Over the past 10 years, I’ve created the career and financially abundant life of my dreams, and today I’m sharing the top 10 takeaways from my journey.
In 2012, I realized I wanted to help people achieve what they thought was out of reach for them. I decided to become a personal trainer while attending university — first working with people for free, then building a highly profitable business that eventually transformed into what you see today.
Although I’m far from an overnight success, I am the living proof that hard work and persistence pay off, and I hope my story and the lessons I learned along the way inspire you to make your own dreams come true.
Remember: It’s never too late to start doing the work to make your life exactly what you’ve always wanted.
1. Determine Your Goal and Your “Why”
Before starting a business or setting out to create something, you need to identify your goal and the “why” behind it; these will be the backbone of everything you do.
I built my business on my life philosophy: You can achieve anything you want. This is what I helped people realize and do when I was a personal trainer, and it’s still the focus of my work today as a business coach. It’s my guiding principle, my purpose and my north star — if you want to be successful and stay focused, you need one, too. It will serve you throughout the course of your entrepreneurial journey, especially in the beginning when you are paying your dues.
2. Set Small Targets (and Reach Them)
I decided to work with my personal training clients for free at first because I wanted to get coaching experience and prove my value, so I didn’t have financial goals in mind (yet). However, I created small targets that I was pretty sure I could hit in an effort to build confidence and momentum.
My first target was to work with 6 clients per week and help them get the best results possible, and I made it happen. It wasn’t easy — I was in my second year of university, working with clients early in the morning and late at night without getting paid — but I did what I set out to do, and this experience is what led to my first paying clients who began at €30 per session. Having an initial target to hit (and showing I could do it) was key in setting myself up for success.
3. Put Your Customers First
To this day, I run my business with a “customer first” mindset and have policies in place to ensure it’s our top priority. Not only is it the right thing to do, but word of mouth is also your go-to when it comes to new client attraction — yes, even in the age of Instagram, TikTok and other social media channels.
Happy customers are always your best source of advertising, so cater to them before your leads. Ensure you’re going above and beyond for your clients, and you will be rewarded.
4. Be Efficient With Your Time
Focusing on my “why” and prioritizing my customers helped my personal training business boom, which was a good thing for me financially, but I was struggling to manage my personal responsibilities while also carving out time to work on the future of my business. As a result, I had to change the way I worked so I could take back time to work ON my business — not just IN it.
I began time blocking and batch coaching, helping me to increase my efficiency, offer a higher level of service to my clients and spend more time enjoying my personal life. I carry these practices with me today and still aim to be as efficient as possible so I can be fulfilled in my life as well as in my career.
5. Listen to Your Gut
There have been many times in my entrepreneurial journey when I knew I needed to raise my prices, but I was advised against it by a friend. I didn’t listen to them — and that was the right decision.
By increasing my rates and reducing my hours, I was able to make a bigger difference in my clients’ lives because I wasn’t stretched so thin. This led to more success; in my spare time, I created an online video series that allowed me to serve even more people via online fitness coaching, which meant I could work with anyone in the world. Had I listened to my friend instead of myself, I might never have had the opportunity to take my business online and I would still be working at €30 an hour.
6. Scale, Diversify and Be Creative
As I was finishing up school, my business expanded even more. In addition to my online fitness coaching business which included a subscription-based model and one-on-one coaching, I collaborated with my friend, Jessica De Block, to host workshops and training sessions to help other entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes we had made in our businesses. That became my second business: ALFAVROUWEN.
This is when business coaching began for me and fitness coaching came to an end. Eventually, I created my first Business Freedom Mastermind; I got 4 clients in my first launch, making about 12.000 in one go for the first time ever. During the 4-month period of the mastermind, I built up a waitlist and when I launched again, I got 9 clients, each paying ~€4000 — I made €37.000 from that launch.
7. Kill Your Darlings
I remained laser-focused on customer satisfaction while creating a solid sales and marketing infrastructure, and as a result, my Business Freedom Mastermind was wildly successful. I hit my goal of 30 clients, generating €120.000 in one launch.
However, even though I was making more money than I ever had, I realized something had to change. Demand for my mastermind was high and the waitlist was long, but short of running 2 masterminds at once, I couldn’t serve everyone — and I didn’t want to be glued to my computer all the time. So, I did the hard thing: I killed my darling (the Business Freedom Mastermind) and started over.
8. Focus On the Bigger Picture
Once I postponed my mastermind until further notice, I hired a team member to help me, worked through my mindset blocks and built up a waitlist so I could launch a bigger, better version in 2020 — the Business Freedom Elevator™.
It was immediately successful, with 50 people signing up in the first hour and a total of 72 people signing up on the first day. In that week, I did €200.000 in revenue, but that was just the beginning. By the end of 2020, I had earned more than €1.200.000 in revenue as I served more than 400 clients at a time and had the time, energy and space to create my own empire at the same time.
9. Never Give Up
I went from making €0 in 2012 to €1.850.000 in 2021, and this year, I aim to hit €3.000.000. Make no mistake: All of this happened because I never gave up and I worked my ass off.
The hard work and relentless pursuit of success are not glamorous, but they are necessary if you want to reach your goals. It requires a growth mindset, a willingness to take calculated risks and the ability to keep going when times inevitably get tough. Instead of taking the easy route and quitting, you have to keep going.
10. Do Not Underestimate Yourself
As a coach, I have seen more than 1,000 women (and a few men) step into their power and achieve more than they ever thought was possible. I now employ 8 people in my full-time team and have become their coach, too, so they can reach their highest potential both in and outside of my business, and I am able to step away from day-to-day operations to focus on higher-level projects.
If I hadn’t believed in myself so strongly, I probably would not be here today. So, remember: You are capable of more than you know, and as long as you do the work and don’t stop, you can have whatever you want. No matter what, do not underestimate yourself.
I’ve included a quick recap of all 10 tips so you can screenshot this article and take it with you as you build the business and life of your dreams and create your own success story!
- Determine Your Goal and Your “Why”
- Set Small Targets (and Reach Them)
- Put Your Customers First
- Be Efficient With Your Time
- Listen to Your Gut
- Scale, Diversify and Be Creative
- Kill Your Darlings
- Focus On the Bigger Picture
- Never Give Up
- Do Not Underestimate Yourself
PS Are you thinking, after reading this article, that you’d love some actual coaching from me and my team? Then it’s your lucky day because I’m hosting my Business Summer School again this year.
I hosted it last year and more than 3000 people attended. We talked about mindset, taking fast action, creating a profitable product suite, marketing, launching and basically all of the good stuff.
Do you feel like joining? Go take a look at fastforwardamy.com/bus and register for my Business Summer School of 2023!