Episode 79

Thriving and tripling sales through lockdown

with Jenna Salvaterra

Imagine tripling your sales in an industry that was completely shut down through a Coronavirus lockdown. In today’s episode, I chat to the inspiring, Jenna Salvaterra, about how she did just that.

 

In this Episode:

  • 04.37: The impact of Coronavirus on a Pilates studio
  • 08.44: Going big in the face of fear (instead of playing it safe and small)
  • 14.27: How the lessons of elite sport can shape business entrepreneurship
  • 17.46: How Jenna tripled her revenue in a COVID-affected year
  • 19.53: What business investments Jenna made to grow her business
  • 28.22: Scaling business to the online space

 

 

Links:

Jenna’s Bio

Coming soon!

 

Transcription

Imagine tripling your sales in an industry that was completely shut down through a Coronavirus lockdown. That exact thing happened to today’s guest. My beautiful Mastermind client, Jenna. Her story is so inspiring, and I cannot wait to share it with you guys today.

 

Hello and welcome to The Clare Wood Podcast, where myself, and incredible guests, share about money mindset, financial successes, and how to manage your money in a fun and practical way to create wealth and abundance in both your business and your life. I’m your host Clare Wood. I’m a business coach and a money mentor. I strongly believe that money has the power to positively change the world. I can’t wait to help you transform your mindset around money, create a love of numbers, and build the business of your dreams. So you can live a life of financial freedom, giving, and global impact.

 

CLARE:

A big warm welcome, Jenna, if you can share a little bit about yourself and your journey.

JENNA:

My name is Jenna, and it is 1 year ago today since Clare and I had our client coaching anniversary, I suppose you could say. I own a pilates studio on the Central Coast of New South Wales. I’m a mum of two. I have two little girls, and I feel like my business has changed my world. And for the better, in a lot of ways. My background is in teaching and sport and exercise science. I’ve worked with elite athletes and worked in high-performance sport for a really long time. And I feel like that all culminated when I moved back to the Central Coast after 10 years in Sydney. What I wanted in terms of fitness and pilates I just couldn’t find, so I was like, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to do this thing.” And that was in 2018 when my youngest baby was… how old was she? Four months old.

CLARE:

Wow.

JENNA:

So she was four months old, and I’m like, “I’m going to do this thing,” and use my sports science and my pilates training. And I started in my local surf club with just mats and a couple of pilates balls. I put it out to my local community and said that I’m going to run a free session. And I booked a photographer to come and shoot that free session to make it look like I’d been doing it for years, which actually worked with all of my advertising later. And the rest is kind of history. So I moved out of the surf club after six months, rented out a studio, which has expanded over COVID, which I’m sure we’ll jump into shortly. It’s been a two-year journey, and it’s been one that has taught me a lot of lessons, but geez, it’s been great.

CLARE:

And you’ve impacted so many women along the journey. So let’s dive into COVID.

JENNA:

Sure.

CLARE:

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room because…

JENNA:

Yes.

CLARE:

… when you and I met a year ago, your business was absolutely thriving. Some of the things that we spoke about was getting some structure, looking at your pricing, how to manage the rapid growth that your business was experiencing. But obviously, not long after we met, a little virus called the Coronavirus broke out, and your thriving studio was suddenly forced to shut down. So let’s talk a little bit about what happened? How you responded to that? And what the impact was on your business?

 

The impact of Coronavirus on a Pilates studio

 

JENNA:

It was interesting because the thing about COVID was that it was sort of impacting the business before it impacted the business. So, I think in February, it was like people just didn’t know what to do with themselves anymore. It’s like, what’s safe, what isn’t safe? “Can I go to a gym? Can I not? Can I go to the coffee shop? Can I not?” And in a lot of ways, the best possible thing that happened was that the government went, “You can’t go.” It was that line in the sand. There is nothing else you can do about it. So, for me, it was almost like a weird little grieving process.

