Entrepreneurial spirit

We catch up with Chloe Bruce of Chloe Bruce Academy, a thriving startup business that offers virtual martial arts classes and tutorials for people across the globe

So, tell us about the Chloe Bruce Academy. How was the business venture born? What was the inspiration behind it?

“The Chloe Bruce Academy was inspired by my role as a new mum and my desire to find a fulfilling career that allowed me to work from home while pursuing my passion for martial arts.

“The idea for the academy struck me during lockdown when I noticed the growing popularity of online training. I took the opportunity and created the Chloe Bruce Academy—an online digital martial arts portal offering over 200 on-demand training classes.

“I took out a Start Up Loan, via Let’s Do Business, and now, from the comfort of my garden studio, I have the privilege of teaching individuals from around the world. It’s a role that brings me immense joy and satisfaction.”

Can you tell us about your entrepreneurial background and working life before launching the academy?

“I have always been self-employed, with a 4th Degree Black Belt and 30 years of martial arts training under my belt. With over 15 years of successful coaching and workshop instruction, I have established a reputable position in the health and fitness industry.

“Prior to creating the Chloe Bruce Academy, I also had a thriving career as a stunt double. For the past 12 years, I have had the privilege of serving as a stunt double for remarkable actors such as Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy, Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and Silvia Hoeks in Blade Runner 2049, among others.

“However, everything changed when I became pregnant with my eldest daughter in 2017. The desire to be present with my family and not constantly away from home compelled me to make a significant change. It was at that moment I embraced my entrepreneurial spirit and embarked on the journey of launching the Chloe Bruce Academy.”

What different courses/support does the Chloe Bruce Academy offer?

“The Chloe Bruce Academy is a successful online training platform that offers a wide range of courses and support to students. Our primary focus is on delivering exceptional martial arts, yoga, and flexibility instruction, aiming to inspire students to strive for excellence through elite coaching and positive influences.

“In addition to the physical training, the Chloe Bruce Academy places great emphasis on the holistic development of each student. We foster an empowered mindset by nurturing the following key concepts: high goal-setting, self-confidence, perseverance, inspiration and humility.

“Our academy caters to diverse needs, offering a variety of courses to accommodate different skill levels and goals. From introductory courses for beginners to elite six-week programs tailored for competitors seeking maximum flexibility and leg strength, we provide comprehensive training opportunities.

“Moreover, our flexibility courses and an extensive library of over 200 individual classes are available to all members through our online portal. We take pride in offering the most optimal martial arts training available on the internet.”

How has your journey as a startup business been?

“The journey as a startup business has been full of highs and lows. I approached it with unwavering determination, ensuring thorough preparation to minimise the chances of failure upon launch.

“Witnessing over 50 people join within the first week was an incredibly surreal moment that affirmed the payoff of my hard work. As an entrepreneur, I took on multiple roles, managing everything from content creation and editing to marketing, web design and even accounts. While being an entrepreneur is awe-inspiring, it also requires being a Jack of all trades, especially when financial constraints limit outsourcing opportunities.

“One of the most challenging setbacks was experiencing a website hack, resulting in members being unable to access their accounts or training for over three weeks. It felt like an eternity, and I despised letting them down when the resolution was beyond my control. However, we persevered, implementing enhanced security measures, and ultimately getting back on track towards success.

“Another significant setback stems from the current financial difficulties faced by the country. Many individuals are cutting down on expenses, leading to membership cancellations as they consider luxuries expendable.

“Despite this, I recognise the need to scale my business and understand the circumstances people are facing. With resilience, I continue to march forward, determined to overcome these challenges and forge a path towards growth.”

How did the £12,500 loan support you as a startup?

“The £12,500 loan from Start Up Loans played a key role in supporting my startup. I allocated the funds towards two key areas: developing a membership website and creating a mobile app to complement the desktop version. This investment allowed individuals from around the world to train with me 24/7, on any device of their choice.

“Establishing a sense of community within the Chloe Bruce Academy was essential, so we dedicated resources to constructing a community area where students can interact, support one another and cultivate a spirit of camaraderie within the academy.

“Furthermore, a portion of the loan was used to produce a small advert and capture captivating images for an effective business launch and marketing campaign. These visual assets proved invaluable, making a strong initial impact and generating interest in the academy. The financial support provided by Start Up Loans facilitated the implementation of these vital components, enabling a successful start to my venture.”

What can we expect from you in 2023 and beyond? Are there any exciting plans on the horizon?

“We have a multitude of exciting plans in store for 2023 and beyond. One of the notable initiatives underway is the filming of a comprehensive black belt syllabus, enabling individuals to train online and advance through the gradings from white belt to achieve their black belt. While the implementation of this ambitious endeavour poses logistical challenges on the website, I am confident that we achieve our goal. It will be an incredible addition to our offering, which has been requested by our members.”

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