The first time I met Tara Simich, I knew there was something extra special about her. She is wise beyond her years, hotter than a January heatwave and one seriously savvy go-getter.
At the time, I was just launching my boutique PR agency specialising in the health and fitness industry, and instantly knew I had to sign her. So, I did, and her profile soon blew up to epic proportions, as predicted.
Tara’s fitness empire, The Jungle Body, has expanded from a Perth community hall operation to a global brand. Not only does she have an army of feisty instructors around the world, she has continued to evolve her business to include activewear, new styles of workouts and major public events. Just looking at her website makes me want to start working out more so that I can join one of her videos.
I caught up with the one-woman-whirlwind that is Tara to talk about realness, Mondays and living above a New York sex shop...
RG: Why do you do what you do?
TS: I do it because when its Sunday night I can’t wait for Monday to get to work!
I remember when I worked in a previous job I would always dread Sunday evening as I knew it was the ‘final hours’ before I had to endure yet another week in a work environment that I really disliked.
I’ve set up The Jungle Body to tick all the boxes to fulfil me; a fun work environment, constant challenges, the ability to help and inspire others and be super flexible …so I can be Mum too!
RG: As the old saying goes, ‘No pain, no gain’. What pain are you willing to endure in your life to achieve your goals?
TS: I have a very high pain threshold, I think all entrepreneurs that last more than 5 years have this!
I believe you need to earn your happiness, so the harder I work the more fulfilled I feel.
I don’t think there is any limit to the pain I will go through to make The Jungle Body a better business. The only boundary I have is my kids and husband. Every business decision now has to include my two boys and my husband to make sure everyone is happy and getting the time they need.
RG: What does being ‘real’ mean to you?
TS: The idea of ‘real’ or ‘not real/fake’ bugs me. I think we are all real, and whatever we choose to do, think or look like is our own ‘real’.
We now live in a society where the opinions, perceptions and judgements of others are shared so much more fluidly than they once were.
We have people saying, ‘She is fake, that isn’t real’. Well maybe for this particular person it is their reality to only share the good parts, or the good angles or that’s what makes them feel good. Everyone should just “do you” and that’s “real”. If we were all each other’s perceptions of “real” the world would be super boring.
RG: Who do you look up to?
TS: When I was 17, my birthday present was to meet Donald Trump (my childhood business idol) at a business event in Australia…funnily enough, he cancelled last minute (after everyone bought tickets) .
From that day forward, I hated him. He didn’t even apologise, and no refunds were given even though tickets were $500+.
Now, I look up to men and women who handle themselves the way I wish to, treat people the way I like to, and hustlers that start from nothing. People like Julie Bishop, Jessica Alba of The Honest Company, Ilya Pozin of Ciplex, Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic of Hi Smile.
RG: What’s one of the most courageous things you’ve ever done?
TS: Living in New York alone when I was only 18 years old! I lived in the coolest apartment in the meatpacking district above a sex shop and a gay nightclub…with some random (and somewhat freaky) roommates from France from Craigslist.
I’ll never forget the smells and sounds of NYC as well as eating pretty much every meal alone (many of them bagels and Ben & Jerrys).
I look back now and think ‘How the hell did I do that?’ It was pretty courageous.
RG: What are your thoughts on ‘mistakes’?
TS: Mistakes are the best thing ever. The Jungle Body is just as much a series of good decisions as it is a series of mistakes. Mistakes are only bad if you don’t learn from them as well as move forward from them. A lot of my friends who have businesses struggle because they get caught up or they hit a brick wall when they make mistakes or things go wrong. I choose to thrive from them, and I definitely make a lot less mistakes these days.
In the early days of The Jungle Body, mistakes were made when it came to finances, whereas now I have that more under control (lots of learning curves there).
The mistakes or bigger challenges I have now are managing the culture of my company. So, I would say the nature of my mistakes have also evolved over time.
RG: What gives you strength – physical or emotional - ?
TS: Good relationships, positive mindset and lots of discipline. If your relationships are good – life is so much easier. When you wake up happy, it’s easy to be strong throughout the day.
Having a positive mindset is super important. I treat my brain like any other muscle in my body, but I want my brain to be the biggest, strongest and most developed muscle. When my mind is strong I can smash goals and deal with any challenge.
Lastly, discipline is the key to it all.
RG: Thanks Tara! You rock.
To find a Jungle Body class near you, visit the www.thejunglebody.com and follow Tara on social via @thejunglebody