5 Biggest Mistakes I Made as an Entrepeneur
In the Private Sport Medicine / Sport Performance Business
Welcome Players! For as long as I’ve been an Athletic Trainer and Performance Coach, I’ve been equal part entrepreneur. Running a business, no matter how small, is the real-world effect of providing a service or product to make a living. In my nearly 10 years of experience I’ve learned important lessons that changed the trajectory of my career, but only after I had made a big mistake. These are the mistakes that led to my greatest growth.
Customer Acquisition Cost
Thanks for reading Train Like a Pro! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
My career started in 2014, albeit as a student, where the experience contributes all the same.
The next three years of experience were learning under supervision - but it was time spent practicing skills in real-world situations.
On December 28th, 2017 after moving to Miami and starting to work (unofficially) at a private sport performance gym, I filed to open my first LLC.
Since then I’ve owned and operated my small performance training & sport medicine business independently with relative success.
Success to me isn’t about the amount of money I’ve made or the stature of the people I work with. As I’m constantly reminded by the screensaver I set back in 2014: Success, by definition, is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
Set on a plain white background, it’s a message to myself to not get distracted by what goals other people are chasing.
The only thing that matters is the goal I set, and the work I put in to achieve it. Like a race-horse I think it’s vital to keep the blinders on.
As of the time of this writing it’s been nine years since I started my clinical journey, and six years as an entrepreneur.
I’ve learned an incredible amount, things I wouldn’t have even fathomed would play an important role in my pursuit of success.
I’ve failed many times over and made enormous mistakes that had significant repercussions. Who hasn’t?
I don’t regret anything in life. Not a single thing. Ok, maybe one or two.
I believe regret alters our sense of reality in a peculiar way. You see, growth in any aspect of life only comes from failure or shortcomings. The difficulty of achievement is what drives us to improve.
All the mistakes I made in my career are what fueled my growth, and had I not made them who knows where I would be at today.
Maybe I still end up here, sharing my experiences with you, or perhaps I end up in a stagnant rut of complacency because everything is, just fine.
I’ve learned from my mistakes and grown better for it. I’m more capable than I’ve ever been at running a business, at being a professional, independent Athletic Trainer, and as a person.
I have many mistakes still to come. And I look forward to taking them on with the same tenacity as I have in the past. The longer you pursue something the less mistakes you make, but the more significant the repercussions are when you do make them.
This is nothing to be scared of, it’s just the way it is.
And so as I look back on my beginning in entrepreneurship and reflect on how it could have been better, I save no energy for wishing it was different. Because in truth, I don’t wish it was different. Not one bit!
Just as I’ve learned and grown from my many mis-steps, I believe sharing them with you can help avoid some of the pains I experienced and in return - help your growth too.
The following reflection is of my own journey, with my own experiences, and my own problems. Some you may find helpful, some you may not. Just know that there are an infinite amount of ways to be successful, and an infinite amount of ways to fail. What matters most is that you are the only one who can create change in your life, and only you will be able to figure out the best way to do that.
A note on the order of topics. There is no any one lesson that is “more valuable” than the other, or more important, or bigger, or better, or anything. They are each their own lesson, with their own respective value that is individual to me.
Mistake: Not learning proper accounting/financial management/taxes
The Chief Finance Officer (CFO) is probably one of the most underrated C-level executives in business. I say they are underrated because at the corporate level, everyone has a pretty in-depth working knowledge of finance.
As an entrepreneur though, specifically in the health & wellness industry, this is the main area where I had little to no knowledge at all, and yet was responsible for all of the components in their entirety.
I took one administration class in undergrad and two facility-ownership based classes in graduate school, but that was about the extent of my financial knowledge received in school.
I was most fortunate in that my father was a CFO himself before leaving his company to start his own, which he successfully owned and operated for over 25 years. My mother was a project manager at a company that literally launched rockets into space, and has since moved onto global payroll management. Everything I learned about finance, accounting, and business operations I more or less learned from them.
They sounded the alarms that I needed to place a very high level of importance on the book-keeping side of the business early on in my career. They helped me get set up on an accounting software to track my personal & business expenses, how to categorize write-offs and other income/expenses, and how to prepare the documents to submit to my accountant for taxes.
