A quick history of Michigan Kettlebells Strength & Training Center.....I'm a full time firefighter / paramedic, I work 10 or 11, 24 hr shifts a month, which allows me to have time for a part-time job. I had a few crappy ones, so one day I decided that I have worked enough crappy jobs in my life and I was now, done with that. If I'm going to work a second job, why not work for myself, doing something I love. So a few years back, I decided that I would own a gym "one day". I knew I wanted it to be hardcore, I found thee Underground Strength Coach Zach Even-Esh, on the internet and turned my garage into an underground gym, with kettlebells, sandbags, logs, homemade sleds and started training myself and any of my friends that would come over to train (which didn't happen very often). I made a website and put some videos and pictures on it, of me and my friends working out......and millions of people watched them on YouTube and I became an internet millionaire......Actually, for all practical purposes nobody watched them, no money. I kept reading, watching videos, and buying info products. Let me go back some years, I had already talked a good game about starting my own business more than once....a lot of talking and little action = no sales. My internet mentor, Zach Even-Esh announced he was having a 2 day seminar, called the How To Kick Ass (HTKA) seminar with some other dude, I never heard of before, Paul Reddick, they said it would be life changing, so I went, and it was. There was 25 other strength coaches, most of them owned gyms, or at least were personal trainers that were actually training people for money. I was none of those, I felt like I snuck in. It was awesome to be around and actually meet people who I followed on the internet. I decided that weekend, I was going to focus on kettlebells, and actually bought the URL MichiganKettlebells.com on a lunch break, at the seminar. I came home and sought out arguably the best kettlebell instructor in the country, Ken Blackburn, co-founder of the IKFF, who happens to be a fellow Michigander. I became a Certified Kettlebell Teacher through the IKFF, and asked Ken if he ever needed any help (as in grunt work) setting up, any workshops, certifications, competitions, to let me know and I would be there. He actually called me to assist him on multiple CKTs, which has been a great honor for me.....I still wasn't training anybody, because I never asked anybody. I wanted to have my own gym, but with no clients and no money, it wasn't happening. I decided I was going to teach a body weight conditioning class at my city's parks and rec. I went and pitched my class, knowing they would love the idea....and nothing, they rejected it, which was a blessing in disguise. So I felt sorry for myself, and for a moment felt like "well at least I tried". I decided that I was going to teach a summer boot camp class in a park 2 blocks from my house. So I finally made a web page for the URL I bought at the seminar and started advertising it on Facebook, and holy shit people actually signed up and payed money. I loaded up my wife's Dodge Nitro with kettlebells, sandbags, tire sleds, suspension trainers, sledgehammers and drove them over to the park. So after the fourth workout, I decided that I wanted my own place and I signed a lease (I had been checking out places for almost a year, but it was like driving through a nice neighborhood and thinking "one day") I took the money I made from the boot camp and rolled the dice.
We had our grand opening on Sept 29th, 2011. I had 6 members from the boot camp that signed up and paid for the year. October 1st was the first class, 2 people that had come to the opening signed up. Then nothing, I thought the people would be pouring in, we had a ton of great feedback at the open house, I put ads in 2 local papers and set up and email opt in for a free movement screen and workout. Many people have opted in, but never set up their appointment, or some set up, and then never showed up, and the ones that showed up, loved it, gave great feedback, and big smiles on their faces and then....they disappeared. Those are the really frustrating ones, is it me? Do I just suck?....No I don't, I always said before this place isn't for everybody, all of the prospects were nice, but most, it wasn't a good fit for either of us. When you have a lease, insurance and utilities to pay with virtually no cash reserves (not the smartest when opening a business, but sometimes you just have to say "what the fuck" and go for it) you just want anybody to sign-up, but if the wrong people sign-up, it can be a drag on the whole group, then it would not be fun for anyone, and the people you want, might leave. So who do I want? Thats a problem with many businesses, they never define their target market, they try to get everyone, and end up with very few. So back to my question, who do I want? I want the washed-up or nearly washed-up workout guy/gal, but still has a flame burning deep inside, they want to kick ass again. They want to be at all of the workouts, because they don't want to let themselves or the group down. So far that is what I have, and I am very thankful for that.
I know January and February are the big months when people join gyms, but I needed people before the first of the year, so about a week before Thanksgiving I started running a promotion (mostly through Facebook) for a Holiday Boot Camp, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 4 weeks for $47, about half the price. I was reluctant to offer this, because I only wanted at minimum 3 month commitments, but I'm glad did. 5 people signed up for it. All of them look like they will be good fits. 2 people came back from the summer boot camp, 2 referrals from members, and one completely new guy. So now, I just need to get them signed up at the end of the 4 weeks. I'm will be running a similar promotion for January. Also my wife is going to start training women only in January. It will be a completely separate membership, She is going to do a 6 week boot camp, that will also focus on nutrition and smart food choices, 6 members, twice a week, $200. She is looking to get personal training clients from that. She loves the one-on-one.
Another very cool thing happening in January will be a IKFF Mobility and Kettlebell Sport Workshop taught by Ken Blackburn, that will be on Jan 7th 10 am at Michigan Kettlebells Strength & Training Center.