Andrea Drake - Fitness & Wellness Superstar

Andrea Drake is a real dynamo. Not only is she an accomplished Physical Education secondary teacher who leads a department, she is the inspiration behind Melbourne Fitness Diaries (MFD). Ange runs this group to empower women to take control of their fitness, strength and wellbeing. She operates with passion and infectious enthusiasm, and genuine joie de vivre. I should know - she's my trainer and, my oh my, she's good! 

I admire Ange as a businesswoman and wanted to know more about what makes her tick and how words factor in to her work. I know you will enjoy getting to know Ange and MFD.

How important are the right words?

The right words are incredibly important when trying to engage, motivate and support members of my community to be the best versions of themselves.

Nutrition science can also be so complicated. My role is to make this information accessible, simple to understand and easy to follow for my clients. There is so much content on the internet, particularly in social media feeds, that promotes fitness and nutrition advice. Unfortunately not all of this content is credible, which can create confusion for the girls I work with.

When counselling clients through sticky points in their lives or writing health and lifestyle articles, I can’t go on faith alone. My words reflect proven systems and science because my clients’ success and happiness depends on me doing my job properly.

What gets you up in the morning?

Passion. I feel so blessed to have found a career that enables me to have such a positive impact on other people's lives. From a personal perspective, I see the start of each day as an opportunity to be challenged, to grow, learn and become the best version of myself.

What led you to your current career choice?

I have always been active. Growing up in country Victoria, I played a lot of sport and spent a lot of time outside. I have always had a passion for human movement, which led me to complete my Bachelor of Education, specialising in Physical Education.

After a few years in teaching, I realised that many of my friends and family were looking to me for fitness or health advice. Getting my certification in Fitness was the best decision I could have made. As soon as I began working in the fitness industry, I fell in love with exercise programming, creating and sharing nutritional plans, and working specifically with women.

What are the most effective ways you market your business?

Word of mouth and client referrals continue to be the best way to market myself. I am incredibly fortunate that my community of girls are so supportive of Melbourne Fitness Diaries and of me.

Facebook has revolutionised the marketing world. I use Facebook advertising to find girls outside my training community who have similar interests. I have been really successful in using this method to recruit girls into my 28-Day Intro Challenge.

How has the landscape of your industry changed since you began?

Technology, social media and the plethora of apps available has transformed the fitness industry over the last 5 years. You don't have to look very far to find a cheap online gym program that will be sent to your inbox faster than it takes to put your gym clothes on. While this could be seen to be putting fitness professionals out of business, nothing could be further from the truth.

People will always value the ability to connect with a professional and a community, with research suggesting this supports individuals reaching their health and fitness goals. Apps, such as MyFitnessPal, Fitbit and RunKeeper, help to increase client accountability to set behavioural goals.

I use technology every day to help me stay connected with my community, via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and blogging (Wordpress). I also use the online training system Trainerize for online clients and Hootsuite to help me schedule posts.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to other freelancers/small business owners?

Be patient. It takes time to develop systems and learn new things. It can become overwhelming when you look at individuals who have 'made it', have a great website, loads of followers and testimonials. It takes time to build a great brand. You are running your own race, so take your time, know what you are about and trust your gut instinct.

Why should people working in any industry prioritise their health and fitness? How does it help you to work smarter?

For a long time, I thought exercise was about helping you to 'look better'. As I have grown in the industry, my training style has changed based on what works for me and letting go of ego. You don't need to be a maniac and train every day to get results.

Training and eating well gives me clarity and a sense of calm. When my body feels good, so does my mind. In a world where we are all so busy, taking time out for yourself is the best form of self care you can commit to.

To learn more about MFD and Ange's approach to training, visit Melbourne Fitness Diaries.

To give yourself more time for fitness and wellness, consider outsourcing your copywriting!

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Book Review - Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur by Kate Toon

I first came along Kate Toon back in 2016 when I was still summoning up the courage to call myself a copywriter, despite already taking on clients. I was doing a lot of research to try and educate myself about the industry and current trends, when I discovered the gold nugget that is the ‘Hot Copy’ podcast. This podcast about all things copywriting is hosted by Kate and her partner-in-crime Belinda Weaver. I related instantly to these two because they are natural, no-frills presenters who speak honestly about the peaks and troughs of copywriting and freelance life.

Gradually over the months that followed, I continued to listen. I began to understand and relate to much of the content, and to take on board advice offered by the pair. I also started to tell people who asked what I did, I’m a copywriter. Eeep, scary! But, of course, nobody argued with me. Instead they wanted to know more about my work.

Flash forward to the middle of this year, with my business Instagram and website up and running, and my portfolio of work building. I even took the bold step of purchasing accounting software. No matter what I did though, I just didn’t quite feel like a small business owner, whatever that was supposed to feel or be like.

Enter Kate Toon again with her book Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur.

Kate has written a book about small business and freelance life that is unlike any other business book I’ve ever clapped my eyes on. She is brutally honest about what the process was like for her and how many ‘rules’ she broke along the way. Kate’s book is divided into chapters, each of which tackles a popular entrepreneurial myth. She responds to each in turn, blasting some out of the water and compromising where others are concerned. I found it so refreshing to hear about someone’s unconventional journey.

Kate’s style is wry and humorous at times, and she tells it likes she means it. Whilst I don’t relate to all aspects of her story - (Um, I don’t have three burgeoning business just yet! I also can’t work in my pyjamas because it just doesn't feel right) - I found it a real page-turner. Kate’s tone is natural, relatable, and definitely no-nonsense. One of the best pieces of advice she offers is to stop comparing yourself to other people and she has a great point. Since finishing the book, I’ve curbed my Insta-stalking, focusing on being me and doing my own thing, without worrying so much about what others think.

I would recommend this book to freelancers or small business owners, or even those with an inkling they might like to venture down this path. I finished the book feeling more positive and knowing there’s more than one way of achieving small business success.

To learn more about me and how I do business in my own way, click here.

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