“Women in Wellness” with Terri Harof
Authority Magazine |Women In Wellness | May 10, 2023
Terri Harof of Workout Anytime on the Five: Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing.
Attitude is everything. You can either be a glass-half-empty or a glass-half-full person, and I’m definitely a glass-half-full person. Out of bad things, good things happen. And in life, you have to look for those good things, because they’re there.
As a part of my series about women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Terri Harof.
Terri Harof, Workout Anytime’s director of franchise development, joined the fast-growing fitness brand after working in both sports marketing and franchising for many years. Harof knew Workout Anytime founders John Quattrocchi and Steve Strickland for nearly three decades because she had been teaching group fitness since college. So, when the Workout Anytime team came to her a few years ago and asked her to join the brand as the director of franchise development, she jumped at the opportunity.
It turned out to be the perfect career choice for Harof, and looking back, she says her only regret is not getting into the franchising industry sooner.
“I didn’t know what an incredible industry the franchising world was and didn’t know about all the different segments involved,” said Harof. “It has been such a blessing to help people find their next chapter in life. A lot of times, we have prospects who go from working in one business for many years, to entering a new industry that they are much more passionate about. It is a joy to help them pursue their dreams and passion, and I’ve loved every bit of it.”
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Well, it all started when I was in college. When I was working a summer job as a server at a restaurant, I just so happened to wait on John Quattrocchi’s father. He told me that his son was opening a gym right across the street called American Fitness Center. This was a chain of gyms that were located across the southeast. He said, “I think you’d be a great addition; you should go get a job over there.” I found the offer interesting enough; I loved to work out and figured I’d get a free membership. So sure enough, I interviewed and got a job. I started working summers and over the holidays at American Fitness Center, and I ended up loving every aspect of the industry. After I graduated college with a degree in marketing, I went back to American Fitness Center and got a job in management, where I worked for about five years.
But, after those five years, I decided it was time for me to actually use my degree, and I took an opportunity in sports marketing. Through that opportunity, I did a lot of networking and ended up working with Evander Holyfield, several Atlanta Braves players and lots of other athletes. After a while, my partners and I decided that instead of just being sports marketers, we wanted to become a full-service ad agency. So, we formed a fully separate advertising agency, and one of our clients was Workout Anytime, whom I work for now. We helped them with all their consumer marketing, their website and all their advertising.
I’ve been in the health and wellness world for a long time. When I started working at American Fitness Center in college, I also started teaching group fitness classes, and to this day, I still teach three to four group fitness classes each week.
I got into franchising almost a decade ago. When I was at my ad agency, one of my clients asked me if I would be interested in partnering with him and a few others to open a hospitality management company. Together, we managed restaurants, athletic clubs, spas and a variety of different venues. But at the same time, I had three kids, and they’re all athletes.
I wanted to spend more time with my family, so I eventually decided to sell my portion of the business to my partners, and I took some time off to spend with the family over the summer and. sort of reinvented myself around this same time. I ended up speaking to a friend of mine, who was the CEO of Shoney’s restaurants, and he offered me a position to sell franchises for Shoney’s. I had never done that before, but I had worked in hospitality, sales and marketing, so I gave it a try. From this experience, I learned that I loved franchising, but that I would never own a restaurant, as it is such a difficult business to own and operate, which was my a ha moment to stay in franchising, but in an industry that I am passionate about.
