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Owning a Business

WE BOUGHT A GYM

Monday, March 2, 2015

I can’t even explain how long I have been waiting to post this post. I am so excited and happy and overwhelmed with all the feels to be writing this post. Matt and I have been praying, researching, preparing, and finishing up everything the past 2 months in order to become business owners.

Matt and I are the new owners of 9round Rock Hill (insert all excited emojis here).

But let me back up a little bit.

What even is 9round you may be asking? 9round is a kickboxing gym. It’s the best workout you will ever have in your entire life because I have done lots of workouts (I played basketball and ran cross country in track in high school, have gone to a Y and done classes, have tried crossfit, zumba, cycling class, you name it- I’ve done it) and this just doesn’t compare.

To put it simply: here’s how it works:

  • 30 minutes (you are in and out in just 30 minutes)
  • No class times (hello all you mom’s out there, students, busy people- this takes 30 minutes AND you can come whenever you want?!)
  • Full body workout (lots of cardio, kickboxing, body weights, AND the workout changes every single day. All you have to do is show up, and the TRAINER will tell you what to do).
  • Trainer included (no need to pay extra for a trainer when there is one who is going to show you how to do every single drill no matter if it’s your first time or your 1,394,023,309,230,981 time)
  • BUT the absolute best part of the entire package deal, is that your first time is FREE. No matter what. You come in, try an entire workout, see if you like it, wham-bam.

Now, back to owning this place.

If you had told me 6 months ago that at the age of 21 I would become a business owner (people call me Boss now, and they MEAN it people, I am a boss!) I would have laughed in your pretty face and walked away.

Because honestly, being a business owner wasn’t something that was on my radar until the past couple months. You see, around the end of November Matt and I started praying and pursuing opening our own 9round. We have worked for the company for the past three years (Matt has worked for the company for the past 4 years we just realized as of late) and were feeling like this was something that we wanted to do for our future career (back up and read this as: Matt was pursuing this as something that he may want to do instead of going to chiropractor school and I was just there to nod and listen when needed). But I honestly didn’t think it was going to happen.

This post should probably be broken up into a series of how we did it at 21 and 22 years old with slim to none credit, no experience owning our own business, student loans, and no possible way of getting a loan from a bank. And please know I plan on posting about what worked for us and what didn’t work for us, but for now, just know that the Lord made all the paths to owning this gym open in the most miraculous ways and I am so excited and happy for this venture with Matt.

We purchased a gym from an existing owner who truly made the entire transition wonderful. We could not have asked for a better transition and are so thankful for Jesus’s hand in that as well. Because we purchased an existing gym, we cleaned, rearranged, and organized the gym the entire weekend and got it ready for our first day opening (today!). We are excited to meet all the members, excited to be running a business together, and so blessed to be able to call this our job.

Now please go send all the people you know in the Rock Hill area to my gym and tell them about how I made this awesome flyer above and how it only took me 18 hours to do. Praise the Lord.

BEING YOUR OWN BOSS: BUSINESS OWNER EDITION

Monday, August 31, 2015

Warning: this post is long, very opinionated, somewhat redundant, and just something I’ve been thinking about posting for awhile now and finally have pulled the trigger. It won’t hurt my feelings if you skip over this post and come back tomorrow or if you comment about how crazy you think I am but just know, I did warn you 🙂 

Being your own boss, it’s the ultimate dream right? Currently right now, Matt and I are living this dream. It’s a dream you think about when you work full time and you hate your job. It’s a dream you think about when you see people struggling with their own job situations; will they lay me off soon? Will I be the next one to finally receive a raise? It’s a dream you have when you’re ready for change, ready to take a leap of faith, ready to do it yourself.

It’s a big dream, and it’s complicated, sticky, messy, and hard at times. This life ain’t no walk in the park no matter what you’re doing, right?

But being your own boss is something bloggers, writers, accountants, lawyers, marketing specialists, and people in general yearn to do. Making a living off of something that you’re passionate about, something that ignites your fire, and something that gives you the freedom to do and practice what you think is best is the dream. Being your own boss is something I’m far from understanding but something I’m learning more about each day.

I’ve done a few of these posts that center around owning and operating a business, having a business partner, why we pursued this business, etc. But I haven’t spent much time about what it’s like, the good and the bad, and what I’ve learned of being a boss. I can’t post everything in one post, there is just too much. But I can give you little tid-bits, little insights on what it’s like and why it’s the most awesome thing and one of the toughest things in the world.

Back in July I talked about what the highs and lows were of owning and running a business. There are lots of highs and lows. More than that post contains and more that pop up each week. So know that. Know that being a boss is hard work. But you do it, because you’re the boss.

