Table of Contents - Surviving COVID as a gym owner, mindset and creativity with Paul Walker
George El Masri [00:00:00] Hello, hello, thank you for joining once again to the Well Off podcast. I hope you guys are going to enjoy this episode because I interviewed Paul Walker and I know that sounds kind of weird. It's a different Paul Walker. That's a pretty common name in to the one that passed away. But, yeah, Paul is a really cool guy. He is a gym owner. You guys probably read through the description, what whatnot, but awesome mindset. I really loved what he had to share about surviving through covid because obviously gym owners were hit really hard. So he talked about creativity around this time, switching his mindset from feeling all sorry for himself, everything that was going on, and decide, you know what, there's opportunity in this. And I think a lot of people can really benefit from that. So he had an interesting childhood and we touched on how he was overweight as a little boy, how that impacted him and why he chooses to work with women today, why he wants to help people transform their lives through fitness. There's a lot of good stuff in here. Successful entrepreneur, he's a real estate investor as well, has two gyms and he's done really well for himself. So check out the episode. It's been a really good one. I think you'll enjoy it. And I look forward to hearing your feedback. If you do like this video, if you're watching it on YouTube, if you can like and subscribe to the channel, that be awesome. And if you're listening to it on iTunes just or on the podcast platform, make sure you leave a review. And as always, if you guys are looking for multiunit, I love working on four to six unit properties in the Golden Horseshoe Area. So if you're looking to buy something out there, check it out. And finally, there are some reports that we're offering. There's four of them that you can actually download from the website. Just go to well-off Nazih Forward slash report, check it out. You can download all of them all at once. And I think there's lots of value in there. So have a look. Enjoy the episode and we'll see each other soon, hopefully. Welcome to the Law podcast, where the goal is to motivate, inspire and share success principles. Today, I have a special guest a little bit different from the usual, but I'm with Paul Walker, who is the owner of Paul's boot camp. So those who might not know it's a women's only gym based out of the fun Ontario. There are two locations. Paul is an entrepreneur, and that's the reason I wanted to have him on. He's he's been able to build a very successful business in the fitness industry. He also does invest in real estate. So we will touch on that a little bit as well. But he's been in the fitness industry for over 20 years, works with only women. Basically, it's a women's only gym. Like we said, he's got two locations. He's a life coach, nutrition coach award, a top fitness club, and VONNE since twenty twelve. So a lot of good things from Paul. It takes a lot to be able to have a successful gym because of all the competition. So, Paul, welcome and thank you for joining us today.
Paul Walker [00:02:44] Thanks, George. Thanks for having me.
George El Masri [00:02:45] Did I miss anything in that intro?
Paul Walker [00:02:48] Wow. Just the music. I thought I could think of some music or something. I know you admitted you summed it up well. Thanks.
George El Masri [00:02:54] Yeah, no worries. So I'll just kind of explain how I met you to the people that are listening. So I worked with Paul and Sandra, who is his his fiancee. You guys are going to get married soon, hopefully with the summer. Yeah, I know. I know. I'm supposed to get married, too, but there's been some delays. But yeah, I met them when I was working, helping them find a rental property. So we will we will touch on that because there are a lot of nerves and stuff like that that were involved in that process. But before we get into that kind of stuff, I want to ask you a little bit about your childhood. So I want to know where you grew up. A couple of things you remember from your childhood. And I know that, like just from knowing you, that there is a part of your childhood that led to you becoming the person that you are today.
Paul Walker [00:03:43] Yeah, well, thanks, George, for that. And I'll be happy to share that. I mean, I grew up in a little bit different type of home, a bit of a broken home. Looking back and reflecting it is pretty easy. I couldn't see as a child, but most of my family suffered from some sort of mental illness, whether it have been a gambling addiction or a depression addiction. You know, my grandma, my my uncle committed suicide. So his mental my mom was depressed that, you know, that type of environment. We caused a lot of pressure on me. And I didn't understand what I was doing, why I didn't connect with other people. And what happened was, is that I went from a very active boy to being aware of my surroundings and seeing the pain and violence and some bad stuff. And I got really, really depressed as a child. Didn't know it. And I turned to food as a way to kind of like get around that. From eight years old to about twelve years old, I went from one hundred pounds to one hundred and eighty five hundred eighty five pounds by the time I was eleven or twelve and a five foot two. And I didn't feel good, I didn't feel comfortable and I had and I just felt that my body image would make me feel better. So I started. Who I bought a bike, I started exercise, and I started to work out not knowing what I was doing, I was only 12, 13 years old. I was going to get ready for high school at the time. And as I grew, my weight management became a little bit better. But I didn't my intention with body image. But what I was really doing was changing the way I look. And I felt as if my mindset and I was intimidated by sports anymore. I wasn't scared of other boys and what I could do it competitively with them leagues. I started getting beat and stuff like that. Before I knew it, I was in high school and I did very well outside of sports teams and I was a team guy and I carried that that mental fitness because it made me feel good, because when I went home to where I was, my environment, which was getting worse by the by the day as time went on, that was my way of cleansing myself. I guess I get to school, do my sports, felt good, didn't know what it was. We all know now. You probably know what it is. All the medical, all the chemical things going into the brain, the endorphins are getting out of all these sports and all that stuff that it helped me. And I use it as therapy. And I went through college doing the same thing. And then when I finished college, my ex partner, myself and I, we decided to say, hey, listen, we were in a gym format. We're into coaching. At that point in time. I finish with a lot of business diploma degrees and I decided to enter the world of fitness because I felt that my fitness background help me with my pain, get through point and being the only person in my family to graduate from secondary school, that that was something that I like to teach people how fitness can change them. And that's why I'm not really I'm wanting to be a place where it reinvade being that you would be big raise an issues that I guess also amount of energy and everything else. So that's what my goal was. I want to go to college in twenty three years later. I am still there.
