What’s up, Healthpreneurs! Today, I am chatting with Pat Rigbsy, a long-time connection and original gangster when it comes to online fitness businesses. Pat has built over 25 businesses in the fitness industry, has authored or coauthored 11 bestselling books, and helps health and fitness entrepreneurs build their dream business. Amazingly, he has also written a daily newsletter – without missing a day – for 11 years. As in 1-1. Yup, you read that right.
Pat’s entrepreneurial journey lead him to be owner and often operating CEO of multiple businesses at once. But knowing himself and his potential, he knew he wasn’t giving his best to any single one of them. This led Pat to learn valuable lessons on the power of saying “no,” the need for consistency to give and operate at your very best, and the value of relationship-based business building.
He has since become a writing-wizard and happily shares his wisdom with coaching clients that want to make an impact while living their best life. We’re going to talk about the critical differences between physical and online-based businesses, narrowing your audience, consistency, expectations, and how Pat has built – and kept – lasting business relationships for nearly decades. There are fundamental lessons for any entrepreneur in this episode. You won’t want to miss it.
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In this episode, Pat and I discuss:
- “The Consistency Factor”
- Narrowing your audience for an online business
- Setting expectations: An online biz as a “virtual second location”
- Saying NO in order to give your very best
- Relationship-building as a key business model
- Pat’s newsletter that he’s written every day for 11 years
1:00 – 5:00 – Introduction and consistency as an attribute to every successful person
5:00 – 10:00 – The power of consistency; setting expectations and celebrating small successes
10:00 – 13:00 – Being ready to go through a proven process, there are no short-cuts
13:00 – 17:30 – Common mistakes people make when moving to an online business model
17:30 – 23:00 – Skillsets necessary to succeed online: The Consistency Factor and narrowing
23:00 – 28:30 – The struggle to say “no,” establishing guardrails, and relationship-building
28:30 – 32:00 – The writing process, gathering content, and finding inspiration everywhere
32:00 – 39:00 – The Rapid Five
What You Missed:
Having had Dr. Daniel Stickler on the podcast is exciting for me because he is truly making strides towards creating a healthier future. He is super honest and open about his failures and weaknesses, and reveals how he moved past them and onto the sweet road of success. He has tons of experience and thousands upon thousands of dollars invested in lessons learned.
We discussed the challenges he faced being a doctor with zero business or marketing experience, and explored the most effective ways to get in front of your market and communicate so they’ll listen. Whether you’re a new Healthpreneur just learning the ropes or a seasoned professional, there are a lot of lessons that Daniel has learned that’ll benefit you and your business.
You’ll want to tune in to this episode for some wisdom-bombs that could save you money and time.
Healthpreneurs, welcome back to the show. Today you are going to meet one of the original gangsters, and I say gangster in the nicest way possible. Our guest today is Pat Rigbsy.
I’ve known Pat loosely since I started online back in 2006. He was one of the first people I was aware of building a fitness business, specifically online, so he’s been around for a long time. His wife Holly and I know each other. Holly also does some great stuff with her online fitness business.
I’m excited to feature Pat in today’s episode.
Pat is a business coach who helps health and fitness entrepreneurs build their ideal business. He’s built over 25 businesses himself in the fitness industry, including two Entrepreneur Franchise 500 award-winning franchises and a three-time Inc 5,000 company, and he’s also authored or co-authored 11 different bestselling books.
Not too bad, right? One of the cool things he’ll mention in this episode is that he has written a daily newsletter for fitness entrepreneurs for over 11 years without missing a single day. Talk about consistency. That’s incredible.
He’ll share some of the most important and fundamental lessons that he’s discovered over this amazing journey. They are fundamental traits and attributes necessary for building a successful business and life.
It’s going to be another great episode. With that said, let’s welcome Pat Rigbsy on to the show.
Welcome to the Healthpreneur Podcast, Pat. How’s it going?
Pat: It’s going great. I’m excited to be here.
Yuri: I’m excited to have you because you are one of the original gangsters. You’ve been in this game for a long, long time. Many people in this space fizzle out, and I’ve realized over time that longevity is a huge asset.
I want to commend you and your wife, Holly, for all the amazing work you’ve done since I’ve known you. You two have been at this for a long time, which means that you’re doing something that’s making a difference in people’s lives.
