Cool Interview

Hey everyone,

A couple weeks a go I did an interview with Sarah Cook for her book. Once more information on the book is released I will be sure to update you! Incase you have not had a chance to listen to the audio version, I have provided you with the print version. Enjoy!!

1. Please tell me how you got started and where CEO Kids and parents can find out more information about you. (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, website…)
Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for having me. I got started with my business when I was 18 years old. I basically started my business by focusing on my existing clientele. Before I started my own business, I was a trainer at the New York Sports Club in Staten Island and I was also the strength coach for a high school baseball program. My main website is www.megliofitness.com and you can also connect with me through my blog nystrengthcoach.blogspot.com
2. When did you start thinking about starting your own business and becoming an entrepreneur and why did you want to start?
To be honest, it all happened really quickly. Going into college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. As I grew older, I realized that I did not want to be like the masses and work a typical 9-5 job. Instead, I wanted to create my own vision, in which I would work to achieve my own goals, not the goals of my boss. My values inspired me to take action. Because I valued hard work, training, family and helping others, I knew that running my own business would allow me to do what I love and also give me the freedom to spend time with those that I love.
3. What things influenced you to start your own business?
One the major lessons I learned from my mentor, Zach Even Esh, is that your life and your actions are dictated by your values. My passion for training along with my desire to help people achieve their own goals heavily influenced me to start my own business. Since I come from an athletic background, I especially love training athletes. My family and friends have also had a major influence on me.
4. What do you think are the most important skills you have that help you in business?
The most important skills are self motivation skills: determination, work ethic, consistency and courage. Again, Zach Even-Esh, has had a major influence on me in this area. His business thrives because he is a “go getter” and because he takes action.
I am not sure if hard work is skill or a trait, but I believe it is imperative to be successful within a business. By getting your hands dirty and spending a lot of time “in the trenches” is one of the most important ways to develop the skills you will need to be successful.
-I really believe you need to have a vision of where you want your business to go. When opening up a business, there are no guarantees and there will never be a perfect time to start it up. However, if you have a vision of what you want to accomplish, you need to TAKE ACTION.
-Lastly, your ability to deal with adversity is imperative. It’s easy to run a business when everything is going well, but what happens when something bad happens and now you’re faced with adversity? How you deal with adversity reveals your true character and says a lot about who you are. Are you going give up and give in? Or are you going to do what’s necessary to get your business back on track and continue to do what you love?
5. What were the biggest obstacles, problems you had in getting started in business?– The biggest obstacles I had was my inexperience at the time. Not just in regards to training, but regarding the business aspect (marketing and finance). E very month it was another issue. The obstacles varied from finding a studio to rent out to do my training, to creating the forms necessary to organize my business. As my clientele grew, it also was problematic to keep track of my finances. However, I embraced these issues. I looked at these obstacles as speed bumps and opportunities to apply what I learned in the class room to real life. Adversity was staring me head on and I took action.
6. What is the problem, even or need that your business helps to solve?– As a strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer, I help my clients achieve their fitness goals. I truly get satisfaction from knowing that I could have a positive influence on someone’s life.
7. Where did you come up with your idea and what investigation did you do to help you know that this was a great opportunity for a business? -My idea was driven by what I value in life. My passion for training and helping others inspired me to take action. Starting out, I was not sure whether or not it was a great business opportunity; however, I did realize that this opportunity would allow me to do something I had a passion for.
8. How did you research your target market?– When I first started out, I would train anyone who was willing to hire me. As I became more experienced I specifically started to target athletes. After 2 ½ years of working in the trenches, I have worked with enough clients to know what type of clients I like to train. My mentor Zach, has had a major influence on me in this area. Currently, I have a more formal process in which I choose what clients I work with. As a college student, it is hard to turn down money, but I know in the long run it will pay back 10 fold.
9. How about your age? How does that affect you? -My age has had an effect on the way some people view me. Some people think it is great that I have found something that I love doing at such a young age, while others do not take me as serious because of my age. I never let this affect me though. It is important to only worry about the things that you can control. Certain things are out of your hands and if you let it affect you, you are doing an injustice to yourself.
10. What about college? Are you planning on going?
-Currently I attend Fairleigh Dickinson University, where I am pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurial Studies.
11. What kind of expenses or start-up costs did you have when you started your business and where did you find the money or capital to start?-My start up costs were very low. Since I was in charge of a high school baseball program they provided the facilities to train the athletes. As time went on, I decided that I would need to rent out a studio to train my clients. A great opportunity came along with another trainer. He just opened up a private studio and was looking for a partner to split the rent. My expenses were minimal. I just paid rent, utilities and equipment.
12. Were there any good surprises that you found in starting your business?-The experience and lessons I have learned over the past 2 1/2 years have changed the person I am today. The feeling of waking up in the morning and walking into my studio, and training my clients was a great feeling. When I look back and see where I started out (at the NYSC) to where I am today, I am happy with my progress. However, I believe you can never become complacent. You always need to put the pedal to the metal. Taking a back seat and coasting is not an option.
13. Do you do EVERYTHING by yourself or do you have people on your team that work with you? If so – how did you find people to help you along the way?
Building an internal network is one of the most important factors in running a business. While I do all my business, marketing and training by myself, my affiliation with other personal trainers, strength coaches, chiropractors, physical therapist and marketing experts allow me to run a more efficient business. I found these other professionals through family and my own personal experiences. My marketing experts are friends of my family. They handle my business cards and t shirts. As fellow entrepreneurs, they are also very helpful sharing a ton of advice. They are more than happy to answer any questions I have, and I do not know where I would be without them. The chiropractors and physical therapist I am affiliated with treated me when I was younger. As a high school and college athlete, I have been a patient of theirs for awhile now. As time went on, they have watched my business grow and now we refer clients to each other and share tons of other info to help our businesses grow. The other trainers I am affiliated with are former coworkers of mine that have also grown their own business.

