I know that some of you are going to be really excited about our guest today, on the Healthpreneur Podcast. His name is Joe De Sena, and he is the founder of Spartan Race. Yeah, The Spartan Race.

Obviously, Joe has done amazing things with Spartan Race, but you may not know that he is also a serial entrepreneur. He’s started a bunch of businesses over the years and he’s learned a lot of tough lessons during his years “in the trenches,” so to speak.

We’ll get into all that and more in this episode—there’s so much to learn from Joe, and he’s got some really cool stories as well. You definitely don’t want to miss this one. Not only did he conduct this interview from the top of a mountain, but Joe also has a few special gifts for our listeners…

In this episode Joe and I discuss:

  • Joe’s early beginnings
  • “Fire, ready, aim”
  • Business plans
  • The power of human relationships
  • Going all in
  • Joe’s awesome stair story

3:00 – 10:00 – Stairs, fireworks, entrepreneurial beginnings.

10:00 – 13:00 – Everybody’s got a plan till they get punched in the face.

13:00 – 21:00 – The Spartan origin story, lessons learned.

22:00 – 26:00 – Joe’s “why”

26:00 – 32:00 – The day-to-day, hiring

32:00 – 35:00 – The rapid-five questions


Healthpreneurs, what’s going on? Yuri here, and welcome to episode thirteen. Today, we’re talking with the man himself: The founder of Spartan Race, Joe De Sena.

Now in case you don’t know what Spartan Race is, you’ve probably heard of adventure races at some point hopefully in the last couple years. Things like Tough Mudder, and obviously Spartan Race. Those are the two that come to mind, to be very honest with you.

But Joe is a really cool entrepreneur and he’s gonna share some breakthrough business lessons in this episode. He’s a seasoned entrepreneur. He’s been around for a while. He is the CEO and co-founder of the Death Race, and Spartan Race.

In this episode, he’s actually joining us live from the mountaintop. Seriously, he’s actually on a mountain as we’re doing this interview. It’s pretty crazy. Talk about congruency, right? Really being congruent to his message. It’s pretty awesome.

I’m not gonna give a full-on bio of what Joe has accomplished over the years. You can discover that on Wikipedia, but we’ll hear from the horse’s mouth himself, if you will.

He’s gonna share some of his lessons learned over the years of business, some of the epic failures and lessons that he’s learned from those failures, the ways he has overcome adversity, and what he feels is the real driving force behind any business.

If you’re missing this, then obviously you’re gonna have a tough time building your business, and if you’re someone who’s big into the fitness space and you enjoy adventure races, then Joe is kind of like a pseudo-celebrity, because this is the guy who’s really brought adventure races to the forefront.

Really cool guy, I think you’ll really enjoy this episode. With that said, let’s welcome Joe De Sena to the show.

Yuri:   Mr. Joe De Sena, how’s it going, my friend? Welcome to the Healthpreneur podcast.

Joe:   Thank for having me. This is incredible that somebody wants to talk to me.

 Yuri:   Yeah. Well, for everyone listening, this is a very unique interview, because Joe, can you tell our listeners what you’re currently doing?

 Joe:   Yeah. We just moved to Vancouver a couple days ago, so turns out right next to where we’re living is this … If you’re from out here, you’d know it. It’s the Grouse Grind.

Stairs, fireworks, entrepreneurial beginnings

It’s a two-mile hike up this mountain, and the awesome thing is it’s all stairs, so it’s stone and wooden stairs, which I love stairs so much—you gotta ask me about this backstory on stairs—but anyway, I just got to the top, as you called.

So we’ll be talking and I’m gonna work my way down, or I might sit in the sun while I talk to you, my wife just said. We might sit in the sun.

 Yuri:    Nice. What’s the vertical elevation there that you guys are working at?

 Joe:    I have no idea. I’m not a detail-oriented guy, but there’s a sign that says, “Grizzlies this way.”

Yuri:   So you walked the opposite way. That’s wicked.

 Joe:   I’m walking the opposite way from the grizzlies.

 Yuri:   I’m a huge fan of stairs too.

 Joe:    Yeah, I love stairs.

 Yuri:   Stairs are awesome, because it’s very rare that we get to work vertically against gravity like that, so it’s such a great workout. Talk to us about the backstory you wanted to share with regards to stairs.

