Welcome to Saturday Business chat. Today’s featured freelancer is Marvin Edinborough. I know Marvin because he’s my personal trainer! It’s the first day of the Olympics, so it seemed appropriate to pop into the health and fitness industry for a while … He’s very good at training people – having been a training manager, I know how you’re supposed to train people (office systems or hanging upside down off a contraption: it’s all based on the same things!) and I can be quite stubborn and assume I know my own limits, so when I booked a month’s worth of sessions with him I was pleased to find myself doing things I didn’t think possible!
Enough of the paean of praise. Here we find, again, that whatever line of business you’re in, the issues are still the same: starting off with something you know, plucking up the courage to court new customers, and having the tenacity to stick it out and work hard. So let’s meet Marvin!
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
My business is called Marvellous Personal Training, I set the business up in October 2010.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I wanted to go into Personal training after several years as a fitness instructor/coach.
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
I was already working in this industry as a coach, employed by a gym, then decided it was time for me to go it alone and offer a more personal, rewarding service to the members.
Had you run your own business before?
No, this was my first.
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I went head first into the deep end. I left my position as a full time employed instructor and transferred over to being a self-employed personal trainer. I took a risk, but it was worth it and it paid off.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
That you get out what you put in. Moving to self-employed, I thought it would be all fun and games and a walk in the park. Go to work when I want and leave when I want. This wasn’t the case.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
To always listen, never stop learning, keep the research up and be prepared to give it 100% ALL THE TIME.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
Took a more outgoing approach. For example, to gain business in my field you have to walk the gym floor A LOT, talking to members and potential clients. I’ve never done this as I’m quite a shy, laid back person. My clients have all been referrals, or members seeing my work on the gym floor.
What are you glad you did?
Made the switch in the first place: having your own business where you’re entirely the boss is very rewarding in many different ways.
What’s your top business tip?
Be prepared to do a lot of work for not much return, but stick to it and the tables will turn in the long run.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
It’s been amazing, I was expecting a struggle at first but my business has grown and grown and has now been active for 2 years. Like any business it has its downs, but there are a lot more ups than downs.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
Continuing to grow, continuing to help clients achieve their goals no matter how big or small they may be.
One day I’ll do that chin-up … What a variety of businesses we’ve had in this series but it is interesting how similar the issues are, whatever it is you do. Good luck to Marvin, who is staying the course in an industry known for being quite fickle: getting over that initial set-up and getting those first clients is the hard bit, and having work through recommendations and people seeing what you do is, well, marvellous!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.