Since starting my own company from scratch I can truthfully and proudly say that I am more confident, humble, and open minded then I have ever been before.

Is that a bad thing? I don’t think it is. I believe that all the hard work and sacrifices that my wife and I have made tested (and still does) not only our work ethic but also has given us skills that we would never have developed in the work force.

Before becoming an entrepreneur I was in the United States Marine Corps. The corps had a major role in the development of my confidence. As an NCO and Vehicle Commander in an Infantry unit I was expected to make
accurate and precise decisions that could have a direct impact on my platoons effectiveness. These type of decisions required CONFIDENCE! I did not just develop this trait once I was put into a leadership billet. It was instilled in me after many practice runs while being evaluated by other Marines, civilians and learning from my errors. It might have helped that with every mistake we were comforted by words like, “fuck head”, “dumb ass, “dumb fuck” or my personal favorite is when they put it all together “dumb ass mother fucker!” LOL. With the business it is almost the same concept. We did not feel comfortable right away making decisions that could effect the companies welfare or growth because the fear of potentially harming the business. But once we got out of our comfort zone, made some
constructive mistakes, and started feeling more confident our company started to reach for the sky!

I used to think that owing your own business and being entrepreneur meant that you 1) made your own schedule, 2) went into work whenever you wanted. 3) just hired other people to take on the work. Boy was I wrong! The first two years of our start up company I was working 20 hours per day!!! I would go into work at 4:30 every morning and leave between 8-9pm every night and continue work once I got home. My responsibilities were almost overwhelming. We grew faster than expected and I had to learn how to adapt to modern day marketing and social media FAST. Neither of which I was an expert. My responsibilities ranged from: designing the workouts for our boot camp classes and personal training/Kick Start clients, customizing our clients meal plans, managing our social media pages and websites, consulting with new members, answering and following up with inquiries, and building
relationships within the Tampa community. Did I mention I was a full time student in collage during this time as well?! I know what some of you are thinking…why didn’t you hire help?!? Believe me that entered our heads a million times but at the time I was so picky about who I wanted bring on to help our “baby” grow. I did not want some schmuck to come in off the street and ruin our credibility and our brand that we worked so very hard to build. And guess what?!?! It all paid off because now we have the best 6 trainers and marketing manager in Tampa Bay! This experience has made me appreciate not only the patience that it takes to start a company from scratch but it also makes me appreciate even more the people that supported us from day 1.

When trying to figure out the best approach to start my business I had to learn that just because I like the idea of something there maybe 100 other people (potential life long clients or staff members) that disagree with my approach. This once again goes together with trial and error. I am not ashamed to say that a good portion of my companies success comes from mistakes and decisions that I made in the past. At one time I was so focused on the “my way and the only way approach. ” I had this mindset not because I believed other people’s opinions did not
matter but simply because I had a had a vision and I thought that if I obstructed that in anyway it would have a negative impact on my company. This is totally NOT the case. After the one year anniversary of our opening I got together with about 20 of our original members. I asked them what was missing or what they would like to see implemented in our programs. It made me realize that I had tunnel vision and I was making constructive mistakes. After focusing and channeling my focus on those particular areas it was amazing to see how the growth of the business took off.

After reading over this post a million and one times it makes me even more appreciative to be in the position we are soon to be in with our second location!

-Mike T.