#BEYOUROWN MEETS CEZA OUZOUNIAN
Ceza Ouzounian is a fitness & energy coach, who is passionate about enabling women to be more confident in who they are. She is one of the founding 16 EAM Mentors worldwide for the Energy Alignment Method.
Ceza has spoken at national networking groups, featured in Global Woman magazine, had articles published on Thrive Global and leading sports and fitness blogs and appeared on numerous blogs and podcasts. She is an international Health and Fitness Mentor, who has had more than 4,000+ people through her Pilates and Burlexercise class in the last 4 years.
She has been in films featured at international film festivals and been on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Ceza has raised £2600 for several charities, including Scottish Sports Future, WellFound, Funding Neuro, Arbonne Charitable Foundation, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Sports Relief.
Ceza is on a mission to touch the lives of millions of women to create a world where women feel comfortable to be who they are without judgement and prejudice and can live an authentic and true life.
Hey Ceza, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m Ceza Ouzounian and I’m a Fitness & Energy Coach. I’m from London but moved to Glasgow nearly 2 years ago. I love what I do because I know the power of it because I’ve experienced it, which is why I’m so excited to be here and share it all with you.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
My journey started in 2012. I had been searching for engineering work for 6 years, getting rejection after rejection. I had reached a low point, I was feeling depressed, lost, unhappy and unsure of how to progress. I was teaching English in Madrid and really didn’t want to come back to the UK as I didn’t want to just temp in the NHS again as I hated that job.
I always wanted to do acting. It was at this point that I thought “f*ck it, I have nothing to lose if I pursue acting”. I decided to audition for an acting school and when I got in, I moved back to London to pursue my love of acting.
During the year I was studying on my acting course, I started going to Pilates classes at a studio that opened up on the road I lived on. I loved going there and doing all the classes. I got to know the owner quite well.
One day, I was having a private session and I was moaning that my temp job was coming to an end and how much I hated it. She suggested I train as a Pilates Instructor and work alongside her at her studio. It struck me then that I love fitness and the high you get from it and I love teaching and encouraging others to get fit. So, I went for it.
6 months later I qualified as an instructor and started teaching. Soon after I discovered Burlexercise (dance cardio inspired by burlesque – who doesn’t want to bum shimmy themselves fit?) and it was a class that complimented Pilates so well, that I trained up in that straight away. I love how the 2 work every part of the body.
In 2016, a comment from an ex brought my attention to an email from Yvette Taylor. I had been on her mailing list for a while but never read her emails. His comment provoked me to read her email. It was for a 15 day free trial of the Energy Alignment Method (EAM).
After the 15 days, I had a call with her about doing the 10 months Energy Evolution journey where we would look further into ourselves. I wasn’t sure about doing this as it was a lot of money at the time. However, it felt right. I knew I had to do it!
Once I completed that, I knew I had to go on to be a mentor. I had spent my life listening to people’s problems (people have always naturally opened up to me) and I’ve always worked through problems with them. Here was the chance for me to do this in a professional setting and with training.
Now, I combine the two; fitness and mentoring. Together they look at the body and mind because they are connected, one affects the other. I feel sometimes in our society we forget to live in our bodies, we are very much in our heads. This is a great way to bring us out of our head and into our body. To connect and listen from a place of not just logic, but to our intuition.
How much research did you do on the market prior and what were your findings?
I didn’t do any research. I went with what felt right, what my gut instinct was.
I was already attending regular Pilates classes and when my Pilates Instructor suggested I train and teach alongside her at her studio, it felt like the right move. I already knew there was a demand for it as there were so many clients and so many Pilates studios opening up.
Again, the same with EAM Mentoring. I initially signed up to do just the self-development journey, but having seen and experienced the success of the journey, made me realise that mentoring was the right next step. There was a huge demand for it as everyone I spoke to was looking for coaching or mentoring.
How is your business funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded ect?
I self-funded my business as when I started I was still working part-time in employment. Once I went fully self-employed I did look into a start-up Business Loan to help with training and getting equipment. Since then I’m making sure my business is making a profit, which I can re-invest back into the business.
Can you tell us more about the brand DNA and ethos of your business?
My mission is to change the lives of thousands of women so that they can live the life they want without judgement (from others and from themselves). To live as an authentic version of themselves, being true to what their soul desires.
I’ve always been a feminist and have wanted women to have the same equalities and rights as men (and this goes both ways, men having the same rights as women in aspects of life that are deemed feminine) and for humanity to work together for a better future.
