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Uninformed Optimism to Informed Success | Ricky Knight

Today’s Guest Ricky Knight

Hang on to your seats, everyone! Here's the story of a former finance whizz who traded in Hugo Boss threads for a Nike tracksuit and became the dynamo founder of Fitter Body Ladies Franchise! Starting amidst the buzz of the 2012 London Olympics, he's grown the franchise to 18 UK locations, empowering franchisees to skyrocket from zero to £10k monthly in under 180 days. With his eyes set on a thrilling "50 by 50" challenge—50 locations by his 50th birthday in 2026—this fitness impresario is truly unstoppable!

Hey listeners, get ready for a fascinating chat on Push To Be More with Ricky Knight, Founder of Fitter Body Ladies. In this episode, Matt Edmundson sits down with Knight to explore his unique journey from the finance sector right into the heart of the fitness industry. They touch on everything from the tough challenges of the pandemic to expanding a thriving fitness franchise. Expect loads of real-world tips and some heartfelt advice for budding entrepreneurs.

Key Takeaways:

1. Embracing the Unknown: Ricky Knight's story is a testament to the power of resilience in the face of uncertainty. His experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the necessity of adaptability in business, as he navigated abrupt changes and unpredictable circumstances, reminding listeners that flexibility can be their biggest asset in tumultuous times.

2. A Journey of Transformation: Knight's shift from finance to fitness is not just a career change but a narrative of personal passion meeting market need. His response to his wife's post-pregnancy fitness challenges led to the birth of Fitter Body Ladies, showcasing how personal experiences can often spark innovative business ideas.

3. The Growth Mindset: The expansion of Fitter Body Ladies to multiple locations highlights Knight's strategic approach to business growth. His emphasis on understanding marketing, particularly in paid advertising, and the influence of "The E-Myth" in systemizing business operations offer invaluable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs in scaling their ventures effectively.

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Ricky: [00:00:00] I think the worst thing about it was the uncertainty.

Matt: Um,

Ricky: Without a doubt, that was the worst thing. If, if... Someone had said at the outset, this is how it's going to play out. They're going to be, going to be locked down this long, and then you're going to come out of lockdown, they're going to be locked down again, and this is how it's going to work over the next two years.

You can plan around it, but when you When it's just kind of going on week after week after week and then month after month and you're still locked down and we've got, you know, the franchisees are looking for us for help and support and, and you just don't know. You're trying to get, you're trying to predict what the moves are by the government and you just couldn't do it.

And that was the thing that was, I would say, the most challenging was that uncertainty.

Matt: Welcome to Push To Be More with me your host Matt Edmundson. This is a show that [00:01:00] talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that today I'm chatting with Ricky Knight from Fitter Body Ladies about where he has had to push through, what he does to recharge his batteries and to be as well as.

Well, what does more look like? What does growth look like for Ricky? Now, the show notes and transcript for my conversation will be available on our website, PushToBeMore. com And whilst you're there on our website, make sure you sign up for our newsletter because each week we're going to email you the notes, the links, and...

Any other bits of tidbits from the conversation, uh, they go straight to your inbox totally for free, uh, automatically. So sign up for that today if you haven't done so already. Now this episode is brought to you by aurion Media which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcast.

Why on earth would you want to do that? Well, the answer is simple. In my humble opinion, it's [00:02:00] probably the best marketing tool I have Come across, uh, by far. Uh, I have found running my own podcast to be really rewarding, opening doors like nothing I have seen. And I genuinely think if you're in business, think about having a podcast if you don't already have one, simply because it's had such a huge impact on my own business.

Now, I appreciate this all sounds great in theory. But there are realities to this, Matt, and it's not as straightforward, maybe, as just saying, have a podcast. Uh, and this is where aurion Media come in. They can help you develop your strategy, your starting strategy, make sure you launch right. They can help you with all kinds of stuff like tech and production because...

If you're like me, you'll love talking to people, but you won't be a big fan of all that other stuff. Oh no. So aurion Media will take it off your plate, uh, which is fantastic. So if you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, and I think it probably is, do connect with them at aurionmedia.


A U R I O N [00:03:00] And thank you for sponsoring the show, aurion Media. Uh, and let's talk about today's guest. Says here in the bio, get ready, hang on to your seats everyone. Here's the story of a former finance whiz who traded in Hugo Boss, uh, threads for a Nike tracksuit and became the dynamo finder of fitter bodies ladies franchise.

Starting amidst the buzz of the 2012 London Olympics. He's grown the franchises to 18 UK locations and powering the franchisees to skyrocket from zero to 10k monthly in under 180 days. With his eyes set on a thrilling 50 by 50 challenge, 50 locations by his 50th birthday, which in case you're wondering is 2026, this fitness impresario is truly unstoppable.

