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The Hustle that Led to 9Round’s Success


When starting a fitness business, you’re bound to face a challenge or two. 9Round, which today boasts 800+ locations worldwide, is no different.

“The journey of opening 9Round was not an easy one, but it was a challenge my husband Shannon — my co-founder and the brand’s CEO — and I were ready to take on,” said Heather Hudson.

According to Hudson, at the time the couple was seeking to move on from their previous jobs, which involved owning and operating a karate school, and needed to make something else work.

They opened their first 9Round location in 2008, during a recession, and without enough money to even put a sign on the building.

“We truly had no ‘plan B,’ meaning we put everything we had into the launch of 9Round, without any sort of fallback plan to lean on if it failed,” recalled Hudson. “I quickly learned opening a new business was not only a challenge, but an intensely stressful situation.”

As for how the couple overcame 9Round’s initial challenges, Hudson shared it all came down to hustle.

“I believe we were able to overcome the challenges we faced when 9Round first opened because we made sure we personally put in place the right foundational groundwork for the business to succeed,” shared Hudson. “We single-handedly opened and closed the first studio every day, personally led the workouts, handled finances to make sure all bills were paid on time and in full, plus so much more. If it weren’t for the way we took on these challenges head-on, 9Round wouldn’t be the business it is today.”

Today, 9Round’s founders thankfully no longer have to do it all, as the brand is now supported by a robust and talented team.

“When it comes to 9Round, Shannon and I truly believe the business wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for our team,” said Hudson. “We are very blessed to have found hardworking and passionate people who understand our mission and what we stand for.”

However, according to Hudson, one of the biggest challenges facing leaders today involves finding and retaining the right people to help run their business.

“This isn’t only a challenge of today, but one of the past and most likely the future,” added Hudson. “If leaders don’t have a team behind them made up of individuals who are fully invested in their leader’s vision, it’s nearly impossible for a business to continue moving forward.”

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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