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There’s usually a reason why they call it WORKing out. Feels more like a chore than anything pleasurable. This is not the case for Bernadette Henry and her fitness/lifestyle brand Make It Fun NYC. If you follow her on any social media app, you’ll know the high explosive energy that just pours out of her videos. Make It Fun NYC is just that, fun. Her videos were so entertaining to watch, I just had to reach out. Read about Bernadette growing up in the Bronx, her plan for hosting events in other states and Barbados, and how I learned about our shared inspiration from Gary Vaynerchuk.
“Bernadette Robinson provides courses, fitness accessories, and motivation for those looking to live their best life — body, mind and spirit.”
#NYCShopSmall: Tell me about your business, and why and how you got started..
Bernadette Henry: I’m a newbie Entrepreneur of Make It Fun NYC.
I make jump rope and fitness fun.
I’ve been jumping rope all my life. As an adult I developed my style. In the early days, I was volunteering my time to teach jump rope classes at gyms, churches, events, etc.
In 2015, I started getting recognition and decided that it was time to start my own thing.
#NYCSS: That’s great! It’s definitely a great workout. It’s cool that you thought to make it entertaining instead of “work”. How did your love for jumping rope start? Just picked it up one day and loved it?
Bernadette: Jump rope is a whole lot of work! I’ve made it tolerable during the workout classes. So much fun that they forget, until the next day that is..
As a black girl growing up in the Bronx/Harlem, that’s all we did.
Double dutch and jump rope games during school recess and in the summertime on the street. As far as single rope, my earliest memory was a competition we had in middle school. I won first place for doing 120 jumps in a minute. From there I was determined to learn how to jump.
My raw talent was developed by two professional middleweight boxers at the age of 19. Been jumping ever since.
#NYCSS: Yes! That definitely has to ache the day after. I was never really good at double dutch. I was more of a single rope girl!
That’s amazing and a great accomplishment, so you must have nostalgia almost everyday. Have you ever thought about entering in the Guinness World Records?
Bernadette: Oh no, I wouldn’t make it into the Guinness World Records lol.
#NYCSS: This is an amazing story, so glad I reached out.
So you have your own space for classes?
Bernadette: No, I usually rent out space.
#NYCSS: What stopped you from investing in your own space?
Bernadette: I’m not teaching full-time and I would need a huge space. A space that may fit 25 people for Zumba, might be good for about 5 jumpers.
As the momentum builds and I train other instructors, I’d definitely look into spaces.
#NYCSS: Right, I see. Have you ever held outdoor events?
Bernadette: No, I haven’t held events yet. I really need to. I can’t just do it on random sidewalks though. I believe in jumping on surfaces that are safe.
#NYCSS: Of course! What about holding an outdoor event in Central Park or something similar?
Bernadette: That would be great. I’d definitely need help from people with experience planning events.
#NYCSS: So, as of right now it’s just you teaching and holding the classes?
Bernadette: Yes, I’m the only one that teaches the classes. I am also working on some programs for the online space.
#NYCSS: What’s stopping you from doing this full-time?
Bernadette: I have to make sure that I can replace my income and I also love my current job.
#NYCSS: I see, that’s a challenge.
Have you ever had real newbie students that had no experience jumping when they first started?
Bernadette: I always have newbies. I had one in my latest class. She came in doing about 2 jumps. By the end she was doing everything in the class.
#NYCSS: Wow, that’s great. How do you motivate them to keep trying? Do they ever get discouraged?
Bernadette: I always let people know that we do a lot of different things in class and that they will pick up some things quicker than others.
I’m a great motivator and I make them feel comfortable enough to try.
By the end of class, they are so confident especially with the drill that I have at the end of each class.
#NYCSS: That’s great! You seem like a great instructor and teacher. That’s extremely important for people learning new things and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones.
It also helps when the teacher loves what they do. It really spreads the passion and joy. You seem to do a great job with that.
So what would you say was your first major goal with your business and how long did it take to accomplish?
Bernadette: I’ve accomplished a lot alone but being a bottleneck in your business will prevent you from helping more people and making more money.
I still consider myself a beginner Entrepreneur.
A great goal for me right now would be to have 10+ people in my classes. Future goals would be to fill classes, have several online products including my own jump rope, conduct workshops, and motivational speaking.
#NYCSS: You have great ambition. You definitely know that slow and steady wins the race.
So, what’s something you want to do within the next year that you’ve never done before?
Bernadette: I want to teach classes in different states. I may even be teaching in Barbados this May!
#NYCSS: Wow, that’s awesome!
Make It Fun — International!
What inspires you to keep doing what you’re doing?
Bernadette: I love the impact that I have on people.
I love showing them that their workout should be fun and not feel like a chore.
I also love to show people how to effectively use jump ropes to meet their personal fitness goals.
#NYCSS: You definitely achieve that! I’ve never even enjoyed jumping rope but you make it look so damn fun! How do you convince people to keep trying the different styles you’re teaching them?
Bernadette: By showing them a different way. They walk away with at least five or more ways to mix it up.
#NYCSS: Very cool. So I have to ask, what do you like to do in your spare time? Lol..
Bernadette: Spare time?? Ha, I hardly have that. I spend time with my children.
#NYCSS: Well that still counts!
If you could pick up a new skill instantly, what would it be?
Bernadette: Content Marketing..
#NYCSS: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen or read this week?
Bernadette: Innovate or die. Gary Vee used that caption on his Toys R Us video but I also read something like that in his book. Also, one of my friends Instagram posts had that same concept.
#NYCSS: Very nice! I love Gary Vee. Met with him in person one time. Changed my life. It makes me smile when I meet others from the VaynerNation.
So, you’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?
Bernadette: Neon orange.
It’s such a loud and bright color. Full of life.
#NYCSS: I love it! To wrap things up, I have some Would-You-Rather questions.
Would you rather be 10 minutes late or 20 minutes early?
Bernadette: 20 minutes early, but I’m usually late.
#NYCSS: Would you rather never have to work again or never sleep again?
Bernadette: Never work.
#NYCSS: Would you rather know the history of every object you touched or talk to animals?
Bernadette: Talk to animals
#NYCSS: That’s a first for that question!
Would you rather live in a see-through house in the city or the same see-through house in the middle of nowhere far from civilization?
Bernadette: See-through would have to be in the middle of nowhere.
#NYCSS: Wow, again another first for that question too!
Would you rather have a flying carpet or a car that can drive underwater?
Bernadette: Flying carpet
#NYCSS: Okay, last one..Would you rather have $50,000 to spend on anything you want or travel the world for a year, all expenses paid?
Bernadette: Travel the world.