Zanna Van Dijk
31st Aug 1992
I currently live in SW London but home is a farm in East Yorkshire.
Self employed – fitness blogger, personal trainer, fitness model, event host, speaker, writer, clothing designer, etc! I have my finger in many pies.
I have two companies:
Zanna van Dijk Ltd
Girl Gains Ltd
Did you go to university?
If so.. Where did you go, what did you study and how did you do?
I went to the University of Sheffield, I studied Speech Science for 4 years and I got a first class degree.
Was it necessary in hindsight to what you’re doing now?
Probably not totally necessary but it was a huge learning curve. I think it honed my writing skills which are essential to my career now.
Was it a clear-cut path after you left in terms of what you wanted to do?
Nope. Not at all! I was thinking I was going to become a speech therapist as my course had trained me for it. However I never found the specific client group that I loved. Instead, I went travelling in an attempt to take a step back and decide on my path. It was out in Asia that I decided to take the plunge and pursue fitness.
What pressures do you think many twenty-somethings are faced with?
Everyone thinks that they have to know exactly what they’re doing and have a set career path. It’s great if you do but it isn’t essential. So many people change their job. So many people are confused by what they want to be. Not many of us in our twenties really have it all figured out.
How did your companies come about?
Zanna van Dijk was set up when I returned from travelling. I was offered a free PT course in London in exchange for blog coverage. So I built a blog and moved to London – I thought this was temporary and I would be there for 5 weeks then move back up to the farm. However, during those five weeks I got signed to a modelling agency and did a Nike shoot. I took this as a sign to stay… And I’ve been here ever since. A year later and I haven’t left. Since being here I have set up the ZVD company under which I work as a blogger, writer, event host, trainer, speaker and more. I have also founded Girl Gains Ltd with my two best friends. This is a company in which we develop and organise events for women which aim to educate empower and inspire them. These are getting bigger and better and we have worked alongside brands such as Reebok, Holland and Barrett etc.
When did it dawn on you that you had such a huge following?
To me it never really hit home until I was offered the PT course – before that I had only ever been given a few pieces of clothing and some food! I never really knew that I had so much influence. That’s when I realised the power of social media and what having a following can really mean.
How do you remain consistent with your posts?
I don’t have a schedule for social media and my content is totally organic. I just take pictures, send tweets, write posts etc as I go along!
In terms of the blog and YouTube – there is a regimented schedule for both of those, which helps me to stay consistent.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced as a result of your success?
My biggest challenges have been personal. I’ve found it hard to openly speak to my friends about what’s going on with my business. I want to share my exciting news with them, but it’s a challenge to do so without sounding like I am bragging. As a result I often find myself not telling anyone at all!
Who did you seek advice from and who really helped you in the early stages?
I ask my dad for business advice as he founded his own company when he was younger too. Of course, we has been there since the very beginning!
Do you ever doubt yourself or become overwhelmed?
Yes – of course. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t! This job is a huge risk and it may not pay off. I doubt my abilities and whether I will make a living, whether I will live up to expectations and how long this career can last. And I am often overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work I have.
How do you market yourselves?
I have a PR called Isla Haslam
What do you wish you had known then that you know now?
I wish I had known when I first started my social media accounts that my career would be based around them… Then I would’ve maybe put more effort into them in the early days! I just did them for fun
Any mishaps along the way?
Lots and lots. I’ve made a few mistakes. However they’ve brought me to where I am now so I have no regrets.
What advice would you give other twenty-something’s who are thinking of pursuing a career in this field and through the means by which you did?
Find your niche on social media and stay true to it. If you like to post about cats, then don’t start posting pictures of landscapes or trains… Your followers won’t know what to expect from you! Be consistent and focus on quality on quantity.
What do you think the next steps are for you?
I just want to continue growing both Zanna van Dijk and Girl Gains as brands and as a result, take on even bigger and better projects. I have my own active wear coming out this year as well as my book The Balanced Body. The main thing is that I want to continue to love my job as much as I do right now.
What has been your best moment as a result of your success?
Being on the cover of the Sunday Times style magazine was pretty amazing. As was being flown out to Amsterdam to shoot the new Tommy Hilfiger campaign. I have to mention designing my own clothing collection too and of course signing my book deal was overwhelming!
What’s the dream?
I know this sounds silly… But world domination! Haha! By that I mean sharing my message of a balanced lifestyle across the world, leading huge female empowerment events in different countries and being able to make as many women feel confident and happy in themselves as possible.
Copyright Photo credit to Gary Morrisroe
To follow Zanna click on the links below