 

I think ScoMo was on the TV, and he was saying, “If you’re a non-essential service, you will be closed down at 12:00 tomorrow, according to what your state decides to do.” That was on a Sunday afternoon. And I just remember feeling like the rug had just been pulled out from under my feet. This thing that I had worked so hard on that was just really starting to make tracks. I was paying staff and paying myself, and it was going really well. I went through those stages of grieving where you’re like, “Why, why me? Why is this going to be the case?” And then on that Monday morning, next step was in New South Wales. Gladys was on the TV. And pretty much explicitly said that, If you’re a gym or a fitness studio, you are closed.” And I just cried and cried and cried and cried because I was just like, “No, there’s no way that I’m going to get around this.” And that lasted for approximately 15 minutes. And then I was like, “Right, what are you going to do about this? What are we actually going to do?”

 

So, I spent that day just sort of brainstorming out how I was going to bring it to life online. And I was really reluctant to do it because I was like, “Oh God, that space is so crowded.” There are so many great online programs. Had that little moment of, “Why would anyone choose me?” And then I was like, “Well, actually, I’ve got 50 members in my gym and a whole lot of other personal training clients who have already chosen me. So if they’re the ones who come to me, then great. I’ve got someone. If we expand, great if not, it doesn’t really matter. I’ve got those guys.” So by the Tuesday, I had sprung into action. By the Friday, we’d tested everything. I’d redone my entire website. We’d got the online platform ready to go, the booking system, the whole thing was sorted. And the following Monday, we went online, and it was so great. And what the by-product of that was, was that we were recording or delivering five or six live online classes every day, which meant we were also recording those classes every day. So within the first couple of weeks, we had 150 classes that we could put online, which was amazing.

CLARE:

Absolutely incredible. And I was coaching quite a few people through that period of time. I didn’t see anyone respond as quickly and adapt and switch to an online model with the ease and speed that you did. So massive congratulations on that. I do just want to reflect back on that last section for anyone that is listening outside of Australia and who isn’t sure who ScoMo is – Scott Morrison, and he is the prime minister of Australia and Gladys… I don’t even know how to pronounce her last name. Maybe you can help me.

JENNA:

Berejiklian.

CLARE:

Berejiklian is the premier of New South Wales, which is one of the states here in Australia. For anyone who’s listening outside Australia. Sometimes we forget as Aussies, we’ve got a lot of slang that we use. And so sometimes I need to translate it for the listeners. So coming back to COVID and the speed at which you were able to switch your business online, what did you see a downturn in your results during that period?

 

Going big in the face of fear (instead of playing it safe and small)

 

JENNA:

I just sort of treat them as separate because they’re two very different businesses. So in a way, yes, because what I was offering was totally different, and the price point was very different. But in a way, no, because the uptake was probably higher. So in terms of actual revenue, it was probably a little bit lower. But in terms of reach and the time that I put into it and the space that we occupied online, I actually think were probably a little bit more successful, which kind of led to the next part of COVID.

 

So while we were in lockdown, an opportunity came up to move into a different studio, which was much bigger than the one that we were already in. And because of some of the work that I had done, it’s actually probably from about October the year before, where I employed some staff, and we’re sort of starting to get those structures in place, meant that I qualified for a lot of the government grants that were going out as well as a couple of other ones for women in business and a few other things. So, had COVID not have come around. And I had not had the chance to jump off the hamster wheel for a minute. I would never have taken this chance to go into this new studio and renovate it and make it exactly what I want it to be.

 

So, I think there was a really great lesson in that, that even though things were slow and there was quite a little bit of a downturn. I was instead of teaching eight classes a day, I was teaching two. And I had a chance to actually really work on the business and really think about what I wanted it to be when we opened up because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, there was going to be a time where, whether it was in two months time, three months time, six months time, where I would be able to open up again. I’ve spent that time stepping off that hamster wheel that just keeps turning and turning and turning and turning. And the hamster wheel doesn’t stop turning until you stop running. And the greatest thing that happened was stopping that little hamster wheel and going, “Right. What do I want from this? How can I make it as great as it possibly can be for my clients? But for myself.” You don’t really want to work for free, right. You do what you do because you love it, but you also do it because you want to make a life for yourself and for your family. So that was probably the other thing about COVID.

