Choose SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals for the short-term and long-term and take small action steps each day or week to get closer to achieving those goals.
Melanie Kotcher is a HIIT Pilates instructor and wellness coach for busy women and men looking for quick, effective, and sustainable solutions to tighten/tone, lose weight, release stress, have fun, and gain focus and confidence. Melanie holds a Pilates Mat Certificate from Equinox’s Pilates Teacher Training Institute and an Advanced Diploma in Coaching from the New York University School of Professional Studies. Prior to pursuing a career in wellness, Melanie worked for 10+ years in marketing, social media, sales, and production at top entertainment industry corporations, from the William Morris Agency (now known as William Morris Endeavor Entertainment), to Hungry Man Productions, to Weight Watchers International, and most recently, Studio71, one of the leading multi-channel networks. Melanie has always had a passion for fitness and strongly believes that practicing mind/body balance can produce life-changing effects. Combining her various personal and professional life experiences into a comprehensive wellness program, Melanie’s approach is practical, time-efficient, highly-effective, and most importantly, personal.
Where did the idea for HIIT Pilates come from?
In my 10th year or so working in corporate America at reputable entertainment companies, I started to get an urge to go out on my own and build a business. I knew that fitness has always been a passion of mine (and working at Weight Watchers corporate for about five years first made me realize that I really wanted to continue helping people on their wellness journeys), but I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted my business to be. Around that same time, I was gearing up for my own wedding, and I absolutely loved the process – getting more fit, eating clean, and setting up my “glam” appointments (which just reiterated how much I love wellness). Soon after my wedding and after an insightful coaching session with my mother-in-law, I left my corporate job and enrolled in New York University’s School of Professional Studies to receive my Advanced Diploma in Coaching. I then received my Pilates mat certificate from Equinox’s Pilates Teacher Training Institute. Since then, I have been offering Pilates and coaching services to women and men in all different life stages – brides, grooms, young professionals, moms – so they can look and feel their personal best. I have also been developing a new form of exercise called “HIIT Pilates” which incorporates high-intensity cardio bursts through a signature Pilates sequence – burning fat, boosting metabolism, decreasing stress, and improving posture and confidence all at the same time.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days are typically filled with private client sessions, Pilates classes at corporations and Equinox, checking email and sending outreach follow-ups, networking, developing/writing content for my blog and social media, and of course, trying to find my own time to work out.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Working at home and on your own can be challenging at times because you don’t always have someone to bounce ideas off of, but that’s where my parents and husband come in. I love to get ideas from them and other family members and friends. If I’m thinking of a blog post or fitness routine for a bride-to-be, I’ll go straight to the source and reach out to a friend who is getting married or was recently married to get her input.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love all the new updates on social media, particularly on Instagram. The platform makes it so easy and accessible to share quick workouts, fitness tips, inspirational quotes, and more – I love seeing all the beautiful photos and videos, and I get so inspired by other wellness pros.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m all about the Google calendar. If I manually type it in, the task will get done. I also try not to be so hard on myself if I don’t get everything done in one day. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s about progress, not perfection.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be scared to fail. When I was younger, I was probably a bit more hesitant to take risks for fear that the outcome wouldn’t be perfect. But the way we grow and learn is from making mistakes, so I continue to learn every day to not be afraid to fall down every once in awhile. You’ll get that much farther by taking risks. Making a mistake means you took a risk.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That’s a tough one. Maybe I’d say that watching TV shows on Bravo is a way to totally decompress after a long work day (my husband thinks that watching the shows produces more anxiety :-).
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I do some sort of physical exercise every day. Even if it’s not a full-on workout, I take some time to stretch or walk instead of taking the subway (if I have the time). I turn off my phone (or put on ‘do not disturb’) for at least a half hour and take this time for me – it helps me get clear, focused, and calm.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Setting short and long term SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals has helped me stay on track. I work with a Score mentor (score.org), who has been an incredibly helpful resource when it comes to planning and accountability.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a failure because it was a huge learning curve, but when I first started my business, I marketed myself as a bridal coach and concierge. Fitness was a bit on the backburner. Over time, I realized that I was offering services to brides that they didn’t necessarily need or want to pay for leading up to their weddings, and it took me a year or so to realize that I should have been pushing fitness to the forefront – every bride wants to get in shape. I did a slight re-branding based on the learnings from that first year and have been seeing more positive results since the shift.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Since I’m a fitness trainer, I use apps like Pacemaker, Rock My Run, and Tempo Magic when putting together playlists. It would be amazing if an app had all elements in one – recommended free songs that are the same exact BPM (not just a BPM range), mixing the songs together so they blend seamlessly, and recommended playlists for different types of workouts. This may exist already, and I just may not know about it :-).
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a newer version of the Fitbit which is so important for me during fitness and coaching sessions, and it also helps me to personally stay on track of my physical activity when out alone or with friends/family.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Evernote. It helps me stay organized with the thousands of thoughts floating around in my head. I love typing in ideas on my phone after a business meeting so I don’t forget the idea. It’s great when I’m inspired by everyday life for blog/social media content ideas as well.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by David D. Burns, M.D. The great thing about this book is that anyone can benefit from its teachings. David D. Burns describes scientifically proven techniques to help you develop a positive outlook on life. Developing and growing your own business can be taxing at times, but the principles in this book help me push through when times get tough. It’s about rewiring your brain and choosing to look at the glass half full.
What is your favorite quote?
“An open ear is the only believable sign of an open heart.” – David W. Augsburger
- Choose SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals for the short-term and long-term and take small action steps each day or week to get closer to achieving those goals.
- Progress is not about perfection; it’s about moving forward and taking risks. There are no rewards without risks.
- Keep pushing through and put in the work. If you’re finding that something isn’t working, you can choose to look at it as a learning curve (not as a mistake) and move on.
- Don’t be afraid to ask others for help and spend a LOT of time listening.
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