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Brave Williams: From Sharing the Stage with Beyoncé to Becoming a Franchise Sage

The chart-topping songstress and Netflix star is ready to make her debut as a first-time franchisee with Workout Anytime.

Brave Williams is no stranger to the limelight. Her soulful melodies and powerful performances have taken her from touring with Beyoncé to the screens of Netflix and BET. But now, in a move that truly lives up to her name, Williams has bravely shifted from the stage to the entrepreneurial world, leading the charge as a first-time franchisee with fitness franchise Workout Anytime in Lanham, Maryland. 

1851 Franchise spoke with Williams to learn more about her decision to enter the franchising space, why she is often underestimated by others in the industry and her advice for other aspiring first-time franchise owners. 

Braving a New Course

For many, Williams’s move from music to the fitness industry might seem unanticipated. But a dive into her past reveals a consistent theme — the desire to inspire and uplift. Williams’s first foray into the music industry was as a spoken word artist at 9 years old. 

“As a young child, I always knew that I would be on a stage,” said Williams. “I was going to have a microphone in my hand. I didn’t know if that was going to be in a church atmosphere, in music or on a set, but that was a vision I always saw for myself. It was that vision that guided me to music. That’s where my name, Brave, came from. From there, I started rapping. Then I got into singing. [My] passion for wanting to inspire others grew deep.”

In early adulthood, Williams created a musical group to further develop her gift as a singer. They even toured with Beyoncé and scored a deal with Columbia. She has also taken roles as an actress on Netflix, “Love Dot Com,” BET’s “The Christmas Lottery”, VH1 and other streaming platforms.

After enduring a series of personal challenges, including the disbanding of her musical group and the loss of her manager and father, Williams discovered solace in fitness. Boxing led her to a profound fitness journey, which subsequently ignited a passion for helping others. 

“I've always been in the arts, but I've also always had a sincere passion for fitness and people,” said Williams. “After filming on set and leading workouts with some of my cast mates, I decided to get certified and become a licensed trainer. I enjoy changing people’s lives and seeing women go from little confidence to radiating in the most abundant way.” 

Why Franchising?

Even before franchising, Williams already had a robust experience in the fitness world, transforming over 1,000 clients with her small business Brave Williams Fitness Club, and serving as Steve and Marjorie Harvey's lead bootcamp trainer for their nonprofits. However, the appeal of franchising came when she sought to elevate her mission even further.

“I wanted to attach myself to a brand that I really believed in,” Williams said. 

After a serendipitous introduction to Workout Anytime, her search ended. Impressed by the brand's supportive, family-like environment and robust business model, Williams was set on her new adventure.

I didn’t really have many preconceived notions about franchising because I had never done anything like it before,” said Williams. “However, I spoke with several franchises as a part of my research before I landed on Workout Anytime. I was actually about to sign with another fitness brand the day that I met with Workout Anytime, but my partner pleaded with me to meet with them. I mostly went just in support of him. But when we started talking, I fell in love with the brand. I just absolutely loved the family-oriented feeling they gave me upon meeting for the first time and their business model. That was what made me pivot from the other company to them.”

Never one to only do something halfway, Williams decided to sign on for a whopping 23-unit development deal. 

Breaking the Mold

Williams’s entry into the franchise world was not without its surprises. As a young, black woman in a predominantly male-driven domain, Williams sometimes faced underestimations. Describing an online business meeting, she narrates an instance when the attendees awaited a “Williams,” not realizing she was the one they were expecting. 

“After about five or seven minutes, I asked, ‘Just so I’m clear, we’re waiting for a Williams before we start?’,” she said. “Someone answered, saying something like, ‘Yeah, I guess Brave got busy and might not be able to join us.’ I chuckled to myself, clarified that am Brave, and I could hear the surprise in their voice. That was probably the fourth or fifth time a similar situation occurred during my time as an entrepreneur and performer. It was clear that the people at the meeting were not expecting a young, black woman to pop up on their screens.”

But Williams says she never took offense if someone didn’t believe in something she wanted to do. 

“If someone had doubts about me or my goals, that’s fine,” she said. “It is no one’s responsibility to believe in me other than my own. Really embracing that sentiment is what helped me catapult myself into the next season of my life — where I am now. I knew that if I believed it, it could be done.”

Now, as a business owner and first-time franchise owner, Williams says she is frequently outside of her comfort zone. 

“I’m working with architects and engineers and construction workers,” Williams said. “I’ve never done any of that. I have learned despite not having a background in those respective fields, my opinion and my contributions to the conversation still matter greatly. This is my venture. I’m sitting at the table because I decided to build it. My opinion matters just as much as theirs. Finding that confidence was essential.” 

Be Brave

Slated to open her first Workout Anytime gym on September 18, Williams envisions it as more than just a fitness center. For her, it’s a transformative space — a nexus of physical, mental and spiritual growth. She aspires to create an environment pulsing with hope and positive vibes, where individuals can evolve in all aspects of their lives. 

“It’s my responsibility to execute my own dream, and I’m proud to have taken ownership of that,” said Williams. “Whether it’s with a microphone onstage, being in front of a camera or building a gym to inspire people to want to live a stronger healthier life, it all stems from the same powerful foundation, the desire to make people feel good.” 

Overall, Williams’s journey into franchising is a testament to her resilient spirit and unwavering desire to inspire. From the music stages to the gym floors of Workout Anytime, she's proven that the essence of who you are can seamlessly translate across different platforms.

For those considering a dive into the franchise world as a first-time franchisee, Williams has one clear message: Be Brave. 

“Your biggest enemy and your biggest threat is going to be what you tell yourself, and what you tell yourself is always far worse than what it is in reality,” said Williams. “You can seriously do anything that you put your mind to if you're willing to do the work. Nothing is going to come easy, and anything worth having is going to require discipline and sacrifice. But if you're willing to have that discipline and sacrifice, then franchising is for you.”