CLARE:

Oh, 100%. And, guys talking about making lemonade out of lemons, huh? At a time when everyone else was saying, Go small. We don’t know how long this thing’s going for.” I was giving people the advice that going big was a great opportunity, but a lot of people didn’t do that. And a lot of people couldn’t. They were just paralysed with fear. At a time when most businesses would definitely not be looking to expand, you were not only expanding but doing it in a really incredible way and thinking really, really big. And spoiler alert, we got to open back up again, right.

JENNA:

It was always going to be the case. And the thing is Clare, I’ve mentioned to you in other conversations. I have this little motto in my life that just because it’s hard does not mean you’re failing. Sometimes the things that you work hardest for, when you’re in this deep trough of pain, you can’t give up. You can’t spend two years on something and just go something out of my control has spun it out, which it did. It was totally out of my control, which is not a place that I like to be. And it was really hard. It was really hard, but I’m the kind of person that’s really action-driven. It’s like, “All right, this thing’s happened. What am I going to do to fix it?” And I can’t fix COVID. It’s not going away.

 

So what can I do to better my situation? It was almost like as soon as I sort of surrendered to the chaos and was, “Right, this is what we’re doing.” It gave me the opportunity to just open my mind to what was possible, and all of a sudden, this space, this shining beacon of light. And let me tell you, this studio was no shining beacon of light. It was a s***hole. I had to redo the floors. I had to redo the walls. There was a cool room in the back that hadn’t been used since 1965. There was a whole lot of construction in that. So we sprung into reno mode, which also was a great distraction during COVID.

 

I think it gave me also the chance that… you know how we said a moment ago that we met in December last year and we talked about pricing and all of the things. I hadn’t really had a chance to action that because I was too scared to upset the clients that I already had. And you don’t really get a chance to press pause and then go, “I’m just going to change things.” And I did. And it didn’t worry anyone. They all came back, and I got a few more, actually a lot more, which was great.

 

How the lessons of elite sport can shape business entrepreneurship

 

CLARE:

Amazing. So let’s talk a little bit. You touched on it there about how giving up just isn’t an option. Let’s talk a little bit into your Surf Life Saving career.

JENNA:

Yes, yes, yeah.

CLARE:

Do you want to share a little bit about where you think perhaps your level of resilience has come from?

JENNA:

So I often talk to my clients about I once was an athlete. And sometimes, when you tell people that you’re an athlete, they expect that you are outstanding. And I was pretty good. I was all right. I sort of danced around the top… I don’t know, maybe top 10 in Australia, but I was never a star. But god, I loved it. I loved it so much. And I have this very embarrassing record. Well, I don’t think it’s embarrassing. I actually think it’s quite… I don’t know what the word is. It’s almost endearing. I hold the record for the most amount of fourth places at an Australian titles ever. So I’ve come forth in Australia 11 times. 11 years in a row in different age groups, different events, different disciplines.

 

And I just think having that mindset that I’ve always had, that you just keep on going, keep on going. The wonderful thing about Surf Life Saving was if you are in a final, you’re capable of winning because the ocean plays a part in what you do. So you can do all of the training. You can be the fittest person on the beach that day. And it really doesn’t matter because if you’re in the final, you can be the 15th fittest person, and you can still win that race. You have to be in it, and you cannot at any stage give up. And look, there was probably a lot of stages within Surf Life Saving that I probably could have given up. But I just think that resilience is just a part of who I am and maybe had I’ve won a few more Australian titles. Maybe I would have given up. I don’t know. But it was that drive to just keep on chasing and hoping that maybe one day I would be, and I never was, which is also okay. I loved what I was doing, and it taught me discipline. It taught me resilience. It gave me the love for moving, which ultimately has given me my business, and I’ve met and made some of the greatest relationships that I will ever have. So that’s kind of where my sport, I think, really shaped who I am as a business owner, but generally as a person.

