Carla Gilfry is the owner of the Stiletto Gym™ and the creator of Polga™ (pole yoga) fitness systems and The Stiletto Mobile Program. Carla is a yoga and fitness professional who performs & teaches in the US. Producer and choreographer of Polga (pole yoga) fitness videos for commercial sale. RYT (registered yoga teacher) with training through Yogafit, as well as ACE and AFFA certified in Group Fitness Instruction. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a BA in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. Carla's mission is to inspire women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to embrace, find, or reawaken their Sexy Fit Side and to live their "Sexiest fittest" life.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology and am a Licensed Professional Counselor. Fitness has always been part of my life to feel good and keep in shape. In 2000, I decided to begin to teach fitness classes at my local YMCA as a “side gig” because it was fun, and the YMCA needed someone to teach the 6 am class. Soon after beginning my fitness journey, I found that I loved and excelled at it. I continued to work my corporate job as a therapist for a local hospital. I began to delve deeper into the fitness and yoga world and soon began to immerse myself in anything fitness and began to take all the fitness training and certifications I could get a hold of and could afford. I started business 13 years ago.
I have had a few life challenges along the way but never lost my way. I became a widow at a young age and began the journey of raising my young daughter alone. You never know what curve balls life will throw at you. I kept believing and living and God gifted me a new love in my life and last year I remarried to my current husband,
What inspired you to start your business?
I have always been an entrepreneur in my heart and soul. I love to inspire and help others feel better emotionally and physically. While on maternity leave after having my daughter, I decided to begin to explore options for opening up my own “wellness center”. I knew that there was a need for a center that helped women get fit, and feel fabulous. After losing my husband, I really understood the healing power of movement, dance, fitness, meditation, and yoga and it has become my life's work now to share with others.
Where is your business based?
Kansas City, Missouri.
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
I started exploring business options. I took business classes through the Kauffman Foundation and began to learn as much as I could. I wrote a business plan and got a SCORE mentor who helped guide me through the first years.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
Social media has been the best way of raising awareness as well as building my contact list and keeping in contact with my list through newsletters. I also love to appear on TV anytime I can.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
Understanding the importance of numbers, systems, and SEO.
How do you stay focused?
List, list, and more list. Having a plan and sticking to the plan. Understanding that from time to time my focus will be challenged and difficult.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
I try to find my own niche within my industry to set myself apart. For example, I created Polga (pole yoga) which is a specialty for my studio.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
Video Marketing—so much of my business is visual so showcasing classes, products, or testimonials through video has been huge.
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Be patient, understand that business like anything has its ups and downs. Be passionate about what you do. Do something you believe in and that you believe will help others.
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
Tony Robbins 25 Business Lessons by James Clark. This is a great book for any entrepreneurs. Gives great step-by-step procedures to achieving success. It teaches how to communicate, build a successful team, plan and organize work. Great advice from experienced entrepreneurs.
What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
I love listening to podcast and listen to them while in my car or running. My favorite is Amy Porterfield’s Podcast.
Who is your business role model? Why?
My husband, who is a very successful business man and who has taught me so much and has believed in me.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
To launch our brand new Polga (pole yoga) in-Home Fitness Program. Go from strictly a brick-and-mortar studio in Kansas City into homes across the country.
How can our readers connect with you?