We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea LaGrasse and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chelsea, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I had always wanted to be my own boss but the thought of that scared me. I also wanted to help people more than I was helping them in my current job at the YMCA. I didn’t feel like I could give my clients and the people that I coached the support they needed with the limitations at my job.

After working as the fitness director and personal trainer at my local YMCA for many years, it had always been a dream of mine to open my own gym. I honestly had no idea what that would look like and considered it to be something that would happen in the very distant future. Although I loved the members of the YMCA and what I did there, I started becoming unhappy with the work culture and it became very stressful.

The opportunity to open my own business completely feel into my lap, like most things in my life have. I had decided to leave the YMCA and I was going to open an all women’s gym with two investors that believed in me, or so I thought. In the end, that opportunity didn’t work and the partnership was not something I was willing to get myself involved in. I was scared and didn’t know what I was going to do.

It was that moment that I decided to do my own thing. I opened up ChelseaKyann Training LLC and started working one on one with clients remotely. Shortly after that, a women that I had previously worked with at the YMCA had a massage studio just around the corner from where I lived. She had just bought a bunch of dumbbells and heavy bags for the studio. I reached out to her and asked if she would be interested in letting me rent space there to run my business out of. It was perfect because not only am I a personal trainer but I’m also a professional MMA fighter and was able to include my training into my coaching and what I teach others. It was the best decision I ever made.

What should our readers know about your business?
I’m very proud of the business I’ve built and it’s evolved and grown since I started it 2 1/2 years ago. It has not always been easy and there’s been many times that I doubted myself, but I kept pushing and never let a mistake or hardship deter me. If something in my business didn’t work, I went back to the drawing board and tried to figure out a better way to do it. I always asked myself “How can I help people to the best of my abilites?”

I offer a lot of different services to my clients and customers and my main goal is help people be healthy, be strong, and be safe. I mostly work with clients one on one or in small groups and offer strength training, nutrition coaching, self defense, boxing, muay thai, and jiu jitsu. I also offer self defense seminars for various businesses and organizations and sell self defense products such as pepper spray and stun guns.

Self defense is important to me because I am a survivor of domestic abuse and as a professional fighter, I have the skills and a duty to teach others how to defend themselves. Violence is so prevalant in our world and I want everyone to have a few skills and tools they can use to keep them safe.

Asa business owner, I’ve learned that it’s important to have work life balance and it’s also important to keep investing in yourself. As a business owner but also as a coach, I’m always finding ways to learn more and keep expanding my knowledge. Work life balance is important so you don’t get burnt out and want to give up. You will definitely work more hours when you own a business versus being an employee. But the payoff is so much greater and I’m doing something that I love and gives me purpose.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in a smaller town in Ohio called Lancaster. There isn’t a ton of things to do here, but there are a few and there’s a lot of cool things close by. The #1 attraction in Lancaster is Mt. Pleasant or as the locals call it, “The Mountain”, which is more like a really big hill. It’s about a 10-15 minute climb and when you get to the top, you can see the whole city all the way to the capitol of Ohio, Columbus. There’s a a cute park and a nice pond at the foot of the mountain as well where many people enjoy the nice weather. Downtown Lancaster has really grown with several great restuarants like The Ale House and The Well. It’s a very historical part of the town but the city has done a good job with keeping it up to date.

Lancaster is about 30-40 minutes away from Hocking Hills which is a huge tourist attraction in Logan, Ohio. There a lot of caves, waterfalls, and hiking trails in this area plus canoeing, kayaking, camping, and ziplining. I like to go there every once and a while for a nice hike and to esacpe the noise of the city.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There have been so many supportive people, it’s difficult to name one. But one person that has really pushed me and helped me grow is my boyfriend, Troy Hicks. He is the one who encouraged me in the beginning and believed in me. He helps me make my self defense videos and lets me beat him up to demonstrate self defense moves on others. Troy supported me financially when my business was first starting and I wasn’t making much. He has been there for me since day 1 of my business and he definitely deserves recgonition for that!

Website: www.kyannselfdefense.com

Instagram: @chelseakyann

Facebook: ChelseaKyann

Youtube: Chelsea LaGrasse

Other: TikTok:@chelseakyann

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