George El Masri [00:06:55] Yeah. So you started in nineteen ninety seven, is that right. Yeah.
Paul Walker [00:07:00] OK, so in nineteen ninety seven.
George El Masri [00:07:02] Ninety seven. You had a partner at the time and you guys I think you started a club together. Like a fitness club.
Paul Walker [00:07:09] Yes we it was really, really, really different. OK, we're going to go back and be myself. So back then there was two things. There is no personal training. So I went to the bank and said I want to open a personal training facility. They couldn't grasp the idea and the concept. Not only that I could even get certified up here, I had to go to the States. I went to California to get certified. And all the information that we were trying to do, the business just wasn't available to us up here. So my ex, partner and myself, we built the bodies by design. We literally live. We sold all our assets, lived in the club for six months to get this to grow. Yes, it was a crazy, crazy beginning to my career started off.
George El Masri [00:07:47] Yeah. Wow. OK, so you so what gave you the the drive and the willingness to take on that kind of risk, to put everything on the line to start this club in ninety seven.
Paul Walker [00:07:59] I'm, I'm a calculated risk taker. I just think that you and get forward in life if you take calculated risks that playing it safe, that you when you play it safe, you don't really grow. You don't really. How do I put it. You're not really contributing to society. You're just living. Right. And you know, the thing is, is that if you really believe something, go for it. I mean, that time there is a person, creative studio. Now, there's thousands of different models to look at. Back then, we had a great role model. It was good and bad at the same time. But once you give birth to something and once you put life into something, once you you put all your passion to something, if you really believe it, then you can visualize it. And once you visualize something, it's part of you. You can't let it go. You really can't. It becomes something that's deep inside of you. So, you know, whether it's we went through SARS nine one one, we went to obviously a lot of financial ups and downs. But if you really believe it, you see it. You know, that's when you you go and you can't let it go. But at the same time, you don't feel anymore. You got to walk away. And I didn't feel it anymore over there. That wasn't my thing anymore. I didn't want to do personal training. I thought there is a market. And I think women at that time, revered, especially fitness, were very disrespected and unrecognized in terms of their needs and what they wanted to do. I was connecting with a lot of women and I feel that women ever since that day, because they did all the assessments in my club that were the women are the true nutritional and fitness leaders in the industry are still more than men there. They were just more engaged into what I love to read. I'll be honest with you, George. I'm a nerd and a half, and they're very receptive to me, honestly changing stuff all the time on them. I was always changing the environment because new stuff will come out and they didn't want to do status quo. And I guess over the course of time my my niece became, how do I put it, my niece was created for me. They'll be playing it because that's my interest. They changed and my thoughts changed. My focus changed and my business changed.
George El Masri [00:10:02] OK, so you being a boy who was kind of out of shape because of your atmosphere and whatever else and seeing how fitness impacted your life, why is it that you chose to only work with women rather than potentially those boys or the men that that may have been in your shoes?
Paul Walker [00:10:22] That's a great question, George. I get that question a lot and I'm going to go over the first part was it was unintentional when it happened. There. I mean, when I was growing into my career, I realized I wanted to focus. But what the narrative and the focus of my conversations in my whole business, I always seem to have women surrounded about around me in terms of asking me questions with their interests, whether or I always found myself on the floor, coach and trainers, especially certain trainers that couldn't get what women's needs were, how to coach and train women. I mean, they were training women like men back then. And, you know, it was all strength training and no Cardew on this program. The club is really entecavir at that time. And it was really a.. Balance is hyperspeed, strength and power. Group training is it is really kind of outdated to be. So I would always have to try to get these trainers open up their minds and be receptive and open it to me reading books that it helped me gravitate to more women's needs in the club. And I become the specialist for women in the club. And then I realized and look around why women are coming to us. I mean, women's fitness back then was step classes in classes and we wanted to train. They want the lift. They wanted to get strong. They wanted to try new stuff. They wanted to be innovative. They wanted to be introduced to new concepts, new ideas. And there is nothing like that in twenty four. Nothing. Right. So open up a boot camp. The whole boot camp purpose was to make women stronger, empower them, teach them, have a conversation and narrative around their needs. And going back to my past, the men in my life weren't really nice men. They were very angry men. And they were the ones that I think that I don't know. They just say they put a lot of pressure on the women in my life that were very close to me and they made them depressed. So I naturally always felt I always felt when I talked to them, more comfortable talking to women sometimes in a minute if I could, I can't. But and I can't pinpoint it now. But it was just something I do. So when I when I'm around a group of women, I'm very comfortable. They're comfortable with me. And one of the things that they can trust in is that everything I do is directed and focused on one thing, and that's how to make a woman happier, healthier, stronger, fitter and more vibrant. That's all I do everyday. I don't detour from my focus on my club at all. I do. And I really love it.
George El Masri [00:12:46] Yeah, well, you can tell that you're obviously passionate about what you just described. Do you ever feel like you've been doing this for so long? Twenty three years in the industry, do you ever feel like your passions kind of going away for it? And and when you do if you do feel that way, what do you do to to get it back?
Paul Walker [00:13:04] You know, that's a very good question again, George, because it does happen. I mean, I'd be lying. And it's funny you say that because I find every seven years I think I have a seven year itch, whatever it is. But every seven years you really have to ask yourself questions or it comes to you. I mean, I remember walking around one of my locations and I said this it is this is like this is all I'm doing. Right. And I really question if I wanted to do that and you got to really dig deep and say, OK, if I'm if if I leave this industry my leaving anything, I'd turn into something. I'm not doing something. Am I going to leave, leaving my mark, leave an impression and doing my best I can. And somehow I find a new way to do things and invigorate my career and make it interesting, because at the end of the day, my job is to provide strategies for women. And I realize every time I get to that point is I start losing my creativity and I start finding ways to help women find strategies to their goals, whatever that may be. And that's for me to be a professional. And with, I guess, this industry changing so much in 15 years and the information coming at you so much, I mean, I'm never, ever bored and I love doing it. I mean, I'll be honest with you, you went through CODIS and you went through what I went through the last five months. If you don't love your job, you love your job or you're in your house and you know, if you're in because you're working your butt off the last five minutes and if you're out, you sit at home and you kind of question what do I want to do next? And I think we to open up. I think you're going to see the owners that really wanted it. And I call a lot of money that there is a lot of fitness clubs. All you guys, I love you guys, that you guys actually it but you guys just got up and we talk and sometimes even talk on the phone every day with these guys. What do you do and what's on their minds? When do we open? What about the rules in the 60? You know what? Your contract we were talking about everything because we were we were getting our serve and that's it. But every day we were working on making the club better, reinventing ourselves. George, if you ask me to do a Xoom call March, I would have not even how to turn this thing on.
