Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Katie Barnes, Owner of K Studio, located in Nashville, TN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is about change—how I can inspire clients to harness success skills and mindsets, they may already have to build regular exercise and conditioning into workouts for life. We talk about making time each week for yourself. For most people, life is so busy that they're used to putting their needs last. K Studio is a space where clients learn life practices that are key to an active life, like noticing energy and fatigue, food choices and portions, and the difference between pain and discomfort. A cornerstone of the studio is that all fitness training is Pilates-based, meaning that the core, correct form, posture, and creating a balanced muscular system is one of the main reasons the studio has been so successful.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up In New Zealand training for professional ballet. Through training at that level, I experienced stress and injury, which led to my interest in movement, training, and Pilates as more than exercise for weight loss. When I moved to Los Angeles, I found clients with similar experiences of stress, burnout, and injury from careers where perfection and high-level performance mirrored my time in ballet. By that time, I'd created the specific blend of training techniques that produce results without the grind normally associated with fitness programs. People come to me for exactly that. The chance to solve problems and inspire long-term, multifaceted change in clients is what drives me each day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think that the way I've been able to adapt and grow my business and serve my clients in every way possible is what I'm most proud of. My business started quite small, in a top body-building gym in Sydney. Then I moved to Los Angeles and developed a Hollywood celebrity and executive clientele after working for a long time as Gwen Stefani's trainer. Upon moving to Nashville, I opened a full gym and Pilates training studio, K Studio. Throughout the pandemic, I worked remotely with clients and kept business afloat, as I'd had lots of experience training online through working with clients that tours, like Gwen and Brandy Clark in Nashville. Afterward, Brandy wrote about how our workouts helped her get through the pandemic for the Grammy's website. And I love that people come to me knowing that they'll never get the same workout twice and that they trust me to know exactly what they need to do to feel real change and see lasting results.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Making decisions on how next to grow and maintain business and where to best spend those dollars. A lot of learning comes from what actually happens with customers in a service business rather than what an algorithm might deduct about their habits and motivations. To always be selling can be stressful, and to be always improving your product takes time, energy, and creativity on top of a normal work day.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be a customer or work in a business like the one you want to have—notice what's great about what they do and how their customers respond. Realize that you can copy that... then do it better!
  2. Discover what people want that they aren't getting at those businesses and use that as a point of difference to drive you to deliver those things in yours.
  3. Be authentic and be aware that the goal is to offer unique solutions to customer problems.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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