CELEBRATING WINS, OWNING MISTAKES, AND TAKING THE NEXT STEP
Four years and a few days ago, on February 18th,
I made my first foray into the wild west that is the internet.
Armed with the decidedly non-creative of name of Alex Mullan Fitness Systems (Hi, Roman), I set forth to realize my dream of helping people become jacked, shredded, and tanned from the 15” headquarters that is my faded, sticker-riddled MacBook.
While I’m loathe to admit this, I was naive enough to entertain the thought that if I built a website and offered coaching, clients would roll in, and I’d soon be living the dream.
Financially free, able to go wherever I please, and answering to nobody aside from myself.
Naive thoughts aside, looking back, I made detrimental, glaring mistakes.
I had no idea who I wanted to speak to (no niche, no target market, no ideal client).
I didn’t know jack shit about marketing (if you want to build a business, you need to learn the basics).
As a result of not knowing who to speak to, the content I put out was sporadic, all over the map, and honestly, quite terrible.
I operated under the assumption that I could do it all myself, in spite of all the above.
Guess what happened?
The clients didn’t come.
I struggled to write anything.
I helped few but a small handful of people, which was far shy of what I wanted.
None of the key metrics (emails, clients, site traffic, $$) ever trended upwards.
Unsurprisingly (given my mindset), I lost interest.
Within 10 months of launching, the site became an abandoned ghost town. When it came time to renew my domain, I let it be, and turned my head as Alex Mullan Fitness Systems (of which I’d sunk about 3.5K into) sunk into the void of the internet, never to be seen again.
Deep down, the dream that pushed me to make that first foray into building a business I believe in never truly died, but it did slip to the back of my mind (for a time). The following two years saw a mixture of in-person training, slinging of overpriced lattes, leg day after leg day, and a lot of wine.
All the while, the nugget of my online dream slowly began to imperceptibly permeate my thoughts, actions, and foster a mission.
It took me two years (give or take) to begin to find answers to the glaring mistakes above.
Similar to a phoenix rising form it’s ashes, over those two years, the concept for MASSthetics slowly grew, and unfurled from the failures of Alex Mullan Fitness Systems.
Dreams and goals take time to achieve. Nothing happens overnight, and nothing great happens without an immense amount of work.
Even though I took what was more or less two years off from working towards what I wanted in a literal sense, I’d argue that it was a necessary reprieve.
Because, over those 2 years…
…I figured out who exactly I wanted to speak to.
…I came to better understand what makes me tick.
…I gained more experience of which I could draw from.
…I developed an appreciation and understanding for what it would take to make this dream a reality.
…I recognized that I couldn’t do it myself.
…And perhaps most importantly, I nurtured the confidence and audacity needed to do the damn thing.
Which meant that when the time came to answer the call to begin anew – which came in the way of Roman deciding to put forth a mastermind – I was much better prepared, knew what I needed to do, and ready to go all in.
Thanks to Flakebook’s impeccable memory, I’m reminded of what was the first day of this adventure, and appreciative of all that’s come to pass over the last 4 years.
As for today?
Today marks the first birthday of MASSthetics.
Exactly one year ago, with no idea as to what would happen, my favourite brainchild took the leap and dove
All of which has led me to pen this post upon the walls of MASSthetics, in conjunction with my personal retrospective.
Now it’s a party
Truth be told (now that I look back), there is a lot for me to celebrate from the past year when it comes to MASSthetics. Everything from hitting my email growth targets, to building site traffic, guest posting all across the internet, adding 3 different revenue streams, and the list goes on.
I’m not here to brag (too much), or prattle on about everything that seems worthy of even a hint of celebration. Instead, I want to focus on the most impactful wins. The wins that truly helped to move the needle forward, and fed into everything from the list above.
Big Win #1
I launched MASSthetics into the world exactly one year ago today.
As I touched on above, Alex Mullan Fitness Systems quite quickly faded into the abyss of the internet. The fact that MASSthetics has not only survived it’s first rotation around the sun, but has grown month over month, and has been able to support me, my meathdeaded lifestyle, caffeine addiction, and my zest for travel, well, that’s a win and a half.
Big Win #2
Piggybacking off of the above, I was busy slinging lattes 40+ hours per week while I worked towards getting MASSthetics to place where I could take the leap into full-blown self-employdom. For 4 months, this is what my life looked like.
- 330AM – wake up, have coffee, get ready for 8 hours of mainlining espresso and slinging lattes.
- 430AM-1PM – sling all of the lattes.
- 1PM-4PM – eat, have more coffee, chip away on MASSthetics.
- 4PM-7PM – I also happened to be moving into prep at the same time (bad idea). This is when I would eat, train, and practice posing.
- 7PM-11PM – A mixture of spending time with my then-girlfriend (we also trained together), and working on MASSthetics.
…Rinse and repeat. Day in, and day out.