Lol, I feel I am selling a power brand here! But in seriousness, it is so important to me that women and girls feel they can achieve anything they set their minds to. To be able to love and accept themselves as the unique person they are and know that is what makes them special.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
To be honest, I hadn’t thought that far ahead. So much has already changed in the last few years, even in the last year, there’s been so much change and progression in my life and business.
I know a lot will happen before then and I know there are lots of things coming that I haven’t thought of yet. I am letting my intuition guide me as to which path is the right path at each step.
I know that if I want to reach thousands and thousands of women, then I need to be visible all around the world. In next 3-5 years, I see myself speaking at big events all around the world, reaching people from everywhere, and working with lots of different groups to make a change in their life that will excel them forwards in their life.
Can you highlight 3 common misconceptions about ‘The Energy Alignment Method’ and how are you using your platform to educate us?
- The Energy Alignment Method will cure things overnight or with one session. It doesn’t.
- Like anything, you have to keep working on it. Initially, when you start, you find there is a lot of resistance to release, but some of those resistances come up again and again. Once you release a part of it, another layer opens up ready for releasing when the time is right. Eventually, there’s less to release and it’s easier to release.
Like fitness, you can’t just do one session and that’s it, you’re fit, you have to keep doing it. At the start, there’s a lot of work, but after that it is maintenance.
You need to dig deep to clear old resistances. This is one of the beauties of EAM, you can release so much without needing to relive or dig up old traumas.
- That the process will feel great all the time. The process is simple and effective but sometimes you feel worse before you feel better. You are working with energy, as the energy shifts, it can affect how you feel. Sometimes it is just feeling a bit tired, a good night’s sleep will deal with that. Sometimes the symptoms are a bit more, you might get a cold, for instance, which is the healing phase, you’ve released something big and this is your body’s way of shifting the energy and healing. Sometimes, all the suppressed feelings come up. This isn’t long lived and if you keep EAM’ing it will shift it, but as you clear, things need to come up so you can let them go.I’m using my platform to educate by showing them how a simple tool allows self-awareness and to know when you are being triggered and how to clear it. I do this with mini-series, videos, documents, events, working with people.
Who does the team involve behind you?
My main team behind me is my family and friends who are there to support me. My mum has been my biggest supporter in everything I’ve done and known she’s there encouraging me forwards is amazing.
My business friends, who I’ve been able to collaborate with but also connect with for going through ideas, options, staying accountable to or just having a moan. There are days when you feel fed up or you’ve had a difficult client and you want to vent, having someone who understands what you’re going through is so vital.
My boyfriend is so supportive and always gives me the time to focus on my work (obviously without neglecting him!) or cooks dinner when he sees I have a deadline to work to or just does something nice. Having a man who is understanding, supportive and proud of the work I do is just amazing.
I have to mention the business coaches I’ve had too. Shari Thompson and Jennifer Hardie have both taught me so much in the last year, which has helped my business grow. Yvette Taylor for the business training, especially linked to EAM, again has been invaluable.
What are the key tools that you use for your trade?
Tech is a key tool. I do the majority of my EAM Mentoring online. I use Zoom as that allows both the client and me to see each other via video call. This has meant I can mentor anyone from anywhere in the world as long as we both have the internet.
How amazing is that!? I’m a pretty techy person, so this makes me really happy and is a good reason to get a new Mac (I’ve got a cheeky smile as I type this on my new Mac)!
Other key tools are all the apps and websites that allow me to promote and interact with my clients. So, not only social media apps but apps for scheduling posts, like Later or creating online programmes, like Thinkific. These have made my life so much easier.
For my classes, I don’t have any key tools apart from a mat. But I do love changing things up with equipment; weights, bands, Pilates circles, small balls. This allows my clients to challenge their bodies in different ways.
What outlets do use to market your Pilates and Burlexercise classes?
I use various outlets to market my classes. I use social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I use Meetup.com to promote my classes. I also promote it via networking events in person, which I love doing as the energy when you meet someone in person creates a different bond. A lot of it is word of mouth as well, people liking the class and bringing their friends along. They are the best adverts for my business.
What or who inspires and motives you?
This is a hard question. One thing that motivates me is seeing the change in my clients. I love seeing them getting fitter and do harder exercises in class or seeing them step into their true self during EAM is magical. It is so rewarding to see what I’m doing is making a difference.
Another thing that motivates me is freedom. Having financial and time freedom. Having the ability to treat the people I love makes me feel amazing. I’m thinking who inspires me, but there are so many people, I don’t even know where to start! I think all the women I’ve seen create amazing businesses and amazing change in the world is very inspiring. If they can do it, I can do it!
What is the number 1 critical business lesson you have learned so far?
To keep going when things seem to be going against you. There have been times when I have done everything I’ve been told to do by business coaches or what other successful entrepreneurs have done and it has not resulted in anything but a failure.
