One of the most successful fitness companies to come out of Kelowna happened almost by accident.
Sure, the pair behind it ooze enthusiasm, and made some shrewd decisions along the way, but if they hadn’t one day decided to get out their iPhones, HIITit.ca 12 Minute Workouts might not exist.
Chelsea Harrison and Melanie Breitkreutz are the Kelowna moms behind the online fitness company HIITit.
Each day, the pair create a 12-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout video, which they send to their subscribers for a modest monthly fee (last month they began offering a low-intensity workout as well).
They run a slick operation, with inspirational marketing videos and flashy branding, but HIITit is firmly rooted in the pair’s passion for fitness.
Harrison explains that the whole thing started when she asked Breitkreutz to join her for a 30-day HIIT challenge, to help get back in shape after having kids.
Breitkreutz agreed, and immediately fell in love with the system. She still remembers marvelling at how effective such a short workout could be.
As they progressed, their far-flung friends and family began taking an interest, so the pair began filming each other and sending them their workouts.
Those videos proved so popular that more and more people kept asking for them.
“Once one person found out about it and told a lot of people, and it spread like wildfire,” Harrison recalls. “Then everyone was like ‘when are you doing the next one?’”
It has always been Harrison’s dream to pursue a career in fitness, and one day the pair decided to see if they could turn their videos into something more.
Breitkreutz set up a website and mailing list, and before long the pair had their first paying customers. Three years later, their daily videos are sent to hundreds of people from all over the world.
Breitkreutz says she believes simplicity has helped HIITit become so successful.
Subscribers get a daily email that contains both a high and low intensity workout. Each is only 12 minutes long, and can be done anywhere, without any equipment—and that’s it.
“You get an email, every day, and all you have to do is click on it, and you know what to do,” Harrison says. “There’s literally no excuse not to get in shape.”
But perhaps HIITit’s real secret weapon lies behind Harrison and Breitkreutz’s passion and enthusiasm (which is both infectiously genuine and bountiful).
HIITit runs on a remarkably simple but wildly successful business model. At it’s core, it’s really nothing more than a mailing list.
When she first set up the HIITit website, Breitkreutz automated much of the delivery process, so essentially all she and Harrison do is create the daily videos.
HIITit has essentially zero overhead—the only real cost is Harrison and Breitkreutz’s time—and they have a guaranteed revenue stream from their monthly subscription base.
“Basically what we set up in the beginning still works today. Whether you have 30 customers, or 300 or 3,000,” Breitkreutz says.
Harrison says HIITit began making money almost from Day 1, without any real financial investment on her or Breitkreutz’s part.
She admitted Breitkreutz is the business savvy one of the pair, and that it wasn’t until Breitkreutz told her they had landed on something incredible that she realized how brilliant the business side of what they were doing was.
“She told me ‘this is amazing. This does not happen when you start up a business,’’’ Harrison laughed.
“It seems too good to be true, actually,” Breitkreutz admitted. “Like, when is this going to end?”
The likely answer is “not any time soon.”
Both Harrison and Breitkreutz say they truly love what they do, not just because it keeps them in great shape, but because they are helping people across the world get over the hump and get in shape.
“We’re so not just about ‘this is a job, this is a business.’ We so passionately love seeing people succeed,” Harrison says. “It’s amazing the responses you get from people, you’re literally changing people’s lives.”
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