How a Club Pilates Owner Keeps Her Books in Shape


Rachel Smith


Reviewed by


April 29, 2019

This article is Tax Professional approved


Keeping cops in shape and running a few gyms is all in a day’s work for Kelly Kennedy. Here’s how she handles her financial admin, while staying sane.

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Kelly Kennedy keeps people healthy for a living. Not only does she work as a full-time Fitness Director for a large Florida police department, she also consults other law enforcement officials on creating training programs for officers. And she runs her own Club Pilates franchise in Boca South.

For Kelly, her work is all about self-challenge.

“I was drawn to fitness in the first place because I wanted to master things I felt uncomfortable with. When I was working out at the gym, I didn’t understand how things worked, but I didn’t want to take advice at face value—I wanted to look it up for myself. I got a minor in Nutrition & Fitness in my undergrad, and then I got my Master’s in Exercise Science after that.”

Training law enforcement might not seem the most obvious application of her skills. It was a niche she stumbled into, but it turned out to be a great fit. “When I was getting my Master’s degree, I worked part-time at a police department, teaching aerobics. Afterwards, I was looking for a full-time job, and I ended up getting a job at the police department, offering personal training as well as aerobics classes.”

Kelly Kennedy, Club Pilates owner

Over time, Kelly started to apply her expertise elsewhere: by consulting with other departments, and by developing a fitness app for officers.

The only problem was, she never had any down time. “I was never able to have a vacation. All my vacation time was taken up teaching other places.” She started to look for a new business venture, and came across Club Pilates. “I wanted to have a business I was able to operate from anywhere. I decided a franchise would be the best way to go, because I’m really good at following rules. If other people have done it in the past, I figured, I could too!”

Of course, being the boss of a small business lands you with a world of responsibility, from paying your staff on time, to managing the bottom line. So how does Kelly manage to work a full-time job and run two lucrative side hustles?

“Build a system that liberates you. Outsource as much as you possibly can.”

It’s not a rule she’s always lived by. Kelly is naturally curious, and independent at heart. Initially, she applied that spirit of self-reliance to her bookkeeping, hiring a bookkeeper to teach her the ropes. Unlike her businesses, it wasn’t a success. “I was drowning. I soon realized, bookkeeping is way above my pay grade. That’s when I got a referral to Bench.”

Bench took over Kelly’s bookkeeping. Immediately she noticed the difference. “It was impossible to do it all. Working with Bench means I don’t really think about bookkeeping any more. Before, it was a forethought to everything I did. If your books are messed up, you’re going to make yourself miserable. It’s great to have help.”

For Kelly, Bench gives her the flexibility to connect with her bookkeeper from anywhere—and the peace of mind knowing that her numbers are completely buttoned up. “I have to get my work done late at night, and early in the morning, because I still have a day job. The ability to have an ongoing conversation with my bookkeeper is really important to me, but I manage eight different email accounts, so trying to find an email in all that is difficult. Having a dedicated portal for my bookkeeping is so much easier.”

Anything is possible—with the right team

Bookkeeping isn’t the only part of Kelly’s finances Bench has simplified. With 14 employees currently at Club Pilates, payroll is a big task that’s ripe for outsourcing. Unfortunately, Kelly’s first provider didn’t make life any easier.

“I was struggling with a payroll company that completely mismanaged my account. Their system relied on paper applications from my employees, which isn’t practical. Everything in my life is digital!” Bench put Kelly in touch with Gusto to take care of her payroll situation. Since the switch, she has one less thing to manage. “Having Gusto means I don’t worry about payroll any more. I’m grateful for that.”

Thanks to Bench and Gusto, Kelly is now expanding the Club Pilates franchise. “We’re working towards having three studios. We’re building the second one now, and the third one should be ready by the end of the year. I’m aiming to keep building a strong team that can support the growth of the studios.”

Kelly’s businesses are set for positive growth, with the less-exciting-but-necessary tasks taken care of by Bench and Gusto. Now that bookkeeping and payroll are off her plate, she can focus on what she’s best at: keeping her business healthy. “There will always be some fire that you have to put out. If you have to worry about something all the time, it’s not working. I was worrying about my bookkeeping all the time, because there’s a lot to keep on top of. Having Bench and Gusto on board makes it easier for me and my accountant to keep things organized.”

Does your small business need to be whipped into shape? Find out how Bench and Gusto can tackle your bookkeeping and payroll—so you can focus on what you do best.

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.
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