“The Consistency Factor”
Pat: I appreciate that a great deal, and I know Holly does as well. I think one of the hallmarks of the people I see doing well is that they have an element of consistency to them. They keep showing up and trying to do good work consistently, and over time it pays off. That’s not one of the hacks or tricks anybody tends to talk about, but if I look at the people that I admire and have made a real difference, they’ve all shown up and done meaningful things consistently.
Yuri: Yes. It reminds me of the Babe Ruth analogy. You could strike out 1,000 times and hit one home run – maybe that’s that one product or service that catches wildfire – or you could do things consistently, like singles or doubles, so every time you’re up for bat you make a difference over time.
In your experience, is consistency a learned skill or something that is inherent in a lot of people?
Pat: It’s a little bit of both. I don’t want that to be a cop out answer, but I think that, along the way, we all learn that showing up and doing things over and over tends to pay off. We all understand the concept of habits.
I was a college baseball coach before I got into the entrepreneurial stuff, and I think anybody who was involved in sports during their upbringing understands that you must show up and do the work every day if you want to perform on the field. If you’re going to be a great student you must show up, do good work in class, and pay attention to get a positive outcome when it comes to a test or report card.
It would be hard for me to say that we’re born with that, but I think that it’s something that we’re exposed to very early on in life. We get into trouble when we deviate from these fundamentals and look for a shortcut without seeing that a shortcut might just augment fundamentals, not replace them.
You, Holly or I, or any of the other great entrepreneurs that you’ve had the opportunity to spend time with on this podcast are always looking for ways to be more effective, efficient, and accelerate the process. But we do that in conjunction with great work and consistency, and we make sure we’re doing all the fundamentals to have an impact and run a successful business.
Yuri: I notice that if someone is a trainer, nutritionist, doctor, or technician, and they’re good at what they do, they start running a business and need to take on a whole new skill set. In some cases, they’ll have a product or an idea, set up a sales page, it won’t work, and they’ll become disheartened and discouraged. This leads down a road of inconsistency with the things that make them successful.
How do you get someone through the little failures time and time again so they stay consistent enough to succeed?
Setting expectations and celebrating small successes
Pat: I default to a couple things. First, I set realistic expectations and an understanding that nobody’s great the first time they try something. You must be willing to be bad at something before you’ll ever be great at it.
Set realistic expectations early on about what success looks like and what a win would look like. Getting a page up or getting a product out could be a success because you finally broke through and finished something when many people just leave it in the idea stage. If you’ve finished something, maybe that is a victory. Setting realistic expectations and building on them in a small, cumulative way is the first thing I look at.
Second, I connect anything that I ask somebody to do, anybody I’m coaching, to a new task, project, or activity I have experience in so I’ve got a frame of reference. That way, I’ve got a realistic way to view and understand it. If you’re a great technician, be it as a personal trainer, chiropractor, or whatever else, you didn’t start day one of your certification or school and say, “I’m ready to be world-class at my chosen profession.”
You had to accept that there was a process to go through, and you didn’t get to circumvent the process to get to where you wanted to go.
I ask if they are willing to go through a process. Yes, we can expedite it because they don’t have to figure it all out on their own. I help with that. But I ask if they are willing to go through the process to get to where they’re trying to go, or if they’re just trying to jump to the outcome. If they’re trying to jump to the outcome, they’re setting themselves up for disappointment.
Yuri: Great advice. Patience and persistence are so valuable for success and fulfillment in a business.
Pat: Let me add one other thing. So many people that come to me are trying to go online. I always phrase it as their “virtual second location.”
My logic is that I always want them to understand that they must treat it with the same focus, allocation of time, resources and care that they did their first location. If they’re not willing to make that commitment, the odds of it being tremendously successful are almost non-existent. By saying it that way, it resonates well.
Yuri: That makes sense. When people think of an online business, they don’t think of it with the same degree of seriousness. They think, “Hey, I’m just going to whip up a website and start making money.” It’s probably more challenging to make money online than it is offline. That’s a nice perspective shift.
From your experience working with a lot of coaching clients, what do you think are some mistakes or common trends people tend to fall into?
Common mistakes people make when moving to an online business model
Pat: People often don’t understand the benefits they have offline, so they default to those same bad habits online. For example, a personal trainer offline has the luxury, in many cases, of having recurring revenue. Somebody walks in, signs up for an annual or monthly program, and they suddenly have recurring revenue. They don’t have to be great at marketing.
