“I’m real and I want my followers to realise they can be 100% real too”

- Carly Rowena, Personal Trainer & Fitness Blogger

In the below interview Carly Rowena shares how experimenting on YouTube led her to discover her true passion – fitness and health- and how this sparked a whole new career as a personal trainer. She shares how she juggled building her online audience and training with a full time job and how she’s harnessed the power of YouTube to create a global audience and client base…. Talk about some serious career styling :) !

Can you briefly explain what your blog and YouTube channel are all about and the various things you do/talk about?

I tend to call myself a Fitness and Lifestyle Blogger as I love to create posts across a variety of topics but fitness is certainly the main passion. I post healthy meal plans, 30-day challenges, at home workouts, gym routines and also some off topic but honest subjects such as Bikini Waxing, Bowel Problems and Boobs!

Tell me more about your career before starting your business?

I was the Marketing Manager for BMW & MINI in Norwich for 7 years. It was a fantastic role, which certainly taught me a lot about how to deal with different gender roles and the various issues that can arise.

What inspired you to start Carly Rowena?

Although I enjoyed my job, I didn’t love it. It didn’t fill me with passion and I knew that there was something ‘more’ out there that was meant for me. As a child I never knew what I was supposed to be and that had always frustrated me. I remember trawling Google trying to find job titles that would interest me and it just never happened. Seeing as how we were in the midst of a recession in addition to the fact that I had a house and several outgoings, I knew I couldn’t just quit my job. So I decided to explore my own passions by filming them on YouTube…hello CarlyRowena!

How did you manage building your Personal Training business, blog and YouTube channel alongside your full time careers?

I’m not going to say it was easy. I was working full-time, filming videos and writing blog posts during my evenings. The Personal Training role hadn’t even come into my head at this point. It wasn’t until I reached about 10,000 subscribers that I realised my true passion was in the fitness and healthy living niche and that’s also when my subscribers started asking me if I could personal train them! They told me to become a personal trainer – so I did! I started the course in May, studied and took exams all whilst working 8am – 5pm and filming videos. I then passed my Level 3 in November 2013, took the leap and quit my job and planned on living off my savings for a couple of months whilst I grew my personal training business. I needn’t have worried as one day in and I had 5 personal training clients. 5 months later and I’m fully booked. I now train my clients, write my blog, film videos and Skype train my YouTube clients across the globe!

What’s been the biggest highlight?

It would have to be the moment I realised I’d found my dream career and then making it happen. To be honest, everyday brings something new and exciting into my life and I know the best is yet to come. I feel so incredibly lucky.

 What’s been the biggest challenge?

Time management and self-belief. I also never like to say no to anyone and would put another personal training client or replying to a subscriber on YouTube over remembering to go to the loo or having a break! This led to me nearly burning out and I realised that it’s so important to take time for yourself. There’s only one of me after all and I want to be around to help everyone. Self-belief is a hard one. In the beginning I never thought I’d make it and then when I passed I never thought I’d have clients. And then when I did get clients, I thought I’d lose them! But of course, I haven’t and I firmly think that believing in yourself is the biggest and best decision you’ll ever make. The positivity just gravitates positive events your way.

You’ve managed to create a big and very loyal following on your channel, blog and on social media. What’s your secret?

Be yourself. I like to think I’m no different on camera to off camera. I’ll happily wear no makeup, say the odd swear word and talk about awkward or embarrassing subjects. I’m real and I want my followers to realise that they can be 100% real too. I also make a big effort to reply to every comment whether it’s on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or PumpUp. Since I’ve reached 60,000 subscribers this is becoming much harder but I feel that if they take the time to talk to me, I should take the time to reply. Nothing I do makes me special and anyone can do this – I’m just so lucky that my followers gave me this life.

What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business?

Dream BIG, start small and be passionate. The more passionate the person the better! Have you ever watched someone in a room who has that sparkle in their eye? Positivity and excitement oozes out of their pores – that’s the way to make friends, share passions and create businesses!

What’s next for you?

My answer changes everyday! I am in the process of creating my own fitness label and also have big plans for a global bootcamp. It’s all in progress at the moment though so I can’t say any more right now!

What’s your favourite quote?

“One good meal won’t make you skinny and one bad meal won’t make you fat.”

You can check out Carly’s website here and watch her fab You Tube videos here

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