Transition Tuesday: Fashion Product Development to Health Coach

This is my second Transition Tuesday #ttmTransitionTuesday post. Last week, I wrote about my inspiration for starting this weekly column and about my own transition.

Today, I introduce you to Laura Nelson. She and I worked together at Gap Inc. where we worked on the Banana Republic Brand – she as a production manager and I as a merchandising creative strategist. She is a perfect example of a person who successfully transitioned from one completely different career to another. (Full disclosure, I am part of her online fitness group.) Here’s her #ttmTransitionTuesday:

Transition Tuesday: From Production Manager to Online Health & Fitness Coach


What was your previous career / title? I’ve worn many hats! Recruiting Coordinator at Gap Inc.; Executive Assistant, Production Manager (both at Banana Republic ), Pastry Chef & crazy fact…I majored in Geology!

What did your day-to-day look like in your previous career? When I worked in production, my day was primarily burdened by meetings. I got to work by 8:30am and rarely left before 7pm. During deadlines, I was at work until 10pm. I am a creative person (hence, my stint as a pastry chef) and I had cornered myself into a well-paying but highly uncreative job. As a production assistant, I was responsible for working with the designers to achieve their creative vision within a restricted budget. Truthfully, it was an email/spreadsheet heavy desk job. Once I had my daughter, continuing with this type of schedule was impossible and my husband and I decided that I would stay home and raise our daughter. Fast forward 18 months later, and our son joined us! I was officially a stay-at-home mom.

What is your career / title now? On-line health & fitness coach

What does your day-to-day look like now? Whatever I want it to look like, that is the beauty of it. I have the freedom of working from home! After I fix the kiddos their breakfast and pack lunches, I shuttle them to school and the day is my playground. Part of my “job” (I put it into parentheses because when you do something you are passionate about, it never truly feels like a job, it simply feels like an extension of me) is taking care of myself – BONUS, right??? So, when I return from school drop off, I head straight up to my home gym in my finished attic. I have a TV to which I stream my workouts, a plethora of free weights, yoga mats, a medicine ball, resistance bands, a weight bench…all of the equipment I have built up over two+ years of being a coach. I bang my 30-45 minute program out, enjoy my daily Shakeology and then sit down at my desk (also in my attic) to get to work.

…when you do something you are passionate about, it never truly feels like a job, it simply feels like an extension of me…

From that point on I am checking in on my current clients progress and troubleshooting any areas that they need help with, creating new connections and starting conversations, running my online health & wellness accountability groups on Facebook, posting to social media (Facebook & Instagram) as that is essentially my “storefront” and, signing up coaches to join my team and helping them build businesses of their own. Being a coach is two fold – it’s about helping others lead healthy lives and it is also about helping others be entrepreneurs. I like to think that I empower women in fitness and business. In addition to my business activities, I also read daily personal development, listen to podcasts – anything to motivate ME which I can, then, in turn share to motivate my clients and my coaches. On the weekends, of course family time reigns but I also take some time to focus on menu planning, targeted grocery shopping (meaning sticking to buying the ingredients specific to my menu plan) and meal prep. My clients (and my family) benefit greatly from the value I provide through my original meal plans and guided meal prep.

Why did you want to make the change? I had no intention of returning to the professional world in NYC after having my two children. My husband’s job requires travel and I needed to be the one to have the flexible schedule. I love being a mom but there was a part of me, a muscle in my brain that needed to be flexed and challenged. I started out in a health & fitness group, similar to the ones that I coach now, as a client and after the first few days, I was hooked.

I love being a mom but there was a part of me, a muscle in my brain that needed to be flexed and challenged.

I was surrounded by other busy mamas like myself – we were all exhausted from mom’ing and the community provided a much needed outlet for ME TIME. I checked in daily with my workout, my eating, my Shakeology and I felt like I had accomplished something other than getting thrown up on and changing diapers during the day. I quickly signed up as a coach so that I could help other women feel the way I was feeling – empowered! It was a business that I could work at nap time and then be fully there for my children when they were awake. The interaction with like-minded women with similar health & wellness goals gave me a focus outside of being a mother and wife.


What were the steps you took to make this change? I attended an online “sneak peek” into “what is coaching?” I had pretty much already made up my mind before attending the online event to sign up as a coach because I had experienced personal results from the programs and products. I knew if I shared my results with other mamas, I could help them find success as well!!!

How much did it cost you to make this change? Not just the dollar cost but the time cost? Honestly, this business had a $160 start up cost and the amazing part of this is that the cost went right back into investing in me. This paid for one fitness program, 30 days of Shakeology, waived the initial coach cost and got me plugged into a successful coaching community with a plethora of training materials and entrepreneurial support groups. Monthly, I pay a $15.95 fee to maintain my online coaching site.

How did you afford the time and monetary cost? The time that I invest in my business and in other women is time well spent. I am changing lives on a daily basis while staying steadfastly focused on my own health & wellness. I cannot thing of a better scenario! A job that keeps me healthy? Sign me up!

What was the impact on, support of, pushback from family and friends? Describe your experiences. And if you had pushback, how did you overcome that? My husband is VERY supportive and I think he could sense that I needed an outlet as a stay at home mom and wife. After signing up as a coach, I put the responsibility on me to help three clients in my first month. That got me on my way to covering my monthly business costs and making an income from the get go!

Any highlights and/or regrets to share? I am a Type A personality so when I set out to do something, especially something that is so entwined with my personal identity, I go all in and my perfectionist tendencies are sometimes revealed. However, this business, with its focus on personal development has helped me to deal with my perfectionism and understand my triggers. So not only am I physically stronger than I was over two years ago when I became a coach, I am mentally stronger and much more self aware. The silver lining to the story.

Click over here to get in contact with Laura and over here to follow her on Facebook and Instagram. And if you have any comments or questions, leave a comment below.