Entrepreneur Friday – Claudia Petrilli
Time for another Entrepreneur Friday where we interview female business owners. This week we have the fabulous Claudia Petrilli – a holistic health coach and graphic/web designer for coaches.
Entrepreneur Friday – Claudia Petrilli
Tell us a bit about your business?
Well, I have two businesses! I’m a holistic health coach and a graphic/web designer. In my health coaching business, I work with clients mostly in a group setting. I teach them how to cut back on sugar, make healthier swaps and change their not-so-great habits that are affecting their health, so they can feel and look good. In my design business, I work mostly with clients in the health and wellness industry, to help them build their brand and stand out from the crowd. Additionally, I’ve created so much content for my own coaching business, that I now sell done-for-you programs to coaches to use in their own practice.
What inspired you to start it?
I struggled with health issues since I was a kid—insomnia, constipation, headaches, excess weight, low blood sugar and imbalanced hormones. I always felt like my doctors didn’t understand my symptoms and couldn’t get to the bottom of them. Instead, I was prescribed pain medicine, laxatives and birth control. As I grew older, my issues persisted. During my first job out of college, my manager was studying to be a health coach and my life changed.
What is your career background?
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Art & Design from Rutgers University in NJ. I graduated in 2006 and was hired within two months at a publishing house. I love design, but unfortunately, when working in a corporate environment, there’s not much room for creativity. Luckily, my manager was very passionate about health and wellness and was changing her own path. She taught me so much about the food industry and encouraged me to try new foods and exercise. I made simple changes and lost about 30 pounds.
What is your vision for your business?
Since I have two businesses, it’s easy to overwork myself. So I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is I really love to do. I’m a bit of an introvert, so hosting live talks and teaching classes tend to soak up a tonne of energy. I do those every couple of months. However, I enjoy coaching in a group setting and run online programs seasonally. My hope is to continue running the same ones to increase my audience and make them my signature programs. That said, I’m a creative at heart, so writing content—whether it’s recipes, a sales page or a program is where I see my business evolving.
You’ve balanced being a successful business woman with raising a family. Any advice for other women?
I don’t have kids, but I do have a 1 year old puppy and an amazingly supportive boyfriend. Puppies require a lot of attention, love and exercise, similar to children, so he keeps me busy! One thing that has been a saving grace is puppy daycare. We just enrolled him and he’ll be going a few times per month so I can have some time to myself. Additionally, when you own a business, it’s often difficult to “turn off” your brain as you are wearing so many hats. My boyfriend is very understanding and we split chores and make the effort to spend time together. I think communication is KEY. If one of us needs something, we’re very vocal about it so that both of our needs are met.
How do you maintain a good work/life/family balance?
Meditating, moving my body, eating good quality food, setting boundaries with family, friends and clients, and of course, making time for fun. Although I can definitely improve on the last one!
What was your light bulb moment? When did you realise you wanted to be an entrepreneur/business owner?
When I landed my first job out of college! Even though I loved my coworkers at the time, working as a corporate designer can be stifling. I’m a free bird, with lots of ideas and creativity. I thrive on my own schedule, without being confined to a cubicle or typical 9-5 hours. I love having the freedom to work when I want, relax when I want and work with who I want.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
I’ve learned to stop being so fearful, to trust in myself, that things always work themselves out and it’s OK to slow down and take breaks.
What has surprised you about owning your own business?
I was surprised that I had money issues. For years, I saved money and was fully prepared to embark on full-time entrepreneurship. But I didn’t trust myself to make a good income, so I worked part-time in a couple jobs where I wasn’t happy and pretty stressed out. When I was there, all I wanted to do was be home, working on my businesses. I didn’t know how fearful I was about not having enough money. But I’ve also been surprised at how resilient I am. Whether it’s listening to a podcast, watching a webinar or speaking to my business coach or one of my mentors, I quickly bounce back after having a few bad days or setbacks, and find motivation to keep moving forward.
Who and what inspires you?
I have several mentors in the health & wellness industry that have taught me so much about building a business. I’m inspired by people who had a rough start in life and overcome adversity. I’m also really inspired by people who become super successful but are still so humble and give to others. I think that’s what being an entrepreneur is about—besides freedom, it’s having no income limits, so that you can give so much to others.
Do you have a daily routine or rituals you do?
Yes! I wake up and meditate. I have a couple apps on my phone that have short meditations that are perfect for someone on the go. They’ve really helped with my positivity and focus. Next, I take my dog out for a long walk. Then we come inside and have breakfast. I try my best to not eat and work at the same time, but instead, sit away from my office and enjoy my food. Then, I start my work day. That generally starts with checking emails, working on projects, writing a new blog post, checking in with my Facebook group, scheduling social media posts and interacting in other health coach groups. I really love to support other coaches, especially those who are just starting out. I know how overwhelming it can be to start any business, let alone a health-focused business. I try to be of service to them, as I was in their shoes not long ago.
What obstacles have you had along the way?
Besides money fears, I’ve had to make so many decisions, which is not my strong suit: what email provider to use, which website platform is best, whether or not to collaborate with someone, etc. I also had a tough time convincing some family members that I could be successful. It’s hard to get people to understand entrepreneurship. Many wouldn’t dare take the risk and are comfortable being content. I’m not. I thrive on taking risks and living outside the status quo. Life is too short to be so predictable.
What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started?
That nothing is permanent and things work themselves out.
Tell us your favourite tools that make your life easier (apps, websites, software etc)
Buffer is great for scheduling social media posts ahead of time. I also really love Mailchimp email marketing system for it’s ease of use and functionality. Optimizer Pro theme for WordPress is great because you can create beautiful, mobile responsive websites without coding. Additionally, I use the Notes app on my phone for whenever I have an idea or need to save hashtags for Instagram. And of course, old fashioned pen and paper is great. I have a huge collection of journals with ideas and notes from all I’ve learned over the past few years.
What is your favourite quote?
Progress, not perfection.
Claudia Petrilli is a holistic health coach and graphic/web designer for coaches. As a coach, she helps clients find food & exercise they love, without giving up some of their favorites (hello, chocolate) or being forced to eat stuff they don’t like (good-bye, kale smoothies). She believes you don’t have to deprive yourself in order to get healthy, lose weight or just feel your best. To learn about Claudia’s signature programs, visit www.claudiapetrilli.com. As a designer, Claudia helps health & wellness coaches build their brand, so they can stand out from the crowd. She does this through logo and brand identity, website design and social media presence. Please visit www.designbyclaudia.com to view her portfolio and to learn how to work with her. Or you can find Claudia on Facebook here and here or on Instagram.
Thank you for taking part in Entrepreneur Friday Claudia!
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