 Joe:   When I was first starting all this stuff, I was doing stairs in New York City, and … I guess we’re just gonna walk. I’m following my wife.

I was doing stairs in New York City, and I loved them. I mean, it was just so efficient, right? You go up and down the stairs, you get your workout and go to work. We moved to Vermont. We lived on a farm for … God, 12-14 years. It was really annoying, because we had a mountain in the back but there were no stairs, and I missed the stairs.

I don’t know if you know, we used to put on this thing called a Death Race, which I think I’m gonna bring back next year. And I was thinking one day, I said to my wife, “You know, it would be awesome if we had a staircase in the back on the mountain.”

So I got like 1200 giant stones delivered at the base of the mountain, and at the beginning of the race, in order to even start the race, the 300+ competitors had to move the stones up the mountain and build a stone staircase.

So we now have, for anybody to use from around the world, they come and … it’s kind of like the eighth wonder of the world. We have a stone staircase.

Yuri:   That’s awesome.

 Joe:   We have a stone staircase going to the top of the mountain. Some of the stones are the size of Volkswagens, it’s unbelievable. And they laid pipes down, and I was visualizing, if I was a Pharaoh, back in the times of Egypt … This is how they built the pyramids, because with 300+ people—obviously they had protein shakes, unlike the Egyptians—but they pulled with ropes, heave-ho, and in 12+ hours built a one-mile-long staircase that climbs a thousand feet.

 Yuri:   That’s awesome. Yeah, and maybe you can just add that to the Death Race, as part of the race is to move Volkswagen-sized stones up a mountain.

 Joe:  Oh, we do all kinds of crazy stuff in the Death Race.

 Yuri:   Hence the name.

 Joe:   Yeah, it’s awesome.

 Yuri:  That’s wicked. So you had kind of a small business in fireworks, selling T-shirts at a young age. You had a pool-cleaning business as a teenager.

Have you always been an entrepreneur? Has this been in your blood from day one?

 Joe:  Yeah. Yeah, my whole life I’ve … Well, I think about it often because we have four children. I think, “How could I get them to have that same instinct and that smell for money and hard work, and just relentlessness?”

Somehow I got it, but I think it’s the neighborhood I grew up in. I grew up in a neighborhood where everybody—whether they were making raviolis to sell, or cement, or stealing things and going to jail—they were just relentless people, men and women.

The coffee started brewing at 4:30 in the morning, the trucks got started, you smelled diesel in the air, guys were plotting robberies. Stuff was happening, early morning.

Yuri:  Nice. So your father was a business owner as well, correct?

Joe:  My father was a business owner, and he had all kinds of businesses. He had a taxi business at a young age. He had a trucking company. He had a disco. He had a greenhouse. He had real estate businesses, did condo conversions.

I was very, very fortunate to be around such a strong work ethic, but also somebody that sat down every night at the dinner table … and I took it for granted, but friends of mine later said, “Gee, you were so lucky because your dad would sit every night and just talk at the dinner table about business, and we didn’t have that.”

And so, that’s why, to your earlier question—I’d say 8-9 years old, I was selling fireworks, and I remember sneaking down to the basement, getting the phone number of the local supplier, which was illegal. Somehow negotiating at sub-10 years old, negotiating in the dark (because my parents would have killed me), buying them, marking them up, running around on my bicycle selling them, stashing the money.

Yeah, and I think back … I’m visualizing my kids as you describe it, and they just don’t have that, as hard as I try.

“They’re kind,” my wife said. They’re kind, though. They’re very nice.

Yuri:  That’s good.

Joe:   And they’re happy. I’m happy. And then, at thirteen I started a pool-cleaning business, which evolved into a construction business. Then I sold it and I went to Wall Street and I built a business on Wall Street and I sold it.

And I went to Vermont, bought a farm and a bunch of different little cool country businesses, and like I said, spent 12-14 years there.

Then we picked up and we went to Singapore for a year (three years ago), and then we went to Tokyo last year, and now we’re in Vancouver, on top of a mountain.

Yuri:   That’s awesome. Back in good old Canada. I’m from Toronto, so I’ve got an affinity towards Canada as a whole, but I love all people.

