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Traveling Abroad: One Benefit of Online Entrepreneurship

Last Updated on Apr 27, 2017

This article is part of the FitnessTexter travel series. A collection of posts that highlight one of the main benefits of online entrepreneurship, traveling abroad. I don’t like to consider myself a digital nomad. I actually dislike the phrase, it sounds too pretentious and Instagram-hashtagy. A nomad would be someone that doesn’t like calling someplace their home; someone who is constantly on the move (#wanderlust!). I, on the contrary, love having a place to call home. My home, however, has changed many times during the past five years. My journey into the world of online entrepreneurship is a strange one. How it went from online entrepreneurship to traveling and living in Barcelona is another long story. Then that leaves me where I am today (April 24, 2017), sitting on my bed in Rome, Italy, next to my Italian girlfriend of nearly two years. Well, let’s get this show on the road. I graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in May 2010. I graduated with one of the most pointless degrees, marketing! Honestly, I have a hard time quantifying how pointless a marketing degree is. I learned more during my first internship/year of running a business than I learned during five years of business school. However, I would like to highlight one great professor I had, Joseph Redden. His 4000-level marketing strategy class was one of the most difficult classes I had my senior year. He got rid of all the marketing fluff (I’m talking about you Four P’s) and got down to the numbers side of marketing. Honestly, probably the only truly worthwhile course I took in Carlson besides accounting. Too much fluff, not enough substance. After graduating from college, I got a paid internship ($10/hour) at Augeo Affinity Marketing. They’re a Minneapolis-based marketing company that sets up loyalty rewards programs for large corporations. One of my assignments during my internship was to research text message marketing software. They were looking to get into the business. I did a thorough market research paper for my bosses and they promptly put it into the file cabinet. No biggie. That’s what happens to most intern research. Sometime during this internship, I realized that I was sick of...

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The Cheap Way from Cusco to Aguas Calientes | The Inca Trail for Free

Last Updated on May 16, 2017

This article is part of the FitnessTexter travel series. A collection of posts that highlight one of the main benefits of online entrepreneurship, traveling abroad. Here’s how to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu for $7. It’s not free, but it’s $173 cheaper than the train. When Marianna and I decided to hike Machu Picchu, we elected against doing the Inca Trail. Though we had heard many good things about it, it was just too expensive. The going rate these days is $650 per person. That’s insane! There was no way we were going to spend that much money on the trek. If you’ve got money to burn, give it a shot. If not, our version would be called The Poor Man’s Inca Trail. The only other option, so we thought, was to take the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. There are only two companies that provide train transportation from Cusco and Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, PeruRail and IncaRail. I refuse to hyperlink their websites because I don’t think they deserve the traffic benefits. They have a duopoly over the entire train network to Machu Picchu and treat the Aguas Calientes locals like garbage (They have to sit in the back of the tourist trains in rundown carriages). That said, we didn’t know there was another option. We purchased our Machu Picchu tickets for Nov 16 and decided that we would purchase our train tickets in Cusco. Well, as it happens, there was a two day strike by the citizens of Aguas Calientes against the train companies for, you guessed it, mistreatment, two days before our Machu Picchu entrance date. Even if we had purchased train tickets, no one was getting into Aguas Calientes during the strike and no one was getting out. The city is only reachable by train…or so they tell you. Unbeknownst to most, it’s 100% legal to hike the train tracks to Machu Picchu. Some business owners might tell you otherwise, but that’s because they want a finders free if they get you to do their friend’s brother’s cousin’s guided tour. We passed police officers and train officials along the route and they all waved at us an encouraged us on our journey. Hiking...

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New Year’s Fitness Resolutions: How to Stay on Track

Last Updated on Mar 24, 2017

The start of the new year can be a call to action for many of us to renew our fitness goals and commit to lifestyle changes. Unfortunately that resolve starts to dissipate as we fall back into old routines and work schedules. So how do we stay on track and keep our new year’s resolutions going all year long? The key may be to pace ourselves. Many times we get excited, join a gym, workout intensely several times, only to burn out or get discouraged when we don’t see immediate results. Think about the real, not superficial, reasons behind wanting to lose weight or get fit. When you know that being healthy and feeling strong are the reasons you want to commit to working out, you are more likely to stick with it. Starting more gradually gives you time to get used to carving some time out of your current schedule to dedicate towards getting healthy. Workouts should be uncomplicated and meals should not be massively different. Shorter workouts are good for beginners with the goal of working up to at least 30 minutes three times a week. Instead of cutting all sugar from your diet, try adding better options as sides or snacks. Adding more fruits and vegetables will slowly change your eating habits and naturally limit junk food consumption. Comparing yourself to family, friends, or coworkers is a bad idea since everyone’s body and metabolism are different. Your plan has to be tailored to your body with the acknowledgement that your fitness journey will not be instantaneous. Recognizing that it is more of a lifetime commitment will let you be less hard on yourself when you fall behind, and enable you to re-commit and keep going. Treat fitness as a life priority by scheduling time every week and keeping those appointments. Sometimes it might be easier to find a workout buddy with the same priorities to keep you accountable and offer support. It is much harder to blow off a workout session when you already told your friend you would be there. Set goals that you know you can reach. It is way more encouraging and motivational to reach your smaller goal, than to not reach a...

