Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cheryl Pattyn, owner of Positive Image Fitness, located in Ilderton, ON, Canada.

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

I have the amazing job of providing my clients the opportunity to wake up each day feeling stronger and more confident in their lives. This is one of the reasons why my business is called Positive Image Fitness. Our goal for me and my coaches is to have everyone leave a one-on-one session or group class feeling more energic and empowered than when they came in.

We work with our clients/members one on one or in a group training class (spin, boxing, strength and conditioning, yoga, and aqua fit during the summer), plus we offer a six week Get Fit training and nutrition program plus a ten-day training and detox program, and all our programs, classes and one on one training can be done in person or online.

Tell us about yourself

I started in a big box gym right out of university for two years. The gym gave me a ton of experience training a wide variety of people. When I was on maternity leave with my second child, a friend called to be up and asked if I would train her in her home, and from there, Positive Image Fitness was born 21 years ago. I love working with people one on one in their home or at the studio or in groups in person or live online and watching them get stronger and more confident in what their bodies are capable of doing and seeing that confidence spill over into their everyday life. Taking up other activities they thought they would never do or trips they thought they were too out of shape to go on.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My business was surviving the pandemic, and my client Vicki. Vicki is a truly inspirational story of what happens when you put in the work and time day after day, week after week, a month of month, and year after year, and one day I hope she shares her story with the world.

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

When you are the owner, you are the CEO, CFO, HR department, janitor, marketing department, social media manager, and coach. Learning how to prioritize your time between clients and classes is key to getting the work done that needs to get done to keep moving the business forward. Some weeks are better than others, but being able to be and flow with the ups and downs has been so important in managing stress and not getting overwhelmed. Find what works for you to keep tabs on your time management and not get lost in a social media black hole.

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

  1. Reach out to other business owners with a business that you want to emulate. Ask them all the who, what, where, how, and why's of their business when they started so you can have a clearer plan for when you launch your business.
  2. Find a support team or person that you can lean on for questions as your business grows - this will be a lifesaver and game-changer for your business.
  3. Have fun and stay consistent in your efforts. Have fun being creative in your business and meeting new people. You will have good days and bad but keep your "why" you started this business top of mind to push through the challenging times, learn and grow from the challenges and you will be a better business for it.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

You may feel like a small fish in a big pond, but know are the only you. You are the only one that can deliver your service as YOU do, and people need you, and not providing that service to the people that need you is a disservice to the world. Embrace the fear, take the leap of faith, and the world will be a better place because of it.

Always be learning. Learning will allow you to be better at your craft so you can provide more value for your clients. The more value your clients get, the longer they stay, and the more referrals they give - it's a win-win.

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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