Accepting failure as a stepping stone for growth is essential. Keeping a positive mindset will help you persevere through the challenges you will face. Having a clear mind to reflect on what may feel like a setback allows you to pivot to better success ahead.
The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a 15 billion dollar industry. Many professionals have left their office jobs to become highly successful coaches. At the same time, not everyone who starts a coaching business sees success. What does someone starting a career as a life coach, wellness coach, or business coach need to know to turn it into a very successful and rewarding career?
In this interview series, called “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach” we are interviewing experienced and successful life coaches, wellness coaches, fitness coaches, business and executive coaches and other forms of coaches who share the strategies you need to create a successful career as a life or business coach.
In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Lindsey Corak and Anthony Passamonte.
Lindsey and Anthony are certified personal trainers and nutrition coaches with over 30 years of collective experience in the health and fitness industry. They are the Co-Founders of Stacked Up Fitness, an online virtual fitness community out of the Boston Metro-West area. They are fitness and lifestyle strategic planners for sustainable results built on the foundations of fitness, fuel and lifestyle habits.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and what brought you to this particular career path?
We have a bit of a Romeo and Juliet Story! Anthony and I met in 2018 at a corporate fitness company in Framingham Massachusetts. I was a National Program Manager for small group training and Anthony was one of the leading group training coaches. We were automatically drawn to each other with our entrepreneurial mindset. Previous to our corporate fitness jobs, Anthony owned a fitness facility in Sudbury Massachusetts, and I had a business making and selling nutritious snacks, so we were both coming from an ownership background. Leaving ownership and entering into a corporate position allowed us to make a bigger impact with more resources. We worked extremely well together and spent a lot of time brainstorming how we could enhance the small group training program nationally. Fortunately, and I guess unfortunately, we fell in love! Because of this, our company terminated Anthony in attempts to separate the two of us (see, I told you, Romeo and Juliet!) A few days later, I put my notice in, and Anthony and I were officially on our own. Call it a gut feeling, but when you know, you know. This was the beginning of our journey together as partners in business and in life.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Three essential traits that every entrepreneur must have for obtaining and maintain success is having resilience, a positive mindset and knowing how and when to pivot. When we left our corporate jobs, we were immediately unemployed and searching for a fresh start. In just a few days, and a few calls to our personal network of fitness coaches and business owners, we were given the opportunity to run the fitness department at a brand new facility in the area called Bosse Sports Training. It is here, that the ability to pivot with a positive mindset to seek out opportunities when your resources seem limited, can create a world full of resourcefulness.
Unfortunately, a few days after that, we were hit with a lawsuit from our previous employer due to our non-compete agreement. A tactic that most large corporate gyms use to put fear into coaches and shackle them from growing their own brand and personal business. A few weeks after that, the pandemic hit and we were then again unemployed, but this time with a settlement agreement that cost us $50,000.
Needless to say, we pivoted multiple times in a short period of time with countless battles along the way. Without resilience and a positive attitude to push forward, we would have been swallowed up by massive bills, unemployment and arguments that would have broken us. The pivots that we made were essential to our future success. You may not know it at the time, but you have to trust the process and commit that giving up is not an option. If you can push through that adversity and take the punches, there will be a massive reward in the end.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
Our whole business is about teaching fitness and lifestyle habits to our clients well beyond the sets and reps of your standard fitness program. Even more important is that we practice what we preach.
We use the acronym; CCA, which stands for Consistency, Commitment, and Accountability.
In everything that you do, from fitness to nutrition, to your personal relationships and to yourself, these three key habits must be in play. Consistency to do the things you need to do even if you don’t want to. The commitment to yourself, your family or to your business to always give your best, and the accountability that you are always looking to improve while adjusting along the way.
This is a way of life for us. Each week we sit down, typically over coffee on a Sunday morning, to reflect the previous week. We revise what didn’t go well, we plan to repeat what did go well and by the end of the conversation, we typically see the results we want in our business and our lives. It has been such a great weekly habit, we even find ourselves discussing these ideas every day to help us with our daily small wins to keep us motivated.
This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?
Having good habits creates confidence. We feel good about ourselves when we get things done and have achievements. The more tasks we tackle, big or small, push us closer to our goal. Focusing on daily wins can boost confidence exponentially and ultimately catapult you in the direction that will bring you closer to success.
The ironic part is that we are all creatures of habit and we function better with routine. If we can have the discipline to create daily structure, it will save us time and keep us focused on what we need to accomplish to move us closer to where we want to go.
