Today we’re catching up with my old personal trainer, Marvin Edinborough. I first interviewed him in July 2012 and his plans then were all around his clients and his personal training services: “Continuing to grow, continuing to help clients achieve their goals no matter how big or small they may be”. He moved from my gym to another one and I stopped having personal training sessions for unconnected reasons, but neither he nor I could have predicted what happened next!
Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Not in the slightest. I’m at Solihull College lecturing in Sports & Fitness now. I had no idea I’d be teaching a year ago today, it wasn’t until August that I decided I wanted to take the PTLLS (Preparing to teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) course. In relation to my business, the answer would be the same: because I am now working at a college, my hours at the gym have been reduced by quite a bit, and a year ago, I couldn’t see this happening. The business is still there, I could go into the gym this week, walk the floor and gain clients, or re-book in old clients now that I’m officially broken up for the summer.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Moving to EasyGym there is a lot more competition (6 trainers, compared to LA’s 3) but because of their lower prices and larger number of members, this hasn’t affected my business at all, plus I also took 80-90% of my client base with me from LA. My passion, drive, enthusiasm and motivation have stayed the same, if not increased, due to the surroundings, the space, the equipment, etc.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I have learnt that if you have a great business product that people want, have built yourself a very good base of clients, there is no reason to why your business cannot relocate and still succeed. In my example, for 80-90% of my clients to follow me to a completely new gym they’ve never stepped foot in before rather than stick with their current gym and take on the services of a new trainer must say something about the product I have to offer.
I have also learnt that having your own business and “being your own boss” if you like gives you the opportunity to explore different paths in life, for example, the time and financial support to go onto a teaching course and now into a teaching job.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Believe in yourself and your product, build a rapport with users of your business, never cut ties and always be prepared to offer rewards to those loyal to your business. One of my ex-clients introduced me to (my now new boss) at the college, and that’s where it all started with me going into teaching.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Hopefully still expanding, still running, still profitable. The fitness industry is neverending, you can’t sleep on it, you always have to be learning, willing to learn more, do more, be better, and this is what I intend to do to improve my business.
A very driven chap with the right motivation and attitude to succeed, I am sure Marvin will do well in his new teaching job, which does, after all, require many of the same skills as personal training: emotional intelligence, ability to alter teaching styles to reflect people’s learning styles, and the ability to motivate people, among others. I know other personal trainers who have gone into the education sector, interestingly enough – have any of you travelled in the other direction? Good luck to Marvin for the exciting year ahead! Catch up with Marvin in 2014 here!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my new book, Going It Alone At 40: How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment.