Moving Beyond Limits
Britt Coffey builds strength in the name of wellness and world travel.
Britt was a career hairstylist. Then a medical diagnosis led her to become a fitness coach, first and foremost, to herself.
Britt was diagnosed with autoimmune, a term used in her case to summarize chronic and largely misunderstood symptoms of Lyme disease. One symptom being a sensitivity to chemicals. To avoid chemicals, Britt would have to leave the hair industry entirely to rest and recover.
Even while standing all day in a salon, Britt would work out once or twice daily. During her recovery this solid fitness habit would become a pathway back to herself and forward to a new work-life.
“I was passionate about staying fit before, but I started self-treating with Chinese medicine and started to work out. Then I signed up for a body-building competition. I’m no bodybuilder but I am someone who knows you’ve got to get well the old-fashioned way—sweat it out.”
Following the Path
For Britt, building back her own strength was the beginning of her life’s work. With her physical and mental health regained but still no career certainty, she focused on a fresh goal: Travel.
“On a solo day-trip to DC I was sitting at a restaurant, headphones on, trying to be quiet. And a girl started talking to me. She’d recently traveled to Bali alone and said, ‘If you ever get the chance, do it.’ And I thought, ‘I do technically have a chance.’ and just started booking it.”
Britt became a certified personal trainer the day before she left. Her online community, which she’d grown by candidly sharing her recovery journey, came with her.
“When you’re on a life-changing trip, people want to be there with you in spirit. They want to understand it.”
On her Balinese sojourn is where Britt’s inner coach first started facing outward.
Slowly falling in love with Bali, Britt needed the means to stay. She wanted to build something to inspire others. So she launched a six-week virtual fitness challenge.
Her followers came through. And when the challenge ended, they asked for more.
“I built a website basically overnight. I started filming in gyms. There’s no air conditioning in Balinese gyms. So I was getting up at 4am, riding a scooter through rice fields to film super grainy videos on my iPhone.”
On a trip to Singapore around Valentine’s Day, 2020, Britt saw the first signs of the pandemic. But back in Bali, there was no such thing. “When I got back to Bali I thought, ok, I can do this. They’re very religious, nobody was prepared to isolate in the Balinese culture.” But by April, the US Embassy was encouraging Americans to get home. Britt was heartbroken.
After three days traveling back to quarantined LA, Britt realized that, for better or worse, her timing for launching an online fitness program was stellar.
Finding the Partnership
A Virginia native, Britt headed east where gyms were open and where creative friends stood ready to collaborate. She booked photo shoots. Got more tech-savvy. She shored up her growing credibility by building a more functional, better looking website.
Not long after, Britt met her future business partner, Kenny—on a date. A first of many.
Britt and Kenny share an abiding love for fitness and globetrotting. With Kenny exiting the military, they started traveling together, escaping to Mexico and Columbia. Along the way, their family grew—by one dachshund puppy, Breezy.
Kenny was witnessing Britt’s independent work life. Before long, Britt officially invited him to join the ride.
“I was headed for a total burnout. Then the universe was like, here is not only your partner, but also a business partner who will say things like, ‘Turn it off. Don’t worry about it. You’re going to be fine.’”
Gains in Perspective
Britt’s top advice for new solopreneurs? Hire a therapist.
“You have to be the most solid you’ve ever been. You don’t have a team, you only have yourself, so your relationship with yourself is more important than ever. How you’re doing mentally is tied to the success of the business.”
Because Britt creates custom programming and communicates closely with clients, boundaries can blur quickly. Over time Britt has gained a fresh perspective on the cost of weak boundaries. To all entrepreneurs, she urges that the very fears that drive boundary weakness are misplaced.
“You lose a lot when you build a business. You have to fight for your friendships, to stay close to your family. And the objective is always more free time, but nothing threatens your free time like the mental fatigue of burnout. Burnout is what you should be threatened by—not failure, or people not wanting your product.”
Britt and Kenny’s family continues to grow. There’s almost nowhere they’d rather be than at the dog beach with their (now) two dachshunds, Breezy and Benny.
Travel is still a high priority and Oaxaca remains a favorite destination. If you follow Britt on Instagram you can journey alongside the whole fam, but don’t get too caught up in the magic. Britt on what social doesn’t show:
“Remember when you’re watching other people’s process that you’re seeing a highlight reel. You can’t just be ready for a highlight reel. You have to be ready for everything that goes on behind the scenes. Being good at your craft is one thing. Being good at business is another. You have to think of yourself as starting over at something brand new. We don’t talk about that enough—that we’re not all business owners right out of the gate. We can become them. But you don’t often get to see people become them, because they do it privately.”
With that, a parting note from the coach for anyone curious to start their own thing:
“Being responsible for a business is wild. It’s the single hardest thing I’ve ever done and I don’t think I could’ve ever been prepared for it. I think you just have to put your name on something, then sweat it out, you know? In real time.”
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