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Danielle Natoni

Danielle Natoni, from fractions to fitness

When I began my teaching career in Illinois, the starting salary was less than $30,000 a year. Today, according to Niche.com the average beginning salary for teachers across the States is $40,540 a year for public school teachers and $29,940 a year for private school teachers. Many teachers struggle financially. However, there are steps teachers can take if they want to change their career paths or build a business.

Teachers can use their classroom skills and apply them to entrepreneurial endeavors.

Danielle Natoni is one such&nbsp;teacher who found business success by transferring her teaching expertise and moving into the fitness industry.

Natoni became a mom at an early age and worked as a mathematics teacher for ten years at an elementary school while struggling with crippling debt. During her time as an educator, she was looking for a way to better her situation.

In 2010, Natoni was introduced to Beachbody, which became the catalyst for her to create her own fitness brand.&nbsp;Today, Natoni is a fitness icon in the industry.

She is&nbsp;the CEO and Founder of Fit and Funky, a social media influencer, and a motivational speaker for people all over the country. Also, she is a master trainer for such workout successes as Insanity Live, Cize Live, and Country Heat Live. Her work reaches millions of people online.

Natoni launched her company through&nbsp;social media&nbsp;and has propelled over 5,000 coaches, and&nbsp;over 15,000 fit family participants follow her lead to living a healthier life.

She has two employees and brings in annual revenue of $1.5 million.

With the current climate in education, I wanted to learn how she took her skills from the classroom and applied them to create a successful business.

Danielle Natoni

Danielle Natoni, from educator to entrepreneur

In this interview, which has been edited and condensed, we talk about her journey from educator to entrepreneur. She shares her fears, challenges, lessons, and provides advice for other teachers who may be interested in starting their own businesses.

Robyn Shulman:&nbsp;Can you tell me about your decision to leave the classroom?

Danielle Natoni: Deciding&nbsp;to leave the classroom was not easy, especially as a mom providing for a family of four on a teacher’s salary of one.

Shulman: Did you enjoy teaching at the time?

Natoni: Yes, I loved my job as an educator; but I also knew that just because I was leaving the classroom, it didn’t mean I was quitting teaching. From fractions to fitness, I’m still a teacher—my audience is different. You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher.

Shulman:&nbsp;When did you know it was time to leave your steady job as a teacher?

Natoni: After a year of teaching 5th-grade full time while building my fitness business on the side, and teaching an overly-ambitious group exercise schedule on top of training clients at the gym, I realized that something had to give.

I found myself dreading going to work, which wasn’t fair when you have a room full of bright-eyed kids looking up at you anticipating enthusiasm behind your every word.

Shulman:&nbsp;Were you scared to leave your teaching position at school?

Natoni:&nbsp;Of course. But more than anything, I was excited. And, I made sure I was smart about it; I didn’t resign my teaching position until I matched the income from my new business.

Shulman: How did people react when you left the classroom?

Natoni: At that time, people in my life thought I was crazy for giving up a secure and respectable job—my parents included—but I knew deep down in my gut that I was making a decision that would forever change the course of my life.

Shulman: Were you scared to fail given all that was at stake?

Natoni: I believe that the only way to fail in life is to settle for less than you are capable of achieving. I knew that I had the opportunity to make the world my classroom, and I needed to chase that dream.

Shulman: How did you learn about all the aspects of business coming from the classroom?

Natoni: In one of the chapters in my soon-to-be-released book, I talk about coming into this business without any official qualifications—no background in marketing, no fancy business credentials, no experience with entrepreneurship at all. But I knew I had information available to me, so I did the only logical thing I could—I became a student again.

Shulman:&nbsp;How did you do it?

Natoni: I started taking online courses, reading books, and attending events. I listened to podcasts, audiobooks, and interviews. I absorbed everything I could so I could try, and fail, and try again.

Shulman:&nbsp;What changes did you make during this time?

Natoni: I resonate with the Jim Rohn’s quote about being the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Back then, I needed to up my average. I committed to stop doing anything that didn’t serve me in getting to the next level of success, and I put all of my energy into being coachable and learning as much as possible.

Shulman: What challenges did you face when you first launched the business?

Natoni: When I decided to start an online fitness business, I was broken emotionally and financially. I could barely make it paycheck to paycheck.

Shulman: How did you handle this difficult time personally?

Natoni:&nbsp;Choosing to invest in me rather than going back to waiting tables or tending bar may not have seemed like the most obvious solution at the time. However, if I was going to dig my way out of my hole and succeed in the long term, it was precisely the tough decision I had to make.

Shulman: What action did you take?

