Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I am Bryan Greene, I own and started The LOOK Fitness in Newport Beach, California.
We are a service-based business for private training, semi-private training, private open gym, nutrition, online training, and more. The LOOK Fitness is a boutique fitness facility catered to executives, business owners, and everyday gym-goers who want more of an executive workout experience.
The LOOK Fitness is currently making $53,000 per month and growing monthly, fighting back from the hardships we've endured. We moved from our original location as we outgrew our first location and survived a drawn-out build-out that was supposed to take only two months, which took one year and eight months, and COVID in Southern California with some of the most strict closures.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
When I was younger, I competed in downhill and freestyle skiing. At eighteen, I unknowingly fractured my back and ultimately destroyed my hip from never getting it corrected. When I found out that I needed immediate hip surgery, I was studying for multiple college degrees. I was afraid to get kicked out of school from being gone for too long, so I started examining various physical therapy techniques and working out as much as possible to get my body as fit as possible before the surgery. This surgery was to have a six-month recovery when I needed to be back in two months. I approached the physical therapist with my studies and techniques to try, and he agreed. Two months later, I was back at school walking, with a cane, but walking. After the first day, I lost the walking cane because people looked at me like I worked at Hot Topic.
After graduation, as most college students struggle with, I was unhirable. The jobs I applied for counted to about one hundred. I was either turned away because of my limited work experience or turned away from jobs I worked at because of my college degrees.
I finally gave up and broke down to the nagging of a fitness manager trying to get me as one of his trainers, where he said his average trainer makes $60,000 per year. On top of that, as a great practical joke by a girlfriend that ended up helping propel my career, I got a job at Disneyland as a parade performer.
Both were not what I thought my careers were going to be. They were fun, and I kept a promise that if the jobs were not fun anymore, I would leave. Well, the gym I worked at was sold and their bankruptcy one year later proved it to be a run company with horrible managers; I quit and then opened my very first business, Fitness To You.
After eight successful years, I decided I needed more of my personal life and needed a sustainable future. I then came up with the idea of The LOOK Fitness.
After 1 year of loan applications and rejections, I got an SBA loan. Three years later I signed my first lease. It is tough to find a decent location in Los Angeles/Orange County and do it legally. against realtors who want to cut corners with city zoning.
The LOOK Fitness opened on March 1, 2016, in Newport Beach, CA.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
My clients have been pro cheerleaders/Dancers (thank you Disneyland Parades Department) and business owners, so I had to build and design a facility with services that catered to that clientele.
I built the facility to be more upscale to appeal to a wealthier clientele. It was the only way to survive with the high overhead of Newport Beach.
I initially set my pricing with the research of the local facilities and what they offered for their services. After a year of showcasing what I did with fitness, I raised the prices to be one of the highest in the area.
My initial location and demographic based on my business plan and research, my location was going to work best in Santa Monica/West Los Angeles California. Well after 3 grueling years of searching, deals falling through, and in my opinion very dishonest landlords and realtors trying to cut codes and zoning, I turned my search to Newport Beach, California where I found my first location.
My equipment is all custom designed and very versatile for multiuse and space-saving giving that home away from home feeling.
My specialty has always been transformations and you can not have physique transformations without fitness and nutrition so all my packages are based on both aspects.
I train a lot of doctors and before the closures hit the state I built custom websites and portals for current clients and future clients to train all online.
Now, believe it or not, those two clienteles are very similar to fitness needs; fitness enthusiasts who require comfort and convenience instead of the typical meathead box gym. A facility where they’d feel safe, undisturbed, and not harassed by socialites of any kind. A get in, get out friendly environment inside a typically uncomfortable climate—cheers without the beers.
Describe the process of launching the business.
We opened in June 2016. I had a grand opening, gorilla marketing, and worked with the malls with fitness apparel companies.
Never stop. It is going to get worse before it will get better.
My existing clientele was able to sustain the business, but for bringing in new business I hired multiple marketing companies. All were failures. Companies that just wanted to design logos or websites, focusing on branding, but not getting customers through the door. In the end, it took me to learn social media marketing and learn how to fish.
My initial start-up capital came from my very first business and a small SBA loan of $150,000. From there to sustain the business as it grew I used multiple credit cards and personal loans.
The biggest thing I learned from opening was marketing is king. Never stop marketing and that most marketing companies do not know what they are doing.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Social Media marketing has done the best for us. Facebook and Instagram Ads. A mix of Lead Forms to ClickFunnels. Designing offers that showcase what The LOOK Fitness can do for our clients.
Facebook and Instagram were where I found the most success. They were the king of advertising in 2016/2017. Ads on ads using click funnels and creating my funnel pages to fish for myself.
I worked at Disneyland! All the dancers I trained ended up being Clipper Dancers, Laker Girls, and more, the coaches asked who trained them and word of mouth took over from there.
Business owners have a different technique of marketing. Business owners have been there and done that, they want the best, they want to be treated as they would with their own companies, they want the owner to work with.
I met them at functions and events that I was invited to go with from business owners I already trained. Never turn down an event where meeting people is gaining business.
I sadly hired over 5 marketing companies who I can say, lied to me. Their job was to bring clients through the door. Over $50,000 later, not one of them brought a single client in with their marketing.
After marketing company failures, I gave up, I was at the end of my finances. My money was almost gone. I read an ad about marketing myself. I took the few dollars I had left and spent it on myself. One ad campaign, $500 on Facebook, and 73 clients later. I accomplished more with my little to no knowledge than these companies that get paid on average $20,000 to market.
My most successful ad was just showcasing what we do best. The LOOK Fitness can get people to lose weight, healthily, fast. I put up a risque ad to catch people's attention and it was by far my highest performing ad. The title of the ad was "when was the last time you had sex with the lights on?" It had two pictures, a silhouette of a couple about to kiss in the dark, then the next slide was them kissing in the light.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Social Media Ads have taken a very tough turn. At first, it was $6-$7 a lead when Facebook marketing started in 2016/17. Now they can run from $50 to $100 per lead.
Don’t lose sight of why you began the business to begin with.
Adspend can vary from $120 a day to $600 per day depending on the offer and the return. Our average ticket sale is $1000, selling 2 to 3 per week at $120 a day ad spend.
We are now looking into new forms of successful less expensive options.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
The biggest mistake over and over again was trusting marketing companies. Never pay a marketing company unless they are performance-based, which is very hard to come by. If someone is good, they will prove it without hesitation.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Never stop. It is going to get worse before it will get better. Don’t lose sight of why you began the business to begin with. Keep moving. Keep adapting and pivot when you need to out of pure survival and evolve into something new.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are always looking for new talented trainers looking to build their careers. We build trainers’ careers and mentor them to build their businesses.
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