Ep. 7 - Sara Kooperman, JD - How Sara Broke the Glass Ceiling and Became One of the Top Female Entrepreneurs in the Fitness Industry

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Founder & CEO of SCW Fitness Education, Sara Kooperman is one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the fitness industry. In this interview, she talks about her start in law school teaching aerobics, to an infomercial request that led into her work selling fitness equipment on QVC for many years (including $1M in Total Gym sales in 30 minutes!), and then developing and sharing fitness education with her SCW MANIA® events around the USA for over 32 years. Sara has really paved the way for other female entrepreneurs as a result of her success, at times being the only woman in the room in an industry dominated by men.

Sara shares her greatest life lessons, her work with the Women in Fitness Association, and how her assertive and unstoppable attitude towards overcoming obstacles led her to the top of the fitness industry. She continues to inspire other entrepreneurs to follow in her footsteps.

In this episode, you’ll discover

  1. How her long-term passion for dance turned into her career in the fitness industry.
  2. How Sara transitioned from teaching dance to selling fitness equipment by infomercial for QVC (and how she sold over $1,000,000 worth of equipment in just 30 mins!)
  3. How a near on-air disaster selling the Total Gym on QVC actually turned out to be one of the biggest life lessons she learned in her career.  
  4. How admitting your mistakes is the biggest opportunity for growth and development as an entrepreneur and leader.
  5. Why it is important to get clear on your numbers for success no matter what level of business you’re at.
  6. How Sara grew from a small studio that was losing money to becoming the largest provider of continuing education conferences in the world.
  7. Sara’s best advice for female entrepreneurs to grow in an industry that has been dominated by men at the top
  8. Sara’s strategies to take fitness from a hobby to a real business that earns a professional income – from learning how to sell, to learning how to price your services, and much more… 

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Podcast Transcript

Sean Greeley: All right, hello and welcome. Sean Greeley back from an interview with Sara Kooperman. Sara, excited to have you here today. Sara, for those of you who don’t know, is a JD. She’s also the founder and CEO of SCW, many events. They’d been doing events around the U.S. for over 32 years now. They also have a huge online division with certification, CEC.
She’s in the National Fitness Hall of Fame. She’s left an incredible mark on the fitness industry in her years of service and the work she’s done. She’s also a very, very powerful female entrepreneur. Sara, I’m excited to have you here today. I know we’ve got a lot to talk about. During our prep for this interview we have like four shows already baked out, but I’m so excited you’ve got so much to share. So, welcome, great to have you here.

Sara Kooperman: Well, it was great to be here. Thank you so much for having me Sean.

Sean Greeley: Awesome. You and I have been around the fitness industry for a long time yet we’ve kind of really only connected recently. And as the more and more I continue to learn about your story and background history, it’s just fascinating. It’s a story that I think everybody needs to hear that wants to be an entrepreneur in the fitness industry.

Sara Kooperman: I think you just like the fact that I’m a skier.

Sean Greeley: Well, that too. We both have skiing in our background. We were talking about that as well. Tell us, let’s just start with the beginning. Tell us how you got into the fitness industry. I know you were at law school and you were a dancer and there’s a bit of an interesting background here. Tell us where it all began for you.

