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Courtney McCarthy – Loyobo FIT

Courtney McCarthy is an Elite Mompreneur member based out of Guelph, Ontario. She is the Owner and Founder of Loyobo FIT — Love Your Body Fitness — a boutique fitness studio that isn’t your typical gym (and loves it that way!). You won’t see pages of ripped, shredded bodies, before and after photos or “lose weight quick” promises on Loyobo FIT’s website or social media. Courtney and her team believe strength comes in all shapes and sizes and they don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all model for health. Loyobo FIT celebrates body diversity and wants to help members to see movement as something positive and fun, rather than punishment or something you have to do to be perceived as beautiful. Loyobo FIT offers small group fitness classes, with over 20 options every week; everything from Zumba to Tabata, Yoga, and more. Specialty offerings include a weekly group coaching format for mindset support and a Friday Happy Hour which includes Burlesquercise, Self Defense, Pound, Bellydancing, and more! Courtney’s goal is to create a safe space that allows people to connect with their bodies, to be a part of a community, and to feel strong, worthy and capable. We are so thrilled to be sharing Courtney’s Success Story!

mompreneur member Courtney McCarthy of Loyobo FIT fitness studio in Guelph, Ontario

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I started this studio after my own experience and frustration teaching at a variety of different gyms. I didn’t feel valued, members were frustrated and didn’t feel listened to, and most of all – the spaces I was working in didn’t feel safe, especially for women. There was no education, there was no relationship building, no community. I wanted to prove that there was a better way to do fitness. A model based on putting people above profits, one that focuses on long term lifestyle change, and that emphasizes empowerment and education. So, I decided to start offering my own classes! From there, it has naturally evolved and expanded. We are so happy in the new space and I am so excited to continue to build our offerings.

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
Through my own health and weight loss journey, I discovered a love of fitness through Zumba. With the incredible support and encouragement of an amazing instructor, attending Zumba classes helped me to find my self confidence and a connection with my body when I was unhappy in my life. It became the gateway to discovering how to love my body and feel strong. I started teaching because I wanted to give people, and specifically other women, the same feeling that the instructor gave me. I want to help them feel safe, to feel connected with their body, and find a love of movement that teaches them how to feel strong, worthy and capable. Through fitness, I want to help change people’s lives for the better!

mompreneur member Courtney McCarthy of Loyobo FIT fitness studio in Guelph, Ontario

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I get to have fun, challenge myself, and do something different every day! I am always learning, always discovering something new and I get to surround myself with people who share my values, ethics, and love of life! It is also awesome that I finally have found a type of work and that I’m building a company which is aligned with my view of the world: that people come first, that long term sustainability and thinking of the bigger picture is par for the course, and that aims to do better, rather than just maintain the status quo. Before, if I was frustrated or felt trapped by a boss or manager, I was faced with the decision to stay or quit that job. Now, if I feel frustrated, I can make changes and fix it! It is a huge responsibility, but it honestly feels amazing.

mompreneur member Courtney McCarthy of Loyobo FIT fitness studio in Guelph, Ontario

What impact did other people/experiences have on you, and how did they help you get to where you are in your business today?
When I made the decision to quit my full time job to pursue my fitness career, I took a job as a sales associate at Grey Rock Clothing Co, a fair trade/ethical clothing store in Downtown Guelph. The owner of the store, Beth Timlin, taught me so many things about running a small business and really took me under her wing. I gained so much experience and Beth had an unwavering belief in me and my own business. She continues to act as a very close mentor and constant cheerleader for me. I would not be where I am today without her! There have been SO many others, almost too many to name. The most valuable lesson Beth taught me was not to be afraid to help and reach out to the community to get them involved. I did just that when I opened up the new studio location. So many people came out to help paint, to show their support by coming to classes or attending our opening events, and other business owners I had made connections with took part by participating in the day, donating door prizes, or swag bag items… or even just friendly advice! I am so grateful to be surrounded by so many people who have been rooting for me and my business since day one!

What values do you believe in and live by, and how do they shine through when it comes to your role as a business owner?
I believe that everyone deserves to feel strong, worthy and beautiful! I aim to to lead with love, making choices that embody a spirit of inclusion, positivity, joy and fun! I believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and treated like a friend and member of our family when they walk through my door. I don’t believe in the word “can’t”. I embrace challenges and am constantly striving to break down my own fears to reach higher. I want to help others do the same, whether it is my members or my team of instructors. With hard work and perseverance, you can achieve wonderful things – which is how I ended up where I am today! I believe in collaboration over competition. Of lifting up other woman, especially female entrepreneurs. It is important to me to shop local and establish relationships with other small business owners wherever I can. Especially supporting other start-ups or new instructors the way others have supported me. And finally, I believe that business can be a force for good in this world. We can do better, be socially responsible, be environmentally conscious and have a mission to be sustainable, looking forward to a future of sustainability. This requires putting people before profits and being accountable for my choices and the impact they can have. This has impacted everything from the choice of products I buy in the studio, to the business policies I have put in place and my interactions with other businesses, my members and others within the Guelph community.

mompreneur member Courtney McCarthy of Loyobo FIT fitness studio in Guelph, Ontario

