Name: Shay de Silva
How many years have you been living life in the Foreign Service?
Where have you been posted?
Uzbekistan and Singapore
Briefly describe your career path:
I graduated with a degree in finance and worked as a bank manager for a few years. Just before leaving for our first post in Uzbekistan, I finished my MBA and started my own consulting business. In-between clients, I held several other jobs, including an embassy position and an actuary.
While living in Singapore, my consulting business was in full swing and I was constantly flying back to the U.S. to meet with clients. I always relied on exercise and healthy eating to maintain my focus and sanity and found it extremely difficult to keep up with fitness routine while traveling so much.
After struggling for several years with my health and fitness goals, I decided to get certified as a personal trainer and create a program that could be done anytime, anywhere.
What is the name of your business?
Briefly describe your business:
My business is constantly evolving, but at its core is the goal of making exercise fun, simple, and doable. Eliminating all excuses for working out is challenging, but it can definitely be done!
I currently have a membership area with over 50 full-body workout videos, including a combination of cardio and strength exercises. Each video is less than 25 minutes and requires no weights or other equipment–no chair, no bands, no wall–just you. The program also includes tips for meals on-the-go, a guide for changing your habits, and a tracking system. I’m always adding new workouts and materials so things never get boring!
I also offer:
- customized one-on-one work-outs via Skype.
- a line of supplements and health products that I absolutely love (see here).
- business coaching.
Why did you start this business?
I truly believe that being healthy makes everything better in life. I love helping people get to a place where they feel amazing inside and out.
When did you start this business?
30 November 2011
What makes you stand out from your competitors? What makes your business unique?
All of my materials, including the videos, are downloadable. They can be done on a laptop, smart phone, or tablet. People often worry about people stealing their digital products. However, I think people are generally honest and good and I don’t worry about the others. If I’m going to truly eliminate all excuses, I need to eliminate “the internet’s down” as well.
In addition, customer service is my top priority. I like to think of myself as the “Nordstrom of fitness.” One of the best parts of having my own business is that I have complete control over resolving any issues. No bureaucracy here. 😉
How does your business fit into the Foreign Service lifestyle?
My signature membership program is all online so I can do it from anywhere.
My fitness and business coaching are primarily done via Skype so they can also be done anywhere with a little time-zone flexibility.
My line of supplements and health products is shipped directly from the manufacturer to my customers, so I don’t need to worry about shipping from post (which would obviously be a big no-no!).
What has been your biggest challenge with your business so far?
Patience. I expected to go from zero to six figures in three months. Embarrassing, but true.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
Receiving emails from clients telling me about how I’ve impacted their lives. It’s great to have a profitable business, but the people really make it worth it!
What resources have been particularly helpful to you when you were starting your business?
- Amazing Life + Biz Academy. I’ve been following Leonie and using her resources for several years now. She’s a bit “out there,” but her programs and community support have been incredible.
- Google – I google everything. There’s always an answer!
- iMovie – I use this for all of my videos. It’s super easy to use
Which resources do you use to maintain your business?
- Aweber – I use this to gather email address and to send my weekly newsletters.
- Midphase – I use them to host my website. Great customer service!
Any advice for any EFMs thinking about starting their own business?
- Do something you truly love. You’ll spend A LOT of time working on your business and likely won’t make any money in the beginning. As long as you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll enjoy the process and the money will follow.
- Connect with other business owners. AAFSW is a great spot for this. You can also join the EFM Business Owners Facebook page or find a local group. Just don’t do everything in a vacuum. You’ll need the support! Every business has its ups and downs. It’s nice to be able to help others when you’re up and to have some support when you’re down.
- Do your research. Talk to prospective clients and make sure people want what you have to offer. Sometimes little tweaks make a big difference. I reach out to current and prospective clients at least once a year to make sure I’m still on the right track.
Are you on LinkedIn?
Of course – see my profile here!