Over the past several months, I’ve taken you on a journey to meet millennials who have broken the barrier of business ownership. From writer to non-profit owner, we have picked their brains. The goal is to get you to understand their mindset and their drive. What is the attitude of a millennial entrepreneur? What makes one shift the norms of the 9 to 5? If your dream is to venture on the path of entrepreneurship, this series is your opportunity to understand what it entails.
I’m very excited for you to get to know our latest millennial entrepreneur, coach Ryan Morse. What is your definition of a personal trainer? What do you look for in a fitness coach? Whatever your expectation is, I can guarantee that Ryan Morse will exceed it. He will first greet you with his enthusiasm and energy and passion but rest assured, he will stay candid. He does not back down, let up or give up and more importantly He will not shy away from sharing his beliefs with you.
Look up Crucible Performance, the athletic training company Ryan Morse founded in 2017. From gut filled, passionate and inspiring messages to community involvement beyond fitness, Ryan is determined to change lives for the better.
I had the honor of discussing with Ryan a few weeks ago. Here is an excerpt of our conversation. Find in this interview the subtle tips he shares on life purpose, entrepreneurship, courage, determination, consistency, faith and even money management.
You studied graphic design and here you are today running a fitness and training enterprise. Tell me a bit about how you got where you are?
After graduating with a graphic design degree as well as a computer science degree, I went into working for the government. I had been working about 4 years when our contract ended. I applied for a new job on another contract and I was basically rejected for the same job I had done for 4 years. I spent the next 5 months trying to figure out what was next. ‘Do I try to do something in this graphic design field, do I try something else, am I fulfilled with what I’m doing?’, those were some of the questions I asked myself. I ultimately felt like there was more inside of me to give. I needed to serve more in a better way.
Well, I had played baseball my whole life, trained in division 1 training rooms and I felt like I could serve in that field. So, I shadowed some friends that had been doing this (training) and I fell in love with it. I ended up applying for a trainer job, spent about 4 years doing personal training and today I own my own company, Crucible Performance.
Most people think having a government job is the way to go because it’s ‘stable and secure’. So I’m sure when you decided to change careers and eventually start your own business, you had people trying to discourage you and convince you that you should play it safe. How did you deal with opposition ?
There were people on both sides: those who were supportive and the ones who were not. I leaned on the people who were supportive. At that time, I knew my circle of influence, I knew the people I could count on. I knew who my mentors were and the people who would give me honest feedback, whether it was something I wanted to hear or something I didn’t want to hear. So when I heard a lot of doubt from the not supportive people, I went to the encouraging ones and asked them what they thought. ‘This is what I think but what do you think?’. I did a lot of praying and a lot of reading and asked myself what really is the right path.
My entire life I was told a lot of times ‘you’re not going to make that happen’, ‘you’re too small, that’s not going to work’, and that always just filled my fire to say ‘WATCH ME’.
Many people have self-image issues, and especially millennials. What would you say to someone who’s being discouraged or who’s playing a mental ping pong game about whether or not to venture into their dreams?
The biggest thing that helped me is that I knew WHY I was doing it. It wasn’t that I wanted to make more money, or be my own boss. It was a deeper why on the inside that said I’m going to be potentially helping save people’s lives doing this. Whether it’s physically with their health, emotionally or spiritually, whatever it is, it is so much bigger and something that I felt called to.
So when you know your why, it makes it so much easier to go that direction even if you’re hearing ‘No, Don’t do this’. My suggestion would be: figure out what your why is, why do you want to go do this, and if it is compelling enough to you, it would make it easier.
6 months into running the business, have you gone through anything that someone would consider an obstacle and how did you overcome?
The first resistance came from my former employer. That brought on a lot of stress and a lot of fear but again when you know your why, you’re willing to fight those fights, put your head down and do what you need to do. There were other issues, mostly people issues. But the one thing I’ve learned and that I teach a lot is that I never felt bad about challenges. I didn’t feel sorry for myself. Instead I looked at it from the viewpoint of James 1:2, you’re getting better through these challenges. The big saying at Crucible is ‘cherish the challenges’. So for every challenge that got thrown my way, my attitude was ‘good, I’m getting better – I’m glad I’m getting challenged because that means I’m getting better’. The bigger the challenge the more I’m learning.
How are you extending your customer base? For someone like you who has a technical background and no marketing per say, what would you recommend?
I knew exactly WHO I was going after. It wasn’t just athletes, that was too broad for what we were going after. We narrowed it down very specifically even to the kind of sport they were playing. I even catered to the confidence level of those athletes. We get some world class level athletes that we can train but that wasn’t my target. My target was the athlete who needs a push and a mentor around to say ‘here is how you can get better’. So instead of trying to hit everybody, trying to get business from everywhere (and I was at that point at the beginning), we chose WHO we wanted in accordance to our why.
From my experience in banking, I saw that many people fear going into business because of the financial risk (loans, savings, lien on property, etc). Without going too much in detail, how did you get started?
Thankfully, my wife and I made a lot of really good decisions early in our marriage that we were completely debt free. So we had a nest egg there. There was a lot of praying and talking with her because I was going to use a chunk of our savings to buy gym equipment. We fully funded out of our savings. We didn’t take any loans. It’s all been what we’ve earned.
What advice would you give to a millennial who’s been working a couple years and is not happy, who has a business idea but is scared?
I would say ‘find a mentor’. Find someone that’s in that field and go experience it. Learn as much as you can about what you’re trying to do. That’s what I did. The more I get myself around thoroughbreds, the more I feel like my game is elevated. So outside of having my direct mentor that I communicate with daily, I’ve joined different mastermind groups that are keeping us focused on the bigger goals. I was just at a leadership conference and they said ‘lone rangers don’t make it far’. So start developing that group of people and you’ll avoid a lot of mistakes and learn from their mistakes.
Thank you Ryan.