As a solopreneur, one of the first “business” decisions I had to make was whether or not to actually go into business for myself. Being an entrepreneur had never been in my plans, let alone running a one-person company.
In fact, up to that point, I was more than happy in my day job. Yet, there I was. Facing a cross-country move, which made it a perfect time to start a new career. A career that I could do anywhere. A career that I had actually dreamt of for quite some time. Becoming a freelance writer.
I was excited, yet scared. I didn’t know a thing about business ownership, which meant that I’d have lots of obstacles to overcome. Though I felt pretty alone during this process, I now realize that I’m not the only one who has faced a career change that, while unexpected, in the end, it turned out for the better.
That’s why I felt a sort of kinship with Marc Megna, owner of Anatomy Fitness and author of Dream Big, Never Quit. Reading his book, I learned that, since the time he was a young boy, he had always dreamt of playing football for the NFL. That was the only thing he ever wanted in life, and after much hard work and dedication, he finally achieved his goal. That is, until a back injury ended his career and left him wondering where to go from there.
Though I won’t share his entire journey—you’ll have to read his truly inspirational book to see how much grit and determination Marc had to dig up to see his dreams come to fruition—in the end, he found his new path, which involves being co-owner of Anatomy Fitness in Miami Beach, Florida.
Recently, I got the opportunity to interview Marc to ask him about his experience transitioning from NFL player to business owner. My goal? To provide insight to other solopreneurs (and entrepreneurs in general) who are considering making this move themselves, but unsure if they should.
This is what Marc told me.
Q: With regard to switching careers from NFL player to co-owner of a gym, what would you say is the biggest obstacle you faced when making this transition?
Marc: I went from trainer to owner and knew very little about the business to start with, so I had to learn to check my ego at the door each and every day. This was a brand-new environment for me. I needed to humble myself so I could learn and be open-minded, accept feedback and finally implement positive changes.
Q: What steps did you take to overcome this obstacle?
Marc: Putting an incredible support staff is truthfully the best way forward. I face challenges every single day. My team keeps me open-minded and patient while we solve problems.
(Note: If your business idea involves being a solopreneur, keep in mind that it isn’t uncommon to also have support. For instance, I rely on my accountant to help with tax-related issues and often reach out to PR reps to connect me with quality sources for my articles. So, while you may not have paid staff, having others to support you during your journey can help you achieve higher levels of success.)
Q: What advice do you have for individuals who are interested in starting their own business but can’t seem to get past the fear?
Marc: Anyone can do it. It’s not just for people who got there before you. However, you must have an honest understanding of the high level of commitment required. Be prepared to make sacrifices that could be for the betterment of the business.
Q: If you could name 3 virtues that have helped you get where you are today, what would you say those virtues are?
Marc: Honesty is one of the first. Be honest and you can build trust. Treat your team the way you wanted to be treated in the workplace. Last, always do your best. Give it all of your effort.
Q: How would you suggest others build those virtues themselves?
Marc: Like anything else, practice, practice, practice. Each and every day, get better at using those virtues through repetition. Those around you will see it. The best thing you can do for your team is set the example.
Q: Any other advice you have to offer those interested in starting their own business?
Marc: Have a very clear understanding going into your business what type of culture you want to create, and then live by it. Your team will not do what you say. They’ll do what you do.
Q: What advice do you have for solopreneurs who don’t have someone in their corner (like a coach or others who believe in them) to support them and keep pushing them forward? What can they do to find the strength to continue to pursue their dreams?
Marc: This is actually a simple one. Always remember why you started and the impact you want to have on others. Use those to keep yourself moving forward.
(Or, as the title of Marc’s new book suggests: Dream Big, Never Quit.)