Ricky, great to have you on the show, man. What a bio. Great to have you here. 50 by 50. How's that going?

Ricky: Thank you, [00:04:00] Matt. Yeah, thanks for inviting me on. So far, so good. Yeah, we're on target. Admittedly, COVID did get in the way of things. Um, we were hoping it would be, uh, 50 by 48, but it didn't quite have the same ring to it, so, uh,

Matt: Definitely doesn't have the same ring to it. 50. So you set the 50 by 50 goal before COVID.

Ricky: no, no, it was meant to be, uh, it was actually meant to be 50 by the time the Qatar World Cup came along. Um, that was the original plan when it was set before COVID 19, 2018, something like that, and then COVID kind of got in the way of everything and, um, Yeah, we had to kind of just rethink things. So 50 by 50, actually, it's worked out fine.

And as I say, it does have a better ring to it.

Matt: 50 by 50. I like it. I think it's great. It's, um, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's a fascinating idea. [00:05:00] So let me, um, we'll, we'll get into the story in just a little minute here, but, um, let's, let's start the way we should start really. Uh, if you had a podcast, right, because this show is sponsored by aurion Media, the podcast agency.

And so I like to ask quick guesses question. If you did have your own podcast. And you could have anybody on the show from the past or the present. The only caveat being that they've had a big influence on your life. Who would you have as a guest on the show and why?

Ricky: Um, if, if I go back, we'll, we'll get into this in more detail in a second, I know we're talking about the challenges, uh, but a critical time in my life was in between careers. And when I was setting up the fitness business, I was absorbing. Lots of information, lots of books, and Michael E. Gerber, the author of the E Myth, was, [00:06:00] uh, was, was, it was one of those whereby I read the book, and, you know, certain books you can read at different parts of your journey, and they kind of hit in a different way, and that particular one, just before I was, Uh, about to set up the fitness business.

It was just like this, this penny dropping. Everything kind of just seemed to make sense with regards to specifically the whole, um, set up your business in a way as if you intend to sell it and, um, set it up in a way as if you were going to be franchising it. In other words, make sure that you've got, um, strong systems in place.

Why is it that you can go in a McDonald's? In the UK, it'd be the same as a McDonald's in America, and like, that Big Mac still tastes the same, and like, he kind of highlights McDonald's as being, like, one of the kind of flagship examples of, of, of this, uh, particular method working. And, the reason why that hit home so much for me, [00:07:00] was, I was about to enter a brand new industry, starting at the very bottom, but then It made me realize that the way to grow this business was to actually, rather than set it up as if you were franchising it, why not set it up to franchise it?

And so that was then, um, a big part of my plan, uh, was to then... Uh, right at the outset, set it up as if we're going to be franchising, um, and so our first franchise was after five years, but everything, I mean, it was one of those books that I just kept referring to every kind of six to twelve months, just going back to it and just making sure I was on track, but then because I'd read that and absorbed it and then, uh, sort of watched different webinars and everything, it was, it was...

Everything, everything, every decision I was making was in alignment with that specific goal then, and so it just all became a lot easier, not to say it was easy, but it just made sense.

Matt: Yeah, that's really [00:08:00] fascinating. So the, the book, The E Myth by Michael Gerber is probably one of those books that just about everybody in business has read. There's a few common books, aren't there, that most people have read at some point. How to Make Friends and Influence People, Michael Gerber's, uh, E Myth, you know.

Um, and I remember reading that book for the first time myself, uh, as a young entrepreneur and, and having sort of, What can only be described as several light bulb moments. Uh, and you do that, that's that, it's that kind of book, isn't it? Where you read it and it just goes, Oh, this makes sense. This makes sense.

This makes sense. And it seems to have been sort of some timeless advice. What I've, what I've found, uh, uh, Ricky though, is people read that book. Have a few good ideas and then a few months later, it sort of seems to have been forgotten because everyday life seems to have taken over. They've got back into the sort of the whirlwind of, as Michael Gerber would say, working in their business rather than on it.

Um, so how have you, how have you managed to not do that? How, I mean, it, it, it seems like, [00:09:00] um, I don't know, is that because of the critical decision you made at the start to set it up as a franchise? I'm kind of curious what what has kept you involved and made it such a pivotal part of your business.

Ricky: I think it was because I read it before setting up this particular business, rather than having already set up the business. And I think you're right, because it's not just that book, it's lots of books. I know plenty of books that I've read and it's kind of like, oh, that's a good idea, and then not actually implemented anything.

