What you are about to read is a true American Dream success story, but first I must give you this warning:
Our featured success story, Rommel Acda, is a fitness expert, and at times, he refers to fitness-specific successes.
However, that doesn’t mean that YOU can’t learn something from someone OUTSIDE your industry.
In fact, by looking outside your industry or niche market, you can actually find your BEST ideas.
So keep an open mind, and get ready to discover how a fitness expert built his website business – and how he used his online success to boost his “real world” business as well.
Craig: Hey Rommel, great to hear from you again. Now I know most of your story, but for our readers, let’s start with a brief background of your situation, how long you’ve been building your web business, what your niche market is, and how you got into this “crazy online world”.
I started up my own personal training company, Element 5 Fitness, in 2007, and in 2008 I was starting to get a little frustrated in the sense that I still had a job, and wasn’t a business owner.
I realized I was still trading time for money and wasn’t really growing, mainly because I was inefficient with my time and wasn’t leveraging other resources.
I had been following your work online since 2005 I believe, or maybe even earlier and your emails were always motivating and resonated with me.
Then all of a sudden you had a seminar on building a web business, about how you became successful with Turbulence Training and how we could do the same with our niche product.
I’ve officially been online since November 2009. My niche market targets the very busy person from the busy business executive to real estate agents and busy moms. I’ve been able to target them online through my product offering of simple 10 minute workout routines that can be done at home, their gym, or on travels.
My current online monthly income fluctuates from $500-$900 per month, which is small compared to some of our friends, but to me it’s a huge win in regards to being able to hire an admin assistant, and put my 1 year old in full time daycare without worry.
I simply wanted to get my feet wet in the online platform, and I’m still having fun with my personal training company so it works out great. However, my short term goal is to first
bring that to a 50/50 ratio, and ultimately to a 90% online, 10% offline ratio.
Craig: Great to hear about your progress. So what freedom and lifestyle benefits has this given you?
It’s given me the freedom to create more programs for Element 5 Fitness, and for my online product Fit In A Hurry.
It’s also give me freedom to hire more employees, and outsource mundane tasks.
A huge benefit this has created so far is signing a book publishing deal as a co-author for a new fitness book coming out this year. This was exactly one of my goals last year, and I’m very happy it’s come to fruition.
The biggest benefit is that it’s freed up more time in the evenings for me to spend quality time with my family. I no longer get home at 8pm. My day is officially done by 1pm. This is huge for me!
Craig: Nice. Congratulations on the book, too. So what were the most important things you have done “right” in your online journey to your success?
What I have done “right” is to stick to a schedule and get rid of the B.S. in my head of thinking I need to wait for the situation or timing to be “just right”.
People need to understand their product will NEVER be perfect for any launch or offering.
There’s always going to be something that a customer will criticize, but the key is to keep your product evolving.
An underutilized tool is consistently surveying clients, readers, for solutions to evolve your product.
But in going back to the subject of sticking to a schedule, I make a list of action items then rate it “A” for absolutely needs to be done today, and “B” for can be done tomorrow or later in the week. I sometimes have “C” items just to keep me from forgetting an important action item that doesn’t need to be tended to for a couple weeks.
This is nothing new, but it keeps a consistent flow of progress and discipline for me.
Craig: I’m big on that type of scheduling as well. So what lessons have you learned in terms of things you wouldn’t do again, or wouldn’t recommend to others just getting started?
I recommend people doing enough research in their niche to see if their product is just going to be another “me too” product.
And if it is, then what gaps can your offering fill in, or discover another hook that the other products haven’t explored?
In addition, not laying out a solid plan of action items and exact dates of when they need to be executed is going to kill all the motivation from your project and you’ll never get it done. I’ve been there.
Craig: What were the big mindset changes that helped you make progress? And any advice to others on getting through “the dips” where things were really frustrating?
Big mindset changes that helped me propel forward was to first recognize the B.S. excuses such as “Man, I’m just feeling like I need to wind down a bit so I’ll get to that part of the project tomorrow”.