Sara Kooperman: Well, I think it actually started when I was really young. When I was two years old it was my first dance class and I just loved it. I think you find that place where you feel comfortable and at home and it’s the only time I felt kind of attractive and kind of whole. Yeah, you’re two years old, you’re this big. But I also was an athlete. Every single race, every high jump, every long jump, every hop skip and drop jump. 100 yard dash, 400, the relays.
I won everything in elementary school, in junior high school, everything. I had more trophies, more ribbons. I was an athlete. But I’m 60 years old now and you look back like 45 years ago, 50 years ago, where was a girl supposed to go if she was an athlete? You played field hockey, that’s what was available and those girls are damn scary. Okay, I’m fine. I’m not going into that field.
But I started dancing and I loved it. I kept dancing all the way through school and I was in high school and I was deciding do I want to be a dancer? Should I go to college? What should I do? But my foot grew wrong. I had a huge bunion and I was in toe shoes really young. And also, I was. Now I think I’m five foot eight and a half or five foot eight. But I was five foot nine and a half so I was very tall.
You can’t be a ballet dancer at five foot nine and a half. But I decided I got to get this foot operation and what am I going to do? I ended up getting a foot operation. There was no physical therapy back then. Again, 45 years ago, no physical therapy. I swam in my friend David’s pool and I’d rub my foot out in the hot tub just because it was achy and that’s physical therapy.
That’s what you pay a lot of money for nowadays and my foot healed and I ended up going to college and I ended up dancing in college. I loved it, but I knew that I was going to go to… I mean, I did try dancing with a dance company for a while. That was an interesting education because I thought this is what I want to do. Decided I’m going to school part time, fought with my mother, did what I wanted to do.
I got this solo and I’m performing and my head is just going, “This is stupid. I hate this. I hate staring at myself in the mirror. These people are done. They eat hard boiled eggs and grapefruit and I’m in ketoacidosis,” which I didn’t know what it was then, but I stink like ammonia. I smoked cigarettes because I was really cool. I had to say then whatever and I gave that up.
But the one thing that the dance troupe taught me was that you had to teach to kind of keep your position with the dance company. I started teaching and I loved it. That’s my home. That’s where my heart is. Started teaching so that when I went to law school because I knew I wanted to be a professional. And when I go to law school I started teaching what was a new thing called aerobics because I used to run. We all knew that from my childhood.
I started jogging and I loved to dance. I thought, oh, I could teach. This is easy. I started teaching it at law school and I was in the basement of the English Lit. department which was right next door to the law school and one of my students was a professor who got me into a beautiful hall and I started teaching there. I mean, with the stage and marbled floors and this fireplace. I put up little flyers at $3 a class, Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
I had over 50 people a class and I was making $450 a week at least cash, declaring all of it. I thought, I think something’s here. Something’s working here. I finished law school because you finish what you start and I started a studio. I opened a studio and my boyfriend at the time, who’s my husband now of 37 years, very supportive. “Do this. If you believe in this, just do this.”
We started Sara City Workout SCW. It used to be a studio. Lost all my money in the studio because I did everything wrong. But one day my friend Doug Graham came to visit and we did a training workshop with him and trained other instructors how to teach and I made more money in one day than I made in the whole month. I sold my business the very next week and went into the trainings. There is a dog.

Sean Greeley: We both have puppies at home so we welcome them into the show. Awesome. Okay, great. That’s how we started really into the fitness industry and SCW officially. But you have a couple of other stories on your way there.

Sara Kooperman: Sorry.

Sean Greeley: Oh no, you’re fine. Welcome to the show buster. Great to have you here.

Sara Kooperman: There he is.

Sean Greeley: Yeah, there he is. Hey buddy. All right. One of the interesting facts I learned about you as we were doing some of the show prep was you have sold over a million dollars worth of fitness equipment in 32 minutes on QVC, which is the old home shopping network. And you have a background really in infomercials, which has taught you a lot about marketing and branding and selling.
It’s just an incredible story. I know a lot of that began first with an infomercial request and kind of led into your work with QVC, which is not around today what it was, but was a huge channel for selling fitness equipment for many years and really the at-home fitness movement. Tell us about how you got into infomercials and QVC.