But this particular one, because it was right at the beginning, like I say, every decision then was in alignment with Um, getting our business set up to be franchised, so... After about 12 months of being in business, I was then sitting down with franchise consultants and just trying to find out from them exactly what, is the business as it is right now, we're doing pretty well, what is it I need to have in [00:10:00] place so that we're ready to franchise and how long do I need to give it?

And some of them were kind of saying, oh, you can do it like pretty much straight away. But others were saying you probably want to give it three to five years. And so, uh, that again was something that we took on board and made sure that we, because the thing is with franchising, you've got to show that you've gone through the trials and tribulations, you've learned from mistakes, because someone else that is intending to start up, they don't have to go through and make those same mistakes.

So we left it five years, even though it was always part of the franchise. We didn't. do our first one until five years of being in business and so yeah in answer to your question I think it's because it's just the timing of it because I've read that particular book just before um actually opening the business uh it was it was then every decision was in alignment with it and so I just think it was easier rather than kind of Already being in business and then having [00:11:00] to undo lots of stuff that we already had in place and then trying to get staff on board with this new strategy and didn't have any of that.

It was everything from day one was always with this intention.

Matt: Why fit a body ladies? Why that business? What, what, were you already in the fitness industry at the time or was it, was it, uh, were you having a midlife crisis? I'm kind of curious, you know, what, what, what was the reasoning behind that?

Ricky: Yeah, it's closer to a midlife crisis than anything. Um, so I've been in financial services since the age of 19. And so, uh, in 2008, that business folded and then, and I'll come on to this in more detail in a sec, but, but there was still four years where I set up another financial services business because it was all I knew.

And then, uh, in 2008, my, Me and my wife, we had our second child, and... My wife really [00:12:00] struggled losing the weight, the baby weight, with the second child. And it was, it was just frustrating for her, frustrating for me. Couldn't afford a personal trainer at the time. And the gym just wasn't working effectively because, you know, it's self motivating, you've got to know what you're doing, and quite an intimidating place for her.

So we were having this idea, we were chatting about it, and just coming up with brainstorming, coming up with ideas. And it just seemed to me that there must be lots of other ladies similar to my wife, being kind of in their 30s plus, um, haven't had kids, and couldn't afford a personal trainer, which is the best part of a mortgage payment, uh, every single month, if you're doing two or three sessions week. a

Matt: week.

Yeah. Yeah.

Ricky: Um, and so... You know, there must be something here whereby we can offer the same benefits of that personal training, i. e. like, help and guidance regarding nutrition and accountability and getting measurements and all that sort of thing that you'd get with a one to [00:13:00] one PT. But then, as I say, proper coaching, learning how to lift and everything.

But by delivering those sessions in small groups rather than one to one, I think we were able to sort of bring that price right down, uh, that cost right down. And so there wasn't anything around, like we'd kind of... Called it Group Personal Training and, um, that was where the idea came from. We sat on it for about a year, 18 months, because even though it was a great idea, we were still very much in our careers and in your 30s with big mortgage payments and two young children, it just seemed like a massive risk.

We were pretty certain that it could work out, and, um, I think easier, not easier, but just because of everything my mum, my wife had gone through, the, the pain of that was, uh, was close to home, and so it just made sense to us to focus on that specific niche.[00:14:00]

Matt: So, sorry, just remind me when this was again?

Ricky: So that was actually 2012 London Olympics. Um, so she, she had that whilst at the same time I was going through my own challenges being overweight, you know, stressed out with work and everything, all the normal stuff. Uh, so we had decided that we wanted to do something within fitness,

Matt: Right.

Ricky: was, that was the thing that Uh, really grabbed us and a lot of the stuff that I was reading at the time as well was about just focusing on a very specific niche rather than being a specialist rather than a generalist and so, um, that was the niche that we decided to focus on.

Matt: Fantastic.

Ricky: 2012 was when it was launched in a local park with a handful of ladies using Groupon offers to try and get people through the door. It was pretty brutal in the first six months or so.

Matt: I was gonna say, surely as [00:15:00] soon as you put it on the Groupon website and launched it in the park, everything must have been plain sailing from that point, right? All sunshine and rainbows,

Ricky: Yeah, I, it's just such a steep learning curve

Matt: Mm,

Ricky: uh, it, it, it was, the thing is for the group on offers, at the time, I don't even know if people still do them, but not in this niche, this space, anyway, but at, at the time, I remember offering it was something like 10 sessions for 10 pounds, and of that 10 pounds I would make about four pounds after group on a taken.

