Interview with Bedros Keuilian: The Fitness King Who Built an Empire From the Ground Up
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!
Image via UnSplash: Giorgio Trovato
There’s so much to do before the end of the year. And so much of it seems to zap your bank account. Hosting Thanksgiving? Holiday shopping? Decorating and decking the halls? All of it costs money. But there's one way to get some money back before the close of the year — your FSA. Just make sure you don’t miss the deadline.
That’s right, the FSA deadline is coming up. And if you haven’t drained that FSA account dry, you’re leaving money on the table. So what are you waiting for? Get those reimbursement dollars and put some money back into your pockets this season for a change.
Not sure where to start? Here’s the 411 on FSAs and everything you should be buying with your remaining funds.
What is an FSA?
An FSA, aka Flexible Spending Account, is an employee benefit that lets you stash away pre-tax income for later use on your medical expenses. The amount varies based on whether you have dependents or if you’re married, etc. Check your benefits portal or contact HR if you’re not sure if you have one or how to access it. About 43% of employees have an FSA allowance, so take a look.
Since it’s tied to your employer, it’s definitely something you want to use. Wasting your FSA allowance is like throwing a portion of your salary away. You worked hard, you earned it. So use it before you lose it.
How does an FSA work?
From the day your plan is active each year, you can withdraw your funds to pay for a ton of different health services and products. From medication to co-pays. Covid-related supplies, and even menstrual products anything for the good of your health is fair game. Some more niche FSA-approved purchases include deep massage guns and even some of the costs of buying and maintaining a service animal.
To get your benefits, you can either withdraw funds or save your receipts and get reimbursed later.
What is the difference between FSA and an HSA?
A Health Savings Account (HSA) lets you set aside pre-tax and tax-exempt money to pay for qualified medical expenses. Like a savings account, it stays there until you use it – and many even earn interest, like an investment account. Your HSA also doesn’t expire, so no deadlines. Instead, your funds roll over. And since it’s not tied to your employer, you can carry HSA funds from job to job — even after you change health insurance plans or retire.
When is the FSA Deadline?
For most employees, the deadline to use your funds is December 31st. Employers have some leeway, so make sure to double-check. But for most of us, it’s go time.
And while there was a rollover grace period during the pandemic, now, the leniency of the deadline depends on your employer. So make sure to make your FSA-eligible purchases, or request your reimbursements now!
Before the deadline passes, make sure to stock up on essentials and even get your money back from past purchases (if you have your receipt!). And if you’re looking to discover some exciting FSA-eligible purchases to make before New Year’s, here are a few we’re shopping:
All products featured are independently selected by our editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.
FEEL GOOD LOTION & SPRAY BUNDLE - SPF 30
If your FSA is buying, it’s easier to justify splurging on suncare. This 2-in-1 Bask Suncare kit comes with a spray and lotion sunscreen. I’ll be buying this in bulk. Sunscreen is a must, even in the winter!
Warby Parker Glasses, Contacts, & Annual Eye Exam
Glasses, contacts, and even your annual eye exam are covered under your FSA. I get all three taken care of at Warby Parker for stylish specs and updated prescriptions.
WTHN Acupressure Mat and Pillows
Stress relief is covered under FSA guidelines, including acupressure mats and pillows. This WTHN mat targets stress and tension — while also being aesthetically pleasing. I’ve been eyeing it on Instagram for ages and I finally get to take the plunge.
Aura Revive Heated Deep Muscle Pain Relief Device – Aura Wellness
Get pointed pain relief with heat and pressure with this state-of-the-art device. It comes with multiple attachments for personalized, customizable treatments each time you use it.
Shiatsu Air Pro Foot Massager with Heat
HoMedics® Shiatsu Air Pro Foot Massager with Heat in Silver
Spend all day on your feet? That could have adverse health effects. But don’t worry, foot relief tools like home pedicure stations and massagers are all covered by your FSA. This heated Shiatsu massager is the answer to all your foot-pain problems.
Dyson Air Purifier
Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link™ HP02 purifier heater (Black/Nickel)
Got allergies? You might be able to get your air purifier covered. This one might take a doctor’s note, but it’s worth the try.
Mighty Patch Pimple Patches
Mighty Patch Original from Hero Cosmetics
Amazing! Acne treatments are covered under your FSA — and my hormonal breakouts could not be happier to hear it. I can finally justify spending on these viral Mighty Patch pimple patches.