In such a world that wants to see instant gratification, it is hard for us to imagine what six months from now or even a year may look like. However, another way to look at it is to think back three or six months, or even a year ago. What were you doing then? Many of us can remember the trip we took last summer or the start of the campaign you ran last holiday season. It is just like that, it seems like yesterday and so will the habits that you create starting today, three months or six months from now. You just need to get started and watch the exciting things unfold along the way.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
Similar to our CCA we love using acronyms. Here is another one that we use often and that has helped so many of our clients build success. We call it our “4-R’s”, which stands for Reflect, Revise, Repeat, Results. As you can tell, we practice what we preach and blend our own CCA with our 4Rs into our daily lives. And yes, people do think we are crazy and we do get looks from our family from time to time, but like most successful entrepreneurs they can relate to being called crazy once in a while.
To use the “4-Rs” it is quite simple in nature. The first step is to REFLECT on your day or your week. Ask yourself, what went well and what could you have done better. Write it down! Then you will REVISE what didn’t go well in hopes to not repeat it. Finally, you will look to REPEAT what did go well to push forward in the RESULTS you want tomorrow. It is all about accomplishing the small wins on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
For example, maybe you reflect on your day and think that you could have been better with time management. So you are going to revise tomorrow by scheduling your day ahead of time. You did an excellent job drinking water so you are going to repeat that habit tomorrow for another win. This process done over and over is key. Reflect, revise, repeat and you will see results!
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
We love motivational quotes. One of our favorite quotes reads “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”. We are all about deliberate practice with everything you do. We are faced with adversity every day. In order to grow, you have to step outside your comfort zone and explore what’s beyond safe for you. This is where you can catch the wave of opportunity.
We truly believe that if you aren’t challenging yourself on a daily basis, you are not growing. Of course this does not mean you have to make your life hard every day, that just sounds like a horrible way to live, however, everyday should be seen as a way to grow, learn or apply. Essentially if you are not growing, learning or applying you are dying. Sounds harsh, but the truth is that we need to learn how to believe that we can accomplish more every day.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
The pandemic was a huge turning point for our business. Being in the service industry, we had to figure out how to serve our clients to keep them motivated and happy working out at home. This thought process sparked a project that we have been working on for the last year and has turned into a new business that will be coming to market this fall. We will be launching a new line of fitness equipment called Stack Trax. It is the new way to lock in your fitness at home in a small space that allows you to go from a pull up, to push up, cardio and core all within a click and lock. This product line is a cost effective solution for individuals working out from home to bring variety to their training without taking up any floor space!
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Many coaches are successful, but some are not very successful. From your experience or perspective, what are the main factors that distinguish successful coaches from unsuccessful ones? What are your “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
Establish a strong vision and values
Your core values as a company is what you stand for and how you want to be represented. This is important to maintain a strong, reputable and consistent brand. As a business owner, you will get thrown into so many different directions, distractions and decisions. If you have a strong vision and values for your company, you can always revert back to them to make those tough decisions. It allows you to refocus on what matters most to you and your brand. There will be many opportunities presented to you that may not align with your company’s values. Sometimes the excitement of these opportunities can clout your judgment, leading you to jump into a decision that may not be best for your company in the long run. Before jumping into a decision, ask yourself if it aligns with your company’s vision and values. It will help you stay on track and true to what is best for long term success.
Know your numbers and beyond
Knowing your business metrics is essential for planning and making sure you are having month over month growth. The only way to plan your future business is to reflect on your past business. Knowing your numbers is more than just knowing how many clients you need to obtain and maintain. It’s about understanding the trends in the market, who your target audience is, and what problems can you solve for them. You have to be an expert in trailing your industry’s trends so you can use it to predict your future business. Even understanding the seasonal trends for your industry to plan for promotional campaigns. Be consistent with tracking your numbers so you can set realistic goals and confirm you are on track for growth.
You need to have discipline and structure
We get pulled in so many different directions as business owners. Structure is imperative to avoid distraction and to stay on task. Make a daily list of your “non-negotiables” and “would be nice”. Your non negotiables are the things you must get done today to move forward to tomorrow- meetings, client sessions etc. The must be nice list are the things you can tackle if you have extra time in the day. It is also important to structure your week with days that you are working on the business and days that you are working in the business. Especially in the service industry, we tend to get stuck in working in the business that we never get a chance to work on how we can make it better. Structuring your day and being disciplined enough to follow it certifies that you are taking action at chipping away at the tasks that you need to get done to move you forward.