Matt: Oh


Ricky: so four pounds per person for 10 sessions, it was not, it was not a money earner, not

Matt: Four pounds per person for 10 sessions. So that was 40 pence per session. Wow. Wow, . That's not bad [00:16:00] going

Ricky: and and this is as I say, this is a brand new career, starting right at the bottom, so it's a steep learning curve, just with regards to just the coaching side of it, but then also, as nice as it was, To be, it felt liberating actually, getting rid of the, yeah, the designer suits and, er, swapping it for, you know, a track suit.

And as nice as it was, as enjoy it was very enjoyable doing something completely different and getting a different kind of, er, buzz from it. It was much more meaningful, but at the same time it was not enough to pay the bills each month.

Matt: no, it's fascinating, isn't it? Because you, I you hear a lot, right? Um, there's a lot of rhetoric going around, isn't there? Uh, and I hear it. A I mean, I'm, I'm in my, I've just turned 50, so I I you, things tend to go in cycles, I think, and you, you hear things sort of coming around the block and one of the things that, uh, seems to be.[00:17:00]

A common theme is, you know, find a job that you love and you'll never have to work another day

Ricky: I knew you were going to say that. I knew you were going to say

Matt: it's the Steve Jobs quote taken out of context, you know, find your passion. And so for a little while, it felt like everybody that I knew wanted to become a yoga instructor or something, you know, something like that.

This is my passion. But here you are, you're actually doing it right. You've, uh, I don't know if you, Well you did it because, to help your wife. I don't, I don't think this was your passion at the time maybe, I don't know. Um, but it's, it's interesting isn't it, that um, that making money out of something like this, not always that straightforward.

Ricky: No, that's right. I guess it was a newfound passion of mine because, because I realised that I needed to change my own health. I needed to lose weight, I needed to get fit and healthy for my kids as much as anything else. And so I just started getting into it and quite enjoying it. [00:18:00] So, um, it, it was, it, it was something that I was...

Matt: yeah,

Ricky: I wouldn't go, maybe not go as far to say. I was like, absolutely like passionate about it. It's not the sort of thing that I'd been into since I was 18. Like, you know, your stereotypical PT is that kind of instant model that's in their twenties that's like totally ripped and like,

Matt: mm,

Ricky: That definitely wasn't me, like, just starting out, because 2012, I guess, I was like, yeah, mid 30s then, you know, 35, um, so, and, and, you're absolutely right with regards to then earning money, because I, I see it with a lot of the, The potential franchisees that I speak to that come to us, they are frustrated personal trainers that have struggled to make money in this industry.

Matt: right,

Ricky: It's renowned for being an industry whereby unsociable hours, [00:19:00] because you're training people when they're available, which is early in the morning. late in the evening when they finish work who and there's, it's one of those where you are quite literally trading your time for money, your own time.

So it's capped, the amount that you can earn is capped. If you're just doing one to one training, even if you worked every morning, every evening, you're still going to be... Hitting a ceiling with regards to your earnings and that's, that's frustrating and that's one of the things that I recognised and it's one of the reasons that we've set up the, again, the franchise model to help a lot of frustrated, self employed personal trainers to transition from that self employed

mindset into that business owner mindset. I had the business owner mindset from day [00:20:00] one partly because I'd already been a business owner for a company, a financial services company, where we had 32 staff and like everything that kind of comes, comes with that. So I already, I already had that mentality.

But I still have to start at the bottom and I still have to trade my time for money when we first started. Like, the business, um, yeah, in 2012.

Matt: So looking back on it then, Ricky, you've obviously built this, your franchise is going strong, it's going well, you're on target for your 50 to 50, so there's obviously a lot of things you've learned along the way, and I'm kind of curious, if you, if you could go back and have a conversation with yourself in 2012 when it all started and give yourself some advice, what would you say to yourself?

Ricky: It would be to, to learn the marketing side of the [00:21:00] business in this particular... Industry, ASAP, like just, I thought that I already had enough experience behind me when it came to marketing to be able to, um, make a success of it from day one without any issues. But that was not the case. As I say, I was relying on a group on offers initially.

And so, um, One of the things that's enabled us to grow in a way whereby things are predictable is paid advertising. So when I say marketing, I'm specifically talking about paid advertising and Again, this is, so for us it was like social media, Facebook, mainly Facebook, but it wasn't until about nine months, 12 months into it that then I realised that if something didn't change soon that this thing was going to just fold and all of those naysayers were going to be [00:22:00] proved correct.

So I knew that, I knew that something had to change and I just threw myself into then Facebook marketing specifically and then once I've mastered that it's like this, this, there's no limit to this now because it was predictable and so I'd see a lot of people they focus so much on organic growth or you know referrals, organic growth, all that kind of thing and there is definitely a place for that but it's not predictable and the thing is with paid advertising is that once you, once you get your head around just the numbers.

