Jeffrey: I’m with Filipe Cotas, who’s the owner and head coach at TFW Medway. Filipe, really glad to have you here, and I wonder if you could tell all of us a little bit more about you and your business.
Filipe: Hey, Jeffrey. Thank you for having me, it’s an honor. I am the head coach and owner of TFW Medway. We are one of the 300 affiliates worldwide which we do the Training for Warriors program under the tutelage of Martin Rooney. We basically just build our…our mantra is build muscle, lose fat, feel good. We see a good vast amount of clientele anywhere from your average adult to also your athlete, anywhere from the ages of about 8 to 18 years old give or take. We just basically go after their goals and just try and improve everybody’s, you know, livelihood and such. It’s a pretty cool opportunity to help everybody get better.
Jeffrey: Fantastic. Now, we chatted a while ago and you had just moved into a larger space, and at that time it was about 4,500 square feet. Maybe you could talk a little bit about your journey and how you kinda started out where you were working with someone else, but you want to go out on your own. How did you make that decision and make it happen?
Filipe: Well, I’m 30 years old right now, and, I mean, I’ve been working out ever since I was 14 years old. Got certified right when I turned 18, and at that point on I decided I wanted to, you know, really go for it and really make this a career out of it. At that point I started reading and listening to a bunch of…well, there weren’t really any podcast back then, but reading a bunch of blogs that probably a lot of people are well known. Guys such as Charles Poliquin and Jason Ferruggia and such. Really just told myself, if these guys can do it, why can’t I?
Started working at your local big box gym, Boston Sports Club, which is nearby to where I lived. Things didn’t necessarily go out as well as I planned. It was a very different mentality, very corporate mentality which I was not ready for. At that point on I was still in school, I graduated my business degree, but really wanted to make a career out of the training world, but unfortunately, you know, things just didn’t work out it quite as well so I decided to take a, I guess, hiatus out of it.
Finished off school, and then once school ended I decided to get back to it. I ended up…they had changed some management and etc, so I ended up going back to Boston Sports Club. For the first few months things are going pretty well, and then things started going back to that sales-ly and corporate mentality of which I just really didn’t jive with. So at that point I started looking elsewhere, started working at a local Anytime Fitness and things really hit off pretty well.
Started kinda getting my name out there, and then I was thinking about leaving Boston Sports Club and just kind of staying at Anytime Fitness instead. I ended up getting an e-mail from a Fitness Together wanting to…they were looking for a local trainer to work full-time, and I told myself this could probably be a really unique opportunity for me. I sent in my resume, sent in my application and me and the owner just really hit it off really well. He offered me the position the next day which I took. I worked for him for about a little bit over a year.
Unfortunately he developed type one diabetes and really needed to take care of his health, and which he was really not doing so with the long hours, and the constant stress etc. He decided to sell the business. Sold the business to a couple of people that I really did not get along with. We had completely different views training, and i just think they were really in it for the wrong reasons. Then I told myself…I was talking to at that time my girlfriend, and I was like, you know, I’m gonna give it a shot.
Gave it a shot, started looking. One of my clients I was seeing at the at the Anytime Fitness, I was still there working both of them. Constantly going back and forth. She was a real estate agent. I spoke to her and she’s like, “Oh yeah. Why not? Just give it a shot like look somewhere.” I opened up my first facility. Basically it was like a 600 square foot, little garage type of closet type of thing. Things thrived. Things run really, really well and was there for about two and a half or so years, and then I decided to make the big leap and I guess six years later here I am. Things are going really well.
Jeffrey: That’s great to hear. It sounds like, you know, you were very, very determined to do things for the right reasons, and, you know, do right by your clients and not just be in it for the wrong reasons or short term. And so you stuck with it. I know a lot of people would have given up and said, “You know it’s not working. Let me go try something else and get into another line of business.” You were really determined, you were really hustling, and made the decision, I guess, to go out. Was it like a decision where if you were looking at someone you said, “Well, if these guys can do it why can’t I do it?”
Filipe: I mean that’s definitely one of them. I think also too I mean you really…I put in long days I’m still at that point which the business is still growing and fortunately or unfortunately I’m still the main point of attraction, I guess you can say. You really got to have a passion for it, right. It’s one of those like I always tell myself you got to have the passion, but you’ve got to have a plan and you got to have the time to invest, right? Once you do that and you put it all together, then you’ll start getting some success. Right now I’m starting to understand that more and more, and now six years in the making I’m starting to understand that and pick my opportunities in which I can make the most of it. Again it’s a learn by experience, learn by trial and error type of approach.
Jeffrey: Yeah, that’s great, and I like what you’re saying about learn and do kinda something that helps you introduce some automation into the business because it’s great that you’ve got clients, they want to train with you, but you’ve also got the business to run on the side. Looking at that systems and processes, I know a lot of people don’t think about that. They don’t think about the business side, they hope it will take care of itself, but when you plan for success like you’re doing, introducing these systems to help you make the most of your time, I think is a really smart move.
Filipe: Yeah. To say it’s easy would be a lie, right, so I mean it’s extremely difficult. The most important asset you have is your time. How you go about your time is extremely important. Anywhere from, you know, if you wake up 5:00, 6:00 in the morning to all the way when you go to bed. You really need to prioritize your time and you need to really plan out your time. Because one of my favorite, favorite things I’ve ever saw on social media was, “If you wake up without a plan go back to bed.” That’s really, really important, and every time I think of something like I always think of that little quote, and it kinda just keeps me pushing forward.
Jeffrey: Yeah, I agree with you. that’s the biggest asset a lot of people have and they don’t realize that there’s things which zap their time that they do, maybe because they don’t know there’s an alternative. They do things like, you know, manually booking appointments, manually doing the reminders. All that stuff takes time and there are options that you could value your time and do something that helps you then become more effective and grow your business. I’m glad to hear you’re planning that and definitely planning is at the center of a lot of these things.
You don’t grow without a plan, and a lot of people don’t grow because they think that they can take care of clients and the business will just grow, but when you get to certain size you realize that you really do have to have a plan. What’s next for you in terms of your business?
Filipe: That’s a pretty good question I mean it’s something that I’m thinking about. Right now I’m in the process of really trying to take the business…definite formalized different business systems and really make sure that that it’s not just about me, it’s more about my coaches, it’s more about the people that are going in, your typical everyday client that is walking in through my door. Really strategizing how to make me less important per se but at the same time don’t mess a beat. I think that’s probably the biggest thing from a culture perspective in the gym, but behind the scenes which is there always has to be something behind the scenes. I want to definitely take the training a little more online-ish, and start kind of spreading out a little bit more, not just worry about the people inside, but also people that are a little bit more away from the facility or people that can’t make it to the facility, something like that. So that’s kinda what I’m working on right now.
Jeffrey: That’s great. That’s a great plan, and like you said, you can really double your impact by doing exactly that. Well, Felipe, it’s been fantastic to chat. Best of luck and thanks for coming on the call today and sharing some of the things which you use to grow your business.
Filipe: Thank you, Jeffrey. I appreciate it very much.