I am Katri Siilahti, a 42-year-old sports-crazy woman, for whom holistic well-being and spreading the good vibes from exercise is one of her passions. I work as a part-time sports entrepreneur in addition to my day job. As an entrepreneur, I direct group exercise classes and help clients as a personal trainer. In my day job, as Fennia’s customer experience manager, I focus on developing the customer experience on our apps.
Combining the two jobs has had genuine benefits; in both jobs, I get to use my strengths from different perspectives and take advantage of the lessons from both. As a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, I get to work with clients in person, while as a client experience manager I get to plan better experiences on a wider scale for our clients. Although my entrepreneurship is part-time and more a hobby than a job, I still want to develop in entrepreneurship too: I attended a psychic coach training in the spring, which provided more tools and perspectives for both my entrepreneurship and my day job.
Even the nice things turn into stress if you do them too much.
Entrepreneurship has been a familiar career choice for me through my family – my mother was an entrepreneur and a shop owned in our area. My idea of entrepreneurship was certainly not overly romantic, but very realistic. When I turned thirty, I finally started to warm myself up with the idea of starting something of my own. After years of attending group exercise classes religiously, I got excited about the idea of leading them myself. I went through the year-long personal trainer training and after graduating in 2012, I set up my own business name. A few years later, I also trained as a group exercise instructor.
The most challenging part of entrepreneurship is managing one’s own time and resources. Even the nice things turn into stress if you do them too much. I was quite exhausted a few years ago, which was a hard but instructive school for me. In 2016, my Achilles tendon broke from my left leg. The first treatment went wrong and I had to go to the operating table. In the end, it took more than a year to rehabilitate, and during that time I did little to no with my company. The injury changed my goals for the better, though. The injury taught humility and that health and the ability to move are all that matter for me. I also learned to be more compassionate towards myself and others.
For those who want to be an entrepreneur or dream of entrepreneurship, I have only one tip: you don’t have to know how to do everything alone.
The best part of entrepreneurship is found in the freedom to choose what, for whom and when to do your work. To balance this freedom there is, of course, a lot of responsibility to yourself, your clients and the company itself. The best thing about working in the sports industry is seeing people’s enthusiasm. It’s lovely to see people find their new favourite sports or to see them winning themselves in my classes.
For those who want to be an entrepreneur or dream of entrepreneurship, I have only one tip: you don’t have to know how to do everything alone. It’s good to know how running a company and for example taxes works, but you don’t have to learn everything about them. Ask for help – I myself have shamelessly asked my friend for some solid accounting help. You can also find help and peer support online; for example, the Naisyrittäjät group on Facebook has given me support, tangible help and tips on all-things-entrepreneurship.
The pandemic stopped my company’s operations (and income) for a long time, as it did for many others too. Personally, I was still in the privileged position that the stagnant business did not crash my finances. The pandemic again clearly showed how life can’t be controlled. It also showed the importance of creativity and developing new ideas. It’s so worth it to set some time and space aside to cultivate new ideas.