We have been speaking to some entrepreneurs of Ayrshire – many of them former Ayrshire College students – to hear all about their businesses, but more importantly to find out how they got started.
The ‘#OurAyrshire – Entrepreneurs’ series will shed some light on what’s involved in setting up a business, the challenges and rewards that come with going it alone, and what our interviewees have planned for the future.
We spent some time talking with Coach Lucy, a former Ayrshire College Fitness, Health and Exercise student, graduate of UWS Hamilton and now proud founder of COACH LUCY (www.coachlucy.co.uk).
“When I finished school I knew I didn’t feel ready for university. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had a bit of an interest in sports but not a great love for it at the time.”
After speaking with family, Lucy decided that the next step for her would be to enrol on the HNC Sport and Fitness course at Ayrshire College. While some of her friends were sceptical about whether she needed qualifications to get a job in a gym, and some considered it an ‘unskilled position’, Lucy’s passion for the industry grew more and more.
During her HNC and subsequent HND, Lucy’s commitment to her career was clear as she took on several work experience placements, and part-time jobs in various gyms. She worked at Curves in Troon, The Peak in Stirling, Kilmarnock Fitness Centre, and Irvine gyms; The Portal and The Fitness Factory. It was during her college time that Lucy found that she was already building up a loyal customer base and had unintentionally set up in business.
“I was already doing it without really realising it.” Lucy reflects. “I had been taking classes in some of the places I worked, but these weren’t greatly attended or the space was limited. To me, it just made sense that I start my own classes in the right environments, and at the right times for people.”
“I decided to go with the name Coach Lucy as I am so focused on helping my clients unlock their own potential. The one main thing I believe as a coach is:
“A trainer affects the hour they are with someone. A coach affects the hours they are not with someone.”
“Ultimately my goal is to help my clients invest in themselves and their own knowledge. I want to help educate them about their bodies and how they work, so that the changes we make from working together are long-lasting.”
This is what makes Lucy stand out from a very crowded fitness market. She truly believes that she is not just there to just take a couple of fitness classes. She is there to help people make healthy choices and incorporate that into their lifestyle, helping them to lead a better, healthier life by giving them tips and tools to achieve this.
And so, Coach Lucy launched in April of this year and has been going from strength to strength (pardon the pun). Her classes are sold out almost every week, her personal training sessions have grown by over 200%, and she is just about to release her first line of merchandise. She is also busy with her nutrition plans, online coaching, and her impressive social channels. Business is certainly booming and Lucy has never been more motivated.
Lucy works with clients ranging from Molly, age 13 to Jessie, age 85 – their goals, as you might have guessed, are very varied. Some people want to achieve better general health and wellbeing or some want to lose weight, gain weight, get a bit stronger or improve their mobility/flexibility. The one common goal they all have is they want to do something for themselves.
For someone so young, 20 year old Lucy has a wise head on her shoulders and recognises that mental health is a big topic that she is happy to get involved with, in fact she is seeking it out.
“You have two kinds of health: physical and mental, and fitness has a huge impact on both. Sad, happy, angry, overwhelmed, any emotion. Exercise can have such a big impact on your mental state. For me, exercise is my time, a chance for me to stop thinking and just move about for a little while. It may not feel amazing at the time but I have never regretted it once it’s done.”
“I feel like now I need exercise not just for aesthetics, but more so for my own mental health. Exercise helps keep me happy. Exercise helps me sleep better, makes me less anxious, improves my mood, gives me more energy and shows me all the amazing things I can do. Exercise is so much more than just weight loss or toning, it helps make a better you from the inside out.”
“Your health is your wealth, we really should invest more of our time into it.”
Lucy has big plans for the future. She would love to get more involved in pre and post-natal exercise in order to work with mums to help bring down the shocking figures of Post Natal Depression. She is keen to do her GP referral qualification so she can continue using fitness to help people who need it most and of course she wants to invest in her loyal cliental.
The growth of Coach Lucy doesn’t stop there though. Lucy would love to add a corporate arm to her services by engaging with health and wellbeing teams in larger companies and is currently investigating a food service/advice idea.
Lucy is also working on a ‘5 Weeks 2 Fit’ programme in collaboration with Aeden Morrison Personal Training. A fellow fitness professional and Lucy’s boyfriend who she met while on the HNC Sport and Fitness course at Ayrshire College. Their programme will involve high intensity classes each week, nutrition plans and continual help and support for all those who are lucky enough to secure a place.
This really is just the beginning for Coach Lucy and there is no doubt that there is an exciting 12 months ahead. We will be sure to catch up with her in the future but until then we will continue to follow her super inspiring social media channels…
Coach Lucy is seeking funding through the Scottish Funding Council’s Innovation Voucher Fund to help her research and develop in nutrition and mental health.
This fund gives sole traders and public limited companies the opportunity to access knowledge and support that could help to make their innovative idea a reality.
Do you have any innovative ideas that you would like to explore with Ayrshire College? Get in touch with our Director for Industry Programmes email@example.com.