I have been working in my own businesses since 1986.
Over the years I have amassed a serious amount of knowledge and experience which I am known for sharing… at any given opportunity.
I originally thought my mentoring service would be best suited to female fitness professionals, who I thought might be struggling to find a way to work full-time in the industry.
As it turns out… my advice and experience is applicable to women in business in general, regardless of the field in which they work.
All the best marketing advisers will tell you that in order to be successful you need to find your niche, to establish who your ideal customer might be.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that the group I really enjoy working with …the clients who make my heart sing… are women who are launching a new venture.
Whilst I am not sure why women should lack confidence in their ability, I do know this to be true.
Luckily, I also know that I can, and have, helped many clients to take the leap of faith… with fabulous results.
Starting your own business can be scary, particularly if you have previously worked in a company or organisation with an Accounts Department, HR team, Maintenance team, etc all the things you take for granted in a larger organisation.
The great news is… although you no longer have these others to rely on…you also get to make ALL the decisions and, believe me, this can be hugely liberating!
How did I get t started… all those years ago?
Initially, I started working as a part- time fitness instructor when our third son was born. I needed to find a way to earn some much-needed income, but could not afford to pay child-minding fees, times three.
When I was looking around to see what I could do, I joined a local fitness class and was enthused by the fact that this was a job I could do when my husband got home from work.
All my years of Ballet training as a child, together with my love of music meant I could have a job that would be flexible …pardon the pun…and transferable, should we ever need to move. (Which turned out to be quite far sighted, as we then moved house 7 times in 14 years…with three wee boys)
To say I have been on a steep learning curve since then would be a massive understatement.
I can now look back fondly over all the ‘millions’ of decisions I have made …some were enlightened… others not so much… and smile, as they have all made me the person I am today.
Over the years, the sum total of classes I have started from scratch is in excess of 100 as we moved around the country from Falkirk to Wigan…to Broughty Ferry/Dundee and back to Edinburgh. (In reality that’s more than one hundred small businesses)
In fact, it became a bit of a challenge to see how quickly I could set up new classes in our new area …the quickest being Broughty Ferry.
We had only been there four days and I was teaching my first class!
Little did I know this would all stand me in good stead when it came to establishing my own studio, when we finally returned to Edinburgh.
Since then I have opened five studios and also sold two of my businesses. Currently, I teach and work in my own two studios in Edinburgh. In 2005… I established The EnergyWise Academy (of which I remain Principal). It has the equivalent status of any Further Education college, in terms of delivering UK accredited courses and qualifications.
I have trained more than 250 Realistic Pilates Instructors who in turn have gone on to establish their own classes/small businesses in Edinburgh, Glasgow, The Scottish Borders, Florida, Singapore, Dubai, Australia, Portsoy, Aberdeen and the Isle of Arran, to name but a few.
It was quite a light-bulb moment when I realised one of my main strengths was not only setting up my own small business but also inspiring and helping others to do the same.
As I approach my sixties I have decided that I would like to change the way in which I work (again) and I have invested thousands of pounds in learning what it takes to deliver online courses and help more people than I ever could in a face-to-face setting.
I have to say that it is all this change which has kept me positive, enthusiastic and interested while developing and growing my businesses.
My main strength is that I am always looking at the bigger picture and will then put a positive spin on any situation.
My students have dubbed me ‘Auntie Fiona’ as they know I always have their best interests at heart and am not in it to feed my ego.
Investing in yourself is the single most important thing you can do.
If you are feeling a bit stuck and could do with some sound advice based on practical experience and not some theoretical blueprint…
I would love to work with you and help you by sharing my ‘pearls of wisdom’ gleaned from three decades of helping class members, personal training clients and student teachers to be the best they can be.Why should you listen to Me?
I know my stuff! The phrase ‘Been there… done that …got the T-shirt’, could have been written for me.
If mistakes could be made or difficult situations needed to be handled…from hiring staff to firing clients… I can usually relate to when I came across that same problem but, more importantly, offer you a practical solution.
I don’t claim to know it all…not for a second. I am constantly reading, learning and applying new knowledge. Having been around this length of time means I can see that the same problems tend to come up again and again. Typical issues that new business owner face:
How will I know how to set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account?
What on earth do I say to attract clients and keep them interested?
Which is the best domain name to own?
How do I know what to charge? What exactly is a purchase order number… and where will I find one?
What do I need to have in my Terms & Conditions …do I even need Terms & Conditions? What should my policy be on refunds?
Will I need a PayPal or Stripe account? What is Hootsuite? Who on earth is Edgar?
Is it okay to burst into tears sometimes when it all gets too much? What’s all this talk about only marketing to your Ideal Customer? Why ‘narrow’ my field… surely the more people I tell … the more chance of success? Surely that is going to restrict how many people I can sell to?
Probably the biggest fear of all…
What if nobody wants to work with me? After all there are already people out there doing what I plan to do. Right?
Yes there are ….but nobody is doing it in exactly the same way as you can. You are unique and despite the fact there is nothing new under the sun …you will put your own spin on things and the right people will want to work with you …because you are you.
I’m not suggesting it will all be plain sailing. There will be times when you think you have bitten off more than you can chew.
That is where having a mentor who has quite literally been in your shoes is worth every penny of your investment.I was delighted when I put all the words my clients have used to describe me into this inspirational wordcloud: Discovery Call ...named especially as it is where we will find if we are a good fit. Click on the link here to book your call If you are still not sure then you could download my new Webinar: