Back in high school, I was the fat foreign kid. And I had my eye on this girl who I wanted to take to prom. I didn’t want her to laugh in my face, so started working out. I lost the fat, got in shape, and guess what...I never had the confidence to ask her out. But what I did gain was my passion for health and fitness. I knew in that moment that my purpose in life was to help others live healthier, happier lives. I became a personal trainer and started my own business, several actually. While I liked one-on-one training, I wanted to reach more people and impact more lives in a supportive group setting. In 2008, in the middle of the recession, I created the business model that would grow into Fit Body Boot Camp. Since then we’ve gone and sold almost 600 franchises and made the Inc 5000 list twice for fastest growing fitness business.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students (young and old) locally or internationally who want to become entrepreneurs?
Don’t get stuck in hustle and grind mode. While it’s necessary in the beginning when you’re trying to get your business off the ground, it doesn’t produce long term success. You have to move to scale and structure so that your business can grow into an empire and maximize profit.
Seek out a mentor (or mentors). The more people you have behind you who have already been through it and know the keys to success, the quicker you can scale your business.
Network with professionals in your industry. A lot of young entrepreneurs worry that no one’s gonna care who they are or what they do because they haven’t reached that high status yet. Don’t shut out opportunities, go to the events the pros are speaking in. And even if you can’t afford to buy the ticket, hang around after the event and introduce yourself, offer to buy them a beer, just do something that puts you on their radar. The fastest way to build relationships and network is to build a rapport with people.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ask for help sooner. I thought I could do everything myself. I thought no one else could do things better than me, so I tried to do it all. My anxiety was so bad, one day I had a panic attack that felt just as intense as a heart attack. It took that trip to the hospital for me to realize I needed to let go of the work that I didn’t necessarily need to be doing. Once I started delegating faster and creating leaders within my team, I made more money with less stress, and more time for my family.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Strong Leadership: a team is only as strong as its leader. When you lead from the front, ooze an enthusiasm for life, and have clarity of vision and purpose, people will be inspired to follow your lead and take action.
Be Decisive: as an entrepreneur, you need to make decisions fast. The biggest thing that costs entrepreneurs millions of dollars is indecision. Trust me, it’s way better to make a fast decision about something, and if it ends up being the wrong decision, you can always go back and course correct. You don’t need all the information to make a decision, just do it!
Communication: you need to know how to communicate your vision, your mission, and your path with your team members, staff, clients, business partners, everyone. If you can’t communicate openly and honestly with everyone around you, your business won’t make it. Understand how to communicate what you’re feeling in a constructive way. Things will go wrong in a business, and when they do, you need to stop reacting, and start responding