Joe:  Canadians are the best. This place is unbelievable.

Yuri:  We are. We’re pretty awesome.

 Joe:   Yeah.

Yuri:  Yeah. So I wanna talk about, the origin of Spartan and everything in just a second, but let’s go back to the environments, the kids, all that kind of stuff.

What advice do you give to someone nowadays … let’s say they’re a millennial, or maybe even someone who’s a bit older, or younger. What advice do you give them as they’re starting their business?

Everybody’s got a plan till they get punched in the face

Joe:  Well, a couple of things. When you’re starting a business … and I’m not gonna give a very clear answer here, so you’ll have to do your best with this one, but when you’re starting your business, you could easily talk yourself out of it. Because it’s very easy to lay out on paper a very detailed plan, and then discover there’s lots of things that are gonna go wrong and so it doesn’t work.

I subscribe to “fire, ready, aim” rather than “aim, ready, fire.” Because if you aim too much, as I said, you could talk yourself out of it. Just get going.

The other thing I believe is, yes, you should look at an industry that’s growing, and yes, you should lay out a business plan, but the reality is, almost everything’s gonna change.

Mike Tyson said, “You’ve got a great plan until you get punched in the face.”

Yuri:  That’s the best quote.

 Joe:   Everybody’s got a plan till they get punched in the face. And that’s gonna happen, and when you’re running a business, you may get punched in the face 500 times. And just when you’ve finally recovered and you no longer have a black eye, you get punched in the face again.

So yes, business plan, but don’t overanalyze it. And then, just really think through this thing you’re about to embark on. Make sure you’re passionate about it, and that it aligns with what you would do for free, because if you wouldn’t do it for free and you don’t love it and it’s not gonna get you out of bed in the morning—you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

Most of the businesses I started, the first 10 years, you don’t make much money. You kill yourself. Extreme success requires extreme sacrifice, so everything around you is gonna suffer.

In life, you don’t get everything you want. It just doesn’t work that way, so if you’re gonna be great at something, and you’re gonna put everything into it, everything else has gotta give. Otherwise you’re better off with a 9:00 to 5:00 job.

So make sure you love it. Make sure you’re passionate about it, and if you are, then working for free for 10 years, no big deal—because you love it so much you just do it.

Now for me, if we go back to the construction business or even Wall Street, you’d say, “Well Joe, did you really love that?” It wasn’t those things I was doing. I just love business.

I just love work. I just love waking up early, so at that time, those businesses filled that void. They answered that question.

For me now, yeah, I love to work. I love doing stuff, but I wanna do something purposeful. Spartan answers that question for me.

You gotta see this view. I’m looking at Vancouver here, the city, off the top of this mountain. Unbelievable.

Yuri:  That’s awesome. Well, talk about congruency. Talking about doing something you love, which is pretty much what you’re doing as we’re speaking here, so it’s so on-point. That’s awesome.

Joe:   My wife and I have to take a picture while I talk to you, because I was informed that we don’t have enough pictures together. You keep asking questions, I just gotta take a picture.

 Yuri:  You gotta send it over, because I will include it in the show notes on the blog with this interview. We’ll be like, “This is exactly where the Joe De Sena was.”

Joe:  I’ll send that in the show notes, no problem.

The Spartan origin story, lessons learned

Yuri:   Yeah, that’s awesome. Alright, so Spartan Race. Talk to us about the genesis of Spartan Race, because it kinda came out of your own experience, which is pretty cool.

Tell the listeners how it all started, why you decided to do it, and where things are at right now with Spartan.

Joe:  Yeah, so basically … Oh, it says, black bears, deer, cougars, and coyotes, you might run into here. Good.

So, Spartan Race was started because I raced myself. I did a lot of this stuff, and because I’m a business person, as I was racing I just thought, “Is there a better way?” Could I come up with an event that people would love and it would transform their lives?

My mother was into yoga, meditation, health food at a young age, and everybody she got into that lifestyle, into their head, she transformed their life.

So as a hobby, I was doing this for a long time. I was losing a lot of money, as I had my other businesses paying the other bills. And then in 2010, I got serious. And I guess I got serious because we had that financial crisis, so I lost a bunch of money like everybody else.

