If your 9-to-5 is in a different field from your passion-fueled side hustle, take inspiration from Keaira LaShae. A lead trainer for the fitness company Daily Burn and the creator of the dance-based “Move” workout, LaShae is also a budding R&B star.
On Daily Burn, she takes fans through fun routines that incorporate Bollywood, African, Latin and hip-hop steps. But the amiable trainer also captures the attention of fitness fans on her two YouTube channels — SuperheroFitnessTV and Keaira LaShae — which have cumulatively amassed 60 million views. On both, she extends her workouts with useful tutorials that run the gamut from “How to Dance in the Club (In a Dress)” (1,049,810 views as I write this) to a “How to Booty Pop/Twerk Workout” (157,641 views in just three months).
As part of LaShae’s plan to build her following as a 360 degree entertainer, she often sets her video classes to a soundtrack of her own original music, sometimes breaks into song, and almost always drives traffic to her new singles with links that overlay her videos. And it’s working.
She says a 60-city college tour with Kendrick Lamar is in the works, and she’s about to star in her own dance fitness DVD to be distributed by LionsGate. A meal plan for her health-conscious followers (via her upcoming app) is also soon to be released.
We tapped LaShae’s expertise for pointers on how to build a strong following doing what we love.
Madame Noire: How did you turn your personal love of working out into a business?
KL: I graduated high school early and after that I didn’t want to go straight to college. I was like, “I’ve got to do something else.” So [at 16], I trained at a local gym… under one of the workers there. [I learned personal training] and then got my license when I was old enough.
MN: What made you decide to put your workouts online?
KL: I’ve done it for a while in person for people… but when I did it on YouTube, when I did it online, and people were like “Oh my God, this is amazing,” I was like “Man, I could really do something with this. Not only could I help people and help them have fun while working out and get them in shape, but I can also make money by doing this?”
MN: How did the Daily Burn gig come about?
KL: I started getting hired from different companies because they saw me on YouTube. [I auditioned for a back up position in a Daily Burn video, and] Daily Burn was like, ‘Uh, why in the world did you come in as a back up? What is wrong with you? We saw that YouTube. You need to lead these videos.”
MN: How did you amass 60 million hits on your YouTube page?
KL: Well, it’s a combination of things. I’m a singer and a dancer also, and so, I have one channel where I do singing and dancing and then I have one channel where I do fitness; and I ended up combining the two.
On my singing channel… [viewers] would ask me, “How did you get that figure?” And then I would send them over to my “Superhero Fitness TV” YouTube channel. And with the music on the Superhero Fitness TV YouTube channel, they would ask me, “Who is that in the background? What music is that?” and I’m like, “Oh, it’s mine. Buy it on iTunes.”
So, I just did a lot of like mixing of the two.