CLARE:

Oh, I love that. I’ve literally got goosebumps all over me. It’s so funny because as much as we talk about success in business, at the end of the day, the success isn’t the six-figure mark, the seven-figure mark. When you hit a milestone in business, it’s almost like it’s not as fulfilling the actual accomplishment of the goal as we thought it would be, right.

JENNA:

Yes.

CLARE:

It’s the journey. And to your point, there’s almost something super exciting about the journey of possibility. And I’m so glad that set you up so much for success in your business. So on that topic, let’s talk a little bit about, get down to the crunch of numbers, is my favorite thing to talk about.

 

How Jenna tripled her revenue in a COVID-affected year

 

JENNA:

Sure.

CLARE:

Landing here at… we’re at December 2020 when we’re recording this episode. How did your year through all of the COVID madness lockdown, everything play out for you?

JENNA:

I often have to pinch myself and go, “Wow, how did I actually do that?” But essentially, it’s kind of like the rule of three almost. I’ve tripled my revenue. I’ve tripled my staff. I’ve tripled my client base, and I can’t put it down to any one thing other than just continuing to show up for those people. I think just that drive and then knowing that what I was doing was important to a lot of people. And knowing that what I was doing was important to me, and to my family, because we’d sort of invested a lot in this, and I don’t know, failing wasn’t an option this time and literally tripled, tripled in all the things. So we can crunch a little bit further into that if you want to, but the rule of three. We’ve tripled in everything.

CLARE:

That’s absolutely incredible. And look, you say there’s nothing that you can put it down to but obviously, you’ve got the resilience, you’ve got the level with which you serve your client base, but you also invested in some big ways in your business this year. Obviously, you invested in the Mastermind, which, that’s a big investment. Were you still in lockdown at the time of joining Mastermind?

JENNA:

Yeah, I was.

CLARE:

Still in lockdown.

JENNA:

I was.

CLARE:

So to go and commit to a six-month program, a high ticket program at that time in businesses, that’s huge. There’s a few other big investments that you made that maybe you could talk about. So let’s dive into those. What are some of the other big investments that you made during one of the tough years in history?

 

What business investments Jenna made to grow her business

 

JENNA:

Yes, there was the Mastermind, which was big. I also like to consider myself as quite self-aware, and I’m really good at teaching people. And I’m really good at teaching people how to move. What I have no idea about or didn’t until we started doing the Mastermind was business and how to make it work. It was potluck up until that point. So Mastermind was big. The other thing is, pilates equipment is not cheap. So when we moved into the studio, I had to put out about $30k worth of equipment to really just jump in both feet and go, “Right, this is what we need to make this thing work.” There was also, obviously, the investing in expanding and going into a bigger space, more rent, which almost doubled. There was also the renovation in itself. I was really particular about how I wanted this space to look and feel. I wanted people to walk through the door and go, “Yes, this is exactly where I want to be.” And that didn’t come cheap either. So all of the grants and all of the cashflow that I managed to generate through COVID literally all went back into the business. And in saying that, when I first started and invested in all of that equipment, I was kind of just cruising along on zero. That was an investment for my family, and my husband and I went in, and I said, “I really want to do this thing.” And he’s very different to me. He’s like, “Well, you could go back to work,” because I worked in elite sport. “You could go back to work in elite sport, and that would be really easy. You would know each week that you’re getting a paycheck and all of that.” But he also knew that that wasn’t going to make me super happy, and he also knew and believed in what I was doing and was like, “All right, let’s do it. Let’s pull that out of our savings. Let’s pull that out of the dream house account, and let’s do it. Let’s do the thing. Just go and make it work like you do.”

