Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karly Johnson, Co-Owner of Urban Athlete Fitness Studio, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.

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

I own a fitness studio in Calgary, Alberta, equipped with a gym floor, staffed by expert personal trainers, and offering a diverse range of over 30 weekly classes.

Tell us about yourself

During my first year of university, I stumbled upon an enticing ad that promised the freedom to be my own boss, set flexible hours, and directly influence my earning potential. Intrigued, I delved deeper into this offer and eventually secured a spot within the franchise company. While still attending school, I managed my own painting franchise for a demanding period of five years. It was a challenging experience, characterized by tireless work weeks where I would commence my day at 5 am, only to return home by 11 pm during peak production times.

What fueled my relentless dedication during those years was a quote that resonated with me: "Do now what others won't do later what others can't." While I acquired valuable business skills from this initial venture, I realized that my true passion did not lie in painting. I yearned to embark on a different entrepreneurial path, one aligned with my love for the fitness industry.

Fortune smiled upon me with a fortuitous phone call, leading us to discover a gym seeking new owners. And thus, here we stand today!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

As a business owner, my most significant achievement has been successfully navigating the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout a span of two years, our business faced the devastating impact of three sudden closures, often receiving mere hours of notice. Swift action was required, prompting us to swiftly adapt our services to remain relevant to our members and keep them engaged.

These trying times tested the limits of my career-related stress, but the fact that we not only persevered but also continue to stand today fills me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. The resilience displayed by both my dedicated staff and the unwavering support from our members remains a testament to the unwavering commitment we all exhibited during those challenging periods.

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

On a personal level, the most challenging aspect of being a business owner is the weight of responsibility I carry for numerous individuals. This responsibility encompasses creating a positive work environment that is financially rewarding and delivering on our promise to our valued clients or members.

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

The top tip I would offer to someone starting a business or entering a new business venture is to embrace the concept of seasons rather than striving for immediate life balance. During the initial start-up, it is natural to prioritize your business and make sacrifices, such as missing a workout, a date night, or even a meal. By dedicating yourself to mastering the right approach now, you lay the foundation for reaping the rewards in the future.

Tip number two is to recognize that the grind season should not encompass your entire career. Once you have navigated the initial challenges, it becomes crucial to trust your team and compartmentalize your business, even though it may feel like your baby. Allowing yourself to enjoy life without constant worry about your business's success is essential for long-term fulfillment.

Lastly, tip number three emphasizes the importance of resourcefulness. Seek out others who have achieved what you aspire to do and learn from their experiences. Don't attempt to handle everything on your own. Hiring the right coach or mentor can significantly expedite your progress with less effort, as they have already navigated similar obstacles and can guide you effectively, helping you avoid potential pitfalls.

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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