So, if I get this many leads and, um, get this many applications and this many calls and gonna convert this many into sales and then all of a sudden you know that for every pound you put in you're gonna get this much out and it becomes predictable. And when it's predictable, um, it's scalable. So, um, yeah, if it was [00:23:00] right back at the beginning it would be like learn paid advertising straight away.

Matt: Yeah, that's a really interesting point, isn't it, because it's a, marketing's one of those things you either, you either, you know it or you don't, you're either in marketing or you're not, and um, and I, it's, it always amazes me, you know, I'm involved in e commerce quite a lot, how many people come to me and say, listen, I'm going to do this business, um, I'm going to launch this business, and I'm like, well great, well how are we going to get people to the website, and they've not, they just think as soon as they build the website people will come, and it's like. It worked like that in 2004, dude. It does not work like that in 2023 and it's, um, and thinking that through is so, so important, isn't it? And so, so the franchise, and are you pleased with how it's going? Is it, is it, um, I mean, you say it's on track. Uh, I'm kind of curious, how different is it, I suppose, from that model in 2012 where you're in the park?

Is it still the same? Are you in the park? You in gyms? How, how has it grown and how's it evolved?[00:24:00]

Ricky: Yeah, so every single one of our locations is, has its own premises and we insist on that. There's no more. uh, doing it in parks, uh, that was, that was just to kind of get things going. Um, but, saying that, I would say, no, it's changed, in all honesty, it's changed quite a lot. And, like I said earlier, the first five years were about us testing things out and, If it worked, we went with it, and if it didn't, then we, we, we binned it.

And so, um, each of our, we, the way, the way that we've, and this is what we say to our franchisees, the way that we kind of, uh, split the business up, just to make it easy to understand. We've got marketing, which we've just been talking about. We take care of the marketing for each of our franchisees.

[00:25:00] Centrally. So we do that side of it. The paid advertising, like I said earlier, because I recognized how important that part of it was in order for it to, to, to demonstrate predictable growth. And having realised that 90 odd percent of, uh, personal trainers, they joined the industry because they wanted to deliver training.

They wanted to coach clients. They wanted to help them lose weight. They did not join the industry to become. Marketers, they do not want to learn marketing and so it was if we're gonna if we're gonna offer These kind of guarantees with regards to this is how quickly you can grow you can get to this amount by this day we've got Take control of that marketing.

So marketing sales And then the delivery. And so, we take care of the marketing, we then help them with regards to the sales with scripts and training and all that kind of thing, but they're [00:26:00] qualified leads and it's just having a conversation with someone over the phone that's already reached out that's within the

Matt: yeah.

Ricky: target niche and having a conversation with them and then converting them into our initial 28 day program.

And then the delivery is the fun bit. The delivery is the bit that, um, they join the industry for. So, we've got these three parts to the business and Um, we're actually now looking at, um, ways of centralizing the sales element as well. So we, we would even take care of the sales for them. So, all they've got to do is just deliver sessions then.

Um, which, which, you

Matt: becomes a nice easy thing,

Ricky: that's, that's a pretty, that's, that's the fun part. That's why they join the industry. And, uh, the other bits are the things that they don't enjoy so much.

Matt: that's why you do franchises, right? This

is, this is the strength of a franchise is

Ricky: Yes.

Matt: they, you've, you've got a proven system. You figured, you figured a lot of the steps out. You can centralize a whole bunch of stuff, which takes a lot [00:27:00] of the pain away. And so you can actually focus on doing what you do well.

And so there's, there's a lot of safety, uh, I think in the franchise, uh, model. Really, and this is why people do do them. Um, and so I'm kind of curious that you're doing this, you've got your 18 franchises, you, you figured out the whole franchising thing, you've got people joining. So it sounds like if I'm a PT, it sounds like a bit of a no brainer, which is, which is lovely and wonderful.

But how has this, um, How has business impacted your life, your personal life, you and your wife, obviously there are reasons why you started it in the early days, but you know, throughout the last ten years, how has that impacted your, sort of, your personal life?

Ricky: the first. The first, okay, the first two years were so incredibly difficult, [00:28:00] um, it's hard to describe because it was one of those, Matt, whereby we were constantly on the phone to mortgage lender, credit card companies.

Matt: Mm

Ricky: Uh, trying to renegotiate terms. Um, two young kids that want stuff, we couldn't afford to get them stuff. Holidays, couldn't afford to go on holiday.

Um, there was an enormous amount of sacrifice. At a time in our lives whereby lots of our friends were... You know, they're in careers, you know, mid 30s in careers and like they're settled and enjoying life in corporate world and the holidays that came with it and the sick pay and all of those sorts you know, we didn't have any of that.

