This week we are pleased to bring you:
The Super- Fab Steffi Freedman, Owner Corps Pilates, Philly
and a special treat for Fabulosity readers!
With over 10 years of professional experience in the fitness industry, Steffi bring a unique depth of knowledge to Corps Pilates. Her interest in movement began at a young age and evolved over time from a personal passion to a full-time career.
She has worked with a myriad of clients from triathletes to self-proclaimed couch potatoes and takes special care to work with everyone on an individual level according to their goals. In addition to owning and operating Corps Pilates, she was most recently the Philadelphia Market Director for Ladies Who Launch until it closed in April 2010. She had an extraordinary time facilitating workshops and events for women entrepreneurs in the city of Philadelphia.
• What were you doing in life prior to starting your business?
While fitness and wellness were always a special interest of mine, it didn’t seem like something I could do full time. I majored in Broadcast Journalism at Penn State, then moved to NYC where I worked in marketing and advertising at Gourmet Magazine, Bates Manhattan, and Clear Channel. All the while I was teaching fitness classes at places throughout the city and found that was my favorite part of my day. When I moved home, the two paths merged. While acting as the marketing coordinator at Summit Sports Training Center in Bryn Mawr, I met Carol Beringer who introduced me to Pilates. After a few months, she asked me to help her open her own studio, Pilates and More, in Wayne, PA. It was there that I realized I was bitten by the e-bug.
• What do you love most / least about being a business owner?
I love the flexibility owning my own business allows me to have. Because I work mostly by appointment rather than teaching regular group classes, there isn’t that rigidity to my schedule that one has when working at an office. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes starting at 7 am and ending at 7 pm – even though you get a few hours in between isn’t ideal either, but at least it’s on my own terms. When it comes to completing the administrative duties of owning Corps Pilates. I find I work smarter, not harder to do the books, write the newsletter, etc. when I do it at convenient times.
What I like least about being a business owner is helped by what I like best. As the sole service provider, taking a vacation or maternity leave requires advance planning to cover myself financially. Luckily, I have the flexibility to know in advance when that will be.
• What is your fave business book or author and why?
I love Karen Salmansohn’s book Ballsy. Her books – and this one in particular – is a tell-it-like-it-is approach to business and life. I also refer back to the E-Myth by Michael Gerber every once-in-a-while. It was given to me by someone who trusted me with helping to open her own business. It talks about playing to your strengths and surrounding yourself with people whose talents are different than yours to complete the big picture. Unfortunately, as a true sole proprietor, I am wearing all of the hats, but I outsource as much as I can with a great accountant and regularly connecting with people in my field to problem solve.
• What business lesson did you have to learn the hard way? To this point, is there a mistake you see new entreps consistently making that you would caution them to avoid?
I’ve learned many things, but one that sticks out in my mind with both Corps Pilates and Ladies Who Launch is my false assumption that relationships would lead to patronage giving me an automatic customer base. I know many people who verbally expressed interest in my endeavors, and while they were sincere, I blindly thought that meant they’d take action – by taking a Pilates lesson, attending an event or signing up for a workshop. It takes more than relying on acquaintances’ interest. You never know what’s really going on with people’s lives, their schedules, their financial situation, so I’ve learned to assume less, and be grateful for their interest – passive or active. You never know where it will lead.
• What has been your proudest moment to date with your business success?
My guerilla marketing efforts which have led me to guest appearances on local TV and one week of teaching in Italy have been definite highlights. However, I’m even more proud that my first client ever – from when I was teaching in someone’s townhouse basement – is still with me.
• What are some of your biggest struggles/ challenges a business owner?
I struggle with maintaining marketing momentum to keep my business fresh, but it helps to remember it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon.
• What new projects are you currently working on that you are comfortable sharing?
I am developing a new podcast called “Take 5”, which promotes stretching at your desk throughout the day. It goes hand-in-hand with my efforts to teach my Big Picture Wellness R&R (Retrain & Retain) workshop and Pilates mat classes in the corporate environment.
• If you could be doing anything else with your time career-wise, what would you be doing?
As the former director of Ladies Who Launch Philadelphia, I really enjoyed connecting people and helping individuals develop ideas gaining clarity on their direction. I suppose that’s a natural lead-in to coaching.
• If you could hang out with any entrepreneur for the day, who would that be?
I know it’s cliche, but I’d like to hang out with Oprah. Maybe do some Pilates ; ).
• Do you have a new product or service that you would like to share with our readers?
I have a 20 – minute workout, “Pilates in Your Pocket”, which is available on iAmplify.com and now you can check out the first episode of “Take 5” for free on VirtualFabulosity.com!
Check out Steffi’s first episode of “Take 5″ designed just for all of us work-at-homers! This series is designed for those of us who never leave our desks to take 5 mins and do some pilates stretches! We will be selling the full series here on Virtual Fabulosity, but are offering this freebie to take it for a test drive. Don’t miss this great offer!
• Fave biz tool?
I claimed I’d never get one, but I did. My Blackberry is my favorite biz tool. I don’t have to stay at my desk to conduct most ancillary business, can read “the paper” at random times, etc.
• Favorite indulgence?
Bodywork – massage, acupuncture, reiki, you name it.
• Fave thing to do when you are NOT working ?
Simply hanging with my husband, which could mean anything from checking out a new restaurant to laying on the couch watching multiple reruns of The Office!
For more info on Steffi and her great work,
visit her online @: http://www.corpspilatesphilly.com
Follow her on Twitter: @SteffiFreedman
Up Next Week: Adelaide Lancaster, Co-Founder of In Good Company Workplaces, NYC!
Adelaide Lancaster, co-founder, is a successful entrepreneur who excels at making business ideas a reality and helping businesses grow to their potential. Adelaide is both a strategic thinker and a master implementer. She has spent her professional career dedicated to helping women find work that is meaningful and rewarding. Adelaide was recently featured in the book Upstarts!, as one of 60 Gen-Y entrepreneurs who are rocking the world of business.
Adelaide was co-founder and Principal Partner of Berkman Fives a consulting firm that helped women professionals with career development and advancement and women entrepreneurs with business growth and efficiency.
Adelaide earned a M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology and a M.A. in Organizational Psychology, both from Columbia University. She also earned her B.A. degree in Sociology and Anthropology, Educational Studies, from Colgate University. Adelaide also is a contributor to The Huffington Post.