Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hey! My name is Haley Perry and I am the founder and CEO of Endorphitness, an online platform for health and fitness programs. We are an online platform for women looking to lose weight at home, specifically without a gym or fitness center near them.
My flagship product is Collective. This is an at-home gym membership designed to give customers everything they need to live a healthy lifestyle. It provides weekly workout videos, recipes, stretching videos, and a community forum. Over the years, I realized that most women tend to fall off track because there is either too much conflicting information on the internet or because there was no one holding them accountable. Well, we created a one-stop-shop for all things health and fitness related.
I launched my first product in January 2018, and man has things changed since then. In the online, solopreneur space, you quickly find that it is better to just start than it is to make something a product perfect, first. Messy forward action is always better than just making it perfect first, especially when it isn’t a physical product.
With the adjustments over the years, we are now opening enrollment for programs several times per year, and still learning with every launch. With the addition of the Collective membership, we have now been able to get workout videos on the screens of hundreds of women around the country.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I knew in college that I wanted to do something within the fitness space, but never had any interest in being an entrepreneur.
I started my career in the personal training space, only to recognize that the number of hours I put into training was a direct correlation of how much money I could make.
I started my career in the personal training space, only to recognize that the number of hours I put into training was a direct correlation of how much money I could make. This meant to make money I had to continue working at 6:00 am and 9:00 pm until...Did I switch careers? This was a no-go for me, so I started to brainstorm ways around it.
I had moved from Stevens Point WI to Marshfield, WI to Evanston, IL, and recognized that my training clients still wanted to work with me. Anyone in the fitness space knows that you create a relationship with clients early on, and it’s hard to just find a new trainer. That is when I had the idea to move things online. I started with 1:1 coaching with previous clients and quickly realized I wanted to expand.
Like any other entrepreneur or company, I wanted to make a passive income. I wanted to change lives, without having to work 80 hours a week (in person or online). This is how Endorphitness was created. I started with fitness challenges and then started to create my offer ladder.
How was I going to make my challenge customers, life long customers? A membership, that is how. So I started building a system that would create recurring revenue for me, but also still have enough value and personalization in it that customers would want to stay. I also wanted to be able to offer a lower ticket item that could reach masses, with again, less work from me.
When I was thinking about creating a membership, I already had a pretty solid customer base. I made sure to ask them if this was something they would be interested in. Because while I thought it was a great idea, it could have landed flat on my audience. And when I launched it in October 2019, they pulled through for me, and continue to market FOR ME, FOR FREE because they love it so much.
When I started my business I didn’t have a solid plan or idea. I just knew I wanted to create a platform for a lifestyle change, for women. It has evolved over the years, but it wasn’t until the last few months that I have been able to work at home on my business full time. I continued to train at gyms and 1:1 in-home training until I felt comfortable to go full time. I don’t have a serious story of having $10 in the bank and “going for it” living out of a van. I made sure I set myself up to have a seamless transition, and still have the income to boost me during slow months.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Like I said before, I didn't start my business with a clear idea of what I wanted to offer. It just started as a blog, and from there I started to slowly develop products.
My first digital product was a new year's “Jump Start January” challenge that was 8 weeks long and cost $100. I was convinced my mom would be the only one to buy it, but to my surprise, there were 15. I thought I had made it. I was crushing it, people wanted to listen to me and I was ecstatic to coach and teach them how to live healthily.
While the challenge was a success, and at the time I thought it was amazing, looking back, it was awful. I had no systems in place, everything was google documents emailed out individually. It was a lot of extra work, and again, definitely not pretty.
It all comes with trial and error. But those beginning months and years taught me a lot. The main thing I learned is that people just want someone to listen to them and to give them direction. It doesn’t have to be pretty and thought out, it just has to have an impact. So what started as a whole slew of google docs and vertical recorded videos in my dining room turned into a fully developed dashboard on my website created by developers. Everyone starts somewhere, just make sure you start.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I am still launching my business. I am still consistently growing and coming up with new ways I can serve my customers, as well as ways to automate the process.
I launched my website assuming clients and customers would just start rolling in, even though I had no idea what I wanted to sell. I started talking about doing challenges because that is what others were doing, and that landed my first “product” that you just read about.
It started slow, and I had no idea what I was doing during the process. I had no systems, I had no idea what I wanted for my business in 5-10 years. But I knew I wanted to help people, and I knew that I could figure it out along the way. Even if it was messy.
Fast forward to now, growing my business at a steady rate, yet still creating an offer suite and automating everything. I didn’t start with a random simple website, I started with the one you see today. I didn’t start with investors or loans, I started with free information on the internet and the willingness to learn. I didn’t start out knowing anything about business or launching a business. I just taught myself along the way. There is still much to learn, and I have a lot of different things in the works, but we are on our way.
I spend my days building out systems so that when a team is necessary, everything is already in place.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I wouldn’t say the launch is ever over. For Endorphitness, we are always launching. Opening and closing programs, creating new programs, launching products, and apparel. There is always something that is in the works.