But for the first few years of business I did most of these things half-assed.
It’s easy to do when you’re making a bunch of money, “the specifics don’t really matter”. Or so I thought.
“As long as there’s more money coming in than going out, what’s a few dollars of miscalculations or misspending here and there?!”
I’d slap myself in the back of my head if I caught myself saying that now!
My father knows me very well, obviously, and after saying his piece he knew the only way to get me to understand was for me to experience the hardships that come from not paying attention to financial acuity early on.
And experience it I did.
Getting stuck with a 5-digit tax-bill at the end of the year when I hadn’t set aside the appropriate amount of money is no fun at all. Nor is it fun paying 4-figures for a tax accountant because I was too lazy to do proper research on what a tax accountant filing should cost or what it entails. Or the pain that occurs when my accounting document file got corrupt and I lost 2.5 years of transaction data in the blink of an eye with no way to re-coup it because I hadn’t backed it up properly.
It didn’t seem to matter at the time, yet now here I am six years later wishing I had my complete annual reports of my business so that I can make accurate projections year-over-year and have a more firm understanding of the individual pieces that either make me, or lose me, money.
It’s the difference between grinding - and running a successful business.
You can hustle your way to making money. Anyone with sheer determination and grit can make that happen. In my eyes the difference in a successful business owner is that they set up the framework and processes to make their lives easier, optimizing the business operations in the process.
This allows the business to increase margins, decrease time spent on tasks, and spend energy on things that will move the needle, not small tasks that could be done in better ways. It allows them to grow.
I’ve found in recent years that the biggest time-waster for my business was all of the client interactions that didn’t have to do with providing the service itself. Scheduling, payment, waivers/paperwork. Then the accounting side where I wasn’t doing monthly reports, wasn’t tracking monthly P&L, wasn’t optimizing for revenue streams, wasn’t using this information to inform my direction in marketing & sales.
I was just showing up to work, training, living life. I’d get a new client from referral, work with them for a bit, and eventually the relationship would end. And then I’d get another referral and the cycle would continue. I was making money, doing little business administration tasks, and spent most of my time doing what I loved: helping people achieve their goals or doing hobby’s that I personally enjoyed.
But I’d spend hours on my phone a day, going back and forth with clients via text message to schedule a session. I’d have to practically beg for them to send payment or bring cash/check to our next session. I’d have to follow up relentlessly on scheduled sessions and chase down payment for no-shows. Not only was it a colossal waste of time but it was heavily draining on my enjoyment for what I do.
It wasn’t until I started running into problems that had no quick solution did I begin to audit the business side of my career. That led to this realization that while I was doing an excellent job as an Athletic Trainer and Performance Coach, I was actually doing a very poor job of running a business.
The first realization I had was one year while spending the time to go through my revenue streams - which I categorized into training, treatment, and recovery.1
It took me 5 minutes to generate an annual report of my revenue broken into categorized income to see that I was doing almost 10x the business in training than I was in recovery!
Imagine that - 10x the revenue in training vs. recovery!
It hit me like a brick. Why in the hell was I currently spending my time and effort trying to get more recovery clients when their impact on my bottom line was so insignificant compared to my other revenue streams?2
The answer was that subjectively I thought it was the right move.
I’m an ATC, I’m highly skilled in manual therapy, I can do a lot of bodywork that other professionals either can’t perform (legally) or aren’t very good at it. By all means that should be a clear advantage.
But what I didn’t think about was the business side of that revenue stream.
Recovery work itself is a retro-active service. Someone needs to go through training (or intense efforts) in order to want recovery, and at that point recovery becomes a “add on” more than a “necessity”. Recovery sessions can be sold responsibly, at max, twice a week. Realistically once a week - whereas training should be responsibly sold no less than 2x or 3x a week!
It’s also something that doesn’t have a tangible or measurable outcome that can be reflective of effectiveness. If they feel better, great! But how long do you expect them to continue to pay for a “bonus” service when they already spend a lot of money on other, more primary services (like training).
With all that in mind, it was clear what needed to be done. From that point on, I wound down my recovery service. I raised my prices for recovery to disincentivize their purchase (but still making them available so if someone NEEDED it, I would be compensated well for it), and then I stopped marketing/advertising that portion of my service altogether.
I then re-worked my business goals to optimize for training, where I was making most of my revenue already!
I pivoted my entire service business away from one of my most unique skills where I had a competitive advantage over my market - because it didn’t sense financially compared to what I could be spending my time on doing, which was training.
And the truth is, it took me nearly four years to figure this out.
Had I been appropriately tracking the financial health of my business, I could have caught this trend much earlier and adjusted accordingly.
The other thing major change I made was commit to automating a lot of the processes that wasted time. My goal was to take back control of my schedule. It’s far too easy as a personal service business to allow your clients to dictate the times you work.
It was a game I had played for too long and I promised myself I was going to set my own schedule and not allow the business to dictate my schedule.
So I spent the effort to familiarize myself with the popular scheduling software solutions and payment processors, picked one, and got it set up to be implemented.
Now when a client want’s to book a session, they just access their private scheduling link that has all the availability of my times (that I set), they select their time/session, sign the waivers & forms online, and submit payment.
I then get an email that they booked the session, the event is automatically added to my calendar (which is also synced to prevent double-booking), and I don’t have to do a thing.
I show up for the appointment, thank them for scheduling, and do my job.
I’ve noticed they are happier too! They find the online scheduling to be easy and seamless, and no one minds putting down their credit card at time of booking (I don’t charge the card until the session is completed). And guess what - I haven’t had a single unpaid no show since transitioning to this system!
I can’t state enough how implementing these seemingly complex, yet simple, processes has improved not only the professionalism of my business but the quality of my personal life.
Not a single one of these things has to do with human performance, or relationships, or quality of service.
They all have to do with business operations, and they are vitally important to transition from a career hustling as a trainer to a career as an entrepreneur who is building a business in the training industry.
Customer Acquisition Strategy
Mistake: Not developing a customer acquisition strategy to bring in new clients
My first three years in business, I spent nearly all my expendable time improving at my craft.
No doubt about it - this was what was necessary in order to become great at what I do. But it came with certain sacrifices that I didn’t know I was making.
Early on, I was under the impression that if you are great at what you do - people will seek you out to do it.
If you build it, they will come.
Possibly some of the worst advice I’ve ever received, and believed.
The truest example of following the exception to the rule. I was taught that the key to success of being an independent trainer is:
Providing a high-level service
Having positive client relationships
Being professional in stature
Doing those three things would then earn you referrals as your clients are compelled to rave about their experience, and wah-la new clients (income) falls into your lap.
In honesty, this worked quite well for years. I never once actively recruited a client to work with me.
But that was OK! Because I was always getting a steady stream of referrals. As I’ve learned though this is one of the worst ways to approach the business.
Indeed, referrals are the primary way to get your ideal client. When they are referred to you it says a few things:
It says that your previous client spoke highly of you, so you have a level of respect going into the initial conversation.
It says that the new client who reached out to you has a level of information that they know what you do, and know that you’re good at it.
It says that because this person was referred by a current client, they probably share similar qualities and will likely be a great personality-fit for your business.
That’s the good things. Sounds great right?? Well here’s what it doesn’t do.
Referrals are uncontrollable (to an extent). You cannot predict them, project them, count them on the balance sheet, or significantly increase them when necessary.
While that seems like a small-drawback compared to the benefits, it is much more important.
Running a business does not mean providing a service - those two are different things. When you run a business there’s more or less one things you really care about.
P & L.
Profit & Loss.
Am I making more money than I’m spending?
When business is good and I have a steady stream of clientele and referrals are rolling, everything is good! No worries.
But what happens when the referrals stop? Or if some of my clients move away? Or if I have an emergency and need to generate more income? Or if my overhead costs increase?
I had absolutely no control over how I brought in new clientele with a referral-based system.
In short, if (when) shit hits the fan - I was screwed.
And so the importance of a Customer Acquisition Strategy was realized.
