Samantha Hay is the formidable force behind Sweat Co, an outdoor fitness community specialising in small outdoor group training and personal training in Singapore.
We love entrepreneurs and small business owners at Honeycombers, which is why we’ve created Launchpad, a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It’s a privilege and pleasure to learn from so many talented and inspiring folks, so we’ve decided to share the love by interviewing some of the lovely Launchpad members. Looking for inspiration? Check out how Samantha Hay, the founder of Sweat Co, gets it done like a boss.
What is your backstory and why did you decide to launch your business?
My background is creative. I graduated with a fine arts degree from UNSW, Australia, which translated into a career as a freelance graphic designer, working at many publishing houses in London. I absolutely loved my London life – maybe too much, and this was my aha moment. At 29 and a half years old, I joined a gym, resolved to stop self-loathing, and became fitness-obsessed.
My husband was offered a job in NYC, and we said yes. This move allowed me to study web design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and land an awesome freelance job at Bobbi Brown in their in-house art team. I also fell for my local CrossFit box in South Brooklyn, Hard.
In an effort to make our way back to Australia, we relocated to Singapore and started a family. I took a break from the creative world and dedicated myself to being a crunchy mum. I honestly fell head over heels for this role. I was all in! My next fitness obsession was outdoor training. I couldn’t get enough of the year-round sunshine – so good after those six-month winters in NYC. I found my Singapore fitness family again and loved it so much that I founded Sweat Co.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
Gosh! Right from the beginning it has been challenging. Sweat Co was incorporated during the lockdown. Everything was done remotely, and I didn’t meet a single person in real life to get the business set up. I was overwhelmed and felt so alone. I am also here on a Dependents Pass, so I had to navigate all those fun LOC logistics.
Fortunately, I have an amazing second cousin who lives in Singapore, Jess, my remote support buddy. I am also using Sleek for all my accounting and compliance needs. I can design my logo, branding, website, social media, photography, group and personal training programs. But when it comes to setting up a business and all the boring accounting stuff, I could not have done it without my amazing cousin and outsourcing to Sleek.
How do you stay motivated and energised?
Sweat Co can be seasonal at times. With so many clients off the island for almost two months during the summer, it is hard to stay motivated and enthused for Sweat Co when the class numbers are low, and PT clients are travelling.
During these months, I remind myself of the age-old mantra, ‘This too will pass’. I tell myself to use this downtime to be quiet, and reflective and to spend more time with my family. I re-focus my energy on quality time with the kids, and I know by the time September arrives, I will be living my best Sweat Co life again, and I won’t even remember the quiet and contemplative days of the Sweat Co Summer.
How do you deal with self-doubt or criticism?
Imposter syndrome has plagued me incessantly since I became a personal trainer later in life. I am forever battling intrusive thoughts. “I am too old”, “my hair isn’t blonde”, “I am not thin”, “I don’t have a six-pack”, “I don’t look like a fitness pro”, “I am not dreaming big enough” – there are so many doubts.
These thoughts are still there, but I choose to keep going. I give them a big FU. I refuse to give in to these self-defeating thoughts. I know my worth. I see Sweat Co’s progress, the growing confidence in my clients, and the chitter-chatter after class. The Sweat Co community is more than folks turning up to class and taking off to get on with their day. The Sweat Co community is interested in each other, and each other’s lives; they look forward to coming to class and catching up. This fills my heart.
Favourite place(s) to work?
Well, with a name like Sweat Co, my favourite go-to place for group training and one-on-one coaching will always be outside at Telok Kurau Park or East Coast Beach.
Favourite business tool?
The myENV weather app is brilliant for real-time weather and haze tracking.
One thing you can keep talking about for hours?
Mobility and stretching. I cannot stress enough how important these elements of training are. A little piece of me dies when a client leaves class without staying for the full cooldown.
Your go-to self-care activity?
Self-care for me is anything that involves sweating. I will always make time for strength training and jump rope, although my guaranteed happy place is on my bike or my retro roller skates.
One piece of advice to your younger self?
You are talented, you are beautiful and bloody-minded, own it. And be nice, people are not as scary as you think.
Get in touch with Samantha online.
Launchpad is a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It is designed to make the entrepreneurial journey not only easier, and more successful, but also a whole lot more fun. We offer almost daily activities for members to connect, along with weekly masterclasses, member networking roulette, small-business mentoring and media profiles on Honeycombers. Check it out and join us!