Taking Risks in Entrepreneurship with Joe Cirulli from Gainesville Health & Fitness | WHOA GNV

– Hey, podcast fam, Collin here. Look, the audio on this
episode is a little messed up, and that
completely falls on me. I didn’t have the
microphone right in front of Joe when we were recording with him. I apologize that the audio isn’t as great on this episode as it has been on others. We’re over a year in on this podcast and we are still figuring things out. Thank you for bearing with me. I apologize that the audio is not as great as it should be, but the
episode with Joe is great, the interview was awesome,
and I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening.
(energetic rock music) You are listening to WHOA Podcast, coming to you from Gainesville, Florida. Good morning, everybody, and welcome to another episode of
the WHOA GNV Podcast, the podcast bringing you businesses and individuals that make you go, WHOA. I like that.
– That was good, that was good.
– That one felt good. My name is Collin Austin and my guest cohost today is the highly demanded COE of New Scooters 4 Less,
the chief of everything, Michael Dees, what is up, man? – Not much, man, I’m
becoming a regular now. – I know, I love it.
– Regular status. – Yeah, it’s good.
(talking over each other) I like your Bolt shirt. – Playoffs, you know, it’s
playoff season, I rep. – Joe, do you have any favorite teams? What’s your favorite
teams, athletic teams? – I’m really a Gator fan.
– That’s it, Gators. – Pretty much.
– That’s the one and only. You guys, let me introduce
to you our guest today. I am so excited that he is here. We have Joe Cirulli, owner
and founder of Gainesville, excuse me, Gainesville Health & Fitness. I know how to say the
word Gainesville, guys. I’ve been here for 19 years. (laughs) You guys, he has focused
his life on two things, helping people become healthy, and building a company culture that inspires people to become the best. His clubs rank globally
in the top percentile for sales, management,
and community service. Joe, thanks so much for being here, man. – You’re very welcome, thank you. – This is gonna be exciting. This is somebody that I think, if you’re in the Gainesville
entrepreneurial scene, you admire from the
outside in for so long. Then when you get to actually meet Joe, you’re just like, wow,
he’s really cool. (laughs) There’s this false perception sometimes, and I think it’s just
in business in general, that man, this person’s really big, and I’m never gonna be
able to talk to a person like that, or sit down
with a person like that, or just be in a network
with a person like that. I’ve had lunch with Joe, and I mean, that time was so valuable to me, and I know you’re a busy,
busy guy, don’t have time to carve out time for
every, every single request, but you definitely go out of your way to try and do what you
can, including being here on this podcast, so thank you so much for doing that.
– You’re very welcome. – It’s exciting, so you
guys, we’re gonna get into Joe’s story and I have
a bunch of questions for him, but before we do, I want to remind, today is May 13th, and I
want to remind everybody today is the last day, the last day to sign up for the Wrap Spot giveaway. Wrap Spot is our first sponsor, and if you don’t know already, ’cause we’ve only said it a million times, go get signed up to win this wrap. Wrap Spot is giving away a vehicle wrap, it’s a $2500 value,
and what you have to do to get entered is to go to whoagnv.com, click Giveaway, and then
there’s just a little form on there and you just register to win. And that’s it, and we’re
gonna be giving away, this Friday, May 17th,
my birthday. (chuckles) – Happy birthday.
– Thank you. So definitely go get signed up, today is the last day,
and I just wanna thank Wrap Spot again for giving us that. It’s been awesome, we’ve
had a lot of entries, building up a lot of
awareness for this podcast. Again, we’re goin’ into episode
53, it’s year two, baby, and I’m just super excited for everybody who has just jumped on board and supported this podcast for the last year. I cannot wait to see what God does with this thing over
the next several years, it just, ugh, I get
goosebumps thinking about it. World, thank you so much for your love, and I do want to give out, you know I had on the form and I’ve said this before, but it says on the form,
hey if you will follow the WHOA GNV on Instagram, Facebook, you follow me on Instagram,
there’s like six things that you have to do, and if you do that, them I’m gonna give you a shout-out, and I got one shout-out to give today, to Alexis Gill, thank
you so much for the love and the support, you are
awesome, and that’s it. – Thanks, Alexis!