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4 Ways to Use Local Advertising to Get More Gym Members

Last Updated on Jan 31, 2017

In case you weren’t aware, small business advertising costs money, a lot of money. In the old days, it wasn’t that easy to localize your marketing efforts. You purchased an advertisement in the newspaper and hoped that your potential clients were reading the paper on that specific day. Maybe you put a redemption code inside the newspaper advertisements, but beyond that, there wasn’t much in the way of tracking the effectiveness of your campaign. Things have changed for the better and now you can track advertising ROI down to an extremely granular level. Below are four easy ways that you can get started doing some localized marketing without having to blow your entire marketing budget. 1. Set Up a Localized Google AdWords Ad Campaign Google AdWords is king when it comes to advertising. They’ve been around since the early 2000s and they know what they’re doing. They also make the money to prove it! I’m sure you’ve read the stories about businesses spending $50 per click. No fears, you’re not going to be spending anything like that. Google’s prices fluctuate on an auction basis. If more people want to advertise on pages that display certain results, you end up paying more, because Google assumes you’ll earn more if someone clicks on your advertisements. To keep your budget low, set up a very localized AdWords campaign for your gym. You can choose exactly where you want your ad to show: neighborhood, city, state, zip code, you name it. You’ll pay a little bit more money for each click as you get more specific about your region. However, if you’re focusing on JUST your city, there’s a good chance that people clicking your ads will fill out your landing page lead form and come in. 2. Instead of Promoting Posts, Use Facebook Ads Besides Google AdWords, Facebook is another big player in the online advertising space. There’s a good chance that you’ve spent (read wasted) a lot of money on “Promoted Posts” or something similar. Don’t worry, so have I here at FitnessTexter. I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook advertising because when I did it in the past, I got a lot of “Likes” but I didn’t get any new...

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Starting a High-Intensity Interval Training Gym: 4 Steps to Get Started

Last Updated on Mar 24, 2017

High-Intensity Interval Training has gotten quite popular over the last few years. HIIT gives your body one hell of a workout, in a very short amount of time. There’s quite a bit of science showing that this style of workout is actually better for you than other types of exercise. As with all “scientific” reports, you need to make sure that whoever wrote the article did so in an unbiased way. Regardless of what science says, HIIT gyms are more popular than ever, and they’re a great way for potential gym entrepreneurs to get their feet wet in the fitness business world. With a much smaller initial investment due to lack of expensive equipment, starting a HIIT gym is a cost-effective way to become a gym owner. I’m going to leave out all the boring steps of starting a business like permitting and incorporating. Once you get down with the boring steps, check out the four important steps below. 1. Put Together Your Business’s Fitness Team There are two ways you can go about starting your business: go it alone or work with a team (even if just another person). You’ll have to decide which one is better for you. I’ll tell you this much, if you go it alone, it’s going to be much more work than you anticipated. If you decide to go with a team, sit down with yourself for awhile and figure out just what type of people you want to be working with on this business endeavor. You’re going to be spending copious amounts of time with these people, so make sure you’re able to handle them for long periods of time. You might want want to bring in someone that has finance experience and another person that know their way around online marketing (AdWords, Facebook ads, etc). Having a cohesive team is going to play a big part in the success or failure of your business. Take your time and build your team carefully. 2. Lease an Appropriate Location to Hold Class You’re going to need a place to have your HIIT workout classes. Most fitness businesses tend to lease spaces that are way to big for their budgets. There’s no need to...

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4 Easy to Use Online Payment Processors for Fitness Businesses

Last Updated on Jan 31, 2017

Online payment processing can be a major sore spot for small business owners, especially those that have to deal with monthly recurring billing. That said, there are quite a few high quality online software programs that can help fitness businesses collect payments. Some of them are purely for collecting payments while others offer more than enough tool to business owners to help make running their business a little bit easier. I have no paid affiliation with any of these companies. However, I did work for PaySimple as an online marketing associate back in 2013. During that time, I learned about all the other businesses since they were direct competitors to PaySimple’s product. There are no affiliate links in this post at all. You’re free to do your own research and figure out which one works best for you. Back when I was at PaySimple in 2013, their software platform was decent. From what I’ve seen looking at the new website and demo, they’ve added a ton to the platform since I worked there. It looks much more Web 2.0 that it did before. With PaySimple, you aren’t going to get any member management tools. You can store customer information, but it’s not going to be nearly as nice as using ZenPlanner, MindBody or Wodify. PaySimple’s power is in it’s payment processing. They have insanely good rates compared to many merchant account providers and the support team, located in Denver, is top-notch. You can do recurring billing and one-time payment processing very easily. They also have an appointment feature now too. ZenPlanner offers more than just a payment processing platform, they offer a huge set of tools for nearly all types of fitness businesses from multi-purpose gyms to yoga studios to MMA gyms. They offer billing, scheduling, workout tracking, retails sales features and tons more. Another Colorado business, they’re known for having a kickass support crew as well. I think this points to something important about Colorado people. 🙂 Wodify is the go-to business management application for CrossFit boxes. Their name is a play-on-words of the name of CrossFit’s training style, workout-of-the-day (WOD). Wodify gives business owners a set of management tools as well as gym members a set of...

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