Female Entrepreneur of the Week 18th June 2012
This story is about…
Female Entrepreneur: Rebecca Black
Company: Bexa Body Fitness
She started her business because: “Throughout my physical transition, I realized how much I loved helping others lose weight and get healthy. This new found passion is what I turned into a successful business.”
What motivated you to start your business?
I worked in child welfare for 7 years in various positions, but found myself desiring something more, something better, something that left me in more control of my destiny. I made decent money, but I dreaded going to work each and every morning. When I finally hit my highest weight ever, I buckled down and focused on getting the weight off and making myself as mentally and physically strong as possible. Throughout my physical transition, I realized how much I loved helping others lose weight and get healthy. This new found passion is what I turned into a successful business.
Tell us about your business…
I am the owner of a boutique fitness studio called Bexa Body Fitness in Westerville, Ohio. After working at several other fitness places and giving them my recommendations on how they could make their facilities better, I finally decided to focus and become my own boss. I took everything I hated about other fitness facilities and made my different. We offer private and semi-private personal training, group fitness and boot camp. Our facility is not an open gym and members must be with a trainer or class to work out. We receive positive feedback everyday on how we are different from other gyms.
What is a day in the life of you like?
I am a night owl and love to work late at night when everyone is sleeping. Which means I start my days around 10am. I check email and then run from meeting to meeting until I have clients around 4-8pm most evenings. I enjoy learning and reading to improve my style and my business. Every day is different and I really enjoy that about my job.
What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business?
2011 was the hardest year of my life. I started the year with having a miscarriage, then bounced from gym to gym trying to find my home and worked tirelessly for 6 months to get Bexa Body Fitness up and running. I’ve been through 8 different banks on loans, 3 business names and countless properties with jerk building owners. All of this was compounded by me doing all the work myself. My husband is a huge supporter but worked full time and consulted on the side so I would have time to get the business up and running. I am fortunate in that sense to have him here to help.
How did you overcome these challenges?
From an early age I fought for what I wanted. There are very few things I could say I wanted that I didn’t end up getting. Please don’t get me wrong, I worked my tail off to get these things but there is this internal drive and optimism deep inside of me that would never let me fail. I am a person that will work tirelessly and endlessly to accomplish a goal. It is a blessing and a curse because I can often work myself raw until I have a mini meltdown and need to take 2 days to do nothing and recharge my batteries. I am getting much better at realizing my breaking point and taking shorter breaks as needed. If you want to be a business owner you must have 5 characteristics – charisma, passion, dedication, thick skin and a strong work ethic.
What have you found to be the most effective way to get new clients?
For me providing the best customer service and customer experience creates a client loyalty that will push your business into over drive. My staff live, eat and breathe the Bexa mantra and we love sharing it with others. It makes it contagious. Clients love bringing new people into our facility because it is different, makes them feel at home and they like returning the favor. Another way I’ve really branded myself is attending charity events, donating items to silent auctions and becoming involved with our local Chamber of Commerce.
What advice would you give to other business owners?
Don’t give up. Get creative. Think inside the box and outside the box. If you don’t know how to do something, find someone that does. If you can’t afford to pay someone to help you, find friends or family that will help you on trade. Don’t grow too quickly. When you fall out of love with your business, move on.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
The passion I have for being my own boss, making a difference in other people’s lives and my husband all keep me moving. I struggle with my husband though because he is not a risk taker or a dreamer. We fight frequently about my “big ideas” or “schemes” when really I love talking out loud, brainstorming and coming up with ideas. Recently, we had 4 people show up for our ribbon cutting ceremony. It was a cold and rainy night which ended up keeping people away. BUT, we had over 150 people at our open house and our classes keep filling, so I can’t complain about one event that went wrong. After the sting of a negative event is over, just refocus and see what could have been done differently then move on. Just keep moving.
What’s your favourite quote?
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
Who inspires you?
I love seeing woman work hard and see their dreams come true. Any woman who has dedicated her life to a passion or a dream and saw it through is a hero in my eyes and an inspiration.
Do you have a business philosophy?
Treat your customers as you would want to be treated. I go into so many different businesses and am appalled at the way I am treated in their business. My business will and always be like home.
Get in touch…
Twitter Name: @bexabodyfitness
Facebook Fanpage: www.facebook.com/bexabosslady