George El Masri [00:14:59] Yeah. Oh that's good. Yeah, I wanted to touch on that in a little bit because obviously that's a huge part of your business. Like you literally had no choice. You couldn't have people in and and you weren't like other industries where you can to easily switch into, I don't know, selling your service in a different way. So we will touch on that. But I wanted to dig in a little bit more because you were talking about how when you started you were the industry leader. No one was doing it like you like nobody really focused on just women and whatnot. Now, I think you do have some competition. There are gyms that are for women only. What do you do now to separate yourself? Because it's a very competitive industry. How have you been able to separate yourself from the competition?
Paul Walker [00:15:47] Well, from what I remember, I think there's only one in Bonn and they don't do quite the same amount of services, but really, really separating the services is really providing women what they I don't how I put this church. People come up to me and you say, did you hear this or, you know, this person, I don't know and I don't really know, George, I stay in my own lane. I'm happy that this there's 50 other clubs in the community and we're all got the same purpose and the same passion to help people make them grow. I love that. I mean, that doesn't bother me one bit. Fantastic. I also like the idea that when I see my kids, I can see different ways and technique to inspire people. I think that's fantastic. But the honesty of George, I stay in my lane by the I mean, I'm good at one thing and I guess that's what I really like to do. And I just get get it and I get better and stay committed to that. And I'm hoping that the strategies that I produce, whatever they may be, the time. And we usually we can talk about that later. But I've always found different ways with my program to change the strategies. I don't lock down on one training mythology and what we do here. I really kind of really try to find a way to inspire a lot of women. And and if it works, it works. And if it doesn't, it doesn't. But my goal is just to educate me, learn and have some fun loving, right?
George El Masri [00:17:07] Yeah, for sure. And so Mandy, my fiancee, soon to be wife, she's a member of your club. And I know that she said a lot of really good things. And I was actually the one who introduced her to you guys. But I don't see her ever going anywhere else because she really loves it there and she loves the trainers. I think a lot of the people that you've hired have had a similar sort of passion and attitude. I've heard her interview some of your trainers, and they're all they're all very similar to you. So how have you been able to find people that have shared your vision? Has that been a struggle or was it pretty easy to draw in those trainers?
Paul Walker [00:17:45] You see the he with, I guess, like real estate, everybody in this industry, there's different when you first meet a trade and you say, OK, I'm going to hire an ad and I'm going to hire a trainer, and they come in. But, you know, I was just doing a job interview prior to this that you have to have people that come in and have the same kind of core beliefs that you have. And we all have different core beliefs when it comes to fitness. And it could be very simple. Some clubs are very fixated on one type of training, style and concept. And we can use a club that uses heart rate monitors, for example, and they use the heart monitors to motivate clients to stay in a certain color zone for a period of time. And they use different types of things and that works for them and they believe them that that type of format and other types of formats are completely opposite their focus on maybe mobility or yoga. What we really did at the end of the day to kind of make people, I guess. Our track, the trains we're looking for. You want to find the train that work with our core beliefs and our core beliefs, which is exactly what I said to you do believe in constantly educate yourself to find what's going on there and bring that into the club. So that's why every six months you kind of see things from people get positive and you think again. But if I could find a new way to do things better than I'm going to do it. So we meet the team, we tell the trainer to deliver a wow service. I mean, you have a lot of ladies. The club is so tight on time. Right. And they've only got four to five hours a week in themselves and they give you four to five hours a week. Men respect that time. I give them everything you've got. Be prepared to show up and be in the room with them, be connected and they have a real conversation. Stay off the phones, ask their name and their name and get their interests. Those are things that are really important. So when you hire a trainer, you're going to know within the first three or four months that this trainer is going to work with you, not receive. Could you connect with your core values of integrity? The biggest part, they've got to be role models in front of the camera and behind the camera or on the floor off the floor, because they have to give them their skin or clients need to be role models to be part of that and have an integrity and everything you say you do. So I'm not saying that people that didn't work out can happen to you, but their core values were a little bit different, maybe even group. Maybe the reason they didn't believe in our parts of the program or maybe they didn't think that they could work in 50 percent. So what happened is over time, nature take its course. And it's a beautiful thing because unlike, let's say, an auto industry where you're fixing cars in here, you can allow yourself the creativity, almost like a chef. And you know that the trainers come in. I give that creativity and they throw that stuff down the floor and the clients are loving what they're doing and they're clapping, they're having fun. And that's what connects with me. And that's what we usually tend to attract. I guess, like attracts like. Right.
George El Masri [00:20:38] Yeah, for sure. And I think the fact that, like, a lot of the trainers know the names of the people that are attending and we call them by their names, I think there's a personal connection, which is really cool. I know many appreciates that. So so we covered your hiring like how you hire trainers. What about finding people to attend and finding women to attend your club? Has that been something that has grown organically for you or what what kind of sort of lead generation have you done, if you want to use it that way? I know you guys have a big Instagram account. Is that a good source of of new clients for you?
