Charlie Francis is an absolute powerhouse.
She owns and runs a busy gym, manages a whole host of personal training clients around the world through her online coaching platform, Equation Training, AND hosts an annual fitness retreat, Equation Escapes, in Spain every October. Keeping on top of such a heavy workload takes drive, dedication and passion – luckily Charlie has shedloads of all three!
Hi Charlie, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Charlie, I’m 25 and live in Newquay with my boyfriend Nate and our dog, Starky.
I enjoy being amongst nature, and absolutely love where I live. I’ve been super passionate about sport and fitness my whole life. Firstly, I am founder of Equation Training, an online coaching platform from which we deliver training programmes and nutritional guidance to people all over the world, including clients across 10 different countries.
With my partner, I am also co-owner of a strength and conditioning gym near Perranporth, Cornwall. Last year, we also set up a new business venture, Equation Escapes, where we offer luxury fitness retreats in beautiful locations.
How do you manage to keep all the plates spinning?
I used to be terrible at delegating; but now I’m a little better at getting amazing people onboard to help me! I work from my laptop a lot, so I try to get up super early to get work done, which enables me to enjoy some free time in the afternoon.
I believe I am at my most productive before 9am, so I try to work with that as much as possible.
The first thing I do when I get up, is write a to-do list and brainstorm ideas for my day. This helps me keep on track and prioritise the things which need to be done.
How did it all start? Were you self-employed from the start, or did you work for someone else before launching your own business?
I qualified as a personal trainer at college, then went to work in Australia. I got a job working in a body building gym as a coach, which I absolutely loved.
I learnt so much in my first few years, both from experience and research. When I moved back to the UK, I met Nate and shortly after, we opened our gym.
Tell us about your education; did you study to get to where you are now, or was it purely experience in the field?
I studied sport science at college, and since then, I have completed lots of short courses in nutrition, weightlifting, and training. The fitness world has a huge amount of amazing information online, and social media has progressed in such a way that it’s perfect for gaining useful information from tons of awesome coaches.
From having nearly 8 years of experience in the industry, and through working with a diverse selection of clients, I have learnt a huge amount. I am very lucky to work alongside some very experienced coaches, who I still learn from every day.
What’s your favourite aspect of your businesses?
At the gym, my favourite part is definitely coaching the youth weightlifting.
We have recently worked with British Weightlifting, to become a talent academy for young people. I love coaching the kids and seeing them progress.
When it comes to Equation Escapes, running the retreats is probably my ultimate favourite thing – who wouldn’t love going on holiday, doing fitness and eating good food?
How do you innovate and adapt when faced with difficult situations?
The situation in which we have all found ourselves in, with regards to coronavirus, was definitely a challenge.
It is easy to get stressed and overwhelmed. However, having the ability to adapt quickly to any situation, while staying calm, is paramount to the success of any business.
We have been faced with many challenging situations in the past (just not quite to the current scale!) but having the ability to stay calm and make rational decisions, whilst staying positive, will always help.
What’s your number one rule for staying motivated when you’re snowed under with work?
I make sure I focus on one task at a time. I try to get the easy tasks done first, or prioritise the things which need to get completed earliest. Frequent coffee and snack breaks always help too!
What’s the best thing about running your own business? And what’s the hardest part?
To a degree, I get to pick my own working hours – which I love. I enjoy being my own boss and not having anyone tell me what to do!
What is hard, is that I often find it difficult to switch off. I love my businesses and my job, meaning that I find myself working a lot. Sometimes it can be a bit consuming.
However, I am really grateful that I feel so passionately about what I do.
Why do you do it? Do you ever feel like it would be easier to just work for someone else?
Absolutely not. My favourite thing about being my own boss, is that I have free rein to be creative and to brainstorm new ideas for my businesses.
There is no one telling me what I can and can’t do, which means the possibilities are endless!