…Working on my mindset was the first thing I should’ve done. There is a stigma that when you’re finally successful, that’s when your mindset will get stronger and then you’ll be more successful. The truth is, you have to start with the mindset and the belief that the work you do (or the product you provide) really is changing lives and that knowledge and belief will drive you to make the choices that a successful business owner makes.
As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing…Julia Hickman, a wife, mom and lifestyle and online fitness coach helping time-crunched women avoid the overwhelm of maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle by providing quick and effective workouts and simple recipes in a private Facebook community. She calls them her Fastinista FitSquad. Her passion for fitness and health started when she was a young teenager and decided to ask for a membership to her local YMCA to learn how to properly strength train. After learning that osteoporosis ran in her family, she became concerned and wanted to do what she could to keep her bones healthy. In high school, Julia joined the track team, but due to her single mom’s busy schedule, wasn’t able to participate in the meets and be fully immersed in the sport. She decided it was best to quit. She continued running on her own, but it wasn’t until I was in her late twenties, after meeting her now-husband, that she signed up for her first race and got hooked. To date, Julia has completed 12 half-marathons and 6 marathons, including Philadelphia and New York. She achieved a Boston Qualifier race at the Harrisburg Marathon in the fall of 2018 and will be running Boston next April. Her first coaching experience was while attending college, where she became a volunteer body sculpting trainer for a semester of her sophomore year. She initially wanted to study Business so that she could learn how to run and operate her own gym. The business degree came in handy, although I did not become a brick and mortar business owner. In 2014, she started doing CrossFit along with her husband and became so fascinated by her progress and people’s eyes light up when she gave them a cue that helped them as well. She became certified and later also became a certified running coach, which led to me to start my own group training business at my home. In the beginning, she wished to grow it into a larger boot-camp-style business. However, her clients were busy moms and couldn’t commit to joining in person more than once a week. Julia’s mission is to teach busy women that if you workout smart, less can definitely be enough. She helps them make fitness something that improves, not consumes, their lives so that they can enjoy time with their families.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I grew up in Paraguay where I lived until I was 9 years old.
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah-ha” moment with us?
After quitting my corporate job to stay home with my son, I knew I needed to do something.
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
Anyone can have good ideas. The trick is to make sure the idea is something that is needed and fills a gap. Before launching my online training business, I asked my current in-person clients if they would be interested in it.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
If it’s something that you’ve been daydreaming about for a while, it’s time to stop waiting and take action. Start small if you have to and squeeze it into the pockets of your time.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
I love that my business actually keeps me fit. I get to workout, record workouts and try out recipes. Most importantly, it keeps me connected to other women and I’m able to support them in the best ways possible.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?
I definitely have moments of self doubt and anxiety, usually after a launch that resulted in less-than-favorable results. I know that getting a 9–5 job won’t make me happier and I’ll lose the freedom and flexibility I have. I usually sit with these feelings for a bit but then shift my mindset and remind myself that it’s part of the journey. I know my future clients need me.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
There are so many inspiring female leaders that I stumble across on social media on a weekly basis. As a Latina, I love seeing other Latin women doing their thing, building empires. My business coach and her staff are also amazing. She has Fortune 500 corporate experience and is so good at simplifying strategies. Her and her team have helped me see the value in my services and how to raise my visibility to be an expert in my field.\
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I truly believe that by helping time-crunched women, mostly moms, I’m helping make the world a slightly better place. My philosophy is that exercise doesn’t have to be torturous and doesn’t have to take all of our time. I teach women how to squeeze in time for their workouts and healthy cooking while still having plenty of time left for their husbands and kids. When moms learn this and put it into practice, they get a revelation that fitness and wellness doesn’t have to be so “this or that” all the time.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
I don’t have 5 things, but I have one main thing I wish someone had told me and that is that working on my mindset was the first thing I should’ve done. There is a stigma that when you’re finally successful, that’s when your mindset will get stronger and then you’ll be more successful. The truth is, you have to start with the mindset and the belief that the work you do (or the product you provide) really is changing lives and that knowledge and belief will drive you to make the choices that a successful business owner makes.
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
My movement would definitely revolve around helping needy children. As a mom, it’s the one thing that breaks my heart the most, knowing that there are kids out in the world who don’t have the basic things they need to thrive.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” This quote by Og Mandino really speaks to me because I’ve had failures and setbacks in my life, especially since becoming a business owner, but my drive is still stronger than my fear of failure.
Another quote I love is by Rumi: “Never give from the depths of your well, but from your overflow.” What does this mean to you? To me, it means, you shouldn’t give all you got; instead, have so much to offer, fill your own cup so much, that you are giving from your abundance. This is so so important for women to remember and live by.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
It would be incredibly fantastic to meet American long-distance runner and mom, Kara Goucher. As a fellow marathoner and runner, I not only admire the amazing records she has set but also her tenacity and her fighter mentality. I can relate in a way, as I tried to qualify for Boston last year and almost gave up after one tough race, but I shook it off and one month later I qualified at a different race and will be running this coming April!
Kara has had setbacks and disappointments but she has fought back and made amazing comebacks. I also love that she fights for those without a voice in terms of gender equality.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.