Leaving The Gym To Strike Out On Your Own with Ross Hillier

Leaving The Gym To Strike Out On Your Own with Ross Hillier

In this episode, we have Ross Hillier who is the founder of Nomad Strength where he helps build men into leaders through strength and fitness. We talk about his ongoing journey with The Strong Coach Program, his grand vision, how he niched down and nailed his ideal client, and many more.

Ongoing Journey On The Strong Coach Program

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Ben: Ross what week of The Strong Coach are you in?

Ross: 74 weeks, four and six days. I'm almost at week 75

Ben: What's that experience been like from week 12 to week 75?

Ross: It's been all over the place. I changed how I do most things several different times since the end finding out what it is that I want my coaching business to look like and also realizing what I don't want it to look like. So there's been a couple of different reiterations since ending that I actually am pretty pumped with where it is right now. So it's been a blast, but it kinda, it just now it feels like I'm also at another starting point.

I know where I am right now. And like it's starting from here and moving forward.

Ben: What is your current vision now that you're working towards now?

Ross: There are several different arms of it. Where it is currently right now is I have a handful of one-on-one clients. But one of the things that I'm really excited about right now is the mens group coaching program that has been running since June. We've got around a little more than a half a dozen guys in it right now. I mean, it's the whole kind of immersion into the nomad strength, the world, and a, it's a pretty awesome little tribe that we're building that's been growing pretty pretty well for the last few months.

I also like doing stuff with the companies and like doing consultations and consulting with the public companies on health and health in the workplace. And so there's a couple of opportunities. I had with some places around here in the Boise area. So it's kind of like this big umbrella of Nomad Strength and then there's a bunch of little things that fall underneath all of which are awesome.

Ben: So where were you if you're in coming up on week 76, where were you in 80 weeks ago?

Ross: Before the program, I was running basically just my own little contracting training business out of a little boutique, kind of a warehouse gym here in the area. I had a couple of group classes. We did some functional fitness, kettlebell type stuff like that. I still do it and that I have always done, but I wasn't really growing my business actively because I was stuck in that. I'm comfortable mode, but I still wanted more, but I didn't have the knowhow on the business side of things to make changes to my business. I feel very competent and confident as a coach, but the business side of things was where I was struggling quite a bit.

I can't remember how many emails I got from Mike on The Strong Coach newsletter before. I'm like, OK, I'm just going to click the button and schedule a call with Danny and then ended up talking to Danny for a good while longer than I think most discovery calls. I think we were actually on the phone close to 90

minutes, but it was great. And he helped me out a ton. And that day I signed up and I was like one of the last people to join my class.

I was in class seven, which started in April and April last year. And it's been a thousand things since, and it was awesome and my business has totally different than where it was when I started.

The Need To Leave The Gym

Photographer: Luis Vidal | Source: Unsplash

Ben: What got you realizing, like I need to change something?

Ross: The main thing was knowing that I had at the time six-and-a-half-month pregnant wife, and like, we were comfortable with the two of us in how the business was going and stuff. And I'm like, okay, there is going to be another mouth here in a couple of months. Like we need to buckle down and take this seriously. I need to start treating this like a business and not just as this little hobby that I train people and make some money in. It wasn't that I needed to, it wasn't that I saw, I need to do something better.

I saw a need to like start taking it more seriously and realize that it’s an actual business and I need to start acting like a business owner, not just a coach. When you're the one doing everything, you're both. So that was kind of the big, the big shift for me. And so I started it at the end of April and my son was born the second weekend or the first week in June. So I was halfway through the program where he was born. That was the only coaching call during the week that I missed for the whole program.

I knew I needed to take everything up on several levels. And so that was kind of ultimately where that came from.

The New Lifestyle He Created

Summer in Paphos
Photographer: Natalya Zaritskaya | Source: Unsplash

Ben: Now that your son is born and running around and throwing things like every young boys should, what have you been able to create in terms of the family life that you want since he's been born?

Ross: So a little bit of backstory, my wife works in a elementary school and he was born at the beginning of summer. So she had all summer with them and then she got to take her maternity leave basically the first eight weeks of the following school year, which was pretty awesome. But she was going back a year in October of last year. And you know, we had talked about daycare and the options that we had and we're fortunate that my in-laws live here so they were able to watch him a few hours every day. But I really wanted to spend time with them when he was in the baby stage.

That's something that not a lot of fathers get to be a part of for a lot of reasons and I didn't want that to be the case with us. I wanted to like actually be around during the day and like be around with him. And so I made the decision a year ago actually like this week to leave the gym I was in and do everything full-time online because that allowed me to set my schedule up in a way where I could be working from home all the time and I can go pick him up from his grandparents and bring it back and you know, hang out with him for a few hours every day before his mom got home from school.

And so that was a huge blessing in a huge motivating factor for me to change things that I had for my business because like I wanted him to be around. I wanted to be around for him. And I wanted that to be kind of like our story where: “Dad was actually around a lot, even though he was working a lot, he was with me” And that was a huge motivating factor for me.

And fairly recently after leaving the program, I mean, so I ended the strong coach program in July, end of July of last year. And so basically eight weeks later I left my gym that I was in and I lost a handful of clients because that's going to happen when you make a big change, but almost everybody else is like totally get it. Do your thing and transitions right with me. And then I ended up picking up a bunch of new clients.

The Process of Niching Down Your Ideal Clients

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Ben: Who is that audience that you're serving now?

Ross: So it's narrowed down macro, back out, narrowed down again. It's mostly, almost all men. And further from that, I work with a lot of other dads. And the reason for that is, you know, we go back to the, the, the hero's journey thing, that's my journey. That's where, that's what I can relate to. And like, say, because a lot of the guys that I work with, our guys that, you know, have kids and jobs and they're trying to find time to train and they don't know how to eat. Right. And they just need other guys that are going through that same thing. And I'm like, Hey, I get it. Like you gotta cram in a twenty-five minute workout in 25 minutes of your guaranteed, the kid's asleep Because after that it's game, or you have no idea of when the kids are going to be awake and the whole day is going to be changed

It’s more of a habit building thing they want to learn. How do I do this? Not like give me a workout plan to give me a diet plan to follow. How do I make this sustainable? And then by extension where I can teach it to my own family and have it be a part of like our family's healthy lifestyle, you know, and, and bring it in to the home. And then, you know, from there it ripples out like extended family or community. Like I start with the dads and then it ripples out from there on their end of things.

Ben: What was your process of, you said it it's gone like macro and then he's down to a macro niche down.

Ross: It started with me saying I want to work with men. And I think it was Danny that sent me a message one time when I told them that. And he said, you know, that's half the population of the world. That's like three and a half billion people. That is not very specific. And like, you know, that's a good point. I didn't think of it that way.

And you know, dad's is still a very big category as well. But, and when I say it zoomed back out, I still do work with men that aren't dads, but are oriented towards becoming one. And like being essentially just being leaders. Men that have leadership aspirations in, in work or in their family's or future families, like this is a very similar mindset approach in those guys. Whether or not they have kids at that moment or not, most of them do just because that's the percentage of things of people I talked to you like, they're like, yeah, mom, I'm also a dad, but there were a couple of guys that are like, that's their goal. They want kids, they want to have a strong, healthy family and be the example in the family for that lifestyle. And so it's less about like the man and the dad and more about like their approach and their mindset.

Like when you look at those things, it narrows it down even more like what kind of goals you have a guy who doesn't have kids might say, I want, you know, I want to family some day and I want it to be strong and want to be healthy. And I want to be that example.

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