Oh yeah, I opened my gym!

PANDEM(IC)ONIUM PART IV- The conclusion (for now. And it’s long!)

I feel like this is the perfect blog to be posted late… ya know considering it’s late because I had too much work to do last week. But, without further ado here we go:

I opened a facility when most were closing down. It felt weird and conflicting. I was sad that businesses were closing, but sadness aside, I have a business to run. People who’ve never met me would probably say that’s a dumb idea. People who truly know me, know that I have been working towards this for years; planning, saving, making endless spreadsheets of what I want and how much it is, writing off fewer things so I showed more income in preparation for a loan, and taking all the things I had learned at every gym I’ve been to and analyzing how I would do things if I were in charge.

It’s cool and all that I planned everything out, but then a pandemic hit as well as the sh*t to the fan…

My plan– to branch off on my own later in 2020- effed.

My savings– reallocated to things like rent and food since we weren’t able to work, and the whole unemployment system in all of its gloriousness. (Jokes aside, I can’t imagine anyone or any system would be prepared for what happened, but this is my blog and it severely inconvenienced me to say the least.)

My spreadsheets– everything was sold out or backordered for months… and I didn’t have money to spend at that time on things even if I did order them months ahead of time. And if I did receive it, where would I put it? In every closet in my house? (Foreshadowing.) Really glad I spent hours on that in the past though…

My taxes– I paid more in taxes due to writing fewer things off, and although I took the June date, it was still MORE in taxes in a year that I was unable to work for three months. I did that for a loan, right? But do you really think anyone would give a loan to someone who literally cannot work right now, and is in an industry that was shut down for an unknown amount of time? Even with great credit, I couldn’t even get a $5000.00 loan. (I did have a few virtual clients and a few programming peeps which were amazing and wonderful, but a lot of them had credits I applied from unused training in March.)

What had I learned­– At least this one still paid off how I intended? Yay for that. The funny thing is, I not only learned a lot of movements and knowledge of the fitness industry, I learned a lot about the business side of things which allowed me to set things up a certain way from the beginning.

So, because of the shutdown and restrictions put in place from the state and the facility I was training out of, I knew I definitely needed to open the doors on the facility I had been dreaming of, and ASAP. I was able to get some gym equipment due to being in the right place at the right time, and having built a network of people over my years in the gym industry. That was the biggest concern honestly, because even if I had everything else in place (loan, location, clients, etc.,) I didn’t have enough equipment to open a gym. Once that puzzle piece went into place, I KNEW it was going to happen.

Adrian is wonderful and let me slowly fill every space in our house with barbells, kettlebells, dynamax balls, and right at the end with huge boxes containing cardio bikes, a squat rack, and more. I am not going to lie, I am very impressed with how well I hid everything in plain sight, and didn’t really make our living space feel like a storage unit.

I reached out to a friend who was in residential real estate for advice after I was coming up short on my own with commercial real estate. She spoke with her connections and had a recommendation from them, funnily enough, who I had met in a networking group a few years prior. I am going the leave their name out, because I have nothing nice to say about them except, I needed our interactions to be fully prepared to own my O.W.N. location.

I’ve never been condescended to or mansplained to so much in my life, but guess what? IDGAF, and I will put on my “business pants” to handle what I need to. I kept our interactions civil, but I quickly realized this person didn’t give a sh*t about me or my business. They repeatedly told me how it wasn’t really worth their time because it’s such a small space. Rant about them over (mostly,) because honestly, karma came around and I didn’t have to do anything. Thanks, Universe (but actually, thanks to my friend who found out about the experience and made sure their shared boss heard about it. She’s a badass and I am so thankful to have her in my life!)

The first space we were scheduled to visit, I was late to because someone rear-ended my car on the way. Cool, huh? With all that, I was only 15 minutes late, but the c-word listing agent, only scheduled 15 minutes for us to view it and scheduled another viewing right after. When I arrived, she said we couldn’t go in because they said they didn’t want me to. Fine, I’m not mad at those people for that. But this listing agent was so abrasive, rude, and also, don’t try to play mind games with me. I will not be pressured or manipulated into anything, and if you try, I can pretty much guarantee the opposite outcome will happen. I never actually saw the space because “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

The second space we saw is now O.W.N. Health & Strength. I loved it from the moment I drove up and saw it. Huge windows everywhere on a corner unit of a brick building. Tons of natural light, great little outdoor space with bamboo separating our building from the neighboring businesses, and super convenient for all of my peeps! I’m a fairly decisive person, and I knew I wanted it. It had freakin’ chandeliers hanging inside (that the realtor GAVE AWAY WITHOUT MY PERMISSION,) a black and white striped wall, beautiful wood floors, and so much potential. We were able to negotiate a little lower rent since it had been available for a year prior (which also made me happier since I knew it wasn’t a COVID-19 related real estate opening.)