Sara Kooperman: Douglas Brooks who was a good friend, he and his wife Candace had presented at our conferences, but Douglas really stayed on presenting at the conferences and he actually led our personal training certification and somehow he got approached by this company he was doing an infomercial. Now, Douglas is from California, but he was coming to Chicago and he said, “I’m looking for people to be in this infomercial. Will you come and audition?”
I’m like, “No, you don’t want me. I’m 37 years old. I’ve had three kids. Ew, you don’t want me.” I actually did flyers and put them up at the health clubs that I was teaching at like the East Bank Club and the YMCA, all these like …, whatever. YMCA was not …, it was one of my favorite places in the universe to of teach, but East Bank was.
A bunch of instructors were going to go and I said, “Douglas, I’m not going.” And he’s said, “No, please just come meet me for lunch and see what you think. Bring your fitness wear.” And then he said to me, “They’re paying like $800 for the day.” And I’m like, “Okay, I’m there with three kids and I need to think about sending to college.” I have four kids now, they’re 28, 26, 24 and 22.
But at that point I only had three and they were very young. I went out there and when I was there I got on a piece of equipment. It was a glider, that Tony little glider, the guy who screams with the ponytail and I really loved it. I loved it because with an elliptical there were… I don’t even think there were ellipticals back then. I think it was just like the steer master thing, that bothered my knees.
I’m a skier, so I think I’d already had one knee surgery at that point. I was like, I love this glider because they don’t have to bend my knees. I can if I want to, but I don’t have to and it works your hips and your glutes and your quads. And then if I lean forward, I’m using my body to support myself. I’m using my back muscles, I’m using my abs. It’s like a plank. And then I’m pulling back I’m using my chest and abs … protecting of all of us right now.
But I look at that and I love that piece of equipment and they said, “Oh my God, she’s really good. She can talk and move at the same time. So thank you.” That’s what I got from law school. Three years, pain and suffering. Took the bar, passed the bar. I am or I was a licensed attorney for over, I don’t know, 20 years. But I don’t do my CLEs, my Continuing Legal Education anymore because I’m never going to practice.
But in doing that I could talk and move and they said give her a microphone. And then I was on the infomercial and then three, four or five months later I got a phone call saying, “There’s a different piece of equipment, would you mind going at QVC?” And they were like, “Again, it’s like $800, $900, $1000 whatever for the day. And I was like, “I am so there.” Nanny in place. I flew out.
Your on air for 12 minutes for what’s called an IP which is an introductory product. You get 12 minutes. Typical airings were between four minutes and eight minutes, typically eight minutes. You have to sell that equipment in that time period and get along with the host and that looked like a moron and move and talk at the same time and I loved it. And so I did that.
One of the biggest things I took away from that was people don’t want to know the details about the product like the handles or the way the leg pivots move or that it’s aluminum with this type of rubberized… I don’t know. What they want to know is what it’ll do for them. How it’ll make them feel and what it will do for them. I think that’s one of the biggest branding lessons I ever got from QVC. I did it for almost 12 years until I became the Lesbos agent for the Midwest territory. But I really enjoyed it and it teaches you how to speak.

Sean Greeley: I mean, they’re measuring every second, right? They’re measuring all the sales, all the units, the calls, the unit volume, the revenue volume. All that stuff is crazy analytics because every second on air has to sell. You absolutely did phenomenal. It’s why they kept having you back. I know you had a special one hour show, that’s where you sold your million dollars. And you’re telling me about that was like nothing goes well. You’re getting your hair stuck in the machine, you’re smiling the whole time. I mean, tell us about that experience.

Sara Kooperman: Well, I was selling the glider, which I loved, and then I had to rehab my knee at one point because again, I got that knee surgery. I think maybe it was my second knee surgery. No, I think it was still the first, my torn ACL, not the meniscus. I had rehabbed on a Total Gym, the therapeutic version because it started in physical therapy. So then somebody brought on air a small portable unit for the Total Gym.
I was like, “Oh my God.” In the dressing room I was on air probably midnight and then this was going to be on air maybe 12:30 or something and the same company, Fitness Quest, repped the glider and repped the Total Gym. They already had somebody on and it was Tom Campanaro. Actually the gentleman, he didn’t invent the Total Gym, he basically invented he and his wife Joy, how to bring it into the non-commercial, into the home atmosphere.
Tom was selling it on air and the models were all gone. I got on it in the dressing room just to do some exercises and they’re like, “Let her be the model.” They have a policy QVC, you can’t just be on hair. Your waiver is a liability and are you confusing the market with different products? I’m like, “It’s one o’clock. Everybody is sleeping or hopefully maybe having sex. I don’t know.”
They’re like, “Well, she works for the same company, we’ll let her do it.” And so they let me be the model on air and they again saw me on it and before I went on air they gave me a mic again with the microphone.

Sean Greeley: You actually move and talk.

Sara Kooperman: Move and talk, it’s my one gift which I’m sure my husband wishes I didn’t have. I sold the Total Gym. I started selling the Total Gym and I had one in my home and I could rehab my knee and I loved this thing. And like you said, I was on air and the beauty of live television is if you’re lying on air and I think I forgot to tie my hair back because you usually tie your hair back when you’re on air.
I forgot to tie my hair back and it got caught because the gym floats up and down. It grinds up and down and it got caught and I’m feeling little pieces, chunks of my hair being pulled. You just keeps smiling and you go on. I think that’s a great analogy to life. Chunks of hair are going to be pulled out and you keep smiling, you keep gliding, you keep going up and down.

