It's many a gym-goer's fantasy: Open your own fitness studio, where you can stock your favorite equipment, schedule convenient classes, and harness the top fitness talent to teach high-energy, heart-pumping classes. Of course, it's a pipe dream for most of us, but not for these ambitious women. They've harnessed their passion for fitness to start successful studios in a range of disciplines from cycling to Pilates to barre. If you've been curious about doing the same, use their top tips, and go for it!
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Michelle G. Davidson, owner, Pure Barre, Washington, D.C.
Previous career: Federal insurance tax lawyer
1. Be prepared to work. Davidson was nervous that owning a studio may not be challenging enough after a career in law, but another Pure Barre owner assured her she didn’t need to worry—and Davidson soon discovered she was right. “My number one piece of advice is to prepare yourself: Starting a studio is more work than meets the eye,” she says.
2. Hire slowly. “Creating a strong, kind, confident, and thoughtful team is our top priority,” Davidson says. “I’ve gotten better at knowing who’s the best fit, though of course mistakes are inevitable. The best advice I’ve received is to hire slowly, fire fast.”
3. Allow your team autonomy. “If you mirco-manage, you’re not giving your staff the chance to be excellent decision-makers on their own, but when you empower your team members, they learn quickly just how capable they are,” she says. “Of course, that’s why the previous point is so important!”