As a small business owner, I am always fascinated with other business models, small business owners and how they become successful, especially in the fitness industry. I was lucky to meet a young fitness entrepreneur, Emily Zaler at the FMI Event in October in Los Angeles, founder of The EZ Whey LLC, a company that features a smart e-cookbook containing recipes that use whey protein, “Clean eats that taste like treats.” I blogged about Emily’s Cookbook a while back, and love using her tips in some of my baking. And as someone who loves whey protein and believes in the power of clean eating, I was excited to sit down with Emily and ask her how things are going with The EZ Whey and what’s on the docket for 2011. Check it out! :) ox Jill
How long have you been in the fitness industry and how did you get started?
I have been in the fitness industry for a little over a year now. I have been an athlete my entire life and have always had a passion for health and fitness. I grew up playing soccer and went on to play D1 collegiate soccer for both the Pac10 (Oregon) and Big 12 (Mizzou) conferences. After suffering a career ending knee injury after my second year of college, I needed something competitive and athletic to do. I had that athlete mindset and passion, so I decided to get involved with fitness. Little did I know it would lead to where I am today!
After I realized I wanted to be seriously involved with the fitness industry, I attended Fitness Model International (FMI Events) in October 2009. There I met two amazing people who really inspired me to go after it. Big thank you to Clark Bartram and Gary Warren for being such great mentors and role models. Without their constant guidance and support, I would not be having any success in the industry!
What are you currently doing now in the industry?
You mean what am I currently not doing? Haha kidding. 2010 has been a very blessed year for me, and I have been able to grow my brand The EZ Whey in ways I did not think were possible in just one years time. What started with a fitness cookbook that I wrote for fun, has now led to a business.
I currently contribute to six different fitness publications, as well as mutiple online magazines and websites. I also am a certified sports nutritionist and trainer, and have my degree in Exercise Science. Besides training, writing, and developing new recipes for the next edition of The EZ Whey, I am a sponsored athlete as well as fitness model. I like to consider myself a “fitness entrepreneur” .
How did you come up with your idea/business model/product?
I initially came up with The EZ Whey when I was prepping for a figure competition. I was sick of the boring and restricted diet, and decided to come up with clean and healthy recipes that people could enjoy while dieting. I called them “Clean Eats That Taste Like Cheats”. After attending FMI last October, I realized I could turn this “for fun” project in to a successful business!
Who is your product/service for, who is your target market?
My products that I offer can actually target a wide range of people! Whether you are a serious fitness model or competitor looking to make dieting more exciting, someone who simply wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle, or someone who wants to lose a large amount of body fat, The EZ Whey can get you there! My recipes are all diabetic friendly as well, and many are gluten free.
What is your niche? In other words, what makes your product/service unique or different from what else is out there?
My brand The EZ Whey LLC is unique from anything else that is currently out there. I offer “clean eats that taste like cheats” that are all high protein and sugar free. I offer both high carb, low carb and both high and low fat recipes, to cater to your specific macronutrient needs. I also offer both in person and online training and nutrition consultation. Coming in 2011, I am going to be offering EZ Whey Cooking lessons and personal/group catering.
How are you marketing your product or service?
I am doing most of my marketing through online Social Media. It is truly crazy how many opportunities I have created for myself using social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc. When I have the chance to be on TV as well as radio, those are both great opportunites to get The EZ Whey Brand out there!
What have been the biggest challenges to your success with your product/service?
The biggest challenge for me has been people questioning my credibility due to my age. I am only 22 years old, and some people of higher power have at some times questioned what a 22 year old has to offer. I simply go about that by allowing them to see my work ethic and knowledge of nutrition and fitness, and they are soon convinced. :)
What has been your biggest success(es) to date with your product/service?
This year has truly been blessed in so many ways or should I say “wheys” haha ;) I have had many great successes this year, it is hard to say which one has necessarily been the “biggest”. They have all played a part with each other, with one success leading to another. I had a very long list of goals to accomplish for the year of 2010, and I am very proud to say I have crossed every single one of them off of the list!
Even if I cant classify one as the “biggest”, the one that meant the most to me was being named the “2010 Fitness Talent of The Year” at FMI. There was so much emotion involved in winning that award. A year prior I said to myself that I was going to accomplish enough in 2010 to be a nominee of the award… and to win it took my breath away. It was an honor to be recognized by Clark and Gary from FMI Events for all of my hard work .
What ONE business pearl would you give to up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the fitness industry?
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, because the worst someone can tell you is NO—but you would be surprised how many times they will say YES!
Anything else you would like to plug or would like our audience to know about you and your offerings?
Thank you for this opportunity Jill! 2011 is going to an exciting year for The EZ Whey and myself, and I cannot wait. It is amazing to do what you love everyday and call it a “job”. Special thank you again to Clark Bartram, Gary Warren, Chady Dunmore, Rachel Elizabeth Murray, Rob Riches, Basheerah Ahmad and the rest of my FMI family. You guys mean the world to me and I thank you for your continued support. Please check out my websites listed above for more information or to place your order for any EZ Whey services! :)