Lockdown, quarantine and social isolation – what has it all mean for your business? Whether you are a small start-up or a well-established business, it is time to adapt your business and thrive in this uncertainty. Rosaria Baretto, aka The Vitality Coach, shares her experience as a fitness pro who has diversified to keep her dreams alive.
At 11 years old I knew I wanted 2 things in life, 1. To run my own business and 2. To be able to exercise whilst I work.
So I did everything I could to get there, PE GCSE, A-levels in PE, Biology and Psychology and I even took it one step further got a degree in Exercise and Fitness management whilst gaining all the qualifications I needed to be a self-employed fitness professional. At the age of 20, I had achieved my career dreams! I was a businesswoman running my own business, teaching classes and running private training sessions, I had even written an online eBook.
The first two years of my entrepreneurial journey saw me running my own wellness events, winning awards, and working with brands. But two years went on and I started to become complacent. What does one do when they have achieved their dreams quite early on in their career?
New dreams start to occur
I wanted to go bigger, I wanted to be even more of an expert in my field, I wanted to help more people. During that time I had also fallen in love with helping older adults, I had had the opportunity to work privately and in nursing homes and had noticed the huge market potential in the meantime… I’ll come back to this…
On 23rd March 2020, the UK prime minister announced a national lockdown, PANIC! I completely lost it, I burst into tears and the only thing I could think about was “how on earth is my business going to survive!?”
All that hard work, time, and continual professional development that I had put in over the last two years had been for nothing (slightly dramatic I know, but that’s just me).
After Boris’ announcement, I woke up with one of those post ‘cry headaches’, guzzled some water with the hope of clearing my head and did what I thought best! I contacted all my clients and let them know that Vitality Hub (my business) would be going online. I made a corona health support group on Facebook and created a schedule of weekly classes.
I’d had to adapt quickly and think on my feet.
Unbeknown to me most of the personal training community had done the same, insert sad emoji here.
Luckily enough my customers stayed loyal and I managed to keep 80% of the business, plus I had a lot more time now that I was no longer commuting.
Diversification is key
So, I decided that I would do things that I had wanted to do for years but hasn’t had the time, until now:
- Growing my own fruit and veg (sad to say 2/3 attempts have failed)
- Start a YouTube channel (take a look here)
- Change the senior exercise industry forever!
Someone recently asked me, ‘do you want to be in the same place you are now, in a years’ time?’ my answer was immediately NO. So I had to do something different, I sought out a coach and went back to basics, re-learning and putting myself into situations in which I had no choice but to be innovative. I had to adapt my business to thrive.
During the first few weeks of lockdown I had started virtual senior exercise classes and I loved it! the feedback I got was amazing and most importantly positive effects that the class was having on the member’s mental health was astonishing, I felt a certain excitement for something that I hadn’t felt in a while. I decided that I would start a crowdfunding campaign to be able to develop this idea further. It’s still ongoing, fingers crossed its successful, It is one of the most difficult things (psychologically) I have ever done.
Although the 2020 pandemic has been an absolute horror for many entrepreneurs its also required many businesses to adapt much faster to the digital world, it’s the future of business.
Six top tips for adapting your business
For entrepreneurs whether you have a start-up or are well-developed, it is time to adapt your business.
- Take your business online: Make sure that you have the ability to run your business virtually AND in person
- Always have a plan B: Do you have ways of improving your business? Try offering additional services that complement the main aspect of what you do.
- Don’t be afraid to do things you’ve never done before: Growth is only enabled when you come out of your comfort zone
- It’s vital that you try to adapt to the environment before your competition: Being one step ahead of everyone else can make all the difference
- Its okay to feel afraid, ‘having no money makes you think creatively’: Stress can be good! If you don’t feel passionate about something and take risks then is it worth it?
- Self- development is vital for taking your business to the next level: Work on yourself ALWAYS! Take time to develop your knowledge and mindset every week.
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Rosaria Barreto, also known as the Vitality Coach, helps women and seniors live happier and healthier through the power of exercise! With a background in clinical exercise, she is on a mission to change the mindset from 'exercise is for active individuals' to 'exercise is also for people who struggle to move due to clinical health limitations'. Movement is Medicine.