I had the pleasure of working with Rita Catolino last year in Las Vegas and have seen her brand continue to grow at an amazing rate. I had a chance to chat with her this morning about the development of her business and why it takes more than being on a magazine cover to grow a brand in the fitness talent industry.
James Patrick: You’ve been super busy lately, share with us what has been going on with you.
Rita Catolino: I do have my online clients which is my main focus. They are from all over the world and it is a very interactive daily coaching program. From there I launched a smaller program called Four Weeks to Fab. This is focused on the women in my community who want to make changes over the course of four weeks. I’ve teamed up with a photographer as well as a makeup artist to put this on.
This last week was a photo shoot prep – so I’ve been giving them tips and techniques to get prepared for the photo shoot. My team glams them up – they get it all from the spray tan to the hair and makeup and they get to feel like a fitness model for the day. Then the photographer gets to capture all their hard work. It is a really cool thing. This is the second time we’ve done it – and we’ve doubled the attendee list from the first time and we already have a waiting list for the third one.
JP: You also have a 12-week program which you are doing. What does that involve?
RC: I’ve been doing that for three years. It is daily meal plans, workouts, daily contact with me, videos as well was yoga and workout retreats for women.
JP: You’ve worked and been published as a fitness talent and outside of being on camera you’ve developed this business model leveraging your previous print work to grow your brand. Can you talk a little bit about that process.
RC: You’re only on a magazine cover for a month. If you don’t take advantage of it, it passes. I’ve been in the industry for seven years. I started as a personal trainer working 10 hours a day in the gym. I was not on the front cover of the magazine until the past year or two. Before then it was just me and my passion and if you don’t have that passion no one is going to get out of bed at 5am to train with you.
My online program then developed during that time and started to grow one person at a time through word of mouth. Then about eight months ago I sat down with a brand manager. I had compiled all these pieces – various magazine features, results from photo shoots – but I needed the foundation to pull all these pieces together. I knew I needed a logo, a website, a clear plan and the brand manager really began helping me with that. It was all about focus on who I wanted to reach and what I needed to have to reach them.
Nothing is given to you on a silver platter. You have to work day in and day out. Just because I’ve been on a magazine cover doesn’t allow me to sit back with my hands out. I still have to work hard.
This is a business. The fitness industry is growing every day. There are 18-year-olds with better bodies than me – but what do I have to offer? It is the background, the work ethic, the branding the approach and focus I have. You have to work at it.
JP: What do you feel is preventing most fitness talents from achieving their goals?
RC: I would say not putting a voice to their face. Posting a pretty picture every day without a message does not get people to stop and pay attention. Why do celebrities sell move covers of magazines? We’ve gotten to know them, their likes, their dislikes, their struggles, their challenges. So perhaps it is sharing a bit about yourself, your story, your direction and how you want to connect with people.
I would also say the ability to network with people in the industry. It can be a negative industry sometimes. I would love to see more women supporting one another in this industry. Lastly, know yourself and your goals and direction and try not to play into the politics of the industry. Put yours eggs into multiple baskets and not just one.
JP: What upcoming things do you have for your business this year?
RC: In the next quarter I have some upcoming work with my sponsor Six Pack Fitness. I will also be at the Toronto Pro Show in May. I have a few local speaking engagements coming up for lifestyle coaching. On May 26 I have a new four-week-program coming up.
JP: Last comments to readers?
RC: Regardless of what you’re doing – if you’re starting out or a veteran – make sure that you are passionate about it and it is something that you love to do because if not it is hard to sustain it. You want to wake up every morning and be grateful for it and not feel like it is a job. After seven years I still wake up at 5 every day excited to do what I do. You need to look at your life and ask yourself is this what I truly want to be doing.
Special thanks to Rita for being a part of this feature. You can connect with her on Twitter @ritacatolino Instagram @rcatolino, through her website www.ritacatolino.com and her Facebook Page Rita Catolino Fitness Model.