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Confessions of an entrepreneur: Charlene Hodge, owner of poise gym

BY: Barnes PR - Monday, November 18th, 2013 at 7:55 AM

Charlene Hodge

Confessions of an Entrepreneur is a series of articles by Barnes PR highlighting entrepreneurs throughout the Virgin Islands as the Territory joins the world in celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week.

“I just love fitness!” says Charlene Hodge; sole proprietor of Poise Personal Training/Fitness Centre, who is a fitness guru in her own right.

This 39-year-old mother of one has been actively involved in fitness for over 20 years. She used her love for health and fitness to fuel her new love – being an entrepreneur.

Charlene opened Poise in September 2012, after being approached by several persons for fitness and nutrition tips, and personal training. She had also served as a fitness instructor at local gyms at one point in time.

She recalls, “I kept getting approached. Persons saw how much I motivated myself and others at the gym and wanted my advice. Then I served as an instructor at both Cutting Edge Gym and Save the Seed Fitness Centre and started asking myself if I could start my own gym.”

That’s when Charlene decided to use her love for fitness to start a business she would actually be passionate about.

After hashing out a few names for her business with her friend Saranah, they decided on Poise, which is synonymous with stability and balance, something Charlene says many women need help establishing.

“When I started my business, my focus was on women’s health and fitness. As women we need to balance our work, the job, our home, everything, but we tend to forget that we need to take care of ourselves; this is where the gym comes in.”

Charlene said she also looked at the community and the rise in illnesses and her own father who suffers from a lifestyle disease that she believes could possibly have been avoided if he had adopted a healthy lifestyle sooner.

“I wanted to show persons that being fit and healthy is a lifestyle.”

One of the first steps Charlene made in establishing her business was to pursue a Diploma in Professional Personal Training from Ashworth College.

Her next step was to obtain a trade licence to make her business official. At that time, Charlene was still working as a full time legal secretary at a local firm.

She recalls that it was very difficult balancing her gym and a nine-to-five and said something had to give. When she made the decision to commit herself 100-percent to her gym, friends and family members gave her mixed reactions.

“The people that mattered were excited for me when I started my business. However, when some persons found out I was quitting my job to go fully into it in May this year – that was another story.”

Charlene said that persons were discouraging her from leaving her job which assured her fixed monthly income, but she looked at the bigger picture.

“Why sit down and do something that is not you? I was tired, I was bored and I decided that I am going to be okay. I am living my dream.”

Aside from a few negative reactions here and there, Charlene says the biggest challenges remain lack of support and few financing opportunities for entrepreneurs like herself.

She said her business came out of pocket because she was discouraged after approaching a local bank for a loan, and did not meet the high savings requirements. She remembered responding, “If I had that money, I wouldn’t have come to the bank.”

“I’ve given up a lot. I’ve sacrificed a lot. But I would tell others not to let things like that discourage you, because it will get better.

“In the beginning, it’s going to be very challenging. Think positive. Do not listen to negativity. Stick with it. There is a silver lining at the end of the tunnel.”

She also said that other entrepreneurs should not just focus on their progress within the first few months of business.

“You cannot just give up after a few months if the business is not excelling how you would like it. It takes time,” she advised.

Charlene also says that entrepreneurs shouldn’t, ‘bite off more than they can chew’. She also encourages persons to feel out the market of their choice, look at how similar businesses are doing, and decide on what can be done differently to make your business stand out.

According to the gym owner, her biggest success has been achieving all that she has on her own. From fixing her own machines, to teaching all the group classes, and personal training, Charlene is a one-stop-shop.

“It gets overwhelming at times, but I can step back and say, it’s mine, this is what I have done. This is what I have accomplished on my own, so imagine if I had help, imagine how far I would have gotten.”

Charlene’s future goals are to expand her business to a more family oriented fitness centre. She wants to set up a facility that caters to every member of the family, including young children and hopes to create a mini gym for children.

Ever seeking to improve on her professional competency, Charlene is currently taking courses to be a certified nutritionist, which is also an added service to her gym.

Poise Personal Training/Fitness Centre is located in Pockwood Pond and is open from 5am to 12:30pm; 3:30pm to 7:30pm, Mondays to Saturdays and offers aerobics, weight training, spin classes and personal training.

During November 18 – 24, for the very first time the Virgin Islands will join millions around the world for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

This observance is celebrated in over 130 countries and is expected to attract some 7.5 million participants attending thousands of events globally. Public relations firm, Barnes PR, is hosting the observance locally.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by bvinews.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of bvinews.com, its sponsors or advertisers.



7 Comments

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  1. Good Article
    November 19, 2013
    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Thanks Charlene. Your classes are great, I lost weight and I felt great.

    Reply to this comment
  2. November 18, 2013
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    I will like to thank you all for your kind words and encouragement, also thanking Ms. Barnes and others for this amazing article. For those wishing to contact me, my telephone number is 496-7159.

    Reply to this comment
  3. the rock
    November 18, 2013
    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Congrats Ms. Hodge..is this an all female gym or is it open to everyone?

    Reply to this comment
  4. Independent Lady
    November 18, 2013
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Great going Charlene!!! All the best

    Reply to this comment
  5. Interested
    November 18, 2013
    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    What is the business contact information? Cannot find it in the phone book….

    Reply to this comment
  6. Vi
    November 18, 2013
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    Good going Charlene and all involved in putting this news out there. We need more stories like this instead of focusing on negativity all the time. People always complaining about locals being torn down, mistreated, can’t get this that or the other when there are so many positive stories about our people out there, but nobody cares to publicize them. CONGRATS AGAIN!! I look forward to seeing many more such stories from our people.

    Reply to this comment

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