Based on what I have learned so far, business is about relationships. It’s about letting people know that you care, and showing them that you aren’t just another business in the market. Because while your niche may seem saturated, there is space for all of us, because now one teaches as you do, no one coaches as you do, and no one creates as you do. You will appeal to someone.
I have worked to find my space in the market through a lot of trial and error. I may have done a little of what “everyone” was doing starting until I found my footing of what worked for me and my business. Because of my specific niche, I have found that Instagram and Facebook convert well for me. I spend a lot of time making sure I mention my offers frequently so that when everyone comes across me, they know exactly what I do.
I also make sure to push people to an email list using freebies they want, so that I always have a list of people who are interested in my and my business. No one is going to download something of yours if they aren’t genuinely interested. So if they were interested in something free, you then cultivate a relationship and hope to make them a paying customer in the future.
I am always thinking about my customer, and what they want. How can I get into their head with my posts so they say “oh wow, how does she know me so well” but also providing value so that I position myself as an authority in the space? You want people to come to you for their questions so that you are more than just another face out there sharing their opinion on whatever it is you do.
So I use Facebook and Instagram to post and share. I use a Facebook group to give out free content to those interested. I have a YouTube channel I post my workouts to, so I can then link them back to the blog. It is all about finding what is going to work best for your brand, where your ideal customer hangs out.
I don’t do too much-paid ads right now, just because I am still formulating the foundation of the business. For me, I want things automated and done right from the get-go so that in the future I can work to just drive as much traffic as possible without fumbling my way through it. I use an eCRM so I can send email campaigns to those who visit specific pages on my site, by certain products and download specific freebies. This allows me to cultivate relationships. And what do relationships mean? Sales.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I am a solopreneur. This means right now, my team is my, myself, and I. Well, and my fiance that I rope in for his digital marketing expertise. I spend my days building out systems so that when a team is necessary, everything is already in place. I also have very little overhead - just subscriptions to run the business, outsourcing things I don’t need to spend time on, and things like that.
Be willing to suck at the beginning, be willing to fail your way through tough times to make it out the other side stronger than you were.
Like I said above, I don’t currently spend money on marketing. Not to say it is wrong, but I am choosing to build a solid foundation before spending money on ads and marketing. This allows me to be profitable, even on a small scale, while slowly growing the business organically.
I am an entrepreneur, which means I don’t work for a manager, but rather, I work for my customers. I am always doing market research within my network to see what is needed from me, and what my customers are looking for. I have a few new virtual products in the works like courses and things, and a few physical products in the works like fitness gear.
Within the next few years, I hope to rebrand the site, build a team, and start scaling my business. I plan to just keep making current offers better and better, and brainstorming new products to launch when the time is right. I am a strong believer in sticking to your lane, so I don’t have plans on going in any other direction besides health and fitness. I also don’t want to drain my clients and make them think they need tons of products and programs to be successful, so I keep it simple and straightforward.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Running a business is extremely humbling. You find out that no one will ever care about your business as much as you do. I learned the hard way that just launching a website doesn't mean customers are going to start buying. And just because you have thousands of followers on social media, doesn't mean you can convert them into paying customers. Focus on creating relationships. You don’t need 30,000 customers to be profitable, 1,000 true fans will do the job.
I don’t think there is any one event that has helped me along the way, at least not yet. It takes a lot of hard work and understanding that it likely isn’t going to get handed to your overnight.
One piece of advice I will give you is this, no one has any idea what they are doing. So while you may think that your launch wasn’t perfect or that someone else is doing it better, they aren’t. They too are just working their way through it. Don’t get caught up on everything you feel like you should be doing, or should be expected, focus on one thing at a time and do it well.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
- Website hosting: WP Engine
- Sales platform: WooCommerce
- Email marketing and CRM: Drip
- Payment Portal: Stripe
- Design: CanvaPro
- Social Media Scheduling: Hootsuite
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and reading books, any free information I can take in is going to be beneficial to me.
These podcasts all continue to teach me tangible things I can start adding into my business right now, but also giving me new ideas. As I said, I do everything on my own, I am a one-man show, so any information I can take in about easier systems and automation is my best friend.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
The best piece of advice I can give someone just starting is, just start. It doesn't have to be perfect and planned out, but start. Because messy action is still action. You can spend days, weeks, months planning out the perfect product and business, and it could fall flat. So figure it out as you can, and focus on small growth. I think a lot of people tend to get caught up in overnight success, or success not happening quick enough for them.
Remember that what you see at the beginning of what you start with is not usually what you finish with. Be willing to suck at the beginning, be willing to fail your way through tough times to make it out the other side stronger than you were.
The experience you get from starting is going to be better than any experience you read in a book or listen to in a podcast. So do market research, ask questions to those that are doing what you want to do, and see how they got there. No one is going to turn down your questions, because everyone started exactly where you are.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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