So Wen Li, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m an ACE certified personal trainer and the co-founder of THESWEATCO. a fitness and wellness platform. I am also the Studio & Marketing Manager of Union Strength and a boxing coach at Tribe Boxing Studio.
When did you decide to quit your corporate job & kickstart your career in the fitness industry?
I made a decision about 4 years into my corporate job in a global law firm. At this point I was training to become a boxing coach and fitness had been my priority since I was 19. In 2018, I had the chance to be a part of a fitness startup and that was my first turning point.
From a legal business development role, I transitioned into what literally was my “dream job” - business development in the fitness start up industry. Fast forward 7 months, the company was acquired and I was let go.
At this point I had been a boxing coach for close to a year. I knew that I really wanted to plant myself in the fitness industry. So I decided that I need to up-skill myself first. I took the test and got certified as a personal trainer. Expanded my clientele slowly and started at the Union Strength gym as well.
Fast forward another 10 months, I co-founded THESWEATCO. with my partner, Janine and two years later we’ve created a community of over 2,000 individuals and growing!
What was your life like in your corporate job? How does it differ with your life now?
It was structured, stable and simple. It was a 9-to-6 role and I clocked out at 6:30pm for the gym or fitness classes most days. I made a ton of mistakes. I got schooled a lot. I grew as an individual over the years. I went on long vacations. I was contented but I was complacent.
My life today is unstable in every way. To put it simply, if I don’t put the work in - the money will not roll in. Running a small business also means that I can’t clock out as easily. But what really keeps me going is the position that I am in to help change someone’s life.
"What really keeps me going is the position that I am in to help change someone’s life."
What have you learnt from this experience that you may not have had otherwise?
I’ve learned that I can adapt. The 22 year old me fresh out of university would not have dreamed of more than a 9-to-6 corporate job, climbing the corporate ladder, marriage, kids and the end.
If I had not fought to stay in the fitness industry, I would not have realised that after 72 hours of crying and whining about whatever mess I was in, I’d likely have a solution by the 73rd hour.
What has been your proudest moment so far since you switched careers?
Side story, my parents are amazing but incredibly old fashioned when it comes to the “right career”. So I kept this from them, admittedly for way too long, hoping to speak to tell them when I became more stable in my roles. In the end, they read the article, I had a few frantic calls and today I THINK they somewhat are at peace with my decision!
Do you have any advice for others who are thinking of doing the same?
If you want to create or do something today. Go for it, as cliche as it sounds. Even if you’re moving to a different country for studies. Even if you have a full time corporate job. Even if you think you’ll fail and look stupid.
The world does not care if you fail or succeed. Whatever you do, it is for yourself at the end of the day.