Q&A: Taking a leap of faith

Setting up your own business can be scary at the best of times, but how about changing your entire career path to fulfil your dreams? Sometimes taking a leap of faith is the only option…

Adrian Bell of Precision Fitness: To realise his dream of running a Pilates studio, Adrian made the decision to leave his position as a priest. Adrian heads up a Pilates and natural movement studio in Horton Park, Blagdon. Clients of all ages can visit the centre where they can enjoy both classes and 1:1 personal training sessions. 

Was it scary making such a big career change from your past career? How did you know you were making the right decision?

I would say my big career change was definitely daunting and a little scary. Change is always difficult for anyone, but when it includes your work, vocation and home you have to be fairly certain.

I knew it was the right decision to leave my life in the church, but there were no guarantees that I would make a go of my chosen career.

How I knew whether I was making the right decision isn’t easy to explain, but I knew in my head and in my stomach that it felt right. Once I had that feeling I made the change happen and there was a strange degree of clarity.

What inspired you to set up the business?

I had been teaching Pilates and functional training from health clubs and village halls in various locations and although it was rewarding, I felt I couldn’t progress my work to the next level.

The Pilates space at Blagdon enabled me to offer the full Pilates repertoire to clients. The common perception of Pilates is that it takes place on mats, but traditionally it included a variety of apparatus designed by Joseph Pilates, the founder of the method.

He worked his clients on apparatus to improve their mat technique and enable them to advance.

Did your past experience or career help in setting up the business?

I definitely think it did. I don’t regret my past it provided me with many opportunities and experiences that I could draw upon.

As a parish priest, there is plenty of responsibility and it is not dissimilar to running a business. Although a parish is part of the wider church, it has to run as an entity in its own right.

Bills have to be paid, plans have to be made and someone has to take full responsibility for decisions.

Did you get any help, support or advice along the way?

I did chat to a few people who had opened Pilates or fitness studios and I have to say that a number of existing clients were very supportive and continue to be so.

I have to say that I put business plans forward to a few banks when I was trying to borrow some money, but I can’t say they were particularly helpful.

Has running your own business improved your lifestyle?

Starting a new business is quite tough and the first couple of years were challenging. It involves long hours and making a few mistakes.

I feel more fulfilled and really relish the freedom and opportunities it now provides me.

What are the biggest benefits of running your own company?

Being able to bring my vision to reality is the biggest benefit.

I like the freedom to take the business forward and make my own decisions.

What is the hardest part of running your own business?

The long hours, responsibility and never being able to fully switch off.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to make a big career change?

I would definitely encourage people looking to make a big career change. Have a vision of what you want to achieve, research well and get as much advice as you can.

Next,believe in yourself, have a vision of where you want to be and then plan to realise that vision.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to expand the business further and reach more people. That means finding more instructors, offering more wellness and wellbeing services and in time opening other studios.