How to build buzz for your business with 305 Fitness’s Sadie Kurzban

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Sadie Kurzban won $25,000 in a college contest for entrepreneurs by using a strategy that has continued to drive the growth of her boutique dance fitness chain. The millennial entrepreneur shares her secrets to building a business on a low budget, along with her personal tips on how she manages healthy meals on a budget with her relentless schedule.

In Sadie's money story you will learn:

  • How her business started from teaching aerobics classes in college

  • The on key thing she did to win a business pitch competition during college that gave her the cash start of her now thriving business

  • The story behind the name of her business

In Sadie’s money lesson you will learn:

  • The one thing she says not to worry about if you have a goal.

  • How she executes her customer-as-ambassador strategy

In Sadie's everyday money tip you will learn:

  • Her best tip to save time and money on food

  • Her time management strategy when it comes to planning out her week.

  • Her take on when to pay more for shortcuts like pre-chopped veggies.

In My Take you will learn:

  • None of us can do everything alone. Bring others along for the ride

  • The best benefits of Sadie’s hybrid approach to cooking at home.

Episode Links:

Check out Sadie's website -

305 Fitness

Follow Sadie!

 
Sadie Kurzban won $25,000 in a college contest for entrepreneurs by using a strategy that has continued to drive the growth of her boutique dance fitness chain. The millennial entrepreneur shares her secrets to building a business on a low budget, along with her personal tips on how she manages healthy meals on a budget with her relentless schedule. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode you’ll learn how Sadie built her business on a budget and how you can too. #Budget #Entrepreneur #Fitness

Sadie Kurzban won $25,000 in a college contest for entrepreneurs by using a strategy that has continued to drive the growth of her boutique dance fitness chain. The millennial entrepreneur shares her secrets to building a business on a low budget, along with her personal tips on how she manages healthy meals on a budget with her relentless schedule. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode you’ll learn how Sadie built her business on a budget and how you can too. #Budget #Entrepreneur #Fitness

 

Transcription

Sadie Kurzban:
I got hundreds of kids who would come take my class every week. I said. "I'm entering this pitch competition. If you love these fitness classes I've been teaching, please come and cheer me on". So I packed the room, I mean honestly with 300, 400 students that were screaming their heads off for me.

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to Financial Grownup with me, certified financial planner, Bobbi Rebell. Author of How To Be a Financial Grownup and you know what? Being a grownup is really hard, especially when it comes to money, but it's okay. We're going to get there together. I'm going to bring you one money story from a financial grownup. Well, listen and then my take on how you can make it your own. We got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hello Financial Grownup friends. How is that New Year fitness resolution going so far? Are you still hitting the gym? Yeah, it's tough, but I recently discovered something that is literally so much fun. I want to go all the time and it doesn't even feel like exercise. It is called 305 Fitness and it opened right down the street. From me, they're opening up a lot of new ones all over the place. But now in terms of my neighborhood, I am now walking by a pretty much every day, there is a crazy loud designed super colorful, kind of retro eighties with a touch of that Miami look totally stands out in the middle of New York City. Here's the thing, you can see through the windows, it is packed all the time. So I literally had to look up who is behind this and guess what guys, I got her on the show to tell you the story behind it. She is Sadie Kurzban. She is going to blow you away with her enthusiasm and drive. I laughed at this interview and I know you will too. Here is Sandy Kurzban.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey Sandy Kurzban, your Financial Grownup. Welcome to the podcast.

Sadie Kurzban:
Thank you so much for having me.

Bobbi Rebell:
I'm excited to talk to you. I am a new convert to your company 305 Fitness, which is a boutique fitness chain that's in a bunch of cities now. Tell us just briefly about it and never going to get to your money story.

Sadie Kurzban:
Okay. So we are a dance cardio workout with a live DJ and is so much fun. People of all different shapes and sizes. Most people who come to our class are women and most of them are younger, millennial, Gen Z. It's very youthful, very vibrant, but it really is super inclusive workout. No judgments. You don't need to be a dancer to do it. We have locations in New York, DC, Boston and a popup in LA and we are growing very quickly.