I’m a lot different type of boss and business owner than many other business owners because of the business that I own. It’s a kickboxing gym. It’s not a marketing company, a law firm, a financial planning organization, it’s a gym. It’s a place where people go and hit the shit out of something because they’re having a terrible day or they have decided that they want to try a different type of workout.

But enough about that, let’s talk about what it’s like to be your own boss.


Being your own boss means you take responsibility for everything. You’re the boss. You’re the one who everything falls on and depends on. You’re the one who has to man up and realize that sometimes you have to do things that are awkward and hard and uncomfortable but that’s just part of it. If one of my trainers is having a bad day and they give someone a bad workout then it doesn’t reflect them, it reflects me and Matt because we are the ones who train them.


Being your own boss means making tough decisions.

Matt and I have had to make sooo many decisions in the past 6 months for our business. Lots of them were hard, some were easy, but majority of them we had to think and pray about. Our decisions on marketing, hiring, workouts we make, prices to sell our memberships for, upgrades our gym needs, are all things that are hard and can cause lots of stress. Some days are much easier than others and the choices and decisions that we make aren’t too hard, but some days they mean writing a large check for money that we were hoping to use on something else.


Being your own boss means putting in the work.

This may sound dumb, but a lot of people I think don’t do this right (in my personal opinion). There is a huge difference between an Owner of a business (the boss) and the Operator of the business (the one running the show who can also be seen as a type of boss). I didn’t learn the difference between these two until recently. Matt and I are owner-operator’s of our gym. That means we own the place and we are in the gym “operating” on it everyday. We spend tons of time in the gym and even more time outside of the gym working on guess what? Yep, our business. But lots of people have this idea that they can just throw tons of money at something and it will work and run smoothly. I would have to disagree (now of course there are exceptions but in my opinion if you want to be the boss, you best be working).

Matt and I choose to work in our gym. We choose to put in 40+ hours each week training people and friends it isharrrrdd work to be on your feet from sometimes 6:00AM-8:30PM pushing people and working them out. I am tired at the end of the day and ready to get in my bed. But we are there, working, putting in the effort, to make sure that our business is running correctly and efficiently.

Being your own boss means coming up with your own “how to.”

Mentors, other business owners, people who are in the same boat as you, your business partner, etc. are all people you can turn to for advice and guidance. They are people who have your back, want what’s best for you, and probably even understand what you’re going through. But there is no “how to” guide on being a boss or running your own business. The people who blog for a living probably haven’t ever had to call someone up and ask them for their payment for working out that month. The people who own their own marketing company probably haven’t ever had to workout someone with a herneated disc. But, both of these people have advice and knowledge on running a business.

Being your own boss means taking advice from others.

Matt and I take advice all day long from other 9round owners, our parents, other business owners, marketing specialist, our members, our trainers, etc. We are always open to advice and open to knowing how certain things appear to others. With that being said, we still make the final decision. We still pray, think, pro and con out decisions after hearing different pieces of advice.

Being your own boss is the best.

One of the hardest things that Matt and I talk about every so often is the fact that we are our own boss at such a young age. I’m 22 years old and he’s 23 years old and we won’t be owning a 9round for the rest of our lives. We love this gym and we love this company and we hope to be with this company for many many many many years but ultimately we know that we won’t always own our own business. It’s bittersweet knowing that. It’s bittersweet because right now we are business owners together and one day we may be working for our own boss in different settings and it will be hard to adjust to that. It will be hard but it will be good and right and all in God’s timing. Right now, being our own boss is the most fun and best thing ever and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over until the day I die I could not do this without Matt. I could not be a boss without Matt. I could not have a get-shit-done mentality without Matt. I could not run this place by myself nor would I want to and seriously commend all those who do own a business by themselves (looking at you John-Deeee!) But in all seriousness, this is the best and most fun job in the world and I’m so thankful for it.

Some days are harder than others, but I’m living the dream and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A BUSINESS OWNER HUH? PART I

Monday, March 16, 2015

If you asked me what I thought the first step in becoming a business owner would be I wouldn’t know what answer to give you. There isn’t just one step. There’s so many little steps that go into becoming a business owner (can I get an amen fellow business owning people??). It is hard work. Much harder than you anticipate, much more stressful than you imagine, and there are many obstacles and hurdles that not only begin before you become a business owner but that you endure after your business owning venture begins.

I want you all to know I don’t have all the answers by any means. I don’t know all the things that are do’s and don’t’s in this world that we live in and most of the things that have worked for Matt and I worked through trial and error, prayer, planning, and hard work.

