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Daily Inspiration: Meet Serena Cukjati

Today we’d like to introduce you to Serena Cukjati.

Hi Serena, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
After graduating from college, I began working as a personal trainer for a gym where I quickly found I had a knack for generating new clients. After a while, I decided it was time to see what kind of career I could really make for myself in the fitness industry so I left the gym in 2012 to start my own in-home personal training business.

Over the next 10 years I would learn so much about myself, about business and I eventually truly fell in love with the world of working completely for yourself. However, after almost 12 years in the fitness industry, I felt myself feeling less excited, less motivated about my work. I did everything I could to revive my love for personal training. Increased prices, changed up programming, started my client list from scratch, cut back hours, changed up my training days, took vacations. But none of it worked and I slowly began to realize, like most individuals with a true entrepreneurial spirit, that it was time for something new.

So, I got to work figuring out what would be next for me. In the fall of 2021 I started brainstorming what could be worth leaving the thriving and self-sustaining business I had worked so hard to build. I realized after several ideas that failed to stick that the only thing that would really give me the confidence to let it all go would need to check every box on my career dream list. In the meantime, I met my husband and we got married in a whirlwind romance!

In the spring of 2022, I landed on the idea to start a True Crime Podcast. For starters, I had grown to love true crime. It was actually all I listened to during my own workouts. I could also run a podcast from anywhere in the world. Major check off the list. No more 4am wakeup calls. Another huge check! Most importantly, starting a True Crime Podcast from scratch allowed me to marry together all the things I had grown to love about entrepreneurship. The ability to be creative, to work on something you’re interested in and enjoy, to flex my marketing and relationship muscles in a new way. This time looking to land brand deals and partnerships instead of new clients. And I would get to write, which is something I had been dreaming of since I was a little girl! My husband Jacob, would become my partner in true crime as my podcast co-host!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
In May of 2022, I set a goal to get my podcast off the ground in 90 days. I wasn’t exactly sure where to start and to be honest, it had been many years since I had started something from scratch. I had forgotten how much work really goes into the creation of something new. Finding the time to do the research, to write the scripts, to edit the content and to stay on schedule was a huge wake up call for me. Week after week I struggled to fit it all in on top of my regular personal training schedule. Not to mention the learning curve of all the podcast equipment and software. Then I had to muster the courage to put my work out there and hoped I wouldn’t be laughed off of the internet! It’s safe to say that those early days were incredibly hard and very humbling!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I feel that I am at my best when I have the opportunity to be both challenged and creative. I was raised in an environment where the gift of resiliency was needed in order to find a way forward in life and I believe that is a character trait that has served me time and again over the years as a business owner. I’m very proud of the fact that once I made the jump to work for myself, I’ve never had to go back to working for another company, not even when business and life got hard. There is a freedom and a very empowering feeling connected with knowing that you can do hard things.

It is a belief system that makes you think “no matter what happens, I can handle it.” Through this belief you realize many things that aid in the success of both your business and your life! Once you understand that you don’t have to be fearless or ready or “good enough” to do the thing you’re dreaming of and that the worst thing you can imagine could happen and you will still be okay. It makes you a powerful and dare I say, unstoppable person. I have no doubts that this mindset will carry over into my new venture as a True Crime Podcaster!

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
The best way someone could support the podcast is to go listen @ Never Too Early For Murder! The podcast streams on all platforms wherever you like to listen to True Crime and we’re also on Tiktok! We have also started a “behind the scenes” TikTok under @ SerenaCukjati that will help teach any new and hopeful podcasters how to get started!

For those of you not into True Crime, we are getting ready to launch a sister podcast that shares inspiring stories of people who have overcome great odds. The cases are meant to be feel good stories of inspiration. So keep an eye out for that podcast launching in October 2022.

Anyone who would like to collaborate as a brand partner or if you’d like to suggest a case, you can content us through our social media platforms or through our email.

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