HelenMarie provides personal training and pilates through her company HMW Personal Training, which she started in October 2014.
HMW Personal Training offers unique personal workout or pilates sessions for different ages and people of differing physical ability.
After graduating with a degree in choreography at 27, HelenMarie seriously considered dancing professionally, but as a single parent with a young daughter to support, she realised that it was too precarious a profession to pursue.
When she found herself unfulfilled working as a receptionist at a car showroom, HelenMarie was desperate to do something that took advantage of her degree. After attending some exercise classes, she was inspired and decided that she would like to become a personal trainer.
HelenMarie attended a personal training course and started working freelance at a gym with her company, HMW Personal Training. After impressing at the gym, she was offered a place teaching pilates classes.
To develop her business HelenMarie applied for a Start Up Loan, using it to buy gym equipment and an iPad, and taking advantage of the invaluable support from her mentor.
HelenMarie has faced challenges with her business along the way – initially she was fearful of taking the plunge, but through her own self-belief and the support of her mentor she got through this. Securing clients is always difficult for those starting up, but by offering discounts and advertising on social media, she was able to bring in lots of new clients.
Business has grown steadily since starting up. HelenMarie has gone from being a part-time personal trainer with no clients, to being full-time, based in two locations, holding two pilates classes a week, two community classes a week and doing lots of 1-1 personal training and pilates work.
HelenMarie believes in being part of a community and is doing her bit by running two community classes per week. One of the classes works with the charity Communities First. The aim of this class is to get people who haven’t exercised for a while mobile again – a process HelenMarie finds thoroughly rewarding. The other class works with Women Connect First’s Golden Years project, for women who are over 50 from ethnic minority backgrounds.
HelenMarie is ambitious with her business and is keen for it to grow. HMW Personal Training is looking to focus further on running workshops around mind and movement, building greater awareness of movement and posture.
HelenMarie is also looking into working with the corporate sector, running exercise classes once per week for businesses. Back pain and posture issues are on the rise in the workplace, with staff deskbound for hours. HelenMarie would like to do her bit to tackle this with targeted exercise plans that are easy to follow and achievable.
HelenMarie found the mentoring process available to her as part of the Start Up Loans process very helpful. She said her mentor provided guidance, giving her steps to work through with actions and targets set every month. She has really used her mentor’s business knowledge, which helped her with areas including social media and website analytics.
HelenMarie has been very pleased with the Start Up Loans process, describing the loan as enabling her to buy equipment for the business. She says: “The mentoring also enabled me to feel encouraged every month and guided me to develop my business and myself”. HelenMarie loves working within a field of her interest, and says her days working in a shoe shop on the weekend as a single mother feel a long way away.