So it was unbelievably testing and [00:29:00] I'm not going to sit here and say that we did not consider, I did not consider throwing the towel in and just, just going back to financial services, which was that safety net, I guess. Um, but we, we, we... We had those thoughts at different times, me and my wife, and so we supported each other.

She, she, she's massive, massive support, uh, when I had those negative thoughts. Um, and then, and then we kind of broke the back of it after two years. And, you know, started to earn okay money then where we could actually afford to, you know, go on a holiday or something. Um, but it wasn't, it wasn't plain sailing.

And then we got to the five year mark and... Do you know what, and this wasn't part of the original plan, that things were working so [00:30:00] well with regards to the systems and the people that we had in place to enable the business to run without us being there every day, that we moved to Spain. We moved to Marbella for three years.

Matt: Wow.

Ricky: It was awesome. And we, we did that, um, from 2017 into 2020, and that is when we... grew from one location to six locations. So we, our first five franchises were set up while we were living in Marbella.

Matt: Wow.

Ricky: And so we were taking it in turns to, you know, start budget airlines, fly back to the UK when we needed to, when they were opening.

A lot of the stuff that we were doing, things like the marketing, it could be done remotely. So, um, That was great fun, but then, testing it out really, and then when we got [00:31:00] to six locations, we kind of realised that actually, in order for us to, to, to get it to the 50, And in order for us to offer the, the amount of support that these guys are going to be needing, we need to the UK.

And so all of a sudden it became less of a lifestyle type business to, right, we're committed to this goal now, we've got to get back. We,

Matt: Yeah.

Ricky: you know, the lifestyle was amazing, but we're both very ambitious and yeah, we, we decided to move back. So we made that decision. In December 2019, we then decided because of the lease we had on the property out there that we would move back March 2020.

So everything was all booked, all removals and everything, and then COVID kicked in February, March 2020. And, uh, uh, [00:32:00] and, and actually, if we had not already made the decision to move back, we would have had to have moved back. Anyway, because of COVID and again, just the support that was needed for each of our franchisees.

Matt: Yeah.

Ricky: So, we ended up getting, like, the last flight out of Marbella, at the, Malaga, at the time. Um, because then all flights were cancelled for ages, so we were quite fortunate there. And then we navigated through that tricky... A couple of years we've took lockdowns outta lockdown in lockdown. But luckily because we were able to pivot and, and switch to Zoom and, uh, really go overboard because support we're offering our members, we were able to keep all of our locations open.

Not one of our locations closed. Um,

Matt: done. That's

Ricky: Even, even coming out of COVID, and so, yeah, that was really pleasing [00:33:00] because there were players much bigger than us, Matt, that, that

Matt: Oh, they were Yeah, I mean, gyms, it was catastrophic to the fitness

industry, wasn't it? And so the fact that you can, at the end of it, sit there and say, we didn't have to close the location, I think is a great testimony, really. And, and, and, and stoked for you, man. That's awesome.

Ricky: testing. Very, very, very testing. Not easy at all. And I think, do you know, I think the worst thing about it was the uncertainty.

Matt: Um,

Ricky: Without a doubt, that was the worst thing. If, if... Someone had said at the outset, this is how it's going to play out. They're going to be, going to be locked down this long, and then you're going to come out of lockdown, they're going to be locked down again, and this is how it's going to work over the next two years.

You can plan around it, but when you When it's just kind of going on week after week after week and then month after month and you're still locked down and we've got, [00:34:00] you know, the franchisees are looking for us for help and support and, and you just don't know. You're trying to get, you're trying to predict what the moves are by the government and you just couldn't do it.

And that was the thing that was, I would say, the most challenging was that uncertainty.

Matt: yeah, yeah, I bet it was. It's interesting, isn't it? Because we've had many conversations about what happened, obviously, we've all had many conversations about what happened in COVID, haven't we really, but, um, and whilst I think there were things that our government did well, one of the things that I, I didn't think was done particularly well was, um, No one stood up and said, guys, this is going to be hard for the next year or two.

It was all very, well, we're going to try this now and hopefully, and everybody kind of went through thinking, well, maybe it'll be over next week. And no one sort of really stood up and said, actually, guys, this is going to be tough and it's going to be tough for a year. And it was a real shame because I think, um, I think we needed that kind of leadership.

If I'm [00:35:00] honest with you, we needed that kind of. Uh, like you say, we needed that understanding of, of what was happening.

Ricky: mm

Matt: So you, you obviously make it through COVID, um, and you're now actively, uh, growing the business again. You're on track for your 50 for 50. When you, there's a couple of statements you made at the start of that, that I just wanted to come back on.