They don’t have to be great at client acquisition. They can run a solid sustainable business with sporadic marketing, and some mediocre referrals because they don’t have to have that many people to have a healthy small business.
Compare that to a business that needs thousands of customers every month to survive, like a traditional retail business, and there are some advantages to this training-based business.
Another thing people often ignore is the fact that physical businesses have a very specific local target market. To gain traction online, they must do the same thing. Locally , they can cast a broader net for who their ideal client is by demographic, goal, pain point, or whatever, because they have a built-in niche. Even just the convenience of getting there makes a difference.
No matter how good someone in Arizona is, I’m not going to train with them three days a week from Louisville, Kentucky. They have that built in, but I don’t think they recognize that. They’ll say, “I want to sell a fat loss product online because that’s what I do locally. I’m really great with fat loss clients.” I’ll ask, “How can we distill that down to a more targeted person? You’re really great with fat loss clients in Middletown, Kentucky but since we don’t have the luxury of just having Middletown, how can we narrow that even further?”
You must consistently get out there to grow an audience, market, and build a following, and narrow the focus on who you’re going to serve. Not doing those two things is something I see almost every time I get somebody who wants coaching or has come through a course and want to get their first product up online. They almost always fall into one, if not both, of those two traps.
Yuri: I’ve fallen into that trap myself. When I started online, I loved working with soccer players and athletes. That was my bread and butter offline. Online I thought I’d just serve everyone. That was an uphill battle. I wouldn’t recommend it. Stay niche.
Specifically, for online entrepreneurs, what are one or two skillsets necessary to succeed in this competitive space?
Skillsets necessary to succeed online: The Consistency Factor and narrowing
Pat: We already talked about The Consistency Factor. When anybody talks to me about doing Facebook Live, podcasting, or any other marketing approach, the people who do best are the ones that constantly do it every day.
We can look back to the beginning of the fitness online entrepreneur landscape at guys like Mike Geary. They weren’t just running Google AdWords two days a week. They weren’t running them for a week and shutting them off for three.
They showed up consistently, kept fine-tuning things, and improved upon their approach. They put out articles to improve their traction, be it from an SEO standpoint or to provide great content for affiliates over and over.
I spoke with Lewis Howes last week. I interviewed him on my podcast, and was in his office when he said, “When I started my podcast, I committed to doing one year, regardless of how it went. I committed to doing one year.” I see that so often with people.
The people who do well pin their ears back and use that consistency to their advantage. They know they’re getting so many more repetitions than everybody else, so they’re bound to improve.
I think that is paramount. When somebody asks if they should use Facebook Live, I remind them that the successful people on Facebook Live aren’t showing up once a week. They’re showing up four, five, six day, even multiple times a day, every week. They’re gaining that snowball effect, that critical mass, and they’re also learning and improving. They’re getting feedback.
The second thing to understand is that you must start narrow. You must start narrow because you can go broader locally because you’re just narrowed by geography. It’s just there.
Think about this podcast. This information will be valuable to any entrepreneur who’s moving online, no doubt, but you’ve narrowed it to health and fitness-focused entrepreneurs so you can speak specifically to them.
That’s so much of what I’ve done in the business coaching landscape. The stuff that I do would be valuable to a financial planner, restaurant owner, or whoever else, but I can’t speak specifically to them and gain enough attraction.
If I water down my message, it’s not meaningful enough to gain or maintain somebody’s attention.
Narrowing is a big deal. People fear missing out if they narrow.
My wife, Holly, launched Fit Yummy Mummy, an info product-based business in 2007. She just focused on busy moms who wanted to work out at home. That’s it. If she would have said, “I need to be able to reach every woman,” she would have instantly watered down the message, it wouldn’t have had nearly as much meaning, and she wouldn’t have gotten as much traction.
You already touched on it how tough it is online. The competitive landscape is so different. Typically, as a personal trainer, you don’t have competitors in your market spending $20,000-40,000 a day on advertising, right?
Pat: So if you’re going to win, win by being the best solution for a very specific audience.
Yuri: Great advice. Narrowing down and being consistent. I’m happy you said that. Many people want to hear the latest tactic. None of that stuff matters if you’re not consistent with it or if you’re not narrow enough in your message and audience to speak to someone in a meaningful way.
In your own entrepreneurial journey, looking back at when you started and where you are today, what is one big challenge or series of challenges that you had to overcome? What did you learn from that?
