Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Vinny Panza, Founder of Gorilla Vinny Training, located in New York, NY, USA.

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

I am a Martial Arts Instructor specializing in boxing, kickboxing, and conditioning. I work with a range of students, including everything from beginners to amateur fighters. I have a knack for building strong fundamentals with new students and sharpening the skills of experienced combat athletes.

Tell us about yourself

I started training in Martial Arts as a child. My father put me in Kenpo Karate at a young age, and I earned my black belt by 13. Through my teens and 20s, I picked up boxing, kickboxing, and MMA from various instructors and gyms around the metro area. I studied Muay Thai in Thailand for a short time.

Eventually, I picked up more kickboxing and jiujitsu in my 30s around New York. During most of this, I worked professionally in creative services but felt unfulfilled by it. I wanted to do something that makes an impact and excites me daily. Teaching Martial Arts feels like a way to earn a living by helping people become better versions of themselves.

Training in a system like kickboxing, karate, Muay Thai, jiujitsu, etc. does that. I am inspired every day by my students' progress and am driven to learn more and impart that knowledge to them. The positive impact training has on a person's physical and mental state is clear to anyone that takes part in it. It's not always easy to quantify or articulate, but it is undeniable.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is always the improvement of my students. Better technique, better health, and a better attitude are all signs that I'm fulfilling my coaching duty.

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

Paying the bills. It's always paying the bills. I do this because I love it and know I can do it well, and having to spend time thinking about doing something OTHER than becoming a better teacher feels inauthentic. It is frustrating that people can be good at what they do and still need help making ends meet because they need good connections or enough exposure or don't spend time making gimmicky videos for social media.

That is the world we live in, and it is part of the game, but it feels wrong. Individuals' success should depend on their expertise and efficacy at what they do, not how well they convince others of their skills. Such is the life of an entrepreneur...

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

  1. Do something you'll be happy doing, even if the money doesn't come in immediately.
  2. Realize you're not special, and no one owes you anything. It's hard to swallow, but it will keep you grounded.
  3. Be organized. Don't lose time, business, or opportunities simply because you weren't adequately prepared for them.

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.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.