What is your current title? - President of FC Online Marketing Inc./ iLoveKickboxing.com. Co-owner of 27th Street Kickboxing Inc., Chelsea, NYC

What is your company name? - 27th Street Kickboxing Inc. aka iLoveKickboxingChelseaNYC.com and FC Online Marketing Inc.

What is your favorite piece of workout equipment? - Training bags used for Kickboxing

What is your favorite healthy snack? - Natural peanut butter with Fuji apples

What is your favorite quote or saying? - "Today we are the shapers of the world of tomorrow" -- Walt Disney

Just two years ago, Daniella Cippitelli Abruzzo took a chance and left a successful 15-year career in media and technology and began working from her dining room table with a vision and a drive to change lives. The vision is now promising to become one of the fastest growing and most popular fitness franchises in the country. But her journey has been far from conventional; a battle with bone cancer, divorce, raising two young children and a career change propelled her into this chapter of her life. 

Daniella is one of the powers behind iLoveKickboxing.com. If you haven't come across one of their 236 nationwide locations or heard of their studio in Chelsea, New York City, you’ll be hearing of them soon. The iLoveKickboxing.com movement has enrolled more than 82,000 participants in the past two years, and Daniella doesn't see this trend ending anytime soon.

Daniella became interested in fitness in her 20s when she started taking martial arts lessons. She was inspired to get her personal trainer certification and a specialization in martial arts conditioning but never considered it would be a career path at any point in her life. She helped coworkers in her company gym with proper technique and offered fitness advice purely because she enjoyed helping others.

She moved away from fitness for some time, and when she was 39, two months after the birth of her second child, her passion for fitness was reignited following emergency gallbladder removal. Daniella calls this her "come to Jesus" moment. Realizing the importance of focusing on her health, she was determined to get back into a lifestyle of fitness. After losing about 40 pounds, she discovered a tumor on her rib; had she not lost weight, she may not have discovered it. 

After doctors removed the rib, Daniella was diagnosed with bone cancer and began radiation treatment -- not exactly the plan of life anyone expects. Daniella not only vowed to maintain fit throughout her treatment, but committed to inspire and educate others undergoing cancer treatments and those suffering from other life-altering conditions. She knew her story and spirit of recovery could serve to connect with others during a time when patients typically have discouraged spirits and little hope.

Following a successful recovery, Daniella was offered an opportunity to get involved in the martial arts industry on the technology side; a perfect fit to combine her career in media and technology with her passion for fitness. She hasn't turned back since. Initially, she redesigned and developed the fitness kickboxing website for a friend's martial arts school. They soon realized the untapped potential in offering adult fitness kickboxing classes as an opportunity to make fitness accessible for adults as well as offer a new profit center for martial arts studio owners. 

Daniella credits one of her best business decisions as partnering with the same friend who asked her to help him promote his school. As business partners, they complement each other's unique set of skills and that continues to be a key component to the brand’s success. With her technology and fitness background combined with his martial arts marketing background and connections within the industry, the two were able to introduce the best fitness kickboxing program to the masses while revolutionizing the martial arts industry. 

iLoveKickboxing.com initially started as a marketing vehicle for martial arts schools and has morphed into a completely systematized program that and can be easily replicated and implemented. The business offers complete online presence for the martial arts schools that participate in their program and also manages enrollment so new members come to their first workout already having purchased an introductory membership. iLoveKickboxing.com is a model that is a win-win for both the business owner and the fitness client; a model that Daniella realizes has the potential to become a dominant global brand.

Daniella is committed because she knows the business model works; it works for business owners because it is systematized, structured and turnkey. And it works for clients (82,000 and counting) because it's not just a fun workout, but also an effective fitness program. Currently, iLoveKickboxing.com programs are found primarily in martial arts schools (more than 200 nationwide), and Daniella and her partner recently opened the first corporate standalone location in Chelsea, New York City. This was the first step in taking the business to the next level: franchising the business and opening franchise opportunities to other industries and entrepreneurs. 

Amidst these exciting steps of rapid growth, Daniella finds one of her biggest challenges is balancing the consumer and the business sides of being a fitness entrepreneur. Her typical day starts at 4:30 a.m. to get in her workout, get her kids ready for school, and get to the office to focus on the business. She still manages to meet her son and daughter at the bus in the afternoon, and finishes her day communicating with clients and members through social media outlets. 

Daniella credits her ability to be productive because she schedules everything and more importantly, knows her priorities and understands that being flexible is key. She also realizes that she has been given a unique privilege through her illness, her story and her experience to understand what is truly important in life. That allows her to keep it all in perspective ... she doesn't sweat the small stuff.

Daniella advises that in order to succeed in your business you must deeply believe in your concept. Without 100% belief in your concept, your efforts will be fruitless. Secondly, target and saturate your niche market; once you find success within that niche, look to expand to other markets. If you decide to have a business partner, be sure your partner is complementary to your skills, not in competition. 

Daniella also stresses the importance of implementing systems in your business so it can be successfully replicated. She also emphasizes the importance of systematizing every aspect of your business: your curriculum, sales strategy, client conversion, marketing, websites and other internet and social media marketing, and training manuals. And ultimately, don't corner yourself into any one particular focus. You want to be focused on your vision and goal, but don't underestimate the power of flexibility and openness to new concepts and ideas that can take your vision to fruition.

Daniella and her business partner are excited about what the future holds. They are in the process of franchising iLoveKickboxing.com and will be opening up franchise opportunities and more corporate studios. 

On a more personal venture, Daniella still has a passion to work with cancer patients and survivors to motivate and encourage them to remain active. She has the greater goal of educating the medical industry of the need to incorporate fitness and activity during treatment and recovery. 

A successful business such as iLoveKickboxing.com or the career of someone like Daniella is rarely about happenstance or pure luck. This is why we title this feature "Journey to Success." From the outside looking in, we aren't always privy to the stories, the experiences, the challenges and pitfalls, the money lost or relationships broken that have been instrumental in defining a journey to success. But we should be encouraged to look at a story of success and truly appreciate the journey and the experiences that define it. 

Daniella's story, her journey and her experience truly mark her ability to connect with people and to follow a vision and a passion. She is shaped by her story and because of this she will undoubtedly create a legacy of having a profound impression on thousands of lives. We should all be inspired by Daniella as a reminder to not forget our own stories and the experiences that shape and define who we are and that serve as our own catalyst of success.

Follow  

What is your average annual income for your fitness-related work/business?