Paul Walker [00:21:15] Yeah, you try to be where your clients are going to be, right, George? So I would you know, many surveys and different types of information are gathered, but I would say my thing here because, I mean, it's not always the same globally or even potentially everybody is different. But Instagram is really big in my community. And I would say most of my ladies, maybe seven to 10 ladies, the first thing they do every day is go on social media. And the last thing they do is social media and check in four or five times a day. And sometimes they doing it for interruptions. Sometimes they're doing it for distraction. Sometimes they do it to learn, and sometimes they use it for an hour to actually do something beneficial to their health. That's why we do things like on Instagram, where we give away work and do people look at and do stuff like that, because I find that so we can be Ginley ourselves authentic, we can teach, we can do things, we can have fun, we can share a little bit of personal stuff about ourselves. But social media is a big part of a way to reach out to women in need in front of where they're normally in front of without Facebook, even tweet and being in front of women that want to invest in their families. Maybe not now at some point in time, but they may be listening to what you do and how you do it. And they resonate with your messages over a period of time. You kind of connect with those women because you donate to the charity. You don't need time to think that they're interested in. You want different types of challenges interested, which would also attract more people. And that's one way. And then the other thing is just about I mean, we have a fantastic how do I put it? You come into the club to feel that you're going to love the vibe overall about that's what we try to bring people in this community and try it out. Right. And that's if we don't do it, we don't do anything like that. That created a bit of the digital marketing, stuff like that. That was one of the hard things about what we do is we didn't always put it and that we just a lot of new stuff like our different marketing, online software and selling online was not new to us.
George El Masri [00:23:21] So sorry. Sorry to interrupt. You can just adjust your mike a little bit. Yeah.
Paul Walker [00:23:26] So I thought I felt like it was falling down there.
George El Masri [00:23:28] Here, there you go. That's better. Yeah. I'm sorry. Yeah. No worries. OK, so just to kind of ask you about that, in terms of what side the bigger impact, has it been your Instagram account to attract ladies or is it word of mouth?
Paul Walker [00:23:46] I would love to say it's probably 70, 30 word of mouth to Instagram or probably even 60, 30 and 10 percent everything else.
George El Masri [00:23:54] So 60 percent Instagram or 60 percent word of mouth,
Paul Walker [00:23:58] six percent word of mouth, 30 percent Instagram and 10 percent everything else. Cool.
George El Masri [00:24:03] That's awesome. And do you ask your your ladies, like the members of your gym, do you ask them to introduce their friends and family or anyone they know? Like do you have some sort of program in place to attract people?
Paul Walker [00:24:16] Yeah, well, we like to encourage people to invite people in and share the experience. And we what we do is we try to teach our clients that we're a first and foremost, we're not a quick fix type of club or not. So bringing us in for the quick fix type of person to help them just get where they have to go for me to be, that generally doesn't not surprise me because we don't usually generally attract those types of clients. They're looking for short term goals who are looking for people that look at this as a lifestyle and see that business is a way to enhance their quality of life. And that's the message we get in here very rarely see as possible. We lost we do some challenges by getting back to your point with the actual way of treating clients and everything else. Instagram is kind of one of those things that we kind of use to kind of help people are our core ethics, our core values, and bring them in. So they see us on Instagram. And then when their friends or their family members talk about it, they're like, oh, I heard about them. And they kind of connected to them together. So even though they connect through word of mouth, most of us follow us on Instagram as well. So it's kind of like a bridge. So they kind of see where they kind of look at us, check us so at Facebook and Twitter, Instagram account and then look at them with their friend.
George El Masri [00:25:28] Right. So it kind of sounds like Instagram is a way to nurture that relationship, an ongoing way to do that.
Paul Walker [00:25:34] He said that better than I did.
George El Masri [00:25:35] Yes, it sounds good. Would you manage your own Instagram account yourself or do you have somebody doing that for you?
Paul Walker [00:25:45] Nothing. Nobody at all. Me, baby, every step of the way. Everything in that thing is on me. Everything. I try to bring some people in to help out and then I can I think we went through two periods where I hired somebody for a couple of months and you could tell that even though it was cleaner and better and crisper, more professional, the message was the same, the sound wasn't the same. So I always forget my dad was my dad. If this is Paul and you or a just Paul. But before, like now, I never get that people always me maybe my spelling mistakes, I have no idea. But they know me. They, they get to know me. They know that answer my calls. I don't delegate my, my core value, my basically my social media messages to anybody else. What you see on that channels what you get at me every day. I think about what I want to be able to offer that person the next day. Sometimes they don't post. If I have nothing to offer that day, they just put up a picture. I won't waste the time, but I try to give people value every time I pick up a post of some sort.
George El Masri [00:26:43] Right. OK, so just to touch on delegating, obviously you've grown quite a bit and there is a lot to do as a business owner, so you have to delegate certain things. Can you name like the top three things that you had to delegate throughout your growth?
Paul Walker [00:27:00] Yeah, it's easy. I mean, the first one is, is that I'm not really organized, so I fear you surround yourself with people that are highly organized and that can help you work on an area that you'll never be as strong. So I have a couple of people in here that keep me highly organized. I've got a business, a couple of business associates and partners that kind of work with me. They take care of the admin stuff and the metrics and the numbers and the details that I can trust. They can kind of work with people. The second thing is, is that sales I don't get myself into the sales department. I would love to do sales. But one of the things I find with sales is that I'm not available to as many people when I lock myself in a room with sales. So I like to call myself. And the other thing, too, is I'm multitasking. So you get involved with sales, you become a coach for that person and you need somebody. They can be dedicated to your account and what you do. So I don't do that because I might forget an email here that. Right. That's going to happen. And that's good. Right. And the last thing is it just says when it comes down to I actually have to share responsibility with my manager, Scott, we we take care of the floor together and manage the floor. And then more recently, overreported, we get Sandra, my fiance, involved in that. And between the three of us, it's been, how do I put it, the way I do things? You can learn when you have other people take over the floor and enhance that ability for you. So it's kind of nice to do that where we get the team's input in the three of us sit down, we decide how we want to run things inside the club and how we change things. So those are three things.
