Philadelphia University Q+A on Entrepreneurship

I was asked to help out with a student project at Philadelphia University and wanted to share my responses to you guys so you can learn a little more about my entrepreneurial background! 

This is a student completing a project for their entrepreneurial studies class:

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Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?Yes! Of course. To me being an entrepreneur means that you're solving a societal problem or creating something that makes a persons everyday life a little bit easier. My mission with SerenaFit is to not only encourage healthy living, but to provide the service in a way that works for the average working woman. Many things comes with the execution of this strategy. 

What type of work do you do? I'm in the health and fitness industry where I provide personal training sessions, lifestyle advice + nutrition to clients and groups both online + in person. 

On a daily basis, what is your schedule typically like? I try to keep things pretty organized so I don't feel burnt out. M-F my typical schedule looks like this: 530am-9am client sessions + online classes 11-1pm my personal workout / yoga session 2-4 administrative and marketing 5-7 relax, dinner, last minute preps for the following day 8-10pm read, tv, hang with Andrew my bf. 1030pm sharp I'm in bed!

What types of things do you do throughout your work day? I wear a lot of hats but have a team working with me on managing my work load. Personally my day consists of coaching, connecting, planning, thinking + envisioning :) 

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Do you believe in the idea that people have that when you are an entrepreneur you are “being your own boss” Why/why not? Yes I believe this. If you're the founder or the owner of your company, you have to answer to yourself. All the progress you strive to make is yours to keep. Every mistake or mess up is yours to endure. I'm small company so yes I make the final calls on everything, however most starts ups have multiple people on the team that you may have to answer to or report to. 

What made you decide you wanted to become an entrepreneur? I decided to start my company after leaving a pretty intense PR track, right out of college. I realized it was extremely difficult for me to take orders from a higher up, sit in a box all day and be exposed to the same work load. I am a person who enjoys moving around a lot, being outside and thinking about the next creative thing. I looked inward on what came easy to me and that was athletics. I started my business in 2008 and have learned the ropes of owning a business through trial and error, certifications, mentors, personal investments, coaches + business retreats. 

How did you actually become an entrepreneur? When I decided not to go corporate.  

Did you face any problems in the process? if so, what kind? Of course. We all do. It's a personal journey as well as professional one. There's a lot of emotional challenges to get past, there are budget systems, finances, reinvestments. And of course the tech side of things like your website, user flow, payment systems, registrations, scheduling. Then there's marketing strategies, brand development and emailing. And then community partnerships, volunteering and giving back. There's just an overwhelming amount of management that has to take place and if you don't set up systems and have strong communication skills, things can get really dicey. 

How did you overcome these problems? I experienced burn out a handful of times and never want to feel that way again. I had to trust people to help me and take on pieces of my branding and my company. I had to take risks to see a reward. I had to learn how to say no to clients and yes to time for myself when I was overbooking sessions. I worked through every problem with the advice of friends + mentors + my gut. None of this is easy, but all of this is worth it. You learn about a lot, especially after 10 years. You get really clear on what works and what you want to see happen and nothing else gets in the way of that. Things start to just flow. 

Have you employed anybody else? if so, do you think having others to help you work is an advantage? Yes I have a handful of sub contracted trainers coaching on my online subsciption with me. I've hired three women to work with me on marketing, website + business management as well. I think it is essential to hire others, yes. How else will you be able to scale your company ya know?

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What advice do you have for anyone thinking of starting their own business? Start writing everything down as to what your business needs to get going. Prioritize it based on funding, figure out if you have those funds or can get them, then go for it 100%. I wouldn't quit your day job or main stream of income until you have somewhat of a foundation built for your brand. As whimsical as it can sound to just walk out of your office one day and become a start up success overnight, it's not really the case. You have to build it and you have to work for it. Success will come when you plan and execute. 

Are you happy with what you do? If so, what exactly makes you feel that way? Yeah I am happy. I know there's a lot more I want to do but I love working with my clients and building those relationships. My clients make me love my job and when they succeed and work hard for themselves outside of our sessions to really make a full on lifestyle shift, my heart beams with light. I thank God for allowing me to experience things like this. It's beyond rewarding to be able to help somebody become a happier person. Like, that's huge right there. Very powerful. 

Is there anything about what you do that makes you unhappy? Welllll, you know...those 515am alarms aren't always a party BUT I do it for my love of health :) 

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In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit to being an entrepreneur? The biggest benefit really is getting the chance to learn about yourself. I've never learned SO much about who I am and what I want. Owning a company, brand, product - anything - that represents YOU as a person is a big deal. And when you put it out there for the world to see, you learn a TON about what you really stand for. Entrepreneurship really is an path of self enlightenment.  

The biggest problem or disadvantage?  can't think of a true disadvantage here other than that you may find yourself working 15 hours days if you're not careful about managing your time!  

Is there anything else you would like to add to help me better understand entrepreneurship? Be sure you are literally obsessed with whatever business you want to create or else consider it a hobby. You can't be just interested. You have to be head over heels.