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Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you are a franchisee with advice and ideas to share, email [email protected]
Kara Lodewyks had been an athlete and fitness buff, so her decision to become franchisee with Fitness On the run — which trains clients within their homes — was an excellent fit. She rose from physical fitness trainer to owner in only six months. Then, this past year, tragedy struck: Involved with a devastating car crash, Lodewyks broke her neck with a C-2 fracture, the same injury that permanently paralyzed the late Christopher Reeves. Lodewyks, fortunately, was luckier: By throwing herself into strenuous rehab and wearing an oppressive HALO neck brace, she relearned walking and other physical tasks. As well, she was gratified to see her trainers support her and her business. Today, that business is thriving therefore is Lodewyks — so much in order that she recently participated in an exercise competition.
Name: Kara Lodewyks
Franchise owned: Two territories in Manitoba, Canada.
How long perhaps you have owned a franchise?
Since November 2013.
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What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
After graduating from the University of Manitoba with an honors degree in biochemistry, I quickly realized the work market because of this particular field was significantly less than ideal. So, I worked in the organization world as a manager for a weight loss clinic. I was earning the clinic over $200,000 each year in program and revenue and scraping by paycheck to paycheck. For that reason, I switched into entrepreneurship to have full control over my time and income. I’ve been an athlete, and organizing a team of fitness trainers was a good fit for me personally.
Why did you select this specific franchise?
Fitness on the run is an extremely unique company. From a customer standpoint, one of the primary challenges for parents or people in the workforce is finding amount of time in your day to exercise. Fitness on the run makes working out super easy to include into someone’s day by having professional trainers come with their home. With regards to how it could do available on the market, I knew this idea was both needed and absent in Manitoba. And I knew that easily was the individual to bring this to Manitoba and become the reason behind these positives changes in clients’ lives and in the non-public training industry, it might be an extremely satisfying.
From a trainer standpoint, I admire the company’s mission to improve the non-public training industry for the better. You’ll never find “fitness expert” and “financial freedom” in the same sentence. Fitness on the run has generated a culture for trainers whose yields add a long, positive and financially rewarding career. I didn’t want to profit off the effort of my trainers as my previous employer did off me. This business design is not only consistent with my values, it’s the change that is had a need to get this to industry fair.
Just how much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
My territory fee was $25,000 for just two territories in Manitoba, plus $1,500 in travel expenses for initial training.
Where did you get the majority of your advice/do the majority of your quest?
I did so the majority of my research online, comparing different companies including startup costs, product marketability, ongoing overhead costs and time commitment. I also viewed how this specific company would stand in Manitoba against its competitors. Fitness on the run was a lot more sophisticated and positions the business enterprise in a much smarter way than any other company that I’ve researched.
What drew me in was that there have been no brick-and-mortar costs, which gave me the opportunity to work wherever I’d like — including Starbucks! I’ve limited ongoing expenses and I really like that this does indeed create a continual income stream as I grow my team. As my trainers find success, my continual income builds. The harder the trainers work, the bigger their reward. Operating a business with employees, as I learned if you ask me as a manager, forces you to utilize staff members that may possibly not be as motivated if indeed they know they aren’t as fairly compensated.
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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
I’d say the largest challenge I had to overcome was growing the business enterprise prematurely. I recruited about 15 trainers in the first couple of months and was not in a position to give my focus on everyone as needed. I was spread too thin and lost about 50 % my trainers. I now pay very close focus on making sure my trainers are taken care of and feel very special.
I try to make sure that my trainers are succeeding and also have all of the resources and guidance to grow a consistent flow of clientele and income. I concentrate on trainer retention by creating a team culture with my trainers and a feeling of community, so they feel a part of something much bigger than training clients.
What advice have you got for those who want to possess their own franchise?
Purchasing a franchise has honestly been the best decision I’ve available. If you are the sort of person who is after time and financial freedom, then here is the right path for you personally. I would advise considering how the business can look five years from now. Don’t ever think you can slap-on a worker to ease your role and be an absent business proprietor. This usually doesn’t bring about the freedom you are interested in.
The largest piece of advice I could give is never to hesitate to jump. In the event that you aren’t happy what your location is together with your career, then don’t wait to help make the change. I wish I had taken these suggestions sooner. There are just so many hours per day you could work, so find something to greatly help create the life span you want. For me personally it was finding ways to build a continual income, what your location is paid whether you roll out of bed or roll over!
What’s next for you personally as well as your business?
I am so worked up about the near future and what’s to include Fitness on the run. As the business is expanding franchise opportunities to U.S. markets this season, I have already been discussing dealing with more territories in Manitoba. We aren’t just hiring trainers, we are changing the complete industry to greatly help trainers earn what they are worth and help them create the life span they need. I am striving to create FOTG in Manitoba children name.
I’d like everyone to know that people will be the best in-home fitness service in the province. My goal is to grow my team from 15 fitness trainers to 25 by the finish of 2015 and keep my team happy and motivated to improve lives.
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