Save Your Wallet’s Tears - 2022 Holiday Season Savings Tips
Every time payday rolls around, I’m on top of the world. Jeff Bezos-level rich - even though I’m anything but. And then somehow the very next day, rent is due.
The cycle continues. The next payday, bills for my apartment. I find myself without a surplus of savings since I just moved and newly-furnished my apartment completely.
Even more terrifying is the looming presence of the holiday season. Halloween’s officially over and before we know it, hello Thanksgiving…and then there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s. It’s insane.
I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.
Now that fall is officially here, the holidays will sweep in and I’ll have to contend with the fact that I won’t be spending them with my family in the UK. I went home to London earlier this year, so there’s not much left in my travel budget for another trip across the pond. A few domestic jaunts might be in my future, but the closest I’ll get to England this winter is watching Love Island and Love, Actually.
So in that spirit, I’ve been filling my days with content from my favorite Brits. I’m listening to all the old British rock bands I grew up listening to, patiently awaiting the new Arctic Monkeys album, and rewatching anything with Michaela Coel in it. I even shipped myself an order of British Baked Beans, so you know it’s dire.
I’ve also been watching British YouTubers like Grace Beverley — my favorite. Generally, I only go on YouTube to watch Vogue Beauty Secrets and AD Open Door videos. But I’m so glad I stumbled on Grace. Her content is a mix of London lifestyle (what lured me in), relatable entrepreneurship, and mindful productivity. I’m not a hustle-and-grind-girlboss, but as a creative person in a 9-to-5, I need all the help I can get to stay plugged in. So, the video “how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed” changed my approach to WFH.
Grace outlines her own productivity method: the to-do table. Instead of making a simple to-do list, she divides her tasks into a table that anyone can follow. As someone who’s survived with to-do lists for years, I recently implemented Grace’s method, and it’s revolutionized my workdays.
how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmedwww.youtube.com
I follow her routine to a tee. Here’s how it works:
Essentially, she divides her daily responsibilities into four categories: quick ticks, tasks, projects, and non-negotiables.
- Quick Ticks: Actions that take less than 5-minutes
- Tasks: To-do’s that take up to 30-minutes. Probably don’t take too much brain energy.
- Projects: Long-term list items. These help guide your priorities, even if you’re not crossing them off in one day.
- Non-negotiables: Pick 3 things each day that you must get done. This is how you’ll truly measure success.
With everything written down and sorted, next address your schedule. Meetings, deadlines, and time blocks — whatever works best for you. Write it down. Then make a pact with yourself to stick to them.
This way of categorization provides a roadmap for prioritizing your day — making you far more productive. Have you ever spent the entire day on small tasks and then suddenly realized you hadn’t moved the needle on any task? Or do you spend way too much time on tasks that aren’t a priority? No more. With your non-negotiables laid out, you know what to laser-focus on and what to dedicate energy towards.
Also, it pays to know your working style. I’m not a morning person. Yet, I have to be up and at ‘em super early. So, first thing in the morning, I march through my Quick Ticks to warm me up. I set a time limit, so I can knock out some easy wins which is totally inspiring. Then I move on to bigger things without lingering on emails or admin. For others, it might be more helpful to tackle the big things with all that early-in-the-day brain power earlier.
Grace has great tips on avoiding overwhelm and burnout. My favorite is taking more intentional breaks rather than scrolling through social media. I call this scrolling “productive” because I’m “coming up with pitches.” Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s more productive in the long run to giving my brain a break with non-screen related stimuli.
Grace’s solution? Set a timer to read a real, an actual book. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a genius way to check off some books on my TBR and kickstart my creativity. After reading a good book, I’m completely inspired to write. So having books near my desk helps me step away from the computer during my lunch break for an actual reset. (And yes, the current books I’m reading are by British authors: Assembly by Natasha Brown, and Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalolu.)
In my pursuit of switching out my WFH set-up and getting my life together, I’ve engineered my workstation for success. With my new WFH essentials and Grace’s productivity technique, I’m revitalized for work — despite the fall blues and my melancholy about the pending holidays.
Here are the things getting me hyped for work and helping me crush my Grace Beverley-inspired to-do tables — no lists in sight: