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!

PayPath
Follow Us on

Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

Keep reading Show less

Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

Keep reading Show less