Self-Starter Stories: From pottery painting to becoming a master trainer
Today's transformative Self-Starter Story features Lucy Arnold. Master Trainer, Exercise Specialist, Nutrition Coach and Blogger.
Lucy started her entrepreneurial journey back in 2012. Aged 21, she opened a pottery studio in Sheffield where local patrons could visit and paint their own blank pottery.
A typical day consisted of getting up at 8am, glazing pots, firing up the kiln, replying to emails, dealing with customer queries, completing daily marketing tasks, -and that was all before the shop would open at 10am.
That was life as she knew it, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
After nearly 4 years of running her business Lucy one day found herself looking in the mirror and no longer recognising the person she had become.
When she started her business she was 21 years old and a size 6. Now she was 25 and size 16, severely unhealthy and unhappy.
The long working hours combined with the stresses and strains of running a business had visibly taken its toll.
Lucy says it was like a switch flicked in her head. She instantly knew it was time to take charge and make a change. The time was now.
The first step in her journey back to health was joining a gym and slimming world.
She started going regularly and, to hold herself accountable documented the process and progress on her blog.
As time went by the weight started dropping, she was healthier, happier and getting fitter.
Her story and journey touched many women and men alike, and so her blog-following grew until it became more successful than she had anticipated.
In 2015 Lucy chose to sell her pottery studio to a local competitor. She sold her business at a profit and re-invested in herself by getting qualified as a master personal trainer and nutrition coach at the European Institute of Fitness.
Since gaining her qualification she opened a fitness studio in Sheffield and now empowers her clients to transform their lives as well.
Still working ridiculous hours, still accountable for the success of the business, still dealing with the general public etc, but the main difference now being a vested interest in what she's doing.
Lucy says loving what she does makes the long hours worth it. She has regained her work-life balance by making a pact with herself and vowing not working during the weekend to fully recharge and spend more time with her family, friends and partner.
In terms of achievements, Lucy is now on her second successful business and feels proud of having regained control of her life. She tells me that just because she had a successful business before, it didn't mean she had to keep it when it when it was no longer a fit. 'I'm happy that I was able to let go when the time was right', she says.
Wondering whether Lucy now has any help with her day-to-day, I ask her about her current role and responsibilities.
'I'm a bit of a control freak so take charge of everything but my mum occasionally helps with cleaning the studio. Since starting my first business, I learned everything myself. How to create my blog, how to sell myself, etc. I still do it all.
'My marketing activity is minimal. I just write blog posts and share it on social media. It comes naturally because its real. I'll boost the odd Facebook post when its already doing well, and that increases reach.
'When I started my Facebook business page a year ago, I had to re-build a following. Now, a year later my Facebook account is at 12 000 and Instagram is at 23 000. I'm active on social media every day and have discovered that consistency gives me the best reach. I never take a day off from social media because the algorithm will limit my reach if I do.'
What sets Lucy apart is her honesty with her audience. When she's having a 'cheat day' she will admit it in her writing. 'People rally behind me and each other which is inspiring.'
Lucy tells me she doesn't like the automated side of social media because its inauthentic.
In closing she says: 'Its important to have an audience that is receptive to what you have to say. People are following my journey, not my account. More than a fitness brand, its a personal brand. I have to put the time in, -and I want to..'
To find out more, follow Lucy's journey via her social media channels and website linked below.
Lucy Arnold has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, all you need to do is submit your story here:
Voting for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017 will take place in November 2017 so make sure you get those entries submitted to qualify.