One was, um, You're in your mid 30s, your friends are in their careers, they're doing very different things to you and your wife and your kids. Did your friendship group change with the business?

Ricky: hmm. It's, it's, it has as it's grown, i. e. there are... New acquaintances and guys that I would consider friends as we've become more successful within this specific industry. But the, the friends that [00:36:00] are basically school friends, so, uh, those guys are still around. But the guys that I was friends with... From within the financial services industry, given that that was an industry that I was in for like 16 years, yeah, that, that completely changed.

That's, um, yeah, they're not really friends now.

Matt: It's interesting, isn't it? And the reason I ask is, and again I've seen this time after time, is when your life and the lifestyle of your friends changes for whatever reason, your lifestyle gets worse and then it gets better. Sometimes those friendship groups change and it really intrigues me how that works.

Again, if you could go back in time I suppose and give yourself Well, let me put it to you this way, you've got a young couple coming to [00:37:00] see you, they're in their early 30s and I think they're coming to you and saying, Ricky, listen, uh, we really want to do this business. Don't know if it's going to work.

I'm probably going to start out by throwing it on Groupon because I've just checked the website is still up. Um, what, what advice would you give to them as a couple, not necessarily as a business, but as a couple? How do you, how do you navigate those challenges as a married couple in the early years?

Ricky: One of the, I came across this, this graph, do you know what, it was, it was actually something that I discovered when I was doing the PT,

Matt: Mm,

Ricky: the training, the coaching, and it's this, um, I'm not sure who actually, Put it together, but it's called the, uh, the stages of behavioral change or something like that.

There's five key stages [00:38:00] to it, and it was relevant to the people that were looking to come and lose weight, for example. Insofar as you start off with this uninformed optimism.

Matt: mm,

Ricky: You know, at the beginning of any new, any change, any, and it is quite exciting, whether it's a new job, a new career, losing weight, whatever it is, any major change, and you, you're so happy that you've made this decision, but you don't really know what it entails.

So for example, those that were looking to lose weight, we're talking at the outset about their goals, and they want to lose that first stone in the first month, and so they're really excited about what that's going to look like. A month later when they can fit into those clothes that are size smaller, two sizes smaller, and then reality kicks in after a couple of weeks and they realize that they're having to eat things that [00:39:00] perhaps, um, that're not so fond of or give up more, sacrifice some of the things along the way.

And that, uh, they're just discovering new routines and there's like some mindset shifts and it's actually quite uncomfortable and challenging. So this. 100 percent relevant to, for us as a couple going through a change in career as well, insofar as at first we had this uninformed optimism where it's like we've made a decision now, we've been sitting on it for 12, 18 months, we're doing it now.

This is going to be exciting we are going to be successful, blah, blah, blah. And then all of a sudden you realise that, one minute, these Groupon offers, we're making hardly any money here, and this is really hard work, and so you then get this informed pessimism, because you're now aware of all of, uh, the challenges that are involved, and the things that you've got to learn, and how hard it is, and it becomes [00:40:00] quite pessimistic.

And don't this... This, this graph, it continues to go down and the rock bottom moment is called the Valley of Despair and that point is the point when most people give up. So if it's someone that's got some ambitious Long term weight loss goals, that's the point where all of a sudden summer kicks in, holiday kicks in, it's an all inclusive, and they throw everything out, they lose momentum, and they go back to the way things were, and so they, they give up, and if it's in business, that is, it, you could say it's the shiny object syndrome, whereby they see then something else, certainly shiny object syndrome with social media is a nightmare, because people are then chasing the next thing, and it's, Much easier to give up on the thing that's really hard, and to get that feeling again of that [00:41:00] optimism.

Because that's the warm fuzzy feeling that feels really nice, that uninformed optimism, and they chase that feeling again. I want to feel like that again. And so they start with a brand new idea, and then the cycle continues. didn't, and maybe it was partly down to, like I mentioned earlier, And, uh, there were a lot of people that thought certainly me was having a midlife crisis, changing careers and thought I was totally irresponsible with two young children.

And there are a lot of naysayers. I'm not sure exactly what it was, uh, but we pushed through that valley of despair

Matt: Mmm,

Ricky: up and then all of a sudden that graph goes up again to. Informed Optimism, because we've learnt all the lessons, this is the bit that I was talking about earlier with regards to throwing myself into the marketing, absorbing marketing, paid advertising, learning all about it, becoming an absolute master at it, an expert at it.

All of a [00:42:00] sudden I evolved from being, I transitioned from being this personal trainer to a marketer. And there's a massive mindset shift, and then you're up and away, and then you kind of get to the bit where we are now. Now, that cycle of change is, whenever you make that decision to make a major change to your life, that is a predictable cycle that is proven, it's tried, it's tested.

