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Jessica: Small Business Owner, Personal Trainer

June 8, 2015 No Comments

 40 hours a week

For our first career profile, we’re visiting with one of my oldest friends Jessica. As teenagers we were probably more like Harry and Lloyd in our job pursuits, so it is fun to see how much we have changed!

What is your job title?  Co-owner, CFO & Personal Trainer.

What is your general job description?  My husband and I work as a team to run our own personal training business.  I create the workouts, train a few mornings a week (mostly a stay at home mom), work the books/pay bills, and clean the gym.  I also organize business events, order our merchandise and overall make sure the day-to-day things run smoothly.

What did you study in college?  BS in Exercise & Wellness- emphasis in Health Promotion, minor in Psychology.

Why did you decide to pursue that degree?  Too much math for Aviation.  My degree would open the door to becoming a Physical Therapist.

Was there anything about your education that surprised you?  I felt like the topics were too broad for the short amount of time studying them to actually relate to real world experiences.

How does your education relate to what you do at work? If it doesn’t, how did you end up in this position?  I didn’t expect to own a fitness business.  My husband was an elite athlete with an MBA who didn’t want to work for someone anymore.  He knew how to lift and run a business, I brought in nutrition and biomechanics.  Together it worked out perfectly.

What specific aspects of your education prepared you for your career?  I feel as though the real world application of working as a tech in a physical therapy clinic prepared me much more for my job than college did.  I also had a lot of hands-on experience from Sports Medicine in high school.  College taught me perseverance, but I’m not sure how much it really helped.  My nutrition training was regulated by government standards which aren’t practical in athletics or weight loss.

Was your degree the only path to get this job? What other degrees do your coworkers have that lead to this position?  I could have gotten an online certification for personal training and been in the same position.  My husband doesn’t feel like his MBA prepared him to run a business.  We learned more from Google and trial and error than anything.

Where do you ultimately want to see your career heading?  I never saw myself as an entrepreneur, but it has allowed me the freedom to raise my children.  While we don’t plan to own this business forever it has put me on the path to start my own website and I will ultimately design nutrition plans from home.

What are some of the challenges of your job?  The majority of people don’t want to change or don’t want to work hard, they all want the “magic pill”.  If you eat an entire cake, I don’t want to hear you being upset that you didn’t lose any weight this week.  On the business end, everything  is cyclical and can be feast or famine.  It’s not always predictable, which leads to a lot of stress

What is rewarding about your job?  I have helped change so many peoples’ lives and nothing can top that.  Having the opportunity to teach people to be healthy and live longer is amazing

Are there any stereotypes in your field that you have to deal with? How do you deal those?  Men typically don’t want to be trained by a woman, especially one that is stronger than them!  Some men also have an issue with having a female correct them or tell them what to do.  It’s frustrating for me to see that some men are still threatened by a strong female.  To each their own, but if I have an issue that I can’t resolve I switch their times or let them go.  Another perk of being your own boss, you don’t have to work with anyone you don’t want to!

Do you feel like your career is very conducive to balancing other life obligations and goals?  It works for us because my husband and I can take turns being home with the kids.  I chose to train in the mornings to actually get a little break from home and be around more adults!  It doesn’t always leave time for things outside of the business though.  We work 6 days a week and have gym events and kids’ sports events.  If we have a day off we want to be home, not visiting anyone.

What do you think could change in your field in order to make that more possible/likely?  When we get to a position to hire more trainers we can have more time.  Finding good employees is much more difficult than you would expect.

What benefits does your work offer in regards to maternity leave and family needs?  Owning a small business without employees means that you will never get a sick day, maternity leave, etc.  When I had my second son my husband had to work so much that I didn’t really see him for the first 6 weeks.  You don’t have anyone to pick up the slack.

What advice do you have for other women who are pursuing this field?  My job is very rewarding, but I look at it as I’m a small business owner, not a personal trainer.  There is a huge difference and one doesn’t prepare you for the other.  Owning a business has given us a lot of freedoms, but it comes with a price!  No days off, no health insurance, and you will definitely be working more than 40 hours a week.  We also have only been in business for 4 years and it does get to be more lucrative each year.  Without having any financial backing we have taken a lot of risks and made a lot of sacrifices, but it has just made my marriage stronger and really has made me that much stronger.

20130613_135650Though I’m sure we both have plenty of blackmail pictures of each other from junior high, I figured I’d put up a nice picture of us graduating from high school to keep this education-focused.

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