When juggling busy careers and lives, it’s not always easy to find the time to hit the gym or prepare a healthy meal let alone start a business from scratch that truly motivates people. For inspiration, I interviewed fitness guru and founder of Body by Ginny (BbG) and TWC (Total Wellness Challenge) on her decision to become an entrepreneur and share her experience on developing her powerful brand and the company that inspires so many other amazing women.
Body by Ginny is an outdoor fitness class located in Northern Virginia (with several locations in Arlington). The workout is high interval intensive training in a small group form. The Total Wellness Challenge (TWC) is a 30-day online wellness game where participants work to develop sustainable, healthful habits in the areas of nutrition, fitness and lifestyle.
20 Questions with Ginny Wright
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
About 15 years ago I was looking for a second career after having been a retail buyer, followed by being a stay at home mom for 16 years. My best friend told me she’d just read an article that said when looking for a career we should do what we love..and the money would follow. I’ve always loved to exercise, even in college so a career in fitness was an obvious choice!
What was your mission at the outset?
My mission was to provide a venue that would make fitness fun for everyone who loved exercising outside with a group.
How many employees? BbG has 4 instructors not including me. Amy, Christa, Susie and Tammy are our original team. I’m proud to say they’ve been with us for over 10 years!
How do you advertise your business? Word of mouth referrals have brought us more clients than anything else. We are included in the Arlington County Enjoy Catalogue because we have contracts with the county to use the parks and schools. BBG has been voted Best Of Arlington for the last 3 years in a row–which is great advertising!
To what do you attribute your success? Forming a connection with clients is what it’s all about for me. Every time someone new tries a class, I follow up to ask about their experience. If someone misses class we send an email to check on them to make sure they’re ok. We keep rosters of every class attendance so we know who’s there and who’s not. We try our best to get to know our clients. Keeping our workouts fun and always challenging is also important.
What made you choose your current location? I work from home and it’s wonderful. All of our class locations are in parks and schools.
What are your company’s goals for 2017? Our goal is always to help our customers get and stay fit, injury free. Our other goal is to keep all our clients and hopefully increase our class sizes! I also own the Total Wellness Challenge LLC , so much of my focus is on spreading the word about this on-line game which teaches people to develop life-long healthy habits. (twcfit.com)
What is unique about your business? We focus on the total person in terms of wellness and have been doing so for almost 10 years. Exercise and good nutrition go hand in hand. We pride ourselves on good customer service. We form a connection with our customers and make them feel special (because they are). Also, the camaraderie at BbG is important to our exercisers. I think another thing that sets us apart is that all our instructors are trained to offer alternative exercises for those with limitations or injuries.
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher–which I guess is what I am now. (Smile)
What do you wish you knew before you started your first business? Don’t be afraid to charge people a fair price for your services.
What did you learn from the worst boss you ever had? How to be a good boss and how important it is to let your employees know you appreciate them. Compliment often, don’t over-react when people make a mistake. Treat employees the way you want to be treated: with respect.
What did you learn from your biggest failure? The past is the past. We cannot change it. Chalk it up to experience then let it go and move on.
How do you find inspiration? When I was starting out I kept Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “Do the thing you think you cannot do” hanging where I could see it. Every time I felt like giving up she motivated me! I’d tell myself you can do this
What was the best piece of advice you ever got? Nobody wants to be around a negative person or someone who complains a lot so…”be the kind of person you want to hang with”.
What’s your productivity secret? Rewrite your daily list of things to do and re-prioritize each day. At the top write “Just one thing” that you must accomplish that day before you go to bed. If I have too much to do I make an hourly plan to give me time limits on each project.
How do you cope with nerves before public speaking? Close my eyes, breath deeply and/or meditate before its time to go on. Rehearse your talk out load to someone else. Super important! I competed on the public speaking team in high school so it’s not as hard for me as it is for most people. I admit I’m a bit rusty though!
What’s your favorite quote? I have this on my wall: Helen Keller “The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive and God-like. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering it is also full of the overcoming of it”.
What do you think is the most important innovation of your lifetime thus far? By far the personal computer! I can’t imagine running my business without one!
What are your favorite restaurants in the DC area & why? I love the cosmopolitans and sushi at The Hamilton. I like The Old Ebbit Grill for it’s history.
What are your favorite places to take family & friends when they’re visiting from out of town? The Tidal Basin in spring. It is so beautiful and never gets old.
Ginny Wright is an award-winning, certified health coach and personal trainer who founded Body by Ginny in 2003. BbG specializes in boot-camp style classes held in parks and other locations. All classes meet outside regardless of the weather. Ginny is also a mom of three and lives in North Arlington with her husband Andrew.