Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with John Carden, CEO of Primal Performance Coaching, located in Mississauga, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Primal Performance is a personal training and powerlifting coaching company that has been in business for five plus years now; we believe in providing elite-level results using proven principles; we are client results focused over everything else, and that is much different from other businesses in the fitness industry.

Are clients those who are looking for a more elevated approach to fitness and aren't just looking for a quick fix and a cheerleader coach, nor are they just looking to be the strongest of the strong? We do have a lot of clients aspiring to be the strongest they can be. However, we also have many that have found the power of strength and training for a goal and how it can greatly change their health and the way they look in a way that is much more fun and rewarding than just focusing on fat loss like the rest of the industry does.

Our customer base is very broad, and I believe that reflects on the quality of our coaching at Primal. We coach everyone elite athletes and lifters, Moms and Dads, Business Owners, Young professionals, Grand Parents, and everyone in between.

Tell us about yourself

My journey into this started long ago and has been a long hard road ever since; when I was 18 years old, I decided I wanted to be a strength coach for elite athletes after a series of very unfortunate events in my family and athlete life ended a very promising career as a professional cyclist before it could even start.

I was a typical athlete with a lot of grit and talent physically; however, many believed those talents were all that I had; I am dyslexic and have had very bad grades in school, and I was pretty much written off by all the teachers I ever had. To be fair, I didn't learn to read till 6th grade, and I didn't fit in the box the education system had set out for most, so I embraced a long and lonely journey to be the best strength coach ever.

I had just graduated high school; however, I had very bad grades and was not able to get into any post-secondary programs of note that fit my plans, so I went back to high school and redid a ton of classes. After this, I was able to get into the kinesiology program at Sheridan. I knew from the start I had a talent for coaching and motivating others, as well as an eye for creating programs and systems well beyond many others.

Training and Coaching have always felt very natural for me; it feels like my purpose, and I feel truly connected to my very self. This gets me up every day; watching my team of coaches and teaching them how to do the same is no better feeling in life.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My Biggest Accomplishment so far as a business owner is the impact Primal has had on the community and on our clients' lives, the positive impact our coaches have on our clients is amazing and, honestly, my biggest accomplishment.

My other is growing and scaling a successful coaching business during covid pandemic; with zero business education and knowledge, I had to build out all of the systems and processes we use for coaching our clients and our coaches, along with everything else that goes into a business.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The hardest thing I would have to say is the responsibility of owning a business vs. being a solo trainer. You have to make choices that are best for the company, even if they aren't the best or nicest for you, the business owner. You are the leader of the tribe, and you must be focused on the end goals that you have and move things along in a way that allows your team to achieve them; this might mean you have to do some jobs yourself that requires a lot of time.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

My top 3 tips for anyone looking to start a business are:

  1. No matter what, don't talk about it; start the business.
  2. Follow the KISS method. Keep it simple, stupid. Don't overcomplicate things; just push forward and stick to the plan.
  3. The best way to grow is to provide above and beyond for your customers; we grew almost exclusively from our reputation and the results we provided for our clients.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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