At 19 years old, Jade Ross was following her dream as a full-time personal trainer at a popular gym. But although she loved the work, she didn’t love that her job was more focused on sales than fitness. Her passion for putting people first and helping them reach their goals is where her entrepreneurial adventure began, as she left the gym to set out on her own and train clients her way. Fast forward just five years, and Jade now runs her own fully-equipped gym – the Balance Fitness Health and Wellness Centre – complete with ten certified trainers, and state-of-the-art equipment.
Jade’s journey started in 2011 with Jumpstart Fitness, a small business she operated out of her home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It wasn’t long before she encountered a common issue faced by many successful establishments: a lack of space to accommodate her expanding clientele. So just two years into business, she relocated her home-based gym to a larger space big enough to train existing clients, take on new ones, and hire additional trainers so that she could continue to work on her growing enterprise. This marked the beginning of Balance Fitness as it is today. Another two years passed before Jade decided she was done operating her business solo.
Enter Erika French, a friend and personal trainer who had also left her job at the gym around the same time as Jade to follow her vision of what fitness training should be. The two trainers had stayed connected over the years, sharing ideas and advice with one another to maintain and improve their ventures.
Erika was running her own her own start-up, Venture Fitness, when Jade suggested they merge their businesses and become partners. In August 2016, when Jade was just 24 years old, the two young entrepreneurs hit a major milestone when they moved Balance Fitness to a bigger, more central location. With four times as much space as their original space, they were able to fulfill their goal of hiring ten trainers. "Having a business partner has led to so many successes," Jade explains. "I could never have gone this far, this fast on my own."
Jade’s story speaks of triumph and success, but she encountered her share of obstacles as well. Her initial lack of commercial knowledge and experience as a young entrepreneur meant being turned away for the loans and financial support she needed to get going. But she didn’t let that get in the way of her success. In addition to training her clients, she took on odd jobs until she had enough money to finance her business expansion.
And experience? That came with time: "I made a lot of mistakes before I figured out how things work," she explains. She attributes her mistakes to her success, emphasizing that they were an important part of her learning process and growth as a businesswoman.
Jade and Erika’s impressive accomplishments this far are just the beginning: "We want to give ourselves two years, and then we’re definitely looking at opening a new location," says Jade. And physical expansion is only part of their vision. In addition to delivering the personal training they love, they plan to tone their business management muscles too: "You can’t really work on your business when you’re only working in your business. There’s so much more to be done behind the scenes for our business to prosper."
Balance Fitness Health and Wellness Centre
The Balance Fitness Health and Wellness Centre is a fully-equipped gym located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, that offers a wide variety of fitness classes and one-on-one training services for beginner to intermediate clients.
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