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Name: Joanne Ruse
Business: YOGI Fitness Mat
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Industry: Healthcare, Wellness & Fitness
Reason for starting? As a mother of an infant, I was pressed for time in getting to my yoga class. Many times as I’m racing out the door, I couldn’t find my towel or wallet or water bottle or other item I needed for class. Then the idea of YOGI Fitness Mat came — what if there was yoga mat that had everything together with the mat! The YOGI Fitness Mat-You On the Go Instantly! Has removable carrying straps, mat towel, water bottle, key ring and wallet for your phone, money, ID, protein bar, etc. all in one place — your workout mat!
Related: Read about another Health & Wellness mompreneur here.
How do you define success? My definition of success is feeling that my time is my own. When I spend my day loving what I do, feeling happy and blessed for the life I have, then I feel successful. The feeling of success brings a sense of peace to my life, as I feel I am on the right path of living my life to the fullest.
Biggest success: My biggest success was getting started with creating my business. Each step I took included fighting through a personal obstacle of mine. Fear, doubt, worry and anxiety about what I was doing each had a placeholder in my mind. When it came to making even the smallest move towards my goal of becoming an entrepreneur, those feelings would arise. Eventually, step by step, I gained the strength and confidence to move past my fears and start the journey for launching my product. I am very blessed with many wonderful, strong and encouraging women who took each of those baby steps with me. With their love and support, I gained confidence in my in product and, most importantly, I gained confidence in myself and was able to become a successful entrepreneur.
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What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? I’ve had many challenges as I was starting up my business. I’ve made some “rookie mistakes” that thankfully weren’t too detrimental to my business. One of the top challenges was meeting with other business owners and knowing they sensed my “greenness.” This made me feel even more insecure! I left meetings knowing I didn’t get the best pricing that I could have gotten but feeling that I didn’t get “too ripped off,” which at the time was okay for me. Through trial and error of attending many different meetings, seminars and anything I could to get more familiar to the business world, I gained confidence and negotiation skills. Now, if I don’t feel I have gotten the best pricing, I will take my business elsewhere.
In my journey to launching YOGI Fitness Mat, I had some people who were close to me that didn’t share the same vision of my product and wanted me to stop pursuing it. In the beginning, I listened to them. By doing so, I lost a business opportunity. However, as my confidence was built and I listened more and more to those who supported me, I was able to revisit the opportunity and it worked out!
Who is your most important role model? My most important role model is my mother. She is the strongest woman I know. Her life was very hard and yet, somehow, she managed to come through the other side. Her father died when she was an infant, and her mother died on her ninth birthday. She lived with her grandparents on a small farm in Poland until she was 13. At that time, she was adopted by a distant aunt in Philadelphia. My mother came to this county not knowing how to read, write or speak English, and she knew it meant she would never see her grandparents, her only family, again. I can’t imagine the pain she must have felt and how very brave of her it was to start her new life in the United States of America. When I think of my mother and how much difficulty she experienced at such a young age, I think to myself, “I can do this!” Knowing my mother survived her hardships — which were truly hardships — then I can survive this journey! I love you mom! Thank you for leading the way!
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Edited by The Story Exchange