Meet Bedros Keuilian.
He's a best-selling author, business coach, and Founder and CEO of one of the nation's fastest-growing fitness franchises, Fit Body Boot Camp. Fleeing a communist nation as a child, Keuilian started a difficult life in America where his family struggled to put healthy food on the table. But his is more than a typical rags to riches story. Keuilian's school is the school of trial-and-error, and his aim is to knock out all the misconceptions about starting a business and get up-and-coming entrepreneurs headed in the right direction with the right tools. Paypath got the chance to chat with Keuilian about how he trained both his physical and entrepreneurial muscles to get where he is today.
What was it like starting out as an entrepreneur?
When we came to America from Armenia in 1980, I was only 6 years old. We didn't have the best start living in the United States. It was a pretty tough upbringing, but my dad was always grateful for the fact that we were in a great country. He kept saying, "Hey guys, we're in a country where you can achieve anything, as long as you pay it forward and you're in service of people." Early on in my life, I started to grasp the concept that the more people I served and helped, the more successful I would be.
As I grew up, my mom and dad always bought the cheapest, unhealthiest foods, so in high school I was overweight, with low confidence and low self-esteem. I remember thinking back going, "This wasn't the dream my dad had for us when we escaped a communist country to come to the United States."
The summer before senior year, I was hellbent on going to prom the next year. I was going to work out all summer, read every muscle magazine and learn everything about nutrition and fat-burning so that I could get in shape. I came back senior year having lost 35 pounds, but never made it to the prom. Though the way my body changed caused a complete and utter transformation.
I was so infatuated by the fact that you could work out and lose weight, and it has this amazing positive effect on so many other parts of life, that once I graduated high school, I realized that this is what I wanted to do for a living. And like everyone else who wants to be a personal trainer, I became a trainer in a big box gym first. That didn't last long. Before I knew it, I was the guy re-racking people's weights after they were done working out. That's not what I had signed up for.
Luckily, one of my personal training clients, Jim Franco, was a successful entrepreneur. After each one of our workouts, I picked his brain to learn about entrepreneurship, business, and marketing. Within a few years, he gave me enough confidence and insight—he was my first business mentor—and also loaned me a small amount of money to open up a 2,000 square foot personal training studio. From there, it was just grow grow grow. Here we are today, almost 17 years later, one of the fastest-growing fitness franchises on the planet. We're on 4 continents, 9 countries, and I'm just forever grateful for the mentorship of Jim Franco.
How did your fitness knowledge inform your business philosophy?
One thing we know about fitness is, you can't stop when your muscles start burning. You have to keep pushing yourself through the burn and get to the repetition that you had meant to reach. I realized then that business is a lot like working out. Whenever we go to the gym, we put our bodies against adversity. We lift heavier weights, we do more squats and sprints, and we run faster. But most people in business quit when things get a little tough.
I realized that it's no different building your entrepreneurial muscles or physical muscles; you have to go up against adversity everyday, deal with the challenges, and then you will grow as a businessman or a businesswoman.
How did you perfect your business model?
Oftentimes, when a great business idea is developed, it's usually because the original business idea had flaws in it. In this case, it's no different. You really can't make a lot of money and impact if you're training people one on one. In addition to that, one on one personal training is expensive. I found all these problems with the fitness industry because I was experiencing the problems myself. I was getting burnt out training people, I was frustrated when I kept hearing no from prospective clients because it was too expensive. I said, "How can I leverage my time and make the program more affordable so that more people can join it, so I can make a bigger impact and hear no less often?"
The structure that I created was the "4 Station Rotation." When you walk into any Fit Body Boot Camp location worldwide, we might have a station that has 5 sets of kettlebells, a station that has 5 sets of suspension straps, and a station that has 5 sets of battle ropes and a station that has 5 sets of elastic resistance bands. Now we can train 5 people per station and get 20 to 30 people in there at a time. We have great music, the coaches can modify the workouts as needed, and now instead of charging $400 per month, we charge under $200 per month.
How would you describe what you do as a business coach?
If you wanted to start a business, you could just go to YouTube and type in "how to start a business." The how-to part of a business already exists. That's not what I do. What I do is we quickly find out someone's self-limiting behaviors that we can help overcome. We spend a lot of time working on mindset, breaking through self-limiting behaviors and overcoming doubts. Once you can do that, you can help anyone become successful in business, relationships, health, personal finance. Thankfully, my personal training background of helping people break their mental barriers is just as effective as helping our businesses break those same barriers.
What are the characteristics of a healthy business?
