I’m thrilled to kick off June with our Opportunista – Ailis Garcia – former LA Dodgers host turned successful fitness entrepreneur! Ailis created her own opportunities and made her passion project a reality through her fierce determination and savvy approach to translating her past experiences and expertise into launching her own business.
Let’s meet Ailis and learn her story!
Name: Ailis Garcia
Title / Company: Creator of The Strong Movement
Education: University of Southern California
Describe the path that ultimately led you to start your own business.
I’m from Fullerton, CA, and for those of you that need some geographical reference, that’s about 12 minutes from Disneyland. I grew up dancing competitively and tried just about every sport. But, at the time I was more concerned about making sure my hair looked good than about getting sweaty and running after a soccer ball. So, dance was really a place where I learned to express myself at an early age and put me in front of a lot of people, which I believe helps instill confidence in young girls. I went to Troy High School and applied to 24 colleges! (I know, crazy!) I ended up picking my dream school—the University of Southern California where I studied Business and Entrepreneurship and graduated in 2012. I always knew I wanted to run my own business, so while I was in college, I sold everything from USC game day t-shirts to my very own formulated nutrition bars.
How have you leveraged your experiences to build your company?
I am the creator of The Strong Movement™, a women’s lifestyle brand that inspires women to become their best and build strong bodies and strong minds. We have a growing online community of women worldwide that are engaged with the brand through the website, blog and social media channels. Our products include The Strong Movement™ Strong Girl Guides™, which I wrote from my personal experience as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. The Strong Girl Guides include the Strong Girl Fitness Guide & Exercise Glossary, Strong Girl Nutrition Guide, Strong Girl Meal Guide, Strong Girl Recipe Book, Strong Girl Shed and Shred, and Strong Girl Lifestyle Guide. You can read the full story of how The Strong Movement™ came to be here. Last year we launched The Strong Movement™ Activewear Line because when you look good you feel good! We also have a few other products coming out soon.
After I graduated from USC, I decided I wanted to be a TV Host and had absolutely no experience, so I set out with my mom’s home video camera and a Radio Shack mic to become one. Within 3 years of graduating, I realized my dream of becoming a host for the LA Dodgers for the 2015 baseball season. After the season ended, I went full time with The Strong Movement™. Now, instead of hosting in front of 56,000 people live at a ballpark, I travel and lead Strong Girl Workouts, as well as speak to women across the country about how to be Strong, Confident and Happy.
How have you created your own opportunities?
I’ve always created my own opportunities for as long as I can remember. In the entrepreneurship program at USC, you have to reach out to and interview about 50 entrepreneurs a semester, so naturally that experience helps you learn how to pick up the phone, call people, and ask questions. I always say working to be a host is very similar to being an entrepreneur. As a host, when you’re first starting out, you have to write your own scripts, film yourself, run your own teleprompter, do your own hair and makeup, and edit and upload your videos. Similarly, as an entrepreneur, you have to learn to be resourceful and figure out a lot of things for yourself when it comes to starting something. You can take all of the classes in the world for both hosting and entrepreneurship, but no amount of classes will ever take the place of real-world hands-on experience. I created my own YouTube shows, which led to my opportunity with the Dodgers. And The Strong Movement™ first started as a blog at USC before evolving into what it is today. I’m fortunate and blessed to say that I’m living out my passions and dreams.
How do you keep your body and mind strong?
The Strong Movement™ is all about building a strong body and mind! The workouts in the Strong Girl Fitness Guide were inspired by my strength and resistance workouts in the gym and take less than an hour to do! Personally, my favorite day in the gym is Leg Day! A few years ago, I could spend hours in the gym. Now, I can kick my own butt in 25 minutes if I have limited time. Though, I usually allocate about an hour to an hour and a half in the gym depending on what I have going on that day.
I also love taking Pilates and cycling classes. If you live in LA, I highly recommend Wundabar Pilates! If you need an exercise guide to follow, you can download the free 1-Week Strong Girl Workout Series on the blog. All you need is a great attitude and dumbbells! And, if you need a Lifestyle Guide that will give you the tools to create effective affirmations and set yourself up for success, check out the Strong Girl Lifestyle Guide!
What is your go-to style?
Activewear of course! I live in it! I created The Strong Movement™ Activewear line for women on the go that want to look and feel good at an affordable price! All of our activewear pieces in the line are made in the USA with the best materials and fabrics. The line has super bright colorful tanks and thick performance leggings that will get you through any workout!
What advice can you share about juggling a career and passion project?
I think in today’s digital and Instagram world, many people think that being an entrepreneur is glamourous. I’ll be honest, starting your own business and pursuing your own dreams is hard work day in and day out, late nights, weekends, and holidays. It will challenge your strength and perseverance. At the end of the day, if your “why” and “passion” are strong enough, you will find the consistent will and energy to persevere despite the challenges that come up. There is no substitute for time and hard work. It’s tough to balance it all, but it can be done—believe in yourself and there’s no stopping you!'There is no substitute for time and hard work.'@ailisgarcia Click To Tweet
Let me know in the comments: How has Ailis’s story inspired you to build your own business and create your own opportunities to live your best life?