On March 26, 2022 I closed my business, Stride Fitness & Yoga. I was devastated. I poured my heart and soul into that business for just over 7 years. I met some of my best friends there, and I know that others met their best friends there too. I have so many good memories. Like SO many. Can someone cue up “cow’s feet” please?! IYKYK. And Courtney, if you're reading this, I'm sure everyone still thinks of you when they hear that song. I sure do! Love ya!
But, the time had come where I had to make some serious decisions. We had a slow decline in memberships since Covid started and things just weren’t getting better. Every time I thought things were going to turn around, I was sadly disappointed. Now it was almost April and we were starting to creep up to the most challenging time of year for the fitness/yoga industry, the summer months. I had to ask myself if things kept going the way they were, would we be able to stay afloat until the fall, when things may or may not get better? The answer was no. I had to take both my financial and mental health into consideration. Financially, I didn’t want to go into personal debt. Mentally, I was exhausted. For two years, I had been dealing with so much stress, worry, fear, and anxiety that I started having panic attacks. It took me about 4 months to actually come to grips with the reality of the situation and make the decision that I was going to have to close.
I took this picture right before I taught the last class, on the last day that Stride was open.
During those 4 months, I realized it was ego and fear that were keeping me from pulling the plug and closing. I was worrying so much about what the other gym owners and yoga studio owners would think if I closed. I felt like people would view me as a bad business owner. Someone who failed, a failure, and to be honest, I did feel that way. I was scared too. What was I going to do for work? I hated working in an office and the Monday to Friday grind. How would I make a living? I had so many questions, so many worries, and then a wise man said something that completely changed how I was feeling about myself and my situation:
“This does not make you a bad business owner, it makes you a good one. Most people wait too long to pull the plug. You are smart, creative, and hard-working, you will be okay.”
When he said that I honestly thought to myself, “You know what, he’s damn right. I am being smart about this. I need to trust myself and who gives a f*ck what anyone else thinks.”
The hardest part of the entire process was telling the instructors and clients/members. Ugh. Talk about choked. BUT, once I was able to do that, I actually felt relieved, like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The response from everyone was overwhelmingly supportive. The complete opposite of what I thought would happen. I think that some of the instructors and clients were just as sad as I was to see Stride close.
Okay enough of the sad stuff though. Let’s talk about what my life looks like now, after I took a few months to heal and mourn the loss of a business that meant so much to me. It did take me some time to realize it, but closing Stride ended up being the best decision I could have made. Let’s talk about it in list form, because ya’ll know I love a list.
1. Still doing what I love
First and foremost, I’m still doing what I love. Everyday I wake up and still love what I do. Maybe even more so because of the other reasons listed below. I’m still teaching in-person and online privates and group classes, corporate training/classes, bachelorettes and private events, shuffle classes, and I also have a growing library of programs like Peach Pump, Butts n Guts, the 10 Day Core Challenge and coming soon, the 10 Day Upper Body Challenge.
Although I still teach in-person privates and group classes, I now work almost entirely online. And guess what that means? It means that I can work from anywhere… at home, a coffee shop or restaurant, a park, or Turks & Caicos for example. Wait what?! Haha, yes, you read that correctly. No friggin' joke folks, James & I are going to TCI for the winter. Stay tuned for more details of our plans and even more exciting news!
After my first kite lesson in Turks & Caicos. If you're interested in learning to kite click here.
I am now in complete control of my schedule. I can get up at the crack of dawn and get sh*t done, or I have the choice to break it up throughout the day, or even work late at night. Whatever floats my boat, ya know? Basically, working when I want, where I want, for as long as I want to. As long as it gets done, it doesn't matter when I do it.
4. More money
I learned SO much from my experience owning and operating Stride. I’ve set up my new business, with Mel up in a way that there are fewer expenses, very little overhead, and I’m the only employee. I also don’t have to work as many hours and that’s pretty sweet too!
5. Virtually stress free
My stress level has gone from very high to virtually non-existent. There is SO much less to worry about now. I don’t have to worry about rent and other expenses, or making sales. I don’t have to worry about the instructors, subs, vacations etc, I don’t have to worry about snow days and if I should cancel (lol). By the way, this is actually such a tough call and every business owner on PEI struggles with it, amirite?! I’d say that I am looking forward to storm days this year, but I won’t be around to experience them because I'll be on the beach (fist pump). I haven’t felt this good in ages though guys, truly.
Here’s the thing – when I had Stride, I was happy. I was stressed, but I was proud and happy of what I created, the community that was built and the friendships that were made. I was so afraid that I’d lose all of that if Stride closed and I was so concerned about what other people would think.
But, now that Stride is closed, I’m still happy, (happier even)! I’m not stressed, and I’m STILL proud and happy of the community and friendships that were created at Stride. In the big scheme of things, the only thing I really lost was the stress. I’m proud of what I’m doing now – with Mel is popping off and I’ve got so many amazing, exciting, fun & cool things to share with you! So what's the moral of this story? Well, it's a mix of "stop giving a f*ck about what other people think," "do what's best for you," and "you're going to be okay."
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