In the first ever episode of the Fit Founders podcast Stridist CEO interviewed Emma Storey Gordon aka ESGFitness
We found out about Emmas career and businesses and really dove into how she has grown and manages multiple fitness businesses and collaborates so well with multiple different business partners
She also gives us insight into how she is one of the most prolific and consistent content creators in the health and fitness space
Full Episode Transcript
Speaker 0 00:00:00 Everybody here and today I’m joined by Emma Story. Gordon. Hi Emma.
Speaker 1 00:00:06 Hi. Thanks so much for having me.
Speaker 0 00:00:08 Thanks for joining me and giving some of your precious time, which I know is very scarce at the minute
Speaker 1 00:00:14 It is. But I enjoy this stuff, so I’m very excited to be here.
Speaker 0 00:00:17 Yeah, and, and we’re gonna talk about your content output and this stuff to, to some degree I’m sure today. And we’re gonna cover a lot. I’ll go into detail into your various businesses, talk about collaboration, which I think you’re great at. But for those of you that don’t know, for those of you or for the re for the listeners who don’t know anything about you, do you wanna give a brief overview into who you are and and your businesses as they are right now?
Speaker 1 00:00:43 Okay, so my name’s Emma. I am primarily an online coach. I have an online group coaching business with Chloe Madeley and that’s like, I guess the, the biggest business in terms of the amount of people that we get in the business and the amount of people that we impact and hopefully positively impact and help get results. So that’s called the EC method. And then I have a smaller group coaching business which precedes that called Commit to six. And then I have one-to-one coaching business that has three coaches that work for me on there. And I also run e I Q nutrition with my business partner Amelia. And I run a mentorship called AF Mentors. And that is what I do.
Speaker 0 00:01:25 Lots of things, just those things. Is that it? Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:01:27 Just those, yeah.
Speaker 0 00:01:28 Very Oh and level events. I’ll put that one in.
Speaker 1 00:01:30 Oh yeah, I mean, yeah, it, it’s a little bit of an add-on to E I Q really, but yeah. Hey there’s another one.
Speaker 0 00:01:37 Why not throw live events into the mix? Hey,
Speaker 1 00:01:40 Why not? I mean harder than what you expect shockingly.
Speaker 0 00:01:43 Yeah. I do not enjoy hosting them. We did, we promised to do them every quarter at O fb and it, it became very difficult. That’s a another story. So how did, how did this all start? So how did you kind of enter the fitness industry?
Speaker 1 00:01:58 Um, I think all this has been very much organically following what I love doing. So I standard left school and was like, don’t you know what I wanna do? I kind of like sports. So I went into sports science and then it was actually in my last year that really got me interested in it. Like I think I spent the first three years kind of enjoying uni life. And then in the last year we started learning about exercise and health and the benefits that exercise can have to health. And in particular, I was just blown away by the benefits of even a short amount of exercise on type two diabetes and like the reversal of type two diabetes. So then I got really interested in that and that was kind of where I thought I wanted my career to go. And I went and worked in diabetes research and I started a master’s in diabetes, which I then later dropped out of.
Speaker 1 00:02:44 Anyway, I kind of went down that path, but that’s what got me really interested in exercise. And then I realized I love working with people on, on their exercises. Then I became a personal trainer. I mean I was doing that throughout this, but then I kind of focused fully on that. And I think through doing that I realized the massive impact you can have online and that it’s so much more than the hour in the gym with your trainer. It’s actually everything else that you’re doing. And if I could work online, I was then not like geographically constrained either, and I could impact more people. So for example, v c method has about 500 people in intake. We’ve, we’ve had over 5,000 people do the course. That means that like there’s no way I could have possibly helped that many people working one-to-one in gym and in a way that’s so different. So instead of looking at primarily the exercise bout that you have with them, you’re looking at their behaviors outside of that as well. And that kind of impacts on people and the mindset changes and how they think about dieting. That’s really what got me kind of hooked into the online side.
Speaker 0 00:03:47 So how long we, how long before you went up? A good
Speaker 1 00:03:49 Couple of years. Mainly because online coaching wasn’t really a thing. And like I was just sending, I think I had a few online clients while I was that at that point I had started a PhD, which I also dropped out of. But I was doing that and then I had some online clients. I was just sending them word documents with workouts in. So you know, I was right there at the start when
Speaker 0 00:04:10 When’s what I was doing?
Speaker 1 00:04:11 I just send word documents, .
Speaker 0 00:04:12 I actually started with PDFs in Dropbox and then I was like, oh
Speaker 1 00:04:16 Nice. See
Speaker 0 00:04:17 I didn’t, I can’t edit the pdf. Yeah, well I couldn’t edit it. So then it was a fresh PDF every time I wanted to send them something. So it didn’t really work. But now we’ve got apps and software com check
Speaker 1 00:04:28 Out. I heard about the, the,
Speaker 0 00:04:30 What was it
Speaker 1 00:04:31 Called again?
Speaker 0 00:04:31 Stratus.com if anyone check it out. So in person for a few years. And then you kind of discovered the magic of online from a, you know, impact perspective, you can reach more people. Then obviously from a personal perspective, I, I’m sure there was some benefits that you kind of looked at there as well. I wanna put words in your mouth, is that right?
Speaker 1 00:04:54 No, no. Yeah, I, I agree. I actually, and I’ll, I say this all the time, but I was an okay in-person coach, I’m very good at on online coaching. Like I’m a very good online coach. I wasn’t very good in person. And I think it’s just like the different ways of coaching. I don’t think they’re really comparable. Like it, it’s comparing apple to oranges, right? Like you might, if you’re an in-person coach, you might be incredible at getting someone to push out that last rep or correcting someone’s form that have absolutely no benefit online. And online. You might be incredible at talking to someone about getting their head around the scale weight, which you probably wouldn’t have time to do in a gym setting. Different people, different goals, different jobs, essentially. I think too many people compare the two as if they’re like one is better than the other. They’re not, they’re just different.
Speaker 0 00:05:42 Yeah, I hundred percent agree. I was nowhere near as good. I, so I was good at group stuff in person, like one-to-one pt, I just didn’t, it didn’t really fire me up. But then online, yeah, I just, I was just far better getting people results. So how long or or what did online look like before, you know, it became all these other products and businesses, how long were you doing it for? What were the various iterations and things that you tried and and how difficult or easy did you find it?
Speaker 1 00:06:13 So like I said, when I started it was you just sending people P on PDFs or Word documents or something. And then I think like as that side of the industry grew and as I grew as a personal trainers, I learned a hell of a lot more like that all started to change. And I think it’s a good example of like starting where you are with the knowledge that you have and then getting better is things progress. For me, it really started taking off when I dropped out of my PhD slash PhD, failed for various reasons. And I was like, Hey, that’s one door shot. I need to make this work now. Cuz previously, and you’ve worked with so many coaches, you know what it’s like if someone’s got two jobs, they’re like, Hey, I don’t take that this seriously, it’s my side hustle, whatever.
Speaker 1 00:06:54 And it never grows. Whereas when you’re like, oh man, this is it now like I need to make this work, it gives you a bit of a kick up the bum. So I think that was a big turning point for me. And I think, you know, like at the time that was quite painful, but when you look back on things you often realize that the best things come out of the worst situation. So it might have been like a breakup and then you decide, hey, I’m gonna move here or I’m gonna do something completely different. Or like what would be deemed a failure? Like I failed to finish a PhD, that’s a failure, right? But actually because that door shut, I was like right, I need to go to this door and I need to make sure that I opened this door and that I really give it my all.
Speaker 1 00:07:33 And I just think that if at the time like things had worked out and then I’d been offered like a decent salary of an academic role. Like you get tempted by these things and it’s something I think about quite often. I’m like, wow, if I’d been offered a grad scheme after uni and that’s the social norm and you’re like, oh wow, 30 grand a year. Like when you’re a student you’re like, oh my god, like I’m rich. Like this is so funny. , I remember getting my first job after uni and I was on 22 grand a year and I was like, oh god, like what? Like what am I gonna do with all this funny, whatever it, it’s funny looking back. But then I think the point is like when you are offered something that is pretty good in most people’s eyes, it’s very hard to say no to that.
Speaker 1 00:08:16 It’s actually easier when there’s nothing else when when you’re like, oh shit, I have nothing else to do. I’m gonna make sure this works compared to like there’s a pretty good offer on the table that you’d have to turn down to back yourself enough that you can do this on your own. And bearing in mind I had no vision of what I was gonna create, I was just like, hey, I kind of like this. I’m gonna follow my passion and hope I make enough money. And luckily for me, I don’t have like extremely extravagant tastes or live in a very expensive place. But yeah, that’s kind of how that worked out.
Speaker 0 00:08:46 So when you stopped your PhD, let’s call it stopping it, yeah. Where was online business at then in terms of the number of clients for example?
Speaker 1 00:08:56 Oh, I think I had like five and I’m pretty sure they were paying me like 80 pounds a month. So I very quickly had to sort my shit out and, and did you, to be fair, at that time I was also working face-to-face. I, I, okay. Dropped the PhD and I did face-to-face a bit and was working online.
Speaker 0 00:09:14 So how long did it take you before you went fully online?
Speaker 1 00:09:17 To be honest, I can’t remember exactly mainly because right up until the pandemic I was still doing like two or three sessions cuz I just, yeah, like I still love face-to-face but if I could do it now, I probably still would. But there’s just not enough hours in the day and you know, most gyms like you have to pay rent or something, it doesn’t really work out. So I could never say that I like fully dropped it until relatively recently. But I was making the vast majority of my income online pretty quickly after that.
Speaker 0 00:09:45 Okay. And then what triggered, see I suppose you, you’ve got an option once you get to, okay one, one-to-one online coaching is going really, I’ve probably taken this as far as it can go. Or maybe you thought that or, or maybe that wasn’t the case. What makes you decide that you’re gonna start a different product or a different business? Like what, what came next and why wasn’t it just grow one-to-one online coaching more and more and more and why was it another thing instead?
Speaker 1 00:10:13 Yeah, I think this is again like playing to your skillsets a little bit. So I mean there’s two ways that you can grow your business. You could be like, I wanna take on more coaches and one-to-ones the way that I think I coach best and is the vibe by one and that’s what I want my business to be known for. You’re gonna get a very bespoke service, it’s gonna be like almost handholding or you know like very much one-to-one or I think I could help more people if, you know, the zoom call that I do is watched by 500 people, not one person. And I wanna grow my business in a group coaching setting. And part of that is your skillset and what you enjoy, but part of it’s like the problem that you solve for people. So the EC method helps women who have been yo-yo dieting for their whole lives.
Speaker 1 00:10:53 The messages are the same, they don’t necessarily need the one-to-one. It’s like we just need to make sure that we are talking about the scale of weight and breaking that down and giving people the right nutrition advice and reassuring them at the right periods of time and dispelling some of the myths that come up. And then, I dunno, something like a really poor relationship with food, maybe someone would need a little bit one-to-one support with that. So it kind of depends on who you are working with and and what kind of support they need as well. But the way it went for me was I started working for Grenade Fit. So Jamie Elton’s gym, which was running an online program and this was amazing for me at the time. Now I, I mean does it matter if I disclose how much I got paid but basically nothing like genuinely nothing.
Speaker 1 00:11:36 So I think it was an eight week program. I think the coaches got 15 pounds for the eight weeks, right? So I mean for eight weeks of coaching, 15 pounds is almost nothing. But to me I was like wow, someone’s giving me 40 clients, when would I ever get this experience? And at the time like I was maybe sitting around like 15 to 20 online clients like just making enough money kind of thing. And I was like, I have no idea what I would do with 40 clients. Like I’ll ha I’ll learn the systems of how you manage those people And because I have always cared about my reputation, I never want someone to be able to say I worked with Emma on grenade fair or on any platform didn’t really reply to me or I didn’t get a good coaching service so I massively over-delivered for the 15 pounds I was getting paid for eight weeks of coaching. Bearing in mind that’s seven pounds 50 a month for coaching them. So again like
Speaker 0 00:12:27 Why, why ? Sorry, why was it 15 of like it might as well have been zero.
Speaker 1 00:12:33 Well I mean 15 times 40 is something I guess.
Speaker 0 00:12:37 Oh so was it 15 times per client? 15 times per, yeah, yeah, per client. Yeah. Okay.
Speaker 1 00:12:42 And then actually I saw it as free advertising as well. I was like, you know, I’ve got mates who are paying for Facebook ads but actually here I’m developing a relationship with someone, I’m learning a lot about coaching, I’m learning a lot about this business structure and I’m getting a good reputation in the group. And the good part of that was a lot of the other coaches who worked on grenade fit rightly so, kind of resented the 15 pounds or you know, some sometimes I think it was 15, sometimes 20 whatever. And so they didn’t put that much effort in which meant if I just put a little bit more in, I looked like by far the best option there, like the best coach there. So again that kind of helped me as well and that actually led to quite a lot of people then staying on with me one-to-one.
Speaker 1 00:13:24 And it meant I got like a really cool insight into how you can run a group coaching program. There was a ton of stuff that I was like I would never do this. And there was a ton that I was like wow, that’s how you can program for 40 clients in one weekend rather than what I would be doing. Which is like looking through, you know, it would take me half an hour, a client would never sleep. So yeah that was a really cool like learning curve and it opened my eyes into group coaching and that when you do group coaching, right, it shouldn’t be a lesser, it shouldn’t be like the lower tier to one-to-one coaching when you do group coaching, right? It’s better than one-to-one coaching cuz you’re not just getting the coaching support from like your coach but the whole community as well.
Speaker 0 00:14:05 Yeah, that’s amazing And I love that you, you saw that for what it was and it was an opportunity, right? Like me marketer at heart, like I just see a funnel as, you may not not have thought about it in that way, you thought about it slightly differently, but I’m thinking someone’s given me 40 people, all I need to do is nurture them. If I was thinking purely marketing and it’s gonna spit out X amount of clients and you’ve kind of seen that from a coaching perspective of I can deliver a great service, get people amazing results and then it’s gonna grow my one-to-one online coaching business. And I don’t think everybody, as you’ve have you, as you mentioned, not everybody sees it like that. It’s resented or I’m not getting paid anything I’m, you know, being taken advantage of or or whatever and, and maybe it was, but it’s still an amazing opportunity. So would you say, obviously we’ll talk about collaboration shortly and and you’ve done a lot of that. Was that a a positive experience overall or or would you say it was a collaboration that didn’t really work out?
Speaker 1 00:15:03 Oh it’s so positive. Like and, and I really get on with Jamie and I’ve got all the time in the world for him. We don’t have the same coaching ethos but it doesn’t matter. Like I learned a ton from him and we had a discussion at the end and it ended really well and he was like, look, you clearly are good enough and want to do your own thing. This isn’t gonna work if you’ve got, cuz at some point it becomes a like a bit of a clash, right? I think I just launched Commit six and he was like, this is too close to Grenade fit, it’s not gonna work. Actually at the time it was trained with Jay, but anyway, doesn’t really matter the program. And I was like, yeah it is time that I went and did this on my own. So I’m, I’m hugely grateful for like the experiences I had there and I think, I mean I would hope that, so is he and we kind of learned a lot from each other and yeah I think it was, it was a, it was a really good learning curve and I, I think you’re right, like especially earlier in your career you need to think more about like the opportunity that you are getting from something rather than the direct paycheck from it and having a bit of perspective and clarity of if at the moment you have no clients or, I mean I didn’t have none but like you don’t have very many clients and someone is offering you to work with 40 people, take it.
Speaker 1 00:16:09 I don’t really care what you’re getting paid. Like take that opportunity is way better than wasting your time on ad spend or trying to just show up on social media and talk to no one for ages and ages. Like you’re, you’re literally directly in front of people.
Speaker 0 00:16:24 Yeah, I agree. While we’re on collaborations, we’ll we’ll continue talking about them. So collaborations, partnerships I think have, have seemed to have been a, a large feature of your career. Like why is that?
Speaker 1 00:16:35 Some of it honestly by chance, some of it because genuinely I think if you collaborate with the right person, one plus one equals three like and it has to be the right person. Cause I can flip the other way and it can be that there’s this just diffusion of responsibility or resentment of each other as in I’m not gonna push this cause I only get half the profit for it and if I can get someone in my program then I’ll get the full profit for it. That’s when it doesn’t work. But if you’re both all in and you compliment each other’s skillsets is better than working on your own. And then the other thing, and I dunno what you think about this, but when my businesses that I’m collaborating on like win or do really well, it feels amazing. Like after Level Up I was like, this is amazing. I love, I’m in love with Melia, I’m in love with the businesses we built. I’m in love with this community. I would never have that on my own. Like it’s not the same feeling, it’s like if you win with someone else, cheesy, but it’s like winning twice when you win on your own, it’s like you’re sitting in your room being like, oh there’s that stripe mark I wanted to hit. Like great. And there’s you text your mate and they’re like cool. Like there’s nothing, it’s not the same.
Speaker 0 00:17:42 Yeah, I agree a hundred percent. Why? Why don’t you think we see more of it? So just to give you a bit of context on this, so I’ve collaborated, partnered plenty over the past 15 years in various businesses and more recently getting into the world of software and speaking to investors and, and people like that in in like Silicon Valley and San Francisco. A lot of the investors won’t touch you if you don’t have a co-founder or have a partner if there isn’t a team of founders because it’s so hard, it’s so hard to grow a business on your own. And we’re obviously not talking about billion dollar unicorns or software companies. It is a, you know, solo service based business or just start like that for most people. But still running a business is really hard and if some of the smartest people in the world won’t even touch you from an investment perspective, if you don’t have a co-founder, why don’t we see more of it in the fitness industry?
Speaker 1 00:18:33 So I think I got really lucky because genuinely, and it didn’t start like this because I think there’s always that advice of like, don’t work with your best friends but, and I actually think that’s true if you were best friends before you started because your relationship has started as friends and then when you move into a business relationship that can get quite messy. Chloe and Amelia are two of my best friends, like two of the most important people in my life. But we didn’t really start as friends, like associates of anything. And then we built friendship because of partly the byproduct of how much time we spend together and I think that works much better. To your point about like whether why we don’t see it more, I do think there are distinct pros and cons to this. So I see some people maybe on AFM who are like, oh I might do this with this person.
