This week we talk to Ronan Mahon from Bondi Beach Bodies about self belief, seizing the day and why having an idea just isn’t enough.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned since launching your own business?
That launching a fitness business is not all about fitness. It’s 80% about sales and marketing and 20% about fitness.
If you already love fitness, in any shape or form, then you have the passion. But passion is nothing without action. Often the actions you need to take are not the ones you want to do.
When you have a startup fitness business you effectively become a media house, producing content and distributing that content via social channels. Your content needs to be either educational or entertaining and you need to know how to push the right buttons to get your audience viewing your content and, most importantly, engaging with it.
Can you give us an example?
For example, I’ve been teaching myself search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, Facebook marketing, and Instagram marketing. I’ve set up email marketing, lead nurturing, data capture and a CRM to help track my clients. I use a great app from Glofox to help manage my client’s bookings.
These are all marketing practices I know in theory but not ones I’ve had to put into action in the past. These are the actions you need to take. You need to immerse yourself in digital platforms and learn something new every day about sales and marketing on these platforms.
If you could go back and do something differently would you?
Hmm, can I say stay in Australia?
I lived in Australia for 10 years. My network is over there. If I started a business there, I’d have 40 clients overnight. Now that I’m back in Ireland it’s a lot harder. I’m the new guy, I’m starting from zero. If I’ve learned anything it’s that I should have started my business sooner.
I waited a full year in Ireland before I started it. There was an element of security in a full-time job, an element of self-doubt being in a new country. I mean what the hell was I waiting for? I didn’t need permission, I should have jumped straight in starting with content. My advice to anyone thinking of starting a business is to build your brand through useful content and start today.
What was the biggest thing to surprise you while setting up a business?
This wasn’t a surprise to me, but it will be to a lot of people.The people who you expect to support you will be the ones who let you down. That may sound harsh but I was told by a lot of successful entrepreneurs in Australia that this is the case. Do not rely on friends and family to support your business. You need to create your own identity and reach your own audience. When you do, expect the haters.
Did you learn anything about yourself?
Yes, I’m an impatient b*stard – but I knew that. I’ve worked in sales since I left college while working part-time in PT. So I expect results and I like things to happen fast. So what I’ve learned is to be patient, things won’t happen overnight. That said when you are backing yourself financially the patience game is hard to play but it needs to be played.
How do you manage to maintain any level of work-life balance?
Work-life balance is a term made up for people who hate their jobs.
For me, it’s life-sleep balance. I’m up at 5:10am Monday-Friday and 8am on a Saturday. I try to get to bed by 11pm. I work most of the day either teaching or planning a class, producing content, making videos, learning about marketing or DJing, that’s my side gig.
Ideally I’ll build the business to a point where I can hire another trainer and get a few more hours kip a week.
Is it hard to switch off?
Yes, 100% but I have methods. If I want to switch off I work out. Ironic, right.
I listen to podcasts too, Stuff You Should Know is great.
Switching off financially is hard to do. We are conditioned to think about money. But morbid as it sound at some point I’ll be dead and I can’t take the cash with me. That sets my mind at ease. Worry is a real time sucker, so I try not to bother. I also go to my girlfriend’s house in Kilkeel, it’s super chilled there and I can switch off.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I like Gary Vaynerchuck’s stuff, it’s cutting and to the point. But he always talks about the fact that you are going to die someday so why are you waiting on someone’s permission to do what you want.
What piece of advice would you pass on?
- You are going to die. Your time is limited
- Give zero f$%s about what other people think
- Do what you want
- Start today
- Enjoy the journey and not the outcome
Have you always believed in Bondi Bodies or did you have moments of thinking you were completely wrong?
You have to back yourself and, to be fair, what is failure? It’s only in your mind. If something doesn’t work out and you don’t die from it, get on with life.The fear of failure is what’s stopping most people from doing what they want.They are too concerned with what other people think.
I simply don’t care, if that makes me wrong then I’m fine with that
I’m doing a 6-week HIIT challenge starting on March 17. I used to do these on Bondi Beach in Australia. There are still some first release tickets for the challenge available on my website. God knows we all need it after the amount of sliced pan that was consumed during the snow.
I’ve also started a daily HIIT series on Instagram called Alive in 5. It’s a free daily HIIT workout for people who can’t get to the gym. Five exercises done for 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off. You can repeat this 3, 4 or 5 times depending on how long you have to workout.
You can also catch me at Wellfest with House of HIIT and HIITs of the 80s. I’ll also be on the decks for Yoga Sound System, matching tunes to yoga.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I want to spend my life between Bali, Sydney, Dublin and Spain. The goal is to produce fitness content for free and get as many people active globally as possible.
I want to franchise Bondi Beach Bodies and make it the lowest entry point fitness business in the world leveraging the outdoors, mother nature’s gym, as a place to train communities.
I’d also like to create an online offering for Bondi Beach Bodies giving more people access to health, fitness and nutrition advice at a cost-effective price.
Them be the dreams. But remember ideas without action equals dreams, so I better get my wriggle on and make them a reality.