The characteristics of a healthy business include being known around town. Through Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, every local business should be known. We always want to build a know, like and trust factor. What you're basically looking for is Facebook reviews, Google reviews, Yelp reviews. If you're missing the know, like, and trust factor, or one of those, then you're destined for failure.
What are some common mistakes that people make when starting a business?
They think that by building a better mousetrap, the audience will come. It's no longer, "build it and they will come." It's, "build it, market the hell out of it, sell the hell out of it, and then they will come." Also, many entrepreneurs overestimate what they can achieve in 1 year and underestimate what they can achieve in 5 years. It's not a linear growth when you're an entrepreneur.
What would you say has been your greatest learning experience so far?
My greatest learning experience throughout all of this has been that there is more than enough clients to go around. I think too many entrepreneurs live in this state of scarcity-mindedness where they feel that the pie is never big enough. Our job as entrepreneurs is to make sure we're staying in front of those prospects and leads, and the best way to do that is through social media, by adding value to the community we serve first, and then attempting to make the sale.
What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur?
Be prepared for the suck factor. It's going to suck when you come up with the idea, try and trademark the name, and find somebody else already has the trademark. It's going to suck when you're trying to find a location and the landlord doesn't want you there. It's going to suck when you find a location and the city won't issue you a permit. It's going to suck when you start marketing and people start complaining that you market too aggressively. It's going to suck, suck, suck. But the greatest thing about being an entrepreneur is that if you are willing to deal with the suck factor and know that each time when things suck, that's just more resistance, more adversity against your entrepreneurial muscles, then you will be successful.
For more information on Bedros Keuilian, click here!
- Bedros Keuilian - Who Is He and Why Should You Trust Him? ›
- PT Power | Bedros Keuilian ›
- Bedros Keuilian – Official Website ›
- Bedros Keuilian - Home | Facebook ›
- Bedros Keuilian - YouTube ›
- Bedros Keuilian (@BedrosKeuilian) | Twitter ›
- Bedros Keuilian (@bedros_keuilian) • Instagram photos and videos ›
Let’s face it: this sucks.
After a massive vaccine campaign, a pretty successful hot-vax summer, and a pre-holiday season which made us believe things would finally-finally be getting back to normal, we were introduced to the Omicron variant.
As booster shots slowly rolled out, none of us were prepared for how hard and how fast this surge would hit. Unlike other variants, Omicron is more resistant to the vaccine and is infecting even those with booster shots and antibodies.
And it’s really effing scary.
Places like New York are teetering on the edge of another lockdown as restaurants close, offices shut down, and events get canceled. In short: it feels like March 2020 again.
In the words of the perpetually relatable Olivia Rodrigo: “do you get deja vu?” Yes, Olivia, we do.
There are some differences to this surge. Luckily most people — especially the vaccinated among us — are experiencing mild symptoms. While numbers are up, hospitals are not as overwhelmed as they were when the virus first slammed us.
However, this time, many of us are experiencing pandemic burn out — mentally and financially.
When the pandemic first began, no one could have imagined how long it would last. Many people who were furloughed or working from home saw it as taking a few weeks off to relax and unwind. Obviously, this was not the case. Rates of unemployment skyrocketed and some were forced to move out of their homes to save money or take other dramatic, unexpected measures.
What did this look like? Burning through savings accounts, plunging into credit card debt, and adopting the precarious paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. According to CNBC “42% of U.S. adults with credit card debt have increased those balances since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020.”
And while employment rates are up in 2021 and the Great Resignation has seen people seeking and finding better opportunities, the Omicron surge proves it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
In a recent money confessional on Slate’s “Pay Dirt” column, one reader expressed their frustration at the financial setbacks they experienced during the pandemic. While they were not totaled by the changes, they had to drastically adjust their life plans.
The columnist responded: “A lot of people had their dreams shattered in 2020 … Just because your situation isn’t the same as your more-hard-hit co-workers’ doesn’t mean that you aren’t grieving the loss of your income,” giving us all permission to feel the negative feelings. They continued: “Toxic positivity is very real in the United States and inspires a lot of people to say that no matter what their life is like, they should be happy … But you can be happy and grateful, yet still, acknowledge the suck in a situation.”
This perspective reflects a necessary shift that we all need to make. Especially as we approach yet another perilous year in the land of Covidia. It’s soooo hard to continue — and continue and continue — being grateful and not be, quite frankly, fed up. So what can we do about it?
As everything is spiraling out of control, there are small things you can do to feel less overwhelmed. And maybe, less bitter, sad, or resentful — provide room to process and accept this unfortunate reality as best you can.