What are you most proud of when it comes to your business/being an entrepreneur?
I am proud of my members and what we have accomplished together! My happiest moments are seeing the changes that they are making in their lives, to see them breaking through their fears and insecurities and finding a new sense of confidence to try things they have never tried before. I determine my own success by my ability to help others and spread the message of Loyobo FIT: that fitness can be a positive thing and people can define their own vision of health.

mompreneur member Courtney McCarthy of Loyobo FIT fitness studio in Guelph, OntarioWhat does the future look like for you and your business?
The future looks bright! There are so many exciting opportunities on the horizon and I am filled with so much hope and ideas for the future for how we can grow, bringing new value to our members and the Guelph community at large. Our goal in the near future is to continue to grow, expand our presence in the Guelph community and create partnerships with other local health and wellness professionals. We are planning many workshops, special events, retreats, fitness challenges: the list is long! I am beyond thrilled and I can’t wait to get started.

Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
The greatest gift you can ever give yourself is a good business coach and many different mentors, right from the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey! It is so easy to get lost in your own head, your own fears, and your own biases that might end up holding you back or making certain milestones unnecessarily difficult. At first, it seemed like an indulgent, very high priced expense that was more of a luxury than a necessity, but my coach Jennifer Trask has saved me from myself in a number of ways! Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, and a coach makes it easier to get through those moments and brings an amazing perspective in your start-up days. Having different mentors from different industries/backgrounds/experiences is also extremely valuable to bounce ideas off of and to avoid making costly mistakes! So get out there and network.

 

 

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Gaelle Sage – SageOnEarth

Gaelle Sage is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Toronto, Ontario. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of DGSAGE Inc., as well as the writer and photographer for SageOnEarth, a blog about simple life and goals achievements, including e-courses and other products to help busy devoted moms get back on track and achieve their projects. We are excited to share Gaelle’s Success Story!

mompreneur Gaelle Sage of SageOnEarth lifestyle organization blog

About SageOnEarth
My company is about inspiration and accountability. A few years ago, when my brilliant career as a CEO in the IT company my husband and I were owning ended, I was forced to manage the u-turn on my own. I realized that women are very involved and very good at taking care of others, whether  family or friends, but when it comes to themselves, they have such a hard time self-caring physically or mentally. We are all going through this milestone: one day we wake up, things have to change. The problem is we don’t know what to do with our lives. My blog is about taking care of ourselves while managing a family, and my goal is to provide even more support to any and all women in need of a change.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
My first child made me want to be an entrepreneur; I’ve now been an entrepreneur for 18 years since he was born. I felt like I wanted to really be in charge of my professional life to make the best of my personal life. My children have been the source of my inspiration for my life and my business since the beginning. I always wanted them to know that they can believe in their dreams, they definitely are in charge of their life. Most of all, I wanted them to have a mom to support and help them to grow as happy as possible, no matter what.
mompreneur Gaelle Sage of Sage on Earth blog, helping women with their busy lives
What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
My why is living my passion, being in charge, being a role model for my kids and following my path. I have a lot of experience as I’ve lived in three different countries, on two different continents, speaking two languages daily, and I am on my way to having dual citizenship. I want to share what I learned through 20 years of a very adventurous and exciting marriage, so that others can manage their way more easily. I want to go further. We were almost always in charge of all the changes that occurred in our lives at least for the important ones, and that was not easy. So I believe that when you endure difficult situations you did not ask for, it’s even worse. If women need support in case of changes in their life, it’s even more accurate when the changes come to you instead of you asking for them. Well, I’m here to help, and I want to help!
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Definitely being in charge of my schedule. It’s far from being the only good thing, but the most important one to me. I want to be in charge of everything. The money I earn, the time I’m working, and the days off I’m taking. I wanted to be paid for the work I was doing. I’m also inspired by the freedom I have as a creative entrepreneur now. I’m still building my actual business, but I’m really enjoying being in charge of the whole process. It’s scary and rewarding at the same time. I find it uplifting and inspiring! It’s very important for my motivation not to have to wait for others to tell me what I can or cannot do. Of course, working with clients has something to do with being validated, but the global idea of the blog and the business belong to me and depend on me and my husband’s ideas.
Can you describe a typical day?
Absolutely not! It’s also part of my happiness: every day is different, every day is my own to make! However, I have a few time blocks that remain the same every day, but they are not directly part of my business. I love to get up early, at 5:45am during the week, and usually 6:45am during the weekend. During the week I use this time to stretch, get ready and prepare for breakfast. When my children wake up we also have a family guided meditation time. Another important time for me, and definitely a reason to have a break from work, is when my teenagers are coming back from school. I take time to have a tea with them to have a little chat. This private time is very dear to me. They don’t come back from school at the same time, so I have a short time alone with both of them.
mompreneur Gaelle Sage of SageOnEarth lifestyle organization blog
Who do you count on for help?
My husband! We love working together, and if we are not currently, as he is still working in IT full time, the plan is really for him to join in the SageOnEarth project for good one day. Now that my children are teenagers, on their way to be young adults, they are very supportive too. But I make sure to not interfere in their school work as it is an absolute priority! I’m also working on building a team to help me, but it’s still a work in progress.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
I definitely sacrificed a lot for my children, but I don’t really like the word sacrifice. I chose to do so, I wanted to do it. I’m so glad I did now that they are grown up, to have all these unforgettable memories and this strong bond with them. However, I sacrificed a lot of my self-care and mental health in my previous business. Owning my own business now still is challenging, of course! Being in charge always means more responsibility, but I make sure to avoid overdoing it to the point of burn out this time. After all, my business is all about balancing life!
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
Now I know what a day off is, however that wasn’t always the case; I’ve learned the hard way. It’s all about family time, relaxation, going outside. I also indulge in my passion for photography. During days off, I try as much as possible to have absolutely no to-do list. It’s quite difficult, but at least I keep  a reminder in the corner of my mind.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
I want to create a way to help women who experience changes in their lives to manage them better, if not more smoothly. We are alone in the process, but this doesn’t mean that we have to figure everything out on our own. I can help. Most of the time we are not in a mood to ask for help. We think we are not worth the time, money, or energy to hire a coach. We don’t even know what we want from a potential coach. I can be the first step, whether starting from scratch to be in control of what is wanted, and knowing which is the right path to go in order to get there.
Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
SageOnEarth’s motto is “Simplify – Refocus – Get Organized”. I think it’s relevant to anyone starting a  business. You can’t do it all at once, alone, and all of it from the very beginning. Be realistic, be passionate and work for it. Don’t be shy, do what it takes, nobody will do it for you, it’s your dream!

