Four years ago, Cassie White never dreamed she would be running her own successful small health business. At the time she was working full-time as a health journalist on a glossy magazine and today she is a personal trainer and yoga coach.
Cassie says she was feeling really dissatisfied with her job in 2013. “I worked in a men’s magazine and there’s an obvious glass ceiling there. Working in the magazine industry you really feel like your head is on a chopping block most of the time because of the turmoil and the fact that it’s not the most stable industry. I was doing a lot of freelance health writing on the side and was loving it. I had also been thinking of becoming a personal trainer for a really long time. I thought I would combine the two and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Even though Cassie loved her job in journalism, she says she reached a point where she couldn’t go any further. “Around four years ago, I reached a point where I felt really undervalued in my job and I just wanted to feel valued and appreciated in the workplace. I realised I needed to do something about it but I wasn’t 100% sure of what to do. I knew I couldn’t stay in that position any longer.”
She adds, “I was beginning to get sick of myself. I was sick of hearing myself say how unhappy I was. I thought … I can’t be this person anymore. I need to try something new. Outside of my corporate job, I was very passionate about health and fitness. And I had been doing yoga for a really long time. All of these things were running through my mind. So I combined the two!”
Cassie is currently based in Sydney and franchises her business out of Fitness First George Street in the CBD. But she runs her own show, “I teach yoga at Fitness First. I also have my own freelance business. I structure my day in such a way that I’m busy until lunchtime and then I spend the afternoon writing.”
She continues, “I write regularly for ABC News specialising in health. I also have my own spot on the radio show Radio National Life Matters and a few other radio spots on ABC around the country.”
Cassie says she has faced several challenges along the way. She adds, “In the beginning it was mostly dealing with my head. I was super comfortable with my desk job, so going from that to hustling on the gym floor was so new to me. I was terrified and I was way out of my comfort zone. At the beginning, I felt like I had no control. But I was lucky to have mentors who were really supportive along the way. They reminded me it was all part of the process and that having the right procedures in place was important. But most of all it was important to keep trying and moving forward. This was all during a time when I was full of doubt and anxiety.”
Click here for Cassie’s free ebook for free recipes and health advice
“I remember walking into the gym, with my own new small business, but with no clients. It felt so overwhelming. Personal training can be a pretty flaky industry. People don’t turn up for their sessions or they cancel. Getting your small business of the ground relies on other people so that’s quite challenging. But I was determined to keep turning up day after day and I did my best. I didn’t listen to all the self-doubt because that gets you nowhere. I knew this was what I wanted to do. I had all the qualifications and this is what I decided to do. I wasn’t going to let my doubt, fear and anxiety get the better of me.”
For this passionate personal trainer, the best thing about being a small business owner is the freedom to do what she wants. She says, “My journalism career was amazing and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I’ve learnt so much and I’m forever grateful. But it was quite restrictive and I’m a very creative person with lots of ideas and ambitions. You can’t do that when you’re working for someone else. This was my opportunity to pursue what it is that I really wanted to do.”
She adds, “The freedom to do what I want is amazing. I’m appreciative of it every day. My parents work in small business and I’ve watched their business grow over the years. There’s a lot of tough things that goes on behind the scenes and I wondered if I could ever do that. But then here I am running my own show and I love it.”
Cassie’s top 3 small business tips:
Tip #1: Outsource what you’re not good at.
It’s too much to try and do everything yourself. If there’s something you aren’t good at doing then get someone else to do it. It’s hard in the beginning when you don’t have a lot of money and you’re trying to do everything yourself. But when you get to a point where you have a bit of extra cash, start outsourcing because otherwise you’ll end up spending hours trying to do things yourself. Then utilise that time to actually work on your business.
Tip #2: Beware of social media hype
This depends on what kind of business you’re running but for me I wasted heaps of money on social media. I felt pressure to have a massive online following so I spent so much money on Facebook advertising. But having lots of followers doesn’t necessarily equate to clients or cash flow for your business. I’d much rather have 100 followers who really love what I do and get inspired by me compared to a million followers who don’t engage with me. The fitness industry, in particular, is constantly bombarded with social media advertising. I decided to forget about all of that and focus on what I’m good at.
Tip #3: Be clear on what you are selling
Before you build your brand you first need to understand what it is that you are offering. I don’t think a lot of people know that. Focus on what you do best. Don’t worry about the marketing. That was a big lesson for me. Being truly authentic has been the best thing for my business. I don’t feel like I have to operate with some false persona. I run my business in a really genuine way that’s quintessentially me. That’s my best marketing tip.
My strong points are connecting with and building relationships with people in person. It has been the best thing for my business. In order to find clients, you need to be authentic and shut out the outside noise. Doing this has brought me the most success. And it has cost me nothing!
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