Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I was once just an out of shape, overweight guy with a goal to make a change. I started my health and fitness journey by losing 90lbs. The discipline and drive it took to go from never exercising at all to achieving such significant weight loss taught me a lot about goals and how to attain them.
I then became addicted to self-development and wanted to help others. I became a personal trainer and my local gym and climbed the ranks until I was the top of multiple gyms. The journey was never easy. I used to open the gym at 4 am, train until 12 take an hour off, workout myself and then be back till 8 pm before I did it all again. Believe it or not, being a top trainer still doesn’t pay all that well and at the end of the month, I would still find myself exhausted scraping up pennies.
I saw the trend for online training before it was really a thing. I remember telling all my friends and colleagues my plans to take my business online and everyone would laugh and tell me it would fail. People I looked up to, trusted and respected would tell me it was impossible and it would never work. One day, I decided to take the leap and go entirely online. Totally unsure that any success would come of it, I called my mother and told her “I will either be successful in achieving this dream or I will be homeless on the streets. And if I end up on the streets, make sure nobody helps me until I figure this out because from now on I will work for myself” That's when I launched the infantile versions of TeamFFLEX.
TeamFFLEX is my online personal training platform that coaches athletes, Hollywood actors, professional musicians and everyday people all around the world. Starting with literally 0 dollars and a hell of a lot of drive I successfully built my business into the 6 figures in less than a year. Today, TeamFFLEX LLC does $48,000 a month and is growing continually month after month.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I came up with TeamFFLEX seeing the massive trend of everything turning online and want to help as many people as possible achieve results. In a traditional gym format trainers job, there are only so many hours you can work in a day and a limit on clients you can actually work with. For example, if a client does a 60-minute session and you work an 8 hour day you can see 8 clients within that day. There are also of course training teams, and classes as well as small groups but still even if I could have worked with 100 people a day in a gym it would not have been enough.
I wanted to find a way to help people all around the world. The people that couldn’t get to the gym or didn’t have the money to hire an expensive trainer. I wanted to make sure that no matter where people were at the gym or at home they had the ability to take action on their health and fitness and get results.
Seeing in today's world how basically kids are born with an iPhone in hand it all just made perfect sense. Take personal training online and help people all around the world. The thing about today's society is that we want it now. We don't want to wait. We don't want to go into a building, meet with some trainer, get sold on all the different expensive packages and then pay basically to have a really expensive cheerleader. I honestly believe that within the next 10 years we won’t see trainers in gyms anymore. The quality of training in gyms continues to drop due to the fact that not enough people get training and also that trainers can’t even make enough money to sustain a living. I knew that if I could go online with everything not only would I be able to impact people to a much larger degree, I would also be able to live a life on my terms.
I was stuck at my day job working hours and hours unable to even usually take a bathroom break moving from client to client. I didn’t have the money to open my own gym. I didn’t have any resources that I could take advantage of to shortcut me to the life I wanted. So I decided to build the concept from scratch myself. I knew that personal training didn’t come down to being in the room with a trainer. It came down to the correct exercises being done in the correct way with proper nutrition and recovery. Having worked in gyms for years I knew that I could offer this to people without actually being there with them and they could still achieve incredible results. That’s when I put the coaching app together and began to launch
Providing valuable content that would help people that don’t even pay me has enabled me to scale far above the coaches that pinch pennies trying to charge for every little thing.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
When it came to designing services I simply took what I knew from working with people in a gym and found a way to deliver it online. The mistake a lot of people make is assuming they can just follow a random workout or a generic workout that they find on the internet. When in reality, we are all individuals and the way we need to train and eat needs to be custom-built for each of us. The idea was to get all the information I need from my clients on the front end. Have them do a detailed consultation about their goals, health history, and any other relevant circumstances and then go to work on building a custom plan built for the success of the individual. I didn’t take any funding on or anything else to launch my coaching business. I simply thought “what would it take to offer the highest-end personal training service?” And then “what would it take to create that service in an online environment?”
Describe the process of launching the business.
The process of launching the business was fairly simple for me honestly as far as set up went. I took advantage of every resource I could to gain traction in the market and start digging my feet into the online fitness world. Those major resources being social media platforms.
I saw a huge potential obviously for my business on social media as it was a free outlet to literally engage with all my potential customers. When it came to building out the content I went in with one mission. I wanted to give more value than anyone else to my followers. Literally give away the stuff people normally would pay for. Be the only coach and trainer period that was willing to give more value for free than anyone else.
It’s great to have plans, it’s great to have ideas, but what are you going to do today that moves you closer to that tomorrow goal?
Again, I didn’t take on any financial debt to start the company, but I did take on a massive debt of time. I spent huge amounts of time building content. Often times sleeping 4-5 hours a night for months because I was recording videos, doing podcasts and creating posts while learning all the platforms to do so. It took me awhile honestly to figure out what content my audience wanted but once I found out what made me unique and what nobody else in my space was doing, I started to get more and more credibility in the online fitness industry and that also led to more and more customers.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Retaining customers really has come down to content. I mean this on both the front of the people I work with as well as what I give out to people that may never even buy anything from me.
I played around with ads and other forms of promotional advertising etc but honestly never found them to be as effective as building really valuable content for my audience. I don’t do any form of paid advertising currently. What I decided I wanted to do early on was offer for free what my competition charges for.
A mistake that I made for years and honestly only recently have corrected was not delegating out enough of the business. I think as entrepreneurs we tend to think we should do it all.
