Closing Up Shop

There is no one reason why I decided to do this, but many that led me to my decision. Here are a few.

Let’s be real, although we feel like we are advancing, being a FEMALE, sole proprietor is not easy when you want to start a family or your future entails children, especially in the Bay Area. Before Lucas proposed, I asked myself, “what will happen to the studio when Lucas and I decide to have a family?” I tried to get other instructors into the studio to teach, but those are short lived. I mean, why would anyone want to teach in a small suburb like Union City when they have endless opportunities to teach in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose with better pay? If there is no one to help me teach, how am I going to pay rent when I am 8-9 months pregnant and can’t teach classes anymore. Shoot, I wouldn’t even be able to demonstrate half the exercises in a mat class by 4-5 months (maybe even sooner)! Then there’s the time period of 6-8 weeks after having the baby when my body is going to need to recuperate, and I would not be able to teach classes from 6am-7pm. What if something goes wrong during the pregnancy and I need bed rest? What if something goes wrong during labor and I need longer to recuperate? How am I going to pay rent and overhead during this time? Will I lose my clients, and I’d start from scratch? All of this started going through my mind. I knew I needed to think of an alternative. Disclaimer, Lucas would never tell me what to do career wise. He will give me his opinion if I told him what I am thinking of doing or what ideas I have, but has always supported me with all my endeavours. He even would mention having to work an extra shift at the bar when we have kids (he bartends on the side); that’s not fair to him, it wouldn’t be fair to our family, and most importantly, it wouldn’t be fair to us.

A month before Lucas proposed, I decided to close up shop. Trust me, it wasn’t something I did out of instinct. There was more to it than wanting to start a family, and how I would sustain the business when having a family. It had also had to do with what my expectations were for the studio, and what reality is. It was something that had been on my mind for a year, when I realized that I had one more year on my lease. The studio was my baby, I didn’t know how to give it up. I thought by closing, I would be failing. I finally had to get myself to understand that by having different goals than I had 3-5 years ago was not failing. I just want something different in life than I did 3-5 years ago, something I know will be better for myself, my future family, and better for Lucas and I. It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. The Pilates/Fitness studio was my baby. I took care of it, my mind was on it 24 hours a day. If I wasn’t physically teaching there, I was teaching elsewhere to help support it. If I wasn’t teaching Pilates, I was sending emails. Even when I was on vacation, my mind was on the studio. It was my everything. I worked so hard for it, but I knew closing it was best.

Five years ago, I thought the Pilates/Fitness studio was going to be much different by now. It’s not that I wasn’t working hard to get clients through the door. I was working really hard. One of the reasons why I was so frustrated at one point was because, I worked so hard yet the outcome wasn’t what I had expected. I thought I knew a lot about the tri-city area, as I’ve lived here my entire life, but I didn’t. I thought I would teach the community here about Pilates; since there were not very many studios in the area, I would do great! What I didn’t think about was why there is not a lot of studios in the area; this my friends, was me being young, twenty something enthusiastic, yet naive young lady. Either individuals are not open to try it, they go from groupon to groupon, but the biggest one is corporate. You have a large population that work in corporate (especially Silicon Valley), and everything is provided for them at the workplace, EVERYTHING. I was getting offers to teach at these corporate offices. So why would anyone want to spend extra time when they get home to workout when they can do it when they get to work, lunch hour, right after work, and/or in between meetings? These places are equipped with full showers, lockers, tooth brushes, nail filers, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards! Anything you can think of, they have it. It is convenient. To sum it up, I wasn’t getting busy between 11am-4pm. Time that I could bring in income. Although my morning, and evening classes would build up, I wasn’t consistent with hours. Instead of spending 8+ hours at the studio, I was spending 8+ hours at the studio, driving from corporate site to corporate site, back to the studio, back to corporate site, and home. On some days, I have clients in the morning, nothing in the middle of the day (I spend endless hours with our dog), and clients in the evening. I work endless hours to support the business, and by the end of the month, there wasn’t much I was taking home (due to pride, I cringe when I say that). I am lucky enough to have a great support system, but it’s not sustainable for our future.

Some are cut out to manipulate, walk on, and trash others. There were times when I thought others would want to work together for collaboration, but really it was to benefit their business. Eventually, I was careful who I trusted. That is way too much stress for me, I don’t want to be paranoid with everyone I come across within the business world. Having the physical site and collaboration wasn’t all awful. There were more good than bad, just life changed for me. I’ve met some of the most amazing people, and created some of the best friendships and will forever treasure them; it is what got me to know Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci, and later be appointed as Alternate Planning Commissioner for Union City. Owning a physical studio at this point in my life just is not for me.

Since I had been thinking about closing up shop, I was also thinking hard about what I want to do. I don’t want to just apply anywhere. I want to do something I’ll love. I figured I should start venturing out of the fitness industry and get back to medical, which was my plan in college anyways. The medical field is so broad, what do I want to do in the medical field? Do I want to do lab work? Nope, it’s not enough people interaction for me. How am I going to help others? I figured I’d find something similar to what I did at the Physical Therapy clinic. I mean, I have 8 years of experience; my experience might not be at the scale of large biotech companies, hospitals, and/or large medical clinics, but it’s what I enjoyed. I loved the everyday interactions with a variety of different people, especially co-workers. I miss that relationship and bond I build with coworkers. So, here goes my search for a full time job!

Don’t worry all, I still have CoreFitness by Jeanelle. It will be operating in the evenings and weekends. The only thing I need to decide with CoreFitness is if I want to teach out of the garage or do I want rent out of a facility. Here’s to new decisions and adventures!

Here’s a photo of my endless hours with my two babies, Raji and the studio.

Endless hours with my two babies, Raji and the studio.

Endless hours with my two babies, Raji and the studio.

Jeanelle Singh