Being a business owner isn’t for everyone and let me just say (for the 100th time just today) that I couldn’t do it by myself no way. To all you business owners out there who single handedly run your business and do everything on your own I have so much respect for you because it amazes me the things that your mind is capable of remembering.

I would say that the first thing that Matt and I did when we first thought about becoming owners of our own business was pray. We prayed, we discussed, we talked SO much about what we wanted and what we didn’t want.

I was on the fence for a good month about becoming the owner of 9round Rock Hill. I was anxious, nervous, unsure if this is something that I wanted, so scared, and overall just overwhelmed with feelings. Matt and I had many discussions and talks about what we wanted and after we did this we set up our plan of motion to get what we were wanting for our lives.

First, we figured out what we wanted (as mentioned above). To be owners of our own business. Well, what better business to become an owner of than one we have worked for for 4 years? We then, had to begin the preparations for this. After going over the financials, we decided that creating our own 9round from scratch just wasn’t going to be something that we could financially afford or plan for.

Because the entire Charlotte area is full in terms of spaces for 9rounds to go up (there is a 3 mile radius per 9round) and because we didn’t have the money to start from scratch, we began searching for a gym that was up for sale. As with any franchise, there are contracts that you sign for your amount of time in the business. However, you are able to sell your gym if you find someone willing to pay the price you are asking for.

We wanted to be in or as close to Charlotte as possible. Our family is here, friends, where we grew up, everything is in Charlotte and we love this city so much. We got in contact with 9round and began searching for a gym. We heard about one in Rock Hill for sale, one in Charleston, and a few up north and decided to forget about all of them except Rock Hill.

Once we decided that this was one of our best options, we began visiting, driving around, checking out the demographics, and determining if we would not only be happy in Rock Hill, but successful. This is where my anxiety really kicked in. My life in Charlotte and my life in Rock Hill would be much different and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to make that change. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move myself away from the city life that is Charlotte and the busyness and move to somewhere much smaller. However, the pieces all began to fall in place so perfectly in a God orchestrated way that I began to fall more and more for the idea of living in Rock Hill one day. My heart opened up and I became much more excited about this idea.

So Matt and I got an idea (become a business owner), found a problem (find a gym that is looking to sell their gym for whatever reason), fix the problem (turn the gym around and bring life to it), and become successful. We are still in many of these stages right now and are constantly thinking of how to improve, strengthen, and work on things in the gym and with each other.

So far, the things that have provided the most success for us before we became business owners was to pray together, talk over everrryyythinnnggg, listen and be thankful for our support system, and have fun doing it. Matt and I have had so much fun through this journey. We are on week three now of being gym owners and are continuing to love what we do and are learning more about each other everyday.

Fun fact: our sweet trainer that we have the other day was talking to me and she was about to tell me that she was leaving from work and I finished her sentence for her because Matt had already told me that she was planning to leave. She looked at me and was like “woah, you guys really know how to communicate huh?” Because honestly, even the little things like “I’m going to check the mail” help in keeping your business running smoothly.

One day, when I have more knowledge under my belt, maybe I’ll do a Q&A on what worked for us and what didn’t. Even though we own a gym, so much of the things that we do and have had to do apply to any business that you may want to one day run. Until then, I’m going to go back to work 🙂

BUSINESS PARTNERS: WHY YOU SHOULD

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I went back and forth on the title of this post for so long. I wanted it to obviously be about business partners and I didn’t want to call it the pro’s and con’s so I just settled for why you should do it (and maybe you can take these points I’m about to make as why you shouldn’t).

Being in business with Matt is one of my newest (for obvious reasons) favorite things. I love it. Granted, we are just a little over a month in now but I still love it. Today, to fulfill one of my april goals, I’m going to do a business related post on business partners.

Let me preface this post by saying I am by far one of the most controlling, independent, “I want this to be my way or I don’t want it at all” sort of person in the entire face of the Earth. I still am amazed MH wants to marry me but I guess that’s a post for another day.

So why do I think if you ever decide to start your own business, own a franchise, run a shop, you should do it with a business partner? Well I’m so glad you asked!

People.

Listen, if you haven’t figured it out by now, people are different. There are going to be some people you encounter in life that don’t like you, some that love you, some that don’t care two shiznits about you, and some that just tolerate you. People are unique, hard to understand, emotional, and crazy. I mean just think about yourself and then think about your family or siblings and realize I’m right.

