Going it alone: what it’s like to start your own small business

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Time, commitment, sacrifice, effort, and challenges, these are all words synonymous with starting and running your own small business. So why would you bother? For Sophie Kuncio, owner and manager of Health Vibrations, it was for the freedom.  

After eight years working as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, just over a year ago Sophie branched out to begin developing her own fitness brand, Health Vibrations.

“The main reason I started my own small business was, in short, freedom,” Ms Kuncio said.

“The freedom to be my own boss and practise exactly what it is I believed in.

“After working in the health and fitness industry for eight years, I knew the next step to fulfilling my potential was going out on my own.

“I wanted to show people what I had to offer which is often hard to do under somebody else’s business structure.

“I am now in the position where I can use my skills and knowledge to provide clients with a unique range of programs through various types of group fitness classes, personal training and dietary advice in the way I see best.”

Sophie said going out on her own was a daunting prospect but so far it has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

“I’m at the happiest and healthiest point of my life today, and I think it’s important to realise happiness and health go hand in hand,” she said.

“This is why I love this industry, it changed my life. I would not be where I am today without my health.

“I’m currently still running my business part time while also working my office job, but I’ve been able to find a really good work-life balance.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work however I can now see how Health Vibrations can grow to a point where it will become my sole job.”

For anybody thinking of starting their own business, Sophie says the best piece of advice she can provide is to start slow, as slow and steady really does win the race.

“I have learnt lots of important lessons since deciding to start Health Vibrations, not least to keep away from deep water and aim to grow gradually,” she said.

“Keep your overheads to a minimum, and keep track of them.

“You should always be real with yourself and your customers. At the end of the day, honesty is the most important aspect of any relationship, whether it is with a client or a business opportunity. If you say you’re going to do something, follow through.

“And finally, give real value and create a great product. In an industry or perhaps a world where there is so much competition, your authenticity and quality are your best assets.”

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