That’s when the doubts and negative thoughts creep in and you feel ready to give up, go back to the day job. But I’m persistent and don’t give up easily!
This is when having a business community has been invaluable. Knowing that everyone has felt this at some point and still feel it sometimes shows I’m not the only one. Knowing that sometimes failure happens and the objective is to keep trying.
If one method fails, try another. Learn new tools, methods, techniques, etc, but keep trying. After all, science is all trial and error, why should business be any different. Eventually, you’ll have the right method that will resonate with your ideal clients.
A seminal point in your career so far?
There have been so many, but I’m going to go with getting clarity on what direction I want to head in. So, having a full understanding of why I’m doing what I’m doing and the people I want to work with. Being 100% clear. Rather than trying to cater to the masses, I am catering to my specific ideal client.
This was so important because it meant I was passionate, really passionate about working with those people and knowing what services to put out there. It also made me feel confident about what I was putting out there because I knew how much of a difference it would make to them. It allowed me to feel empowered and in turn empower them.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Seeing my clients excel. I love it when I have someone in the class who’s been coming regularly and see them progress to harder exercises, see them becoming more mobile, stronger, more flexible. It is so rewarding.
The same with EAM mentoring sessions. Seeing someone becoming more confident, making changes, really stepping into who they are and changing their life, is amazing. There is no satisfaction like it. I wouldn’t do what I do if it wasn’t for that.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
Where do you want me to start? So many challenges have been presented to me during the growth of my business.
I have been challenged with a lack of money. Not having enough money to keep going with my business and having to supplement it with an extra part-time job. Also, a lack of money to invest in the business or in training and having to use credit cards to invest in me.
I have been challenged with reaching the right clients. Marketing and networking were all new to me. Learning how to engage and sell was a massive learning curve.
Moving cities and having to start from scratch was a big challenge. It meant having to take a big step back, getting to know the new city, what people want and how best to reach them.
The challenge of balancing work and personal life has been a hard one. Time off and enjoying personal life is so important and really helps with focusing on work and getting tasks done, but sometimes it is hard to switch off. The to-do list can feel like it never ends.
The final challenge I’ve found is working alone a lot. I have time when I’m working with my clients and then the time I’m doing the marketing, sales, emails, newsletters, admin, etc, which I’m alone for. It can be hard, especially when you don’t have someone to bounce ideas with, run through plans, have a moan to or stay accountable to. My network of entrepreneurs are so important to me, I have a few people I know I can turn to when I need that connection.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
I mentioned a few people, Shari Thompson, Jennifer Hardie, Yvette Taylor. I’ve seen all of them go out there and change things up and really lead the way. I have learned so much from them.
I’ve also been following Emily Skye and Kayla Itsines and their business journey and how they develop, which again I’ve learned so much from.
How do they do things? How do they reach people? What draws me to them? All of these questions are good things to think about when I’m looking to engage people online.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
A really good book I read recently was ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker. It is all about the science behind sleep. Having myself had trouble with sleep and feeling the effects of lack of sleep, it was really interesting to understand more behind it. It was also really informative to understand why we sleep and how the lack of it affects every aspect of your life. Being a geek, I love science and how things work, this is why I really liked this book.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
To be honest, I don’t have any go-to Podcast channels. I know there are lots of good channels that give really interesting information, but I’d rather read or watch something. Occasionally I will listen to a Podcast by Jena Rodriguez or one of the entrepreneurs I follow but not often.
I tend to go off into my imagination when I’m listening to a Podcast and therefore miss half the content. I have the same issue with audiobooks! Hence why I read or watch, it seems to engage my imagination and stop me drifting off!
How do you define your own success?
I define my own success by having a business that is connecting with the right people, bringing a valuable service to them and bringing in enough money for me to live well and have profit to re-invest back into the business.
Another part of that is living the life I desire. Having a business that allows me to enjoy life, enjoy time with the people I love and be able to give back.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN means unapologetically being the person you truly are. Creating the life you want and going after the things you desire with passion. Loving who you are and knowing you deserve success and trusting your instincts to guide you along the correct path.
Finally, what are you working on throughout 2019?
2019 is time for me to stop playing it small. To go out there and be the fearless warrior I’m telling my clients to be. To create my tribe of fearless warriors!
I’m running 2 events in March called Embrace Your Inner Warrior in Glasgow. I have created 2 online EAM programmes, 8 Week 121 Intensive Warrior Programme and Unleash Your Wonder Woman Programme. I run several classes around Glasgow. Also, I hope to be featured in more interviews and speak at more events.
Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/BeFearlessWarriors/
Website link: www.ceza.co.uk