Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nick Mitchell, Owner of Ultimate Performance, located in Manchester, United Kingdom.

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

Ultimate Performance (U.P.) is the world's most pre-eminent personal training business. We currently have 22 gyms spread over four continents and nine countries, with ambitious plans to continue our expansion. What is unique about Ultimate Performance is that we are not a 'gym business.' We are not like commercial gyms, where trainers are judged solely on the number of sessions they log. I judge my trainers on the quality of the results and the return on investment they deliver to their clients. There are no memberships with U.P. Instead, our clients buy blocks of times. My trainers then deliver the absolute maximum results possible over those set times. This includes personalized training and nutrition programs and 24/7 support on diet adherence, stress management, sleep strategies, and more.

That is why I would consider U.P. to be a 'healthy advisory' business. Because we have gyms on four different continents, we have an incredibly diverse range of clients. Men and women, young and old, parents, pilots, builders, business executives, CEOs, and celebrities – our customers come from all walks of life. The message is that anyone, no matter who you are, can benefit massively from working with our personal trainers.

Tell us about yourself

I always wanted to be the master of my own destiny. If I failed, it should be on me. If I succeeded, it should be on me. There is nothing more worthless than an excuse, and working for yourself allows no excuses. Motivation is transitory and subject to whim and mood, so whilst I am just as susceptible to those emotions as anyone else, I prefer to focus on "meaning." My work has meaning on so many levels, and this makes the discipline needed for the hard days so much easier. Meaning comes because, at U.P., we are tangibly changing people's lives for the better with a product that is the best in class.

Meaning comes because I don't just have my own family to feed, but I also have 500 other people in the company to think of. People who have entrusted their careers and financial security to my vision and leadership. No motivation at all is needed when you have this lifting you UP!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Every founder thinks their business is unique, but objectively we know that at U.P., there is no one else like us in our niche or personal training. We are the only global personal training business on the planet, and we have changed the paradigm of what our industry should be all about.

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

"Heavy lies the crown...."
Many, many times, there are small issues that, in any other circumstance, you'd walk past and ignore. But, if you want to run a tight ship with a culture of excellence, as the CEO, you have to be the standard bearer and never ever shy away from uncomfortable conversations.

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

  1. Take it personally.
  2. If work-life balance is key for you, then forget about it.
  3. If you have to be liked by everyone around you, find a different job.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. This doesn't make you good or bad, stupid or smart; it just is what it is. Young people, especially young men, are battered with messages that they can do it "if they want it badly enough." They are sold ludicrous dreams by hucksters like Gary Vaynerchuk, but the reality is that it takes more than hustle. We don't talk enough about ability and resilience. Without these two qualities, the first of which is often sector/job specific, and the second an absolute non-negotiable, you are not suited to the life of the entrepreneur. This does not make you a bad person. The key thing here is to have the guts to have an honest conversation with yourself about who you are, what makes you happy, and what you are prepared to sacrifice.

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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