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 meetings that I go to.

Sadly, most fitness conferences are organized by fitness associations and run by fitness equipment companies.  This has taken away from the quality of information that fitness professionals get and is a fitness equipment expo/circus.

Last year, I attended Fitness Business Summit, 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 sessions as I can.  Let me highlight some of the lessons I learned at Fitness Business Summit 2012 (FBS12).

From Pizza Driver to Mr. Olympia

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

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

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

Ronnie went up on stage and told his story.  He talked about being a pizza driver after college and fell into bodybuilding.  After 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.

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

He did this when he played college football and was a pizza driver, a police officer, and a bodybuilder—an essential lesson for us all.

Smart Dude but Dumb Business Owner

Up first was Dan Ritchie.  I should have started with Dr. Dan, a Ph.D. in balance training and the older adult. (I will interview him very soon on EFI). I have seen with other very educated people that 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/I (Rick Kaselj)

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

This was the big lesson that I learned from Dan: you might be competent in one area, but you can’t be wise in all.  If you want to get better at another site, you need to learn, apply, gain experience, and network with others who have done it or 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 assisting hundreds of karate studios grow their businesses and reach their dreams.

Since last September, I have been lucky to know Michael, 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.”

Great 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, 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 beautiful Croatian Adriatic Sea color. 

If you are in fitness, you have to do a 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 wouldn’t say I like doing videos, but I understand its importance and have put up a few hundred YouTube videos.  They have gotten better over the years, but I still have 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 to 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 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 is not related to his main topic but essential.

The First Time will Be an Utter Failure.

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

He has a very successful online business, but he had two failures that most people would have quit after when he started.  His first failure was when he started an online website where he invested all kinds of money in building it and all types 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 from his mistake.  Keep reading.

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

Most people would have quit here, but Joel said to himself, “I got to get out of here every day.”  Repeating this repeatedly led his mind to find the answer 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 studied and networking.  When the time was right, he put this plan into action, leading 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.

You are fundamentally 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 other solutions, you will succeed.

Hmm, I am getting a little long-winded here.

Let me take a break.

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

Thanks for reading.

Talk to you soon.

Rick Kaselj, MS

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