Behind the Business: Hannah Lewin
What exactly do you do for work?
I am a self employed personal trainer, working exclusively with women in central London.
When did you find the work you love?How did you get to where you are now? What was your journey?
I actually discovered it in my early 20's- and undertook some initial qualifications. I had a stable job in Marketing and PR that I enjoyed and was making good progress with, as well as a mortgage- so the time wasn't perhaps right for me at that time to strike out on my own whilst I had considerable financial responsibilities.
The birth of my son, combined with a few years of focusing on ensuring I had considerable savings, that was the real push I needed into taking the leap into self employed life. I had already switched careers and was already working at a gym as a PT, and whilst it wasn't an environment I loved it definitely gave me a good grounding into the industry. After a while, I felt I had developed enough as a trainer to branch out on my own so I started to build my client base externally until I felt secure enough to leave the gym completely. It certainly wasn't a quick process, but enabled me to ensure that I wasn't in a position where I would be under additional financial stress and could focus on building my business and brand.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were starting out?
Perhaps to have been a little less nervous about leaving the gym earlier- I definitely outgrew the environment quickly and perhaps wish I had left earlier so that I could have given myself longer to developed my business.
How do you stay feeling creative and inspired?
Its absolutely vital that I have a trainer myself, and that I attend other instructors classes. I learn so much from the other people in the industry! A good trainer can really inspire me to keep upping my game, and can also be so useful for ideas that I can bring into my own sessions. I also ensure I continue my own professional development by going to attend courses, as I find these inspire me to always want to me a more knowledgeable trainer. For me, passing your PT exams are similar to learning to drive in that- you learn to drive after you have past the exam!
What does a good work-life balance look like for you? And how do you maintain it?
A development area for me! I have a young son, so for 2019 I am being much stricter about days off, and have already blocked these out for the whole year so that I am able to maintain it. It was also about putting in some pretty tough, hard months when I first started my business so that I am now in a position where I don't have to say yes to every work opportunity. This takes discipline though- I enjoy what I do so it often doesn't feel like work and I can then wonder why I am so exhausted come sunday morning!
How does being a woman affect your work?
Its actually totally advantageous as being female has been the backbone to my business. I made the decision from the outset to work solely with women, and although many said I would regret it as I was potentially halving my prospective clients, I never have.
How do you stay motivated when work and life get tough?
Knowing that I have a day of working with incredible women who I adore is usually all the motivation I need. The feeling of having a positive impact on someone's day never gets old!
That said, it is difficult, tiring and stressful being a working mum. The hours can be long- I often feel guilty about being away which is why I ensure on my full days off I am away from my laptop and phone.
How do you ensure you practise self care?
I'm not really into baths or meditation etc- for me self care is being able to get away from my phone and laptop and focus on spending quality time with my son. I also run regularly- for me running is a way that I have found allows me to switch off for a while. I also love going out to eat- it is such a pleasure and a privilege to share great food with people close to you.
What does money mean to you?
To me, money means security. I think that women generally are sometimes shy about being money motivated- I make no bones about the fact that I have always been financially driven. My financial incentive is of course to provide the best life I can for my son but it is also so that I can avoid financial stress which of course can be hugely detrimental to your life- I have experienced periods of this in my own life and it really did teach me a huge lesson.
What one piece of money advice would you give to your younger self?
Boring as heck, but open a pension earlier than you did! Each month you start makes such a difference long term.
What’s next for you?
I hope to continue working with my client base (I have no space in my diary right now to expand it) and always to continue with writing various pieces as I seem to be unable to shake the copywriting skills I learnt during my time in Marketing and PR out of me.
I am also at the beginning of an pretty exciting new project surrounding truly inclusive active wear- watch this space!