Ah, I have such a fantastic interview to share with you today – and it is all about why and how you need to connect your business (and blog) with your local community!

Fitpreneur Interview with Shannon Dombkowski: Connecting with your local community

I met Shannon through Facebook groups a little while back and we quickly realized we had a few things in common. We were both getting started in our online training business, our niche was working with women and overall wellness, and we were trying to figure out how to make it all work!


Shannon lives in Georgia with her husband and three girls. I live in Pennsylvania with my hubby and one boy – with another on the way. We live miles apart but our visions are similar – to grow a sustainable business helping people live a healthy and happy life!


And our struggles were similar – how the heck do we do that!?


Well, let me tell you my friends: Connect your business with your local community!


#Fitpreneur Interview: How to connect your business (and blog) w/ your local community! #fitfam Share on X


I have seen Shannon do some really freakin’ cool things these past couple months and when you read our interview below, you will see how shifting her focus to her local community has opened doors she never thought of before!


You might be wondering why connecting with your local community is so valuable and why you can’t just grow your blog online and make millions. People do it, right!?


Yea, but growing online is really hard – and takes serious time!


Before we get to the interview, let me just share 3 quick reasons you need to connect your business with your local community!


When you make connections with your local community, you get to be the expert in your community. You are that face that people feel they know because you live right down the street. You get to be the trainer in town that offers online services, training, and programs. People feel a connection to you because you come from the same place they do.


Local brands and businesses will be more likely to work with you – someone that knows their town and someone they can actually meet face-to-face. You don’t need to compete with the BIG names online because you have something they don’t – you live in the home town!


You will start to make deeper connections and generate money quicker by targeting your local community than you can online.


@toughmomfitness shares how connecting with her local community grew her business! #entrepreneur #blogandbiz Share on X


Shannon shares some really AWESOME and actionable tips below to help you connect with your local community TODAY!


Tough Mom FitnessWhere to find Shannon:

On her blog/website: Tough Mom Fitness

Twitter: @toughmomfitness

Facebook: Tough Mom Fitness

Instagram: @toughmomfitness


Her freebie: 5 Minutes to Toned Arms + my top secrets for finding time to workout




Can you share a little about what you do (online, local, blog, etc.) and what you offer?



I am a health coach, personal trainer, and wellness educator.


My passion is to help women bring mindset, nutrition, and physical fitness together to live a healthy lifestyle. My focus is on moms because I’ve been there and understand the struggle. I take clients online and in my local community and tailor my coaching to fit their needs. My blog and social media channels serve as vehicles for me to provide tips, tricks, workout videos, and loads of encouragement to women all around the globe.


Within my local community, I also offer a wellness education series. The series lasts for 12 weeks and dives deep into the areas of mindset, nutrition, and fitness. Classes are held once a week and my students have access to me for the full 12 weeks. I’m in the midst of the first series but I’m working on plans for a second round. I’m running the series in partnership with a local private personal training studio.



In your opinion, what is unique about your business?



Instead of focusing on just physical fitness or just nutrition, I focus on both. I also do a lot of mindset work. I believe that those three things are the pillars of health and fitness.


There’s a quote by Plato that says “the part can never be well unless the whole is well.” I look at my clients as a whole person and our work together reflects that. I think the fact that I’ve been in the shoes of my ideal client gives me a unique perspective.


In terms of my local business, there’s no one else doing the type of coaching I offer locally. There are a few gyms and plenty of personal trainers, but there aren’t any health coaches offering services like mine in my community.



What were the first steps you took when you decided to start your business?



Initially, I didn’t think I wanted to go into business for myself. After losing 40 lbs, I started working very informally with friends who were looking to lose weight too. After about a year, I realized that health and fitness were my passions and I decided to get certified as a personal trainer. That was in May 2016.


By August of 2016, I realized that I wanted more than just personal training. That’s when I decided to study and get certified as a health coach. In November 2016, I passed that certification exam.


At the time I was a stay at home mom. I still thought I wanted to work outside the home at a gym or training facility. Unfortunately, my husband’s job isn’t very compatible with prime training hours (early morning or late evening) and daycare facilities aren’t open at those times!


That’s when I had the idea to do some online training and health coaching. I talked about it with my husband for a few weeks and he finally got sick of me going back and forth on making a decision so he got me all set up with my own domain. I then revamped my social media to reflect my new business name, Tough Mom Fitness.


I honestly had no idea what I was doing for the first few months. Sometimes I still feel like I’m making it up as I go! Initially, I did a lot of blogging. I thought “if I write it, they will come.” Oh, how wrong I was!


