Today we’d like to introduce you to Colleen Naus.
Colleen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It all started with one sentence, “I’d open a gym with you.” That is what I said to Jeremy Park on a trail run one day over 14 years ago. I admired Jeremy’s knowledge and tenacity in his skill, and I had a strong vision about merging our talents together to create a rare and exceptional blend of skills that wasn’t yet being offered in the industry.
Since that run, Jeremy and I began meeting once a week to brainstorm and write a business plan. We decided if we were continually on the same page we would move forward to the next week. If at any point we realized we were no longer on the same page, well, then we would go our separate ways. Apparently, it worked out just fine as we have been co-owners of pillarPERFORMANCE for over 13 years now. It is honestly a gift!
One of the things I’ve always loved about the first meeting Jeremy and I had was the initial brainstorming session. It was not filled with questions of “How much do we want to make?” or “How are we going to fund our business?” No, it was “How do we want our trainers to feel when they are working at our facility?” Reflecting back I now realize the “why” we wanted to open a private training facility was more important that the “what” we would make from it financially. We had both been committed, hard-working trainers in the industry.
Having been witness to a variety of situations from how we were treated, how other trainers/clients were treated, upkeep of space and overall runnings of facilities, we felt we had a good foundation to co-create an environment that was comfortable, fun, loyal, and respectful to all who shared our experience. After a year of weekly meetings comprised of sharing ideas and individual areas of expertise, we had finalized our business plan. It was incredible and very telling to walk through such a process with another person, as you gain so much insight into each other.
This is one of the reasons I believe Jeremy and I have had such a symbiotic business partnership. I always say if you are able to get through the process of writing a business plan together, which involves compromise, negotiation, and dual creation, then you will most likely get over and around many other obstacles that arise. Our business partnership is unique and strong. I still laugh when I look at our original drafted business plan ~ we couldn’t decide on a name for quite some time so we titled it the ‘Jerm-C’leen’ gym. (Lol!) However, the final typed, ring-bound business plan would ultimately result in pillarPERFORMANCE ~ a private training facility specializing in cross-conditioning of functional personal training and Pilates equipment.
It took another year to pin down the exact location and get the doors open. Being a brand new business it took some patience and perseverance. On the financial end, we tossed around a couple ideas of how to fund our business. I was blessed to have a brilliant, self-made, highly successful business friend who, along with guiding us on the financial aspects of the business plan, also highly encouraged us to not have any silent partners. Between Jeremy taking out equity on his home and me providing a full stream of equipment and clientele, together we funded pillarPERFORMANCE solely on our own.
This was an achievement! Yes, it was also a risk. When you follow your heart and desire though you find strength and drive that cannot come from any other place. We are filled with appreciation for the owner of our building who believed in us, and 13 years later still supports our facility. It is a beautiful space and location and we enjoy every day we get to be there working with our amazing clientele and most fabulous (pillar squad!) group of trainers. Jeremy and I are proud of what we have co-created and know we could not have come this far without those that have shown love and support for us at pillarPERFORMANCE. We have such a unique cohesive environment where everyone feels like part of the pillar family. You are all so very important ~ Thank you!!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
“Be strong because things will get better. It might be stormy now but it can’t rain forever.” ~unknown.
Maybe an unknown author but very well know to Jeremy and I.
It’s almost impossible to get through 13 years of business and not have any struggles. Many years ago when there was a streak of tough economic times Jeremy and I buckled down and did what we needed to do to keep the doors open. I remember taking pay-cuts for myself, getting rid of my cable tv, and borrowing on our business credit card to keep the wheels spinning. It was NEVER an option, or a thought for that matter, to close the doors of pillarPERFORMANCE. We also did not believe in taking hours from our trainers to pay bills, or decreasing our training costs to clients. We believed in what we did and knew if we cut our training rates we would also be putting the message out there that our services were no longer worth the amount.
Having committed clients and trainers, we mustered through those years to come out stronger! I remember a period of time where we were the only tenants in the building. All the others had closed, downsized, or moved to a smaller space. Again, we were blessed to remain and have such amazing support from our clientele, trainers, building owner, and community. The sun always shines after the storm!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about pillar performance – what should we know?
pillarPERFORMANCE is a private personal training and Pilates facility that specializes in the conditioning of both modalities. Our training team holds highly nationally recognized personal training and Pilates certifications. What we believe is our niche is the ability to train a client with functional weights and Pilates equipment all in one session. We like to call this “cross-conditioning”. The majority of our team hold dual certifications.
Being at pillar you get exposure to each modality; the functional strength training clients get a peak at the benefits of Pilates, and the Pilates clients get to witness what happens in the weight training side of the gym. Weight training and Pilates are so complimentary to each other.
The aspect that most sets us apart is the environment. The way we do something is just as important as what we are attempting to do. When you walk in you immediately get the feeling of a cohesive team environment. You feel like you are something greater than just an individual in a training facility. A high percent of our clientele have set schedules so they get to know each other.
It becomes a fun session often with lots of laughs and support. We feel honored to work with clients who have been through traumatic accidents, survived physical and emotional turmoil, prevailed cancer, and continue to better themselves regardless of what they are up against. Our clients have the flexibility and option to train with other trainers which is an excellent opportunity to experience different styles of training along with new cues and exercises.
The trainers are also like family to us. We all learn from each other and help each other out on the business end as well as personally. Communication is encouraged and we keep an open-door policy to allow feedback; positive, negative, indifferent. It is all relevant and important to growth as a whole. We are only as successful as our least empowered trainer.
We are very proud of the training facility we have created, where the individual needs of each client come first. Yet we can still provide a team-oriented environment that leads to a more complete level of fitness for the individual.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Off the top of my head, I feel being stead-fast in why we originally opened pillar while remaining open and adaptable to new ideas has allowed us to be continually successful. Always treating our training team and clientele with the utmost respect is at the top of the list too. We make a daily effort to connect with our clients and show them their importance to us. Providing a very clean, neat, and comfortable training environment has always been a characteristic of pillar.
The trainers laugh when they see me walk around checking that all the dumbbells in the rack are lined up properly, the stability balls and Bosus are put in their place, and the Pilates equipment is left neat and in order. I joke that they get the ‘wrath of Colleen’ if things are out of place. (more Lol!) Though I am ok with this “Mrs. Clean” role because we continually get compliments and gratitude from our clients that they appreciate the cleanliness. Being the ‘gym Mom’ is a tough role at times but I’m willing to do what it takes to stick to what we are all about! My trainers keep me honest and laughing!
And yes! Having such a great business partner plays a huge role in our success too!
- Come try a few sessions!! 2 for $109
- Address: 1010 S Coast Highway 101 #107
Encinitas, CA 92024
(entrance is behind building off 2nd St)
- Website: www.pillarinmotion.com
- Phone: 760-479-1944
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: pillarPERFORMANCE
- Facebook: pillarPERFORMANCE