I was then on the hunt for flooring and knew that it was going to be a large chunk of money for what I really wanted. Without getting approved for any loans, I was doing this all out of savings and didn’t really want to put it on my credit card. I looked on craigslist one more time before completing the purchase on my credit card, and BOOM! I found the flooring I wanted and a great price, and despite the fact it may have been a scam (cuz, craigslist,) I reached out and asked if they had 42 sheets. The seller was a contractor that always buys extra when he has jobs because it’s less per sheet that way, AND he was willing to deliver them for a super cheap fee. I literally saved $5000.00, and am for sure “tooting my own horn” about it.

All while this is happening, I was training clients at parks out of the trunk of my car. This topic could be a whole blog on its own, and very well may be soon, so stay tuned. I have a Rav4, and that thing was a trooper. I programmed everyone with the limited equipment that fit in my car, tried to make sure I had everything all of my clients needed for their bodies and goals, and am SO over parking in Seattle… Let’s just say, I don’t need to do farmer carries for a while lol. It was super fun, we only had one day with rain that caused us to cancel, and we only had one time where I was about to dropkick some dipsh*t for being rude to my client and being a jerk in general. I think I’ll save that story for the W.O.O. blog though. Then the smoke from all the fires hit Seattle, and considering I am a “health coach,” and smoke is pretty terrible to be in for long periods of heavy breathing, we needed to get things together ASAP, and we did!

Luckily, the weekend before the smoke hit, my Dad and Adrian helped with the bulk of what needed to be done in the gym. I seriously cannot thank them enough for helping me, because I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone, and didn’t have the funds to pay people. The moving truck got canceled twice and we ended up with one that was 10’ longer than needed, but whatever, we had one. I dropped my Dad off at the gym to start on things while I had a few clients at a nearby park. I do feel the need to say: I told my Dad that he could do anything, except move ONE thing because it wasn’t stable and could fall on him…. And luckily, he’s got catlike reflexes because that exact thing almost happened. (Funny note: When he told me this on the phone, he led with “I already told Mom, so you can’t,” LOL.)

We picked up the trunk, went home and loaded all of the equipment that had been stored throughout our house, and were off to Home Depot to get the extra stuff we needed for the build out. I am not sure if you’ve picked up on this, but I love organizing/organization. I had a list of what we needed and had researched the specific aisles that the things were on so we didn’t have to go back and forth a bunch of times with panels and drywall. We unloaded all of it in the back of the gym, moved around the piles of flooring Adrian and I had loaded a few days before, and got to work.

Adrian and I had ton a tiny bit of demo and had started a dump pile. We had to remove a metric sh*tton of shelving made of MDF (medium density fiberboard= cheap and heavy.) We took a run to the dump for everything we needed to get out, and it was legitimately 1600lbs for the first load… meaning we loaded it up, and unloaded it (2200lbs is a ton, so NBD, we’ moved over a ton of stuff. *flexes*)

For this next part, I’m just going to make a list:

– We installed soundproofing in the shared wall and covered it with drywall and awesome wood paneling. The walls are crooked though, so I had to get creative with that one.

– The rubber flooring that I love so much was actually super challenging to install, even though we were just able to place it on the wood flooring directly… but the walls of the space are not straight. So luckily, we started in a corner and realized that instead of getting there at the end and being effed a little bit.

-The sink was literally glued to the wall and wasn’t properly installed. When I removed it, I took out a chunk of drywall, which I was able to patch myself and install a vanity eventually, NBD.

-The track lighting is the hardest version to find things for, probably because it’s a little older. It took 4 online orders (because no stores carry it) to get the right thing, EVEN THOUGH the others said they were compatible.

-Painting took place in stages, with the bathroom being the last piece finished a few months after opening.

Things kept working out, with only minor setbacks or obstacles. We built enough of a gym that I only missed a few clients due to smoke, and we’ve been going in some capacity ever since!

Of course, there have been challenges that have come up (looking at you: homeless dude who broke my front window,) but honestly, I LOVE having my O.W.N. facility. I love being able to create a whole culture in my space as opposed to doing it with my individual clients in someone else’s space. I appreciate every facility that I have ever worked out of, and have learned things at each one. I am hopeful that I can continue to create something that’s bigger than just ‘working out.’

I want people to O.W.N. their lives, whatever that means to them, and I want people to see this as a lifelong commitment to their health. Goals will change, bodies will change, but the thing I hope remains always, is that they O.W.N. their bodies, O.W.N. their strength, and O.W.N. their lives…and I’m going to be there as they do it, with gentle pokes along the way!


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