Dr Esther Dindi, also known as Dr Fitness, has been married for 12 years and has three children. Seeing patients suffering effects of lifestyle choices inspired her to start Doctor Fitness Kenya Ltd.
My professional background is in medicine. I am a consultant physician and an expert in fitness. After finishing my Masters in Internal Medicine from the University of Nairobi, I decided to get further education in the area of fitness from US-based ISSA. Because of my medical background, the clients feel confident that the information and interventions I prescribe are scientifically sound.
The inspiration behind my business came from my years of practice as a doctor and seeing patients struggling with lifestyle diseases. It pained me to see so many dying young due to diseases caused by poor lifestyle choices, and because I have always loved fitness, I decided to change the narrative by helping prevent these illnesses, especially among women.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
A year and a half ago, I started Doctor Fitness Kenya Ltd. The business seeks to provide fitness solutions for the modern woman and to inspire healthy lifestyle choices. The services I offer include consultation of lifestyle modification which involves coming up with a meal and exercise plan structured around an individual client’s needs. I also do corporate wellness events, health talks and also sell work-out videos. My typical client is a professional woman keen to be healthy even as she makes strides in the corporate scene. Many a time, it is a mother seeking to get back into shape after delivery or a business executive struggling to manage a lifestyle disease.
RUNNING A START-UP
Running a start-up is exciting, because there is so much happening quickly. I loved the early stages because I was personally in touch with the clients, but since the business has grown, I have had to automate some processes and get help from others. Earlier, I could easily adapt to customer behaviour and offer services based on consumer feedback, but as the business grows it is difficult to be adaptable to a mismatch between the business strategy and the consumer habits. Also, getting my services understood was a challenge earlier because there was no one who had done something similar. Many people were used to quick-fix solutions, and there was initial hesitation on this promise of gradual lifestyle change. Lastly, balancing time for family and the business is also a challenge, because start-ups by nature require so much time and energy to take off.
WHERE I AM NOW
Doctor Fitness Kenya Ltd is now breaking even, after a period of strategic inputs into core areas of the business. I think the one thing that has helped me get to this point quickly is embracing technology. For example, I initially sold physical copies of my workout DVDs in the office, but when I made digital copies and uploaded them on my website as instant downloads, the sales grew significantly. Further, efficient use of social media and value innovation have also seen the business grow faster.
Additionally, I am almost done with a unique fitness mobile app that will help deliver great value to clients; it will help clients create meal and exercise plans that will help them live healthy lives. I have learnt that clients will always be willing to pay for value. Also, I have a TV show, called Fitness Time, which will start airing soon on Ebru TV.
Finally, I am still a physician and so I am engaged in conventional practice, and although Doctor Fitness Kenya Ltd is my side hustle, I hope to leave conventional practice soon and concentrate on it.
I wish someone had talked to me earlier about the importance of scalability. I now know that great businesses plan for scalability early on as part of their strategy, so that when success comes, they can ride the wave. I have had to re-strategise in many ways to accommodate for future growth. Finally, grit always wins the day. You just have to be tenacious and pursue the dream with singular focus. Success will follow.