Cassandra Nuamah, better known as Coach Cass, is a wellness coach and master trainer with KUKUWA® African Dance Workout and a source of inspiration for many. After dropping more than 50 pounds, this one time advertising professional pursued her certification as a wellness and fitness coach and began devoting her life to helping others. When she’s not teaching us to get in fitness formation, she’s proudly infusing her Ghanaian culture into everything she touches. For years, Cassandra tried to juggle her advertising career with her rapidly growing fitness side hustle. Find out what caused her to finally say goodbye to a 9 to 5 and hello to her purpose.
Before you were a corporate America retiree, what did you do in your former life?
In my “former life” I worked as a producer at an advertising agency. It was a high level stress job that involved me always working on different website and app launches. I was in advertising for almost ten years before I left.
When, if at all, did you truly feel like “I can do this?” And how long did you side hustle before you made the leap?
I didn’t believe in myself at first to be honest. I’d look at person A or B and be like, “wow they’re so lucky they can work doing what they love.” But it’s not luck. It’s passion and hard work. I’d always ask why and then I realized why not? Why not you Cass? You have the same 24 hours in the day. You’ve been blessed with good health and a strong friend and family support circle so WHY NOT? So when I was 25, I said in five years I wanted to work for myself. I gave myself that timeline but I didn’t even believe I’d actually follow through.
What were the key factors that helped you scale your side hustle from passion project to profitable business?
Word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family helped me build my client base. Also free marketing on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter also helped me reach and grow my client base. With consistent numbers of participants in my classes and personal training clients, I was able to plan out my revenue in advance, which was extremely helpful.
What are some things you wish you knew before becoming a full-time entrepreneur?
I wish I knew that success won’t come overnight. That even if there’s a million people specializing in your area, your audience loves you for a reason. And that if you don’t value your time and your craft others won’t. And finally, don’t compare yourself to anyone. The grass is greener wherever you water it so water yours and watch it grow.
What have been some of the toughest challenges and biggest mistakes since going out on your own?
Definitely accounting for all of my expenses. Also learning to be disciplined enough to not to get distracted sometimes when I should be working.
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
Being able to go two years as an entrepreneur and still going. And being able to continuously touch the lives of people each day through a workout, or dance, or encouraging word. Someone said to me, “Every time I see you it’s a constant reminder that I can do it. You said you were going to do it and you did.” Those words mean so much to me because I think about those things when times are rough. When someone says: “It’s because of you I don’t give up,” it really inspires you to keep going. Or even when someone says “I wasn’t going to workout today but because of you, I was motivated and I did.” It’s just like: wow. The fact that I’m able to inspire so many people each day has been my greatest accomplishment to date.
What advice do you have for fellow black women side hustlers who dream of working for themselves but don’t know where to start?
I would say write it down and literally picture it. Maybe a vision board will help. Once you can see it and say it it’s so real. You also need to walk in it. Introduce yourself as you want people to know and associate you. A lot of people didn’t even know I did advertising because when they asked me what I did I would tell them my goal job, not what I was currently doing. You’ll never be “ready” per se but you know in your heart and your mind when enough is enough. You have to do at least one thing each day that’s a part of achieving your dream.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a couple of things at the moment including:
- Achieving more global reach especially in Africa through digital outreach (apps, live streaming) and fitness and cultural excursions abroad
- Working on my Coach Cass app so you can have me “in your pocket”
- Working on easy to follow and convenient “get right “programs