Natoni: Instead of using the excuse that I didn’t have time to build this business, I made time. I woke up at&nbsp;4 am, and I usually didn’t go to bed until after&nbsp;midnight. I worked long hours both in school and out of school, which usually meant giving up sleep. Although today, sleep is number one on my list of healthy habits, back then I did what needed to be done to build a better&nbsp;tomorrow.

Throughout the entire struggle, I kept reminding myself that hard work never goes unrewarded. Embracing personal development was one of the biggest influences in reshaping my mind and not letting limiting beliefs slow me down. It’s why to this day, I refuse to let any obstacle stand in the way of my pursuit of betterment.

Shulman:&nbsp;What’s one crucial lesson you learned going from educator to entrepreneur?

Natoni:&nbsp;I have failed my way to success.&nbsp;I’ve never been afraid to experiment and try new things. If I didn’t know something, I put myself in a situation where I’d be exposed to the right information and people to find out how to take my next steps. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t. But each situation taught me valuable lessons in what to do and especially in what not to do.

Shulman: What’s your best advice for other teachers who want to build a business?

Natoni: Being a teacher is a beautiful and admirable profession. Empowering children with the tools and knowledge to achieve their dreams is perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of being alive. If you are thinking about leaving the classroom to pursue your own goals, understand those light bulb moments&nbsp;are not reserved for grades K-12.&nbsp;They aren’t exclusive to any college, and they don’t stop if you decide to leave. If the process of teaching and helping others experience breakthroughs sets your soul on fire, there are countless ways to educate beyond your degree.

Shulman: What would you say to a room full of teachers who are in your former shoes right now?

Natoni: If you find yourself feeling like you have more to give or to share, or if you desire to speak to an audience beyond the children in your seats, please know that you have sufficient incentive to pursue your passion: You.

You being your best and doing what makes you happy is what matters most in this world. If you find yourself heading into that classroom dreaming about goals and ambitions beyond those walls, or dreams that extend beyond the kids waiting for your instruction, then its time to take the leap. You giving less of yourself to those children won’t do anyone any favors; both you and they deserve you at your best.

Shulman: Any other specific tips for teachers you can share?

Natoni: Realizing that the classroom can be anywhere ultimately helped me see that I wasn’t giving up my love for educating; I was teaching different material. Be smart and set yourself up for success by having a plan in place. Be intentional with your time, get organized, and above all else, just go for it.

You can follow Natoni’s growing career as well as learn from her journey at her website and through social media.

“>

Danielle Natoni

Danielle Natoni, from fractions to fitness

When I began my teaching career in Illinois, the starting salary was less than $30,000 a year. Today, according to Niche.com the average beginning salary for teachers across the States is $40,540 a year for public school teachers and $29,940 a year for private school teachers. Many teachers struggle financially. However, there are steps teachers can take if they want to change their career paths or build a business.

Teachers can use their classroom skills and apply them to entrepreneurial endeavors.

Danielle Natoni is one such teacher who found business success by transferring her teaching expertise and moving into the fitness industry.

Natoni became a mom at an early age and worked as a mathematics teacher for ten years at an elementary school while struggling with crippling debt. During her time as an educator, she was looking for a way to better her situation.

In 2010, Natoni was introduced to Beachbody, which became the catalyst for her to create her own fitness brand. Today, Natoni is a fitness icon in the industry.

She is the CEO and Founder of Fit and Funky, a social media influencer, and a motivational speaker for people all over the country. Also, she is a master trainer for such workout successes as Insanity Live, Cize Live, and Country Heat Live. Her work reaches millions of people online.

Natoni launched her company through social media and has propelled over 5,000 coaches, and over 15,000 fit family participants follow her lead to living a healthier life.

She has two employees and brings in annual revenue of $1.5 million.

With the current climate in education, I wanted to learn how she took her skills from the classroom and applied them to create a successful business.

Danielle Natoni

Danielle Natoni, from educator to entrepreneur

In this interview, which has been edited and condensed, we talk about her journey from educator to entrepreneur. She shares her fears, challenges, lessons, and provides advice for other teachers who may be interested in starting their own businesses.

Robyn Shulman: Can you tell me about your decision to leave the classroom?

Danielle Natoni: Deciding to leave the classroom was not easy, especially as a mom providing for a family of four on a teacher’s salary of one.

Shulman: Did you enjoy teaching at the time?

Natoni: Yes, I loved my job as an educator; but I also knew that just because I was leaving the classroom, it didn’t mean I was quitting teaching. From fractions to fitness, I’m still a teacher—my audience is different. You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher.