So I was a little more motivated than I might have been otherwise. But in addition to that, I just got to a point of frustration where I had lost money putting on these events for ten years as a hobby. I wasn’t paying enough attention to them, and I was ready to really focus on it.

What amped it up, though, which your listeners either running businesses or starting to run a business could appreciate, was—in 2010, I started to spend a lot of money on it, and I became so under pressure.

My back was so far against the wall, I had no choice but to try to succeed.

When I think about why certain businesses succeed, why others don’t, obviously it’s the hard work, the business plan, the industry, all the things, but really, the biggest correlating factor I’ve found is, how committed is that person?

When you’re all in and you’ve mortgaged the house and sold your kids, you’re on the hook. You gotta make it work, and so I had to make it work. Anyway, 2010—I go for it, and get really lucky with the name Spartan And I launched this thing and 700 people show up, or 1000 people show up to that first race. Then 1500 show up to the second.

And at that point, I did everything wrong.

When you’re starting a business, a brand, I now understand that you’re supposed to build rings around your area of influence. In other words, if my first race was in Vermont, maybe my next race would be Massachusetts, and then from Massachusetts, I’d work my way to New York.

What I did by mistake, not having this knowledge, just being an idiot … and to my point earlier, not having a very detailed plan … I launched Vermont, New York. I went to Montreal. I went to the UK. I went to Slovakia, and I didn’t get a chance to leverage any of that influence I had just spent millions of dollars gaining in the few markets I originally launched in.

So I became even further underwater. I spent more and more and more money, and I was just trying to stay afloat.

Then, like I said, I became so pressured that I went for it. I went for it in a big way.

I started taking ads out on television. I took any billboard that was available in any of our markets. I took billboards, I went crazy on digital media.

But with all that, when I look back today, seven years later, why we were successful and so many other obstacle events went out of business … I think it was, I stayed true to the core. I didn’t change with the wind.

It was very focused on health, wellness, athleticism. I wasn’t gonna electrocute people for silliness or make a bunch of noise digitally. I was gonna hold people accountable. It was really important for me that it really transform lives. I didn’t need to be in another business, right? I had just done 30 years of business, if that makes sense.

Yuri:   Yeah. You could have kicked up your feet, chilled out at a beach, but that’s great.

Joe:   That was it.

Yuri:   People might be asking, “Okay, TV ads, billboard ads. That’s awesome, but I can’t do that.” Were you bootstrapping this business from day one with your own capital, or were you taking on investment from day one?

Joe:  I was bootstrapping with my own capital, and it was a disaster. I started to … Hold on one second, I just wanna throw my sweatshirt on, because it’s getting cold up on the mountain. I’m gonna start working my way down, hold on.

Yuri:   Sure.

Joe:    I bootstrapped it with my own capital, because at that point … again, to my point earlier, I’m actually telling the audience that what I said early must be a bad idea … But because I didn’t have a very detailed plan, I didn’t realize how much money this was going to require. And so before you know it, a year into it, I had spent 50 times what I originally planned on investing, and I was underwater.

I was very fortunate—and this is a really important point for your audience—I was very fortunate in that I had a very strong professional network. Not the kind of network you build on LinkedIn or Facebook, but a network of people that over 10, 15, 20 years, I gave stuff to. I helped out. I was always there for them. I took care of problems, and I didn’t ask for anything in return.

So when I found myself against the wall in 2011, I needed money, I was able to call some friends, and within 24 hours, without a set of documents, without evaluation, without anything, they sent me millions of dollars.

So one thing, when people say, “Give me reasons for success vs. failure,” you’ve gotta focus on the network. You’ve gotta put two dollars in for every dollar you take out.

You gotta take a really long-term view on life and say, “Do I really need to ask for anything here?” I can’t even tell you how many customers, hundreds of customers I did work for, I didn’t ask for anything in return. It comes back tenfold.

It might come back ten years from now, but it always comes back.

Yuri:  Yeah, exactly. I mean, you can never underestimate the power of human relationships and that goodwill you create over years.

That’s such a great piece of advice. Thank you for sharing that.

Looking at how you’ve built Spartan in a relatively short amount of time, knowing what you know now, if you were to start things all over again, what would you do differently if you had to start all over?

