How Opening a Fitness Franchise Transformed This Woman’s Life
Maggie Linenberg opened a female-only kickboxing gym in Castle Rock earlier this year
Local entrepreneur Maggie Linenberg spent most of her adult life in and around Castle Rock, working in event planning, marketing and even running her own daycare at one point. But after a series of life challenges and battles that included divorce and anorexia, she found herself seeking to way to work for herself in a business that would inspire herself and others.
Linenberg found this, and maybe even more, through opening Colorado’s first 30 Minute HIT in Castle Rock. 30 Minute HIT is a franchise fitness company that features a women-only boxing and kickboxing circuit program.
Linenberg was initially introduced to 30 MInute HIT through her husband (she remarried on June, 3 2017) and was immediately drawn to the concept as it spoke to her personally. Following her divorce in 2010 to her first husband, Linenberg experienced “dark times,” which included isolation from her friends and a battle with anorexia. Ultimately, however, it would be fitness and a pair of supportive women (her sister and her friend) that would help her become healthy again. Linenberg also found, however, that there was a lack of gyms or fitness concepts that she could fit around her busy schedule, and that created a safe and empowering space for women.
For Linenberg, 30 Minute HIT brought all of these things together. “It actually sparked life back into me,” she says. “It’s fitness and it’s providing a supportive and empowering place for women.”
30 Minute HIT offers a fast-paced, circuit-based, 30-minute workout. It doesn’t offer class times, so clients can arrive whenever and jump into the circuit. The circuit includes 13 exercise stations, with women spending 2 minutes at each on a different high-intensity interval training exercise. The gym always has at least one trainer on the floor to walk women through each exercise.
While most of the stations are constantly changing, the circuit always ends on Bob, a boxing mannequin that helps women practice self-defense and boxing. 30 Minute HIT also has a kids area, where moms can bring their children to hang out while they work out.
Running this business has been a healing, empowering and growing experience for Linenberg.
“One of my favorite things is that the energy level is high all the time, and that's a lot more exciting than sitting behind a desk all day,” she says. “Plus, I am working with women who are working hard to make positive changes in their lives every day, and get to see results in a pretty short time frame which is very inspiring to be around.”
And now, Linenberg and her husband plan to open four more locations throughout the Denver metro area.
Owning her own business has not been without its challenges, with learning how to speak the social media lingo at the top of her list. But the biggest challenge, she says, has been just keeping up with the pace of the business. This includes building a community around gym, planning events, learning the exercises herself as well as maintaining operations. However, being a part of a franchise helped ease her into business ownership.
Franchising as an On-Ramp to Business Ownership
Starting a business can be an incredibly daunting task. Even in the age of the internet, with unlimited resources at your disposal, it can be difficult to build a network, operate the business and find success. For Linenberg, she found all of this by working with a franchise.
“Before this, I hadn’t really thought much of franchising, and if I did, it would have been more in a negative way,” Linenberg says. “But I have totally changed my mind. I’ve seen through 30 Minute HIIT that there’s a great support system.”
With franchising, she says, there is also more of a safety net. The franchise owners have already worked out the business model’s kinks and have learned the best way to operate, which means there’s less risk involved.
While Linenberg would never stop someone from opening their own business, she does see the value in starting by opening a franchise. “It really does help an entrepreneur if you've never opened your own business before,” she says. “It helps keep you stay on top of it, because they're continually coaching you, helping you and supporting you. Where if you have your own business, you're the only one you're talking to at night.”
For her and 30 Minute HIT, Linenberg has relationships with the other franchisee owners as well as the company’s owners to share successes and challenges, to get advice from, run ideas by and to ask questions about any area of the company.
“[Franchising is] a great path toward successful business ownership,” she says, “You have to find the right idea with the right franchisor — and there are a lot of other factors — but it's definitely worth looking into.”
And for anyone who feels like they’re in a rut or stuck in a job that isn’t fulfilling: “Start somewhere and do something” Linenberg says. “Start looking at businesses. What are the businesses you like to go to? Are you a brewery person? Are you a shopper? Do you love animals? Find where there's something that sparks life within you and start taking steps toward that.”
Even if you don’t end up leaving your job, starting a new company or working somewhere else, you may find new passion in a place to volunteer or spend your free time, she says.