The Evolution Of StrongLife Gym – 4 Years Open
On May the 9th, StrongLife Gym turned 4 years old.
It was one of those weird days that felt like the opening day was 10 years ago.
Yet it also felt like I’ve hardly scratched the surface whatever ‘journey’ you would call it.
The Evolution Of StrongLife Gym
It still feels like yesterday that I was sitting in the office of the bank with sweaty palms.
I sat there with a business plan 23 pages long.
She only needed 4.
But sure may as well be over prepared.
Being perfectly honest, I had spent 6 months planning the business and finally plucking the courage to go for it.
So the lady sitting the other side of the desk could have killed it or let it take off.
Thankfully, the recession had eased a bit so they approved to give a lad who is as responsible with money as a child in a sweet shop!
So the 9th of May was lift off.
(Pardon the pun).
Looking back it’s kind of cool to see that it grew from a small, 900sq foot unit into a 2,000 sq ft.
Now not massive by any means, but it’s a good job for a small town in the West of Ireland.
But like anything worthwhile in life, it doesn’t come easy.
Noah’s Ark Is A Lie
Now that fella called Noah is an awful liar.
The whole thing about “build it and they will come!”.
They will in me hole.
Lesson #1 in the business life – you need to get very good at marketing and selling, FAST!
Because without selling your service and marketing well, you don’t make money.
And that’s a sure fire way of your dream dying.
Nothing has made me learn quickly like running a business.
Whether it’s marketing, sales, social media, writing, programming, coaching, accounting or putting up with all the stressful nights worrying about bills.
Those first 2 years really do make or break you.
I spent my first 2 Christmas’ with more cobwebs in my bank account than digits.
I sat back and prioritised paying bills to keep the place open over going out and living a life.
And many times you can question it all.
You see friends online on holidays etc and you’re sat there asking your mother for dinner because you’ve ran out of butter vouchers.
But that magical corner comes in the life of any business.
And when you turn it most of those stresses lift.
Turning The Corner
It was early 2017 when I really seen the difference.
I finally cleared off one of the loans I took out to grow the business.
(All those ‘home improvement’ loans were handy when I don’t even own a house!)
So that freed me up a bit financially, but astronomically mentally.
Money worries bury me a lot mentally, so to free myself of those shackles and no longer fear every envelope that came through the door is some relief.
Which has made my entire job so much more enjoyable.
I get to be myself more – even if people keep telling me I’m a bit cracked in the head!
But nothing ever beats just enjoying your job every day.
The days I’m truly fatigued fly by when I get to head into work and have the craic with all my clients.
The last 15 months have been without doubt the most enjoyable time I have ever had in a job!
Not only that, but I get to finally see a bit of the world while doing what I love.
Working With Such Great People
I’ve become a bit of a believer that StrongLife will only ever be as good as the people that are in it.
And without doubt, it’s a bit of a special place.
(Not because we all seem to on the same level of crazy).
No matter what issues ever arise, people always jump in and support each other and me.
Every single time I took a day (or month) off to go away, everyone wished me well.
Even with the mishaps in the gym in March, people were immediately onto me to offer their help.
So it really is a testament to the great environment that has grown in this place the last 4 years!
And there have been many days where I’ve had to absolutely drag myself in but I always go home like a different person
Whether that’s down to excessive caffeine intake or just people putting a smile on my face, who knows.
Growing Over The Years
Business aside, the gym has grown a lot.
I’ve taken on more courses, qualifications and I’m not afraid to just try things.
I focus more on each individual person and get to know them.
That way it’s so much easier for them to approach me, but I can also tell when they’re having an off day and may just need something to cheer them up.
My year 1 programmes and tactics are vastly different to Year 4.
Actually the entire way I run things has changed so much.
Yet again, the joys of running a business and always looking to learn and improve.
It’s till mad to think I’ve entered year 5!
The gym itself has evolved to really look after anyone who is nervous about joining a gym.
I always remember my first day walking into a gym and how terrifying it can be.
So whether you’re a beginner, overweight or full of anxiety at the thoughts of it, you’ll soon be at ease here.
Not only that but it has a feel of a place that helps you build more confidence, improve your self esteem and actually begin to feel good in your own skin.
It’s a common issue among everyone, but privately I get such nice reports back from people after a few months here.
So to know this small gym can have such a big difference in people’s lives makes it all worthwhile.
So What’s Next?
I’ve really fallen in love with writing, especially the last 6 months.
I’m actually running out of boxes to put all my old books into.
So in the coming years I will be a lot more active in the written form of communication.
Writing is something I’ve really got to enjoy the last year especially and its’ going to continue.
But I’ve also started doing some talks/presentations.
Public speaking is always that bit more terrifying because you can’t hide.
So I’m definitely working on it.
At the moment it’s aimed at Transition Year students but it will soon branch out into other events in coming months.
So keep an eye out for some of those.
And we’ll probably be running a Charity even in weeks/months to come.
It’s always nice to give back a bit to some very worthy causes.
So apart from all that, all I’ve left to do is pick up a bit more equipment for the gym and make sure I never get lazy and keep looking at ways to improve the service and experience for all the great clients in here.
So to everyone who has came through the doors and supported StrongLife Gym in its first 4 years, I want to say a big thank you.
The place wouldn’t be where it is today without you.