How this fitness coach earned a paycheck and kept her business afloat while the gyms were closed

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  • Courtney Roselle, fitness coach, business owner, and reality TV star, fought hard to keep her business alive during the pandemic.
  • Rather than focus on the uncertainty, Courtney dove right into adapting to the new normal and earning extra money. Don’t break the rules—lean into them!
  • Courtney shares advice for others on how to side hustle and earn extra money. 

You may recognize Courtney Roselle from NBC’s The Titan Games, but she is also a New Jersey resident, local business owner, and fitness coach who was hit hard by the pandemic and business restrictions. With the gyms closed, she needed to find ways to earn a living while also maintaining her business. 

We chatted with Courtney to learn more about how she was financially impacted by the pandemic and the creative ways she found to make money. 

What kind of business do you own, and before the pandemic, what was a typical day like?

Iron Grace is a personal training and lifestyle brand focused on health, fitness, and achieving personal goals. Every day from 5am to 10pm, I was working full time at three different gyms, personal training about three clients, making time for my own training, and working on my business logistics over dinner. It was a hectic lifestyle, but I wouldn’t have changed a moment of it. I was getting paid to do what I loved! 

What was it like for you and your business when the gyms were required to close? 

It was a shock. It wasn’t something I—or anyone else for that matter—thought would ever happen. Sure, I had my freak-out moment. But after that passed, I knew that dwelling on how awful this was wouldn’t benefit my clients or pay the bills, so I shifted my thinking to adapting in this “new normal.”

Were you concerned about your bills and mortgage? 

My top three concerns when I learned about the gym closures were my clients, my job, and my home. I knew I needed to find ways to not only earn money, but make sure that I was still able to support my clients. Just because the doors were closed, doesn’t mean that people’s personal goals had to also be put on hold. 

What did you do to earn money and keep your business afloat? 

I was very fortunate that the gym owners I work with kept us on a limited payroll to continue to do daily Zoom workouts. However, this alone wasn’t enough to cover the mortgage on my condo and living expenses, so I got creative about ways to still train my clients and earn a paycheck without breaking the rules: 

  • Selling Masks: I saw the mask requirements as a business opportunity (make lemons out of lemonade, right?). If everyone needs to wear one, why not stick my logo on a few for profit and some additional publicity? 
  • Create an Alliance: The local business community in Jersey City has always been supportive of one another. I have always shared positive publicity of these companies and their services on my social channels, and made an even more cognizant effort to do it during quarantine as well. They did the same for me, and despite the limited foot traffic, we all increased our publicity during this time without paying a penny! 
  • Social Distance Training: Rather than fight the rules, I leaned in. I still programmed my clients’ training regimens as I had before, and to work out, we met wherever we could that was safe: parking lots, driveways, empty garages. I set up a lawn chair at least six feet away and while wearing a mask, coached them through the workouts as if it were a normal day. 

What advice do you have for those that are unemployed or business owners also facing this issue? 

My biggest advice is to keep a positive outlook and to think outside the box. Yes, it’s challenging and can be overwhelming, but if you remain optimistic and look for opportunities in the dark times, you’ll find yourself on top. 

Your usual means of earning money may be on hold right now because of COVID, but how else can you use your skills right now? 

Do you love kids? Consider ways to help with childcare for friends or family that are working from home and need the help. Are you great at talking to people? Apply at a local grocery store. Enjoy designing or writing? Try freelancing for companies looking for contractors. Do you have a talent for working with your hands? Maybe making and selling masks is for you! 

Bottom line: Try not to let this “new norm” get you down. Use it as an opportunity to flex your skills in different ways or find some new ones! And find a supportive community to help you through it.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as financial advice.

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