George El Masri [00:28:40] Cool. That's awesome. I want to go back to the covid topic and how it impacted your business. So you guys had to pretty much shut the whole operation down for a while. What were you able to do to survive that? And what adjustments are you going to make moving forward to make sure that in case this ever happens again, you'll have certain measures in place to cover yourself?
Paul Walker [00:29:02] Good question. Well, like most people, we first opened up, I thought I knew I was going to be serious. I actually thought it was going to be something that would shut us down for a couple of months. So what happened was I figured I told I have my team prepared that we'd open up probably mail all week. And that was my estimate of the shutdown. So my first thing was, is that I wanted to I wanted to really help the ladies in the community. I sense this quarantine tightness, this tension. Everybody lives at home. So we did all our Instagram free work every day online on Instagram. We gave a bunch of workouts and everything else on Instagram. And our goal was to connect and help our community and support our community and get them involved in fitness. And then our goal was then to obviously what happened was that we had to take that time to change the nature of business because we realized when we passed the point of return, the way we did business would have to change our business model. Change once we started learning about this is going to take longer. There's going to be capacity's, restrictions to gyms. We're opening, closing for a while. And then we realized that this was a real concern for ourselves. So your business model and it basically becomes debt. I mean, our business model was to create value between lots of people, help lots of people, serve lots of people. We would do a couple of thousand appointments a week. And we realized around mid-May that, oh, no, we were in big trouble. And up to that point in time, we were getting by. And to go find the page and God bless so many amazing women put it up and we were able to raise seventeen thousand dollars and sell the seventeen thousand dollars. I'll be honest with you, a lot of that, a lot of it was stuff like I had our sales team myself, my trainers, all putting into the pie as well. They kind of keep the place open, but we were in real big trouble at that point in time. To be honest with you. I was a little bit low tide there. We didn't know we're going to do for rent or for how we're going to pay rent. Our negotiations with the landlords aren't going well. So we were we realized that we're going to have to borrow a lot of money. And the forty thousand dollars we have left thousand square feet in the overhead, twenty five thousand, thirty thousand dollars closed. Forty thousand dollars doesn't go very far. So we had to come up with alternative solutions. Solutions to the biggest part was everything we did had to change. You know, not one piece was actually able to brought forward. And what happens is that I don't know about your industry, but in our industry, the software companies, they were all their clients, our fitness club owners and all their clients were shut down, which means that all our software companies had no clients. So what they did was they reinvented what they did. And what happened was they were able to provide us with a service, which means we had to change where we did our bookings or schedule things or ask every single thing online had to change or be like, hey, you know, we got to be all. And remember, you asked me that question if you all. And what happens? I went through a point where I was a little bit young for me to go mid-May, and I just saw the opportunity. I said, you know what, it's time to bid. And we went all in and said, let's build a business that we want that's going to make us happy with it, see the opportunities and see what we can do for people. Let's recognize our clients. We realize that our clients are segmenting themselves into three separate groups. The first group of eight is that we did our surveys. We have three hundred fifty these twenty five to forty percent every single time. I'm not coming back for either their their health. They might be exposed to things they don't want to be exposed to because they have we have compromised health of their family or can't afford it. You can't ignore that market, George. So what happened is that we had to change our program over to a live streaming service because these ladies, they don't want to quit on it. They do. They want us to be activity realized. My training has to be done at home. And that was one of our clients. We made a pivot. And I'm a I've been a brick and mortar business now for about twenty three years. That's all I know. I've never been on camera before. I never thought I had to do it. And myself, Sandra Scott, we just jumped up and we jumped in front of the camera and realized this is going to be a way to help and service ladies they can leave home. So we spent a good six weeks changing the program and we realized also we were not open our doors. The family was great, but it would not create a program that we would need to service these clients, number one. And number two, to keep us support, to keep the doors open, because every day, at some point in time, I was the two to five thousand dollars a week as we kept our doors open, knew where to. Funny page, right. So we did that pivot and we had to learn all these things, like I was going cameras and microphones and zoom and all these type of things. But we still had to focus on our main business, which is bringing in people which had two segments. One three ladies are like, yeah, I need to go the house. That's train. Let's go, let's go. Another one's their leader. I'll come back, but we're going to need very certain restrictions. I don't want to switch stations. I don't want the AC on. I want to have a sanitization at every station. And I'll do that. If you can provide that, guys, I'll come back. So there is that group in the market, which I think some people missed on in my industry, that they're just forcing one style down. We're we're trying to give people three styles where we're going to have a room that is we have the safe room now where there's no restriction, there's no heavy restrictions to where you come in. It's going to be a little bit differently. It's going to be different. There's going to be no switching all everybody's going to have their own equipment so that when they come in this room, if you're absolutely comfortable and in their environment and that was a really big thing, George, because at the end of the day, the room that we had, we had a successful program called the Bootcamp Express Program. But the problem one is that, you know, we have a boot camp and we're doing a thousand appointments a week and all said we can only go down to 450 appointments. How do we get these thousand boot camp members into 450? So what we had to do is we had to suspend or a 30 minute program, which was the hardest decision. I mean, then it was emotionally our partners. We all sat down for literally hours at a time talking about this program that it built from ground up and reinvented in 2014. And I have suspended so I can provide my clients with a safe room if I don't provide the safe room. I don't see a lot of people in my community doing that where they have that type of restructuring restrictions that the ladies could still come in and be part of the community as long as they can provide that. And the other room is still a lot of restrictions. But you're going to switch twice. We're going to have three blocks or two and you're going to switch twice. Going to the old model in that room back there, I'd have 30 women, exciting music, switching all the time, high fives, buddy system training. That's all gone. And you have to rewire your brain, George. Sometimes you have to see sometimes and be resourceful where you're going to go with your business. And if you if you're not open and you're not passionate about it. When I open my mind up and I saw opportunity, everything else flowed out of me. And that's where you have to you have to make adjustments. You have to stick by it. I mean, you're not going to have everybody is going to be happy, but you're going to be doing. But none of my decisions are made for selfish reasons to keep my my dreams alive, my business alive, to keep all those jobs alive. And if I don't make these changes, we're not going to survive, really. So at the end of the day, where you've got to do what you've got to do to survive. And that's why I try to tell lot of the business owners that you do what you've got to do, whatever that is. And if your passions into your heart's in the right place, you'll make the right decisions and the right people will stay with you.
