I Quit My Corporate Job To Pursue A Career In Fitness

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Change is never easy - especially when it means having to leave a stable 9-6 job to pursue your passion. Yes, we've all heard that old adage, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" but in reality, it's a lot easier said than done! Very few have ventured into the path unknown and for many, the plain idea of an epochal career change is unnerving.
Wen Li [Boxing]
For today's feature, we spoke to one brave soul who, in pursuit of her passion for fitness, took the plunge head-on. 
We sat with coach-manager-entrepreneur, Lee Wen Li over a cup of coffee as she opens up about her switch from the corporate life to a career in the fitness industry and all of the quirks that come along with it.  

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.
I learned a great deal from my mentor and colleagues in that short span of time. And being let go in itself was a massive learning curve for me!
Wen Li

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."

On a daily basis I get to meet 20-30 different faces in class and help them get in the zone for an hour. I get to help my client’s reach their own potentials and build amazing relationships. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to reach out to so many individuals with the life that I have today.

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?

How do I choose! Okay, one of the proudest moments would be THESWEATCO. appearing on the national newspaper. We were almost a year old and that was our first media coverage.

THESWEATCO. on The Star Newspaper
This ironically represents one of the most awkward conversations of my life as well. I did not take into account that my parents (who I kept in the dark about my corporate-to-fitness role transition) obviously had access to the NATIONAL newspaper article as well.

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.
Wen Li [Union Strength]

The world does not care if you fail or succeed. Whatever you do, it is for yourself at the end of the day.

Do you have any regrets?

I wish I had the guts to start earlier in life! Which brings me back to - don’t wait to do what you want today!
Wow, if that's not going to get you going, we don't know what will. Thank you, Wen Li, for sharing your story with us! 
Want to keep up to date with Wen Li and what she gets up to? Follow her on Instagram @__wenli to get a glimpse into her action-packed daily life. 

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