This story is about…
Name: Rachel Cullen
Company: Fix Lifestyles
Industry: Personal Development
What motivated you to start your business?
I was a miserable lawyer until 2006, and wanted to break free from my 9-5 “prison” and discover a life, and how to help people make more out of theirs!
Tell us about your business…
I re-trained as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in 2007 and set up my own personal training studio, which focused mainly on helping women in particular to increase their self-esteem & confidence via health & fitness rather than simply looking at “losing weight” or “body shape” which seemed so one-dimensional to me. I wanted to support women on a deeper level. After becoming a mum in late 2010, I adapted the business to work with new mums and it opened up a whole new world for me. After 5 happy and successful years, I sold the business in late 2012 and am now focused on writing, helping others in a different context other than fitness, and pursuing other business opportunities which have presented themselves, including some freelance writing which I love!
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Having a vision and a belief and following the signs – all the help I needed came to me at exactly the time when I needed it! I actually signed the lease on my old studio BEFORE I had any idea how I was going to pay for it! I got turned down for a business loan, but then was successful in applying for a business grant. Things just worked out (although it was damn hard work at times!) because I just knew I was meant to be doing it.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Word of mouth without doubt and the desire to help others in a way which is genuinely giving, not necessarily “expecting” something in return. If you give willingly and support others, I truly believe it comes back to you without you even trying. Don’t be one of life’s “takers” – in the end, they don’t win.
What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business?
Having a baby and juggling motherhood with running a business, keeping clients happy, having to be everything from accountant to marketing expert to business developer to cleaner! But it is SO worth all the challenges.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I adapted my expectations and the direction of my business to not only accommodate my change in circumstances, but to tap into a whole new market and try to turn the challenge into an opportunity! I was featured in the local press and turned what could have been a difficulty into an exciting challenge.
What do you love about running your own business?
I love being my own boss. I love having NO ONE tell me what to do. I love being able to make a difference with how I choose to make a difference in a way which feels right to me. I love the fact that I learn about myself every day and I take on new challenges time after time. I love that I am challenging myself to be true to who I am and not simply resign myself to a miserable career because I can’t think of a better option. I love the fact that I never know who I am going to meet, or where the next bit of “universal help” will come from. And it always does.
What advice would you give to other business owners?
Be passionate about your skills, what you love, and your motivation for doing what you do. Who are you helping? What are you contributing? The money will follow once you believe in your reasons for doing what you do and having the faith to follow it. Trust in the universe as it is far more powerful than you think.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I go back to my desire to help people, and I start to give again. My time, my advice, my help, feedback, friendship – whatever it is. From there, I find my purpose again and I realise that I can make a difference to people who I come into contact with and I can make a positive contribution to the world with the skills and life experience I have. Oh and I get outside and run or cycle. The outdoors is the most amazing gift of perspective we have.
What’s your favourite quote?
“Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting”
Who inspires you?
Anyone who has the balls to try and do their own thing, go their own way and make their own success. Marathon runners, people who set challenges and achieve them. And my dad.
Do you have a business philosophy?
You get back what you give.