George El Masri [00:36:37] So in that moment where you saw that opportunity, you were saying you were saying a little bit of that for me, whatever. And then you open your mind up to the opportunities that exist. Did that vision include growing your business past where you were before or where you were? You did you decide you just want to get back to where you were?
Paul Walker [00:36:56] You know, George, I was more and bigger than I ever in my life. I used to tell you ladies, like, there's something about when I was training women and all you have like these women have detergents and fish. And they just said they had to have equipment and you had to find and innovate, inspire them and create them. And you're finding ways to use weights in different ways. They all send you creativity PAOs. Right. And then you're like, this is what I've been doing for twenty two years. This creativity is in box inside of me because sometimes you lean on what's in front of you. You don't realize, you know, I can you know, I can add more equipment or I can I can I can hide my laziness or lack of motivation by doing this type of training. But this is invigorated you in when I realized that that that part had been triggered, you know, I started to read books. I read a book, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor. And then now that was one of those things I read during the course of that time, the five agreements I did that reached that point, that those little things that are kind of kind of put together and we decided, hey, this if we're going to bring in we had a thousand members of form, you can only bring it three hundred members. Those three hundred members are going to have the best they got. And not only that, we're not going back to status quo. We're going to make it better. More metrics, more measurement, more help, everything. We're going to make this environment better and we're going to grow my career a little bit more, because I do think that that is that that passion has been fired up and we continue. We're not going to vote no. I said 2014 roughly. I told you I trade that seven year itch while the Netcom program and all that stuff is seven years ago. And now seven years later, honestly, it was either, you know, or a lot of money and everything you got into this. And there's something bubbling, a lot of money to keep your business alive that really keeps you motivated. I put everything on the line, George, and the creativity. But we haven't heard a consulting firm to help us get through the rough stages of this growth part. Yeah.
George El Masri [00:38:56] So part of this could have been also focusing on making cuts to reduce your expenses. Have you do you have any advice for business owners on maybe certain things you've been able to do to reduce your expenses?
Paul Walker [00:39:07] Yes. When you're forced to be resourceful. I mean, how many there learned how to live on two thousand dollars a month that they didn't think it could do that? Right. You'd kind of do that. So the first thing we noticed that I went through and I and I kind of ripped every part, there's something in this industry that you get into really, really fast. And I call it what they call credit card debt. I call it technology debt. And the first thing that I realize when you start to realize where you're spending your money and, you know, previously to this is that you were we were doing zom for the money. You were paying Bills of the year to get the video that there was another two hundred American Month. Our software was three hundred dollars. American are opposed to an American one. Our our basically our email thing with another hundred dollars a month and it goes on and on. I end up having an eight apps and I was spending thirty thousand dollars a year on. Technology, so what happened was, is that I basically centralize all my technology into two areas that was able to save myself a lot of money, it took a lot of time doing a lot of research to do all that. And then the second thing was that you have to focus on what you really need and augment like the end of the day, this type of stuff here, sanitization and cleaning is going to raise my costs by about three or four percent plus of time. To do that, I had to find another way to kind of break down the cost. And one of the things that we tried to do when we did this is that we were going to be going down through small group training format, which means that we're going to be trying to reduce the time it will be less team members on the floor. We used to have two team members. It's a lot of times in the club now, we'd be down to one pretty much all the time. But now we can support them and I can support them and I can go on the floor and train them. Also being a little bit more active in terms of how we do our marketing and marketing before we respond to this. I get this. I get that as they're a little bit more creativity in terms of how you get your marketing out there. I think I found that I didn't have the budget to do Facebook stuff. So I found I found a lot of time to do the creative and be more connected and more authentic with my Instagram account, too, I can get out there and promote people and get people to encourage people and that that love came back to it. So I cut back on my social media spending and what we did with that type of that type of stuff. And then obviously the big part was that you just kind of find what you don't need in the club and what you kind of like spending money on. I think the big thing a lot of people don't do is that you don't become resourceful. I'll give you an example just before you're going to open up. I was going to drop ideas like 60, 70 grand and equipment for the club and we were going to do all the stuff. None of it would have been useful now because they didn't buy five of everything. I we give a space to them. But my thought process back then is just spend money on what? Use on equipment. And the real thing is that we learned through this process is if you just become a little bit more creative and you put more in time into the creativity and be a more authentic and real and engaged with their clientele, we can produce a better product without leaning on sixty thousand dollars or fifty thousand dollars with equipment for sure.
George El Masri [00:42:04] There's someone like tons of good things in what you're saying there. You touched a little bit on this a little earlier. You were talking about pouring into your clients and this and that. You've been talking about that the whole time when I wanted to know what your thoughts are or what your perspective is on giving at this time, even though you're making all these cuts and everything. How do you feel about giving at this time?
