Weathering Sickness and Staff Issues While Building a Thriving Pilates Venture

Entrepreneurial zeal put Absolute Pilates owner Allison Zang in the hospital. Here’s how she worked past illness and infighting to build a solo venture into a five-studio business.

Absolute Pilates owner Allison Zang learned the hard way that balance is vital to her wellness business.

Her Mechanicsburg, Penn., company is a local institution with five thriving locations in the area, and scores of clients who rave about their results. But finding harmony along the way — for her students, her employees and herself — has been one of the biggest obstacles Zang has had to overcome.

In fact, she landed in the hospital in March 2015 when the demands of her professional and personal lives — or, as she puts it, the “over-stressed insanity of not doing what I should for myself” — became too extreme. Overwhelmed by stress, “I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and lost use of my legs for 4 days,” she says. That wasn’t Zang’s only obstacle, either. Running a school full of disparate personality types — something she considered a benefit for clients with varying tastes — led to conflicts that also tested her as a manager.

[Related: Read about other female entrepreneurs with wellness businesses.]

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