Speaker 1 00:19:19 And I’m quite like, what do they offer you as in what are you both bringing to this business? Because if you are essentially very similar coaches, you’re just diluting your profit as opposed to building something that’s bigger. Like unless you have distinct skill sets, unless you bring out the best in each other, then, then actually I think sometimes the reason that people wanna collaborate is because they lack the confidence to put themselves out there on their own. And I think that’s the wrong reason to be doing it. If there’s a reason that you both work together and one plus one equals three for you guys, a hundred percent of collaboration is amazing. And like you say, because coaching is a solo thing, sometimes it ca like if you’ve got slightly different coaching styles, for example, Amelia and I couldn’t coach together, we can run IQ together, but there’s no way that we could coach together.
Speaker 1 00:20:08 We’d fall out all the time because we just have slightly different opinions on things and that would just never work. And now on the outside to anyone who is kind of just like observing the fitness industry or us, so you’d be like, oh yeah, they must coach Pretty similar, no fundamental differences there, which is fine and there’s certainly people that are way more suited to Amelia, certainly people that are way more suited to me, but we couldn’t work together on that. So it’s kind of figuring out that stuff. But yeah, I dunno, what are your thoughts? Like why don’t you think we see it much?
Speaker 0 00:20:38 I think there’s, there’s probably not a a culture of working together for the, within the industry. It’s very kind of a, we spoke about this before we went live, live like there’s a scarcity mentality rather than, you know, let’s all build a bigger pie. It’s often shit that person’s taken some of my pie, I want this piece of the pie. And there’s only a limited amount of it. So I think a lot of it is around guesty, people seeing others as competition, which is insane because there’s so many people out there who need help. I think that’s a big part of it and it’s just, it’s just not been done enough for other people to follow along. Obviously I gave the example of software where it’s just incredibly common. So there are forums on the internet of people just looking for co-founders before they get started in software.
Speaker 0 00:21:26 Obviously that just doesn’t exist in fitness of people like, hey I wanna start a online coaching company. Anybody wanna partner? That just isn’t a thing. But I think a lot of people would be, more people would benefit from it than are currently benefiting from it, even if it’s not like a, from a legal entity perspective. So if you take Dan and Mike from Biceps and Banter for example, for all intents and purposes they just create content together. It’s just the public facing brand that is the business that they have together. But individually they work with their own clients, right? Mm-hmm like in the background, they have kind of separate businesses. There’s a few things that overlap and I think there are probably people who could benefit from having almost like an accountability partner, someone who pushes the other person to make sure they show up work together in content. So there’s a reason to have to show up and work with the other person. Complimentary traits, there’s just an issue of how do you find the right person?
Speaker 1 00:22:23 Yeah, I guess that that’s a good example of like, it’s harder, even things like having banter together or if you wanna do a podcast together, like actually having two people that you can kind of jump off each other a little bit. That’s quite useful. And, and then I think like genuinely one of the best things for me is, like I said, winning twice, but also like 95% of my job is just having fun with two of my best mates. Like how cool is that? And and I think that when you remind yourself of that, even when stuff doesn’t go exactly as you wanted or it feels like a lot of hard work, like that’s where the longevity is. You’re like, Hey I, I just enjoy this anyway and look, I’m getting paid to do it and I get to help load of people while I do it. Like
Speaker 0 00:23:07 How have you, how have you started the relationships with people? Because obviously you have a relationship with Chloe, with Amelia who you now have businesses with, but also obviously you have the podcast and I’m assuming the relationships with all these people who you kind of work together with, like the relationships were non-existent prior to the fitness industry, right? Mm-hmm . So how, I suppose that’s what people lack in like how do I even start building these relationships? How do I even find and connect with the people who I could work with? And and obviously you’ve done that very well, whether it’s organically or proactively, like what advice you give to people.
Speaker 1 00:23:46 So if I think about where I met, say Mike and Dan from the podcast or Amelia, like that was both body power. So events go and speak at what, what you maybe don’t have to speak, like go to events, find like-minded people that are doing similar things that you admire. Like I admired Amelia for years before we ever worked together. And then I think with Chloe, she invited me on her podcast and again I approached both of them well actually that’s not true. I tried to push both of them to to do it themselves and both of them were like, I wanna do it with you. So with the EC method after that podcast, I got so many clients, like so many people messed with me and I was like Chloe, like just as a friend, I was like, are you doing online coaching? And like, do you know how to set this stuff up?
Speaker 1 00:24:32 I’m more than happy to show you because I’ve got genuinely like, I dunno, 50 clients off the back of that one podcast. And she was like, oh no, I’m not really interested in that at the moment. And then it maybe it was like six months later I was like, Hey, just so you know, like I’m still getting people coming from your podcast. Like are you sure you don’t wanna do this stuff? And she’s like, oh no, I’ve kind of played with it. Like I, I have a few. And I was like, how much are you making from it? And she was like, oh, about two grand a month. And I was like, I’ll make you 10 grand in your first intake and I’ll show you how to set it up. And I didn’t want anything for it. I was just like, I’ll just show you like this is what I’ve learned and this is how you can do it.
Speaker 1 00:25:06 She’s like, oh no, I couldn’t do group coaching. I don’t really believe in it. The whole narrative of group coaching’s just generic shit. And then I guess like over time I kind of convinced her and she was like, yeah, okay, let’s do it but let’s do it together. And I was like, alright, fine. Like I’m well up for that. Like I was just gonna be like, here, I’ll jump on a Zoom call and show you how to do this kind of stuff. I was like, this is gonna be great. So anyway, then we did the first EC launch, we made 10 grand and then since then it’s just gone like up and up and up. And then now she’s like, oh I can really see the benefit of group coaching. And actually most people stay in the EC method for the group, not for us.
Speaker 1 00:25:43 Like we are a bonus. Like it’s nice to have us there but like they love the group element of it. And then with Amelia, she had been offered by shredded by science at the time I think to write a nutrition course for them. And we were away together again like get opportunities, go and see people get out there in person. And she was like, oh I’ve been offered this opportunity. And I was like, didn’t you just write a nutrition course for Optimum? And she’s like, yeah, it’d probably be quite similar, probably wouldn’t be that much work, blah blah blah. And I was like, what are they gonna pay you? And she was like 15,000. And I was like, that’s such a, like that’s a joke. I was like, go back and ask for more. And she’s like, yeah. And I was like, actually don’t go back and ask more, just do it yourself.
