Luka Hocevar – Show Notes
Luka Hocevar is a strength and performance specialist, and the founder of Vigor Ground Fitness and co-owner of The Pack Fitness Business LLC. Luka has made a name for himself as one of the premier trainers in Washington state as well as one of the up and coming strength coaches in the country, helping clients and athletes from all walks of life achieve their personal physique and performance goals. He is a former professional basketball player and started and a kettlebell training center in his hometown of Ljubljana, Slovenia, which became one of the top kettlebell training facilities in Eastern Europe. Luka speaks nationally and internationally on topics related to health and fitness, and is a best-selling author with “The Fit Formula”, a book that he co-authored with some of the world’s top fitness professionals.
Luka started getting interested in fitness and lifting weights at a young age, when his mother opened a gym. When he was playing pro basketball, people started asking him how he got so conditioned, and he began creating training programs for his teammates.
He started getting known in the industry and began writing for a few magazines. He shares that he was reading lots of material and doing research, as well as attending live seminars and joining masterminds.
“I mean I was just devouring absolutely everything in my sight. I don’t want to be good or very good at anything; I want to be the best in the world at something.”
Luka decided that he wanted to start a gym with his brother, which focused on kettlebells along with bodyweight and functional training. He met with a high-level fitness industry consultant who told him that there was no market for this type of gym at the time.
Luka was disappointed, but says he somehow convinced his brother to invest $3,000 in kettlebells and they rented a 470 square foot room to start training people in. He says it just “took off”, to the point where it is now as one of the most well known gyms in his home country.
When he got married and moved to the US, Luka had to start over. He went from working with LA Fitness to another big box gym that ended up growing and selling for $40 million.
About 8 years ago, he rented a small garage in Renton to start another gym. This was just a few weeks after the recession, and people told him that the timing wasn’t right to start a business.
Luka started the gym and would run classes in the morning, work his job at the big box gym all day, and return late at night to train more athletes, then study and write his blog.
“I’d go to sleep at 2 AM, wake up at 4:45, 5, AM and do it all over again.”
As his own gym got a lot busier, Luka reduced the time he spent at the other gym. He says a mistake that a lot of new gym owners make is that they go “all in” and take out large loans for equipment, without starting small. He started the garage gym with only $7,000 and some used equipment he had, growing it to 90 members and moving into a 4,600 square foot facility. Luka purchased a new 11,000 square foot building and will be moving in to it shortly.
He comes from a background of socialism in his country, and notes that he was almost scared to go into debt.
“I’m more than willing to risk and bet on myself, but there’s a difference between that and doing something crazy without a thought process.”
Luka advises others to submerge themselves into the process, ask questions and to know your numbers at all times.
“If you have no path and plan, the default is going to be struggle.”
When he started the gym, social media and online marketing wasn’t big, and all he could do was to make sure each session with clients was a show and an experience. This led to strong word-of-mouth advertising for his facility.
“People need to remember that their training session is marketing; people leave and they can’t stop talking about it.”
He says that being on every social media platform can be difficult, but you can repurpose a lot of the content you create (he now has well over 1,000 YouTube videos online).
“Just deliver to the marketplace and find out what people are loving about what you’re putting out. (Then) just do more of it.”
Three things to focus on as an entrepreneur:
1) Being able to be very objective
Walk into your facility and think about every part of the experience, from the customer’s point of view.
“Ask yourself if you were spending that type of money yourself, would that experience be good enough?”
2) Learn how to connect on a deeper level with people
“Connection is a oxygen, it’s like a religion; I think about it all the time.”
3) Brand through content
He shares that he recently spent only $47 on a video that went viral, with 200,000 views and 4,000 shares. Be creating content like this, it’ll result in top-of-mind awareness and build relationship equity with your followers.
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