Sean Greeley: Well said. I think that’s good advice for every entrepreneur always, just smile and keep going. Well said, thank you for, for sharing that. And then you got into Les Mills. Les Mills is the brand when it comes to group acts and they have phenomenal programs there. They are the market leader by far and today they own the rights. They own all the rights to the U.S. and they’re kind of focused on that themselves. But their early growth in the United States was a licensing model and licensed out territories of which you actually had one of the toughest territories, the Midwest.

Sara Kooperman: We were in the worst territory.

Sean Greeley: You were the worst territory and yet you made it a phenomenal one. Tell us about your journey with Les Mills.

Sara Kooperman: The funny thing is I still take body pump twice a week at the YMCA where I’m a member and I love it. The teachers kind of like don’t know who I am. Do you know what I mean? They do notice that my outfits match. I don’t look like your typical YMCA person because I’m an instructor. I get a discount wherever I go and I go buy active wear. But they still have the SCW barbells that we used to distribute.
But I became the Les Mills agent. I did a relaunch tour for Les Mills and and Phillip Mills was on the tour and I got to know him and he liked the way we ran the tour. He said, “Would you take on the Midwest territory?” The USA was divided. There was Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, there was Midwest, South Central, and then the California. Les Mills International keppt California and the rest of the territory they got agents for because they felt like they needed a deeper penetration.
They needed rather than one company overseeing everything, they thought… America’s enormous, so they divided it. Well, we ended up getting the 12 Midwest States, three time zones. Thank you so much. We had all the way from Ohio all the way up to North Dakota over to Nebraska and down to Kansas. Ee had East Coast, Midwest, and Mountain Time. I mean, it was enormous. We’re trying to explain our situation to a country that is smaller than Indiana. It’s like, oh my gosh.
We’ve got one major city which is Chicago, which is very Midwestern. Obviously I live in … which is a suburb of Chicago. We had the fewest number of licensees and the Midwest is called the rust belt when it comes to business because we eat cheese and we got to look you in the eye and that’s the way we are in the Midwest. It was a really rough start.

Sean Greeley: It’s a gritty territory. You got to hustle.

Sara Kooperman: But you can’t hustle. You got to be honest. You got to shoot from the hip. Oh my goodness, I did group fitness management seminars. I did 42 a year. I would go Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, down to Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota. I went everywhere to meet the group that this managers and the club owners and the directors and the instructors and that’s the way we grew the territory.
It was quite a challenge and we did that for a decade. We took our territory from about, we had 140 clubs to begin with but really were 120 because we had to cancel 20 off the bat. They never paid. We built it up to 680 clubs when we sold the agency back to Les Mills international. I think about 580 of those clubs were active. We went from several hundred instructors, I think was like 400 instructors, up to 3,500 instructors in the Midwest.
Les mills was smart. They had their agencies help see the territory and they got accustomed to America and develop their systems and develop their leaders and then they bought the territories back. Financially it was a great decision for them. Financially it was a great decision for us. We loved working with them. They’d been sponsoring manias for the past five years so it’s been a win/win all the way around.
But it was quite a learning experience going into a company that at that point I think now they’re in about a hundred countries, but then they were in about 80 countries and they were 48 agencies and I was the only female agent worldwide. It had its ups and downs and it was quite the education. It was great for me.

Sean Greeley: I know you do a lot of talks on being a female entrepreneur and being in a lot of rooms where you’re the only woman in the room and it’s all guys. Talk about that. Talk about what that experience is like and how you’ve navigated these upper echelons of management and leadership with companies that have been male driven for so long.

