Hi Julia, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
It all started back in high school when I began teaching dance classes out of a spare room in my home. I lived in the middle of nowhere and thankfully, so did my students. Even though I loved teaching and being active, it was always a side hustle/passion. I didn’t know much, but what I did know was that I wanted to have my own business one day, just like my grandfather. So, I set out to get the building blocks to be able to do so. After graduating with a BA in business administration from USD, I went from corporate event manager to real estate agent to starting my own property management company to community director of a co-working startup. All the while teaching dance classes and later Zumba! I wanted a space where I could teach my classes a few times a week while working full time. The only options were to teach out of my home, start my own studio, or work for someone else. None of those options were ideal. After working a few years in the co-working industry, I saw the value and efficiency in shared spaces. How could I translate that into the fitness industry? By providing flexible, equipped fitness spaces where instructors can teach what, when, how and to whom they want #autonomous. At the tail end of 2019, my passion for business development, real estate and fitness finally all collided into one to create sq.fit.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The smoothness of the ride all depends on the suspension of the car. As an entrepreneur, which is just a fancy word for “daily problem solver,” having strong determination and belief in your purpose is crucial for when the road gets bumpy. 2020 has brought on its own set of challenges, and starting a new business in this season hasn’t been easy, to say the least. We’ve become experts at adapting and pivoting on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily basis. Just three short months after opening our very first location, the fitness industry was basically shut down due to covid-19. I quickly began marketing sq.fit as shared fitness spaces that included FILMING and OUTDOOR spaces for fitness entrepreneurs. With the closing of gyms and studios, it forced fitness professionals to branch off on their own, and sq.fit was ready with the spaces, resources, and support they needed to be able to do just that.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
sq.fit is a shared fitness space that provides square footage for fitness professionals to create, teach + film autonomously. sq.fit’s mission is to equip and empower fitness professionals to become entrepreneurs #fitrepreneur. Fitness professionals are founders of their product, when they create a class and conduct it, they’re the originator, the architect, the engineer, the CEO, the salesperson. This is so evident across the board. Whenever a friend would recommend a new studio to me, they would always specify which instructor to take. The instructor is at the center of the experience. They are the reason you love that studio & will continue to take that class. sq.fit’s unique offering has provided fitness professionals the opportunity to establish their brand, cut out the middle man and create unlimited upside. We offer three options for these entrepreneurs: Drop-in: where they can book any of our spaces on a per-need basis. No commitment is needed. Pop-up: where they commit to a series of scheduled times for a week up to 3 months. Or Sign-up: a monthly membership option that is flexible and affordable. As we continue to grow one square foot at a time, we are so excited to support and see fitness entrepreneurs thrive!
Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
I remember playing pretend, but the entrepreneur version. I called it “office.” My grandfather gave me this red leather binder with outdated documents from an old real estate project. The piano bench was my desk, I found an old desk phone and I played office, which consisted of talking on the phone, adding up numbers on a calculator, and signing my name. I would then get in my toy car and pretend to be going to a meeting or site visit. Basically, nothing has changed.