Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health & fitness, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jesse O'Brien founder of Central Athlete, based in Austin, Texas USA.

Tell us all about your business...

We help working professionals live fulfilling lives with fitness being the vehicle of change.

What's your background and motivation to grow as a solopreneur?

Jesse O’Brien has always pushed his limits. He began working at 13 years of age as a stock boy at Breed & Company, a hardware store in Austin, and later spent summers managing tennis and golf shops at various country clubs. He played soccer, tennis, and lacrosse, and later competed in the Texas Water Safari, a 262-mile marathon canoe race from San Marcos to the coast. He has completed several marathons as well as the Big Bend 50k.

In June 2008, Jesse committed to some lofty fitness goals and began training and studying functional fitness. During the summer before his senior year in college, he split his time between an internship for Highlands Coffee in Vietnam and an intense fitness regime at a local gym in Ho Chi Minh City. Back in Texas the following year, he earned his degree in entrepreneurial management from Texas Christian University (TCU) while concurrently completing his business plan for a holistic health and fitness entity.

In 2015, Jesse and his wife Amanda founded Central Athlete in downtown Austin. In 2018, CA joined the revitalization of East Austin and moved into new quarters at Springdale General, a burgeoning 165,000-square-foot development on 10 acres down the road from the Austin Bouldering Project, a dynamic state-of-the-art climbing facility. His fellow tenants include the Austin Parks Foundation, Caffe Medici, restaurants, art galleries, marketing, and design studios, and community working spaces.

Central Athlete is the confluence of Jesse’s and Amanda’s experience, proven strength and conditioning principles, and an evolving set of holistic ideas centered around the client. The company was founded with results at the forefront of its vision. CA utilizes the principles of motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral techniques in the service of its work with clients. CA’s goal is to walk with individuals as they create their definition of fitness—one that fits them uniquely. Design a training program that will help them get there through consistent work, mindfulness, implementing sound nourishment practices, and equally important, aligning their lifestyles with their personal goals.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Boot-strapping a business from nothing to working with over 160 clients worldwide. We employ a staff of 5 and deliver a life-changing experience to our clients.

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

Managing personalities and maintaining resolve even when you are not feeling as hopeful as you once were.

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

  1. Tell them to work for someone else. They will pay you to learn.
  2. Do not leverage your personal capital/debt if possible.
  3. Consistency trumps all.

If there was one thing you could do repeatedly to help grow your business, what would it be?

Be obsessed with how we can improve the client's experience/value proposition.

What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance and to keep it all together?

I do not work on the weekends, and I work from home on Wednesdays and do not take meetings. I work out for 2 hours per day, four times per week.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Be steadfast in your convictions and be comfortable iterating the process, but do not sway from the genesis of what inspired you. Always remember "why" you built a business in the first place.

Where can people find you online?

Home - Jesse A. O’Brien

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share then email, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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