Feel Your Feelings
Toxic positivity festers when we assume we should feel a certain way and don’t pause to let ourselves feel our negative feelings. Emotion comes from the Latin emovere - to "move out, remove, agitate." If we really break it down we get ex "out" + movere "to move." What does that mean to us living in America in the early days of 2022? Get those negative emotions outta here. Feel them and move ‘em out.
Then take a deep look, free from judgment, at how you’re actually doing in your day-to-day life. Try daily journaling, or delve into meditation.
Take Stock of your Life
Often, without realizing it, we fall into habits that become patterns and routines that eventually become our whole lives. So, when these habits are disrupted …. by, I don’t know, a global pandemic … we’re shaken out of our comfort zone and into reality. Take a glance at your life. What are you actually, truly, grateful for? What is mere distraction?
Make a Plan
Our spending habits are the first thing to spiral out of control and the most difficult to course-correct. If you’re worried about your financial health during this time — or you want to be more vigilant just in case — try the Cleo app. This holistic service manages your money for you and helps you gain control and improve your situation. Managing your money no longer feels like a chore, and it’s actually fun!
All in all, Meet Cleo makes you feel like you have a handle on your finances. And in these uncertain times, just being aware of your standing can offer a world of comfort. With Meet Cleo as your side, you no longer have to cave to toxic positivity. This app keeps it real and chats with you like your honest, most blunt friend. And for that, we thank her.
Find out more about Cleo here and put yourself on the path to financial control.
When you think of personal finance, what springs to mind?
Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank fame? Dave Ramsay yelling into a podcast mic? Finance bros tracking their bitcoin? Unfortunately, these are the images we're constantly bombarded by. So they're the archetypes overwhelmingly represented in personal finance.
But it's not all Chads in down vests and dad-types shaming you about your financial faux paus, the personal finance world has grown increasingly more dynamic and diverse.
With the rise of social media, the importance of financial literacy has entered the mainstream, as essential information is no longer confined to impenetrable, official documents. Instead, educators have changed their approach and are making the intimidating world of managing your money far less scary.
Through graphics, memes — and other whimsical mediums — online financial advice that's geared to younger generations is more and more common.
Now, with the help of TikTok — an app unique for wildly popularizing previously niche subjects — personal finance talk has become ubiquitous.
Who's Doing the Talking
The beauty of social media is its power to democratize. Though TikTok has been criticized for promoting those its algorithm chooses — and has even resulted in strikes from Black Creators demanding to be given more credit — it's also granted platforms to people with different experiences and backgrounds.
When it comes to financial advice, TikTok makes it super relatable. No longer is advice restricted to "skip your morning latte" and "quit that avocado toast" or other millennial-shaming behavior. These days, young people directly advise their peers by sharing sympathetic experiences.
From debt repayment to financial freedom journeys, people are engaging with the obscure realm of finances in a charismatic way.
Financial Feminists … But Don't Call Them Girlbosses
One huge TikTok sub-movement that's emerged is the Financial Feminist movement, which urges women specifically to take charge of their finances.
However, this isn't a repeat of the early 2010s Girlboss Feminism or even Corporate Feminism which encourages women to rise up within an established system. This is a whole new ball game.
By empowering women to speak to each other, personal finance is no longer a shame-game. Instead of scrolling through Reddit threads that mock people who support the trappings of the patriarchy like makeup or highly-feminine clothing — which are often deemed necessary for society to take one seriously, if not by Reddit bloggers — women learn from other women about how to manage their lives.
There's also information about unlearning feminized behaviors, helping women break out of socially coded patterns which hold them back from asking for help, asking for more or asserting — and believing! — their true value.
Financial Feminism takes into account the wage gap, talking about gendered norms and systems that prevent us from living financial lives equal to male counterparts.
Even more radical, however, are accounts which incorporate intersectional politics and social commentary. Instead of merely assessing the numbers, they examine the social structures and hierarchies that cause people to treat their money differently and radically affects how they live their lives.
These little communities have become hubs for financial empowerment for marginalized genders with the mission of helping them know themselves better, do better — and have fun while doing it!
Despite its addictive charm, you can't live your life on TikTok alone.
So while Personal Finance TikTok is an okay place to start, taking effective action means getting off TikTok… and onto a better app. Cleo is a budgeting app that's as engaging as TikTok, but actually helps you do the things you're learning.
According to their website, Cleo integrates all your accounts and — like a financially savvy and brutally honest friend — reveals what's truly going on in your wallet.
Cleo is like the coolest finance major you'll ever meet. Simply text her all your questions about your spending, your habits, and your current balances, and she'll give it to you straight.