Bobbi Rebell:
I will say I'm a Gen X and I tried it out, I felt very welcome.

Sadie Kurzban:
Good.

Bobbi Rebell:
But for your money story, you're going to actually talk to us about how you got the funding to start this, because you were just in college.

Sadie Kurzban:
I was, yes. I started teaching aerobics classes really for fun in college because I was passionate about it. I had always loved group fitness and I thought, well let me take my hand at giving this a try. So I was teaching it for fun and when I was thinking about what I wanted to do for my career around graduation, that my senior year my friend turned to me and she was like, "Girl, like this is your passion, you need to do this" and I was like, "What? I'm not going to graduate college and go be a fitness instructor".

Bobbi Rebell:
You were at Brown University by the way.

Sadie Kurzban:
Yes, I graduated top of my class. Everyone around me was getting a job in consulting. They were going to medical school, going to law school and I was like, "I think I should go do something like that". So I was like, "How am I going to go?" I even, I remember I looked up in Brown alumni who's in fitness, even just as a category and there was like one alumni from the 70's like it's just not a very popular thing to do. So, I was like, "God, I'm not going to go. Yeah, I have bigger ambitions than being a trainer". So she said, "Why don't you just start a business?" I was like, "What?" I had never even thought about starting a business, truly. This was right before senior year.

Sadie Kurzban:
We started looking up in the course curriculum, entrepreneurship, accounting, really we were kind of scrambling and I ended up majoring in economics, which was really funny and unexpected. But I took every entrepreneurship related, business related, accounting related. It was my entire senior year I was filled with these courses, studying my tail off and I entered the big annual business plan pitch competition. So it's a 10 minute pitch. It's all students, almost all the teams were all male. A lot of the teams were graduate students who had invented like incredible things like medical devices, like really impressive businesses and here I was, I was like, "I'm going to start this dance cardio workout. It has a DJ. It's really fun. This is why I should win". It was really surprising at the end of the day that I won, but it really was the sign from the universe that I needed to move to New York and make this happen.

Bobbi Rebell:
Why do you think you won? What was the differentiator?

Sadie Kurzban:
Yeah, I'll tell you why I think I won was that it's held in the school auditorium and it's a pretty nerdy competition. A lot of business majors, a lot of masters students that I got hundreds of kids who would come take my class every week. I said, "I'm entering this pitch competition. If you love these fitness classes I've been teaching, please come and cheer me on". So I packed the room. I mean, honestly, with 300, 400 students that were screaming their heads off for me. So I think the judges, while they thought, well maybe, I don't know if they felt this was the most impressive business, but what they definitely saw was I had proven the concept and I had really gotten a handful of ... More than a handful of really passionate evangelists. So they knew I was onto something and getting people super passionate about this early on has been the biggest gift and the biggest way that we've grown so quickly, as you know with limited resources, getting customers to really evangelize us and tell their friends.

Bobbi Rebell:
Right, and then you got the $25,000 to get going.

Sadie Kurzban:
Yeah, it was enough to at least give me the confidence to move to New York and give myself nine months to try and make it happen.

Bobbi Rebell:
What is the lesson for our listeners?

Sadie Kurzban:
I think the biggest lesson there is, I didn't worry so much about all of the 'what if's' and the house and even moving to New York and all of these things and renting space. I just thought about how can I get every customer who walks in to really go back to their next dinner, to work the next day and talk about this like it's nobody's business, right? So with pretty limited resources, $25,000 in New York City is not a lot of money at all. I knew I didn't have a lot of room for error, but what I did have was customers in front of me every day and if I could get one person super jazzed about this, telling 10 people, that was free marketing for me. So I had to really deliver on the experience and most importantly stop worrying about all the 'what if's' and what could happen. Really think about that person in front of me and look at them as a real opportunity to keep just running through the doors that have been opened for me and breaking the glass ceiling.