When you own your own business you have to encounter people. Especially if you are in the service industry. Matt and I spend just about all of our working day talking, interacting, and socializing with people. I love it. He loves it. But it isdraining. It is hard to go 8-10 hours each day being on your A-game ready to talk and chat and be nice to everyone that walks in the door. And you know what? Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to agree with you. Not everyone is going to buy your product. Not everyone is going to respect you. Not everyone is going to be nice to you. But you know what else? It’s okay.

I’ve had to realize that through this venture. I’ve had to realize that I can control lots of things when owning a business but there is so much more that I can’t control. People, are one of those big things. But the good thing, is that if someone doesn’t like me or thinks I’m a little bit “too much to handle” (because I am, especially in the gym), 100 out of 101 times they like Matt. Having a business partner allows for people to engage and interact with two different types of people and allows for you to feel a weight lifted if someone doesn’t particularly like you for whatever reason.

Roles

I never had a clue all there was to keep up with when you own your own business. I mean, I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I just assumed that we would basically be doing the same stuff that we were doing as trainers but we wouldn’t have to ask anyone questions anymore but I could not have been more wrong. There are bills to keep up with (and boy are there lots of them), payroll hours to handle, employees to manage, schedules to send, past due payments to track down, prospects to get in touch with, fundraisers to send things to, marketing to keep up with, people to keep in touch with, complaints to handle, space to clean and maintain, and let me just stop at 1/100th of that long list.

Matt and I are very different. We handle things differently, we do things differently, we think differently, and we work differently and it’s perfect. Matt is so good at things I struggle with and I’m good at things Matt struggles with. Matt and I have learned how to play to each other’s gifts and handle the tasks that need handling. For instance, Matt handles all the bills except rent. I handle rent. I make the schedule each week, organize the paperwork, run the social media sites, and keep up with most emails. Matt, makes awesome workouts, handles all bills, budgets (praise the lord for his budgeting skills) for the month and months to come, and can close deals like nobody’s business.

But here’s the thing. Even though Matt and I handle different things in the gym that most of the time have nothing to do with each other we still have to communicate about those things or our business will burn to the ground. Even though I handle the rent, I still tell Matt when I’ve sent it in. Even though Matt handles the budget he still keeps the spreadsheet in a place where I can see it and reminds me of specific goals and budgetary items we have to remember. Even though I handle the social media I always run ideas by him to see what he thinks. That is one of the reasons why I love running a business with him. We are doing this together, and playing to our strengths in a way that causes the least amount of stress and the most amount of efficiency.

Stress

Speaking of stress. I don’t know if I mentioned this or not, but there is so much that goes into running a business. SO much. Whether you’re running an Etsy shop, a franchise, a restaurant, a blog, a book, whatever it may be, there’s a lot of work and heart that goes into what you do. There’s also a lot of stress that can come from those things. Stress can eat you up, suck you dry, and ruin any good day you were once having. Stress has this way of gnawing at your weaknesses and exposing your insecurities, doubts, fears, and worries all in less than a second. Stress can break your business down and make you feel like you can’t go on. Stress, has so much power, if you let it.

Having someone to talk to, who understands and can relate 100% to how you are feeling makes more difference than you could ever imagine. Having someone who can help with the stress and help with making things not feel overwhelming can have a huge impact on your outlook on your business.

The first week we were official owners was hard. I think I’ve mentioned that once or twice. I was feeling so much stress and I was bottling up that stress because I was scared to talk to Matt about it. I was praying and asking the Lord if we were crazy to have bought this place. I was crying out wondering what we had gotten ourselves into when I realized I needed to talk to Matt and tell him how I was feeling. Telling Matt about my fears and what was stressing me out and having him there to listen and to tell me how he was feeling made the huge situation I had created in my head become miniscule.

Support:

With stress comes the understanding and love that your partner has for you. They get it. They understand better than any of your investors, your family, your best friends, your clients, your people, can understand. They get what you go through everyday. They get what it means to feel tired and drained because they feel it to. And those feeling, that understanding, can bring so much support and weight lifted because of that.

There is no one I go to first about anything other than Matt. He’s the first person who knows if I’m going to put something on the company card, if someone is past due on their payments, if something is going great or bad in the gym, if I’m unsure how to handle something, he knows. He just gets it. A business partner can bring so much support because they understand what you’re going through. Being partners with Matt has brought us so much closer together on a whole new level that we didn’t know was there until now. We have to remain professional, understand when to wear the business partner pants and when to wear the fiance pants, and that’s what is so great and fun about this journey. We get to be each other’s biggest supporters, cheerleaders, and companions in two major aspects of life and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

RUNNING A BUSINESS PART II

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A few weeks months ago I discussed the beginning stages of running a business and why I think you should have a business partner.  Again, I can’t even begin to tell you all the things I’m learning each day (because there are so many dang things people), but I can tell you that each day is a challenge, a reward, and a new start.

