If you have yet to scroll through Siobhan O’Hagan’s social media offerings, you’re one of very, very few.
With more than 90,000 followers on Instagram alone, the Dubliner is considered a key player on the Irish health and fitness scene, but with so many #FitFammers jostling for attention, what is it about Siobhan that stands out?
Well, having left her office job in order to spend ‘all day in the gym’, Siobhan’s career trajectory took an unexpected turn, and as the brains (and brawn) behind a now booming online business which includes OH Fitness Factory and OH Fitness Furnace, the former 9 to 5’er has proven an inspiration to tens of thousands.
We sat down with Siobhan for our Ladies Who Launch series to discuss the peaks and pitfalls of stepping out on your own.
Having graduated with a degree in Maths, Siobhan began her career in a small company and ultimately worked her way into a role at huge multinational PLC, but soon realised that she expected more out of her career.
“After a year of working really hard and crazy hours, I was given a bonus, and that was the point I reaIised I was miserable, and that money would not solve anything,” Siobhan reveals.
“I was so lost at that point. I didn’t know what else I could do with my degree,” she adds.
It was at this point that an acquaintance asked Siobhan what she’d like to do all day, and that’s when she realised she was hungry to pursue a career in fitness, saying: “I started looking up personal training courses and I couldn’t find anything that suited the crazy hours I was working.”
Dismayed, Siobhan confided in a former colleague, and a stroke of luck meant she was offered a contract role with her previous company.
“That was the scary part,” she says. “It felt like one step back in the hope of two steps forward, but it meant I was back to 9-5 and it gave me time to start building my next career outside my working hours.”
As any self-starter will attest, time is of the essence in these instances.
“I would get up at 5am every day to train in the gym before getting the bus into town and working 9-5. Admittedly, I had started my Instagram account, and was probably spending too many working hours on it!”
“I would usually go get a coffee after work and study before going into my evening PT course. I would get home about 10pm, prep my food, and pack my bags for all my outfit changes and do it all again the next day.”
“I was permanently exhausted, but I didn’t want to let anything slip because I knew I had to be my own advertisement,” Siobhan says.
After qualifying as a personal trainer, Siobhan found a huge amount of pleasure in helping people achieve their goals.
“I loved talking to people, I loved seeing them progress and I loved sharing the message that eating well and heavy weight training can transform your body.”
“I was booked and making more money than I knew what to do with,” Siobhan continues. “But then I really panicked.”
While having worked tirelessly during her career change, Siobhan still struggled to balance her time even after establishing herself as a trainer, and ultimately feared she had made a mistake.
“I was working usually from 6am to 12pm, then back in about 3pm to 1o pm every day. I was trying to train, answer emails, sleep and there was just not enough hours in the day. I was anxious trying to keep up with everything, and I started doubting my decision.”
Siobhan realised that in order to prosper in her career, she would need to identify personal ,as well as professional, goals.
“I realised, a bit selfishly, that my life goals were not to be standing beside somebody counting reps, it was my own freedom and happiness,” she reveals.
“I then decided to start focusing on online coaching. I cut down my PT hours, and developed an online coaching system that meant I was able to help more people while still keeping up a few hours in the gym training people one-on-one.”
With the help of a former college friend, Siobhan established the Oh Fitness Factory, Oh Fitness Furnace and the Oh Fitness Mindset Mastery.
While initially hesitant, Siobhan says: “We just threw ourselves in the deep end, and it was a great success.”
“It was intense getting everything set up but the hard work is done now. Business is booming while I have more free time to day to day. I feel like I have finally nailed it.”
And with a stellar business under her belt and an online persona the envy of countless budding trainers, it’s no surprise Siobhan feels like she’s nailed it, but does admit that there are downsides to everything,
“I have to say my life is pretty sweet right now, but if I was to nitpick I would say it is tough having eyes on you at all the time.”
Incredibly likeable and down to earth, Siobhan is under no illusion that her life and career hasn’t registered on everybody’s radar, but with hundreds of thousands of followers, she is certainly under some scrutiny.
“I know people probably don’t care that much about me, but I feel like I am being judged on everything I say and do. If I say or do anything that isn’t politically correct, I could get loads of messages of abuse. I feel like I have to be perfect all the time (which I never am).”
Since creating her own brand and business, Siobhan has been exposed to the attitudes of others, saying: ”I’ve learnt that you can’t control other people’s mindset. Those that are in a good headspace will wish you well and there will be people you cannot please.”
Easily one of the most genuine, humble and relatable social influencers on the scene right now, Siobhan admits that the moniker itself doesn’t even sit that well with her.
“One thing I never really planned for was to be a social media influencer. I’m not even a fan of the word, but I realised that I am always my own advertisement and now I feel like I am living in my own little reality TV show.”
“It is great fun, and I get so much amazing feedback, but sometimes I would just like to switch off, be anonymous and go the chipper!”
A girl after our own hearts.