Sept 6, 2017

I am not just a Pilates instructor;
I am an Entrepreneur

by Holly Furgason

Walk the streets of the San Francisco Financial District for five minutes and you’ll hear people drop startup terms right and left. You’ll hear them talk about building their business from the ground up, getting seed money, building their team, launching their product or service. This is what entrepreneurs do. And, guess what — this is what you do as Pilates instructors and studio owners.

When I started my business over a decade ago, I thought of myself as a Pilates instructor. Now, I’m a CEO and an entrepreneur. We’re entrepreneurs and it’s a powerful thing to realize and claim the title.

To run a studio in the hustle of Silicon Valley is a balancing act. It’s takes juggling clients and instructors, as well as marketing, HR, customer service, facility maintenance, and more. It’s managing risks, choosing one direction and going with it, and constant reinvention. And it means taking on great financial risks in order to do so.

Yes, owning a Pilates studio might be referred to as a “Cottage Business”, meaning it’s a nice business but not something massively scalable. But this does not mean you shouldn’t pursue your dream of doing something you love. And it certainly does not mean you won’t be successful!

To all those naysayers I’d like to ask: How many businesses can say they’ve survived and thrived for more than ten years (including the financial crisis of 2008-9) in a major market that’s highly competitive and expensive? I can, because Pilates is something people need and it’s what I love.

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Holly Furgason is the founder and CEO of Blue Sparrow Pilates, which is the STOTT PILATES® Teacher Training center for San Francisco, CA. Holly has been teaching Pilates for more than 17 years, is fully certified and a Lead Instructor Trainer for STOTT PILATES. A University of Michigan dance grad, she went on to earn her MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA.

Holly is a dedicated Pilates writer and teaching coach. She has been published by Pilates Style Magazine and blog, and co-authored chapters in The Survival Guide for Pilates Teachers (2004) and The Pilates Space (2005).

As a lifelong athlete and former dancer, Holly trains a diverse clientele, from general conditioning to performance training for dancers and professional athletes, and has extensive experience helping clients to rehabilitate injuries .