From Dust To Discipline: Meet The Young Entrepreneur Who Started A 7-Figure Fitness Brand At 18

For most teens, launching a fitness brand and growing it into a successful 7-figure business isn’t the typical daydream. But entrepreneur and author Nastassia Ponomarenko isn’t the typical young woman or founder. Her story is the kind of inspiration that she hopes will fuel more young women to take their ideas from inception to reality, and change the status quo of the business world (i.e, the white, male-dominated arena that it currently still is).

At just 20-years old, Nastassia Ponomarenko is the CEO/Founder of the fitness apparel line Nasty Fit, author of ‘From Dust To Discipline: Achieve Your Fullest Potential‘, and a social media guru with over 60-Million views on YouTube. Now Nastassia has launched Connectful, a networking app for young adults that connects entrepreneurs with mentors and other like-minded individuals while on their journey to success. The app also includes the ‘Get Connected’ Podcast, where Nastassia interviews successful business owners and CEOs to provide insight and inspiration to the Connectful community.

We spoke with the ultimate GirlBoss about her entrepreneur journey, who inspires her to keep going, and how she pushed past her own fears and insecurities to follow her goals.

When did the entrepreneurial bug first bite you? 

When I was probably in 6th or 7th grade. I started making duct tape pens, wallets, DIY phone cases and all of that fun stuff. I also used to buy some phone cases off Amazon and then try to resell them. It was super fun. 

You’ve spoken about facing barriers and discrimination being a young woman startup founder. Can you tell us more about what you experienced? 

I mainly faced mental barriers that manifested through years of self-doubt that was instilled into me when growing up. That’s what I mostly had to deal with – my mind sometimes telling me that “you can’t really achieve this” or playing the whole comparison game with other people who are more successful. 

Of course, I’ve had my fair share of internet trolls making fun of me or trying to put me into a box, and while that isn’t the greatest thing to experience, it’s something that I had to learn to get over. 

While the VC world and Silicon Valley is still very male-dominated, you haven’t let that slow you down in any way. Talk to us about building a brand from the ground up, and growing a social media following to prove your ideas have legs?

Yes the VC world and Silicon Valley are quite male-dominated. That’s actually an area I want to get more into. I think the building a brand aspect happened naturally. It began with me filming videos about what I was doing, which was fitness at the time. I always stayed authentic and kept doing what I wanted to do, and that’s how the brand built up over time. Proving that your ideas have legs is all in the execution. You’ve just gotta keep going.

Tell us about your label Nasty Fit and how it stands out from other fitness apparel labels? 

Nasty Fit is a fitness apparel brand that I started when I was 18-years old, and it is now a 7-figure business! We design clothing that makes young women look their best, feel their best, and become their best. 

Nasty Fit has a unique story behind the brand, and it stands out by having extremely flattering designs. We are also a brand that values diversity and inclusion, and we showcase that in every photoshoot we do with our models. 

You wrote a book called “From Dust to Discipline”. Can you share some of the main themes you talk about in the book and how you want to help other young entrepreneurs?

I released the book in March of 2020. It was something that I really wanted to do. Several main themes were about my past, upbringing, present, self-love, discipline, and overall becoming your best and happiest self. I have a massive soft spot for young folks, especially young women. I feel that it’s my duty to spread awareness and compassion to them. 

How did the idea for Connectful App come about, and can you share any interesting or powerful stories from the users so far? 

Connectful came from my own personal void of never having any like-minded and entrepreneurial female friends my age. It was such a battle of loneliness, and I couldn’t find a platform out there that helped solve my needs. That’s essentially how the seed was planted into my own head. 

One interesting story that we got from listening to our users is how it breaks the barrier between the professionalism norm and the personal side that we humans with personalities have! Connectful is an “easy” type of networking, not the kind you can imagine with business suits, stuffy rooms and low quality coffee. 

Who are your personal role models in life, and why? 

Gary Vaynerchuk is like my father. I adore Gary for his passion for humans and for making the world into a better place. I’ve learned so much from him including topics like money, hustle, ego and empathy. Every single day, I manifest that I will have an interview with him one day.

With over 700k subscribers and over 50 million views on your Youtube Channel, you have a very loyal following and people want to hear what you have to say! What are your favorite topics to make videos about, and what usually ends up getting the most engagement? 

Great question! My favorite videos to film are probably little impromptu self-improvement videos that hit me in the moment. What ends up getting the most engagement is definitely either my ‘Morning Routines’ or ‘Day in the Life’ videos. 

You are only 20 and yet have achieved so much already! What are your plans for the next 5 and ten years? 

I am about to turn 21 (at the time of writing this). My goal for the next 5 years is to build Connectful into a super successful company. More specifically, we want to dominate the networking market for young adults and think that it’s a very tangible goal in the next few years. 

In 10 years I’ll be 30! Quite possibly a family by then? Running a successful business. Traveling and working. Maybe doing more spiritual work. Public speaking. Overall, I always want to be a role model to all of the young women out there. 

What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs who feel as if there are too many barriers to move forward with their goals? 

The best piece of advice I have is that for every barrier someone may have, there was someone else with the same issues, but they’ve made it out and become successful. For every excuse, downfall, weakness, or barrier that one may have, there is at least one person who is successful and experienced the same problems. It should never stop us from achieving greatness! 


Learn more about Nastassia and connect with her below:
Nastassia: Instagram (561K) | YouTube (723K Subs, 63M Views)
Connectful App: connectful.com | Instagram | Twitter
Nasty Fit Apparel: nastyfit.com | Instagram (98K)
“From Dust To Discipline” Book: Order on Amazon