Stacy headshotFor Women’s History Month, the Innov865 Alliance sat down with Stacy Baugues, CEO and Founder of PowerUp Fitness, to discuss female entrepreneurship.

Thinking back on your career to date, what were some of your proudest moments as an entrepreneur?

Looking back, I’m incredibly proud of my decision to go for it! In the fall of 2019, (my entire team) having been laid off, I was at a crossroads. Do I take the leap and jump into PowerUp full-time or go find another traditional full-time job? At the time, as the financial leader for my family, this felt like a really risky decision. While things still aren’t necessarily easy, to see where my business is now, I’m so proud I took the leap. Hitting my revenue goal those first three months solidified my decision and confirmed that I would be able to make this work. More recently, last summer, I was invited by the U.S. Department of Education to speak at their signature convention for after school professionals (our target audience). USDE’s recognition and validation of the PowerUp Programs is something I’m incredibly proud of.

What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs or your younger self? 

Go for it! And say yes to the support and resources available. There is no such thing as a 50% entrepreneur. Don’t just lean in, jump in! I founded PowerUp in 2012 and kept it as a side hustle until 2019. While on the side, I never gave PowerUp the attention it needed to grow from a side hustle into a business. Once I was ready to jump, PowerUp grew from 7 to 100+ sites, across 16 states within the first 12 months. Secondly, say yes to help and support. It’s okay to feel anxious about an idea or admit that you’ve dropped the ball in a certain area of your business – early on you’re usually one person wearing all of the hats, it’s nearly impossible to keep them all on. There are resources available and experienced mentors wanting to see female entrepreneurs succeed – take advantage of these resources.

How has Knoxville supported you as a female entrepreneur?

Through both UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Knoxville Entrepreneurship Center, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with incredible mentors and participate in accelerator programs that have contributed to my own development as a female entrepreneur and certainly the growth of PowerUp. These are free resources in our community. You simply have to put yourself out there. Fill out the “learn more” form, make the phone call, or start by joining the Women in Entrepreneurship (WIE) Facebook group. There’s an incredible network and support system in Knoxville that wants to help you succeed.