That graph is the thing that we show our members at the beginning so they're at least aware of it and it's also the graph that we show our franchisees. You are going to go through these stages. We're here to support you along the way. But don't, so when you hit that informed pessimism and you're approaching that valley of despair, we're here for you.

We'll help you through it.

Matt: mmm,

Ricky: And so, but [00:43:00] that, because that's a horrible place to be, um, and I guess from our point of view as franchisors, we try and minimise the time that they're in that space for. But then as a couple, it's challenging. You're challenging each other then, as I say, we were lucky because we kind of felt it at different times and we were able to support each other at different times, but at least if you're aware of that cycle of change, then you can just prepare for it a little bit better.

Matt: yeah, yeah, no, super powerful, I like that, I'm gonna have to get a copy of that graph, Ricky, I think that's, um, it's super

Ricky: No, it's really good.

Matt: yeah, really, really interesting, and I love the fact that you said that most people, um, give up when it's hard to chase that feeling of when it was really, you know, that, uh, uninformed optimism feeling, because you can see that in your own life, can't you, you can go, yeah, I've seen [00:44:00] that, that makes sense, um.

Ah, brilliant. Let me, uh, turn quickly, if I can, uh, in the dying minutes, to the question box. So, we'll see whereabouts on the graph we are. We

start off, we start off with the, the uninformed optimism. Uh, we get slightly more nervous as it goes along. So I'm just gonna go through these. You're gonna say stop, and wherever we say stop, that'll be the question that we asked. Okay. Okay, um, I just want you to know, you said stop, uh, this was your choice, right,

Ricky: I'm nervous now.

Matt: yeah, yeah. So I'm just hoping, um, that it's not too bad. So question for you, which close relative do you like the least and why? [00:45:00] I don't know if I should give, I should give you a pass actually, because that's quite a good, just in case they ever listen to the podcast. I

Ricky: this is what I'm thinking. I was going to share this, but then all of a sudden I'm thinking I can't share this if I answer that question.

Matt: thought it was such a good question.

Ricky: Please let me have a pass. I'll be happy to answer it off camera when you're not recording.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely, and the thing about it is, everybody listening to the podcast was just sort of inched a little bit closer to listening to the answer, because they all know in their heads who their answer to this question would be. It's like there's no way I'd answer this on a podcast. I thought that was great.

Fantastic. Well, listen, Ricky, it's been great talking to you, man. Really, really enjoyed it. Really insightful. If people want to reach out to you, if they want to connect, if they want to find out more about fitter body ladies, if people want to reach out and just connect with you personally, what's the best way to do with that?

Ricky: I would say LinkedIn's probably the best way. [00:46:00] Uh, just, yeah, find me on there, Ricky Knight or under Fitter Body Ladies franchise. Um, so, yeah, on there. I've only just started recently getting into LinkedIn, actually, and, uh, quite like it. So, yeah, LinkedIn's probably the best. We've got the website, which is www.

fitterbodyladies. com. Um, so, yeah, they're probably the two best channels, I'd say.

Matt: Fantastic, fantastic. Well, Ricky, listen, it's been an absolute treat, man. Uh, super enjoyed the conversation and hearing about what you're doing with, uh, the franchise. Love the fact it's growing. I wish you every success. I, I'm looking forward, maybe when you hit the 50 at 50, you should come back on the show and say, man, we did the 50 and 50 and we'll, we'll do like a, a recap episode.

That'd be quite fun. Um, and, and talk about that, but, um, yeah, it's been an absolute blast and, uh, all the best, my friend, really appreciate it.

Ricky: Thank you.

Matt: Well, that was Ricky. What a great conversation that was, eh? Now if you want obviously the show notes and links, like I say, you can get those at pushtobemore. [00:47:00] com Also a big shout out to today's show sponsor, aurion Media.

If you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business or you're thinking maybe I should give this a bit of a shot, which you probably should, check out aurionmedia. com and be sure to follow. Push to be more wherever you get your podcasts from because we've got yet more great conversations lined up And I don't want you to miss any of them and in case no one has told you yet today you are Awesome.

Yes, you are. It's just a burden. You have to bear created. Awesome Ricky has to bear it I've gotta bear it and you've gotta bear it as well. Now, push to Be More is produced by, aurion media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app, the team that makes this show possible.

Sadaf Beynon Estella, Robin and Tanya Hutsuliak. Uh, theme music was written by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, the show notes, the transcript, they're all on the website. Push to be That's it from me. That's it from Ricky. Thank you so much. for [00:48:00] joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world.

I'll see you next time. Bye for now.