Speaker 1 00:26:24 Like if you just sold that once, like did an intake once, you’d make that money yourself and then it’s then it’s you and it’s Evergreen you. And then she’s like, oh yeah. And then anyway, then I was like, let, well then she was like let’s do it together. So then we launched the IQ and that’s how that worked. But basically it came from me pushing people to back themselves a little bit more, which is easier from the outside, right when you can see how incredible someone is. Like there’s no way Amelia should be behind the scenes writing nutrition courses for other people. Like she’s phenomenal. Same with Chloe. I was like, I literally have people coming from your podcast cuz you are not offering the service that they are asking for coming to me as like a second option. Like you need to be doing this, this should be you that’s doing this. So yeah, it kind of came from that.
Speaker 0 00:27:08 So get to events, make friends, hype people up.
Speaker 1 00:27:13 Yeah. Be a hype.
Speaker 0 00:27:14 Yeah. Yeah. Love that. Okay, so just rewinding things slightly. So after Grenade Fit or train with Jay or around the same time that was kind of ending, you’d started Commit to Six, right? Mm-hmm , talk to me about that. That’s just you right?
Speaker 1 00:27:31 Yeah, that’s just me. But I’ve got three coaches that do the check-in side of things. But when I started it was just me. And actually I didn’t know if you remember this, but I had a call with you that was when I was working on, cause I kind of forget about this, but like Upgrade U was actually the first group coaching that I ever did.
Speaker 0 00:27:48 Yeah, you know what? I wanted to include this in our notes but I couldn’t remember the name of and I felt really bad of the guy who was also on the corner. Jonathan. Jonathan. Jonathan and I.
Speaker 1 00:27:57 Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:27:58 And I couldn’t remember who it was, but yeah, I do remember that I always felt bad because I couldn’t, I think you asked to see my Facebook page, I still remember this. This is how much I felt, how bad I felt at the time and I couldn’t get
Speaker 1 00:28:09 Along. This is how um, this is how, what’s the right word? Like I just questioned like I was such a skeptic of anything marketing wise of investing in the business at all. And Jonathan was really keen for it. And I was like, I don’t trust this guy. I don’t know who he is. Let me see his business. Let me see this .
Speaker 0 00:28:24 Hello. So I was like, and he’d warned me, he’d said, yeah, I don’t think he’d warned me but he just, yeah, I think he’d said, Emma’s gonna need some reassurance. I was like, yeah, I’m ready. I’ll show whatever she wants. And the first thing that you asked me for was i’s your Facebook page. And I, for whatever reason it is just like hidden, what the
Speaker 1 00:28:40 Fuck’s going on? So funny. So, and then we ended up going with someone else and it was a really bad decision. So regret that,
Speaker 0 00:28:46 Nevermind you’ve done very well anyway since then.
Speaker 1 00:28:49 Worked out. Um, yeah so that was the first group coaching and then that kind of wound up and yeah, then I started commit to six, which interestingly, and again this, this one was probably like a lack of confidence thing. I was gonna do that with Sarah Holden. And then at the last minute, well a couple of weeks before we launched she was like, I think, I can’t remember, I mean it was probably an excuse and she didn’t wanna do it for some reason, but there was like a family thing or something and so she was like, I don’t think I can commit to this at the moment. And I was like, I’m just gonna roll with it. So I just did it all myself and yeah it was really good. And then it’s just kind of grown since then. And then I took on coaches to outsource the checkin side again. That was a huge stumbling block for me cause I was like, no, it has to be me. People are coming to work with me. And then literally nobody cared. , I think you have all these expectations of like, I can’t outsource these check-ins. And then they’re like, oh yeah, that’s fine. Like what were you worried about? Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:29:53 So were the three hires that you made off the back of the growth of commit six or is that why they were hired and then are they getting coaches or clients off the back of that?
Speaker 1 00:30:03 Yeah, so one of them was a guy that I’ve just known forever. Andy, he’s amazing. And I think it was just really important that I trusted someone. So, and I didn’t wanna have to look over someone’s shoulder and be like, oh like what are you, what did you say in that check-in? And I fully trust him and don’t have to do that. And then another one, Catherine, who was on commit to six already and then had been there for like over a year and she was also a personal trainer and I was like, you know my business back to front, you’ve done check-ins with me for over a year and I know that you are gonna love this and overdeliver. And she still does. She massively over-delivers. She’s incredible. And then Shah also was a one-to-one client and then did commit six. And I’m like, again, you know me, you know my vibe.
Speaker 1 00:30:48 You are a personal trainer on your own right. It was just like kind of like the perfect fit. So with all of them, I very much headhunted people as opposed to did like an application and, and got someone in. And this is what I’m finding with the AFM coaches that are getting to the point now that they’re like, I need to take on another coach. It’s really hard and I’m so grateful for the coaches I have cuz it’s really hard to find someone and it, it is like it’s your reputation on the line. So if someone comes to commit six and the check-ins are crap, it’s not really that coach that they care about as me. Like they’ve come through me. So it’s my reputation. So it’s very like, yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to outsource that stuff.
Speaker 0 00:31:30 Yeah, I think hiring from pe hiring people who kind of know your business as you have is just a, it’s a cheat code. So if you, if you’ve got that group, group group coaching especially where they’ve been through that and been through one-to-one coaching and they’ve been part of a community, it’s just, it’s, it makes things so much easier. How have you found the transition to managing people?
Speaker 1 00:31:53 Yeah, I think I have actually found that quite hard. I think it’s one of the hardest parts. I don’t think I’ve nailed it yet. I think what I would have done better is set harder expectations or like not a fully fledged contract. Cuz I think people don’t stick to them anyway and it’s almost like not worth the paper. But the contract’s important cuz it sets expectations and boundaries on either side. I didn’t do that enough at the start. So now it’s like those have to be reset kind of thing. And I think that’s something that I instill in the AFM coaches is like their expectations of what you want from this person and what they can expect from you as well. And it’s harder to do that two years down the line than it is to do it from the start. But some, at some point you just have to draw a line and be like, right, we’re redoing this, this is how it’s gonna be from now on. This is what I’m gonna give you, this is what I expect of you. But yeah, managing people is hard.
