Serena and I chat all the time but have actually never met IRL. She's a virtual fitness powerhouse and a co-leader for a group called The Solopreneur Network, which is where Serena and I met. I am amazed by Serena's talent, drive, and desire to help other solopreneurs succeed. She is a natural-born leader and I can't wait to see what she does next!
Serena Scanzillo: SerenaFit
What is the name of your company and what do you do?
I'm the founder of SerenaFit and The SerenaFit Virtual Training Studio. My team of coaches and I lead live + interactive workouts in a small group setting via video conference every weekday!
How long have you been in business?
I've owned SerenaFit for ten years.
How did you decide to launch your own business?
I decided to detour from my college career track of becoming a news anchor to the wellness industry after I quickly realized how much I loved working with people on improving their lives through fitness. I started in corporate fitness for about a year, then launched SerenaFit in 2007 with a handful of amazing clients who had a ton of success. I was eager to see how far I could take things.
What challenges did you face in the process of launching your business?
Well they say don't quit your day job, so I had 4 other part-time positions during my first three start up years. I worked at J. Crew, as a dog walker (which actually yielded clients!), as a teen center counselor, and also as a high school lacrosse coach during the Spring. Money of course was tight because you're simply not pulling in enough to fund your day-to-day living expenses in the beginning. It takes time to grow so I was pulled in a handful of directions which got tough. You have to really, really want things to work in order to get through those first few years.
Did you feel as though there were resources available to you, specifically as a woman business owner?
Yes and no. I had to seek out help, but things were just showing up at my doorstep. I used SCORE, a free business coaching program that is presented by American Express. I actually still use them from time to time and attend their webinars. I completed a ton of certifications in my earlier years as well. They had resources and communities that helped me get ahead. I also took a few business classes at a local community center to learn the basics and network.
Do you have a mentor?
I have a mastermind group of 3 other women I've been friends with since I first started. They were instrumental in my growth. We all own our companies and chat monthly about challenges and supply recommendations, support + advice. We all followed a business coach years back who served as a mentor in so many ways. I think that so as long as you are connected to somebody in your industry that's further along that you, it'll be enough. I'm a supporter of learning from other vs. viewing them as competition.
Are there any good business books you would recommend?
I'm currently reading "Contagious: Why Things Go Viral". It's very insightful. Next on my list is "The Art of Not Giving a F*ck"
What do you love most about running your own business?
I like working from home most of the time. But honestly I love knowing that something I personally created is helping change a person's life for the better. If I sit and think about that concept, it motivates me to keep going and reach even more people. It's also a huge testament to the dedication I have to my company and my clients; I'll never not be thinking about them and their wellbeing.
What is your least favorite aspect of running your own business?
There is so much to manage. Because I'm a solopreneur, I don't have a huge full-time team working with me on things everyday. I have a handful of part-time contractors that do work for me on a monthly basis. I have to manage those projects, and plan ahead. That's on top of my day-to-day client sessions, my personal life + partnership obligations. If I'm not careful I can corner myself and feel really stressed out.
What is your best piece of advice for other women who are thinking about launching a business?
Ask yourself how badly you want this. Don't assume anything will be easy and be sure you have funds to cover your daily/monthly expenses for awhile. I learned as I went along and did it all during a time where things weren't quite as connected. Launching a business now is much easier than it was ten years ago. You have websites, apps, and coaches by the thousands ready and willing to help you get organized! Keep your head up, stay focused, stay authentic + invest in video marketing.