What’s your business called?
“Dianne Hardman Personal Trainer and Nutrition Adviser”
Can you describe it in one sentence?
I try and use my passion for fitness to help normal everyday people achieve their goals/dreams, whether it be to lose weight, fit in their dream wedding dress, complete a marathon or to improve their mental wellbeing.
When did you start it and what inspired you?
I took on my first client just over 2 years ago and have been slowly building up ever since. I used to work long hours in the City before children and once my family was complete, I knew it wasn’t possible to continue that career. I have always been interested in exercise and a frequent visitor to the gym, so I decided to channel all my enthusiasm into a job that I would actually enjoy and feel strongly about. I used to join up with friends to exercise before my business started and I loved them seeing results with their training. It was seeing so many friends reach their goals that I realised it was the new career for me!
I am a big advocate of “exercise for mental health” and spend a lot of time studying reports and general articles in this area. With 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, I knew I wanted to help change people’s lives for the better. Exercise is proven to help in many areas like depression and anxiety and starting up my business meant I could be a part of that.
How did you find your start up?
In terms of business, not as hard as I thought. There is quite a lot of support and information out there which can help when you are starting up. What I did (and still do) find hard is finding the time to do everything i want to do with my business. To become a fully qualified Level 3 Personal Trainer, it takes a lot of time and studying. I started when I had 3 children, aged 2 and under and it was hard work! They hardly slept at night, would all be awake from 4.30am and would make for a very long day whilst at home. Once in bed, I spent the evenings and weekends studying, sitting exams and going on courses. I am always striving to continue my education and always improve my knowledge, adding to my qualifications wherever possible.
How do you manage working around your children?
I do find it hard sometimes, but I make it work like most mums. I don’t start work till 9.15am, ensuring I’m always available for the school run, I then finish in time to pick them up from school at 3.00pm and most days start work again at 5.30pm. I also work from 6am on weekends. School holidays are more challenging, but I’m lucky to have many clients who are happy to come to my house to train during these times. I always tell clients from the start that I have 3 children, so that they know school holidays may alter their training days/times slightly. For those clients who do not wish to travel, I call in the babysitting favours from friends and family!
Can you describe a typical day?
I get up at 5.15am everyday, check emails, read fitness related articles in the news, email that days clients reminding them of their session that day, prepare kids breakfast and usual housework duties. Children up at 6am and chaos commences till we leave at 8.30am. I then start work at 9.15am either at my gym or at my clients home. I try and find time in the day for me to train myself at some point. Pick children up at 3pm, home, dinner, housework, then back to work at 5.30 either for myself or doing class cover work at Virgin Active gym. Finish sometimes 8pm, home, dinner for myself then admin work contacting clients, writing programmes and then slump in front of the tv for an hour!
What have you found hardest?
Getting the balance right… I always said from the start that my children will always come first and I will build a great business around my family. It is far from easy, there are many times I feel guilty for not spending enough time with the children. I also care a great deal for my clients and want to invest as much time and energy in helping them become the person they want to be. It is about being a mother whilst building the business that I have always wanted….getting it right is hard, but I’m getting there.
What’s the best thing about being self employed?
Wow…I think there are so many things! I think mainly that I plan my own diary, so I do get to go to the Christmas school plays or sports days. I also believe that you get out of your business what you put into it…. The harder you work and invest time, the greater the rewards. Lastly, more specific to my job, I love my clients achieving their end results, knowing that I have had something (albeit small) to do with it and been a part of.
What are your plans for the future?
To just keep building my business, taking on new clients and help existing clients get to their end goals….all whilst enjoying life, making time for my children and having fun!
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
If something is worth having, then work hard for it. During those tough days (and there will be some) remember why you are doing it. Starting a new business is always going to be exciting and hard…but throw in some kids and the pressure multiplies….but think of the positives and you will get there.
Here’s is my website
www.mind.org.uk for mental health awareness