Paul Walker [00:42:27] Grieving by giving
George El Masri [00:42:29] giving an either like maybe giving back to the community or donation donating yourself to other businesses? I don't know. I'm not saying you should do that, but I'm just thinking for that person that is going through a similar struggle. Do you think that giving is a good thing to do right now, or do you feel like you should join
Paul Walker [00:42:49] one hundred percent? I mean, everybody in a business you're going to see, what are you looking for? What is your role? What do you want to help people do? And how do you want to help change and inspire them and motivate and mindfulness? Really, at the end of the day, my thing is to fit in. So this particular time we do every Friday, we do free workouts for our clients where they can come on, they go on our channel and get a free Instagram and it's up there forever and a day. And if you go on my Instagram profile, we have probably a good 40 or 50 workers that you can do that the train is doing over the course of time. Generally, every time we do mail it a couple of times a month, I give four or five workers that we've we've done behind the scenes we've worked on and we prerecorded to give those to people in terms of being able to do that. And then the other thing, too, is, I mean, we do different things at a different levels when it comes to offering advice and coaching. And I'm still feeling probably 20 or 30 phone calls, emails a day because it's just general questions, advice and tips and that type of thing in terms of providing health benefits. And I guess that's that's pretty much I mean, it's just providing the knowledge of the free work. So I don't know what. I don't know what the clients would how we can help them out past that right now, because really my goal is just I just want to be energized to keep people healthy. That's all I really want to do. And anything I can do to do that, I mean, on the side, we're all making our separate donations to do things and doing stuff for the community that obviously that requires money with different types of donations that people are still asking for and help for. We're doing that show. So for businesses, different types of people and supporting local businesses in the area that we can give a bit of help. We're into doing that as well.
George El Masri [00:44:35] Yeah, that's awesome. You're doing a lot of good things. And before we jump through that, sorry, before we jump into the next section, I was just curious to know if you've reached out to any of your clients directly yourself just to check in and say hi and see how people are feeling. Just out of curiosity, have you done anything like that?
Paul Walker [00:44:55] I have done that, not individually, so what happened is I usually come up once a week with a I guess a criteria or something that might have interest them. And then I reach out to people that have questions about those type of things. So Instagram, again, is a really like I can't to you now, but my Instagram is usually getting about 20 or 30 people a day that are reaching out to me about what's going on. The programs, sicknesses, illnesses, it's there is there's good and bad that what's going on in terms of the communication, I probably get 20 or 30 miles a day in terms of people getting that. There's some I some I have to help me out with. But given the state where we are, there's no there's no shortage of time to give people the answers they look for. But I usually don't have to seek it. They usually come to me.
George El Masri [00:45:43] Yeah, that's cool. I was I was just more asking out of curiosity, but. All right. So was there anything you want to share before we move into the next section, which is the random five?
Paul Walker [00:45:56] No, you you did a pretty good job, George. I mean, you got everything out of me pretty much sitting. I'm talking too much.
George El Masri [00:46:01] Well, it's good. I think you shared a lot of good things for business owners, for people in general. So thank you for sharing all that. So let's go into the random five here. The first question. So it's just going to be random questions. And you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. The first one is if you could get the answer to one thing, what would it be?
Paul Walker [00:46:22] Wow, that's a fantastic question. If I get the answer. To be graceful in the moment, how would you be grateful the moment all the time? Because my best sources of thinking and my best energy always comes from being grateful to a source of gratitude, because that's where I get my creativity from. And if there is a secret to success where I can actually be able to be in that moment all the time, I'm always reading these books to help me do there. And I know it's about changing your state, but that that would be one thing. I just love to be a total peace. And there's gratitude every single day 24/7.
George El Masri [00:47:00] That's awesome. That's a really good answer. I was thinking something a little bit stupider than that, but that's a great answer. I think I think you need someone like Oprah or someone to answer that one for you.
Paul Walker [00:47:10] Yeah, well, I follow Oprah. I follow Robin Williams, Tony Robbins, Robin Sharma. I mean, whether it's been I follow a lot of these people, they keep me. That's been my seebruck. I use them to keep my energy high.
George El Masri [00:47:22] Yeah, for sure. OK, number two. What is something that most people learn only after it's too late?
Paul Walker [00:47:35] That they try to perfect it and you can't expect it for you try to do it, just jump in and do it, and if it's on your mind, just do it and take the first step towards that. Because once you do that, you start taking steps for that to at times you don't take the steps. You don't jump in. You don't think it'll be perfect or planned. And we never end up doing it right. Everything in my life, the people around me, sometimes they cause chaos because they just step into it because they know it's the right direction to go. I don't know what's going to happen if I step towards it. Sometimes it's a blizzard, but then I just do it and I don't try. I don't see perfection or I guess I'm not sure and judge me when I step in that direction. Just let it go. Don't be perfect. They'll be fair to be judged. Just do it. And then perfective. Want to take the step in the right direction for sure.
George El Masri [00:48:20] And I can attest to that. I saw you behave in that manner when you were buying your rental property. We didn't touch on that. So remind me to do that after we finish these questions. I just want to touch on it just a little bit. What cheesy song do you love?
Paul Walker [00:48:37] I'm sexy and I know it.
George El Masri [00:48:40] All right, that's a good one, came to you real quick.
Paul Walker [00:48:43] We'll go from that song In Your Love. Yeah.
George El Masri [00:48:46] OK, so what do you love?
Paul Walker [00:48:49] Outside of of fitness, two apps I use is inside timer. Use it every day for my meditation practice and I think it's probably the best that's out there for seeking clarity, teaching mindfulness and everything else is very, very cost effective. And can I be honest that my Yahoo! Sports app. Yes. That I have a Yahoo Sports. I mean, I have a lot of like Reddit and I have a lot of things like that on my thing. And I do do the articles in that way. But I do. And I like my Google News and everything like that. And I have specialty apps for everything. But sometimes my sanity in my downtime is just going to my sports stuff, my read kind of really, really nice. I like to be able to go through the Reddit type of things and I'm not going to lie. I'm a bit of a social media junkie myself is the actual page.
George El Masri [00:49:49] You've got a lot of followers and stuff, so yeah, that's cool. And. All right, I'm going to give you a bonus question after this one. But the last question usually is what success principle do you live by?