Bobbi Rebell:
Your instructors are really brand ambassadors.

Sadie Kurzban:
They are, yes. We all live in Brea, 305 and we know how important that client in front of us is.

Bobbi Rebell:
All right, let's talk about your money tip because this is about health, wellness and financial wellness all wrapped up together.

Sadie Kurzban:
So yeah, I was thinking a little bit about this because they listened to your show and I have to admit I'm not great at saving. I'm a little bit better at just creating things and I tend to kind of close my eyes and drive at the same time when it comes to money. But the one way that I really do, I think successfully saved is again, in a city like New York where it's really tempting to do seamless every night or go to dinner, that can really add up big time, like $30, $40 every night. So instead what I do is, I cook and I eat a lot of homemade meals or I'll pack it to the office. But the best thing that I found is really, instead of, it would just be so daunting to get home late at night and cook for myself every night this [inaudible 00:07:48] meal.

Sadie Kurzban:
So what I do is I cook a whole bunch on Sundays, like a bunch, as much as I can. I refrigerate enough for three days and then everything left over I freeze. So by the time the weekend rolls around, unfolding and I'm cooking again. So it's enough what I make on Sunday to really carry me through the week and within that what I've found is another tip within that is, that if I put all this pressure on myself to make these gourmet meals and I'm chopping onions and all these things, I'm just not going to do it. I'm going to wake up on Sunday and I'm going to think no way, no way. So instead I'll splurge a bit on the pain in the butt stuff like chopping onions, chopping garlic. This stuff that I know is going to come up in every recipe, I'll get those precut so I'll spend the extra dollar at trader Joe's knowing that someone else's has cut or a machine has cut the onions for me and that way I know I can make the meal in five minutes instead of taking me 15 minutes to make everyone.

Bobbi Rebell:
Love it. That's so practical and it's also important because you aren't just sitting in an office, you actually go and teach these classes. So you are really running around to all of your different locations, busy throughout the week and you're only one person. Which brings me to the final thing that I want to ask you about, which is something that you're announcing, which you announced it in January. It's kicking off in February and that is basically, it's just a brilliant business strategy to expand your brand. Again, when you have limited resources but amazing brand ambassadors, this just makes sense. Can you tell us about the new licensing program that's going on?

Sadie Kurzban:
Oh my gosh, yes. I'm so happy you asked. I'm so excited about this. So we have been building brick and mortar studios and the demand has been truly incredible, Bobbi. Like we have a wait list every day, just really, really full classes and-

Bobbi Rebell:
Yeah, and by the way, the class that I went to, not only was there a wait list for that class, there was a wait list for the next class. They were just packed.

Sadie Kurzban:
I receive messages daily saying, "When can you bring this to Kansas City? when can you bring this to Paris?" All the time in different markets and I think about opening studios one at a time and how long that might take for us to get there. So we are now in the growth mode of certifying instructors. So it's a bit what you've seen other brands like Jazzercise or Zumba or Crossfit do where they find passionate people who are somewhat familiar with the brand and are eager to learn more and these dancers around the country would apply to become certified. We would vet them and audition them and everything and then if they are accepted into our training program, they pay a fee to basically become certified licensed to teach 305 back in their home towns. What's really cool about this business model is it obviously allows us as a company to expand without the capx to open one studio at a time.

Sadie Kurzban:
So it's great for us, but it's also a huge win for this entrepreneur that she might be, or he might be young or may not have that much access to money, but is really eager to sink their teeth into entrepreneurship. So having the training of being a 305 instructor and then having all of our resources on how to build a following, how to market, how to add classes, what class times, right? Really kind of this infrastructure that we've built here and being able to take that to their own market. So this dancer would return to Kansas City or to Orlando or to Detroit and teach these classes out of rented dance studios and charge their own fees. They could charge $10 a head, $20 a head. They're collecting the cash themselves. We empower them as entrepreneurs and I just love this because in a day and age where entrepreneurship can feel so intimidating, it can feel like you need so much money, like you have to live in San Francisco and have some kind of tech idea.

