Marketing Bootcamp

How a Gym Owner Went From Struggling to Make Rent to World Renowned

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One of the most amazing things that I do every week is talk with world-class achievers. These men and women work in different industries, but they are people who have reached the top of their professions and overcame an incredible amount of hardships to get to where they are now.

The one thing I love most when talking with them is their stories. I find it amazing how a great majority of people will call them lucky or reference a saying that we hear all too often, “Well, it must be nice,” when in reality for most of them there is nothing nice and easy about what they had to go through to get where they are. 

Entrepreneurship can at times feel lonely. Going into business for yourself can feel like you against the world. At times you may be on top, and then in a second you are struggling to put a roof over your head.

I recently sat down with Joe DeFranco, the founder and owner of DeFranco’s Gym in Austin, Texas. For almost two decades, the best athletes in the world have been coming to DeFranco to get them ready to dominate their sport. DeFranco and I didn’t sit down and talk because of the long list of professional athletes that flock to him every offseason to train, but because of the empire that he has been able to build from the ground up.

Related: Operating on a Shoestring? 20 Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Business.

Here are three things that you can implement into your own business that can help build it into a thriving and successful empire.

1. Be a master of online marketing and social media.

It’s amazing how many business owners and entrepreneurs still don’t fully use the Internet and social media to their advantage. One of the quickest and most cost effective ways to get your name and company out into the marketplace is through the power of social media. A lot of people dabble in social media and content marketing, but not a whole lot actually take the time to master it and really discover its extraordinary power.

When I asked DeFranco how we was able to go from training athletes in a 500 square-foot storage closet and barely being able to pay the bills into the huge international brand that he has today, his answer was simple: “The power of the Internet and learning everything I could possibly learn on social media and content marketing.”

Get serious about not just dabbling in content marketing and the power of social media, make it your personal business to be a master of it.

2. Don’t just follow, but live your passion.

We always hear the advice of how important it is to follow your passion, but following your passion isn’t really enough. You can follow the things you are passionate about, but if you don’t actually execute and do everything in your power to live that passion, it does you no good. Following and living a passion are two completely different things. One is just moving in the right direction while the other is immersing yourself into something that ignites you.

Related: As Steve Jobs Once Said, 'People With Passion Can Change The World'

The successful entrepreneurs that make headlines and change the world don’t just follow their passions -- they live it every waking moment.

“I will never be outworked and a large part of that is due to the fact that I didn’t just follow my passion, but promised myself from day one that I am going to live my passion,” DeFranco says. 

When you live your passion, you give yourself an enormous competitive advantage that no amount of money can buy.

3. Be you.

One of the most powerful characteristics, at least in my humble opinion, is authenticity. The reason why is because it lets your customers, prospects and everyone else out there know that you are real. The brands that forget the human touch or forget that business is and will always be about people are missing a major component of what it takes to win.

DeFranco discovered the power of authenticity when he was outright about money issues because he was doing so many favors for past clients who were retired and struggling but still wanted to train with him.

“Just by me sharing some personal experiences like struggling to pay the bills and really just being myself did more for my brand than any marketing tactic or plan that I have ever thought of in the past,” he says.

Maybe you aren’t struggling to pay your bills, but being able to open the human side of your business will create a brand identity that people want to be associated with. People like to buy from those they trust. The power of authenticity is incredible.

It’s my hope that these three things will help you in the effort of building your empire just like they have benefited DeFranco for so many years.

Related: 7 Ways to Build Credibility, Trust and Character That Will Grow Your Business