We had the good fortune of connecting with Missy Berkowitz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Missy, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Having my own business has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but it has also been the most rewarding. When I have those moments where I have questioned if I will get to where I want to be and entertain the idea of giving up, there are a few things that inspire me to keep going. I think about where I came from and I know I can never go back to the career I had before being a Personal Trainer. I am grateful for it and that it gave me life and business skills, but that part of my life is over. It grounds me into remembering I am much more aligned with my life’s purpose in my current career. Helping people live healthier lives is far more rewarding than anything I did in my corporate days.
The other piece is I get constant validation from my clients. Knowing that I have made an impact on so many people who have made lifestyle changes just fills my heart with gratitude and pride. When clients tell me how thankful they are for working with them, I know that I am meant to keep doing this and giving up is not an option.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am a Certified Personal Trainer. My services range from small private classes (for both kids and adults) to corporate classes to Personal Training/Semi-Private Training to coaching to online programming. I have learned that it is important to offer different services because every prospect and client has different needs, goals, preferences and budgets.
One of the things that sets me apart from others is that I come from the corporate world. I am so grateful for all those years as it gave me the opportunity to advance to Management where I had a lot of training around communication and how to coach people. All those skills are 100% relevant in my current role as a Trainer. I understand how to be professional, set boundaries, how to motivate people individually. I understand basic things that are so fundamental (and often taken for granted by other professionals) like having clear email communication and policies that are easy to understand. I also understand the pressures our jobs can take on us and how that affects our health and fitness.
My journey has not been easy but that’s standard and par for the course for anyone starting their own business. I have tried different things, some stick and some don’t. I have learned to not force things and go where I am guided. When I started out, I would be so crushed if a client did not stick around. I would question if I could have done something better and it also was very stressful financially because that fear of it not working out was there. As I have progressed in my business, I have learned to trust more, in myself and my abilities and in that I am doing what I am meant to be doing. That in itself is powerful and gives me faith and confidence that my business will continue to grow.
When I started out, I had a lot of unsolicited advice and opinions on what I should and should not do. I had a lot of situations where people tried to take advantage of me, assuming I was a naieve woman who was new to this and would jump at any offer. It’s all stems from their own experiences, fears and insecurities. It is easy to sense that and know when to ignore and walk away.
I may be figuring this out as I go, but I consider myself business savvy and intelligent. I have learned to trust my instincts and judgement more and more. I also have learned that there is no playbook for how to be a trainer or how to run my business. It is not plug and play. What works for one may not work for another. Everyone has their own path and journey and the more we honor that and focus on ourselves, the more successful we are.
My brand centers around authenticity (I know that’s a big buzz word these days but it truly is relevant for me). It centers around focusing on feeling and being healthy not on the scale or pounds lost. When I train my clients, we strive for technique and advancing, progressively getting stronger. When we do that, pounds are lost, body composition changes but they are bi-products of having a more healthy, holistic mindset. A client of mine once told me that I’m not one of those tits-and-ass trainers. I’m about showcasing strength, integrity, authenticity and being real.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When I moved to LA 12 years ago, my visitor itinerary was so different. It was about bars and clubs and dining out.
These days, it is about enjoying nature and the beauty of California. I almost prefer being in nature and doing outdoor things than I do to getting dolled up for dinners out.
I have taken friends to the Baldwin Hills stairs for a killer workout with a rewarding view at the top. Hiking is another perfect way to workout while still having time with friends. Temescal Canyon, Solstice Canyon are a few I have done. I absolutely love taking visitors on the ferris wheel at the Santa Monica pier. It is one of the most iconic places in LA and the views of the beach and the city from up top are stunning.
I love the lamp posts at LACMA and the tar pits. Spending time on any beach in LA is a must do. I particularly love Playa Del Rey as that’s my town. Nothing beats the serene tranquility of the ocean (and even spotting dolphins).
Kayaking around the marina is so much fun to do. Biking down the path along the beach is a great way to get some exercise in while enjoying the view and cool breeze.
The Hollywood Bowl is my all time favorite venue for concerts.
There are also a lot of great wine tasting venues around Malibu that are lovely.
I have rarely eaten out over the last year due to the pandemic but some of my old favorite places are: The Alibi Room for their kogi tacos. I dare you to find someone who does not like them! Senor G’s in PDR has amazing fresh Mexican food. Sage Bistro while all vegan, has something for everyone. For something a little fancier, CrossRoads is a lovely spot to dine.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My clients deserve all the credit. I learn so much from them every day and they have helped me evolve my skills and business. The more I give, the more they give back and it’s a wonderful, lovely partnership.
Erica Mendel Muru Vellachamy