CLARE:

Oh my gosh. What an amazing guy. Did you ever doubt yourself? Were you ever like, “Oh my gosh, what if this is all a big disaster?”

JENNA:

I doubt myself all the time. I have some imposter syndrome from time to time, and it’s interesting, even though I can see the people. I physically see the people walk through the door every day, and it’s not until the money drops into my bank account where I’m like, “Okay, it’s going to be okay.” I don’t know what it is about this, and you’ve probably talked to many of your guests about this imposter syndrome. I know that I’m doing all the right things. I know that I’ve done all the work. I see the people walk through the door, and I still have that little bit of like, “Oh, is it…, are you really? Is that really happening?” And then every week I pay my staff, I pay my rent. I pay myself, and there’s still a little bit leftover at the end of the day.

 

I do have self-doubts, but I also know that if I keep on going, if I keep on trying, and if I keep on showing up that something’s going to come of it, and it is, it’s happening. It’s not like when I get to the end of the year, and I’ve got a hundred members in my studio that I’m going to be happy and fulfilled, and the business is going to be successful. I don’t think it was ever going to be the case for me. I think is actually probably going to be that ongoing… like you said before, the journey that progress through… I don’t know, it’s hard to put a pinpoint on it, but I think that for me is… that I do have doubts, but I do believe that I can do it even through those doubts.

CLARE:

Coming back to talking to your partner about big investments in business. What do you think would have happened if you’d gone to him and said, “I’ve got this idea.” And he was like, “Jenna, no,” because, let’s be honest, there are probably a lot of people listening to this today who are thinking my partner would never go for that. Have you ever wondered what would have happened?

JENNA:

Do you know what’s interesting is that it’s against every single instinct that my husband has to say yes to one of those things. So something like that, such a big investment in something that might not work. So he’s the kind of guy that has saved the first dollar that he’s ever earned. And he is such a hard worker. He’s worked for the same company for 15 years. He’s worked his way through it. He’s really good at what he does and super secure, and a little bit risk-averse when it comes to money. I’m almost the opposite. I’m kind of… I wouldn’t say I’m a frivolous spender, but I’m like, “If I need the thing to make it happen, I’m going to go and get the thing.” And I don’t really know if he would’ve said, no, I probably would’ve just worked at it for another year and saved up even more, kept it all in the business account and done it a year later because I knew, and I still know that my business in the particular area, that in which I live it’s needed. It has a place in our community.

 

And if it would have been 12 months later, I would have been frustrated and annoyed that I couldn’t strive towards the thing right this second. But I think I would have just kept at it. I would have kept at it, kept saving, kept going. And I think Luke just really believed in what I was doing and was you know what? I think he saw the impact on the people who I was working with already. And was like, “Now I can back you in this. I can definitely back you in this.” I think he would back me in anything, really. I’m pretty convincing.

CLARE:

Oh, I love it. I love it. This story is so inspiring, Jenna. And I would love for you to share something that you shared with me just last week. So when we first sat down to do the Mastermind six months ago. One of the activities that I got you guys to do was I said, “What’s that big, sexy goal that you’ve got. What’s that thing that you want that will just… that’s what this is all for.” And I said, “It can be selfish. It can be frivolous. It can be anything that lights you up on a soul level.” What was that goal for you, and where are we at with it now?

JENNA:

Yes. So where we’re recording this right now is in my granny flat where we currently live, which is 60 square meters with myself, my husband, and my two kids, which, if you’re not very good at maths, it’s tight. It’s very small. But the goal was always to get the business to a point where we can build our dream house on the current block where the granny flat lives. And June next year it’s going to happen. We’ve planned it. We know exactly what it’s going to look like. We know where it sits on the block. It’s happening. And I just haven’t really taken my eyes off that prize. And I think that could be the athlete in me. It’s like, “No, I’m just head down until we can have that thing. That’s the thing that I really want most right now.” And so it’s hopefully, only six months away.