 Joe:   Well, if I had to start all over again, I would have invested. I didn’t know at that point that it was gonna be 35 countries, 200 events … I just didn’t see it. Other people around me saw it, but I didn’t see it.

Again, it goes back to the point I made earlier of not having a very detailed plan because I didn’t wanna talk myself out of it. I’ll tell you this. If I did have a very detailed plan, and in that plan it showed the amount I was gonna spend … I wouldn’t have started.

I wouldn’t have done it. And I don’t think many people would have.

By not having the plan though, in those early days I didn’t invest in a CRM and technology and all the things that today’s businesses require, and so I’m playing catch-up now.

I would say that’s the biggest downfall. Had I handled it better in the early days, had I made that investment.

Joe’s “why

Yuri:   Sure, sure. That’s a good insight.

So when you started back in the idea for Spartan Race—you had the idea, did you have a clear vision for what it would lead to?

You said you had no idea that it would grow to where it is today. Did you have a vision? I’m sure you did, but was that vision in line with where things are at now, or did that constantly evolve over time?

Joe:   Constantly evolved. Same with all my businesses. They constantly evolve, and you just tweak them.

I think the environment changes so rapidly. In the 1800s, that didn’t happen as much, but today stuff changes daily. Weekly.

As you ask the question, I reflect back. I think even if I did have a vision, I would have had to change it 12 times. But there are some core attributes that have not changed, which is, “I wanna get 100 million people healthy.”

Now that number used to be a million, but now that we’ve already done five million, I wanna get 100 million people healthy.

Yuri:  And do you know your “why”? Why do you do what you do? Why do Spartan Races?

You mentioned you want to help 100 million people. At the foundation of all that, what’s the real “why” for the existence of this business?

Joe:  That’s it. I say to myself, life is super short.

I’m talented at making money and figuring out how to work hard. I’m pretty much always happy, even when everything’s going wrong and my wife wants to kill me. I have this knack for staying happy, even though I might not look it.

I don’t have a happy resting face, according to my wife, but I’m happy internally.

That would be unbelievable—to be able to have that mark on so many people. So when I get these emails that say, “Oh my god, you changed my life. I stopped doing drugs. I lost a bunch of weight. I’m back with my wife. I’m back with my husband,”

That’s cool! I get to do that.

Yuri:  Yeah, that’s awesome. The question I was about to ask you a few moments ago was, outside of the monetary side, in terms of needing to have that money or having a plan from the get-go, what would you say is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced growing Spartan so far, and what lessons have you learned in the overcoming of it?

Joe:   Biggest challenge was money. Running out of funds. But then on the flip side, it was a positive because it forces you to be extremely efficient. I could have been sloppy. If we had 50 million dollars we raised in the early days … I would have been extremely sloppy.

And so we were efficient. I could have invested more, as I said.

I guess I wish I would have moved even faster. We moved fast. People think, “Oh my god, you guys came out of nowhere. You’re in 35 countries.” But I would have even moved faster.

As I said, I would have had the technology … And I should have known on the technology part, because I ran a trading desk. So we had Bloomberg terminals and all kinds of sophistication where we could watch the markets on a tick-by-tick basis.

I should have had that from day one on this business. I should have been able to watch everything—every metric, every KPI from day one, and we didn’t.

Yuri:  That’s good. That’s really valuable stuff. So you’ve grown at a such great pace. Obviously marketing is involved in that, whether it’s word of mouth referral or getting the message out through technology or other means.

For you guys, what’s been one really effective marketing strategy that perhaps our listeners can employ in their business?

Joe:  I guess the best marketing strategy is just being true to what you stand for and making sure that consumers know that.

I have an open door. I have an open door to our entire consumer base, so I think consumers see it. I think they appreciate it, they recognize it, and it’s easy to become too corporate.

My door’s always been open. There are times I’ve gotten 2700 emails in a row and I’ve gotta answer them all myself, but I think that’s powerful.

I think it’s very authentic for the consumer.

Yuri:   That’s awesome.

And as the role of the head of the company, the CEO, the visionary, what does your day-to-day look like? What do you think a good visionary or a good CEO should be doing in the business, or for the business?

Joe:   Well, if you spoke to a lot of the people around me, they’d say, “Joe is way too tactical.” And I would say … I don’t know.

