Ander Wilson

The Most Difficult Business Move That Paid Off Big Time (but not the way you think)

Hot & Healthy Habits, Dieting, Personal, NutritionAnder Wilson
Me & Amanda! Photo by Cat & Zach Photography

Me & Amanda! Photo by Cat & Zach Photography

This story is part of the Fearless Footprint Story Tour, a virtual “tour” where 7 women leaders are posting over the course of 7 days about the experiences in which they started to live with meaning, lead fearlessly, and be who they were created to be! Check out the full story tour line up here.

Hey there! Ander Wilson here, signing on to Kelly Scott’s Fearless Footprint Story Tour. Kelly asked me to share a story with you about a time I embraced my role as a leader, broke through fear, insecurity, and doubt, and stepped into the role I desired. 

So dear reader, I’m not quite sure what you’re expecting, but here’s my story about quitting a solid 6-figure diet and exercise business (created in less than a year) that I co-founded with my business partner Amanda Adams. We had the “online entrepreneurial lifestyle” that you see in Facebook ads (think fancy photos of Kate Spade desk accessories and “office days” working from the beach), with crazy flexibility and freedom, and on track to make serious bank.

But then we did something potentially very stupid.

Against almost everyone’s advice, with full understanding that we might crash and burn, we completely stopped selling our best selling product, ditched our wildly successful brand, took a huge pay cut, swore off selling diets for good, and created something that did not exist before. Spoiler alert: It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I end up so incredibly happy and in my sweet spot, doing what I’m created to do. 

So what made us do that crazy thing? 

Simple--the realization that diets (the thing we had built our business around) do not work. 

That’s right, after 10 years of working in the fitness, diet and supplement industries, Amanda and I were hit with this startling and super inconvenient fact. I’m a Registered Dietitian for crying out loud! And Amanda is a Fitness Model and Certified Personal Trainer. It wasn’t looking good. 

*Gut punch* We weren’t really helping people. 

We spent an entire year reading the research about the abysmal success rate of diets. The research confirmed what we had already observed in the women who we’d worked with for years. Not only do weight-loss diets not work, but there’s a mountain of evidence to support the fact that they can be traumatic, lead to eating disorders, and result in an all-around less fulfilling life (Yes, even the “balanced” diets that claim they’re not really a diet, but a lifestyle *cue eye roll*). So not only were we not really helping women in the long run (you know, past 21 days or 12 weeks or however long a diet lasts), but we were potentially causing harm. 

That was the point of no return. We were done with diets for good. 
Pssst! If you want more info about the research behind why we stopped selling diets then watch our YouTube video here!

So what’d we do next? The thing no one ever tells you to do. 

We basically looked at what every other successful business in our industry (diet and exercise) was doing, and said “Um no, we’re going to do something different.” You know how you’re supposed to find best practices and do those? Yeah, we did the opposite. 

The result is Hot & Healthy Habits, a brand dedicated to helping women be healthy without dieting, without supplements, without detoxes or cleanses. We work to clear up the confusion around food, health, and fitness while promoting body diversity, community, self-love, and fun! Seriously, it’s the best! 

In 6 short months we’ve created an incredible online community, a 12-Week eCourse that will truly change your life, awesome cookbooks and apparel, and the biggest event we’ve ever put on called the Hot & Healthy Habits Retreat (Happening tomorrow, by the way… excuse me while I try not to pass out).

Turning our business around meant we needed to GROW UP. 

By grow up I mean that we needed to break through our fear, insecurity and doubt and own the fact that we actually do know what we’re doing in business and health. We’re not newbies anymore, and we can take risks, make decisions, act on our convictions, and operate outside the norm.

Before deciding to fully trust our gut, we were suckers for conventional wisdom, best practices, and advice from anyone who’d been working at this entrepreneurial stuff for a second long than us. It was all a crutch. It kept us from trusting our gut, believing in ourselves, and fully owning our own expertise (Turns out, we’re actually really smart about a lot of things. Who would have thought!?) and daring to venture out and create something entirely new. 

Spent, and loving it. 

Quick money? We know how to make that. Lasting change? That’s what we’re after now, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be on the long, slow journey of making a lasting difference. Our work is so much harder, but feels oh so good. At the end of the day, I’m spent, but the good kind of spent. The spent where you feel like you’ve poured out all of yourself, gave it everything you’ve got, and you’re going to bed on empty. 

It’s an incredible feeling to know that you gave it your all without holding anything back. It’s exhausting, and I have a difficult time putting into words how hard it is, but be assured that it is so incredibly worth it. 

To keep riding the story tour train, check out Shauna’s post from yesterday (you won’t want to miss this one!) and stay tuned for Emily’s post tomorrow! The full line up for the Fearless Footprint Story Tour is available here.