Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ken Conklin, Head of Growth of Gravel To Castle, located in Scottsdale, AZ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Gravel To Castle is a mind and body training company for men that helps them become more disciplined and intentional in every aspect of their life. Through both our individual and group programs, we provide the men we serve with exercises, missions, frameworks, systems, and daily protocols that enable them to have a clear path to follow for continuously expanding who they are and how they operate inside of their lives. The association with other powerful men who are ruthlessly committed to mastering this game, along with the accountability they receive from Gravel To Castle trainers, continuously holds these men to standards that make it impossible for them not to rise into more capable leaders.
Tell us about yourself
Despite building a career in the video production and advertising space, I always felt like I had a calling to lead other men in some capacity. After going through some painful and low time periods in my life, I eventually created a set of processes and daily non-negotiable habits that really helped me overcome some mental health and productivity challenges that I had been facing. Over time, my lifestyle had eventually become what I spoke about with my friends and everyone I interacted with, and I eventually started guiding people through my process.
If I had to simplify what I do, I'd say it's a combination of personal training and self-assessments for your life. What motivates me is knowing that I have gentlemen who count on me to be on my A-game in order to support them in getting them out of their funks/low points, along with providing them with that extra push that they sometimes need, so I feel I am obligation to consistently work on myself in order to really provide the value that they come to me for.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would have to say that simply discovering my life purpose and getting quite in touch with myself (understanding what motivates me, what my value to the world is, what protocols I need to execute when I am feeling "XYZ," etc.) is what I truly pride myself on most. However, Vice recently released a documentary on my company and me, which definitely benefitted my business in a handful of ways, so I definitely am grateful for the opportunity that one of their producers gave to me when they reached out! I also have had a number of other really cool moments through my career so far, such as speaking on stages and getting to work with some pretty interesting clients throughout the years.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I used to struggle with having a good work-life balance, but that also was because I had to build a solid foundation and momentum for myself. I think there are various stages you go through on the entrepreneurial journey, and each stage comes with its own challenges. My biggest advice is to know what you sign up for when you start a business and know that it takes a certain level of commitment to push through the slow, challenging time periods.
According to books I've read in the past, 20% of new businesses close up during the first two years of being open, 45% close up during the first five years, and 65% close up during the first ten years. Of course, there are many components that are involved, and each business/industry is different. However, I do believe that a component of a number of businesses that fail is that the owner may not be as committed to their vision as they originally had thought. What I know for myself is that I am committed to mine and have been for the past six years!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Read the book "The E-Myth" by Michael Gerber to understand systems and processes inside of a company, and become obsessed with being a customer of all of your competitors so that you can see what they do right and wrong (allowing you to improve your own customer delivery and marketing), and religiously live by the principle of "the more you do, the less you wait." Some things certainly do take a fair amount of time to achieve, but many things are in your complete control, and when you can learn to efficiently manage your time and put your energy towards things that actually move the needle, you can sometimes get to where you are looking to go much faster.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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