We’re excited to host guest author Ashley Yandle of Ashley Lane Fitness for this post!

I thought leaving my corporate sales job after six years to pursue my love of fitness would be the scariest thing I ever did—boy, was I wrong. What came next was even more of a challenge.

I opened Ashley Lane Fitness in 2012 as a personal training, remote training and meal planning company. I fell in love with transforming my clients’ bodies and their lives. Three years later, I realized I had reached my maximum potential as a personal trainer. I was training ten clients a day and couldn’t take on any more people, plus I wanted to create a way to have passive income that wasn’t tied to every hour I worked. At the same time, my clients kept asking me to host bootcamps and small group classes so they could train more than two days a week without breaking the bank. I determined it was time to take Ashley Lane Fitness to the next level and open a boutique fitness studio offering everything my clients and I were looking for: a place that offered personal training, indoor cycling, group fitness classes and spa services all in one location.

It wasn’t an easy journey, and there are many things I wish I’d known before I opened my own studio. Below, I share a few lessons I learned along the way.

  1. Have a professional read your lease. For many new business owners, this is your first time dealing with a corporate lease. There are so many tiny clauses in the agreement, and you want to make sure you understand how each one will relate to you both during construction and once your studio is open, which is why I recommend working with a professional. Be aware of Commercial Triple Net: this is your portion of the common area maintenance, which is typically a percentage based on your square footage of the space. This number may sound small but make sure you look at the total monthly and yearly cost and what is actually being done for that money. Another important area to review in your lease is what maintenance you are responsible for. You don’t want to pay to replace your landlord’s air conditioning if it breaks, but if your lease says you are responsible for everything inside of the property, that means you would handle all the repairs. A professional can help alert you to such stipulations and advise you on ways to potentially negotiate better terms.
  2. Don’t focus on perfection. Creating an amazing experience for your clients is important. However, you can’t ensure everything will be “perfect” all the time—and if you try to, you’ll start to lose sight of the joy that brought you to this business in the first place. Accidents happen, personal emergencies occur, life gets in the way. We’re all human and having a dose of understanding and patience with the process goes a long way in ensuring your clients truly get a great experience from your studio.
  3. Be receptive to feedback. Listening seems like a simple concept: you ask for someone’s opinion and then you listen to what they say. But when you’re going a million miles a minute trying to open a fitness studio and have a vision in your mind about what you want, it’s easier to listen only to what you want to hear, or to surround yourself with people who tell you that you’re doing great. As much as we all want to hear that every single decision we made on our first business venture was perfect, it’s important to listen to the feedback and opinions of others. It’s how you’ll continue to improve your original vision and grow your business beyond what you dreamed of.
  4. Get plenty of rest. Sleep is the first thing to go when embarking on a new business venture, but it’s often the thing we need most in order to reduce stress, restore energy and make clear decisions. It’s important to emphasize self care even as you’re caring for the bodies and wellness of others—at the end of the day, how can you expect to provide when your own tank is empty? Make it a goal to get at least 7-8 hours a night to help keep you sane through the process. If stress is getting in the way of sleep, take a few minutes to meditate, read or talk it through with a loved one to help calm your mind and reset your intentions for the next steps.