Speaker 0 00:32:46 What do you put, have you got anything in place from a, like a structure perspective? Like one-on-ones reviews, targets that you set them?
Speaker 1 00:32:54 Most of them have, well they, they all have targets. The thing is two of them also have like kind of their own business outside of it. Which again, that’s probably one of the things that becomes the most confusing. And it at some point it becomes a bit of a like conflict of interest of like, well if you’ve got your own thing then should I be pushing people? Cuz I’m essentially pushing people to your business. And then that becomes a bit confusing. So ideally if you’re thinking of taking someone on, take someone on that’s gonna be a hundred percent your business with you isn’t doing anything else. Or if they are, it’s distinctly different. So like Andy online or me in person, he’s got his own studio gym and he does um, one-to-one clients with them and then he’s got coaches that work in there as well. That’s great. I’m not losing any clients to that. Like it, it makes sense for me to push people to him, but it gets a bit more confusing if you’re trying to run like another online coaching program, then things get a bit blurry.
Speaker 0 00:33:49 Yeah. So that’s where that contract probably helps at the beginning.
Speaker 1 00:33:52 Yeah, that would’ve been,
Speaker 0 00:33:53 Yeah, you can’t do this. Yeah. Cool. Okay, so you are working one, one my clients that’s going really well. At some point you decide to launch the EC method. Mm-hmm. , sorry, yeah. EC method. That’s right. No commit to six six even. I’m getting lost in all, all the products. Yeah. So were you worried that EC method was gonna kind of cannibalize commit to six or is it super different or how did you, how did you make that fit?
Speaker 1 00:34:25 So this is a problem I still have and I wouldn’t like, I would never suggest my business model to anyone else like it. It basically grew from the fact I already had commit to six and then I was doing something with Chloe. Like I wouldn’t, they are in a conflict. Like, and, and a lot of people do both, in fact most people have kind of done both. And some people find they really like commit to six because it’s a smaller group. You get one-to-one check-ins and the EC method is a bigger group and there aren’t one-to-one check-ins. So like some people prefer one, some people prefer the other. It’s not a big deal but, but it is in the sense that people get confused and when people are confused they don’t buy. So if you come to someone’s website and it’s like, oh do you wanna work with me?
Speaker 1 00:35:07 Here’s four different options you can have training only nutrition only training and nutrition group training, group nutrition group training and nutrition. And also this random other product that I do as well that’s kind of like geared towards performance. They’re like, whoa, what? Like what am I meant to be doing? And you think you’re creating a product for everyone and it’ll do really well but you’re not, you’re just creating huge confusion for people and then they don’t buy anything. So ideally, you know, I’d have one, maybe two products, that’s how you work with me end of, but just from the way things have grown and I would imagine over the next year I’ll probably think about how I’m gonna navigate that to make them distinctly very different. But yeah, it’s not, it’s not a business model I would suggest .
Speaker 0 00:35:50 How, why do you think you’ve made it work? Just because of the, the p is it again from the benefit of the partners that you have and and being able to lean on them? Um,
Speaker 1 00:35:58 It depends what you mean by work. As in, I’m sure that both of them would do better if I concentrated on one, not both of them. The one that I concentrate on would do better. Like they work as in they’re both quote unquote successful. But it’s like how do you define success and like how do you know what would’ve been if you just put all your eggs in one basket and actually focused your efforts rather than trying to do 50 things at once. So yeah, they, they do, I guess partly what I was saying about like some people prefer one to the other, just personal preference if if nothing else and it is a slightly different vibe mainly cuz of like Chloe’s input and then the coach’s input. Like we’re all different. So yeah, I think there’s, there’s that element of it but I don’t, yeah, I think you’re probably better picking one thing and doing it well.
Speaker 0 00:36:47 Yeah, I agree. . Yeah. Then probably the other two businesses that are distinctly different, which are E I Q and AF mentors. Mentors. So I’d like to speak about AF mentors if that’s okay. Mm-hmm what, what triggered the decision to decide that you wanted to help other coaches?
Speaker 1 00:37:04 A lot of it was cuz I saw some really awful mentoring and I was always complaining that there’s no women mentors and it’s all men who haven’t coached anyone for 10 years and actually weren’t particularly good coaches anyway and don’t care about if you’re actually helping people and only care about making quick like buck and like hey are you actually even coaching anymore as your VA doing it? And sales funnels and just spending on ads and not checking if the coach is actually a good coach anyway. And then kind of preying on vulnerable new PTs and being like, sign up to this year contract that you can work with me, it’s gonna cost you 12 grand, which you absolutely do not have, but you should put it on a credit card. Like that kind of stuff. I was like, this is obscene and is everything that I hate about the fitness industry. And then I was like, why complain about it when you could just do it better? That’s why I started afm.
Speaker 0 00:37:55 That’s amazing. So that’s actually identical to my story in O F B. It was, look at all the shit that I hate. I, I did complain often and I basically got told by my best friend Steven to shut up or do something about it. So I launched the fp. So how have you found work with other coaches from a business perspective? Is there anything that’s been eye-opening or surprising? Work
Speaker 1 00:38:17 Ethic is wildly different between people. Like I have people who, and obviously this stops pretty quickly, but who are like, I couldn’t possibly post every day and like I post twice a day on SG fitness once a day on AFM and you know, run numerous businesses like you absolutely can post once a day. And it’s interesting, the difference between, I worked hard and I worked hard like is like magnitude’s different and I didn’t really realize that until I started working with so many coaches. I was like, wow, hard work for you is like an hour’s block for someone else. Like it’s, it’s mad. So that was quite eye-opening. And then it also really fits better with who I am more naturally and authentically, which is quite like a hard trainer and some people like, you know like I can be soft when needed from like the coaching standpoint and I’m, I’m empathetic but with coaching I’m like hey, if you wanna be pushed and you re if you, this is your goal, this is what you need to do to get there and it’s kind of easier to push people because you’re not worried about pushing them too far and their relationship with food being impacted.
