Life Coach Magazine

Starting A Successful Business – An Interview With Jennipher Walters From Fit Bottomed Girls

By Gjosefsberg @gjosefsberg

Starting A Successful Business – An Interview With Jennipher Walters From Fit Bottomed GirlsI’ve been talking about my own experiences with starting a business over the past few weeks but I’m just starting out.  So I thought I’d share an interview I did with someone who’s way ahead of me.  Jenn is the co-founder of Fit Bottomed Girls and Fit Bottomed Mamas, a great fitness site even for a guy like me. :)

Question: How long has the site been around?

It’ll be four years old on May 19!

Question: And how old were you when you started it?

I was 27.

Question: What were you doing before FBG?

A couple of different things…I’ve been a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor for more than 10 years now, but my first job out of college was as a writer/associate editor for the health club industry trade magazine called Club Industry. After that, I worked as a marketing director and fitness educational program director for a career school.

Question: Why did you start your own business?

I started my business because I had a vision to change how women saw themselves and how they went about getting fit and losing weight. It was a message that was definitely not out there much — a positive, real and honest message that you are more than a number on the scale and that if you do activities and eat foods that you love and make you feel good, you can totally change your life for the better and happier. I also have always been one to want to do my own thing, too, so running a site with one of my good friends — co-founder Erin Whitehead — just had so much appeal to me.

Gal’s Note – From talking to other founders, I’ve noticed that the best ideas are ones where you start with something you like and want to do and then figure out a way to make money on it.  Be honest, be yourself and figure out the rest as you go along.

Question: When it comes to FBG, What gave you the idea for a fitness website?

Years prior I had been through my own ups and downs when it came to my body image and struggled with binge eating and being obsessed with calories and my weight. After meeting with a registered dietitian who helped me to reconnect with my hunger and eat intuitively, my entire life changed and opened up. After that — and after a few years working in the “real world” and realizing I did not want to work in a cubicle my whole life or for someone else — the idea came to me. I convinced Erin — who also was looking for more meaning in her work — and FBG was born.

Question: Fitness is a crowded field.  How do you differentiate FBG?

It sure is. There are SO many blogs and so many really good sites out there. We started almost four years ago, so it wasn’t quite as crowded then. I think that helped us out for sure. But, we tried to stand out by being completely honest and open about everything. All of our reviews and such tell it like it is. Since Erin and I both have a background and degrees in journalism, we spend a lot of time writing and editing posts, so the content is quality as well. Not to mention that every post has some humor to it. We knew from the start that we wanted some sass and to never take ourselves to seriously. You can see that from our name (a play on the Queen song “Fat Bottomed Girls”) to our tag line “Keeping a lid on the junk in the trunk.”

Question: What initial challenges did you face?

In the beginning, many thought our name meant that you had to look a certain way or be a certain size to be an FBG. But that’s SO not true! Fit bottoms come in all shapes and sizes and we’re constantly saying that in posts to reference the fact that loving yourself and taking care of yourself is far more important than a jean size. Or other challenge was simply time. For the first few years Erin and I both worked demanding jobs on top of growing FBG. It was truly a labor of love and still is.

Question: How much technical know how did you need?

Starting out, I didn’t have a lot, but I learned as I went. Once we knew FBG was taking off though, we got ourselves a web design firm (Lagom Design) to help us out. They’ve — in addition to my friends who know a lot about IT — have been essential.

Question: How did you start generating traffic to FBG?

We started with word-of-mouth and still rely on that mostly to grow these days. We have AWESOME readers who like to share what we write, and we love them for that! Investing a few hundred dollars in Facebook ads early on also helped us spread the word, as did networking with other fitness bloggers we read. Fitness blogging is a big world, but it’s also a small world and we all have the same goal to help others get healthier so it’s really, on the whole, a supportive community.

Question: How do you make money on your site?  Is it all ads?

Ads and working with brands one-on-one to create custom campaigns with sponsored posts, videos, etc. We also have some affiliate relationships and do some special writing projects as “the FBGs.”

Question: Back to you for a bit, was this the first business you tried to start?

Yep! And we didn’t know a thing about business when we first started. Thank goodness for Google and friends!

Gal’s Note – Totally agreed on the Google and Friends things.  If you don’t know something, look it up or ask.  There’s a sea of information out there just waiting to be found.

Question: What do you like about owning your own business?

My freedom. I get to write and work when I’m feeling most passionate, which is a huge help.

Question: What don’t you like?

At times the responsibility can be overwhelming. Because I wear so many hats at FBG, going on vacation and traveling is quite the feat.

Question: Is FBG now your full time job?

About 80%. I still do some freelance writing here and there (for Shape.com and SparkPeople.com), but I like that because I get to use my brain in different ways. Plus, you can learn a lot by working with other editors and people.

Question: What challenges are you still facing?

I’m not sure there will ever be enough hours in the day for me to do all that I want to do! So I’m constantly playing with that balance of trying to do more and grow the site without putting so much on my plate that I’m like a chicken with its head cut off.

Question: What’s your biggest problem right now?

Time. Always time.

Question: If you could do it all over, what would you do differently?

Honestly? Not really anything. There have been ups and downs, but even the most challenging situations made me and the business stronger. Maybe I would have quit my full-time job a few months earlier…

Question: Where does FBG go from here?

Lots of places! We just kicked off FBG Life, (http://fitbottomedgirls.com/fbg-life-program/) our new online healthy living program that takes place live in a virtual classroom. It’s going so well that we plan to keep adding sessions every quarter or so, along with doing other one-hour classes on different topics important to our readers. Erin and I would also like to see an FBG book some day, and we wouldn’t be opposed to starting up a few more “Fit Bottomed” sites. We started Fit Bottomed Mamas a little more than a year and a half ago, and it’s doing great and serves as a fabulous resource for moms and moms-to-be.

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I wish Jenn much success in her future endeavors.  She’s an inspiration to me and to many others.


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