Every time any kind of thought like that comes to mind I would actually write that down in my journal (another huge tool), then put a big line or X across of it to eliminate that lazy behavior, which then gets me motivated to take action towards completing whatever task needed to be completed for my success.
Something about the physicality of writing that thought down and crossing it out works for me though.
However, my biggest advice for getting through “the dips” is the advice you’ve given me in regards to putting myself through a “lockout”.
For those of you who don’t already know a “lockout” is simply locking yourself in a conference room, hotel room, or whatever environment you feel comfortable in, and simply taking yourself away from all distractions in order to just get your s**t done!
Nowadays I put myself through a scheduled lockout every 3 months, but there have been many, many times this past year that I’ve had to put myself through an impromptu lockout especially when I feel I’m getting stuck and I’m on the verge of a major breakthrough whether it’s for my business or personal goals.
My lockouts have lasted anywhere from 4-8 hours, and I know some people have even lasted a whole weekend, but the important thing is to not give up and leave the environment until you have finalized your blueprint.
Craig: Nice, I really like this.
I cannot explain how gratifying lockouts are to your overall psyche and path to success, and how shocked I am to hear that most people don’t apply this tool in their life.
In addition, when you decide to do a lockout I recommend you don’t bring any technology into the room such as cell phones, or laptops. I recommend a dry erase board, or whatever non-techie tools you need to draw out your plan of attack.
Craig: Awesome. Really proud of you on that one, and thanks for sharing real world tips. That’s going to help our readers. Now were there any big “a-ha” moments when you felt like you were really breaking through?
Yes, and most of it was a result of the lockouts. However, I’ve also had breakthroughs when I was more consistent with emails to my list.
Constant communication through email was huge due to reader feedback that I could utilize to further help that reader or a future prospect.
Maintaining a pulse with your list is key. This is evident in what I mentioned earlier with surveying your list.
Craig: Ok, so finally, do you have any networking, outsourcing, or technical tips that might make it easier for InternetIndependence.com readers?
I like to keep things simple with my networking. If there’s someone I feel I definitely need to create an affiliation with, then my offerings are always “How can I help you be more successful?” first.
It’s the whole “Know you, Like You, Trust You” analogy.
Seriously though, with networking you just need to be persistent but respectful. For example, I communicated with an affiliate for about 3-months with no real progress before getting a yes, and now it’s a great relationship.
For outsourcing, I’ve asked my network for referrals and finally hired a guy from India who built my website and blog for an amazing price (roughly 1/4th of what I would have payed locally), and I got exactly what I asked for.
I think everyone here reading has already heard of outsourcing, so all I have to say is find a way to outsource all the mundane tasks already.
By the time your done thinking about how to do this, or try to learn how to do that, you probably wasted 3-4 hours of your precious time when you could have paid someone to do it.
For example, I figured my time is worth $150 per hour. For me to learn some new technical task, let’s say with my website, it used to take me an average of 3-4 hours.
That just cost me up to $600 of my time, when I could have outsourced it at 10% of that value, and used my time either to create higher value projects or better yet used that precious time to spend with my family. Think about it.
For technical tips, I like to keep this simple as well. For my blog, I’ve made sure to add the “tweet this post”, and the Facebook “like me” buttons. It keeps it simple for my readers to share.
For my videos, I created templates in iMovie so that when I upload videos it takes me less than 10 minutes to pump them out.
I’d like to note though, that I actually enjoy editing my own videos, but if this is a task you feel is mundane then definitely have your admin take care of this or outsource this.
Craig: Thanks Rommel for all these tips. What’s your site for folks interested in learning more about you?
Alright, as you can see all the tips Rommel gave may have used his fitness business in the examples, but could be applied to any website business.
Take his time management lockout tip, his outsourcing suggestions, and “fill the gap in the marketplace” idea, and apply them to your market today.
Thanks again to Rommel, and if you have a success story, let me know about it on the blog so we can feature you in the future.
Self-reliance and personal responsibility will set you free.