When I went to a Zumba class at the local rec center for the first time, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d been to a previous Zumba class at another gym and, while the class was somewhat fun, I just wasn’t crazy about the instructor. She’d prance around with all of these ridiculously fast salsa moves and give virtually no instruction…just diving into new song and dance after new song and dance…with more complicated moves each time. Not fun.
Fast forward to last Summer. I decided I would attempt this Zumba thing again. I walked into the class and there was Angel…a delightful gal whom I discovered was very welcoming and attentive to “newbies” like myself. After attending Angel’s Zumba class multiple times, I finally decided to introduce myself and found she was very easy to speak with. Given that I am in the business of engaging with people, I proposed a coffee chat. It was during our enjoyable coffee conversation that I really got to hear Angel’s story, understand her heart for serving others and hear how Zumba and her other fitness classes through The Fitness Angel are positively impacting lives.
I’m honored to have the pleasure of introducing Angel Faulk.
Angel, tell us how you discovered your passion for what you do.
I took dance lessons of all sorts as a child, was a cheerleader in my teens, and loved to do aerobics in college. I continued to work out while teaching elementary school children, even if it meant running on a treadmill (which I found boring unless I was able to watch a great movie.) After having my first child and becoming a stay at home mom, I wanted to go to classes at a gym, but it wasn’t in the budget-so I got a job at the front desk, greeting people and folding towels. The aerobics coordinator knew me from class (I took classes every day!) and asked why I was folding towels when I should be teaching. Those words sparked something inside of me and I got certified to teach Group Fitness classes in the next month! That was 15 years ago! I’ve taught all kinds of classes since then. Earned many new certifications. Zumba is currently my favorite class to teach because it teaches me how to use music and cultural dances from all over the world and I get to add my favorite praise songs to give God glory through dance. I started my own business as The Fitness Angel after surviving a brain tumor. I realized how short life is and how we need to go after our dreams!
What services or products do you offer?
Zumba and Zumba Toning classes, Personal Training (ladies only), Boot Camps, Praise Parties for church or Bible study groups, kid or teen fitness classes, birthday dance parties. I also speak about faith, fitness, inspiring others to stay FIT to PRAISE. I have recently added FIT to PRAISE t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, and fitness towels.
When did you launch your business and who is your target client?
I launched The Fitness Angel in January of 2012. My desire is to reach people of all ages, sizes, shapes who desire to be fit. According to my website, the majority of my followers are women ages 30-55.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I’m still working on this one! My husband and children are my first ministry. I try to spend my first moments of the day praying and reading the scriptures for wisdom for what God desires for me. I pray for my family first, then the precious ladies that God has blessed me to serve. My business is also my ministry. I try to do the paperwork while the children are in school. My husband keeps all the records in the computer for me and he encourages me when I feel like I’m not succeeding. I also include my family by sharing my music and new routines with them. We dance in the kitchen a lot! We all get excited when a new shipment of t-shirts arrive and sometimes they help me take things to the post office, make deposits at the bank, or pray for a lady in class who is having a hard time in life. They know Mamma is trying to share the love of God and the gift of health with others. I also spend time doing what they love- going to movies, going shopping, reading books together, playing basketball. And my husband lets me know when he wants to watch something on TV, even if it’s Amish Mafia! We have 2 dogs which keep us laughing and cuddling.
Do you have employees / an assistant / intern program? If so, how did you adjust to letting go of the work and entrusting someone else with it?
I have childcare and have to make sure my childcare is there. And I have mentored several new instructors. One in particular that I saw grow and become very talented also became my friend. I let her sub for me when I was out of town. It takes time to develop trust, but we can never do everything alone.
What has been your best method for generating new business?
Referrals from my clients! I haven’t spent any money on advertising. I Facebook, tweet, and send emails to my ladies from class, but the best way to get new clients is from my friends inviting their friends. Periodically I will have specials for my clients to bring a friend for FREE.
Did you encounter criticism from friends or family when you started your business? If so, how did you respond?
I did get some comments like, “it will be so hard, so time consuming, you won’t make any money, etc.” I just listened and said that they may be right, but I had to try having my own business. I knew I could always go back to working at a gym. I have always had great relationships with management from the different gyms where I have worked. But I knew there were people who didn’t want to go to a gym. They like the idea of fitness being fused with faith. They like having one instructor to know them by name, pray for them, encourage them in family life, nutrition, fitness, overall health in every area of life.
What aspect do you most enjoy about your business?
I love hearing women say that I’ve changed their lives. Most have lost weight and feel so much better, many say that coming to my class is the highlight of their day, some have received prayer and support while going through cancer treatments, some have had breakthroughs in their marriages, some needed a community of friends when just moving to Franklin, many wanted to have a fun fitness class that didn’t leave them feeling convicted over the music choices.
What is your favorite thing about being self-employed?
I can spend as much time with my clients as needed – no rush in/rush out. I can be creative with methods of inspiring and encouraging. I can pick the music and the workout I feel led to use. I can be as creative as I want!
If you could go back and give yourself one tip from day one of the business, what would it be?
Believe in yourself and be good to yourself. Your clients want you to get a break sometimes!
Are you involved with any community outreach / non-profit organizations? If so, tell us about it/them and why you got involved.
I love having ZUMBATHONS- 2-3 hour special classes bringing in different guest instructors while raising money for a good cause – I’ve helped anyone who has asked! Pediatric cancer when my friend’s daughter got cancer, Our Thrift Store (gives jobs to those with disabilites in community) because the owner goes to my church and needed bags of merchandise to sell, a baby shower when a friend from church was called to help a teenager expecting a baby, a Zumba friend was going through a divorce and needed help with her family struggling at Christmas, breast cancer when a friend’s neighbor had outrageous bills from the treatments, and my favorite- Brain Tumor Research. My surgeon who performed my 14 hour brain surgery came and cried when he watched me on stage leading hundreds of people in Zumba. He even bought a belly dance jingle skirt from me.
Where do you go for inspiration? (Person, website, location, book, etc…)
My Bible, my church, Beth Moore Bible studies, God Calling (my mom’s devotional), Jesus Calling. I also follow Chalene Johnson, founder of Turbo Kick and several other fitness experts on Facebook.
If you could ask any person, alive or dead, one question, who would you ask and what would you ask?
I would ask my Mamma about Heaven.
What has life taught you recently?
We never know it all and we must be open to what God is teaching us, even as we are teaching and serving others. We can learn something new from each person in our life.
How do you define success?
Doing what you KNOW God has called you to do and experiencing peace from walking in God’s will.
How can we connect with you?
To get involved in Angel’s ministry? Contact her at email@example.com or call 615-419-5026.
What an inspiration. Such an incredible picture of how, through faith, hope has been restored for Angel and how, through her business, she is restoring hope for others too. As I’m going through these interviews, I’m seeing incredible patterns. Taking the leap of faith. Believing you can do it. Ignoring the naysayers. Seeing success build upon success through word-of-mouth-referrals. We truly live in a unique era to leverage such powerful media and technology, not only for business purposes, but for engaging with and inspiring others around the globe. We are blessed.
Thanks again, Angel, for taking time to share your story with us. I wish you all a wonderful Friday and hope you have fun weekend plans! See you next week!