“We the Prosperous” – Meet Kiera, a #GirlOnFire Set on Keeping Philly Fit!

Customer Stories, Self-Employed IMG_7090

Every Intuit customer has their own unique story. Along each of their journeys, they find passion, share advice, take risks, celebrate success, and form a community of their own.

From small business owners, to the self-employed and those simply seeking ways to be more financially savvy – we’re here to be a part of each story and champion our customers as they take steps forward on their path to prosperity. Hear how the power of many comes together to support the business of one with #WeTheProsperous.

Meet Kiera Smalls, one of our #GirlOnFire nominees and co-founder of City Fit Girls. She’s a power-user of both TurboTax and Mint, and keeping her city of Philadelphia fit through community and self-betterment.

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Intuit: Kiera, tell me about your business!

Kiera: I co-founded City Fit Girls about five years ago as part of my own weight loss journey. I had lost close to 100 pounds, and all my friends and family wanted to know my secret to success and how to take control of their health like I had. I started hosting boot camps throughout the city of Philadelphia, and began to invite women to come work out with us. That’s how City Fit Girls was born! At the time, Instagram was new, and we started building up the account and our online community followed.

We now have a running club where we run every Wednesday for three miles. There are usually 20-40 runners in the winter, and up to 80-100 during the summer. We also have Fit Retreat, which is an event for women where the first half of the trip is focused on fitness, and the second half on self-care and mental health. We also offer private workouts.

Intuit: Why did you choose to start your own business/become self-employed?

Kiera: I actually used to work in HR, and then started hosting bootcamps on the side. I thought it would make sense to start charging for our time and expertise, so my co-founder and I turned it into a LLC called City Fit Girls and started charging!

I most recently became Executive Director of Philly Startup Leaders, which is a new industry for me and allows me to leverage my experience starting my own business.

Intuit: What do you wish someone told you before you started your self-employed journey?

Kiera: I’m not mad that I didn’t know this, but I wish I had had more insight into building a community, and turning a side-hustle into something real. It would have been nice to have more knowledge on operating and revenue streams, and what to prioritize. We are now at the point where City Fit Girls is driven by community, not just numbers and sales.

Intuit: What would you say was your main obstacle to becoming successful? How did you overcome it?

Kiera: The main obstacle was trying different things, and not having a strategy of how to build the community. People started following the business, but it was difficult to build the community we wanted and access a network that would help us move forward. It used to be tough to secure bigger brand partnerships, but over time we got to the point where we could start turning requests down. This came as a result of continuing to stick to our mission and focus on community first.

Intuit: What’s been most surprising and challenging about your self-employed journey?

Kiera: The most challenging thing has been taking it to the next level, and what that means for business operations, finances, etc. It’s tough putting tools in place where City Fit Girls can scale. The most surprising thing was how easy and natural it was building a community that included people that looked like us. We did not think we would have such a strong community of similar individuals. We received so many messages from people saying our community was amazing, full of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Intuit: Starting a business and becoming self-employed isn’t easy; what has made the journey worth it to you?

Kiera: Seeing women in our community reach goals they’ve set for themselves has been the most rewarding. Seeing someone who is not a runner go run a 5K and eventually their first marathon – that is awesome. I also ran my first marathon in 2016, and that was big for me. We’re pushed forward by the feedback we get every day to better ourselves and our community.

Intuit: Who are you inspired by?

Kiera: Aside from Oprah…I am inspired by so many people. I am most inspired by the women in our community; they are responsible for the success of City Fit Girls. You don’t quite know how much of an impact you have on people.

Intuit: What drew you to Intuit’s products? How do you use them?

Kiera: When it was time to do my own taxes, I was told through word-of-mouth that I had to use TurboTax. It’s such an easy approach to taxes, and the user experience keeps getting better. If you don’t use Turbo Tax, what is wrong with you?!

I also use the Mint app to check my daily finances. It’s one of the few apps I’m OK getting notifications from. The interface is approachable and easy to navigate.

Intuit: Who do you lean on for support? Who do you go to for questions about your business?

Kiera: I lean on my co-founder, Takia McClendon, who is also my best friend. We’ve been friends and entrepreneurs for years. Whenever I have a question about anything, I go to her for help.

Intuit: What are your goals for the year?

Kiera: Our goals are to expand programming and grow the company. We want 100 people to run with us on Wednesday nights, and to launch programming and run clubs in other cities. I also want to build out our FitRetreat weekends, and do a better job of focusing on mental health awareness and self-care. Lastly, I want to think critically about what success looks like – everything from how to spend, how to save, and maybe even hiring new employees.

Intuit: What does prosperity mean to you?

Kiera: Prosperity means living the life you’ve always dreamed of with minimal roadblocks along the way. It means having financial freedom that leads to an abundant amount of growth and success.

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