Nadine moved from Alberta, Canada, to Cayman 15 years ago as a professional accountant. Shortly after, she turned her passion for health and wellness into a self-made career. Alongside raising her son, Zaiden, 10, Nadine has become one of the leading business women and influencers in the international fitness market, where her work includes coaching women to better both their mind and body, public speaking engagements and authoring four books. She also owns a fitness app, runs an international wellness retreat and is currently working in new product development within the wellness field.
Being a solopreneur, Nadine Dumas has built her business through hard grit and perseverance, and because she is navigating the industry on her own, she has learned many of the most important lessons which fundamentally helped her grow her company. A key lesson, in her view, has been learning where her weaknesses are and asking for help.
“I spent many years at the beginning of my career trying to do it all and spinning my wheels,” she says. “I’m sure part of it was ego, not wanting to show that I was weak or didn’t ‘have it all together’ and in the end it cost me a lot of time and sleepless nights.” A pitfall Nadine now mentors other entrepreneurs on.
These days, by working from home with her international clients online, she is able to balance work and parenting. It’s an ideal arrangement for her that allows a great deal of flexibility: she can be home when Zaiden finishes school, and can work anywhere, anytime while travelling whether it be during school holidays or for work engagements.
When her son was just a baby and she was travelling a great deal for photoshoots and international coaching events, she often took Zaiden along with her, tagging on a few days to each trip to show her son a new city. These formative experiences have meant that “Zaiden has grown up to be an independent, well-travelled and patient kid”. Being a mum and running multiple businesses with no set hours simply wouldn’t be possible if he didn’t have these qualities.
Growing up in a military family, Nadine says she and her sister were raised with strong values and fairly strict rules, which has influenced how they raise their own children. As well as her parents, her most important role models include the women she works with on a daily basis. “I am surrounded by some of the most amazing women in my life, from mentors, business partners, friends and clients. These women definitely influence how I parent my child and I don’t think I could get through many days without them,” she says.
As Nadine’s businesses grew, so did her social media presence, something which comes with its own pitfalls. She has encountered trolls and has been a victim of cyber-bullying: “Years ago I used to take the comments personally and be so hurt that it was paralysing,” she recalls. “I would fear posting something because I was afraid of being judged.” Nadine now uses this experience to mentor and empower others and teach her son about bullying. Nadine is aware of how easy it is, when spending time on social media, to fall into the trap of comparing one’s situation to the apparently picture-perfect lives of others. But, she notes, these are the highlight reels of others’ lives and not the full picture. Her advice is to stay in your own lane, and focus on your journey.
As a health professional, Nadine works hard to prioritise diet, exercise and self-care, even if it’s not perfect all the time. But that, for her, is not only about business, “It’s also about setting an example to my son,” she observes. “Kids learn from their parents and ‘more is caught than taught’ so making sure they see you being respected and treated right is very important, but making sure they see you respecting and treating yourself right is equally, if not more important.”
Reflecting on her family life she says “We are not your traditional family by any means, but it works for us. Zaiden and I have an incredible bond and we are a happy unit. Family comes in all shapes and sizes and we prove you don’t have to be the classic nuclear household or the perfect Instagram family to make it work.”