Sadie Kurzban:
This is really about all you need is a couple of hundred dollars to get started. We'll give you the support. If you're a talented dancer, we want to work with you and help you make your dreams happen and help you really create an extra source of income for yourself. So that's what certification is all about and we just launched it. We have our first cohort of people coming so they travel to our studios, which makes it really special. So they're traveling from all across the world. I was so impressed by these applications that came through. We had almost a thousand people who applied. The person coming to furthest is coming from Sydney, Australia. It's amazing.

Bobbi Rebell:
Wow.

Sadie Kurzban:
Yes. We have someone coming from Estonia. We have someone coming from Denmark, from Arizona, from San Diego, like really far and wide coming to our studios in New York and DC for a weekend training and then they're going to return home and teach these classes. So I just can't wait to see what these first 50 pioneers do for our brand. I'm really excited.

Bobbi Rebell:
Quick question before we wrap up. It was originally called Body Rocks, you renamed the company 305 Fitness. What is 305 Fitness? What is 305 mean?

Sadie Kurzban:
Oh my gosh, it's Miami's area code. It's where I'm from and it's all about this joy and warmth and confidence, body confidence. The music, the DJ, the nightclub, everything that reminds me of growing up in Miami. That's why I named it after where I'm from.

Bobbi Rebell:
I love that. All right, let's wrap it up with where people can find out more about you and 305 Fitness and all the things we just talked about-

Sadie Kurzban:
Absolutely.

Bobbi Rebell:
The licensing program and so on.

Sadie Kurzban:
Yes, so you can find me on Instagram @SadieKurzban and you can find 305 on Instagram @305Fitness, all one word or on Facebook and then definitely check out our website, 305Fitness.com where it has information on international franchising opportunities, instructor certification, just taking class. If you're interested, becoming an instructor for one of our studios, becoming a DJ. There's so many opportunities to get involved and we're constantly hiring and looking for new talent.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well, you have a lot of talent. There's also really fun content about you and your team on the website, so I encourage everyone to check it out. Thank you so much, Sadie.

Sadie Kurzban:
Thank you, Bobbi. That was a lot of fun.

Bobbi Rebell:
All right, my friends, I feel happier just listening to Sadie. It's such an amazing ride already and I have a good feeling things are just beginning for her. Here we go, Financial Grownup tip number one. Sadie won that first $25,000 in college by doing something no one else did. She literally brought her own cheering section of happy clients. They were there to cheer for her, but they were also there with her. None of us can do everything alone. Sadie doesn't, she brings others along for the ride. If you do that in your life with anything, not just business, but anything that matters to you, include others, make them stakeholders in your success and also you can hear it in her voice, it just made it so much fun.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup tip number two, I love Sadie's hybrid approach to cooking at home. You will not get a prize if you chop every single onion. It is more than okay to splurge and pay a little more to have some ingredients prepped for you so you're more likely to not only eat healthy but also not waste money ordering out and having food delivered. The key thing, and I'm still working on this myself, is the organizational element and the planning. Switching gears a little bit, did you guys know I have a new podcast? Financial Grownup, not going anywhere, don't worry, but I have joined forces with my dear friend Joe Saul-Sehy of Stacking Benjamins fame for our new podcast Money in the Morning. We break down the headlines and share many lessons that you can learn so that you can learn from what's happening in the world and you can relate it to what is happening in your life and why it matters to you.

Bobbi Rebell:
We'll leave a link to it in the show notes so you can search for or also I should say, you can search for Money in the Morning wherever you enjoy podcasts at. Let me know what you think and what you want to hear more on Financial Grownup on Instagram, I am @BobbiRebell one, on Twitter @BobbiRebell. You can also email hello@financialgrownup.com. Big thanks to 305 Fitness boss Sadie Kurzban for helping us all get one step closer to being financial grownups.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup with Bobbi Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stewart and is a BRK Media Production.