Once I officially launched MASSthetics into the world, it took two more months before I was able to take the leap, and sling the last latte.
Needless to say, that was an absolutely hellish schedule, and being able to break free of that was a massive relief.
Big Win #3
I landed (multiple) guest posts on every website that I grew up turning to for training ideas, session inspiration, and knowledge.
T-Nation, Roman Fitness Systems, EliteFTS (where I’m now a monthly columnist), Bodybuilding.com, JMax Fitness, and more.
These are the sites I was inexplicably drawn to when I was young, dumb, and learning to navigate my way through the trials of learning how to train properly. To have come full circle and be able to contribute to these sites that I grew up admiring, well, it feels pretty damn cool.
Opportunities for growth
It would be easy to look at the above, assess where things are, and comfortably sit back on my laurels and cruise.
I can’t do that.
That ain’t me, and honestly, I’m glad that the ambition to keep pushing forward has a tight hold on me.
While there isn’t much that’s not working, the growth opportunities are more about throwing some gasoline on the fire, and fine-tuning things to run more efficiently (lead generation, content production, email list growth, etc).
Growth Opportunity #1
100% of MASSthetics’ growth has been organic. Meaning, I haven’t spent a dime on advertising or driving site traffic. All of the growth has been built off the back of guest posting 2-4 times per month, writing 2 articles per week for MASSthetics itself, emailing the MASSthetics Clan every single day, and bringing clients the results they want.
Between MASSthetics aging and my desire to see continued growth, I believe it’s time to give things a nudge, and start paying to play.
Growth Opportunity #2
Products, products, and more products.
Currently, MASSthetics offers the 8 Week Leg Assault (on sale this week), and Mullan’s Meatheads (a private group that receives exclusive programming and support).
By this time next year, I intend to have both a Back Assault (taking beta testers now), and Arm Assault programs to accompany the above.
Growth Opportunity #3
Ah, the biggest opportunity for growth, and a goal that’s been with me since day one.
Since inception, my goal with MASSthetics has been to nurture it into something that’s bigger than myself. Meaning, I intend to bring in a coach (or two). I don’t plan on MASSthetics being a one man show come years end. Rather, I want to build this brainchild into something that has a team of like-minded coaches.
Doing so will allow MASSthetics as a whole to help more people rise to jacked, shredded, and tanned-dom.
Taking the next steps
A few weeks ago I had my quarterly call with my biz wizard and coach, John Romaniello. From top to bottom we went over every key aspect to MASSthetics, what needs improving, and what more I could be doing.
Anticlimactic as it is, the truth of the matter is there isn’t much that’s not working. Which means all that needs doing is more of that consistency thang I always ramble on about, and as mentioned earlier, to start throwing a little gasoline on the fire.
Action Step #1
Rather than hire someone to handle my advertising efforts, I’m investing into myself and learning the ins and outs of Facebook advertising. Not only is more economical in terms of cost, but with my goal of growth, I believe it’s an important skillet to learn.
Action Step #2
As mentioned earlier, I’m currently in the process of building the 8 Week Back Assault. It will launch in May, shortly after the test squad (email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested) has been put through the ringer. At that point, I’ll start building out the 8 Week Arm Assault, ideally in time for a launch around my birthday (September 24th).
Action Step #3
Simply put, I’m going to keep my head down, continue writing what’s usually around 7-8000 words per week, and marching onward.
What am I going to do about my biggest growth opportunities?
Growth is all about taking action, not merely talking about it. To that end, here’s what I’m going to do move closer and closer to where I want MASSthetics to be.
1. I’m going to stop being fearful, stop playing small, and start investing on a larger scale into the growth of MASSthetics. That means better design across the board (blog, products, social media content), setting up ads to drive traffic with the intention of reaching more meatheads, building the email list, and helping clientele.
2. The 8 Week Back Assault is already in it’s early stages of development, and will be followed up with its arm counterpart later in the year. If you want in on the beta squad, you can see the details here.
3. I still need to sit down and map out where this is, but I’m going to plan my threshold for brining in one coach and two coaches. Once I hit those active client/waiting list thresholds, I’ll pull the trigger (no matter how unnerving it may be), and bring the *right* person into the fold.
As cliche as it is and cheesy as it sounds, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 365 days of trying my hand at this whole business thing, it’s this:
If you’re willing to make sacrifices, remain devoted to your mission, and learn from where you inevitably fuck up, you can accomplish anything you want.
PS. 4 out of 5 lifters will let their rationalization hamster run wild. Convincing themselves they’re making progress…yet you build no muscle, and burn no fat. The 5th lifter joined the MASSthetics Clan and put the information within the (free) Hypertrophy Handbook to good use. He no longer has to rationalize his progress. He simply is. Click here to become the 5th lifter, and let me know where to send the prestigious Hypertrophy Handbook.