Caitlin Woods was stuck in a rut, or as she puts it – stuck in a square. But, when she stepped into a circle, everything became clear.
"When I started hula hooping I felt so present, invigorated and free. I knew it was more than a fitness hobby," Woods, 29, says.
Although Woods, who lives in South Sydney, was passionate about the hula-hoop, turning it into a viable business was a risk, and one many of her friends and family through she was crazy for taking.
"I was working as an executive assistant, it was a good job – I had stability. But it wasn't fulfilling me," she recalls.
In the early days, Woods combined her corporate job with her fledging hula-hoop business, Spin Joy, by teaching classes in the evenings. It was smooth transition.
"As soon as I had enough interest in my classes I left my job and started hula-hooping full time," she says. Creating a business in such an incredibly niche area forced Woods to think creatively about different ways to generate income.
She has taken a three-pronged approach.
"I teach hula-hoop classes to adults and kids. I perform hula-hoop as entertainment at festivals and corporate events and I also have an on-line shop," she says.
Woods' passion for the hoop is evident from the way she talks about it. It's more than fitness or fun, it's a gateway to self-expression, she says.
"Hula-hooping allows people to discover a different side to themselves. It's really captivating," she says emphatically.
Of course, operating as a sole-trader has it's ups and downs, Woods loves her job and the flexibility it gives her, but escaping the nine-to-five also means her hours are anti-social.
"I'm always working and it's hard to take time off – but then, I've chosen to do something out of the ordinary," she says.
Zoey Dowling, 39, understands this balancing act all too well.
Dowling, who lives in Lismore, also turned her fitness hobby into a business.
"I used to joke that I would find a way to earn a living by just running, or talking about running, or writing about running or meeting other runners," she says.
"It's a little bit more involved than that. There are so many less-than-glamorous aspects of running a business but, when you look at the big picture, I am doing what I love."
Dowling's business, Operation Move, began as a fitness challenge for bloggers and quickly evolved into an on-line running community and on-line course.
Now an accredited running coach, Dowling offers several off-the-shelf running programs as well as tailored training plans.
"Running changed my life in a really fundamental way, and I get to create that for other people now," she says.
But does the business side of running ever dampen her own enthusiasm for the sport? Absolutely not, asserts Dowling.
"I enjoy trying out new training philosophies on myself and I absolutely love meeting people at races and events," she says. "I think [Operation Move] has only enhanced my enjoyment of running."