CLARE:

Oh my gosh, how incredible. That is so funny, you just dropped it, and you’re like, “Oh yeah, sign the plans on the house.” And I’m like, “What! The big, big goal that you were shooting for one day is coming to reality. It’s so, so cool.”

JENNA:

It sure is.

CLARE:

And it’s a massive, massive testament to all of the hard work that you’ve done. And I know this is just the beginning for you. And on that note, you spoke about how you’re serving the local community in your neighbourhood. But the programs that you’ve created can now serve people, not only right across Australia but across the world. So would you like to maybe share a little bit about what that looks like and some of the transformations that you’re delivering for people?

 

Scaling business to the online space

 

JENNA:

Yes. So one of the great things about going online was what I said before, within a couple of weeks, we had 150 recorded classes, which we’ve just built on since then. So we had this bank and have created Belle Online, which has taken two different forms. And I think the form that we’re going to go with going forward is that we do online challenges. So we will do them seasonally in the next 12 months. So it’ll be like a spring, summer, autumn, winter challenge. And what it’s all about is incorporating what we do, pilates and movement and strength and conditioning along with great nutrition and mindset work for busy women over one month. And the whole point of these challenges are, is encouraging women who are very busy, which we all are. It doesn’t matter whether you have kids, you don’t, you’re in business, or you work for somebody else. Our plates are full. They are so full. And more often than not, I hear clients come to me who go, “Oh god, Jenna, I really want to come to your studio, but I can’t find the time.” And I sort of tend to push back on that and go, “I know that we don’t have time, but how can we prioritise our time better?” And that’s what our online presence is all about. So for a little while there, it was all about just signing up and doing pilates. But this is all about now, teaching women how to prioritise themselves and giving them tools to do it, which is the pilates and the nutrition.

 

Some of the feedback that we just had out of our spring into summer challenge has just been so amazing. So we ask our clients to check in each day. They can leave us a little message. And some of the messages that we got by day 30 of these challenges were just awesome. And it was all about how, “Well, I really thought that I didn’t have time for exercise in my day, but I do like you’ve shown me that I can.” And, or it might even be some of these women weren’t doing pilates every day, but some of them were like, “I didn’t think I had time to finish a cup of tea in a day. And it’s like, that’s my treat to myself every day. Is that I sit down, and I give myself five whole minutes to finish the cup of tea.” And it’s out of the work that we do in those challenges.

 

So, we’ve sort of taken the skills that we learned about being online and sort of moulded them into something else. Something that’s bigger than just pilates. It’s bigger than health. It’s bigger than wellness. It’s sort of teaching people how to prioritise themselves a couple of times a year because the thing about creating new habits is that there’s this old thing that it takes… I don’t know, what is it, 22 days to create a new habit? That’s crap. You’ve got to do it 22 days over and over and over again. And that is what we’re finding is that once every two or three times a year, doing something like this is helping women reset and go, “Yep, I can be at the top of the list most of the time.” So that’s what we’re doing.

CLARE:

Oh, absolutely incredible.

And if anyone wants to find out more about your programs, I’ll be sharing all in the show notes for today’s episode. So make sure that you check them out. Jenna, I have loved having you on the podcast. I love working with you inside the Mastermind. It’s been such a pleasure working with you as a coach and a friend, and thank you so much for coming and sharing your message with the world. It’s so inspiring. So thank you so much for coming on.

JENNA:

Thanks, Clare. Thank you so much for having me and for being so inspiring yourself. I can probably attribute a whole lot of my success to you this year and just keeping in touch, and the Mastermind has been fabulous for that. So thank you very, very much.

CLARE:

Thanks so much for listening. If you love this episode, please share it with your audience. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @clare_wood_coach, and also make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss an episode. Have an abundant week and I look forward to talking to you again next week.

 

About your host

Hi, I’m Clare Wood – I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, a reality tv addict, and a passionate business coach. I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life; because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two.

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