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Surf queen turns fitness entrepreneur

Sally Fitzgibbons has turned entrepreneur. Picture: DALLAS KILPONENThree-time runner-upworld championship surfer Sally Fitzgibbonsis adding running a small business to her busy schedule.

Fitzgibbons has startedFitzgibbonsInternational and willlaunch her first product next month, a fitness app called Train Like Sally.

She has invested $200,000 of her own money alongside business partner, startup entrepreneur Mike Bray,and now employs a team of five people who hope to capitalise on Fitzgibbons over 1 million social media followers.

Aiming for the79 per centof people aged between 18-29 years who accesssocial media every day, Fitzgibbons International willharness Facebook, Twitter and Instagram todevelop content such as video, images and vox pops.

Sally Fitzgibbons says she wants to inspire other young entrepreneurs. Photo: Supplied

“I’ve always had a great passion for what I’m doing and a great love of it,” Fitzgibbons says.”I’ve been on the world surfing tour for eightyears andmy ultimate goal is to win my maiden world title.”

But Fitzgibbons wants to build a business while continuing to chase her sporting goals.

“When I hop out of the water I feel there is a lot more in me and I’ve had this vision for quite a number of years that I want to create this bigger picture,” she says.”I felt there is this community around the world and I wanted to create something to give back and to reach out to these people.My first book became a blueprint for our business in content creation and products to live in the health and fitness space.”

A tough market

Fitzgibbons has been inspired byMichelle BridgesandKaylaItsinesto enter the fitness app market although she acknowledges the competition is tough.

“It’s a very saturatedmarket,” she says.”We knew that going into it. I know in business terms it’s not ideal when you have so many direct competitors butthe more people I see moving the better.”

Fitzgibbons says Bridges “paved the way for Australian fitness” while Itsines is “doing great things” but she thinks she can target a different niche.

“I see it as building a bigger, broader community,” Fitzgibbons says.”I see that we do have a unique twist becauseI am an elite athlete and performing on the world stage. This isholisticallywhat I live and breathe and I hope people connect to the journey.”

Fitzgibbons will also focus on content creation and strategy and creating bigger product withsome of Fitzgibbon International’spartners including Canon’s Dream Squad which sheis an ambassador for.

Surfing star Sally Fitzgibbons has turned entrepreneur. Photo: Red Bull

Taking a risk

It would have been easier just to put her name to some products but Fitzgibbons says she is keen to get her hands dirty after being involved in the business world from the age of 11.

“You have an apprenticeship in the game becauseyou areonboardas a surfwearambassador from a young age,” she says.

“You live and breathe the lifestyle and marketing elements andyou are gathering all this information.I have invested in the last few years in a lot of startup companies I definitely attach to peoples’ stories, their energy and enthusiasm to create something bigger. So I thought ‘Why not do it myself?’.”

Fitzgibbons says she wanted the business to be relevant now, although she acknowledges “it’s a risky thing to do and at a busy time of my life.”

Her aim is to turnover “a small profit in the next year” and “seven figures” over the next few years.

Rise of the young entrepreneur

24-year-old Fitzgibbons says the rise of digital and social platforms offers young entrepreneurs an unrivalled opportunity to establish their own businesses.

“In this day and age there are so many avenues and pathways you can take,” she says. “It does excite people that they formed their business from their workand their vision. No one is going to work harder than when they workfor themselves.”

Her advice to fellow youngentrepreneurs is to “back yourself 100 per cent”.

“It’s not an easy road,it’s about really listening. What you don’t know you can learn,” Fitzgibbons says.

“It’s been a whirlwind ride so far.”

My Small Business, SMH

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