Sara Kooperman: I’ll give you a little example. A really good friend of mine, Len Kravitz, and I know he won’t mind if I do. Well, he may mind. No, he won’t mind. He’s Len, he’s like the friend. He stayed in our guest room. When he got into the national fitness thing, he’s an awesome dude. He presents for us and he’s doing a keynote presentation in Boston, Mania for us. He’s done keynotes for us all over the country.
He’s just an amazing educator, a PhD and a wonderful fitness leader. Anyway, enough about Len because here I am. I think I was in I was in Australia and we at that point had seven conventions. I was at the FILEX convention. They had one event, we had seven. I was also standing there with another gentleman from the UK who had one conference. Len walks up and the three of us are talking, the UK dude, the Australia guy and me.
Len goes right up right in there and says this is amazing. I’m standing here with the two greatest convention leaders. He didn’t mean me. And I’m like, I run seven. Even if one of our shows was not as big, but Dallas is definitely as big as let’s say FILEX and… What was the other events name in the UK? It’s no longer. Dallas is big, but we ran seven. I looked at Len and I went, “Excuse me.”
And he went, “Oh my gosh, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I thought, that’s what it’s like. I also used to go into like the Les Mills meeting and my first meeting I ever went to I wore these stupid little khaki capris. Again, I’m wearing a little strappy top here and I probably should be wearing a suit. But I walked in and people said, “Oh, are you a trainer?” I’m like, “No, I work with the Midwest agency.” You’re kind of humble, whatever.
“Well, what do you do? Are you a trainer with them? Do you manage the instructors?” Am like, no, I work in the agency. And I finally said, I run the agency. And then finally I just said, I own the agency. I have a uterus and I own the agency. I thought I will never go into one of those meetings again wearing anything less than a suit, than a dress. You know what? You got to dress the part and I’m sitting here in the wrong outfit today. But it is a holiday weekend.

Sean Greeley: It is. We’re both kind of in our casual wear.

Sara Kooperman: I know, and you’re just as psycho as me Sean. We’re entrepreneurs, we work. There is no such thing as a holiday or vacation. But that was a good education for me. That was a real learning for if you want to play with the big boys, you dress for the part you want. You don’t dress for the part you have. Even if you don’t think you belong in that room, you get your butt into that room and you pretend.

Sean Greeley: I think you own it. You got to verbally declare who you are and your position. Don’t be shy and don’t avoid it. I think you need to be confident in declaring who you are and why you deserve to be there.

Sara Kooperman: It’s a real challenge because if you own things and you are assertive in what you’re doing and where you’re going, for a woman that’s pretty unfeminine and it’s a real balance there. I’ve had meetings with the hotel where my wonderful registration manager, Claudia, was in the room. He runs our registrations and I run the company. And still, the hotel sales director is not looking at me, he’s just talking to somebody else.
It’s difficult because if you want to get ahead to some extent you have to play that game. But how much are you giving in when you play the game? It’s a delicate balance and I think for myself I use a lot of humor to help get me through some situations. I realized that at some point I may offend people because I am strong in the quality we expect, the quality we provide people. I can be tough with my staff as well. But we’re successful and it’s a balance.

Sean Greeley: Well, I think that applies to every entrepreneur male or female. We’ve got to find that balance working with others and our team and outside the company and other vendors and partners and customers and clients and so on. But I’d love to maybe just hone in a little bit on that right now especially for the female entrepreneurs who are growing their confidence to declare.
I think a lot of times a lot of men, and it’s changing today and certainly in the last few decades. You broke the glass ceiling and you continue to do so in the work you’ve done that has now paved the way for others. But what advice would you give to female entrepreneurs who are really growing in their mindset, their confidence to go do things that they’re inspired to do?