I’m heavily involved in the business. I don’t follow exact chains of command. Again, people would complain about that, but I just read an article—and I feel somewhat vindicated—from Elon Musk, where he talks about like … Kinda throw out the book on the corporate structure and the chain of command, and just make sure you get in touch with whoever you need to get in touch with to make the company better.

Everybody should be rowing in the same direction. That’s easier said than done, but as CEO, I try to just be involved everywhere and see exactly what’s going on, because you can quickly lose sight and lose your way.

It’s overwhelming. It’s 24/7, but I’m doing it from the top of a mountain, so … right?

Yuri:   That’s awesome. Beautiful.

Joe:   Yeah.

 Yuri:  And because you’re an entrepreneur at heart and you’ve been surrounded by so many … From your experience or from the people you’ve known, the other businesses that you’ve seen and respected, what do you think is the number one skill entrepreneurs must have for lasting success?

The day-to-day, hiring

Joe:   I think you’ve gotta be able to prioritize, because every day you’re gonna be dealing with fires, and it’s the fires that are about to burn the house down that are the ones you have to attend to.

I also learned, I read an article talking about Eisenhower, and he had this ability to focus not necessarily on the urgent things, but the important things.

I think we all tend to confuse urgent by being important, and that’s not necessarily the case. I think you gotta be able to prioritize because there’s only so many hours in the day, and you gotta be ticking off the things that really matter and are gonna 10x the business.

Yuri:   Sure. How do you help someone differentiate between the urgent and the important?

Let’s say they discover that there’s things that they’re doing that are urgent but not really important? How do you get them to start moving towards the important?

Is that bringing people around them, or using different technologies? What does that look like?

Joe:   I’m working on that. I have a knack for at least believing that I’m tackling the stuff that really should be tackled and prioritized, but it’s hard to share that with your company when a company gets bigger, and make that just part of everyday business.

When you figure that one out, let me know, because I’m working on that right now.

Yuri:   I’ll do my best, yeah. How big is Spartan Race employee-wise, or people that work within the company?

Joe:   I think we’re about 250 people now around the globe.

 Yuri:   Awesome. What advice or what tips can you give someone looking to build a team … maybe not to 250, but what are some kind of key things that you’re looking to check off as you’re building a team and creating culture within your organization?

 Joe:  You know, in the early days when we were launching, we hired anybody with a heartbeat.

They had to be able to work for low wages because we didn’t have the money. They had to be willing to work long hours, which sounds like Shackleton’s advertisement but it was true.

When I look back, in all the businesses but especially this one, where we hired people—all we could afford was $2000 a month. Didn’t matter. Two grand a month, everybody got the same.

You don’t get a big pool of people raising their hand and saying they wanna work for two grand a month, 20-hour days, seven days a week.

But it was people that were really passionate and believed in the mission. It didn’t matter that they didn’t have domain expertise in an area. If they were passionate and relentless and worked hard, you could teach the other stuff.

You get somebody that’s really smart, but they don’t have that passion and they’re not resilient and aggressive and gritty … Useless. So I would say, always go for the passionate people that just wanna get the job done.

Yuri:   Great advice. That’s awesome. So you’re kind of descending a mountain right now. Out of curiosity, what does an average day look like in the life of Joe De Sena?

Joe:  Well, it’s a lot of traveling. I just got to Vancouver, so I don’t know exactly, but it’s dropping …

So it actually starts out at like 4:00, 4:00 and change now, with the west coast time difference. So getting up at like 4:10. I got phone calls to start because it’s 7:00 am on the east coast, and then I gotta get my workout in. I gotta do the kids’ workout with them for an hour. I gotta drop the kids off for school, and I like to work out with my wife for an hour.

So, looks like I might be getting three hours of working out in. That should be nice when I’m not on the road, but 50% of the time I’m on the road and so it’s just planes, trains, automobiles and hotel workouts.

Yuri:   Yup. So morning time is still kinda the workout time. What does the rest of the day look like for you?

Joe:   Well, it’s non-stop email. 600 emails a day I’m dealing with. It’s phone calls. I was doing a conference call on the way up the mountain. I did a call at the top, then you called, got me on the way down.

Yuri:   Well, you’re being very efficient with it.

Joe:   Yeah. Probably annoying for the people climbing as well, around me.

