Unconventional Fitness Business Lessons

Going to Orange County and attending a very unconventional fitness business conference called “Fitness Business Summit” was very refreshing compared to most conferences that I go to.

Sad to say, most fitness conferences these days are organized by fitness association and run by fitness equipment companies.  This has taken away from the quality of information that fitness professionals get and just ends up being a fitness equipment expo/circus.

I attended Fitness Business Summit last year and I was back this year.  Last year I was an attendee and this year I was one of the presenters.

Even though I am a presenter, I make sure to attend as many of the sessions as I can.  Let me highlight some of the lessons that I learned at Fitness Business Summit 2012 (FBS12).

From Pizza Driver to Mr. Olympia

I am not much into body building and don’t quite get it but I know it is something that takes a lot of work, focus and dedication, especially if you become Mr. Olympia.

FBS12 started off with Ronnie Coleman who was Mr. Olympia 8 times.  WoW!

(Ronnie Coleman and Me – I know, his biceps are as big a my thigh)

Ronnie went up on stage and told his story.  He talked about how he was a pizza driver after college and fell into body building.  After a while of being a pizza driver, he got tired of it and became a police officer.  (I would not want to cross that police officer.) He continued being a police officer until he won his 3rd Mr. Olympian.

The most powerful thing he said was, “Be the best at what you do.

He did this when he played college football, during his schooling, when he was a pizza driver, as a police officer and being a body builder.  An important lesson for us all.

Smart Dude but Dumb Business Owner

Up first was Dan Ritchie.  I should have started off with Dr. Dan, who has a PhD in balance training and the older adult. (I will interview him very soon on EFI). What I have seen with other very educated people is they think their intelligence in one area carries over to business.  Sad to say, this is often a huge mistake.

Dan Ritchie, fellow presenter Rebecca Tabbert and Me/I (Rick Kaselj)

Dan is one of the smart guys that did not make this mistake.  He spent a period of time getting his PhD in college and now he is in the real world getting his PhD in Real World Business.  He is applying what he has learned from other successful fitness owners to his business and is doing amazing.

From Dan, this was the big lesson that I learned: you might be smart in one area but you can’t be smart in all.  If you want to get better in another area you need to learn, apply, get experience and network with others that have done it or are where you want to be.

How to Go from Eating Two Year Old Microwave Dinners to Changing Your Industry

Michael Parrella, Just WoW-ing the Crowd

I would not want to meet Michael Parrella in a dark back alley but I am happy to know him and know he has my back.

Michael’s story is crazy.  He went from being so broke he ate two year old TV microwave dinners that his best friend’s mom had hoarded at her house to now helping thousands of people get introduced to karate and helping hundreds of karate studios grow their business and reach their dreams.

I have been lucky to know Michael since last September and he has always been so open and helpful with my business.

During our first conversation, I asked him what was his plan “B” if his business failed.  He replied:

“Success was my plan “A” and I was not going to stop until I got there.”

Awesome advice.

How to Create Life Changing Videos

In all reality, I was up next but I will leave the stuff about me at the end and chat about Maria Andros.  To start off, she is a fellow Croatian but also she is a wizard when it comes to video.

Fellow Croatian, Maria Andros and Myself – Yes, we are both dressed in the colour of the beautiful Croatian Adriatic Sea 

If you are in fitness, you have to do video.

People want to check you out.

They want to see:

  • who you are
  • what you have to offer
  • how you can help them
  • what you know

I don’t like doing video but I understand how important it is and have put up a few hundred YouTube videos.  They have gotten better over the years but I still have so much to learn.

Let me share with you a few of the key points that I got from Maria’s presentation:

  • be warm and welcoming in your videos
  • talk in your videos like you are talking to one person
  • show confidence in the video
  • have a call to action which is get them to do something, like visiting your website or calling you for an appointment

Lessons from the Blonde Internet Surfer

On day 2, Joel Marion took the stage.  He talked about how to communicate with other online business owners in order to work together to help each other reach their goals.

Joel “The Internet Surfer” Marion and Me

What Joel had to say was amazing but I got two things out of his presentation that do not relate to his main topic but are important.

The First Time will Be a Utter Failure

I think the best part of Joel’s story is his failures.

Right now he has a very successful on-line business but when he started out, he had two failures that most people would have quit after.  His first failure was when he started an online website where he invested all kinds of money to build it and all kinds of energy to create content for it and it bombed.  I think the mistake he made was he did not do what Dan Ritchie did above, but he did learn his mistake.  Keep reading.

Joel could have quit but he kept moving forward.  Next was his print book which was a huge hit but after a year the money was gone and he had to go back to being a PE teacher.

Most people would have definitely quit here but every day, Joel said to himself, “I got to get out of here.”  Repeating this over and over again led his mind to finding the answer to the question before it went crazy.  The answer was setting up an online business based on releasing fitness products.  Very much how Mac releases their products or a movie is released.  When he was not working as a teacher he was studying and networking.  When the time was right, he put this plan into action and it led to the start of a successful business.

Everything You Do Has to Have a Hook

Joel repeated this over and over again during his presentation.

In a very basic way of saying it.  How do you or your services differ from everyone else?  Personal training is not enough but if you have something that differentiates you and your service from all the other solutions out there, you will have greater success.

Hmm, I am getting a little long winded here.

Let me take a break.

I will continue on with part 2 of what I learned at FBS12 in the next few days.

Thanks for reading.

Talk to you soon.

Rick Kaselj, MS