This post is part of our “Startup Stories” series – where we feature select Designli clients with the goal of highlighting their products, their inspiration, and what has motivated them to tackle the world of building a digital startup.
Vickie Martini, founder of CitiFit, sparked the idea for her fitness training app while traveling and being unable to find a personal trainer while on the go. We chatted with Vickie to learn the story behind the idea. What she had to share was inspiring.
Tell me a bit about your company. Can you share your elevator pitch with us?
CitiFit is on-demand fitness training. It’s an app that people can use when they are traveling to find personal trainers that match their criteria in the area they’re traveling to and at a time that works with their schedule.
What’s your origin story? How did your company come to be?
I’ve been a contract personal trainer for 25+ years, and I managed trainers and owned a studio in Florida, so I’ve been part of the fitness industry for a long time.
At one point in my career, I took a sales job that involved a lot of travel. I wanted to work out while I was traveling, but I was having trouble finding trainers in the areas I was going.
I realized that other people who traveled had to have the same challenges.
What initially got you interested in fitness?
I have a background in business computer applications. My love has always been fitness, and I realized that I just didn’t love sitting behind a desk. I started in fitness as an aerobic instructor and then was introduced to strength training. From there, I got interested in wellness as a lifestyle.
What prompted you to start your company at the specific time that you did?
It came out of my own need.
I was driving a lot with my sales job, and I’d get to my destination stressed from traffic. My sales job was really high pressure, and I needed to be working out, so I would do sprints in the parking lot at 5:00 in the morning before my day started.
One day I was in my hotel room and just wasn’t motivated to go use the empty hotel gym. Using Google search was not an efficient way for me to find a training facility nor a trainer in a timely fashion.
I really missed working with a personal trainer, and I spent so much time looking online without success.
I realized that other people in jobs like mine were dealing with the same issue, and they were all out there, spread across the country, wishing they had easy access to a trainer.
I am a personal trainer that believes in having a personal trainer!
How has your initial idea changed since you first started your business?
I started by targeting the business traveler, but I’ve since come to understand that there’s a lot broader scope of people who want something like this.
We all are busy and we want convenience.
If we can use a tool to find something we need easily and quickly, we’re going to use it.
What’s the most rewarding thing about launching a company? And what’s the hardest?
The most rewarding is taking the idea and watching it come to fruition.
Also, it’s rewarding to see other people get excited about it, while knowing that it will help fitness professionals to grow their careers.
The challenge is that I get into my own head a lot and second-guess myself. I think that’s a common challenge for many entrepreneurs.
Who inspires you?
Jesus — I’m a Christian, and I’m inspired by His example. I’m also inspired by other women who are driven and want to make change. People who are seeking their purpose. And I’m inspired by challenges. That’s one thing I love about fitness, is helping people rise to meet challenges and reach their goals.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Have faith. Trust that you were brought here for a purpose. I’ve met so many people who have overcome a lot of adversity who have reminded me to have faith that it will work out as you keep going.
What has been your biggest mistake or challenge when starting a business and what insights did you gain from it?
You have to trust your intuition.
I’ve had a lot of people share opinions that just weren’t the direction I wanted to go.
People all have their own opinions, but at the end of the day you have to look at all the data and the inputs and go with your gut.
What advice would you offer to new startup founders or those who are in the early stages of starting a company?
Find Keith and Josh! Honestly, the number one thing is to build a team of people that you can trust. Not just your advisory team, but also those people who you’re hiring to work on different elements of the business.
Also, find your purpose. It has to be something that will get you up out of bed every morning. Know that you deserve to make your life meaningful.
Looking to follow Vickie on her journey? You can find her on her personal training site, Jungle Jane Fitness.
Ready to chat with the Designli team about bringing your own app idea to life? Contact us here.