My name is Nicole Hollaender, a German/Latina, mother of 2 kids and dog lover. I once worked in the Corporate world for more than 20 years before following my true passion and becoming a certified Health Coach and ISSA Personal Trainer. With a “where there is a will, there is a way” and determined kind of attitude, I understand what it is to try to take care of your health and wellness while working at demanding jobs in multinational companies. Doing lots of work traveling, raising kids, plus dealing with a father´s cancer and death, divorce, etc. I completely relate to my clients since I have overcome a life long battle with overeating and losing 10-20 lbs with fad diets and pills, just to gain them all over again (and a few more).
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
What ignited me to start a new business venture was my own story and wanting to help others struggling with the same issues. After my second child and hitting 150 lbs, I decided to join a Challenge at my local gym where I lost 40 lbs. and learned about Clean Eating and behavior/habit modification which allowed me not only to maintain the weight I had lost but learned how to eat not by depriving myself but from changing one bad behavior for a good behavior. It took me 10 years to finally decide to get certified as a Health Coach and as a Personal Trainer and start my own Health Coaching business
How did the idea for your business come about?
Since I wanted to turn my passion and experience into a business, I knew that for people to trust me, I would have to get certified first. I started seeing that other Health Coaches where doing their business on-line so that seemed like the perfect fit for me. I decided to run my business from home and have local and online clients.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
One initial hurdle was to have people start believing in my product and service So I did a 21 day challenge and gave away 6 free Health Coaching packages to friends and family. This way it was a risk free trial with a great benefit for them and it gave me the opportunity to practice my skills, get people to know my services and perfect my method along the way.
Another hurdle has been social media and the Internet in general. There is so much information out there and so many people and companies are trying to make a fast sale by offering quick gimmicks, diet pills, diet plans offering to lose 20 lbs in 10 days, etc, that when you want to come across with a real message, as an advocate of real food and a lean lifestyle, who doesn´t emphasize on counting calories, restricting fats, carbs and/or proteins, potential customers are skeptical and confused.
I overcame this challenge by talking about my story because I fell for the same information at some point in my life. And then I reach inside their mind by asking them how they feel, what they feel, what do they want, etc. I believe you have to work on the person first, their mindset and acknowledge the reality of who the individual is first, what are their limiting factors, etc. to show them that all this information is thrown out to millions but none is designed specifically for them and their needs, lifestyles, likes, deslikes, physical and emotional condition, etc.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I did deal and still do. This is why it is so important to be clear on what you want and where are you going. Be SPECIFIC to your goals, dreams and pursuit them with passion. Follow your heart and intuition and read a lot of motivational books, listen to PODCASTS and most importantly, hang out with people that support you. It may seem harsh, but at the beginning, you need to cut the negative people out of your life and let them go gently. Once you begin to be successful, you can always come back to them. Those that honestly love and support you, will be there anytime. In hindsight, I would not have shared my ideas with some people because they made me feel insecure about my decisions. I remained strong and still pursuited my dream, but it made things more difficult at the beginning.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Following my passion. I focused on what I honestly wanted and had to work hard on ignoring what other people were expecting from me or their opinions on my new venture.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
You need to know exactly who your niche target group is. When I began, I wanted to succeed fast that I started to market my services to everyone that came across. That was making me crazy, to be honest. Once I decided to niche down and focus on one specific group, things just started to move in the right direction and a lot of stress was reduced.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Get rid of clutter (anything that is draining energy from you)
Niche down your target group
Do not sell yourself short