An exchange program in the United States led to a big decision for The Jungle Body creator Tara Franzinelli.
Up until then everything was mapped out. She had a job at professional services outfit PricewaterhouseCoopers. And before she quit to start her own boutique fitness company, Franzinelli was “100% focused” on chasing a career in finance or politics.
Today, with around 200 licencees paying to teach her hip-hop, cage-fighting and musical therapy inspired dance-exercise programs, the leap looks like it’s paying off.
In the United States there’s a lot of similar ideas. Here in Australia, not so much. After working in a gym while living in the US on exchange, Franzinelli said when she got back to Perth she identified the gap in the local market. And — despite a lot of eye-rolling — decided to do something about it.
“When I left PWC they thought I was stupid,” Franzinelli told Business Insider. “It was risky, but it’s paid off now.”
Here’s how the business works. Licensees pay Franzinelli to learn the program, and then to become official instructors. In return, The Jungle Body provides ongoing training as well as marketing support.
The course can be completed online, and licencees can even send a video — even if its just filmed on a smart phone — of routines they develop themselves, for the official Jungle Body stamp of approval.
It cost $350 to become accredited and then $30 a month for the license. While she declined to disclose revenue and profit figures, from humble beginnings there are now almost 200 licencees, and plans to develop a merchandise business, Franzinelli explained.
“Every cent we make goes back into the business,” which at the moment consists of Franzinelli and five contractors. “I’ve never had an investor or anything like that.”
Now, Jungle Body has reached a stage where it needs a leg-up. While it’s hard to find an investment partner who understands the business, Franzinelli said she is hoping for financial backing to take the company to the next stage.
“That’s the stage we’re at now. I have been hoping to have private investors on board. It’s a unique product though, people don’t always understand that.
“We are struggling to find a suitable investor.”
To be an entrepreneur has become romanticised of late. Mark Zuckerberg and his movie, the legendary stories of tech mega-companies born in basements, and the generation of start-ups now nipping at their heels have made sure of that.
And while this is to be applauded, Franzinelli offers some good advice. “You don’t want to leave a secure job unless you know that you have a viable business. And do it as soon as possible before you have a family.
“I see this as Chapter One. I have so many other ideas.”
Here’s a video:
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