Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leslie Lawson, founder of Renegade Pilates, located in Miami, FL, USA.

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

Renegade Pilates is a boutique Pilates studio specializing in private Pilates sessions, small group classes, and concierge Pilates in private residences and condos. We cater to local moms and working neighborhood professionals, as well as provide top-notch Pilates and yoga instructors through partnerships with 5-star luxury resorts and hotels in the Miami area.

Tell us about yourself

I began practicing Pilates in 2001 while living in NYC. Active in weightlifting, dance, and gymnastics, I fell back in love with Pilates several years later while rehabbing a shoulder injury aggravated by a botched surgery.

As someone who has always been active, I was extremely frustrated that so many Pilates studios were ill-equipped to deal with students with injuries. Luckily, I found a few great instructors who were gracious enough to let me deviate from the class under their supervision.

Upon completing a long-term television job in Doral, I decided that I wanted to help people with their fitness, and in November 2016, Renegade Pilates was born in Miami's Shore Crest neighborhood.

Every day I find motivation in helping people get and stay fit despite the many curve balls life throws.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is building a business and community from the ground up and surviving the pandemic. I've learned that all businesses face challenges, and you just have to persevere and think outside the box. I always try to view my business through the eyes of the clients while remembering that the business must not only survive but thrive, so we can continue to help others.

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

Owning a business is always a rollercoaster, and you never know what to expect. There are many days when you will operate at a loss or feel like you're not making a difference, but they are always overshaded by the gratitude of the people you help and the community you build.

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

Here are my top 3 tips to start, run and grow a business:

  1. Start small but allow yourself room to grow. Don't bite off more than you can chew at the beginning. We started in a small 600 sq ft commercial space and moved two years later once we established our clientele.
  2. Expect the best but prepare for the worst. Manage your cash flow. Set up multiple streams of revenue and credit lines before you need them. Always have a backup plan. Covid is the perfect example. We were closed for three months and used the time to pivot online and shift our services to focus more on private sessions and concierge.
  3. Hire the right team. Take your time finding employees who are not only highly skilled but whose views align with your vision. I was extremely lucky to find good people early on, and many of them are still with me today.

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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