She'll also tell you when you're running low — like when you really should skip that Starbucks stop so you'll have money left for the subway home — and keeps you on track of your goals.
Ah yes, 'tis finally the giving season!
As someone whose love-language is gift giving, I relish most opportunities to spoil my friends with sweet tokens of appreciation. I am the queen of spontaneous gifts. When I'm puttering around the city, doing my silly little tasks, I always perk up when I find some small trinket that I can give my friends.
Nothing says "I love you" more than saying, "hey, this reminded me of you." And then handing them a nod to a past conversation, or a memory we share. So, sorry to my friends for cluttering your houses with sentimental junk, but I'm even more apologetic for my fatal flaw: when it comes to the holidays … I always draw a blank!
To me, organic gifting is much more genuine than holiday gifting. Yet, if I were to use that as an excuse for turning up empty-handed to every single holiday party this season. I fear I'd start the new year off with fewer friends. And, as someone who loves to receive gifts just as much, I don't want to chance burning bridges that might hold presents on the other side.
So, when the holiday season arrives, I spend far too much of my precious time strategizing my gifts for my friends.
Often, when I draw a blank, I end up splurging on expensive gifts — a luxury candle, a decadent face oil, a classy bottle of perfume. Sure, these opulent gifts are a cop out, but they're guaranteed successes. Upon opening a package containing their favorite, overpriced indulgence who wouldn't smile?
Due to my holiday default, I'm forced to do some serious budget planning to accommodate my lavish spending. Or, more often, I go spectacularly over-budget.
However, this year, I must make a change. After my summer of post-vax hedonism that granted justification to spend more money than I'd ever dare, my holiday budget's looking pretty lean.
After sitting myself down and giving myself a strict talking to about prioritizing my savings, I've come up with some tips on how to save money around the holidays:
Review your budget
The amount of money we think we spend and the money we actually spend are two very different numbers. Grab a drink, pull out your bank statements, it's time to get to the bottom of your spending.
Take a look at two or three months and categorize your purchases. Which ones were intentional? Which ones were emotional? And how many times did you go to the coffee shop just to feel something and leave with a $10 latte and pastry? Once the truth is laid out in front of you, it's easy to see where you're bleeding money.
For me, it's coffee shops and boutique clothing stores I discover during jaunts around trendy neighborhoods. Whatever your vices are, do your best to become aware of them.
Budgeting apps like Cleo have helped me curb my impulse spending a ton! Cleo talks to me like a friend would — a friend who is not afraid to tell me no and call me out on my overspending. We all need a friend like Cleo, so download the app and watch your budget change overnight.
via Cleo App
Cut out what you don't need
It's all well and good to glance at your spending, but the next step is brutal: get honest with yourself about the purchases you could have gone without. But this isn't about deprivation, it's prioritization. What can you relinquish now to ensure you have a great holiday season later?
Cringing at past impulse buys I've made, I vowed to avoid my typical temptations, since I couldn't resist them. I know I'm easily lured into charming little storefronts downtown. So I took new routes home, avoiding the streets where all the cool clothes lie, waiting for me to cave.
I'm sure, in good time, I'll be back. But that's a problem for 2022-me. Until then, we just have to hold out for less than two months, get the gifts our friends deserve, and then it's back to regularly scheduled planning.
Make a spending plan
Saving without a plan usually leads to spending. As you narrow down what you can afford, figure out what you want to buy. I like to split it into categories: larger expenses vs. affordable picks.
Here's the fun part: shopping around. Sometimes I only have a general idea of what I want to buy, and sometimes I have specifics in mind. Either way, I love to shop around for a deal.
When it comes to saving money, research is paramount. Various vendors might have different prices, promotional codes, or sales. A quick Google search can often save you 10% or more, so don't take the first price you see as gospel.
via Cleo App
After finding the best price, I can budget for what I'm going to buy and when. Which takes me to ….
Take advantage of sales … strategically
The holiday season brings with it the promise of big, blowout sales. But, if you're not careful, you can end up spending more money during a sale — which is precisely the stores' intention.
Don't fall victim to the allure of those big, red "SALE" stickers. Instead, plot out how to take advantage of a number of sales for different products. Adding those sale prices to your spending plan will keep you focused and on track, instead of buying frivolous items no one will ever use just because the prices are slashed.
Saving money over the holidays doesn't mean you have to make a Scrooge of yourself. You can still gift and gift well, just more intelligently. Spending with intention is key to savings, while investing thoughtfully into your relationships.
Apps like Cleo can help you keep your finances on track without feeling overwhelming. With one download, you could be on your way to mega-savings.