Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Drew deVry, Owner and President of Freedom Fitness Gym, located in Burien, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We offer a blend of everything cool and convenient. Boot camp class times in the morning & evening, small group training, 1-on-1 training, and 24-hour gym access. You'll find a fun mix of traditional and alternative workout equipment and space. Indoor field turf, weight sleds, kettlebells, bumper plates, battle ropes, giant tires, dumbbells, benches, squat racks, and cable machines. We primarily attract people of an intermediate fitness level, but we also get a fair amount of beginner and advanced fitness level people coming to our gym. We have experience accommodating a wide range of fitness levels.
Tell us about yourself
After college, I started working at a big-box gym. At first, it was fun, but soon I realized that the big-box gym business model was NOT set up to benefit the members. I worked there for about two years when I decided to start my own gym that would treat members differently than big-box gyms.
My mission was to offer HELP to all gym members without selling them something. To this day, I still love guiding new members along their journey toward better health and building strength.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am proud that I have been able to keep taking steps forward in business development throughout the years (since 2005). I spent my first five years in a hole-in-the-wall location, drawing in new clients from across the city. I moved into a larger retail location in 2011 and continued to grow.
In 2016 I opened my second location. I am now ready to start selling franchises and showing others how to successfully open a new gym location. It's been quite a process, but I'm very happy to be able to share this accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The most challenging part of being a business owner is that no one knows how much work goes in on the back end of running a business. The job is never done, and there are no off-hours. You're on the clock 24/7/365. But no one sees all the work you do to keep the ship afloat. The more your business grows, the more thankless your work becomes.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First and foremost, you need to ensure you have enough funding to make it through the first year's expenses PLUS a little extra for unexpected expenses.
Secondly, consult with someone who's done it before. Many costly mistakes can and will be made unless you have someone to help guide you to make wise business decisions.
The third and probably the most important thing to remember is to never take your foot off the gas pedal. Obviously, you should keep pushing forward in bad times, but don't get complacent when the good times are rolling. Be pessimistically active in good times and in bad.
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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