Business Spotlight : Mojo Strength
This month, our Business Spotlight is on Mojo Strength, based in Sydney, Austrailia which was founded by Peter Bolsius. We hear his story on how he went from an extremely dark place in life to running a successful business, showing us all that it is possible, even when you think you’ve had enough.
I’ve pretty much been self employed my whole life. Apart from a few stints as an employee here and there, and some long stints as a strength coach for sporting teams in Italy, I’ve always been running or working on my own business.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), depending on how you look at it, I always throw myself right into the deep end. So, obviously, owning and running night clubs and pubs in Italy through the 90s and early 2000s, I became my best customer. Not a good thing (hence, unfortunately) and in 2002, I woke up broke, fat, depressed, unhealthy, separated and homeless. I was very close to suicide, very close. That was the biggest turning point in my life.
I came back to Australia and started again. I stopped drinking altogether, started running Bondi Beach every afternoon and getting right back into my strength training. I went from a fat and soft 115kgs to a lean mean 90kgs in less than 12 weeks. That’s a loss of….25kgs!! (sounds like the biggest loser!)
Fast forward to 2010. Mojo Strength began in the corner of a dilapidated warehouse in Sydney from where I was running a demolition company. The warehouse was taken up with all the machinery and tools needed to do the job except for the small corner where I had a power rack, a barbell, a few kettlebells. It was MY corner and all the guys knew “Never put any tools or machinery in that area! Ever.” I began training myself, then, my daughter’s boyfriend joined me, it eventually grew to a crew of about 12.[bctt tweet=”At 49 years old, my appendix burst and I spent the next 10 days in the hospital trying to recover, losing 10kgs in the process. I nearly died that day.” via=”no”]
It was another turning point in my life. I decided to do what I want to do, not what I have to do. I sold the demolition business for the value of the machinery. I rented a small shop close by and Mojo Strength was officially opened to the public. We went from a few clients paying $10 a week to 52 clients paying clients in about 5 months.
The space was small, but it worked. I ran small groups on a Monday/Wednesday/Thursday OR Tuesday/ Wednesday/Friday format. Monday-Thursday being strength days for 1 group, Tuesday-Friday being strength days for a 2nd group. Both groups combine on the Wednesday for conditioning work. We also throw in Saturday morning combined group work too. That way, we can have 2 groups in one-time slot during the week. I found this to be the best way to maximize the space available and make the money needed to survive with such a small space.
It’s now been a short 4 years and we have moved again, this time to a 220sq metre warehouse. This certainly put the pressure on as I have more than doubled my rent and now have a coach to pay. Our goal for Mojo Strength isn’t to drop a dress size in 21-days, but more about making people better people, physically, mentally and personally.
[bctt tweet=”I wake up at times maybe 2.00am thinking “What the F#@k have I done?”” username=””]
Running your own business is daunting and scary. I know I am growing personally and professionally and that motivates me. If you are thinking about getting into the industry, you want a good plan: start small and grow, consolidate and grow some more. Be prepared to put in a lot of hours and take some risks.
Personally, I start at 4.30am at the gym and I get home at 9.30pm. I do get a couple of hours of “switch off time” in there where I go for a swim at the beach or take a quick nap. There is a plan and it won’t always be like this, however, I must be prepared to put in the hours. We have big plans for the future, the place needs to run on systems and SOPs. I would love to employ 3-4 coaches, running the majority of the training so I can work on building a better business.
My goal for 2017 is to have 140 clients. Obviously, our rates have increased since 2012. In the near future, we see a nice place right in the city center being part of the Mojo Strength Group as well as having an on-line membership site. I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my beautiful and patient wife Tina, who has been great to me, and my interns Claire and CT who take some of the pressure off and of course all the really cool people who call Mojo Strength home.
This year I turn 55. I started Mojo Strength officially just before my 50th birthday. Goes to show, it’s never too late and we always need to be improving ourselves. Dig deep, go hard. Pat yourself on the back when you achieve something. Kick yourself in the arse when you need it. Dream big and go for it. Fear is our biggest enemy. Learn to live in it.
Strength Matters is a great organization and I am proud to call James Breese a friend. The community here has helped me with some of my marketing ideas and has given me feedback when I was stuck, which has really helped me move forward.
My suggestion to everyone: Complete the Strength Matters Certification and improve the way you coach. Become the best coach you possibly can. If you aren’t a coach, be the best athlete you can, regardless of age. Get certified. It will lift you rungs above the others, it will you lift you rungs above where you are now.
[bctt tweet=”Whatever you do, never give up!! ” username=””]
Check out Mojo Strength’s website HERE