If you’re even a little bit involved in the social media fitness scene (hi, Kayla!), you’ve seen the #TIU or #bootycall hashtag at least a few times. Click on either, and over 1.5 million photos of girls laughing, sweating, and sporting serious abs will pop up on your screen.
Social media is how most future members find Tone It Up, the fitness program and community created by real-life BFFs Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott. Since 2009, the two have grown their business signficantly—they went from beachside boot camp classes to international meetups that boast thousands of participants in just seven years.
And the coolest part of their success? K+K (as their fans call them) seem like they’re having the time of their lives as they create their wellness empire. They post bloopers of them bursting into laughter as they mess up a workout move while filming for their YouTube fitness channel, and then check in on Snapchat as they share a bottle of wine and make fun of each other. Yes, they’re gorgeous and totally #fitspo, but they’re also an inspiration to women everywhere who are itching to create and launch their own businesses—and have fun doing it.
We sat down with Karena and Katrina to chat about why starting a business with your BFF could be the secret to success.
You became friends in your twenties because you had shared interests—fitness, healthy living, and California-vibes—but what was the thing that really inspired you to take your friendship to the next level and become business partners?
Karena: We both had a passion to share a healthy lifestyle with women everywhere… and it drove us in everything we did. Once we realized we both had not only the same interests but the same passions, we decided to partner and go for it.
Millenial women are crazy-entrepreneurial—it seems like everyone has a cool side hustle they’re always working on. What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to women who are trying to launch a passion project while keeping their day job?
Katrina: Consistency is the most important factor when starting up a new business. Only you can create the thing you want to share with the world.
Being in business together can’t always be easy. Has any experience with TIU tested your relationship? How did you get past it?
Katrina: Karena and I know how to make the other laugh when we’re stressed or annoyed. We try to keep everything light and fun and because of that, we haven’t had any real problems. Sometimes one of us will get frustrated with something and we just make a silly face and laugh it all off, then continue working.
TIU empowers and lifts women up in so many ways. What empowers you guys when the going gets tough or the workload seems too crazy to keep up with?
Karena: When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I meditate to clear my mind, do some yoga, and check the #TIUteam hashtag on Instagram. Seeing so many amazing, incredible women working toward their goals no matter what inspires and motivates me.
What’s the biggest piece of advice that you’d give to a pair of friends that decides to start a business venture together?
Karena: Work on something that really inspires you and do it everyday. Make sure your passions are aligned, and as long as they are, you’ll be able to leap over any hurdle that comes your way. And make sure to still go out and enjoy a glass of wine together, without any work involved!
And finally, what the best thing about working with your best friend?
Katrina: The best thing about working with Karena is that work isn’t really work. We have so much fun but we still get what needs to be done, done. We both love coming in to the office everyday!