14. What ideas and approaches do you use to market your business and what do you find works best for you in getting the word out about who you are and what you are doing?-When it comes to marketing and promotion, I try to keep my costs relatively low. Social Media networks like facebook, twitter, digg, personaltrainer.com along with other networks play a key role in marketing. I prefer this method because it is free and allows you to connect with virtually everyone imaginable. The best way to market my business is through referrals, especially word of mouth. My clients are my best sales people because they have experienced my service first hand and their results speak for themselve.
15. What were your daily or weekly efforts in spreading your brand message and will you share some tips on making connections to grow your business?-I view everyday as an opportunity to spread my message. I like to think of all my clients and affiliates as a tribe. As the head of the tribe, it is my duty to spread our message. For me the best way to do this is through my blog. I contribute to my blog a couple times a week and I get it out to the public primarily through facebook and other social media sites.
-Building an internal network is all about being proactive. Seek out people that you may be connected with through friends and family. Also, find a mentor within your business. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern for Zach Even Esh. Before I became a strength coach at his gym, I read his blog for a year. In my eyes he was a celebrity. One day he posted that he was looking for an intern. I decided to hop on the opportunity, and the next thing you know I am a coach at his gym. This would have not been possible if I was not proactive. You need to be a go getter and take action!
16. Did you try any marketing approaches that did not work for you and why do you think they didn’t work?– At first, I tried making flyers and other cheap and ineffective marketing approaches. Instead of doing this I should have been providing the best possible service to my clients. The time spent making flyers and getting them out to the public took away precious time that could have been dedicated to my clients. As I mentioned before, they are your biggest sales people and if they love your program and are seeing awesome results they will tell their friends about it.
17. How do you balance it all?
As a student athlete and business owner it is very hard to balance it all. In order to find a balance, you need to set your priorities straight. You also need to understand that time is of the essence and it is very valuable. You need to find a schedule that allows you to get everything you need done while also giving you some personal time to relax or for other activates.
18. What advice or tips can you give to other CEO Kids and entrepreneurs?
Your life and your actions are dictated by your values. Find out what you truly value and what you have a passion for. When you have a vision of what you want to accomplish, go out and get it. Don’t let anyone stop you. Sure it may be a bumpy ride and you may be knocked down a couple times. Don’t let that stop you. Face adversity head on and do what you set out to accomplished.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to take a risk on something you have a passion for. There is no right time to start a business. The only way to achieve your goals is to take action.
19. Tell us one more time where can CEO Kids and parents find you and do you have any special offers that you want to tell them about?
I can be reached through my blog at www.nystrengthcoach.blogspot.com or my main site www.megliofitness.com. I am real easy to connect to and I love to discuss training and business. Currently I am offering FREE Trails to all first time clients and also am offering 1 FREE month of training for every friend you refer. Thanks again for having me Sarah, it has been a pleasure.

Joe Meglio
Performance Enhancement Coach

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