Meet Casey Cardoso & Roseanna Colabella

Casey & Roseanna are the Founders of Muscles + Heart Fitness Lab

Casey & Roseanna are the Founders of Muscles + Heart Fitness Lab. Read our interview with Casey & Roseanna about their experiences with Xcelerate business advising (Sales & Marketing).

What inspired you to start your own business? 

A few things that keep inspiration up is the dream of time independence. The second is a degree in Exercise Physiology and Public Health and the mission of Health For All, with the vision to improve quality of life for all. Casey has been an inspired entrepreneur for 20+ years, running a small private practice until May 2022 when the ideas demanded the next phase of business development: a prototype fitness lab to scale into a franchise with house branded therapy techniques to turn into a duplicatable certification process.

A private sector sport medicine fitness lab adds innovative ideas to the industry for what we can accomplish in our communities to promote health and wellness. Medical fitness is a new and emerging field and an opportunity to be a part of health reform. We aim to better communities’ health outcomes and lower barriers of entry to effective and accessible preventive healthcare.  

In addition, watching aging generations suffer with illness and disease made us wonder if there was another way to go about the process of aging? This common curiosity and education in health and fitness science brought Casey and Roseanna together. With both of us having 20+ years experience in the health industry, we are keenly aware of significant disparity gaps. This has fueled our determination to make a “bigger than me” positive impact, not only in our own lives, but in the lives of others. 

We want to be inspirational women leaders of our time. Our goal is not only to elevate industry standards, it is more importantly, to enhance the well-being of individuals. This venture is a heartfelt commitment to fostering a healthier, more informed, and empowered future for all.

What are some of your key goals that you worked with Xcelerate on this year? 

1. Clarifying the brand message that supports an intriguing offer at multiple price options for online and offline product and services packages. 

2. Setting up the digital marketing messages and strategies for website and content marketing foundations: SEO setup and plan, landing pages, repurposing content strategies.

How has your identity as a woman and any and all other intersectional identities impacted your business? 

As Latina women navigating the business landscape, the fusion of cultural identity and gender has shaped both obstacles and strengths. Cultural nuances, values, and familial expectations have played a significant role in our decision-making and business practices. Additionally, being a first and second-generation American has demanded a sense of responsibility to succeed not just for personal aspirations but also to honor the sacrifices and aspirations of one's family.

Throughout life it has been made clear that I am neither a man nor white. Being a woman of non-white multiethnic background has its challenges in business capability and confidence that have impacted the growth rate of business. However, having grown up in the age of feminism we have been empowered to believe that opportunity is available to those who work hard enough for it and having a self-reliant business is the dream. It is, after all, the American freedoms that our parents and grandparents believed in that brought them to the land of possibility.

The reality of being first and second-generation Latina-American women has presented challenges and definitely influenced our entrepreneurial journey. For example, beginning with little to no financial or business education, startup capital, and not to mention the pressure of generational and cultural demands of self-reliance.

Limited access to financial education and startup capital has been a substantial hurdle. Overcoming this barrier has involved a steep learning curve and the need for resourcefulness. The expectation to "pull oneself up by the bootstraps" can be both a source of resilience and a weighty pressure. It underscores the importance of self-reliance but has also intensified the challenges of securing initial funding and navigating the complexities of business.

For us, the entrepreneurial journey has become a testament to perseverance, resourcefulness, and the ability to leverage our unique identities and experiences. Despite facing disparities in accessibility, there has been an opportunity to redefine success on our own terms and contribute to a more inclusive narrative of entrepreneurship. It is our hope that by sharing our story, our struggles will highlight the need for broader support systems, mentorship, and initiatives like Xcelerate that recognize and address the intersectional challenges faced by individuals with diverse backgrounds and identities in the business world.

What were some of the challenges you faced this year and how did working with Xcelerate help you to overcome these challenges?

Our biggest challenge this year was learning that our website was underperforming and that there was little to no search engine indexing.

Regaining control of the website and managing the online web presence became priority number one. It had been entrusted to a technology manager that was mismanaging the many obstacles to keep the brand message updated. 

After gaining control we were fortunate to be referred to Xcelerate and were offered guidance and support in different areas of business development. 

We started with a sales coach to help us define our message and clarify the services offered on the website. The training and mentorship offered by Xcelerate to clarify the message helped us to strategize the SEO and optimize the website for improved target audience focus and analytic performance. We felt supported and heard in our headaches and obstacles. We were also validated in our concerns and then pointed in a direction to gain some traction with our brand messaging and sales objectives.

Secondly, we worked closely with an Xcelerate digital marketing consultant that further helped us to hone our messaging strategy, ensuring that our communication effectively resonates with our intended audience. This collaborative effort not only helped us overcome the challenges posed by the previous website designer but also positioned us for enhanced success by aligning our online presence with our business goals. This collaborative support from Xcelerate became a key factor in navigating these challenges and achieving a more robust and optimized digital presence.

Are there any wins or achievements you have celebrated this year while working with Xcelerate?

The work completed this year has built the framework for our technical, creative and practical digital marketing strategy and model in time to launch our Wellness Revolution for New Year 2024. Also by defining our message we were able to set up our recruitment system to begin the next phase of business development and adding new team members to support our growth. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your Xcelerate experience? 

Our experience with Xcelerate has been incredibly enriching. Working with women coaches in the entrepreneurial space proved to be not only inspiring but transformative. Their guidance went beyond the technical aspects of the business and this played a pivotal role in building our confidence in ways we hadn't realized were lacking. The validation of hard work accomplished, coupled with the provision of step-by-step plans, and the encouragement to persevere was instrumental in navigating challenges and making meaningful progress.

Moreover, the discovery of a community of colleagues within the Xcelerate network introduced us to others like us - ambitious, self-driven, business women of color. It gave us a safe space to ask questions. Sharing experiences, insights, and encouragement within this community became a driving force that fueled our determination to keep going. The collaborative spirit and collective wisdom offered by this community provided a sense of camaraderie that has been invaluable to our entrepreneurial growth.

In essence, our Xcelerate experience has been more than just a business program; it has been a holistic and empowering journey with thoughtful follow-through to make sure we got what we needed to foster both professional and personal growth. The combination of expert coaching, personalized guidance, and a supportive community has undoubtedly contributed to the positive trajectory of the business.We look forward to the success in 2024 from the business development in 2023.

Follow Muscles + Heart Fitness Lab on Instagram: @mhfitlab

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