The struggle to say “no,” establishing guardrails, and relationship-building
Pat: The biggest obstacle that I’ve encountered, is one I created for myself. The entrepreneurial gene I have made it a battle to say no.
It was a battle to say no to things I thought had potential, speaking engagements where I might’ve been able to get in front of the right people, or business opportunities with a better track record that I had. The more success I had, the more opportunities presented themselves that would’ve been over the moon years ago. Saying yes to too many things made it so that I wasn’t giving my best effort, or the needed focus to any one thing. At that point, you can’t do it at the level that you should or could.
Looking back, I’ve owned over 30 businesses in the fitness, health, and sports industries. In some instances, I’d not only be an owner but the functional CEO in about a dozen of them at once. At the time, I’m sure I was thinking, “I’m doing fine. I’m working hard. I’m moving things forward,” but in hindsight, I was never able to give my full professional attention to any one of them. I think I could have been two or three times better had they had that, and it’s a battle I still face today.
I’ve established guardrails that help me. It’s like a decision-filter for what I’m willing to do, what I’m not willing to do, and what’s a fit. I think that’s a challenge because saying yes to okay things is the enemy of doing great work.
Yuri: Totally. It’s a challenge especially for us in the health space because a lot of us are people-pleasers. We want to serve and help others and have a tough time saying no. I can relate to that and I’m sure a lot of listeners can, too. You’re not alone, my friend.
What do you think has been the number one factor for your success?
Pat: Relationship-based marketing and business.
I’ve written a daily newsletter for 11 years and haven’t missed a day. I see it as sending a note to my friends to make their business, life, and day a little bit better. I just show up and try to treat people well, add value to them professionally and, because we are small business owners, there’s carryover to personal value as well.
If there’s anything that stands out, it’s the relationships. I have people that have been customers and clients of mine since 2006 that are still around. I’ve got relationships with colleagues and friends from as early as late 2004, and some of them have turned into successful, lucrative, and fun opportunities to grow our businesses in tandem.
I understand that when I talk about things like consistency and relationships, it’s not the shiny object or the tactical stuff. But I think that makes all the shiny object and tactical stuff infinitely more valuable.
Yuri: I completely agree. That’s one of the biggest things that I’ve realized. The inflection point of my business was when I said, “I’m going to get away from the computer and actually meet people in person.” You can’t take that away.
No matter what happens in your business, you always have those relationships, assuming you treat them well.
I want to talk about the newsletter that you’ve written daily for 11 years. People must be thinking, “Oh my God. I don’t even want to write once a week.”
How do you come up with ideas and content to write an email for your audience every single day?
The writing process, gathering content, and finding inspiration everywhere
Pat: I think it’s easier to write daily than once a week. If we write once a week, we feel like it must be perfect. You think, “This is going to be my connection to my audience. I’ve got to make this great.” For me, doing it daily takes some of the pressure off. If it’s not the best thing I ever wrote, well, I get another shot tomorrow.
Any of us that are in a service-based world have enough experiences to know that, if we’re observant, there are always things to write about. I always leverage the time I spend with a client, Mastermind group, or Facebook group for one of my coaching programs, to see what people are asking there. I’ll try to answer those questions or provide some insight.
But I also know that they’re not alone in asking that, so I’ll try to share it with a broader audience. If I’m reading things, I’m making observations about things that happen outside of the fitness industry and how they transfer into the industry so I can share that. I approach the newsletter knowing that my goal is to share just one idea, one thought, that makes somebody’s day a little bit better and helps them move one step closer to their goal.
There’s no pressure to write the best article that ever existed about customer service. It might just be one idea to improve a client experience, or a story that may drive a point home. If you’re observant, it’s everywhere. Everywhere around you is the potential for something to share with your audience, be it a newsletter or a Facebook Live video.
You must be observant, and you must document. I carry a little notepad with me everywhere and if I don’t have it I’ll jot it down in the notes on my phone. The biggest challenge I have is not writing three a day because I’ve got more than enough topics to write about. But how much does somebody want to see me in their inbox?
Yuri: That’s awesome. That could also be leveraged if someone wanted to do Facebook Live. They could take those same topics and do a video if they wanted to. I love how you talked about extracting life. There are so many things that happen to us daily that can apply to someone else. Good stuff, Pat.
You ready for the rapid five?
The Rapid Five
Pat: I’m ready. I’m a little anxious since I don’t know what I’m getting into here, but we’ll work through it.
