Zoe Schwartz is a personal trainer and life coach who enjoys helping people be fit, strong, happy and productive. As both an MBA and Certified Personal Trainer who has 9+ years of classic Brand Management experience, she understands the realities of life’s competing priorities and provides busy professionals the tools to consistently make time for fitness beyond providing best-in-class 1-to-1 and group workouts.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Fitness was a vehicle for my own transformation, and thus I want to share that gift with others. I love the freedom you get to express your creativity through your own business and to tap into your unique strengths to help others succeed. I love the intellectual problem solving of running a business while also getting to dive deep into functional movement and holistic health modalities as a core part of my job. It’s the best.
Tell us about your business.
Fitness by Zoe offers personal training, life coaching and group fitness solutions for the busy professional. The programs are well-rounded, challenging and fun in order to deliver the most effective results in the shortest amount of time. The best fitness plans are the ones you will do consistently, so everything we do is tailored to the client and what is interesting and practical for them.
Fitness by Zoe is also about community. The people who have gone through my programs are smart, compassionate, career driven and play to win but not at someone else’s expense. That is why we have wellness retreats, fitness events and partnerships in the pipeline in order to create more touch points with our consumer and make fitness a lifestyle.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
In honor of fall, I’m running a Back to Fall promotion for Brooklyn-based clients offering 3 personal training sessions for $99 ($375 VALUE). If you’re not in the NYC area, I will offer 3 online training sessions for $49 ($125 VALUE) exclusively for the Ladybossblogger readers.
Additionally, every client gets a complimentary online or in-person 30 minute strategy session with me in which I will make recommendations and ensure you have a clear next step in your fitness journey, with or without leveraging FBZ.
- MBA, The Darden School at the University of Virginia
- American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer
- CPR/AED Certified
Where is your business based?
Brooklyn, New York.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Safety is a top priority, so the first step was getting certified through ACE and getting proper insurance as an independent trainer. Then I focused on client acquisition and fostering the right mindset;
- Constant content consistently.
- Start before you’re ready.
I got listed on a 3rd party platform called Find Your Trainer to get paired with clients initially and listened to a lot of podcasts such as Lori Harder’s Earn Your Happy to reinforce the right mindset. From there I worked with an accountant to set up the business structure (S-Corp) and file the needed paperwork to become established officially.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Find Your Trainer as mentioned was the most effective way to get new clients in the beginning because I provided the assets and they provided the marketing infrastructure and client base. Friends and family remains a top source; my uncle is a current client, and friends have signed up for my outdoor boot camps in the past. Charging your value with friends and family ensures that you show up as your best self for them and that they show up for themselves, too. For tips and tricks or informal coaching, I give away as much value as I can for free.
My preferred channel is Instagram to establish myself as a fitness expert. I also got more new customer sign-ups for boot camp this year when I created an Eventbrite link, so that anyone searching Eventbrite for local things to do can find me. The link is also easily shared across my owned channels – versus my first year when I drove awareness of my boot camp through word of mouth and email.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Knowing where to focus: Entrepreneurs and small business owners face many choices and it’s challenging to know what to do right now that will be most effective. For example;
- Do I get a business coach right away to help set the pace, or establish my own revenue goals and strategy first?
- Do I look for indoor space to run another boot camp or focus on growing my personal training client base?
- What will I need to do in order to leap into FBZ full-time?
- Can I achieve those things realistically or will I need to make a decision first to shift fully?
- Do I have the time and energy to pull off a fitness event this quarter, or should I focus on growing boot camp instead?
Finding balance. I am able to meet all of my professional and business goals because I establish specific and healthy routines in order to achieve them. However, it comes with sacrifices in order to manage a full-time job, my business, and my own self care.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I remind myself that I’ve seen and conquered similar challenges before, and that what I am doing to grow Fitness by Zoe is already working in terms of revenue generation and client satisfaction. I use 2-3x weekly yoga practice (solo, online or in-person class – but usually solo) and am trying to establish more regular meditation practice in order to tap into intuition, which is knowing without thinking. These practices are intended to create trust that by continuing to take action and deliver insane value to clients one at a time, the business growth and clear path forward will come.
I also use longer term thinking tools, i.e. I may not want to take an action in the moment but when I think of my end game, how important is this small step to achieving it? If it’s a necessary step then I gladly take it. If it may not be the right step, I’m again trying to use different body/mind connection techniques in order to let it go.
- I also live by the quotation from Jill Coleman, “Done is better than perfect.”
- The only thing that’s certain is if I do nothing, the business stagnates.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I’m motivated by two main elements;
- My clients are so happy, empowered, and strong. Seeing them grow and take off on their own is the absolute best feeling in the world.
- I am competitive with myself and integral to success is stick-to-it-ness. Imma stick to it.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
- Brand personality and tone
- Humanity, Humility and Humor.
- Commitment to quality and continuous improvement
- I am always learning, testing and improving Fitness by Zoe’s programs and services and integrate best practices across seemingly different disciples (yoga, strength training, metabolic conditioning). This includes exceptional customer service: i.e. I’m calling out YOUR NAME and giving YOU feedback in a group class which most fitness instructors don’t take the time to do as it’s really hard to manage a group and the standard material. It takes a lot of energy but it’s critically important to ensuring everyone gets something out of it to the highest standards I’ve set which is transformational experience.
- Business background
- Like my clients, I am also a busy professional with a million obligations and no time. I’ve been able to excel in my corporate career while also getting fitter and stronger every year. I’ve created all the systems and productivity hacks to cut through the BS and deliver clients practical results.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
If you’re about a year into your business, the advice I received from the Founder of Ommie Snacks and former colleague at General Mills, who is also building her business bootstrapped by her corporate career, will resonate: “It’s easy to spend your time running the business with you as the product, but you need to shift from working IN your business to separating the two in order to work ON your business and create the brand with the team behind you.”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t wait for someone to give you the title, start being that thing and anoint yourself. Then you start thinking, acting, and delivering like the role whose title you claimed. When you start, start with what you love and build from there. It’s not about doing everything; rather it’s about doing a few things well. You come across as authentic when you do what you love vs. what you think you need to do.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
- Lori Harder – “Earn Your Happy” Podcast; The Bliss Project Event ⇒ To build your mindset and tribe
- Jill Coleman’s Action Academy FREE running through Nov 15 and offered every year ⇒ How/what to do first when you’re starting your online business and building a presence on social media
- Business Tools: Mailchimp, Eventbrite, Gmail ⇒ FREE and do the job
- How I Built This NPR podcast ⇒ Examples of how entrepreneurs did it to show you the path
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I’m in the middle of “Becoming a Supple Leopard” and obsessed.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m thinking about the future of the business and what will be the key milestones. I’m looking for help from people who set their growth trajectory and insight as to what helped them to move faster in the execution.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goals include maintaining my client base and ensuring all of them renew in 2018 – this means continuing to deliver top-notch service. I’m also going to bring my outdoor boot camp concept indoors and am looking for space where the business model makes sense and is convenient for clients. Finally, Fitness by Zoe is fundamentally about creating community and a lifestyle change. Thus I will be carving out time and using it to shape the formal mission statement that will guide innovation around future offerings (career coaching, wellness retreats, events etc).
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Facebook Group www.facebook.com/fitnessbyzoe
Hashtags #FBZ #drinkwater
Website www.fitnessbyzoe.com coming soon
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