Nanaimo, Vancouver Island/Coast
Driven Performance Fitness Ltd.
Nanaimo, Vancouver Island/Coast
Driven helps people improve their physical, mental and emotional health by providing them with guidance, support, accountability and community.
In Business Since 2013
Best Community Impact
What motivated you to start your business and what core cause do you support?
At my heaviest I was 80 lbs overweight, despite always being active... my energy wasn't the same, my mood wasn't the same, I had becoming a different person... I felt lost... I couldn't recognize myself in the mirror anymore. I knew I deserved better, my family deserved better I just didn't know how to do it properly. I tried every diet out there, shakes, pills what have you and it would at best work for a few weeks only to realize what I was doing was not sustainable, slip, gain back the few pounds I had lost and then some. I realized it had to be done in a different way if it was going to stick. I had to be eating real food, I had to be sustainable and enjoyable. That's when I finally lost the weight myself. I then set out to help other busy parents enjoy a happier, healthier lifestyle through fitness, real nutrition and mindset coaching. We've been able to help thousands of parents create balance in their life, develop healthy habits and enjoy a more active lifestyle which in turn teaches their children that healthy food and exercise are not things we do to "fix" something that's gone wrong, but rather what our bodies prefer! Since the pandemic we've been able to continue to support our client through virtual fitness classes and it's amazing to see parents and their kids enjoying a healthy lifestyle and having fun while working out in their living room.
Why do you deserve to win the Best Community Impact award?
The fitness industry was one of the hardest hit industries, causing many facilities to shut down or go bankrupt during the pandemic. Thanks to our adaptability we've been able to not just remain in business but grow substantially in the last 12 months, hired 9 new staff, which directly benefits our community give them full benefits and freedom to work from home. Our growth allows us to impact more people which in turn allows us to create more positive changes in this and other communities through our donations.
Best Immigrant Entrepreneur
Please tell us your personal story and about your business. How you started, and how you have overcome challenges.
Originally immigrated from Mexico in 2005, where I graduated from Accounting. Living in Canada was a dream come true but I had to start from the bottom as my studies didn't carry over. I landed in Montreal with $150 dollars to my name, I got a job at a box factory, folding boxes for 16 hrs/day making less than minimum wage. The first few weeks were challenging. I could only afford to rent a rundown 15 x 15 suite, that was overrun by insects & rodents every night when I came back from work. I didn't have a plate to eat or a fork to eat with, one night I remember not eating dinner because I didn't have a can opener to open the can of food I had bought at the dollar store, I didn't have a knife or anything so I went to bed instead. Every day for the first few weeks I would have to walk to the mall to use the washroom because I didn't have toiletries or soap to wash my hands with at home. I did not feel sorry for myself. I felt honoured to be in Canada. I was excited for my future. I worked hard, got a raise, moved apartments, met my son's mom, when we got pregnant we moved to BC to be close to her family in 2008. In 2010 I started my first business. I imported electric mopeds, assembled them by hand & rented them out by the hour. Due to the seasonal nature of the business and my lack of experience, I shut it down after 2 years & went back to work sorting donations in a thrift store making $12 an hour. 2012 I got a great job at Shaw. Salary, benefits, etc. I felt like something was missing, I wanted to make a difference in people's lives so in my free time I started to do personal training, since nobody knew me as a trainer, I trained people for free in exchange for testimonials. I created my own logo, taught myself how to build websites. As my first few clients saw progress I knew that was my path so I quit my job at Shaw & jumped in with both feet, zero capital or safety net. My 1st client lost 100+ lbs in 8 months, word travelled fast, more people came to me for help. Today I employ 15 people, we focus on caring for our clients and together we've helped 2300 people lead a healthier happier life (16 of which lost 100+ lbs). We've been honoured with 9 awards, best personal trainer & fitness centre 4 years in a row & the chamber of commerce small business of the year. Today we donate thousands of dollars worth of food to the poorest areas in my hometown in Mexico every month. It's been a surreal journey so far, I feel blessed, honoured and grateful,
Why do you deserve to win the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur award?
In my eyes the Canadian dream is not just about coming to this beautiful country and making your life better... in my eyes it's about what can you do for others. How can you help make things better not just for you and your family but for every one that comes in contact with you. Canada is a country with plenty of opportunity, full of kind, respectful and accepting people. It might be easy to take it for granted if you've always had it so it's an honour that our business has such a direct impact in the quality of people's lives. Before the pandemic pushed us to innovate our mission was to make Nanaimo the healthiest city in the Canada, now our mission is to make Canada the healthiest, happiest country in the world.
What motivated you to start your business, what challenges did you overcome?
What motivated me to start my business was just a desire to have a larger impact in the world. I wanted to feel that my life served a purpose bigger than me. At one point I was 80 lbs overweight and very unhealthy, I set out to help others find a sustainable and enjoyable way to live healthier, happier lives so they can lead their families and their communities better. We've overcome many challenges. Starting from scratch in a city where nobody knew us, starting with zero capital, learn the ins and outs of running a business, that had to be self sustaining from day one due to a lack of options. We went through a period of time when things were very unstable, I didn't know a thing about leadership or management, systems and standard operating procedures. We had to learn all of that as we went. We were scammed out of $20,000 which were all our savings, recovered from that... had a flood that caused over $10,000 in damage and forced us to run our business in a parking lot, recovered from that... then the COVID pandemic hit and we've not just recovered but grown tremendously because of it. The team and I could not be more grateful to our clients for their support, it's an honour to serve them and we're committed to continue to improve every day to help them live healthier, happier lives!
Why do you deserve to win the Best Innovation award?
Driven has consistently demonstrated tremendous initiative and innovation fuelled by a non compromise approach to furthering our mission of helping our clients live healthier, happier lives. These innovations have transformed the way we do business, the way we serve our clients. We can reach and service people all over the country, our staff works remotely and has access to full benefits and paid vacation to ensure a proper work/life balance. Driven is committed to constant incremental improvement. We're only 8 years in, our goal is to continue to innovate and serve our clients for decades to come.
Premier's People's Choice
At Driven our #1 Core Value is "Lead with the Heart". Our clients and community appreciate this and are very loyal and supportive. They are the reason we didn't just survive the pandemic but have thrived despite it. They've voted us Best Personal Trainer and Best Fitness Centre in the year 4 years in a row and are very engaged, constantly providing us with their valuable feedback so we can continue to improve and serve them in the best way possible. With their support we believe we can accomplish our mission of making Canada the healthiest, happiest country in the world.