The rapid-five questions

Yuri:   That’s funny. Awesome. Well Joe, this has been a lot of fun. So, you ready for the rapid five?

 Joe:   Let’s do it.

Yuri:   This is five rapid-fire questions. You have no idea what these are, I’m just gonna throw them at you. Whatever comes top of mind is the right answer, pretty much. So here we go.

Number one—what is your biggest weakness?

Joe:   My biggest weakness is my impatience.

Yuri:    Nice. Number two—what is your biggest strength?

Joe:    My biggest strength is my ability to withstand pain.

Yuri:   Yeah, no kidding. Hence the Spartan Race and the Death Race. Number three—one skill you’ve become dangerously good at in order to grow your business?

 Joe:   Prioritization.

Yuri:  Nice. I was gonna ask you, “What do you do first thing in the morning?” But you’ve already answered that, so let me ask you a different question. What has having kids taught you about business?

Joe:    It’s always gonna be tough. It’s never gonna get easy, ever.

Yuri:   That’s a good one. And finally, complete this sentence: “I know I’m being successful when …”

Joe:     I know I’m being successful when revenue’s coming in the door. All that matters is that we’ve got revenue coming in on a daily basis.

Yuri:   Sure, sure. I mean, otherwise your business can’t thrive, can’t exist.

Joe:     Yup.

Yuri:  That’s awesome. Well Joe, this has been a lot of fun.

I wanna thank you for taking the time to join me from the top of a mountain, literally, and for all the amazing work that you’ve done with Spartan, and what you continue to do to really help millions of people improve their health and get in great shape.

So I just wanted to share and express my gratitude for all the great work that you do, and for being here with us.

Joe:    Thanks for having me.

Yuri:   For sure. And finally, what is the best place for people to stay up to date with Spartan Race and maybe follow you online?

Joe:   Spartan.com is everything Spartan. You can go check out our podcast, Spartan Up. I think it’s spartanuppodcast.com. Something like that. And then, what else …

They can shoot me an email. [email protected]. Because I need more email.

And then, the other one is, I have a race coming up in Iceland on December 16th. It’s gonna be like the endurance world championships, and there’s $750 entries.

Let’s give away a half of dozen to your audience to motivate people. You pick them and then just tell me who you picked.

Yuri:   That would be awesome. 

Joe:   December 16th, Iceland. Yeah, tickets are super cheap to Iceland. They’ll save a ton of money because we’ll give them free entry and make it happen.

Yuri:   Beautiful. Joe, that’s awesome. We’ll make sure to promote the heck out of that. And again, we’ll do half a dozen—so we’ll do six lucky people.

If you want in, literally just email me or message me on Facebook and we’ll make this happen, because that would be an experience not to miss.

So there you have it, guys. The one and only Joe De Sena. Thank you so much, Joe. Climb safely down the mountain. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Joe:     Thanks so much. See you later.

Yuri:    Yup.


So there you have it, guys. Joe Desena from Spartan Race. The man who brought Spartan Race to the world, for the most part.

Hope you enjoyed this interview. It was a lot of fun chatting with him as he is scaling down the mountain out in Vancouver, British Columbia. So that’s the deal. That is what is going on.

So, couple housekeeping notes here. First and foremost, I want to give you a little challenge, and that is this. I think Joe’s a great example of being congruent with his message and what he does, and I wanna challenge you to ask yourself the same question. “Am I congruent? Do I walk the talk? Do I live what I preach?”

I’m sure you do, but if there are areas of inconsistency, that’s gonna show up. People are gonna pick up on that, so don’t lie. Don’t be false. Just be you. Be authentic, okay?


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What You Missed

If you work from home – especially with kids – then Episode 12 with Megan Buer is for you!

This episode is jam-packed with awesome wisdom nuggets, and great business tips.

Megan Buer, is the founder of a company called Harmony Restored. She focuses on helping individuals heal from the stress that is at the root of their physical and emotional pain.

She’s a certified Emotion Code Practitioner, author of two books on healing, a Reiki healer, and a mom to three. After suffering for years with anxiety, panic disorder, chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, and an autoimmune disease—she then spent ten years researching to figure out the unique tools that she needed to heal herself.

Get a notepad ready and enjoy listening to this power-packed episode.