In any other business, any other industry, this is a must-have, a non-negotiable.
Does Coca-Cola or Mercedes-Benz put out a new product without knowing exactly how they are going to drive their audience to buy that product?
They have extensive planning for the targeting, marketing, advertising, and selling of that product complete with objective metrics and strategies to ensure they accomplish those targets. And if they don’t hit those targets, they audit their plan to make the necessary adjustments so they can hit their next targets.
This is how a business should run regardless of industry, and it was one piece that was completely absent from my business for the first few years.
So in my more recent ventures I’ve had to learn about quite a few things that have no relation to human performance. Things that would typically fall under the Marketing & Sales umbrella, but as an entrepreneur I needed to fully understand myself.
Who is my target audience? What is their avatar? What is the the product or service I’m selling? What is the offer? What’s the angle? What’s the awareness level of my audience? What’s the sophistication level of your messaging? What’s my copywrite? What are the limiting beliefs of my audience? What are the benefits of my solution? What pain points does the problem cause? What pain points is my solution relieving? Is there a sense of urgency? What is the customer acquisition cost? Do I run ads? What is the cost per click? What is the click-through rate? What is the bounce rate? What is the average time spent on my website? How do I know what % of visitors to my landing page are serious buyers? Is my buying process easy?
I could go on!
These are just the start of a long list of questions that I needed to answer before developing a bulletproof strategy that will take back the power of creating sales instead of just hoping a referral walks in through the door.
The overall goal is simple: Create a pipeline that actively attracts new clients instead of passively hoping they find you.
There are countless different strategies to do this, and my intent is not to define these strategies, but more aptly just to emphasize that I needed to have a strategy.
The largest, most successful companies in the world don’t leave their customer acquisition strategy to chance, and as I came to learn, neither will I.
Mistake: Not building a lasting product / passive income
When I left the sport performance facility I had previously worked at for four years, the one that gave me my start in the industry, where I had developed and made a name for myself, I left with everything I had done while there.
Which was nothing.
Sure I had my experience and network and relationships and knowledge and skills.
But I did not have one tangible product that could be sold. I did not have a service business that could scale. I did not have a business plan, or business strategy, that could be replicated or even followed.
I had four years worth of training and a full-book of clients. While some may think that’s great - It was not good enough for me.
An entrepreneur is someone who doesn’t strive for “just good enough”.
I’m not looking to just pay the bills and live a regular ol’ life. I want to excel. I want to change lives en masse. I want to make an impact.
And reflecting on my first four years at this facility I realized that I had failed in all those things. Of course I had made a large magnitude impact on a small number of lives’, those of my standing clients, and of that I was proud.
But I had not built anything that would allow me to distribute that impact on a larger scale. For better or worse, I was still trapped in a time-for-money service business working with clients 1-on-1.
Something that is not secure. Not sustainable. Not scalable.
One of my main goals in running a business is to not only be great at what I do, but to do it in a manner that allows me the freedom to do the things I want to do. And part of that attaining financial freedom.
There are different stages to financial freedom as I see it.
There’s the first stage of becoming an employee, working on someone else’s business on someone else’s goals in exchange for a paycheck or salary.
Then there’s the first step into entrepreneurship, which is performing work as a sole proprietor. “Gig-work” it’s often called. Maybe you’re an artist who’s booking shows at local pubs for tips, or a part-time trainer doing sessions at the beach in the early morning. Likely taking money under the table because the business can’t sustain itself on the table yet or you’ve got a full-time day-job to pay the bills.
Then there’s the first foray into business ownership, an LLC or on-the-books business. Maybe you sell art/products on Etsy. Maybe you have a formal training business at an independent gym. Maybe you bought a car and lease it out on a ride-rental app. These things require the next level of organization and structure compared to the free-flowing, hustle-mentality of a sole-proprietorship.
Then there’s the big business game. Where the goal is to grow to a size where your life needs are met, your family is taken care of, and you can enjoy the lifestyle you want. This requires scalability, structure, dedication, capital, employees (or a form of), and a hell of a lot of time and effort.