One of my favorite things is having someone ask me the question: “So what do you do?” Now, it doesn’t happen a lot, because the only people I see/meet nowadays are in my gym, or friends of friends, BUT when it does happen, you best believe I love getting to say that I own my own business. The next question that normally follows is, what type of business? To which I get the privelidge of saying “a kickboxing gym called 9round.” You should see the look on some people’s face when I say this.

This past few months since March have been so challenging and so rewarding all at the same time. Matt and I have fought more, gotten closer, and learned so much more about each other through this entire process. Running a business is no joke, but running a business with someone else can be the most challenging and more rewarding thing ever. I tell people all the time, I literally could not run this gym without Matt and I know Matt couldn’t run the gym without me. There are so many things to worry about, keep up with, keep track of, etc. it can be incredibly overwhelming.

But, here are some things that I’ve learned through these past 4 months.

Some days are just straight up hard. Some days you deal with that person who is angry about something (most of the time it has to do with money) and you either don’t know how to handle it, or you just are so shaken up by the whole incident you just kind of let it affect the rest of your day. It’s way too easy to have this happen and I let this happen to me way too often. Praise the Lord for Matt and for being able to realize when I get in these funks and how to help get me out of them. But really, during the first month or so I let this stuff get to me and it affected me a lot because I took it personally. I had to learn how to remain professional while letting things go all at the same time. It was definitely something I have to continue to work on daily.

But let me tell you there are good days. There are days when someone comes into your gym and says “hey, if you ever need a reference for someone who isn’t sure about joining and wants to talk to an actual member give them my email or phone number I’m happy to be a reference or someone who talks about you guys.” That sort of thing, oh my goodness it just means so much to me. That sort of thing and the sort of thing that people say and do because they care about you and your business make it so worth it when the bad days do come.

Running a business takes so much patience that most days I don’t have. Matt and I are complete opposites on a lot of things and one in the same on other things. One thing we are complete opposites on is patience. Matt is incredibly patient and welcoming and understanding and I am much more hurried, critical, and pushy. We make a strange boss-duo and I’m sure our employees wonder about us most days, but we make it work. Having people that we have to train to work for us is hard sometimes because I can be way too hard on them and Matt can be too easy on them. It’s something that we are learning how to balance and something that requires so much more patience than I ever thought I needed in life, but alas, that patience bug got me again.

Running a business requires you to come up with stuff to do. That sounds strange I know, but really it requires you to put so much work in that you have to think of. When you work for a company or an are an employer you have work that is told you must do and you do it and move on. When you own your own business you have to make sure you are always doing something to enrich and grow your business. For example, we have to make sure we are always doing the correct marketing, budgeting, planning, preparing, training, and making sure that you have gotten everything together that you need to in order to continue running your business successfully. Sure, we could and do take days off where I don’t even look at our computer numbers or check our email, but for the most part, you always have to be doing.

To-do lists are you best friend. I feel this way about everything in life in general but when owning a business, a blog, owning anything you have to embrace and accept to-do lists. Matt and I make our own to-do lists each day on the things we need to do personally, in the gym, etc. and we try to get them done. I’m constantly emailing people, calling people, running our social media sites, and it’s so much to remember to do in my mind that I would never do it if I didn’t write it down because I would forget about it. We have papers and sticky notes and notebooks everywhere for certain parts of our business that help run things so much more smoothly.

Communication and organization are the most vital parts of your business. I had written here “in my opinion, communication and organization are the most vital parts of your business” but really, I think that statement needs to just end with a period. Because if you disagree then I want to know what you think is most vital. Other than Jesus because that’s obviously the unstated truth because we would be no where if it wasn’t for Jesus.  If you work with someone else or own a business with someone else you constantly have to be in communication with them about what’s going on. Matt and I spend a good part of our day going over gym stuff and business stuff and if we didn’t we would’t know about anything going on in our gym.

With that being said, being organized also helps us so much. We have to know where everything is what’s on things electronically, what’s written down, who said what, where it is, what’s going on, the whole ordeal we have to know about everything and if we weren’t organized we would have no idea what was happening. Seriously, it means that much to be organized on things.

So there you have it. Five things that I’m constantly learning, working on, taking tips and tricks from, and hoping will continue to be our success over the coming months and years. I would be lying if I didn’t say that at the end of the day I’m exhausted and tired and don’t want to go train people for 12 hours all day but I love what I’m doing right now and I love who I’m doing it with and that makes it worth it.

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