Speaker 1 00:39:22 Obviously there’s like burnout and things like that you need to be careful of but I can be a little bit more brutal and people want it as well because they’re like, oh no, I’d rather you told me that my social media shit so I can improve it than tell me that it looks fine. And then I just don’t get any results cuz I keep doing the thing that isn’t actually getting me results.
Speaker 0 00:39:43 Yeah, that’s amazing. So just on work ethic, I think obviously your output is very impressive. It sometimes intimidates me, I’m not gonna lie. As someone who is consistently inconsistent on social media nowadays, what two or three bits of advice would you give to someone who sees your output and thinks I, I don’t know how, where to even start to get to that point or I, I want to, how do I emulate that? Like what advice would you give to them?
Speaker 1 00:40:11 Time block, Google Calendar is like my best friend. Just block everything out that you need to be doing. Really try and think about the 20% of things that you’re doing that are growing 80% of your business. So for example, I focus on one short form piece of content and then one long form piece of content or platform. More to the point like I focus on my podcast cuz that’s where most people come from and Instagram. Cuz again, like that’s where most people come from. I’m not posting on TikTok, I’m not really, you know, sometimes I’ll post a tweet cuz I wanna screenshot it and put it on Instagram. Like I’m not really focused on trying to grow LinkedIn and it’s very easy to see, oh so-and-so’s doing well on LinkedIn, I should start doing that. Or Amelia’s got a like a, a really good email list, I should start doing emails or blah.
Speaker 1 00:40:58 And it’s like, yeah you could do all of these things but you do them all really quite badly. What’s better is to figure out where your clients are coming from and then focus on making that content better than trying to be on every single platform and just feeling overwhelmed and essentially getting nothing done. So I really always come back to that like 80 20 principle that 20% of your effort is getting you 80% of the result. Keep reviewing that and be like, okay, you know it’s been three months since I kind of had a bit of a look at that and, and audited my day as well and been like, right, if if 80% of my clients are coming from the podcast but I’m making it the last on my priority list, then I need to start changing that. That should be like top of my priority list. And just like the, the low effort tasks or like the low output tasks, income task, whatever impact tasks that you don’t have to be doing that you’re probably wasting a lot of time doing sometimes just cuz you’ve seen someone else do it or you feel like you quote unquote should be doing that and actually it’s not getting you anywhere.
Speaker 0 00:42:03 And what about for people who say, yeah that’s, that’s all well and good but creatively I’ll sit on my computer for that one hour block and yeah I could probably post one thing every other day. I, you know, they can’t think of what to create content about every single day.
Speaker 1 00:42:19 One always keep your notes tab open. I’ve got almost 10,000 notes of just like stuff that pops into my head and then I’m like later on I’ll write about that. Or I’ll come up with something. Who on the days that you don’t have creativity? I mean I’ve got like 10 years of content. Cool. I’ll just look back, look on my insight, see something that did well about a year ago. No one’s gonna notice. If they do, who cares? It’s been a whole year since I posted it, reword it slightly, post it back up like fine. Like if you have,
Speaker 0 00:42:47 That’s my entire content strategy. The minute for the past two months ,
Speaker 1 00:42:51 It’s evergreen stuff. Like if you are in the fitness industry, I mean same with mentoring and business side of stuff. Like it doesn’t change. Like the 80 20 principle doesn’t change. You could talk about that this year and next year you could talk about calorie deficits this year and next year or your three tips to avoid upsetting over the scales every six months. Like it, it doesn’t matter. But I would try and obviously have some creativity but if you need to reuse some of the stuff on the days that you’re not creative, like absolutely reuse it.
Speaker 0 00:43:21 Amazing. Okay. So that’s, you know, great advice for people who are wanting to improve their content output, I suppose. What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to emulate your success in general? So as you know, high level advice that you would give to someone who’s looking at you thinking, I wish I could do that, I want to get to that.
Speaker 1 00:43:43 I think a lot of things come down to luck and timing. So it’s not to say that you couldn’t emulate what I’ve done or considerably more like I would set your heights even higher, but like what got me here won’t get you here now. Like things are different. So you need to play a slightly different game. The other thing I’ll say is that I would attribute most of my success to just doing things that I love. Like I find it fun, which means that like you talk about my work output, I genuinely love all the stuff that I do. Like I wouldn’t be on a live if I didn’t wanna do it. I wouldn’t be here right now if I didn’t wanna do it. So if you can enjoy it, you’ll outwork everybody else. And part of that comes from building businesses based on what you love doing.
Speaker 1 00:44:25 And again, why I didn’t like the mentorships. Cause it’s like, oh do this eight week plan that we’ve kind of set out for you. This is how you market it, this is how you do this. Like not, hey what’s, what are you passionate about? What kind of like what impact do you wanna have on this person now? How can we create a plan around creating that impact for that person or solving the problem that you wanna solve for people? That’s how mentoring should be done. Like what do you light up about when you speak about it? That’s what you should be building your business around cuz you will outwork everybody else if you do that. If you just follow what I’ve done and you’re like, oh the EC method does this, I’ll just make the PC method, it will never work because it’s not what you love and it and that will show in your, in how much work you put into it and how successful it is.
Speaker 1 00:45:11 So I think like worry less about always focusing on the outcome and like easy teasy but like enjoy the journey. And I always remind myself when I feel stressed as well, like I love doing this stuff and 95% of the time like I’m just having a laugh with my mates and I get to help load of people and it completely takes the pressure off because realistically I’d be doing the same things or 95% of them if I wasn’t being paid for it. And I think when you remind yourself of that, and a lot of online coaches should do that cuz you can get so bogged down and stressed with comparison, I should have hit this target and upset I didn’t do this. And it’s like, drip all that back if you weren’t getting paid, would you still do this? And a lot of them are like, yeah, I’m like right, like let’s chill out a little bit about hitting all these targets.
Speaker 0 00:45:58 Yeah, I think it’s probably one of the only professions and industries where that should be an overwhelming yes I’d still just want to do it. So it’s hard, it’s, it’s easy to lose sight of that definitely. Especially you know, with the way it’s positioned as you know, online coaching, earn more money, earn more money, earn more money, all just be happy. Enjoy it. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:46:19
Speaker 0 00:46:20 Amazing. Okay, so on that note, are you up for some finishing questions?
