We had the good fortune of connecting with Laurel Roach and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laurel, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think the ability to step out into the unknown and take risks is an essential part of a fulfilling life. Too many people live their lives feeling stuck and unsatisfied (with their job, finances, bodies, etc) but are unwilling or afraid to take a risk in order to achieve what they desire or change their situation.
Before I owned my business I had a career that loved, but that was incredibly stressful. I was passionate about the people – my team and customers, but not the industry itself. I took a huge risk in leaving that job — a great salary, benefits and guaranteed paycheck — to follow my real passion in the health and fitness industry.
Despite the dismal statistics about the failure of small businesses, I went for it. My husband and I invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into purchasing TriFit Wellness with no guarantee of success — just our belief that I would figure it out as I went. I won’t lie and say that it’s been easy, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been because I truly love my work and feel i’m making an impact.
A few years ago, I noticed a tremendous need for innovation in the corporate wellness space. Our country is in an obesity epidemic, and the current programs available on the market are generic and ineffective at improving employee health. I wanted to do something very different, so I’ve developed a highly customized, (and more expensive) service that actually helps improve employee health. I have made numerous mistakes along the way, but I believe we are on our way to doing something truly innovative.
People who change the world have three key things in my opinion – innovative ideas, passion and risk tolerance. You have to be willing to try and be willing to fail (learn) and try again.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Unless you were a high school or college athlete, joining a gym or started down the journey to be healthier is incredibly intimidating and scary. Most people didn’t learn how to lift weights in their youth, so as middle aged adults, they feel completely uncomfortable in the gym. Our studio specializes teaching the fundamentals of functional exercise and proper nutrition, with a focus on proper technical form — all in a very welcoming, non-intimidating environment. Our goal is to educate people so they feel competent and confident in how to exercise and eat well, and they stay with us because of our focus on building strong relationships and a fun and close knit community.
The other division of TriFit is our corporate wellness programs designed for companies with 50-200 employees. This side of the business was developed after I did a lot of research and found that just about ALL of the wellness programs were failing miserably in helping anyone get healthier. The programs are generic, cheap and gimmicky, with an average of 10% participation and no proven results.
I have refined our wellness program over the past two years to fill in all the gaps that I found — it is highly customized, high touch and gives employees all of the resources and support they need to get healthier. The program includes a dedicated health coach for the company, virtual personal training classes, an app with online training programs, and monthly results reporting so the company can see the progress and results of the program. It is truly revolutionary and there is nothing like it on the market.
I’ve faced a number of challenges over the years — but by far the most difficult was navigating COVID-19. My studio was forced to close twice, we lost 60% of our revenue over the course of 2020, and I didn’t take a paycheck for 16 months. Thankfully, I don’t give up easily and used that time to focus on what I could control — improving the client experience. I surveyed my clients and asked what services they would want, and how we could better support them, then went to work at delivering on their needs. I invested in software, community partnerships and additional resources, and began tracking everything. Slowly we are rebuilding and I’m so excited about the future of TriFit.
What I want the world to know and understand is that truly nothing matters more than your health. I hope that companies reading this understand that they have the power to change the trajectory of healthcare in our country. Employee wellness programs are an investment in a companies greatest asset — their employees.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love being active, so assuming a friend was visiting in the nice time of the year in Arizona, I would probably take them to hike Camelback mountain and Pinnacle Peak Mountain, we would do a mountain bike up at Browns Ranch, and visit a couple of my favorite spa — Montelucia. I love Montelucia because you can spend the day there, do a workout in the morning, have a spa treatment and enjoy the moroccan themed facilities, then have a beautiful lunch by the spa pool with the view of Camelback Mountain.
I also love great restaurants and a nice ambiance, so I would take them to my favorite restaurants — Soul Cafe for Lemon Ricotta pancakes, True Food Kitchen for lunch, and Toca Madera or Steak 44 for dinner. The pool party at the W hotel and old town Scottsdale are fun for a wild night out (even though I don’t drink I love to dance!) A comedy club is fun too.
I haven’t personally been there, but I’ve heard great things about Civana Wellness Resort in Cavecreek – they have healthy food, meditation and a variety of fitness classes, which is all right up my alley!
Lastly, of course I would bring them to TriFit Wellness for a workout. 🙂
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There have been so many people who have helped me along the way. First and foremost, I’d like to recognize my husband – when I wasn’t happy in my corporate job, he encouraged me to take the leap into entrepreneurship, and has to listen to me talk about my business nonstop ever since!
I’ve participated in the Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator program and learned valuable business fundamentals, numerous mastermind groups, networking groups like BNI and business development. platforms like Accelerent. I have met so many amazing, brilliant people who have supported me and become my friends.
Lastly, I want to recognize my team at TriFit. Specifically Steven Cianfarano and Lizzie Ens. These two have been my biggest cheerleaders, the ones I rely on through thick and thin. They mean the world to me!
Instagram: @laurelroach / @trifitwellness
Yelp: TriFit Wellness
Youtube: TriFit Wellness