In this breakdown, I was a #3 at my old facility. I was a glorified gig-worker. Slinging high-end training sessions out of a luxury boutique gym with no business plan, no coordinated business strategy, no scalability, and no job security.
But the cash was flowing in so all was good!
When I moved on from that facility I took a hard look at my business and understood that if I wanted to make it to the next level, the level where financial independence can be achieved and more importantly - time independence (the ability to control and manage your time without obligation) - I’d need to re-build my business in category #4.
I realized that the time-for-money exchange of my performance training service business would not be fit for the future I wanted. I realized that there was no scalability, and the current structure of the business model had no job security either.
I would need to make some drastic changes to my business and the services I offered in order to fit the framework for success that I know is necessary to accomplish my goals.
And so in the under two years since I’ve left that facility, in addition to my fully-operating in-person training business, I have:
built 2 digital products
built an entire digital educational course
built an entire new business plan with a new service/offer (yet to be launched)
invested in non-health & wellness related businesses
And I’m just getting started.
My perception of what was possibly literally got blown to pieces - and when I put those pieces back together the picture was so much bigger. It had an extra dimension!
I was trapped into thinking that the only way to achieve success (and high-income) as a trainer in my position was to work with more people or charge more money.
That was it. And in order to do either of those things I’d need to put my head to the grindstone for another decade before I had the experience and reputation to command that respect.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. With a keen sense of business any one can determine their unique angle for providing a solution to a problem and optimize a business to profit from that trade.
And so while I am still passionately engaged in providing an exceptional experience and results for the clients that seek my training & treatment services, it is no longer the only part of my business.
Mistake: not leveraging my ‘favors’ when they were offered
Over the years I’ve worked with and helped a vast amount of individuals in a variety of fields.
From athletes, to celebrities, musical artists, CEO’s, business moguls, restauranteers, real estate empire executives; I don’t exaggerate here at all, and I certainly don’t intend to brag. This is just the reality.
I’ve worked with individuals who are either worth over a billion dollars or their collective assets are worth that much, and frequently work with people who have seven-, eight-, or nine-digit net worths.
What comes along with this type of interaction is maintaining the utmost sense of professionalism.
I’ve never had a problem with that, I don’t get ‘starstruck’. When you’re around famous people enough you realize every person is just that - another person. They’re all individuals, living individual lives, with individual problems and joys. Some just have more money than others.
And so when I do my job well, and they achieve the result they are seeking, that sometimes comes with an offer of a favor.
“Whenever you want to come by the restaurant just text me!”
“If you want tickets to a game just let me know.”
“If you want any help we can talk.”
In my early years I thought this was amazing.
“OMG - Person XYZ said they would help me!”
So are you going to ask them?
“No no, of course not. I have to save that favor for when I really need it! That will be the one thing that pushes me over the top!”
Favors expire almost as quickly as they are offered. What I’ve learned since then is that the situation changes, the relationship changes, and you can never count on an old favor to be upheld in new environments.
I’ve had situations where I do just that, wait until I needed/wanted the favor, and low and behold when it came time to ask the person shrugged it off like it wasn’t feasible any more.
I understand. In retrospect that’s my mistake. If someone offers you a night at their restaurant you don’t get to pocket the IOU and come knocking whenever you want to redeem it. Fair enough.
And this applies for all kinds of things.
If a real estate agent says they’ll help you find an apartment sans commission, or if a finance exec says he’ll go over your business plan with you and provide comment. Or an artist offers you tickets to see them perform that night.
Don’t wait or politely decline. They are offering you something, a gift! Accept it!
I didn’t learn this lesson by myself, and fortunately had some help.
I had a client who was an amazing person. He was kind, friendly, and respectful in every way. I loved working with him, although he didn’t always love exercise. We spent almost as much time chatting as we did exercising, and if you’re a trainer you know these clients are far more often than people think.
I never pressured him to “work-out” because I knew the 50-50 split of talk-to-work in our sessions was still more than he’d do on his own, so it was the little victories.
He’d offer to always go out to eat or get drinks after (or even during!) our sessions. Of course being the professional I am, I respectfully declined. It was kind of my learned response to just automatically deny gracious things clients tried to do. I’m not sure what led me to form that habit, but I thought it was the right thing to do.