I joined a few different groups on Facebook and did a lot of Pinterest searching. That’s where I learned that I needed to develop a client avatar or ideal client. It didn’t take much for me to figure that all out because, like I mentioned above, my ideal client is me 3 years ago.


But blogging and social media-ing weren’t making me money. I was getting pretty frustrated. That’s when I decided to join an online community full of entrepreneurs trying to take their website from a blog to a business. The best advice I got was to look at what I can do locally. That’s when I shifted everything to more of a local focus.


I still have an online presence that I’d like to grow, but doing things locally will make me money quicker.


Did that even list out the steps? Let’s see if I can do that below.

  1. Create a website and a social media presence. In this day and age you’ve got to be online to be legit.
  2. Figure out who your ideal client is. Give them a name and write down everything about them. Get specific. If you’re talking to everyone, you’re resonating with no one.
  3. Decide what will get you money the quickest. That may be local work while you’re building a tribe online. You can’t release products or services to an audience that you don’t have.
  4. Get your business registered as an LLC (or sole proprietorship – do your research) and open a business banking account. This is next on my list!



How do you advertise/promote your business to your local community?



I’m still in the very early stages of doing this. First, I have business cards and I carry some on me at all times. You never know who you’ll meet! Maybe it’s because I live in a small town in Georgia and people like to talk here, but I’ve given out business cards in some pretty odd places (including at a bar and in the nail salon).


Second, I make sure that my social media profiles list where I live and that they say I offer local and online services. I’m still working on changing my website to reflect this as well! When I’m on Instagram I add my location to my posts so people can see that I’m local. In Instagram Stories, I also geotag with my town so people who watch local stories will see where I’m located.


In terms of actual advertising, I haven’t done any of that yet. I am going to be putting on a 12 week wellness education series in partnership with a local private training studio, but the owner is taking care of all that advertising. That actually works out quite nicely because he is a known name and business in the community and I’m just starting out.


When I get to advertising, I will utilize Facebook ads because that seems to be the preferred social media platform in my community. I also have plans to start a local fit moms group on Facebook where moms can gather to get advice, meet other moms, and schedule meet ups (I’d love to do weekly walks or something!).


Not only am I in a pretty small community, but it’s also primarily military families which means there’s a lot of people moving in and out often. As a former Marine Corps wife, I know that the first thing I did when we found out we were moving was searched Facebook for local groups to meet new people.



Do you have any tips or first steps you recommend to someone interested in working in their local community but have no idea where to start?



I started with Google.


I researched local gyms, training studios, Barre studios, yoga studios, health food stores, etc. in my local area. Make sure you look at their ratings and reviews so you’re partnering with reputable businesses!


Once you have a list, brainstorm some things you could do to partner with them. Could you lead a workout at a local athletic clothing store? Lead a healthy eating workshop for a local gym? Then connect with the businesses on social media! Leave meaningful comments.


This is where it’s helpful to have your location in your profile. Remember the studio I mentioned above that I’m working with? I connected with him on social media and because he saw my location, he reached out to me to see what I was offering!


Next, send some emails or pick up the phone! It’s nice to have an idea or two about how you’d like to partner with them, but be open to their ideas as well. Together you may come up with something you’d never thought of before!



Can you share a success story or flop idea you had in your business?



Can I do both? (of course!)


My biggest flop has to be that I honestly thought I’d be able to put up a website, get chatting on social, and the clients would come flocking to me. Nope. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.


My biggest success was my first ever local partnership meeting. I mentioned that the training studio owner reached out to me on Instagram. He wanted to set up a meeting, which we did for the following week. I went into it with the idea that I’d pitch him a few workshop ideas that I could do a few times a year.


As we were talking, it became clear that we both had similar values when it comes to health, fitness, and business. My idea for sporadic workshops quickly turned into a 12-week wellness education series for women. Each time we meet the project grows bigger and more exciting. At the time I’m writing this, the series hasn’t even started yet (it starts July 8, 2017) and we’re already talking about the next round and other ways we can partner together.



The FREE 5 Day Shake Your Money Maker Course (affiliate link) starts next week (June 26)!

Be sure to sign up and learn how to leverage your blog to create income producing opportunities for yourself, why your local community is your biggest untapped market for blog + business work…and the steps you need to take, and how to develop local relationships with brands + businesses so you have control of your income.

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Let’s Chat!

Do you leverage your blog/biz in your local community?

What are some ways you have made connections in your community?