There are going to be a lot of ebb’s and flows in your business and that is beyond normal! Accepting failure as a stepping stone for growth is essential. Keeping a positive mindset will help you persevere through the challenges you will face. Having a clear mind to reflect on what may feel like a setback allows you to pivot to better success ahead. When you feel like you are in a rut, take a step back and away from what it is that you are doing. Allow yourself to breathe and time to reflect on what your next action step is. Know you are in control and this is just part of the process.
Never stop learning. Ever!
We are constantly looking for ways to be better at our craft. Reading books is great for opening your mind and sparking new ideas. Every entrepreneur needs to read the book Traction by Gabriel Weinberg. YouTube is another learning channel we use often because you can generally find what it is you want to learn about. Learning is part of growth as an individual. The more you open your mind to absorbing new information, the more confidence you will build. In the coaching industry, educating yourself on your expertise and audience will give you more credentials as a coach and allow you to relate better to your clients.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
All entrepreneurs have great ideas and we either are so excited that we want to run without a plan, or we never execute because we don’t have a plan. Another common mistake when starting a business is letting your clients dictate your business. There is a difference between accommodating your clients based on what they want versus catering your business to what they want. This can get you into a binding predicament really quickly where you lose control. Most of us become entrepreneurs to run our own show, not to let others tell us how and what to do. Set boundaries and standards and make them very clear to others. Always have control over your business. You will be running around like a chicken with its head cut off if you don’t…or maybe you still will, who knows!!
Based on your experience and success, what are a few of the most important things a coach should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience? Please share a story or an example for each.
It’s always about that little added touch. Sending them a card on their birthday or shout outs when they are deserved. Make people feel significant whenever possible. Listen to your customers. For example, if your Friday client talks to you about their kids soccer game on Saturday, write a note to remind yourself to ask them how their kids soccer game went the next time you see them. It might not seem like much, but those little personalized touches of care go a long way. Customer experience will always be your number one differentiator. So make that part of your values!!
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business, and particularly in coaching. What are the best ways for a coach to find customers? Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
We are lucky we have social media as an acquisition tool. Referrals by your current clients are always going to be the low hanging fruit, but that takes some time to build. Do a little detective work on social media! See what groups your clients belong to. Be active on those social media groups and offer special promotions for your services. Even better, you put yourself out there with an offering and a current client backs you up by saying how great you are! Your clients are already your raving fans. A great way to give back to your clients and to ask them to spread the love, you can run a referral program. One of our most successful referral programs was offering a free 30 minute training session for every referral they brought in. It not only brought in new prospects, but it allowed us to check in with our current clients to make sure they are staying on track!
Coaches are similar to startup founders who often work extremely long hours and it’s easy to end up burning the candle at both ends. What would you recommend to your fellow coaches about how to best take care of their physical and mental wellness when starting their business?
We can’t stress enough about setting boundaries. Just because we don’t have a 9–5 job doesn’t mean we are open at all hours of the day (maybe our minds are) but we have to respect our time. Schedule your working hours and stick to it. People will actually respect you more if you do. Learn to say “no”, or “I will get back to you on that tomorrow/next week.” Just like you would schedule a meeting with clients, schedule your “you” time. Whether that is working out, meditation, going for a walk etc. You need to have your down time to have a fresh mind for others. After all, this is what we preach, so we certainly need to practice it!!
You are both people of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Just hearing you say that gets us so excited! The ability to make an impact is what fuels our fire to do what we do. We have always wanted to contribute to the awareness of childhood obesity. We actually partner with elementary schools to do virtual fundraising “Stacked Up Kids” fitness classes. It raises money for the school and it also gets kids moving. They have been extremely successful, especially over the last year with the pandemic. We would love to get more coaches involved with this to expand the reach of impact!
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
That is pretty cool to know that all of these talented people will be reading this column and we would love to have lunch with all! However, we are huge fans of Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi. Their mentoring and expertise in everything from business to relationships and life has been so inspiring. We also love Dean and his wife Lisa! They are adorable and we relate a lot to their backstory. Success breeds success, so having a conversation with any of these amazing people would be incredible!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
We would love to connect with our readers! Stacked Up Fitness is an awesome community and we can’t wait to launch our product and change the way people workout at home. You can find more information about what we do at www.stackedupfitness.com or follow us on social media @trendingonthetrax
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!