Can you introduce your start-up? What is it, and how did it come about?
Traina is a place for exercisers to follow the teaching timetables of the fitness instructors they love and discover new instructors based on the way they like to workout.
It came about when my favourite Yoga instructor moved out of London and I was struggling to find a replacement whose classes were similar to those I had grown to love. But as I then started to find other instructors whose classes I did enjoy, there wasn’t a central place I could go where I could see all the classes they were teaching, and at which studios.
Where are you in your startup journey?
The website has launched and is live for people to start discovering instructors they love. We’ve been live for just over a month now so we’re in the process of signing up instructors and studios and building awareness around the site and brand.
To date, what has been the biggest triumph for your business?
Mainly the response it has had, when I’ve spoken to people about Traina you see this ‘A-ha’ moment because the problem it solves is so relatable. Most people have their favourite instructors and when you explain what the website does, they have this lightbulb moment where they suddenly realise that it would make life easier if they always knew where to find their classes.
Are you a sole founder? If so, how have you found it? And do you have any advice you would give to other sole founders?
Yes, but I have a great network of friends and family around me who I definitely wouldn’t have got to this point if they had not been involved. I don’t mind being a sole founder because the business is so centred around people anyway, so I never feel like I am in this on my own. My advice would be to start talking to people around you in the same situation, there are some great networking groups out there and I have met some great people through them, it’s nice to have a few friendly faces you can turn to along the way!
How do you manage to balance growing a start-up with having a personal life?
I think it’s important to have downtime so that you are more productive during the hours you are working. I always set aside one day at the weekend where I won’t do any work, but equally, if there are times when I can’t switch off from it, sometimes I find it better to get the task done so I can relax properly.
How do you cope with the pressures that come with building a business?
It’s such early days for me I think in the grand scheme of things, the pressure hasn’t yet been too bad. I expect it to get much worse and so maybe ask me in a year! I always find meditation helps though, just a few minutes out to breathe and reset yourself.
Did you pursue investment? If so what advice would you give on pitching? What was your secret weapon?
Not yet, I have self-funded the business up until now, but I may look to raise capital to grow and expand in the future.
If you could name one thing that you wish you knew when you started, what would it be?
Manage your own expectations and know that sometimes you are going to feel confused and overwhelmed – but that’s ok because it’s completely normal!!
To date, what has been your most important lesson?
If you don’t know something – learn about it, or find someone who does know to help you. Building the tech behind my website has been a million times easier because I had the help of people who knew the right questions to ask, and because I had insight into how tech teams and developers work, the type of language they use etc. Without that insight, I would be working purely on trust.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone thinking about starting up their own business, or who have just started their journey?
Make a plan for what your first year might look like (and beyond if you can), what are your timelines for launch and how are you going to financially support it.
What has been the most challenging part of your start-up journey so far?
I think the hardest part for me so far was putting my money where my mouth was! I had been talking about creating Traina for so long, and completed all of the preparations and it got to a point where I had to make the decision to invest in the technology behind it because there was nothing else left to do if I wasn’t going to build it. So it was probably taking that leap of faith to actually do it – once that decision was made there was no going back!
What’s next for your business?
There’s a long way to go still, I need to introduce the whole of the London fitness industry to the website and the brand which is where I’m focusing at the moment. Coming from a Marketing background I know that growth and awareness can take time. But Traina really does have the ability to scale not only nationally, but internationally – so my sights are set on global expansion. But one day at a time!