My Story


I’m Cherene – the creator of The Barefoot CEO.

I live in Newcastle (Australia) with my husband Graham (aka “The G Man”) and our fur child Axel. We have a tribe of adult children and step children who are spread across Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle who we love to bits and don’t get to see often enough.

In mid 2004, I had a WILD IDEA!

This WILD IDEA quickly became a

BIG, HAIRY, AUDACIOUS GOAL!

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So about this wild idea…

it was, (in my kids words) – TOTALLY BAT SHIT CRAZY! Yeah, OK maybe it was – but it was something that lit me up like nothing else, and was one of those things I just HAD to pursue. My family thought I was having a mid-life crisis, totally lost the plot and were ready to have me committed – but  this wild idea just kept eating at me. I was daydreaming about it at work, talking about it and researching it when I got home, and dreaming about it all night! Guess you could safely say I was a little obsessed! So what was this THING that got me so fired up?

I WANTED TO BECOME A POLE DANCER! 🙂

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So there I was – 41 years old, a wife, mother and stepmother. A kitchen/bathroom designer, and sales and marketing manager! What the *#^* was I thinking? Becoming a Pole Dancer and starting my own studio “at my age”? And more to the point, HOW the hell did I think I was going to do it? I had NO IDEA how to pole dance (YET) but was totally prepared to give it my best shot.

As they say, “where there’s a will there’s a way”, so fast forward 12 months of learning everything we could, and in October 2005 we were off and running (or should I say spinning).

For added incentive, my husband told me I was NOT giving up my day job until I could cover my income by the new classes. NO PROBLEM! I quit my day job just 8 weeks after launching, and officially became a full-time Pole Dancer and Studio Owner – and the oldest pole dancer in the world at that stage (LOL)!  Maybe my wild idea WASN’T so bat shit crazy after all???

Over the next few years, we worked hard, won several Business Awards, were finalists in the NSW Entrepreneur of the Year and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards and were running 3 studios. By 2011 we had 9 studios around Australia and life was – well – BUSY! We also added additional classes to our repertoire, in Aerial Yoga, Barre, Pilates etc, and I ventured into the Holistic Health, Wellness, Nutrition and Weight Loss sphere.

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THEN IN 2014 MY WORLD CAME CRASHING DOWN AROUND ME!

My youngest son, Alex passed away suddenly, and no one could figure out why/how for almost a year. Needless to say, my priorities kind of shifted a LOT, and my passion for my business and life in general went AWOL for quite a while! During this time, I sold my studios, and my husband and I packed up and left Sydney to move 3 hours north and took a “Gap Year” (which turned into nearly 2 years). During this time I opened my own small boutique Aerial Yoga, Barre & Fitness studio in Port Stephens.

When it came time to get back to LIVING again, I took a job back in the kitchen renovation industry – but to be honest, I’M AN ENTREPRENEUR AT HEART, and doing the 9-5 daily grind for someone else’s business is definitely NOT my thing (and I’m not very good at being told what to do either).

THEN – in June 2019 I destroyed my foot in an accident – broke my heel into 5 pieces, destroyed all the ligaments and tendons and spent 3 months wheelchair bound + another 3 months on crutches – unable to drive, work, or do any form of exercise. Then loads of rehab and learning to walk again. Here we are 12 months later and getting there, but still a work in progress!

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So yeah, I get it! I understand all too well the perils and the roller-coaster ride this entrepreneurial life can be – and how exhausting and stressful it can be if not managed correctly.

Now I help boutique Health & Fitness Studios, Fit-preneurs, aspiring Entrepreneurs and creative Small Businesses get started and grow a business doing what they love, rather than trying to figure it all out themselves, juggling ALL aspects of their business – and all to often spending way too much time working IN their business and not enough time working ON their business.

Find out more about Stuff I’ve Done and my own Entrepreneurial Journey here >>