Speaker 1 00:46:26 Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:46:27 This is a hard one as you already suggested early on. But what do the next few years look like for you as a business owner and your businesses?
Speaker 1 00:46:36 So I do have, like, I have made a big decision, which I only made the this morning, so I dunno if I wanna say it on a podcast yet. But it’s just outsourcing a lot of, or basically bringing someone into my business help me with a lot of things. And I’m extremely bad at outsourcing even though I have a va, I just don’t really use her that much. Whereas this is gonna force me to, and I think that will o that will make me, you know like when when coaches invest in mentoring and you see a shift immediately Cause they’re like, you take your business seriously now. It’s not a side hustle, it’s not, I’m a personal trainer, I trade time for money. It’s like I run a business and I’ve invested in it. That’s what I feel like this is gonna do for me.
Speaker 1 00:47:14 Cuz a lot of the time it does still feel like I should be taking it a little bit more seriously. So yeah, I’m, I’m excited about that. And, and yeah, I think that’s, that’s probably, as far as I know, I’m excited to see where AFM goes. I’m excited to help more people on the coaching programs and we’re also kind of restructuring e I Q a little bit, so that’s really cool as well. And I’m excited about that and and also from that point of view now I’d learn so much from E I Q because we get guests on all the time now. I’m like, if I wasn’t on this, I’d just be paying for it myself. Like it, it’s awesome. It’s like free C P D, which I’m also kind of forced to do, which is great because if I was just paying for it, I might not watch every single lecture. Whereas I have to and I have to take notes and I have to ask the expert questions. So I’m always staying like ahead of the game, which is awesome. Yeah. And there’s lots more of that to come for yq.
Speaker 0 00:48:09 Amazing. What’s something that you hate about the industry? I’m
Speaker 1 00:48:13 Not gonna rant about the mentors again because I’ve already done that. I generally love the fitness industry. There are some corners that I often forget about that it’s like people are still selling people crap like Herbalife and supplements that they don’t need. I think I especially hate when they pray on vulnerable people. Like my, one of my biggest client bases is menopausal or per or post-menopausal women. And they are preyed on like nothing else. Like there’s the next menopause plan, there’s some supplement for menopause, there’s some new 18 year old PT who’s specializing in menopause. Like, and yeah, that kind of stuff. I hate, fortunately I kind of surround myself with like the great part of the industry where there’s just phenomenal coaches. So I see less of it. But now and again I get glimpse of it and I’m like, wow, I hate that.
Speaker 0 00:48:59 I think it’s actually a lot smaller than it used to be as well. I’ve seen this to amino. I think standards are genuinely so much higher than even they were five years ago.
Speaker 1 00:49:07 But you are in that echo chamber too. See, I worry about that and then I see the people in the gyms that I go to, you know, like if I go to a pure gym or something, I’m like, and I overhear a personal trainer being like, oh yeah, all you need to do is take this up. And, or like I went to a David Lloyds and there was a stand with someone telling Herbalife and I’m like, oh no, it wasn’t, it was the worst. It was like the AE Vera thing.
Speaker 0 00:49:28 . Yeah. Well I keep, I’ll keep telling myself that it’s getting better anyway. What’s the biggest mistake you see other coaches making from a business perspective?
Speaker 1 00:49:38 Giving up too soon. Like thinking that their, their first thing will launch and be amazing and then they don’t see it enough as like, it’s a bit of a test. Like you should think of your business as an experiment. The first thing that you launch isn’t gonna be good. The first podcast that you do isn’t gonna be good the first time you go on live. It’s gonna be awful. Like all of these stuff you have to learn. You don’t start with experience. And I think too many people put too much pressure on themselves and whether it’s like an ego thing as well of like, oh, everyone will think I’ve failed. Like honestly nobody’s looking. And who cares if they think that you failed? The people that are the most successful are just like, great, they’re gonna launch it. I’m gonna get some data, I’m gonna get some feedback, I’ll test it, I’ll refine it, I’ll improve on it and I’ll go again.
Speaker 1 00:50:23 And I still do that on every single launch that I do for every program that I run. There’s always like, what could be better? What could I do better that didn’t run so smoothly this time? Why isn’t that working? Commit to six. So it’s completely different now than it did when I started it. And if it was the same product as when I started, no one would be doing it. Like needed to be improved as I went along. And with online coaching, if you don’t start looking at, I don’t know, maybe it’s Striders, but like the best kind of software or the best service that you can give your clients and always stay up to date with that. Like you’ll quickly be left behind. So you always have to think of like, how can I be improving and not let like quote unquote failures trip you up.
Speaker 0 00:51:03 Yeah, yeah. I love that. So let’s finishing a high note. What’s something that you love about the industry? I
Speaker 1 00:51:10 Love the E I Q slash AFM family support factor or kind of just like that corner of the fitness industry. And I know I’m massively biased, but it’s so nice to have like to surround yourself with people who are like-minded, all want the best for each other. Like you’d be amazed at how much time people spend helping each other that has absolutely no benefit, if anything, potentially a detriment to their own time that they could be spending on their own business or helping their own clients. And yeah, ev it, it’s amazing when you see people like breaking each other’s limited beliefs and inspiring each other to be better. And I think surrounding yourself with those kind of people is the quickest way to improve.
Speaker 0 00:51:52 Yeah, definitely. You can find one of those corners of the internet of your people, like get there and stay there. Amazing. Emma, it’s been a pleasure. If you wanna come and find you, where should they do that?
Speaker 1 00:52:05 The best place to find me is at E S G Fitness and in the link in my bio there, you’ll find the links to all businesses.
Speaker 0 00:52:13 Amazing. I’ll put the links in the show notes. I think I have no idea how podcasts actually work. I think that’s what happens.
Speaker 1 00:52:20 Great. It sounds Thanks very
Speaker 0 00:52:21 Much, . Yeah, I’m just testing and refining and then we’ll, we’ll improve from here. Pleasure, Emma, thank you very much for joining me.
Speaker 1 00:52:29 Thanks so much for having me.
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