One day we had just finished training on a Friday early-afternoon, and he turned to me and said, “Do you want to go to the SoHo House with me? Get a drink and some food?”
“Oh that sounds great, but no thanks! I’ve got some work to finish up" (white-lie to make it seem like I wasn’t being rude).
That was a response he had heard from me one too many times because he looked me dead in the eye and said, “Trainer 01 - do you know what happens when you constantly decline an invite to something?”
“Um, no I do not.”
“You stop getting invited.”
And he turned to gather his stuff.
I realized in that moment that he was right. That although I thought I was being ‘professional’, our relationship had never been a truly professional relationship. We were friends, we talked about personal matters and he respected my opinion as much as I respected his.
“Wait! I can finish my work another time. I’d be happy to join you for a drink!”
And we went and had a great time. I learned the first part of my lesson on learning how to balance work and relationships that day.
In entrepreneurship, there is no complete separation of business and personal relationships. They are mangled together for all of the span of business, two sides to the same coin.
I didn’t fully reconcile the timeline that favors were tied to until a few years later.
Here’s one pointed, very real example.
I worked with a high-level healthcare professional was involved with administration for a healthcare system. We worked together twice a week for months and had a great relationship. During that time he had said if I ever needed anything to call him. Of course I had no medical emergencies so there was no need and I didn’t want to be a bother because I knew he was very busy, politely declining trying to ‘save it for when I needed it’, should I ever need it.
Well after enough time, we had achieved our goals working together and the relationship ended. A few months later and I had a family member end up in that hospital systems ER for a rare and serious condition. It was scary.
I knew this was the time, the time to call in the favor. I wanted to make sure my family member would receive the best treatment possible and would be in good hands. I was going to call him to let him know that I had a family member under their care and if there’s any thing he could do to be a positive influence on the treatment protocol I would really appreciate it.
I’m sure you can predict what happens - after a few missed calls, voicemails, and text messages, I received no response.
The favor had expired.
I would not be getting my family member any priority treatment. That’s when the full realization of this lesson sunk in: favors expire, use ‘em while they’re hot or risk never using them at all.
Once again, I understand the situation from the opposite perspective. Just because we had a working relationship for a few months does not entitle me to the benefits of that relationship after it had ended. By no means is this a complaint or cry of unjustness - it’s just the way it is.
When someone is being nice and extending their hand in the form of a favor or expertise-specific help, grab it as quick as you can because it won’t be there forever.
Mistake: Not working to understand the impacts of macroeconomics and local markets relative to business
The training business is a service business between local people. People that live within an X-minute drive and have an athletic/physical goal they want to achieve will pay for a service to help them do that. It’s a local business. What happens in California doesn’t affect gym’s in New York.
That last sentence might be true, but the fitness and performance industries are not insulated from national or global events.
This was highlighted most with the COVID-19 pandemic, which was followed by an inflation-inducing stimulus package by the US Government, which then led to the increasingly-severe economic hardship the USA is experiencing right now.
First, gyms in some states got shut down. Others operated illegally (but justly?), some went out of business and some had their best business. Then there were the stimulus checks, and the PPP loans which many gym’s were taking advantage of. Then came the economic boom post-COVID, where markets were at an all-time high. And then inflation became rampant and turning the boom to a downturn where credit dried up and banks failed.
That affected every industry.
The availability of credit, interest rates, health of financial markets are all key components to growing a business and I certainly want to be aware of significant changes when they come.
I pay attention to it now because one of my biggest mistakes was being oblivious to the reality unfolding at the time.
I said I only regret a few things in my life - and one of them was a calculated decision I made during COVID. I decided NOT to pivot into digital services or products.
I thought that eventually COVID would pass, things would go back to normal and the demand for in-person training would return, possibly even higher than before. People would desire that human-to-human interaction and would pay a premium to get back around their friends.
Well, turns out I was dead wrong. The technological advancement brought on by COVID is here to stay, and it’s transformed the digital environment more in the past five years than the previous ten before it.
