We had the good fortune of connecting with Elena Ciccotelli and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elena, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I love helping solopreneurs unlock more sales in their service-based business without feeling complete dread or angst or like they should hire or delegate this task to someone else. The best part about working with clients is I’m able to “teach you how to fish” so you have this skill forever, no matter what life throws at you. The reason why I’m so passionate about this is because the entire trajectory of my life (and career) changed as soon as I learned how to sell. I was a professional dancer in NYC in the early 2000s and after a catastrophic achilles injury sidelined me for months, unable to audition or perform, I had no idea how I was going to earn a living. I truly believed I wasn’t “good” at anything else besides dance. But as luck would have it, I met a personal trainer at a local gym who helped me realize I could take my skills as a dancer and transition them into a career in fitness. This is how my first company got started, an in-home personal training company for women, but more importantly, this was where I first learned how to sell in a non-salesy way, and the rest is history.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I was suddenly injured early in my professional dance career, it never occurred to me that I could develop other skills and talents like business acumen and helping solopreneurs become profitable. In fact, I could barely cope with the idea that my dance career was over. The part of my life I’ve trained for since I was five years old.
But here’s the thing: you learn, you adapt and you figure out another way. The hardest thing for me to learn was that dance was *not* my worth and identity. I can learn other skills. I can do other things. And I can be damn good at them. It was an awakening of sorts, like you’re searching for that one magical antidote, and then, out of nowhere, it’s so clear what direction you need to go in. This has been the overarching theme of my career and learning how to sell was the metaphorical life preserver that kept me afloat.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It’s probably counterintuitive to think that a once ballerina and a former personal training company owner absolutely loves burgers but, alas, you would be wrong. Highly recommend the Hippo Special at Hippo Burgers for that guilty pleasure cheat meal.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would probably be somewhere in South Jersey still teaching dance (and completely miserable doing it!) if it weren’t for the support, encouragement and insanely brilliant business acumen of my husband, John. I often joke that I received my MBA from the “School of John” because he’s been so incredibly instrumental to my success. From the early days of teaching me how to set up my first blog (and why it’s so important to own your domain name) to helping me negotiate 6 figure deals with some of the world’s largest automotive brands, it’s wild to think about how much of an impact he’s had on my life. I’ll be forever grateful he saw something in me, 14 years ago, when I couldn’t see it myself.