Hello and please welcome to a new Girl Boss blog. Today, I'd like to introduce you to my sister from another mister, who lives on the other side of the globe from me. Her name is also Ina, she runs a similar business to mine (active retreats), and the most bizarre thing is that she's also from the same country as me - Moldova. So we decided, we were just going to be calling each other sister from then onwards.
So please welcome Ina, the founder of a cool active holiday concept from Israel - Active Vacations Club. Learn how she followed her dreams and now travels for a living with her dreamy business.
Q - Dear Ina, please introduce yourself and your exciting business :)
Hi I’m Inna Waissenberg, the founder & owner of Active vacations club. I’m a sociologist & a personal trainer, a huge lover of traveling, photographing and sweating... both for the sun and from working out :))
Q - So explain more about what your fitness retreats are about?
It’s basically all about the great things in life: being in motion, surrounded with great company & traveling around the world. We take our guests all around the globe, to the best resorts, to the most beautiful islands & locations, while training them, traveling with them and enjoying vacay mode...
Every vacation plan includes all fitness principles (cardio, strength, mobility, flexibility, mind-body workouts and etc.), full board meals & drinks, and excursions according to the location.
Q - Take us through a day on your retreats.
We start off with a morning session and some coconut water (or coffee, depends on you), breakfast & a choice of water sports, beach volleyball or just relaxing by the pool with a cocktail. Some days we'll sail or go on an adventure around the island, seeking for animals or just a lovely beach/forest/village. We will have another evening workout right before dinner and then PARTYING ALL NIGHT. No. I’m kidding, we might go for a drink or have a night at the resort getting to know each other better...
Q - Where did it all begin for you? Where did the idea come from, to create such a cool concept?
Well I use to live in Malibu, California and travel with work. I went to places that I never believed I’ll go to, like Bora Bora. On my third visit there, I was kayaking all by myself when a couple of stingrays joined me, I was super excited and I wanted to share my excitement with people... that was the moment I realized that the dream for me will be to keep traveling the world but to have people with me who can join me for a workout & to share the experience.
Q - Was it challenging to set up and find customers to start with?
I must admit that I thought it will be much more difficult. It’s a new concept where I live, My company is the only one doing Fitness retreats (we do have yoga And/or surfing retreats, but it’s not the same at all). As a fitness trainer plenty of my trainees were really excited about going with me on a vacation so it took about 3 weeks to have the forest retreat fully booked...
I did have my moments of fear and insecurity about failing, but I didn't let the negative voices overcome my ambition!
Q - How do you market to future customers at the moment? Where do you find business? I know how hard it is to sell a retreat, it's definitely nothing like selling a pair of leggings or a bikini :)
Well, that is the most wanted job in Israel at the moment, to become a fitness trainer at Active vacations club, so we use the benefits of trainer to connect us to relevant paople and of course we benefit the trainers for that.
People are traveling a lot in Israel, they go somewhere at least twice a year. The fitness scene is getting bigger and bigger and more people understand that they should workout, and so I offer them a different experience: exciting, fun & challenging, that includes much more than just a vacation.
We have plenty of guests that travel with us for the second and third time already, they tell their friends and so on.
The next level is guests from all over the world, that is a challenge for me for 2018 .
Q - Where do you take your guests?
We travel so we can have #SUMMER ALL YEAR, so it changes depending on the time of year. We’ve been all over the Greek Islands, Canary islands, Zanzibar, and next is Costa Rica, Croatia, Maldives & the west coast.
Q - If I wanted to get started in the same sort of business, what advice would you give to me?
To pay attention to the small details, that what makes the difference!
Q - Knowing what you know now, would you go back and do it all over again? like a 1000 times -
Q - Was there any point where you just thought to yourself, this is way harder than I ever imagined, I'm so close to just giving up?
Every third day I tell myself its harder than I imagined, but I don't have thoughts about giving up... that is my dream! It’s not a regular business, my heart and soul is in it! I’m not a quitter, even if the price I'm paying for is really high.
Q - What other things do you do besides running retreats? Are you a personal trainer?
Yes I am. I have an Informative blog (www.fitoclock.com) and I’m a personal trainer as well as a group trainer. I actually do a lot more, I design, Im a video editor, a writer and as I mentioned earlier I’m a sociologist.
Q - How do you stay motivated when things don't go to plan, and perhaps you sell less than anticipated?
Well I put the adventure as the most important thing in this business, not the money not anything else, I do research after each vacation to see what went well and what didn’t. I keep motivation by reminding myself that I did it! I made my dream come true and I did it all by myself! Being successful is not a straight line, it has bumps and it's totally worth it.
Q - What's the most rewarding thing about your job?
Making people happy, fit,and making them enjoy life. I enjoy knowing that after active vacations people are getting more into sports and fitness, and keeping in touch with each other.
Q - Give us an example of a day in your life - what sort of rituals do you have?
I start my day with walking Looney, my (and my boyfriend’s) dog, the sweetest half labrador half pit bull !! I train 4-8 hours a day. in between I share posts, workouts, meals and etc on social media, some days I have meeting regarding Active vacations Club, with Brands, with our partners, with touristic companies. Noon time is always free so I’m getting my workout done, I meed friends for lunch or, if I’m lucky... I get to nap!
Q - You're a very very active person, how do you stay fit?
I try and keep active even outside of my workouts. I workout but for me It’s not enough, I walk & bike to keep active during the day as well.
Q - What sort of advice would you give someone in the early stages of running a business like yours?
TO STUDY THE MARKET WELL BEFORE YOU START!
Q - Let's say I'd like to work for myself one day, but I'm kind of lost for ideas. Where should I go looking?
Honestly? Inside. Find something that define you - and dig there! If you believe in the idea - everything else will come together.
Q - And finally what words of wisdom would you like to share from your experience in business this far?
There is this quote that defines me and Active Vacatiosn Club: WHEREVER YOU GO, GO WITH ALL YOUR HEART.
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Thank you Ina for taking the time to share your dreams and experience with us all. I hope you managed to take something valuable out of this blog post, and if you'd like to read similar stories, please go to our blog and find all the Girl Boss stories. There's something valuable in every single post. Enjoy :)
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