For our career series “How I Got My Job,” we’ll be talking to real people, working real jobs across a variety of industries. These people are pushing boundaries and have made their mark. They’ve found success on their own terms, and now we’re extracting their advice on how to carve out your own career path.
If getting stronger was on your list of goals for 2019, then BodyLove Inc. aka BOLO needs to be on your radar. Founded by former TV producer Caleigh Rykiss, it’s a safe space for loving your body and being yourself. It’s at BOLO where the trainers rally around you and push you to work your hardest and feel your best.
Specializing in boxing, BOLO even has a huge boxing ring right in the middle of the facility, not to mention a cafe, salon, and boutique. Classes at BOLO range from high intensity classes like BOLO Bootcamp, to more low intensity classes that take place in the hot room like Hot Pli-Yo-Lo which is a pilates focused class that’ll have you really feeling the burn.
BOLO is much more than just a place to work out because it’s not all about getting “fit” — it’s about building strength and feeling badass. Want to score a job like Caleigh’s? Keep reading to find out how she got her job!
Tell us about yourself, what do you do?
I’m the founder and CEO of BOLO – BodyLove Inc. which is a wellness-minded hustlers-haven. Think: gym, café, and blow-bar hybrid in the heart of downtown Toronto. I consider myself a boss, a creator, a boxer, fitness expert, and a fierce supporter of self-love.
What was the first job you had?
The first ‘real’ job I had was as a segment producer for eTalk. I got an internship straight out of university with very little knowledge about television but a great deal of passion for entertainment, fashion and lifestyle, AND the growing desire to create and communicate. Once I got the internship I just never left — I learned on the fly, worked hard, and got promoted quickly. To this day I’m one of the only producers from that show who never went to school for radio and television.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I was inspired by what I felt was a lack of support within the fitness and wellness industry for all our different needs. At the time, I had just quit my job at CTV to go freelance as a wellness writer/expert, I was taking personal training clients on the side and attending a lot of influencer events. My life was so chaotic running from place to place — trying to get a coffee, hop on wifi to finish some work, jump into a class to get a sweat in, and get myself cleaned up for my next meeting/event. I suddenly had this urge to create a space for people like me and make it easier to live more and compromise less. That’s how BOLO was born.
What’s your advice to people wanting to start their own business?
Have a solid business plan. Go with your gut. Don’t let ‘failures’ deter you — try instead to see them as learning opportunities. Just because others can’t see your vision doesn’t mean the vision isn’t real. Build a salary into your business budget.
Why did you fall in love with boxing?
OMG my love for boxing was instant. I took a class with some friends as a fun fitness challenge and was hooked (pardon the pun). I’d never felt so powerful and loved the mental stimulation side of it. I’ve never boxed out of a place of anger, stress, or frustration – to me it’s like a math equation or a dance — my mind is always working and now, 15 years later, I’m still learning something new every time I’m in the ring. It’s magic.
What’s a typical day for you?
It’s a mixed bag every day. I still teach a lot, I take meetings with potential brand partners, like-minded entrepreneurs and business advisors, and I make time to mingle with BOLO members and staff. I ALWAYS find time for a sweat sesh – usually in the mid-morning hours and I never book meetings before 10am. I basically have no social life these days and am in bed almost every night before 10pm – even on weekends!!!
What’s your favourite part about owning your own company?
The freedom to choose my schedule. The fulfillment of having absolutely no limits on what I can create, who I can work with, what services we can offer… literally there is no glass ceiling when you call the shots. Also — the exhilaration of knowing I’m building something tangible, making a difference in peoples lives, and offering employment and career opportunities for other amazing young professionals in the city.
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Don’t worry about fitting into any box or meeting someone else’s standards. Nurture your creativity and keep being you — you will someday learn you have your own special super powers.
What’s a surprising fact about yourself?
I used to sing – semi-professionally!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while starting your own business?
Not everyone has the best intentions so it’s important to be careful who you work with. I came into all this so trusting and really just looking for collaborators and people to join in on the business but that bit me in the butt a few times. Now I take my time and always FOLLOW my gut. It almost never leads me astray — as long as I’m listening.
What’s the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?
That you make a ton of dough. Truth is, business owners are always the very last to be paid. I have never worked harder or been paid LESS than I do now. But the hope is it will pay off in the end and the fulfillment is a currency I never thought that I’d prioritize over actual money – but it’s true.
Who are some of your role models?
All female entrepreneurs sticking to their guns – making it happen and committed to innovating, pushing boundaries, and being their damn selves.
What sets BOLO apart from other gyms?
It is so much more than a gym. It is a lifestyle facility. It is a community. It is a family. We believe in doing things for the body out of LOVE above all else. We have a very little focus on aesthetics and a very large focus on how movement makes you FEEL. If you love how you move and who you move with, you’ll never, ever get tired of it.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Caleigh Rykiss
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