It took me two years to come to terms with the mistake that I had made, that I should be optimizing for some form of digital service immediately.
I didn’t want to become an “online trainer” doing zoom sessions or selling pre-made workout videos. But that doesn’t mean as an entrepreneur that I couldn’t find a way to leverage digital technology to create passive income, or attenuate my service-business.
And so we return to the importance of macro-economics, of understanding national and global current events at a level that will at least make you aware of shifts in financial/societal structure that will affect your business.
One of the most direct impacts can be felt from inflation and its downstream effects. Overhead costs are rising, service costs a rising, hell even food costs are rising. $100 earned in 2021 is not equal to $100 earned in 2023. Since 2020 alone, the cumulative rate of inflation rose 16.6%. That means that if I was making the same net income today as I was three years ago, I’d actually be down 16%.
It took me too long to realize that if I didn’t raise my rates that I would be losing money year of year due to inflation alone! I originally was very reluctant to do it. I wanted to thank my long-term clients by honoring their original rate as close as I could, but the reality was if I didn’t raise my rates in parallel to rising costs (rent, overhead, lifestyle) and inflation, my business would be shrinking, not growing.
And so I had the difficult conversation, and most of my clients weren’t upset as I had feared. The fact is most of them run businesses themselves, and they’re doing the same exact thing for their product/service!
I did lose a few clients who couldn’t afford the increase, and that was OK. No ill-will towards them, I understand. They were eventually replaced by new clients who were attracted to the price point which signaled the highest quality service.
I find that the longer in business the more important it is to be reasonably aware of national economic policy and current events, local and state laws relating to the business, potential legislature and it’s affects on your business, who your district representatives are in congress, who sits on your communities board and other governing bodies.
All these things had a much bigger impact on my business than I realized! After all - what’s the goal of a business? To
provide a great service make money!
I return to a similar concept, that early on in my career I was a skilled practitioner who knew how to grind for success. But that doesn’t always get the job done, and it certainly doesn’t allow for a balanced lifestyle and secure, profitable future.
As an entrepreneur, ALL business considerations that have a potential effect on your business should be taken into account.
Entrepreneurship is a life-long journey. There is no “end-game”, there is no “winning”.
Success can only be defined by one thing: The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
I haven’t told you what my purpose is yet. I don’t intend to. Because it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter to anyone except me. Just like your purpose doesn’t matter to anyone else except you.
Reflecting on my purpose had a lot to do with evaluating my career up to this point, identifying the good, the bad, the ugly. But the most important thing it made me do was sharpen my why.
I learnt this lesson from my uncle - another entrepreneur in the family. And another resource who I’ve been extremely fortunate to call on when I seek advice.
But this wasn’t a phone call - it was a book. A book that I’d known he’d been working on for over a year and a piece of work I knew he put his heart into.
Titled, Purpose-First Entrepreneur, it explores the intangible factors that drive someone towards success in the entrepreneurship business.
Reading it felt like he was talking directly to me. Of course it made it easy that I knew him well enough, but he didn’t write the message for me. He wrote it for everyone! And it’s a message that I believe every entrepreneur should hear.
You can get a copy of the book here - and I implore everyone who seeks the entrepreneurship route to heed his words.
I did. And it led me to many of the realizations I shared with you here.
Exploring my purpose for why I love to do this work and what I am truly trying to accomplish helped me filter the signal from the noise and make the difficult decisions necessary to bring me closer to my goal. It helped me define my goal with a crystal clear sharpness, and it gave me the confidence to forget about everyone else except me.
If there’s anything in these lessons that helps you in your journey than my experiences and efforts in sharing them will all be worth it.
That’s a good question.
For me, it’s continuing to follow my purpose. To stay true to my goal. To not only lean into providing the highest quality service of sport performance and sport medicine that I am capable of - but doing it in a way that is sustainable, profitable, secure, and enjoyable.
That’s my entrepreneurship journey.
I’ve learned many lessons in my career, and I undoubtedly have many more to learn.
But the important question is:
What will your journey be?
And have since expanded these categories by almost 2-3x
The 80/20 rule proved itself right once again