Tell us about your company, 305 Fitness.
305 Fitness is a dance cardio workout right now based out of NYC. It's night club inspired so it feels like you're out with your girlfriends, just letting loose. We have a live DJ in every class. For many people, exercise can be very boring, very intimidating and too much about body image. We want it to be more about moving in a natural way -- moving in the rhythm of the music. Everyone ends up sweating a lot and burning a lot of calories. Really, it's a workout disguised as a party.
How did you decide to make your passion - fitness - your business?
I really didn't have a choice. I have always been extremely passionate about fitness, and more importantly I was very passionate about teaching and inspiring other people. I found that fitness is a great way to spread my love and my message to other people through this physical joy of movement.
I wasn't in it for the money; I wasn't in it because I wanted to be an entrepreneur; I was just in it because it was something I loved to do and wanted to make my life out of it.
Most surprising thing you've learned about yourself since you've started 305 Fitness?
I've always been outgoing and extroverted and I naturally thought I would be really good at managing people. But - I've learned that it is a very specific skill and that most of it doesn't have anything to do with being in charge but rather being able to carefully listen and really understand what people are saying.
How do you deal with the competitiveness of the fitness (business) world?
First, when I started this business a lot of people told me I should go after a certain demographic. They told me I should go to the Upper East Side (of NYC) or to Tribeca, to these places where my clients would be 'wealthy moms'. I didn't feel at that time that that was authentically me, and I still don't. So instead -- I chose to create this program that was just something that I would want to do. I wasn't making it for anyone else, I was making it for Sadie. And I had faith that if I liked it, someone else would like it too.
I just created something that in my heart, I would want to wake up and do in the morning for my exercise routine. So many fads exist in the fitness world - and so much of the messaging is about weight loss and looking a certain way. However, I think that women are savvy consumers and they see beyond those messages. They don't buy it. No workout can promise them the perfect body. Instead of calories and weight loss, I talk about having a good time and working your body. I think those are the things people want to do.
Your personal philosophy on fitness + body image?
We get bombarded with ideals about body types all the the time, wherever we go. When I move my body, I learn to appreciate not just what my body looks like, but I gain an appreciation for what it can do. When I see my body making measurable gains, when I set goals and see my body doing that, it's a powerful thing. So instead of thinking, "Oh, my legs are so big," I think how powerful they are, how high I can jump.
When I feel that appreciation for my ability versus any end result of where I want to be, I gain more positive self image that has nothing to do how my body looks.
How do handle the financial instability that can come with being an entrepreneur?
This was one of the scariest bits for me -- and probably, for anyone out there that is thinking about starting a business. I had this image of myself - a worst case scenario - of me in this horrible apartment with the walls crumbling and there was a dark sky and I had completely run out of money and was physically starving .... It was insane.
You realize that when you're confident and smart, you're not going to suddenly run out of money and not know what happened. Worse comes to worse, the business starts struggling, you start planning for it. These things don't just happen overnight. Once I realized that, it was really empowering and the ups and downs were not nearly as drastic as I thought they would be.
What's your advice for the rest of us looking for our passions?
A lot of young people have this expectation that you have to "follow your dreams" and "find your passion" and you can start to feel disillusioned because it's not always staring you right in the face. It's different for everyone. My mom is now getting her MFA at 61 because she just realized she wants to be a writer.
Drop the expectation to find your passion. What's important is not looking back + being flexible, being adaptable, always moving forward.
Making a decision is important. I really believe that making a bad decision is better than not making a decision at all. Instead of overthinking it, just do it. Had I decided to do this business -- or, had I decided to do something else -- I don't think either would have been the wrong decision.
I know so many people who think, "Well, I'm not sure this is the right time to start a business so I'll wait and save money, then I'll start my business."
There is no right time to start a business. It doesn't matter if you don't have the resources, skills or experience, just do it and it will work out.