Sara Kooperman: There’s a couple things. One thing is be authentic. Be who you are. I’m not saying putting on a costume when I just said dress for the job you want, not just for the job you have. But be authentic with who you are and how you want to proceed. Admit your mistakes. I do that a lot with my team because if I don’t admit my mistakes, then they don’t admit their mistakes and move on.
One of the biggest things we did was every time we did a project and every time we do a conference as well, afterwards we do what’s called learnings which means basically, it’s kind of embarrassing, but we point out our own mistakes and the mistakes of others. When you’re building a team, you want them to help each other. You want them to support each other and frankly you want them to hide stuff from you, get it all done so you don’t have to worry about it as the CEO.
But you also want them to help each other and support each other and be able to reach out to move ahead quicker. But if they continue to hide things, then the weakest link is going to pull you down and pull you down and pull you down. We do what’s called learnings and when we first started it, nobody would share. Now it’s like continually through the event we’ve got to do this and why don’t we try this and why don’t we do this?
There’s no blame, it’s just how do we get better? I used to say when I started the Les Mills agency from the Midwest that I did absolutely everything wrong in the first year. And then looking back in retrospect, that armchair quarterback, I frankly think we did everything right. Meaning that we made every mistake we could possibly make, but we corrected it every step of the way.
You learned from it. I think my first thing is please embrace failure because you will fail. It’ll be the little digs that kind of hurt the most. The littleness where you say, “Oh, why didn’t I think of that? Oh, why didn’t I remember that? Why didn’t we just do this one thing?” You know what? Do the one thing, just do it three months later. Learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to make those mistakes.
And then the other thing that I find that, and I don’t know if it’s just women or it’s entrepreneurs in general, but because I end up working with a lot of younger females is get close to your numbers. When I was in undergrad, I didn’t take one business course. When I started my business, I didn’t know what an accounts payable, accounts receivable. I still have to go, okay, receipt means, oh, the money they owe us.
Payable means, oh, the money I’ve got to pay them. I went into my first meeting with Les Mills and we’re sitting and I’m taking my notes because I’m very techie or I think I’m techie and they’re like ROI. And I’m like, what the heck is ROI? I had to Google it to find out, what does ROI stand for? Because I didn’t even know. Actually no, there was no Google back then. I think I called my husband because at least he was a lawyer as well, but he has a masters in tax.
He was like, “Sara, it means return on investment.” Oh, the money you put in, what money you’re going to get out. I got to get 100% markup. He says yes. I was like, okay, got this. Go back into the meeting. But get close to your numbers. The first time I ever started one of our conferences, I didn’t know what an Excel chart was to save my life. I just did it through Word and I’d write up the numbers and on my calculator I would figure out where I was. Have it refiguring.
And even if the world told me you’re not good at math, you’re not good at technology. You’re a woman, you’re not good. It’s like, no, I’m okay. I’m good. I’m in with my numbers. I think even now when we run our women’s leadership summit at every single mania and we get between let’s say just 20 and 30 female entrepreneurs, directors, managers, CEOs, even personal trainers that are looking to manage their own business at every single mania which means we’re reaching about 80 to 100 women every year that are in this leadership position or want to be in a leadership position.
And over and over again I hear even my presenters talking and it’s all about leadership and building a team and making people feel like they belong. I sit there some times and I’m like I’m lucky my husband makes a fabulous living, but younger we had nothing. I married a pile of loans. We had nothing. I had kids to feed and a nanny to support and college to pay for and clothes and books. I’m not working to fulfill an inner need. I got people that rely on me.
I’ve got single moms that work for me, single dads that work for me. Every ethnicity, every socioeconomic level. If I don’t make money, I’ve got to let somebody go. I’ve got to cut everybody’s salary back. I’ve had to fire people throughout the years because of poor performance, but also because we couldn’t afford them. Nobody wants to do that. It’s not a sin to make a living. You’ve got a form of it though…. Sean, you better step. That’s why you’re working on a holiday weekend.
We have responsibilities and there is nothing wrong with owning up to making a profit. I think not only in the fitness industry, we’re in this caring, loving, supportive role. We’re not bankers. We’re not lawyers. We’re not computer scientists. We’re in this nurturing. I want you to feel we’re wellness, we’re health. It’s like hunting. You’re paying rent, you got salaries, you’ve got to get off your butt and see what you’re making and figure out how to make it work. I know you want to change the world and I know you want to cut your prices and help everyone.
But if you don’t help yourself, you can’t help others behind it. You got to put on that oxygen mask first before you can help those around you. That’s something that I do try to impart. I try to impart making sure you’re in tune with your bottom line and then also then making people accountable. I really believe in nightly reporting. I believe in weekly staff meetings. I believe in knowing yourself.
I can never lead a staff meeting because I will always be 10 minutes late. Thank God Mike Develo is our operations director and does an amazing job to lead our staff meetings. Be able to apologize, make your mistakes, move the heck on and try to get it behind you.

Sean Greeley: So much to say, I love it. Those are all great stories and lessons for everybody. I know we can go on and on about those, but I want to just pull in a couple of things on particularly the work you’re doing today. Tell us about what’s happening at SCW, tell us about the current events. I know you’ve got a several events that are all continuing to grow now and tell us more about that and how people can plug in.