Being a fitness coach, a lot of people have all types of fitness questions and typically if you want help with anyone you have to pay for it first. For me to edge out the competition I decided I would offer far higher quality service and literally give away what other coaches charge for. That enables me to get great engagement and really increased my following, shares and etc. Providing valuable content that would help people that don’t even pay me has enabled me to scale far above the coaches that pinch pennies trying to charge for every little thing.
I can consistently bring customers back and continue to gather new clients by staying on top of my content creation. I am literally spending time every single day to create content that provides value to my audience. I do daily podcasts, YouTubes every week, 6 posts on Instagram per day and 1-2 on other platforms. The idea is always to provide as much value as I can. Give back as much as I can and continue to stay ahead of the game by constantly providing new and noteworthy content.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’ve been profitable honestly since the first year of the business. I have been able to figure out how to acquire clients without doing a ton of spending by just creating better content. That has resulted in me having very little overhead and maximum profitability.
Since my product is actually an online service, all of my sales are direct via online transactions and that also means that my potential clients and customers are actually anyone around the world with an internet connection. I don’t have any need to hold or store products and have very minimal actual expenses for the business every month due to the fact it is just a coaching service that I offer.
Where I spend the most now is on my team of trainers and other people I outsource to work for me as now I delegate a lot of the day to day business dealings.
Year after year I have increased my sales in dramatic ways. My first-year online coaching I made only roughly 5-10k. The next year I made 6 figures. The following multiple 6 figures and this pattern has no sign of slowing down. I expect to continue to grow and expand as I move forward towards the 7 figure mark.
2018-compared to 2017:
2019 compared to 2018:
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
A mistake that I made for years and honestly only recently have corrected was not delegating out enough of the business. I think as entrepreneurs we tend to think we should do it all. It’s our business we started right so why wouldn’t we do all of it? And while I do think that is important in the beginning to learn and establish operations, it definitely has a decline in the effectiveness and growth potential of the business at one point or another.
I used to spend hours and hours every day doing things I call $10 an hour jobs. Small tasks while making me feel busy, were not actually effective for my business in the monumental way I needed to make progress forward. $10 an hour jobs are exactly what they sound like. Something you could literally pay someone $10 an hour to do so that you could focus instead on driving the business forward. Working on the business instead of IN the business.
Finally, gaining the confidence and structure to start delegating out tasks was probably the most effective thing I have done for my business period and its something I would highly suggest to all people that are trying to grow and scale a business. Do what you do best and delegate the rest.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
My main tools are social media as funny as that sounds. I love using Later to schedule out and manage all my posts. This alone saves you countless hours and again its something that can be easily delegated to a VA or some other type of assistant.
I also love using my regular old Google Calendar. Schedules I literally believe are the difference between success and failure. I learned over the years that if you want to accomplish something if you really want to actually make momentum then you need to schedule it and make it mandatory. Waiting for the time, trying to squeeze it at the last minute or picking it up on the weekend will not work. Find the time by making it in the schedule and committing to getting it done at all costs.
I also spend a ton of time (less now) using Photoshop, Final Cut Pro and GarageBand to create and build my content. Photoshop is now rarely used because I hired a graphic designer for all my posts but I do still spend a good amount of time every day compiling my YouTubes with Final Cut Pro and my podcasts using GarageBand. It works perfectly for now but it is definitely something I would like to delegate in the future. I would also like to say these are the base model programs that come on my computer. You do not need to invest a ton of money to start producing content.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I literally spend time every day reading and listening to audiobooks. My goal is to do 1-2 audiobooks a week and at least 1 physical book a week. I highly, however, suggest that you don’t take time out of your day to listen to an audiobook. In other words, figure out where you can listen with a task you are already doing. For me its the gym. I workout every day and I know ill be there for the 60 minutes etc so why not listen to a book instead of music? Going shopping? Throw your headphones on and get the book going then.
You can find a lot of ways to learn so much without any additional effort or time in the day. Every time anyone asks me about my favorite book I always go back to Grant Cardone and The 10X Rule. This is hugely valuable to anyone because it really is just kept so simple. The principle itself is something you can start right away and it will absolutely help you get to your goals faster with better effectiveness. I love the non-technicality of the book and how literally anyone at any phase can apply the principles. I've probably listened and read that book now over 50 times.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
The best thing I can say for anyone that is just starting out is to just take action I think in today's society everyone wants to spend more time “waiting” and “thinking” which in reality is a sophisticated way to make an excuse for procrastination. Looking back on my journey moving into all this I definitely waited way too long to make a lot of moves that would have totally transformed my life in times I really would have needed it.
For example that phone call to my mom I mentioned above about being in the streets or being a success? That came about 3 years too late and I don't think there was any benefit at all for waiting that length of time. I think it just took me 3 years to realize that action was the only thing that I could control and not taking it was the only thing holding me back. I tell anyone and everyone no matter what stage they are in that it’s great to have plans, it’s great to have ideas, but what are you going to do today that moves you closer to that tomorrow goal?
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I am always looking to hire and work with people that can support my mission and help the business get there faster. Right now I'm not looking for anything specific. But I have also found that the best employees come to you on their own and present their skills. So if that's you, you know where to find me.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
Get our 5-minute email newsletter packed with business ideas and money-making opportunities, backed by real-life case studies.
- 4,818 founder case studies
- Access to our founder directory
- Live events, courses and recordings
- 8,628 business ideas
- $1M in software savings