Shannon Dougherty and Kim MillerSince I got involved in the health and fitness industry there have been a few talents that I’ve had the pleasure of working with very consistently over the course of several years. Kim Miller and Shannon Dougherty are two such talents who have combined their passions and drive and in true synergistic form are launching a tremendously exciting new business venture, Fit Mom Diet. I felt they were the perfect people to feature for the first month of the new year as they share how they developed their careers beyond being in front of the camera. The following interview discusses their initial connection, the idea of developing their new business and the importance of forming a community of supporters.

James Patrick: Let’s first chat about how you two became connected. How did you meet and decide you wanted to collaborate together?
Kim Miller: Shannon and I met at a photo shoot about a year and a half ago and immediately connected.  I was drawn to her because of here genuine down to earth attitude.  We became fast friends from there.  Throughout the year as we both worked to develop a career in the health, fitness and modeling industry we shared ideas, resources and helped each other whenever possible.  It made a world of different to have a support person who understands the unique challenges one encounters along the journey.

Shannon Dougherty: What Kim didn’t mention is that not long after we met we talked about going into business together in some fashion in the hopes of helping others achieve their health goals.  After talking for a while, we decided that we both needed to explore our unique interests for a while.  Over time, our friendship grew as did our common interests.  Eventually,  it only made sense to collaborate on a larger scale.

JP: Where did the initial idea behind Fit Model Diet come from?
KM: We both love moms and food!  We know how hard is it for moms to balance the responsibility of taking care of themselves while raising children.  Our passion lies in inspiring moms to live fit and healthy and we both spend a great deal of time cooking and creating healthy eating options.  Sometimes we spend too much time photographing our food as well… lol. As we brainstormed one day over coffee our upcoming goals it just hit us… Fit Mom Diet, a community designed to support moms live a healthier lifestyle.

SD: Kim and I both also have a transformation story.  Having lost a great deal of weight after the birth of our children we feel like we can truly relate to women’s struggles in this respect.  Our approach is real and genuine.  We have no desire to put on any front as to how things are perfect all the time.  They are indeed far from that.  Our goal from the beginning was to be transparent and real.  To be brave enough to share our goals and dreams but also our challenges and struggles in the hopes that in opening ourselves up, we would inspire others.

JP: Share with us a little on how you two developed the project from just an idea into something real? What kept the project moving forward and moving beyond just notes on paper?
KM: When you are so excited about a project it wakes you up in the middle of the night, that’s the kind of work you should be doing.  Shannon and I both feel that way about Fit Mom Diet.  We love what we do so we work really hard at it.  We believe very strongly in building quality relationships.  No matter what it is we always try and show up.  We create daily and monthly lists of goals we need to accomplish and review them regularly.  We brainstorm often and try and think outside the box.

SD: We also are very public about our goals.  In this respect we are held accountable.  We share with anyone who asks what we want to achieve.  People often check in on us because of this.  We create a vision in our head of where want to go and then start making lists of specifics tasks that need to happen in order to get there.  Most of all we hold each other accountable.  It helps to have a partner in business that is pushing you to make it happen.

JP: What is the mantra behind Fit Model Diet and how did you integrate that into the company brand?
KM & SD: Love Your Body!  Fit Mom Diet is a lifestyle and an attitude.  It’s about being the best you that you can be. Our focus in on clean eating; however, we are also invested in helping mom’s be active, mindful, positive and empowered.  It’s through these things that people live the life of their dreams.  At Fit Mom Diet, we start inside by helping women believe they are worth the investment.  We teach them how to embrace their unique beauty.  If you don’t start on the inside, you will never be happy with yourself, regardless of how perfect of a physique you are able to craft.  From there we teach healthy eating habits and provide tools and resources for healthy living for both moms and their families.

JP: Talk a little about the architecture and construction of the brand. For example, how did you think about the look and feel or the final product?
KM & SD: We want everything we produce to reflect our perspective on life.  Our logo is bright, clean and colorful.  We designed it ourselves so it will be completely unique, and for some when they look at it they see a heart.  This was intentional as to reflect the love moms have for their children and their families.   Everything we share is intended to be inspirational, real, thought provoking and most importantly classy.  Whatever we are designing or creating, we always reflect on our mission, and do the best to communicate that though our branding. We go through countless options when we make selections in building our brands.  Whether it’s logos, marketing material, website design, images we shot, even who we aim to collaborate with, we put thought into what that says about us and who we are and try to stay true to our vision.

JP: How did you integrate a monitization strategy with the project?
KM & SD: Monetizing can be a challenge but this is how we approach business.  We know we have a valuable service to provide.  We also know that others need to get something in return.  We creatively look at each relationship we have and figure out how best serve others.  We think very broadly about what we are willing to do to create our business.  It’s easy to get pigeonholed into saying “I just do this.”  We aren’t like that.  We approach building a business by saying, “what is it you need” and from there we make it happen.  In that respect,  we don’t just see our business as a means to make money from one revenue strand.  Our talents include writing, coaching, modeling, styling, producing, speaking, brand representations, recruitment of talent, project management, and a wealth of others things.  With every client, we figure out how to help them get what is most helpful for them.  We set very specific financial goals and created a business plan at the onset of our project.  Finally, we had to learn to say no to some work.  We give 110% to the things we sign on to, but we are mindful to only involve ourselves in those things for which we are most passionate.  We wish we could do everything that comes our way, but at the end of the day, we are moms and wives and committed doing a good job at that as well as keeping ourselves healthy and happy.

JP: What will be your marketing efforts moving forward with Fit Model Diet?
KM & SD: People.  We build relationships.  Building personal genuine relationships is the best thing you can do to build your brand.  We make a lot of appearances and work hard to connect with others.  If people are going to trust you with sensitive issues such as body images and weight loss, they want to know you.  We do everything we can to make that happen.  We are very active on social media and enjoy doing that.  We offer a great deal of free content that way so everyone can benefit.  We also write, speak and model.  While we write more researched based articles at times, we also publish things that are very down to earth so people can get to know who we really are.  Blogging allows us to show that side of ourselves.  Most importantly, we aim to build community by hosting events and activities people can enjoy.

JP: We have talked a lot about community in the past. Share with us why community is the core facet of Fit Mom Diet and what you hope to achieve with your community.
KM & SD: We hope to achieve the creation of a community of like-minded moms that support each other in eating healthy and clean, living an active lifestyle and being amazing.

JP Lastly, a lot of talents in the modeling industry think about work as simply doing photo shoots, magazine projects, commercial, etc. How did you take being a talent past just being on camera to creating a viable company?
KM & SD: I suppose both of us always wanted to be much more than just an image someone saw.  We wanted to be a story.  We wanted to create something that wasn’t so much about us, but about all the people in our community… our followers, our clients and our supporters.  We try to focus on things outside of ourselves.  The work we do in respect to modeling and magazine projects always has a goal that goes beyond that particular projects.  We hear a lot of talents say “my goal is to be in a magazine, or on a cover, to win a contest or to become a signed talent.”  Our thought has always gone right to “then what”?  You have to think beyond that scope and want to create something that transcends you.