Sara Kooperman: Well, we have eight conferences. Our smallest event is Washington D.C. It is a lovely Hyatt Regency by the Dulles airport. We have D.C. that’s in February, I think it’s like the 20th or 23rd, 25th around there. Then in March we’re always in San Francisco. May we’re in Orlando, Florida. Brand new hotel, love this hotel. We’re in Orlando. And then we are always in Atlanta in July. It’s one of our biggest shows.
We get like 1200 people. Then we’re in Dallas. We get about 1400 people in the August. September we’re in Philadelphia. Again, this is a smaller event, but it’s a beautiful venue right downtown Philadelphia. You can literally walk out of the hotel, you can virtually see the rocky steps. It’s very inspiring. We’re back in Chicago in October and then in early December we’re in Boston.
We do these eight conferences around the country and we have an online division. I mean, being a mom of four and also possibly being a mom and not living in one of these eight great states that we’re in, you can do our certifications online. We have video continuing education courses you can do online. And then if you can get yourself to a mania, you can get the live course free, which is awesome.
And you get CECs from the Aquatic Exercise Association, American Council on Exercise. AFAA, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. NASM, the National Association of Sports Medicine, ACSM, the American College of Sports Medicine. You can get your continuing education credits in your home. We always say educate you in your state, in your city, in your club and in your home. That’s our goal is to provide education.

Sean Greeley: I love it. Well, I know we’ve had our team out recently to the Dallas event which was just a few weeks ago and Sara’s campaigning me to come out to event. I look forward to doing that soon. We’re going to coordinate that in the month and year ahead. Look forward to that. And just as we wrap up here, I want to just finish with, I know you typically spend a lot of time with new fitness independence.
People who maybe fitness is a hobby and they’re considering going full time with fitness and as a career path and really starting their own business in fitness. That’s a growing segment. Obviously that’s what overlaps with our world around teaching business skills and systems and expertise and strategy to help people be successful. I’d love to hear kind of your best advice for those that are looking to take fitness from a hobby to a business that really earns income and supports their family as you’ve done.

Sara Kooperman: Well, we did partner with Club Industry. We love that company and we do a Club Industry Business Summit at every mania. We have three tracks going on which is we focus on social media and marketing. We focus on sales strategies. We focus on retention and leadership. We have 44 sessions going on at the conference. That’s where I want you to present Sean because your webinar was just amazing. People need the business strategies.
They need to figure out how to sell, how to do retention. How to deal with their numbers, how to price their services that they offer. I think that’s what you guys do. You do that and the NPE helping them learn because we are these amazing giving wellness health people and we love what we’re doing. We’re amazing at what we do. Open yourself up and ask for help. Where we need the help a lot is the business people.
I was fortunate enough to be able to pick up the phone and call my husband and say, “What the heck does ROI mean?” If I could leave you with anything is ask for help and don’t be offended if let’s say help is provided. I do a lot of work with the Women in Fitness Association. It’s a new organization. They’re only a year old. I’m sure I drive Morgan crazy. Lindsey’s the executive director, but Morgan does a lot of the stuff.
Every time an email goes out, I’d like…. When you click through blah blah blah and I give a lot of advice. She’s open and welcoming. Find mentors, find companies that can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for that help and embrace that support. That’s what I have to say this holiday weekend before I take my dog to the beach.

Sean Greeley: Awesome. Well, we’re going to do the same in this household as well. Listen, where do people go to check out? Where do you want to send them?

Sara Kooperman: Scwfit.com. Sara City Workout. S is in Sara, C is in city, W is in workout, fit.com. It’s got all the information on you can do /mania, you could do /club, you could do /certifications, you could do /CECs and you could find out all this stuff. But just go to that website. It’s a great landing page. You can reach out. You can find out even about our Water in Motion program which is a choreograph water exercise program. The world is getting older and we need environments that they can work in that are creative and safe and provide a service to our community. It’s a great program. Go to scwfit.com.

Sean Greeley: I love it. I’ll second that. Sara, not only do they run a phenomenal event company, but they’re a great media branding marketing company. Just getting on their list you’re going to learn a lot of lessons just the way they market you and the way they keep great information in front of you and share great value and the things they send out. I encourage everybody to go check it out. And Sara, this has been a pleasure as always. Have a great rest of your weekend and look forward to talking again soon.

Sara Kooperman: Thank you Sean. Thank you so much and good luck with the baby.

Sean Greeley: Thank you very much. For those listening, we have a four month old and we are coming out of the trenches of a no sleep land into getting a little bit more for recovering over here so looking forward to it. All right, thanks Sara. Have a great day.

Sara Kooperman: Take care. You too. Bye.

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