Interview with Hannah Sheerin, solopreneur of HD Personal Fitness
Learn how a passion can turn into a business – and can be done with you at the centre of it! Hannah worked full time and started her business, kept marketing costs low and tells us how she got her first few clients.
Meet Hannah - an Online Personal Trainer for women.
1) Welcome to Business Spotlight on Introvert Thoughts. Can you tell us a little about your journey to finding your business online?
As an online personal trainer for women, I work with women to provide quality home-based personal training, nutritional support, and encourage a healthy, sustainable lifestyle!
I started dancing when I was 2 years old, back then I just learnt 'good toes, naughty toes' but the older I became the more interested I became about the fitness side of it. I would research different exercises, the science behind it, and what I should be eating. Unfortunately, I had to stop dancing at 21 when I landed my first graduate job - working in an office 9-5pm. I started to lose my 'healthy' shape, became lethargic, and decided the 9-5 lifestyle just wasn't for me. So, I did something about it!
First, I became a qualified Zumba Instructor (something I used to love doing) which meant I could teach classes on an evening, make a little pocket money and get back to being 'fit and healthy'. Once this had grown, I went one step further and became a qualified PT. Once qualified I took my business online, which meant I could reach clients from all over the world - and I didn't need to leave my secure 9-5 job until I was making enough money to live on. Since then, although I've had a few face-to-face clients, my main source of income has been online.
2) What was it like in the first week or two of starting your own business
Tiring! I was still working full time when I launched my business, so that meant late nights working on developing programs, replying to emails and so forth, after getting in from work. Along with this, as a PT, I have to keep myself in shape so I was up at 5:30am to get my workout session in before work. It also suddenly became apparent how much work goes into starting your own business - there were many things I'd forget about until I needed it - such as, setting up a business bank account to keep all my transactions separate from my personal ones - making it easier for the accountant!
3) How did you go about funding your business idea?
Starting a business comes with a lot of start-up costs. However, I managed to keep these to a minimum. I used every software free trial going until I found one that suited me, I started with a free website, I used (and still do!) the free mail chimp option for my email marketing, and I started with a Facebook page that I got everyone I knew to share and created one promotional ad with a low budget. Depending on the type of business you have, there are some options for government funding, and of course there is the option for a business loan. I was just fortunate enough not to need these as my only real start up cost was my PT qualification.
4) Can you tell us where your biggest support came from? In terms of family or friends?
This is a tricky question as all my family helped a lot - my dad is a business owner so he helped me a lot with the business side of things, and got me to be realistic about my expectations and think thoroughly through every decision I made.
My mum completed all my programs (and still to this day does!) helping me with any instructions that aren't clear and making sure the workouts are enjoyable, and effective.
My fiancé was my rock, he supported me through the late nights, didn't get angry when I was moody after having no sleep, and helped me process ideas when I needed someone to talk them through with.
I couldn't have set up my business without any of them!
4) How did you get your first few clients (tips on attaining new business)?
I got my first few (paying) clients through referrals. When I started I offered a free months’ personal training programme (this got lots of shares across social media and interaction, and would be my top tip for attaining new business at the start) which drummed up a lot of interest. After the free month, a few clients wanted to stay on, and others referred relatives and friends to me!
5) Share your tips with the readers on how you can make it past the 12-month mark in a business from your own personal experience?
I'm just about to make it past the 12 month mark (yay!) and I think some of the reasons my business has succeeded is due to (a) being consistent with everything I do - from social media posts, to making sure I stick to my true values and not take on clients that weren't in my niche even though it would make me money, (b) being optimistic - there have been many times when a client has left and I wanted to take it personally, thinking maybe I'm not good enough? However, this isn't the case, and I had to accept that some people just weren't the right fit for my business, usually they were used to doing things differently and change can scare some people. But I kept going (with the support from my fiance) and the next day, I'd pick up a new client!
You can find out about Hannah's programs here: www.hdpersonalfitness.co.uk/programs.