I’ve always loved health and wellness, and John Q. and Steve Strickland, the founders of Workout Anytime whom I had known for many years, made me an offerI couldn’t refuse, selling franchises internationally and domestically, which I accepted. It’s exactly where I need to be because I’m very passionate about the business, and I love having the opportunity to help people follow their entrepreneurial dreams.The Workout Anytime franchise model is a business that everybody needs and almost everybody can afford. It’s truly been a great journey.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
A few years back, I met with a gentleman in South Carolina who was a multi-unit, multi-brand franchisee that had been in business for over 30 years owning a variety of franchises. He had previously looked in South Carolina for other fitness concepts for him and his partner to purchase, but they didn’t pan out. After that, he discovered Workout Anytime and was blown away. We had a great conversation over the phone, and after he came to discovery day to meet our partners and marketing team, he decided to purchase 20 different territories with Workout Anytime. And the neat part of the story is that his partner is LL Cool J.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The way I’ve learned so much about this business is through working and networking with people who are in FRanDev. When I first got into franchising, I was really a team of one. Of course, we had HR and legal, but in terms of development, I was really the only person who was in charge of development. I tried to learn as much as I could online and did a lot of research on my own, but really the way I started learning the business was by getting involved with organizations within the industry, attending different conferences and events. One of the things I love most about this industry is how forthcoming people are with information and best practices. I feel like my business really started flourishing when I started making connections with people in the industry and only wish that I had started doing that on day one of my career in franchising.
Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I’m selling franchises to people who are passionate about health and wellness and helping people. I’m helping people get into a business that they love, and they’re in turn able to create a warm and inviting environment where people feel comfortable coming in and working out. We’ve got the best equipment per square foot in the industry. Our franchisees and their team have a connection with our members and our members have a connection with them. We like to think of ourselves as the Cheers of the gym space! With Workout Anytime, it’s all about convenience. Being open 24/7/365, people can work out around their own schedule, and having that flexibility has been tremendous. After COVID, people know now more than ever know the importance of taking responsibility for their health and wellness. And as a result, 2022 was a record-breaking year for us in terms of membership growth.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better well-being? Please give an example or story for each.
1) Sleep is so important. After many years of being a parent and taking care of my family, I’ve learned it’s so important to get a good night of sleep to take care of myself. Once I go to bed, I don’t even like to have my phone near me or any other distractions. I try to get at least seven solid hours of sleep every night, and a nap here and there is always lovely!
2) Work out! Just like all the other important things in your life, you should put exercise on your calendar. That’s one of the reasons I love teaching fitness groups, because it’s on my calendar and I know I have to be there. Working out can really be any activity that you enjoy, but you have to find what you like and works for you, and add it to your routine.
3) Hydrate. You can never drink enough water.
4) Nutrition. I’m a huge fruit and vegetable person. I’m not a vegetarian, but the recommendation is three to five fruits and vegetables a day, and I always adhere to that.
5) Attitude is everything. You can either be a glass-half-empty or a glass-half-full person, and I’m definitely a glass-half-full person. Out of bad things, good things happen. And in life, you have to look for those good things, because they’re there.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I want to encourage more people to get up, get out and get moving. Go try a group fitness class. They’re absolutely great. They’re fun and social, and they bring people together. I’ve met some of my best friends at the gym, and we’ve been friends for over 40 years now. But in order to do that, you need to get up, get out and get moving. Get away from your phone, get away from your computer and just get out there.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1) I wish someone told me about franchising a lot earlier than they did because it’s a business that I really love. I’ve been doing it for almost a decade now, but I wish I had gotten into it a lot sooner in life.
2) Network as much as you can! You never know what types of opportunities can come up just by sharing a conversation with someone. Have a great attitude, and put yourself out there and never judge a book by its cover!
3) Take risks.Don’t be afraid to try something new, even if you’re unsure what could happen.
4) Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
5) Hard work always pays off. Put in the work from day one, and it will pay off in the end, always.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health is something I’m very passionate about. As a society, I don’t think we’re doing enough to support people with mental health challenges. Sure, there are a number of programs that are available for the short term, but I don’t think enough is being done for the long term. I have a family member who suffers from mental health issues, and until you experience it firsthand, it can be hard to really understand the depth of the issue. There needs to be more solid long-term programs for people who are suffering from mental health issues
What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?
You can find me on LinkedIn! I love sharing informative and fun posts on social media and connecting with like minded entrepreneurs!
Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.
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