I first interviewed Mel Carpenter from Zumba Central and UK Bokwa Gear in February 2012 and when I asked her where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied, “I hope to be qualified as a personal trainer, with a growing client base. I also hope to continue to build the merchandising brand for Bokwa in the UK“. How did she get on in the past year?
Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Not exactly: my plan to become a Personal Trainer had to be put on hold, as I now have a new baby son! I did become more involved in events management for the dance fitness brand that I work with. I ran a very successful event in Birmingham last May, with over 800 people in attendance! I also had the opportunity to become more involved in presenting at these events, which has been an amazing experience.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
I am currently on maternity leave (my son is only 8 days old at the time of writing this). In addition to the fitness clothing business growing, I’m now a qualified fitness instructor, as well as becoming more involved in events management, another passion of mine.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I have learned a lot about the fitness industry, It’s a fast-paced environment (not dissimilar to the dance industry), and there are a lot of opportunities for someone with my skill set. I wish I’d known i was going to become a mom again so I could have planned a bit better! But I’m certainly not complaining!
Any more hints and tips for people?
Do not be scared to just go for it and put yourself out there! Opportunities arise all of the time, you just have to fight for them a lot of the time, and have faith in yourself, no matter how big or small you think your goal is.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Definitely to qualify as a Personal Trainer, but I want to specialise as a trainer in a particular field. I love to present, so I know that I will be doing more of that. My next big goal is to own my own dance studio, so we will see!
Well, that was a bit of a surprise for Mel, and we congratulate her on the new addition to her family! It’s pretty dedicated to be writing up your small business chat update while looking after a very new baby: just shows what a tough and persistent bunch my interviewees are. She’s right on the new opportunities front – sometimes they come to you and sometimes you have to fight for them, but it’s always worth looking at them and embracing changes that could benefit you and your business in the long run. I’m sure that Mel will achieve her goals this year, and look forward to hearing about her dance studio and new endeavours this time next year!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my book, Going It Alone At 40: How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment.