homeschool retirement + my first Biz Anniversary

As of March, it’s been one year since I opened my fitness studio. I’m celebrating with a bit of reminiscing and sharing about the transition from homeschool mom to business owner.

I started homeschooling when Kathryn, my first child, was five. I continued on through her high school graduation, and a few years beyond, until we enrolled the youngest two in public school in the fall of 2021. A year later, I launched my baby business and chased a dream that felt about as likely as teaching a pig to fly.

Homeschooler to College Grad – with Honors!

When Kathryn graduated college, it felt like an accomplishment for me, too! We were interest-led and somewhat unschoolish in our approach to education so seeing her graduate magna cum laude felt like a big pat on my homeschool-mama back.

Kathryn's college graduation 2022

Before we moved to North Carolina, I earned my personal trainer certification and gradually began training a few clients as my schedule allowed. Once we moved here and settled in, I got certified as a Silver Sneakers instructor and started teaching fitness classes for older adults at the local Rec Center. When time allowed, I also took on a few personal training clients. This was perfect, schedule-wise, for allowing me to continue homeschooling.

I did that for five years, and once I retired from homeschooling, I allowed myself to think again about the dream I’d had of opening my own small training studio. The mentor I first worked with in Georgia had a small fitness studio and I loved the idea, but doing something like that on my own did not feel like it could ever be a reality.

Launching my baby biz

I’d developed a loyal client base here in our small town, which felt like a promising start. I put out tentative feelers for a location with had very specific requirements. Frankly, I didn’t think I’d find anything within budget for my potential baby business.

As I got slightly more comfortable with the idea, I talked to other small gym/studio owners and studied their business models. I had a big-picture idea of what I wanted to do, so I had to get down to the nitty gritty details of how to make it work. Quite a few times along the way I’d panic and tell Ken there was no way it would ever work.

Suddenly all the things fell into place and I had to make a decision to say yes and sign the lease, or say no and probably end up never doing it.

I said yes, and started working on getting this little pig to fly.

holding the key to my new fitness studio space

One year later…

I had two main goals when I opened Shine Strong Fitness:

1) Financially, I wanted to be sure my business was not a hardship for our family.

2) I wanted to create a welcoming and encouraging fitness environment for people of all ages.

Check and check. My first year went better than I ever could have imagined; mind-bogglingly so, in fact. I’ve jokingly paraphrased the movie “Field of Dreams” often; I built it, and they came.

my fitness studio

I’ve worked my butt off, doing ALL the jobs in my little business – from cleaning crew to social media promotion to customer service to web designer, not to mention the one and only coach. It’s HARD but also satisfying. My introvert battery gets drained, and sometimes I’m just so mentally tired I wonder why I chose this. But then someone will share something they love about the little community I’ve created, or some way I’ve helped them be able to live life more fully beyond the gym, and it reminds me why I set out to do this and revives my joy in it.

If there’s one takeaway I’d like for you after reading, it’s this:

It’s not too late. You’re not too old.
Go ahead and chase that dream.