Opening up a new business, the risks and the rewards


Opening up a new business, the risks and rewards

There is no bigger gamble or risk than becoming self employed

My studio

Recently, I opened up my own business, a small private training studio, but I’ve been self employed already for nearly four years now.  The decision to leave my secure 9 to 5 job in place of the freedoms of self employment has been the best decision of my life, but its not without its negatives.

By hanging up my steady secure paycheck, I left behind micro-management, layers and layers upon it, gruelling annual appraisals, the telephone ringing off the hook, office politics, arguments over annual leave just to name a few.  On the flip side, I now had flexibility in my schedule if I wanted to walk my dogs, go to a doctor’s appointment or just have an afternoon off.  As great as that sounds, the sacrifice is an unsteady paycheck, never knowing when a client was going to pay you, if they were going to pay you, worrying about when the next money was coming in, worrying about how to secure new paying clients.

After nearly 3 years of juggling the highs and lows of self-employment, I decided it was the right path for me and that I would never look back.  I had to make it work.  I had to figure out a way to grow and improve my business.  Although I was hiring out a fantastic gym space, I felt the the best step ahead was to open up my own brick and mortar space.  A majority of my clientele was female, age ranging from 20s to 50s, and even though they didn’t mind the gym environment, I knew I could go the extra mile for them by making them feel secure and comfortable in a private well equipped studio.  I had to find a proper space for the proper price.  I had done a general search through some estate agents and found a few maybe possibilities, but nothing really called out to me.  The space where I was hiring a gym is located in a large but old mill with charming, rustic buildings.  I had a walk around one day when a client didn’t show up for an appointment, and I had a chat with some guys across the other car park who were renting the space above an empty shop.  I had a chat with them and told them I was looking for some space and they told me to call the guy who was the current tenant of the ground floor unit.  The tenant’s name and number was on the window and I decided to ring him right then and there.  I had a look inside the window and saw that it was a very spacious place but it was full of junk, from floor to ceiling.  Everything you could imagine a typical hoarder would store in an empty space: random pieces of wood, moldy sofas, rugs, mismatched furniture, books, the list goes on and on.  But somehow through all that junk, I envisioned a perfect space for my new little studio.  After quite a bit of dramatic back and forth, the tenant pulled himself out of the situation and I was left to dealt directly with the landlord.  It worked out in the end and I secured the keys to the unit.  Boy, did that unit need lots and lots of TLC. It was dirty, dusty and smelly from being empty for nearly three years.  The cleaning, painting and redecorating took an enormous amount of time, not to mention a big chunk out of my budget.

“Before” pictures of my studio

Before photo

With the expenses slowly going up and up during the christmas holidays, I was getting a bit worried as my finances at the time were dwindling quickly.  I kept asking myself, was it worth it, all this work and money I was putting in?  I kept my faith going into the unit and worked my little tail off, painting and decorating sometimes until midnight so I could open up my business as soon as possible.  I also knew that I would have to spend quite a bit of money on proper gym equipment, so that was another nagging thought piling up in my head.

Studio empty but still a mess!

Studio still a mess, lots of work to do

Again, the doubt and the fears kept creeping up from time to time as I was plodding on with the redecorating works.  I knew that being a female trainer in my area was already niche, but to have a proper professional studio that is separate from the home was going to be worth having to really stand out amongst the competition.  I decided to go forth and invest what I could into the new business.  I budgeted as much as I could and I spent hours trying to get the best equipment for the best price.  All in all, I didn’t come out too bad in the end.  Yes, I spent a bit more than I would have liked, however if people knew the amount I actually spent, they would be impressed.  I didn’t have to get a bank loan, nor did I have to borrow money from family or friends.  I did it all on my own and making the money back that I spent is a very real possibility in less than one year.

Of course, its not all roses just yet.  Now that I have my own unit that comes with bills, rent, etc. I need to make sure I stay on top of everything and generate business to keep afloat.  Everyday I learn something new about marketing, business, sales and human psychology.  And you can be sure that I will be posting my progress here on my blog.  Hopefully, it will be more rewards than risks.

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