We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Roselius and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I started Driven Fitness 10 years ago with one mission: to inspire the love of movement. Every decision I’ve made in my business since founding it has been centered around that mission. Americans today are in trouble. We are stressed out. Physically and mentally we are unhealthy. The numbers of overweight and obese Americans continue to rise even though we have a wealth of information and opportunity at our fingertips. It’s taxing our healthcare system and our families. I truly believe that it is one of our greatest health crises and not enough is being done about it, particularly right now during the Covid-19 pandemic. But everyday I have the opportunity to face the obesity crisis head on. I believe that if I can positively affect the members in my community through fitness and an outdoor lifestyle…if I can inspire them to eat well, exercise and live healthier lives…they in turn can influence people in their own lives to do the same. I believe in a ripple effect. The ripple will slowly spread, changing communities for the better one by one.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started Driven Fitness 10 years ago with one simple mission: To inspire the love of movement. Yes, losing weight, building muscle and fitting into your skinny jeans are all important goals. But really, I just want people to move their bodies daily. And more importantly, I want people to ENJOY movement. I want them to find activities that light up their eyes and make them feel happy and grateful to live inside the amazing tool that is the human body. I’ve asked our members what sets us apart from other fitness studios and I get four consistent answers: 1. The workouts are never the same so they never get bored and always feel challenged. 2. They feel “safe.” My primary target market is men and women over 40 years old. Many are in their 50s and 60s and now have chronic pain, old injuries or other limitations that kept them from exercising prior to finding Driven. They were worried they would get injured walking into a large gym to workout on their own or working with a trainer without experience dealing with their special needs. At Driven they know we have the ability to train them while keeping them safe and healthy. 2. I, as the primary coach, walk the walk and inspire them to try new and difficult things. 3. The community of people that come to Driven Fitness as members. We make up a close knit fitness family and the family-like atmosphere is what keeps people coming back year after year. As a business owner, I think another thing that sets us apart is our exceptional customer service. From the time a member joins our studio to the time they decide to leave I strive to offer a professional , high quality experience that isn’t often found in gyms these days. An example is when Covid-19 hit in March. We were forced to close our studio doors like all other non-essential businesses in California. I suspected this was coming, so I spent the week prior getting all of our members set up on Zoom. Some people were able to get set up on their own, but others needed help. So I spent hours calling those individuals who needed assistance to make sure they downloaded the app, knew how to use it properly and could continue taking classes. All of the sudden our members were working out at home and they needed equipment. I loaned out most of our equipment while the studio was shut down so they could continue their workouts hand delivering a lot of it to our members homes. Thankfully we have been able to continue offering our entire schedule of classes and semi-private sessions via Zoom since the pandemic hit, and in fact, have moved 100% to virtual in California so our members can work out no matter how the restrictions change. How did I get where I am professionally? Well….I literally walked out of my corporate marketing job over 15 years ago! That’s right, I gave my two weeks notice and left corporate America for good. I studied exercise and sports science at UC Davis as an undergrad and then went on to gain a Masters in Sports and Fitness Management. But my first full-time job was actually in the marketing department of an investment bank. I worked in corporate marketing and events for 6 years but didn’t feel fulfilled. I wanted to use my college degrees and do something more meaningful. I happened to be in a very negative situation at my last firm. It was mentally draining me. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating. So I made the difficult decision to leave a promising career, got my personal training certification and found a mentor to help me along my new path. I worked at boutique fitness studios as a personal trainer and marketing manager for several years before I decided to branch out on my own. Believe me it was a tough 6 years! Personal training is not an easy profession. The hours are long and taxing. Sometimes I drove 100 miles a day between different gyms to train clients. I worked weekends, nights and holidays. I didn’t set out to start my own business from the beginning but as I gained experience and honed my skills and my brand I knew I could offer a better experience to my clients if I was able to control my business 100%. When I started Driven it got even more tough for awhile as I had to build my brand awareness through local events and word of mouth. Quite simply I pounded the pavement for years. This year, as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary, I look back and feel pride for what I’ve built. I’ve learned that nothing comes easy and it always takes time, much more time then you expect. All of those “overnight success” stories you see didn’t happen overnight. No one sees you as you work late into the night by yourself trying to write fitness programs, create marketing campaigns, pay bills and plan your future. No one realizes you didn’t take a day off for 4 years. There is so much work that goes into creating a successful business that no one sees or talks about. That’s what I want people to know. You just have to put your head down and show up every day to do the best work that you can do.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, 2020 has brought new challenges to all of us this year, especially when it comes to socializing! Luckily for me, I love the outdoors and activities in Mother Nature and the outdoors still isn’t closed! I would start my tour with one of the gorgeous hikes around Southern California. Some of my favorite places in Orange County are El Moro and Crystal Cove where you can hike for hours along the shoreline and you get gorgeous views of Catalina Island. I’m also an avid mountain biker and most of my friends are too, so if we didn’t hike those trails we definitely would go for a ride through Laguna Wilderness or O’Neil Regional Park. Mountain bikers like to drink beer so after riding we’d probably stop for food and drinks at Laguna Beach Beer Company. Evening happy hour would follow and then a nice relaxing night at home before we get up and do it all again the next day. In the summer we’d throw in a picnic at Salt Creek Beach one the late afternoon so we could catch the sunset while lounging in the grass. If we wanted to add some culture I’d drive them up to explore LA. The Annenberg Space for Photography is one of LA’s gems! I love their rotating exhibits and the fact that it is free. It’s such a special place. Then we’d head for a hike around Griffith Park or a walk around the canals at Venice and look at all of the cool houses. On the way home we’d stop at a place to eat in South Santa Monica. I love the character of the shops and pubs in that section so much better than Third Street Promenade to the north.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my parents. I feel so lucky to be raised by two people who chose careers in fields they loved. Both were public servants and when it came time for me to decide what to study in college they advised me to pick something I also loved. They said that if I loved what I studied and what I did for work I would be so much happier and more successful than if I chose a career based on money. They have always supported my crazy adventures, from packing up my life to travel the world for a year to quitting my corporate job to become a personal trainer. I would not be who I am today without their support. Professionally, I owe a large part of success to my very first mentor, Lynda Head. When I became a personal trainer I really had no idea what was doing! I passed my certification, sure, but that really didn’t prepare me for dealing with human beings on a daily basis. Linda had a background in rehab. She took me under her wing and gave me a solid foundation for training people of all kinds of abilities. My ability to train people who have chronic injuries and pain is one of the reasons my business is successful.