitness classes to mentoring women and coaching them through modeling, industry branding, competition prep and lifestyle transformations. It’s been 7 years since I turned my life right-side up. There has never been a time when I regretted taking this chance. The journey has been challenging but also very rewarding. I truly love what I do now and cannot imagine what kind of person I would be today if I had not left that toxic job. I feel blessed to be coaching women from all over the world and seeing them through achievements they never dreamed were possible.
Taking a chance has brought me a business that I am proud of, amazing people that I am surrounded by, daily rewards in my work life, and most important overall happiness in my day to day living.