 

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4 Truths to Remember When Making Difficult Decisions

entrepreneurs and overwhelm, making difficult decisions

Running a business can be fun, but many successful business owners come to the tough realization that in a business environment, they have no friends. They have employees who are dedicated to the company and they may have customers who are loyal, but the bottom line of the business is the prime concern they have to watch. One of the biggest obstacles they face in the day to day business operations is their own emotions, which they need to leave ignore when it comes to work.

For example, consider a business owner that is approached by their financial expert who tells them that they have to cut half of their workers loose in order to meet expenses. This can be an emotional time for the owner, as on one hand, many of the workers are loyal to the company and are very productive, and on the other hand the company needs to be able to run leaner in order to make ends meet.

Simply based on the emotions of keeping the business operating, the solution may seem obvious in cutting half the workforce. However, before making that call, the owner needs to look at all the facts – and not just the financial ones. Questions need to be asked such as, how long will this lack of income last? If we layoff employees, how much will be spent on unemployment compensation? What other ways can we cut expenses, for example, is the finance guy really necessary? If half the workforce is let go, what will be the effect on productivity and customer service and will the remaining employees be able to handle everything without the additional help? If after thoroughly understanding all of the available options and the effects of instituting any suggested changes, it is found that half will need to be let go, then it is the right decision for everyone.

Decisions have to be based on how the outcome will affect everyone involved and not just the ones being laid off. Sure, it is a tough decision, but one of the responsibilities of a business owner is being able to make the tough calls, knowing it is the right one for the business as well as for the remaining workers. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule about which employees will need to go away. Seniority may be the deciding factor, but some businesses use productivity instead.

For example, a new hire may produce as much or more as an employee with several years of experience. Owners should never look at payroll as a deciding factor as getting rid of some of the higher paid, long-term employees is also getting rid of loyalty as well as experience.

The decision should be based on who can offer the most to the business, and it should be a decision based on facts rather than the emotions of who needs the job more. From a cold fact point of view, if the worker needs the job that badly, then they have probably consistently been a hard, productive asset to the company.

Keep the following truths in mind when you are forced to make a difficult decision as a business owner:

There is no universally correct answer.

In these tough situations, any decision that you make will have its drawbacks. You just need to make the best decision for your business based in the information that is available to you.

Sometimes problems work themselves out.

Don’t make any big moves until it is absolutely necessary as a solution to your problem may simply appear. However, when it is time to make a decision, don’t hesitate to do what needs to be done.

Most people are understanding.

Everyone knows that it’s not easy to be a small business owner and that sometimes you have to tread water just to survive. If your employees perceive that you are being fair and sincere in your dealings with them, they will probably understand if you need to cut their hours or eliminate their position. Even if they don’t, as long as you treat them with respect and are doing what’s best for your business, it’s all that they can reasonably expect from you.

It is better not to second guess yourself.

Don’t waver when making a difficult decision. Determine the best solution and move on. Revisiting your decision and wondering if you made the right choice is stressful and it’s a waste of time. Instead, accept the consequences of your decision and learn from them for next time. 

 

Even though you’re dedicated to your business, you are still a person – so it’s natural to feel badly when your decisions negatively affect others. No matter how difficult things get, don’t allow the stress of your business to erode the compassion that you have for your employees. As a business owner, your ability and willingness to make tough decisions is necessary for your survival. It is easier to bury your head in the sand, but avoidance won’t get you very far. All successful business owners have made a difficult decision at some point in their journey. Consider the words of Wilfred Peterson, “Decision is the courageous facing of issues, knowing that if they are not faced, problems will remain forever unanswered.”

 


 

 

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