Paul Walker [00:50:04] If you believe you can do it, then you can do it really. No fear, no fear. You believe you can do it. You can do it. I mean, that comes to pretty. The second thing that that augments that or works is that whatever you focus on comes to fruition. Right. So if you believe you can do it, then just do it. I believe they can get through this. But I did. I believe they get through a lot of things. I just did. I don't know. I don't know about the how I don't how to how it's going to happen. But the whys, they're right. And then when I realized that once you put that part, the second part is that whatever you focus on, which means whatever you think about the situation. So I'm pretty I'm pretty good about trying to make sure that I focus on the right things and be very aware of where my mind's going the wrong way. And I have the fifty thousand thoughts and I try to make it 60, 60 percent of good thoughts and focus on the stuff that I want to focus on. And I can and I surround myself with it all day long. Whatever. It's a no, it's a pad, it's a mammal. And then I build it into my next thing is really the end of the third party mindfulness. You've got to get connected to yourself to the day you don't. You just become if you lose yourself. Yeah. So when I start with meditation, every morning is what do I want, what am I here, what's my purpose. And then I move into a really cool.
George El Masri [00:51:17] Yeah. You get you've got some great answers. You've been you've been very insightful. All right. So the bonus question is, if you were a fighter, what would be your walk out song? Kiante, OK,
Paul Walker [00:51:31] classic 20 or Sandmen, one of the two. I definitely feel like a hard Yeah or maybe I go but I ll cool J. Mama said knock you out.
George El Masri [00:51:42] Oh wow. That's a good one too. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. All right. So like we said, we're going to touch on because we promised we would. Let's touch on your rental property there. So that was your first one, right? This was years ago now that you went for it.
Paul Walker [00:51:58] Years, three years ago, we closed in October 1st, October 1st.
George El Masri [00:52:03] Yeah, so
Paul Walker [00:52:04] we boarded July 1st week of July.
George El Masri [00:52:07] Yeah. So how how is that experience for you being somebody who is in a totally different industry, having a bit of fear? Not really you, but I think had a bit of fear around around that process. What what was it like for you? How did you guys overcome it and how is it paid off for you so far?
Paul Walker [00:52:28] The fear, again, I didn't have a lot of fear. You remember that, George? I didn't have any fear. I knew what I wanted. I remember I didn't want to condo, that's for sure. I got the condo. But the the whole process is, is that to get to that point, I realized that at the end of the day that in order to qualify, you have to acquire assets and pay for yourself if you want to really grow and you have to start thinking outside your own box. And it's like all I've done my whole life is put money back into my business. Right. And it was another asset that can grow on its side and nurture itself because I put more money into it. It was more work for me. So the idea was I wanted to buy an asset and put money into an asset that I could put on the side that would carry itself. That was a big part of it. We decided to go real estate. We had a conversation which we wanted to go, and they wanted to make sure that we had some cash flow positive. And wherever we can go in our limited budget that would make us cash flow positive would work for us at the end of the day. And you've brought us some great properties I know we brought you to and we thought Hanlon's could be trading with them for so long. Do you remember those days?
George El Masri [00:53:39] I do remember. Yeah. You guys just thought it was old and not your type of property now. Yeah, we
Paul Walker [00:53:45] did. Yeah. Was it just didn't always work at the city. If you remember for our budget we were able to get in the areas that they just didn't mesh. I mean, it was just one of those things that we wanted to get something that we would live in, that we felt comfortable that we would be able to rent that to the people. And there was nothing in the city. But anyways, it was a it was a great transition. It was a good switch. Best thing that we did, we you helped to make all the right decisions that we remember you talked about because we got the split level and the lower level apartment and the upper level, the house that's made it very possible for us to actually be cash flow positive. And once, you know, it's like anything, once you get past the purchase, we knew there was a lot of work and in Georgia means we had to replace when you get into the rental investment, just prepared to stand by to make that place comfortable. I mean, we have new furnace, new air conditioners, water, water softeners. I mean, it was everything Bassman had to be redone. So we have to be prepared to spend money, invest into the lake. But it's a perfect it's a beautiful asset that's sitting there. Yeah.
George El Masri [00:54:51] And I love that you have the courage to do it, knowing that it's going to take some of your time. I remember you guys would go out there and do some of the work yourself. So it's just great to see that you push past all the all the obstacles and you continue to do that in your own business, which is awesome. Yes. So how can people reach you, Paul? And what's the best way to connect
Paul Walker [00:55:14] Instagram is a great way, because I guess I'm an email junkie. I guarantee it. I have. Now, I'll be honest with you. I have I do have a technology type of timeline that I work in Georgia. I always recommend it to everybody. Well, you just unplug and plug. Generally speaking, I unplug after the morning and I don't go back until I get at night. So people could be doing the day. I want him up again until 9:00 or 10:00 at night. So Integrity Fitness underscore classes where they can grab on the Instagram. They want to see my counting like good device or Paul integrity. Fitness. I'd say if you want to reach out to me and find it on my program, we do.
George El Masri [00:55:46] Yeah. Awesome. So make sure you guys check them out on Instagram and reach out if you have any interest or if you know someone that might be interested. And if you guys like this if you're watching it on YouTube, make sure you hit the like button. Share it with your friends and family for listening to the podcast. Thank you for joining us, Paul. Thank you so much for your time. And I wish you all the best.
Paul Walker [00:56:06] Yes. Thank you very much. God bless.
George El Masri [00:56:09] Thanks once again for listening to another episode of the Well Off podcast. Just want to remind you that if you do appreciate the content, all I ask is that you comment. Maybe like it if you can, on the platform that you're listening to it on and finally share it with friends and family. I'd love to get the message out there and it would mean a lot if you can share it. And finally, I just wanted to offer you as a valued listener, a free copy to the roadmap to real estate investing, which is a document that I've put together which helps you identify what strategy would best suit your needs at this current time. You go over certain things that are included in this document step by step, and it'll hopefully provide you with some clarity. So have a look. You can go to w w w well off a forward slash guide to download your free copy.