Online fitness business expands globally

By Nick Unkovich -
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Northland health and fitness guru Carolyn Hansen with Powerteam International chief executive Bill Walsh at The Ultimate Wealth Camp workshop in Chicago. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Northland health and fitness guru Carolyn Hansen with Powerteam International chief executive Bill Walsh at The Ultimate Wealth Camp workshop in Chicago. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Carolyn Hansen has no plans to retire.

In her mid-60s, Ms Hansen has had a lifelong career in fitness and gym ownership in Whangarei starting with the jazzercise craze, lycra and headband days of the 1980s.

Nine years ago she started an online fitness business that has grown to more than 40 websites selling eBooks, audios, videos plus courses and programmes on topics from healthy eating and recipes to longevity and men's fitness.

There is also a membership website and a newsletter list of 350,000 subscribers.

Now - with two business partners and a team of web programers, graphic designers, copywriters, content writers and admin staff - the former competitive bodybuilder continues to expand into other online events such as summits and giveaways that can have hundreds of thousands of visitors to a single event.

Ms Hansen is also creating her first physical product which is being manufactured in China.

A cellphone app with animated exercise programmes to go with it is being made in India.

The product is a very portable water-filled sandbag for functional fitness and will be sold on Amazon.

For Ms Hansen, the icing on the cake is now being part of Powerteam International, an education company providing corporate and entrepreneurial training programmes, venture funding and business coaching around the world with more than 300 live events a year.

Powerteam is headed by chief executive Bill Walsh, considered America's number one small business expert.

The opportunity to join the team arose when Mr Walsh wanted to add a "health" aspect to his entrepreneur coaching, Ms Hansen said.

"After all a healthy business needs a healthy owner to be successful, especially in the highly competitive American culture," she said.

After training in the United States four years ago, Ms Hansen, who co-owns Anytime Fitness in Whangarei, now travels to the US four or five times a year to speak at live events.

She recently spoke at the Sage Summit in Chicago where Richard Branson was the keynote speaker.

"He is my idol," she said, "and I love it that no matter where he is in the world he exercises every morning at 5.30am.

"He claims this gives him another four hours of productive time each day."

Becoming a healthy entrepreneur (beyond simply not being sick) means greater productivity, more creativity, focus, energy, stamina and endurance, better problem solving and decision making along with less stress, Ms Hansen said.

"Other boosted elements are commitment, perseverance, grit, consistency, great attitude and solid work ethic. Adhering to an exercise programme requires these exact same attributes as success in business and influence whether a business owner is one (or not one) of the eight out of 10 that will fail within the first 18 months.

"The Americans are so success driven they happily pay $3000 to $5000 to sit for three days and listen to other successful people and learn all they can to become successful themselves. It's an inspiring experience just being there," Ms Hansen said.

Mr Walsh and Ms Hansen recently held a week-long "health/wealth" retreat in Queenstown.

"It was a wonderful opportunity to show a large group of Americans a corner of our beautiful country," Ms Hansen said.

Retirement is nowhere on the horizon with so many opportunities out there, Ms Hansen said.

"It's so cool that people now have options to begin and embark on second or third careers later in life, with the internet having made much of this possible.

"It sure is an exciting time to be living but you absolutely need robust health and a strong mind and body to be able to master the sometimes steep technological learning curves and the blistering pace the modern world moves at."

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