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Spend & Save

Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'It's only work, but downtownMiami beats the East End any day'

In The Red

As I write I'm sitting on my bed in my hotel room in downtown Miami. Not what you expected? Me neither. But don't get too excited. Before you get any extravagant ideas about lottery wins or air miles, I should mention that I'm here working. And only for three days. And in meetings, mainly. Still, it beats camping out at an East End jumble sale doesn't it? It's Miami after all.

It's actually the first time I've travelled for work. Funnily enough, writing about how broke you are invites little in the way of luxury holidays in the Bahamas (NB if you happen to be a hotelier, please feel free to change that). On this particular occasion though, I'm in another guise – that of fitness writer. I'm here writing about a new dance exercise, zumba, which, incredibly, is only just coming to the UK (thanks to Virgin Active) despite the fact that everyone here does it all the time, or so it seems.

At any rate there'll be plenty of time for ruminations on the fitness benefits of zumba in other pages of this paper, no doubt. More of interest to my money saving was getting to meet the man behind the phenomenon, whose life story reads more like a Hollywood weepy than a cut-and-dry career path.

Born to a single mother in Columbia, he moved to the US and started teaching dance as a twenty-something, founding his company with a friend over a Starbucks. Now he is an undisputed success, earning goodness knows what and living life on his own terms. Every time we meet him he has a new car; and his flat, as well as being gorgeous, overlooks South Beach. Clearly I need to do a bit more of what he's doing. But what? And how?

One thing that seems grimly certain to me is that I'm not, for the foreseeable future at least, likely to succeed. People like him – self-made millionaires of the Madonna and Richard Branson ilk – possess the get-up-and-go that most of us can only dream of. You can't imagine them sitting, knackered, at the end of the day with a bar of Dairy Milk and a sense of resignation, can you?

Indeed, everyone of serious financial success I've ever met has possessed a preternatural sense of get-up-and-go. Not I. I'm no slacker, but the single-minded determination that spurs some people on evades me. Or maybe I've not spent enough time in sunny Miami? Only one way to find out.