Jane quit banking six years ago and ventured into private business as a fitness, health and beauty entrepreneur, currently teaching thousands of people around the world through her free online fitness programme, throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period on Instagram @bodybyjane Live at 7.15 every morning for 40-60 minutes.
The dream for the business started as far back as her NYSC days in Okene, Kogi state. She recalls that she used to assemble fellow corpers into fitness squads and take them for morning runs as a way of encouraging them to share her passion for fitness.
Her state of the art facility, located in upscale Magodo GRA in Ikeja, has grown in the last six years to become a leading brand in the industry. As she proudly says, “When you enjoy what you do for a living, the challenge becomes a pleasure ride”.
Jane has a holistic approach to fitness, health and wellness: ‘The essence of fitness is all what you do to avoid needing to see a doctor…If you keep fit through regular exercise and you maintain a healthy diet, your chances of living a healthy life are improved greatly’.
There is a social service dimension to Jane’s commitment and work in health and fitness. She is concerned about prevalent health problems like obesity especially among women and busy executives.
Working with clients in her weight loss programmes gives her great satisfaction when she sees previously obese women and men lose weight and regain health, self-confidence and improved physical appearance. She says: “Once they see the gains, they never want to go back to the old life style.”
As an entrepreneur in the small to medium enterprise bracket, her outfit employs over 30 young Nigerians ranging from certified gym trainers to hair stylists, nail technicians, spa therapists and professional chefs.
She insists that the Nigerian work force can compete with their peers anywhere else if given the right incentives, work environment and necessary training.
She is quick to admit the challenges of entrepreneurship in the Nigerian business environment. For an industry that requires power supply 24/7, the energy cost can be a challenge.
“There is also the difficulty of capital support by the banking sector which is usually reluctant to extend support to new sectors.” She said.
Jane is able to sustain and expand her client base by insisting on best practices and international standards in an industry that prides itself in professionalism, hygiene and commitment to customer satisfaction.
On the effect of Covid-19 on her business, she says it has been both a challenge and an opportunity. With gyms and personal care facilities closed for over two months now, she has discovered the immense potentials of the digital world. Although she has been delivering her workout and diet counseling sessions online at no charge through the lockdown period, she sees the digital medium as a new frontier for businesses that does not require constant physical contact. She is now able to reach a wider constituency in the areas of fitness training and nutritional counseling.
“People can avoid traffic hassles and still meet their fitness goals through our online training classes while those in proximity can come and use the gym. Unfortunately, you cannot get a haircut, a pedicure or spa therapy through your smart phone” she stated.
For Jane, the joy of pursuing her passion into a thriving enterprise has been made possible by a supporting family life. Married with two boys, she says she has struck the right balance between work and family life.