Yuri: Oh yeah. It’s murky water here. Number one, what is your biggest weakness?
Pat: The ever-constant inner tug-of-war about saying no to opportunities.
Yuri: Cool. Number two, what is your biggest strength?
Yuri: That’s probably the most popular answer out of all the people we’ve interviewed. It’s like 85-90%. That emotional intelligence, that connection, it’s huge for us entrepreneurs.
Number three, what’s one skill you’ve become dangerously good at to grow your business?
Pat: Writing. I was an awful writer. In fact, if I told any of my English teachers that I’ve written a dozen books and write a daily newsletter, they would be mortified.
Yuri: Repetitions. That’s where it’s at.
Number four, what do you do first thing in the morning?
Pat: I do some sort of physical activity. I get a quick drink then do something to get moving. It might be pulling a sled or walking on the treadmill.
Yuri: Sweet. Finally, complete this sentence: I know I’m being successful when…
Pat: I’m happy.
Yuri: There you have it. Awesome, Pat. Thank you so much. This has been a lot of fun. I know the listeners will get a lot of value out of your wisdom. What is the best place for our listeners to follow you online?
Pat: PatRigbsy.com is where it all starts if somebody wants to check out that daily newsletter, or connect with me through any of the social media channels that I hang out on.
Yuri: Perfect. Pat, once again, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. It’s always great to connect with someone who’s done such great work for our industry, and I know our audience will appreciate this.
Pat: Thank you for having me. It’s been my pleasure.
What an amazing guy, right? I want to go back to that 11 years of writing a daily newsletter. That is impressive. Consistency in what you do is so important.
Bruce Lee said something like, “I’m not afraid of the man who can do a thousand kicks one time. I’m afraid of the man who does one kick a thousand times.” It’s that repetition, that consistency, that forms grooves in our nervous system.
When we’re repetitively do specific movements as athletes, it ingrains into our brain and nervous system. The same thing happens in business and daily life.
It’s those daily actions – getting up early, writing one page a day, shooting one Facebook Live video a day, creating a message that’ll attract your ideal client or support your clients – that build up and make a big, big difference.
I’ll share one of the most powerful habits that I’ve built into my life that has made all the difference for me. It’s committing to getting up early. You see, I’ve gone through peaks and valleys of getting up early and then sometimes sleeping in. The struggle has always been that I love getting up early, but hate getting out of bed.
If you can relate, you know what it’s all about. But here’s the thing: I wrote all three of my published books in the span of five months. The way I did that was by waking up at 5:00 and writing from 5:00 until 7:00 every single day for a combined total of five months.
Other people might have to leave their businesses, find a cabin in the woods, and lock themselves in there for months to write a book. For me, that never made sense because I had a business to run at the same time. Having those extra two hours in the morning just for writing was huge.
I kept that up for about two years, fell off the bandwagon, and about eight months ago I recommitted to it. I needed a bigger reason why, and I recognized that I was simply a better human being when I got up early.
Now, I wake up at 5:45-6:00. A new Starbucks just opened close to where I live, and it’s a perfect Starbucks for work. It’s built for people who want to work outside the house. It’s great. I get there first thing in the morning at 6:00 when they open, and do my most important work from 6:00 until 8:00 in the morning, seven days a week.
That’s 60 extra hours I’ve created for myself in my month. That’s more than 720 hours per year. Just imagine how much amazing magic you can create in that time. What I do in the mornings might vary. I might be writing ad copy, emails, or working on strategy, but the most important things that I need to work on happen first thing in the morning. Even if the rest of the day was a write-off, that first two hours were magic time.
That’s the big thing for me in terms of consistency that’s made all the difference. So, what’s your thing? What’s your consistent habit that you’re building, or want to build? I want to challenge you and I want to encourage you to stick to that because it does make a difference over time.
Speaking of habits and building success, we’ve got a great training. If you haven’t attended yet, I strongly recommend you do so if you want to grow a business that predictably attracts your best, most perfect, high-paying clients that are happy to work with you, and you want to work with them closely without doing one-on-one coaching, to impact them at a deep level while building a very profitable and enjoyable business.
I’ll walk you through the whole four-step business model called the Perfect Client Pipeline inside this training. Learn all about it over at HealthpreneurGroup.com/training. It’s completely free to attend, and you’ll find it very useful.
Pat and I had a lot of fun bringing this to you. Go out there and continue to be great, do great, and I’ll see you next week.
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