- Tell us about yourself – who you are and what you do?
My name is Melanie Quinn but I am better known as Evil Barbee. I’m a personal trainer who runs Team Evil Barbee. We are a team made up of over 120+ incredible women and men we have created a supportive community full of workouts, coffee dates, and lots of fun.
- What was your first job and education?
My very first job was given to me by our local fruit shop where my parents shopped. We lived in Canberra and the markets were in a cold draughty old shed, but I loved it. I had to memorise the price of stock and do all the math the old fashion way!
- What was the pathway to your career or owning a business?
I never had a clear pathway as I moved a lot. My father was in the military then I married a man in the military. When you’re moving you don’t always get to take your job with you. I worked in education for 15 years then decided to combine my love of exercise, education, and my desire to help people into a business and here I am 8 years later with over 120 weekly clients with Team Evil Barbee.
- How did past recessions impact you personally and in your work?
Without a doubt the latest pandemic has had a huge impact on the fitness industry and my business. With twelve hours’ notice that gyms were closing, I had to adapt very quickly to keep my business and clients moving. COVID forced change but with my background of having to pick up and move with the military every few years it was something I felt oddly conditioned for. I moved all classes online and was able to keep our community together virtually while maintaining our health and fitness.
- Who/what helped you along the way?
Every person in business needs a network of people to lean on, it was essential for me to connect with other local business women who shared my vision of what I wanted Team Evil Barbee to be!
Marg my great friend has become my PA, sounding board and photographer. We work closely with Kerry our marketing expert. The three of us have shared ideas, laughs and a glass of wine along the way.
Margie Ireland, from Connect-Inspire-Transform, become my business mentor and challenge my thinking. She has helped me set goals and push my business forward.
Without a doubt my greatest influence has come from another fitness professional, Bex, she absolutely helped shape my business with her straight talking advice and her belief in me gave the added confidence I needed.
- What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given and by whom?
“Plan your perfect day” work the day you want otherwise you will burn yourself out.
Spoken by Bex my fitness mentor.
- How do you deal with challenging times?
I have the 30-minute rule. I set a timer for 30 minutes and allow myself to be upset, cry, stressed or worried. After that I move forward and find a solution.
- What drives you?
My desire to see people live a functionally fit happy life. It’s not just about the exercise, it’s about people connecting and building a community that support each other. There is no better feeling than seeing people smile and change.
- What are you most proud of?
I am incredibly proud of the culture that Team Evil Barbee has developed over the years. I am very happy to know that we have created an inclusive and safe environment for anyone, no matter what they look like or who they are, to come and be part of a team.
- What’s your greatest regret?
No regrets. None at all. Everything that has happened in my life got me to where I am. I’ve leant so much along the way that has shaped me into the person I am.
- What have been the biggest lessons you have learnt (in life and/or business)?
That the buck stops with me both in business and life. You get to choose how you live. My transient life has taught me to be adaptable and resilient and that first impressions matter. Time is valuable and you should spend time with people you love. Be prepared, be able to admit mistakes, and be ready to say sorry.
- What advice would you give to young women just starting out who want to succeed in the workplace?
My niece just started her own business and I remember our phone conversation saying, “What’s the worst that can happen? You won’t regret having a go, but you will regret not trying.’
Remember that when you start, you aren’t an experienced professional in your field. So, reach out to people who are and develop connections with others who may be able to mentor you. Grab a coffee and ask them some questions!
SheSociety is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.