Learn how to control your reactions – you can’t control the behavior of folks in your life, but you can control the way you respond.
Julie Gagnon-Erickson is the owner and founder of Endurance Pilates and Yoga. She grew up in Westbrook Maine, just outside of Portland. She is a graduate of Tuft University in Medford Massachusetts, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English. She went on to earn her MBA from Babson College.
Julie Gagnon-Erickson has been teaching fitness to a diverse group of people for over twenty years. She has trained a variety of clientele including professional athletes and dancers, new moms and avid golfers. She believes in the power and benefits of fitness for all. Julie Gagnon-Erickson has been very successful at training people with differing abilities including students undergoing cancer treatment, others who have experienced spinal cord injuries, amputees, and quadriplegics. Julie enjoys working with students of all levels of ability to exercise efficiently. Julie performs all of this work on a volunteer basis in order to serve a greater population of students in need of proper movement training.
Endurance Pilates and Yoga was built by Julie Gagnon-Erickson as a thriving fitness and personal training studio. The studio provides full spectrum wellness services to meet fitness and lifestyle goals for everyone. The studio serves clients from two locations. One studio is in the South End neighborhood of Boston and the second studio is in New York City. The website can be found at endurancepilatesandyoga.com.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I have always loved to work out. I fell in love with Pilates in the nineties. I found Pilates so beneficial in terms of everything that I did from walking to dancing to running. I have participated in twenty-five marathons. I run daily. I wanted to share my love for fitness and movement with others.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my day at 4:10AM. I am in Boston by 7AM for my first work out sessions. I continue throughout the day with private sessions and classes. I run and get my own workouts in during the day whenever time permits. I usually work until 7:30-9 at night. I try to pack in as much during a day as possible in order to see as many students and touch as many lives as possible.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I try to make sure I am up-to-date on any new modalities in fitness so that I can share with pay students. I am always willing to try out a new workout in order to bring it back for my students. For example, a few years ago, I had several students that were looking for a very high intensity work out. Since I stay on top of the latest information, I was able to provide a HIIT program including kettlebell, Tabata and TRX that increases the cardio component for our students beyond our regular Pilates and yoga workouts.
What’s one trend that excites you?
What excites me is that people are looking for more one-on-one trainers to become more efficient. They are looking for guidance to make sure that their movement is correct and to prevent injury. What excites me is that people are looking for that personal experience that is dedicated specifically to their goals instead of a larger group class.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think the thing that makes me most productive as an entrepreneur is my dedication to my personal fitness level.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to always know that hard work and dedication will pay off. The pay-off will come to fruition no matter, just persevere. It could be business or the commitment to working out, as long as you stay dedicated to the work that you’re doing, it will all pay off.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
In order to be successful, I feel like an entrepreneur must work extremely hard, seven days a week. I have worked with folks that suggest greater amounts of delegation and in almost every case, I quickly revert to my original workload in order to keep the quality and quantity of our service up to my very particular standards.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As a fitness guide, I always want to remain empathetic towards my clients. I take special care with new clients who may have never worked out in the past. One of the ways that I do that is by making sure that I try new fitness methods that I have never done before. If students are new to Pilates, I want to make sure that I sympathize with their goals and their passion. I want them to feel comfortable and successful.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that we do is to make sure that we pay close attention to our referrals. Many of our clients are very happy with the results that we have been able to provide. Clients refer people to us daily. Word of mouth has been the best way that we have been able to grow our business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I believe that we should stay within our core strategy as a Pilates and Yoga studio emphasizing form and movement quality in everything that we teach. Of course, I am always researching the latest in industry news. I will definitely try new workout methods and at times, we will add different types of workouts beyond Pilates and yoga to better serve our students’ needs. Pilates and Yoga have been the strength and basis of our business and employing the principles of proper movement is key to our success. Trends are great to share with our students, but we always need to come back to our roots and adapt the new to work within our Pilates teaching specialties- so we teach HIIT workouts, but ensure that we include Pilates principles.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would advise people starting out in any business to stretch beyond their comfort level when looking for new business. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others that you may think are beyond your scope. We reached out and introduced ourselves to some very influential people. They were not people that we would normally run into on the street. As a result, we work with some people who are very famous. They have become great proponents of our business. They have become some of our most dedicated customers who have referred us to other people within their sphere of influence.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best money that I have spent was on acupuncture. I am currently dealing with an injury and the acupuncture is working very well to help heal my injury.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The web service that we use to manage the studio is Mindbody and we have used it for ten years. It keeps track of everything we do in the studio. I actually use it as a private schedule tool too.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would encourage everyone to read more fiction! My undergrad degree is in English and when I have any free time to do so, I adore reading! Basically, anything and everything – read as much as possible-it will make you smarter!
What is your favorite quote?
If you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. Conan O’Brien
• There is no substitute for hard work.
• Have dreams that reach well beyond your means
• Learn how to control your reactions – you can’t control the behavior of folks in your life, but you can control the way you respond.
• Exercise and eat well.
• Invest in yourself – you can never be too healthy, classy or educated.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.