- Inspiring Startups
Kamal Mamedov - From a uni drop out to coaching his students to make thousands a month ...
Kamal Mamedov is an entrepreneur, a gym owner and an influencer who also teaches his students how to become a successful paid influencer, through his Instagram Influencer Blueprint course.
After dropping out of university within the first 8 months of his Sports Science degree, Kamal has dedicated his life to creating a successful fitness business, whilst becoming an instagram influencer and inspiring people to take action in pursuit of their dreams.
In this interview, we chat with Kamal on how his entrepreneurial journey began, how he is inspiring others to chase after their goals and teaching his students how to monetise their social media and spread their message into the world.
Tell us a bit about your businesses?
Fortitude Fitness is my main baby, it's where everything stems from. My best friend and I, who I’ve met through college, have actually started the business as a mobile sports massage therapy service. Fast forward to today and we are currently finishing building our new 8,500 sq ft facility which is costing us just shy of £500,000.
The new facility will not only have state of the art equipment, incredible lighting and and a Combat Zone, but our biggest focus being the community - we have created a Creators’ Studio. It’s a large space where people can not only socialise, but create and edit content whilst relaxing on the beanbags, or bar stools whilst their laptops are connected to ultra-fast data cables provided; and while their youtube videos are uploading, they can indulge themselves in a game of pool. Our very first gym has allowed me to create myself an eco-system to not only grow physically and mentally, but expand my outreach on my social media as a result of social media friendly facilities and ethos. Once I’ve discovered the systems to create a guaranteed income via my Instagram, I’ve created the InstagramInfluencerBlueprint course to teach my fellow influencers exactly what they need to do to monetise their instagram. This knowledge has also allowed me to become a successful online fitness coach, which I may well teach other people on how to do the same one day. Why did you start Fortitude Fitness? Fortitude Fitness was originally just myself and a group of 4 friends I’ve bonded with at college, which started as a result of combined passion for fitness and content creation. How did you start it? Did you have any previous experience as an entrepreneur? Fortitude Fitness has evolved into its first brick and mortar business when I’ve approached a martial arts academy, which also had a small 3000 sq ft gym facility (where I didn’t my work experience at school) with the intention of hiring a room to provide sports massage services.
A year down the line, the opportunity presented itself to take over their underperforming gym and make it our own and of course we did what any naive and passionate young person would do and take this project on! The only experience I’ve had as an entrepreneur was countless self-development books and youtube videos I would religiously read and watch daily, which has had a profound effect on the growth of our business. How did you validate your idea? Fortitude was a business born out of passion and self-belief. I remember the day we were labouring for our old landlord’s gym within the martial arts academy and after expressing our distaste to working countless hours for almost non reward, he said “Well why don’t you take the gym over then? You’ll have to deal with managing the labour and you’ll have all the money that the gym produces” and in that moment I still recall my mind racing through a million thoughts, but my mouth having a mind of it’s own and saying “YEAH let’s do it!”. One of my favourite quotes springs to mind - "An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down." How did you finance your project? The first gym was a combination of our personal money and a £2000 loan. The gym we’re currently building is funded by a mixture of investors, loans and our personal income. How did you market and promote your business when you were launching? What was the most effective strategy? How did you get your first customers? The gym business was launched entirely via social media and word-of-mouth. Creating the best customer experience and getting those customers to share how great their experience was has been a huge growth factor. You have also developed your personal brand (Life of Kamal). How do you use and leverage social media/digital marketing for your business? My LifeofKamal instagram was on around 13,000 followers when we’ve launched our first gym, which was enough to give us the presence our competition wouldn’t have the access to, but with great presence comes great responsibility. So I’ve spent a lot of time on curating all the knowledge I’ve had on fitness, paired with the marketing strategies to increase our presence here in Ipswich.
How long did it take you to see you could create a viable business? Since our first gym didn’t have any large liabilities (apart from our landlord’s the rent fee and the £2000 loan) we have managed to break even within the first 3 months. The online businesses I’ve built all took less than a month to break even. What are the main ways in which you are able to monetise your businesses? Fortitude Fitness is a membership based system. You’ll also find that when you pay business rates based on the square footage of your building, you have to get in the mindset of capitalising on all the spaces you have - renting out office spaces/training grounds, offering refreshments via vending machines, etc. LifeofKamal is also monetised in multiple ways such as affiliation marketing, paid collaborations, merchandise sales, flipping and many more, which is something that I share within the InstagramInfluencerBlueprint What are the most useful tools/platforms that you use for your business? Timer - whenever I create my schedule, I would estimate the time it would take for me to complete the task and when I begin said task I would turn the timer on to avoid procrastination. So if I know it usually takes me 30 minutes to create an e-mail campaign, before I begin the task I’d put the timer on for 30 mins and not let anything get in the way of that task, including myself.
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur? The freedom and fulfilment. The freedom setting my own schedule, knowing I’m reverse engineering the path to my goals and the fulfilment knowing the positive impact I’m having on others in the process.
What has been your biggest challenge/failure as an entrepreneur? And how do you deal with that? Company culture at Fortitude Fitness is extremely important, and to be completely clinical - quality control. You’ll end up having a lot of tough conversations when you get into business, many of which you wouldn’t want to have. I remember the first month we took over our first gym and I saw a group of guys making comments towards a lady who was out of shape. In that moment I’ve immediately approached that group of people and invited them to leave the gym should they continue doing anything than uplifting the people around them. Could we afford to lose members at the time? No, but was the company ethos more important? Yes! I could present countless examples us installing our company ethos into the members and the employees, whether it’s the messages we put out on our social media, banning creepy members or dealing with underperforming staff.
The biggest take away from it all is perspective - get in the mindset that even the bad things aren’t happening to you, they’re happening for you. Challenges and failures are just an opportunity for growth, which will in turn build an immunity for future challenges. What are your business goals for this coming year? The biggest goal is to launch our new gym in the middle of this global pandemic outbreak. I’m also aiming to create an immersion course for a small mastermind group to help my students have a huge income and impact as an instagram influencer and an online fitness coach. How can an aspiring entrepreneur start building a business in the fitness space now? What would be a good business type and the best steps to take as a beginner? The path has already been carved for you, all you have to do is follow the people that are already successful in your field - this applies to all business types. Expanding your knowledge in sales and marketing is a must as it’s always the driving force of scaling your business. If you can, start a business with a minimal investment or capital. Years ago I've started my LifeofKamal personal brand by posting a photo on instagram, and now I make thousands as a result of this. If I knew what I knew and teach today, then I’d have made those thousands much sooner. So if you want the compound effect to work in your favour, act fast.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur? Rising before 5am and getting more done before 9am than most people get done in their entire day. What's your favourite quote? You are not who you think you are, you are who you think people think you are.
Any good book(s) to recommend to an aspiring entrepreneur?
I’ve read hundreds so it’s hard to pick, but these 3 are the ones I wish I read sooner:
1. The 5am Club by Robin Sharma
2. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
3. Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
To learn more about Kamal Mamedov, Fortitude Fitness and the Instagram Influencer Blueprint:
Instagram Influencer Blueprint
Life of Kamal
Life of Kamal Instagram
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