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From a confining office chair to running a successful business

by Marianna Felfoldi 12 months ago in success
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How my business started and where it is today

Hello! I want to start off by introducing myself. My name is Marianna, and I am here to tell you how I have been able to live my passion. Things have not always been easy for me, but now I am a personal trainer living my best life! Ok, so why exactly is being a personal trainer making my life so great? The answer is that I have the flexibility to do my job anywhere and build a schedule around the things I want to do. I am here to share my story of how I found happiness in my job and share with you what makes my business successful. Having a successful business takes time and hard work. Here are a few tips on how I think outside the box and launched my new career.

My initial job was boring and was making me miserable. I worked from 9-5 sitting at a desk typing all day. I was a typical receptionist, hunched over at my computer all day. When I got out of work, I was too tired to do anything else and the weekend seemed like a joke. If I chose to go out with friends, I had little time for anything else. Mostly I just wanted to sleep during the weekends and rest up for the week. It was a never-ending cycle. Where would it end? At retirement? That seemed awful.

On top of having no time, I felt like I was constantly fighting with my weight. I tried to get out for a walk at lunch. Lunch was torture though, because everyone wanted to order food for the office, and I could not bring myself to say no. So, I usually ended up with a panini and chips. Not a horrible lunch, just one that was not helping me become the healthy person I wanted to be. I knew what I needed to do. I knew how to work out and eat right but again I was so tired and miserable that I could only sleep. What would break me out of this?

So, there was an incident. I was sitting at my desk per usual. When all the sudden, I started to feel this burning sensation of intense pain down my arm. Now, my first reaction was to ignore it. I got up and stretched thinking I must have imagined it. It slightly subsided. I sat back down and continued typing, answering phones and drinking my much-needed coffee. The pain then came back, and a lump formed on my forearm. It continued to get progressively worse. When I say worse, I mean I couldn’t even use it. The pain was so bad that I actually couldn’t even hold a pen. After a doctor’s visit I was diagnosed with tendinitis. Basically, I had a swollen tendon and was not allowed to use my arm.

This one incident led me to physical therapy. Through therapy and lots of research on my own I found that, in short, I needed to work out. I learned all about my body and what I needed to do to heal. It was so interesting to me that I had so much control on how I felt. I began working out 5 days a week at the gym. A coworker of mine helped me to see how happy I was and made a joke about how I should do it for a living. That launched me into my fitness career. How was I able to make a living out of my newfound passion? Well let me share with you what I do that made me successful and how I run my business.

The first thing I did was start looking into become a personal trainer. I loved helping people reach their goals. I found that the first thing I could do was take a course from the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). This was not for becoming a personal trainer. With this certification I was able to teach group fitness. This was a great start. I started going to my local gyms and offering to teach group fitness. Many of them already had programs so I just had to get on their list. I started out teaching a body weight class that had fun music and was upbeat. Later I added Pilates and Zumba to my group fitness expertise. Those were extra classes and exams that I was able to take.

I knew I needed to work one on one to help on a more personal level. I found that ACE fitness was the best online program to get to my dream. They were also certified properly. The ACE Health Coach Certification is the only health coach certification that is credited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). They are considered the top in their standard of health and fitness. This was expensive but worth it. After that I was able to take more nutrition courses to help give some knowledge about food. I had tons of clients and was doing great. I started to then move to making a website and social media accounts. People loved reading my story and seeing my progress.

Unfortunately, covid hit and I was stuck at home like everyone else. This was just another challenge that proved we can do anything we want to. I quickly turned to my website and search out ways to grow. I was able to join Amazon’s Affiliate Program on my website and blog. Many websites like amazon offer some great affiliate programs. With this program, I started recommending my favorite exercise equipment for the home. Anyone who buys from my link on my blog gives me a small commission. It is just a simple way to add to my income and still share great products.

Another resource I was able to use was zoom classes. At first, I used a fitness platform called Moxie. They are awesome, especially if you are new to group fitness. I was able to post fitness classes like Pilates, Zumba, Body Pump and HIIT (high intense interval training). As I started to gain a following on social media, I decided to move my business to my website. I kept a class schedule on my website. I offered a few months free just to help grow my platform. Everyone began joining and having fun. After the free trials I was able to set up a tier package to all my classes. The tiers work by giving you all access to my classes either for 1 month, 3 months or a whole year. You can still sign up per class if that makes it easier for people.

This got me thinking about what else I could offer during covid. I decided to offer a member’s page that was $100 a year. On this exclusive member’s page, I was able to add all my favorite recipes I created and an at-home workout program. The program was a general one. It focused on just getting strong. I had great success in people signing up and it was helping them. I included in the 1-year tier, access to this member’s page. I continue to update the member’s page as I create new recipes and new work out challenges for everyone to enjoy.

In all this I missed having one on one sessions with my clients. So, I reached out by email to my previous clients. Many of them were excited to get back into the swing of things and we began holding sessions on zoom that fit into their schedule. This helped us to stay safe during the pandemic.

This gave me an idea to continue with personalized plans. So, I set up one more feature. I could not keep taking on personal clients because I just do not have the time. So instead, I set up a package deal to have one session with anyone and create a personalized work out plan. In this deal you get a 1-hour meeting where you can talk about your goals. Some just want to lose weight, others want to gain muscle or even overcome injuries. In this 1 hour call we also discuss your weaknesses. This means that you get to customize what works for you. Some people can’t do squats, others can’t do a lot of jumping because of their joints. Knowing all this and even finding out what you love to do helps me build a tailored workout plan. I then send it to my clients, and they keep it forever. The nice thing about this feature is that it is cheaper for them and a onetime thing. With that new feature I was able to set up some 15 min check ins with many of these self-motivated clients.

This has all been really successful. I believe that success comes because I have been able to offer many different things to fit different needs of all sorts of people. No matter people’s age or goals I have something for everyone. I also found that I was reaching a huge audience, not just individuals at my local gyms. I have people from all over the world joining our fitness family. Many have left comments for each other after classes and on my blog posts. These comments encourage everyone to stay motivated and keep going. I have been able to create a fun safe environment for many.

I have also continued blogging and sharing real stories. This helps everyone know they are not alone. The fitness industry can be brutal. Let us face it society can be brutal. Society has made us believe that we must look a certain way or fit into a certain number. I often share photos of how numbers do not matter in our clothes. So many photos we see are photoshopped. So, I try to write articles and share pictures of what real people look like. I also am open about my struggles with weight and my relationship with food. As a fitness influencer I find it important to be real and show people I am not this unicorn in a world of horses.

I may have a lot going on, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I am currently teaching 4 different fitness classes almost every day of the week. With the tier packages set up, it makes it easy for anyone to join and it is simple to join per class if someone chooses that instead. I also keep sharing many great amazon products on my blog. Sometimes I share work out equipment or great food. There is a lot of at-home and gym things everyone can benefit from. There are great snacks or ingredients that help make delicious quick healthy meals. Getting a small commission off those items really helps run my business smoothly. Then I still get to work one on one with people in a personal training session. Then the last thing I offer on my website is a 1-hour meeting with a client to set up a personalized work out program.

In all of this I have been taught that I am capable of anything. I had felt stuck in the office chair but in reality, it showed me that we all need to find happiness in what we are doing. All it takes is effort. I was able to stay focused on my passion of working out and eating healthy. Setting up a successful business takes time and is hard work. As challenges get thrown at us, we can all adapt. Sometimes I have had to get creative but always having fun has helped. I now am thriving and happier than ever. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and set up your own success today!


About the author

Marianna Felfoldi

An open minded, highly motivated, hardworking, safety conscious, polite and caring person.

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