Shulman: When did you know it was time to leave your steady job as a teacher?

Natoni: After a year of teaching 5th-grade full time while building my fitness business on the side, and teaching an overly-ambitious group exercise schedule on top of training clients at the gym, I realized that something had to give.

I found myself dreading going to work, which wasn’t fair when you have a room full of bright-eyed kids looking up at you anticipating enthusiasm behind your every word.

Shulman: Were you scared to leave your teaching position at school?

Natoni: Of course. But more than anything, I was excited. And, I made sure I was smart about it; I didn’t resign my teaching position until I matched the income from my new business.

Shulman: How did people react when you left the classroom?

Natoni: At that time, people in my life thought I was crazy for giving up a secure and respectable job—my parents included—but I knew deep down in my gut that I was making a decision that would forever change the course of my life.

Shulman: Were you scared to fail given all that was at stake?

Natoni: I believe that the only way to fail in life is to settle for less than you are capable of achieving. I knew that I had the opportunity to make the world my classroom, and I needed to chase that dream.

Shulman: How did you learn about all the aspects of business coming from the classroom?

Natoni: In one of the chapters in my soon-to-be-released book, I talk about coming into this business without any official qualifications—no background in marketing, no fancy business credentials, no experience with entrepreneurship at all. But I knew I had information available to me, so I did the only logical thing I could—I became a student again.

Shulman: How did you do it?

Natoni: I started taking online courses, reading books, and attending events. I listened to podcasts, audiobooks, and interviews. I absorbed everything I could so I could try, and fail, and try again.

Shulman: What changes did you make during this time?

Natoni: I resonate with the Jim Rohn’s quote about being the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Back then, I needed to up my average. I committed to stop doing anything that didn’t serve me in getting to the next level of success, and I put all of my energy into being coachable and learning as much as possible.

Shulman: What challenges did you face when you first launched the business?

Natoni: When I decided to start an online fitness business, I was broken emotionally and financially. I could barely make it paycheck to paycheck.

Shulman: How did you handle this difficult time personally?

Natoni: Choosing to invest in me rather than going back to waiting tables or tending bar may not have seemed like the most obvious solution at the time. However, if I was going to dig my way out of my hole and succeed in the long term, it was precisely the tough decision I had to make.

Shulman: What action did you take?

Natoni: Instead of using the excuse that I didn’t have time to build this business, I made time. I woke up at 4 am, and I usually didn’t go to bed until after midnight. I worked long hours both in school and out of school, which usually meant giving up sleep. Although today, sleep is number one on my list of healthy habits, back then I did what needed to be done to build a better tomorrow.

Throughout the entire struggle, I kept reminding myself that hard work never goes unrewarded. Embracing personal development was one of the biggest influences in reshaping my mind and not letting limiting beliefs slow me down. It’s why to this day, I refuse to let any obstacle stand in the way of my pursuit of betterment.

Shulman: What’s one crucial lesson you learned going from educator to entrepreneur?

Natoni: I have failed my way to success. I’ve never been afraid to experiment and try new things. If I didn’t know something, I put myself in a situation where I’d be exposed to the right information and people to find out how to take my next steps. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t. But each situation taught me valuable lessons in what to do and especially in what not to do.

Shulman: What’s your best advice for other teachers who want to build a business?

Natoni: Being a teacher is a beautiful and admirable profession. Empowering children with the tools and knowledge to achieve their dreams is perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of being alive. If you are thinking about leaving the classroom to pursue your own goals, understand those light bulb moments are not reserved for grades K-12. They aren’t exclusive to any college, and they don’t stop if you decide to leave. If the process of teaching and helping others experience breakthroughs sets your soul on fire, there are countless ways to educate beyond your degree.

Shulman: What would you say to a room full of teachers who are in your former shoes right now?

Natoni: If you find yourself feeling like you have more to give or to share, or if you desire to speak to an audience beyond the children in your seats, please know that you have sufficient incentive to pursue your passion: You.

You being your best and doing what makes you happy is what matters most in this world. If you find yourself heading into that classroom dreaming about goals and ambitions beyond those walls, or dreams that extend beyond the kids waiting for your instruction, then its time to take the leap. You giving less of yourself to those children won’t do anyone any favors; both you and they deserve you at your best.

Shulman: Any other specific tips for teachers you can share?

Natoni: Realizing that the classroom can be anywhere ultimately helped me see that I wasn’t giving up my love for educating; I was teaching different material. Be smart and set yourself up for success by having a plan in place. Be intentional with your time, get organized, and above all else, just go for it.

You can follow Natoni’s growing career as well as learn from her journey at her website and through social media.

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