Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Coach Nick Gies, Strength and Conditioning Coach, located in Chestermere, AB, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I run two related businesses. The first is Speed School, which is a sports performance company for developing athletes. We train youth athletes all the way to the professional ranks. The second is my in-person and online personal training service, where I work with adults looking to improve their health or rehab an injury.

Tell us about yourself

I have been in the industry for ten years as a coach and trainer. I have a Kinesiology degree, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a Registered Kinesiologist, and have recently completed my Master's Degree in Elite Performance. I have always been fascinated with human performance and how the body adapts to different training programs, whether that be for an elite athlete or a retiree looking to age the best they can. My diverse clientele has a wide range of goals, which motivates me to constantly improve my knowledge and skillset to ensure I can provide them with the highest quality program and coaching.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment has been starting our athlete development company from scratch after leaving my previous coaching job and building a robust enough business model where we can hire and develop other coaches and trainers. I have also trained NHL, CFL, UFC, and other various elite athletes, which is very cool but creating a company that can pass on my experience and helps develop the next generation of coaches is probably the best part of my career so far.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

People get into coaching or personal training because they enjoy exercise and are interested in teaching people how to work out. That's the easy part of our job, and the biggest mistake for young trainers is focusing solely on that skill set. The hardest part is the stuff they don't teach you in school how to develop a business model, website development, marketing, sales, accounting, financial management, managing employees, professional etiquette, administrative duties, and all of the 100s of other hats a small business owner needs to wear. Being a trainer and running a training business are two different jobs and something you need to specifically work on improving if you want a successful business in this industry.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Spend a portion of your day working on Big Picture Items (read up on the Eisenhauer Matrix). It's easy to get caught up in putting out fires, sending emails, and writing programs, without spending time building your business. I like to spend the first 1-2 hours of my day either reading books that will improve an aspect of my business or working on important projects for my business.
  2. Systems are the Solution. If you have to do a task more than once, create a system (e.g., email or program templates) or automate it.
  3. Perfection is the enemy of Good. Your first version of something will suck. Don't waste time perfecting something. Get it done soon, implement it, get real-world feedback, then improve it. The more often you can repeat this process, the better your systems and business will be. If you try to perfect something, you will waste way too much time.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Starting a small business is hard and will make you question yourself as a business owner almost daily. This is normal. The uncomfortableness you regularly feel will be the driving force that makes you improve and work harder to create a successful business.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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