The journey to being an entrepreneur is not an easy one. There will be times where you have to give up what you want, and other times where you can’t imagine doing anything else. But despite all the highs and lows, I’m still extremely proud to be one. I was born in Jamaica and spent my early childhood years there. When I moved to Canada, it was a big transition for me, especially adapting to a new home and school. I struggled academically my whole life. I was diagnosed with dyslexia as a young child but that didn’t mean much to me at the time, as all I knew was I had to keep pushing through. The thought of wanting to make my mom proud kept motivating me to achieve my goals. Growing up, my teachers didn’t believe I’d be able to graduate high school, let alone go to college or university but I proved them wrong. Going to college had its own set of challenges, but I continued to push through. I was the kind of student who was the first one to start studying and the last one to finish. No matter what gets thrown at me, I try to live my life with determination. Over the coming years, my determination to achieve my goals became the backbone for offsetting any challenges that come my way. When I started my personal training jobs at big-box gyms, I never felt like any of them were the right fit for me because I was more committed to my clients than corporate sales. I knew that if I wanted my clients to receive the attention and care they deserved, I’d have to start something of my own. Now I work the schedule I like and I get to do what I enjoy while helping others. There is no other job I would rather do for any amount of money and now I am working on my greatest goal; impacting the people with the program that I have been working on for so long, The Healing Art of Exercise.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Some of my initial challenges that I faced were more internal. Being an entrepreneur is often a hard path with few supporters at the beginning. Most people believe in you on a personal level, more than your product or practice and that can be frustrating at times. I never felt like I fit in at a lot of my previous jobs and I realized that if I really wanted to make a difference, I had to branch out on my own and be my own boss. Another internal challenge that I faced in the beginning was self-confidence and believing in myself. Growing up, people told me I was never going to be anything special. As much as I wanted to prove everyone wrong, this negativity took a great toll on me. Getting over this mindset has been a huge challenge as an entrepreneur. But I’ve learned that if your beliefs are greater than your fears, then your fears will be vanquished in your pursuit of greater things.
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?
Yes, even from people that I least expected, including ones I thought would understand and support me the most. In hindsight, I’ve come to understand that not everyone has the same vision. As an entrepreneur, it isn’t always easy to explain your ‘vision’ to those who don’t see things like you do. Because of that, I formed a lot of new friendships with people who had the same vision as me and supported me in this new stage of my life. But in doing so, I had to create space between me and some old bonds which wasn’t always easy, but was what I needed at the time. I think a lot of entrepreneurs deal with this at the beginning. To be successful, you must be willing to make it without the familiarities that you once knew, and get out of your comfort zone.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
I worked hard to bring my vision to life. It has taken me lots of time to put together the knowledge, confidence, and understanding to create the results to stand strong in my position in this industry. It takes time, but if you want to be successful you will need all of the above.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I don’t think a lot of entrepreneurs know what challenges lie ahead when they branch out on their own. I’ve learned throughout this process that you must find a way to live life with balance and you must be humble enough to ask for help when you need it. You must be willing to make mistakes and see the lessons behind each failure. Most importantly, you have to have enough passion to overcome all of these obstacles to make your dreams come true. When it’s all said and done, you will emerge a more powerful person, both professionally and personally and find success in every aspect of your life.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and/or internationally?
Be sure of your passion and what you want to accomplish.
As much as you love your work, greater wisdom will come from finding a good work-life balance.
Surround yourself with likeminded people, but learn from those who don’t think like you. They’ll help you look at things from a different perspective.