(chuckles) – Ready to get into it?
– Let’s go. I’m ready.
– Let’s go. So, Joe, now I know that
a lot of people have heard your story, and it’s a fascinating story, and I wanna hit that ’cause we
always hit the origin story, but then I have some
really great questions that I wanna get to, so
why don’t you give us the solid version of your
Gainesville Health & Fitness story and we’ll take it from there. – Well, I don’t know when
the story actually began, I did know when this story actually began until once I was at a conference and it was back in 1985,
and at the conference, the people who were putting
on the conference came up to me at 5:30 to tell
me they just found out the keynote speaker
wasn’t going to show up. And they asked me if I
would give the keynote. And I said, like, what do
you want me to talk about? And they said, well just
talk about how you got into the business, and so I said okay, but let me get away from here for a while so I can think about how it all began. I went back and I started
really thinkin’ about it, I realized it all started
when I was seven years old. It was because of a mother who was a nurse who used to always tell
me as a little kid, she goes, just remember,
as long as you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything. She told me that all the
time, and it really sunk in, because it got me watchin’
TV, watchin’ exercise shows on TV, it got me to want
my first set of weights, which I got when I was nine years old. And when I looked, that
was really the beginning, because I started
bringin’ my little friends into the cellar, teach
them how to lift weights, eventually high school, I brought my whole football team I started teachin’, not in my cellar anymore,
but with the YMCA, teachin’ them how to lift weights. All the way to come to visit
somebody in Gainesville, and needing a place to work
out, I was here for 30 days, and the girl I’d come to see had a brother who was a member of the
Steve Spurrier Health Spa, and I asked if I can go work out with him, and when I was done, and I did, obviously, when I was done, I went to the manager, told him I was in town for 30 days, I didn’t have any money to be able to pay to work out but I’d be
willing to work for free if he’d let me work out for free, so that 30 days was the beginning of my entire career, and
that was when I was 19. – Isn’t it fascinating to
look back at that time now? – Oh yeah, ’cause you realize
there’s little moments in time that if that thing didn’t happen, that wouldn’t have happened,
if that didn’t happen, that would have never happened, and you realize there’s
an entire correlation to everything that occurred in your life, with just little moments
in time, so that was one. – I know for a while, were you living out of your car, if I recall correctly? – Well see the first five years I was in the business, I
worked for six companies that went bankrupt, I lived
in closed-down buildings, I lived in health clubs I
worked in, I lived in my car, but I never wanted to
get out of the business because every time a
business went bankrupt, I’d say you know, I know a
year’s worth of that stuff now, and if I quit now, I’ll
lose that entire year. Then I’d work for another
one, it would go bankrupt, see now I got two years,
and if I quit now, I’ll lose all two years of the knowledge that I gained, and when I was 21, I mean, I knew what I wanted to do, so I still had to work for more clubs that went bankrupt, but it was okay, I just
dealt with it at the time. It didn’t matter, and I
read books all the time about people, how all the
things they went through, and I’d be reading about people’s lives and sayin’, man, what they
went through was a heck of a lot worse than
what I’m going through. And I just knew what I wanted,
so it just eventually got to the point where the
sixth guy went bankrupt, and I just lucked out, I said maybe now is my opportunity, so I took
over that bankrupt club. That club was being kicked
out of that location because the previous
owner hadn’t paid rent and some other issues,
so I eventually found a location, it was about
a three-month story that I won’t tell you about.
(Collin laughs) I finally found a new location, and I signed a lease when I was 24 that obligated me to $168,000 in rent, at that point I had a check for $6,700. One bank had given me a loan for $6,700 ’cause I owed ’em $3,300, they
gave me a loan for $10,000. So I had to give the landlord
of the current location I was in $1,200 to stay
for three more weeks, I signed a lease for the $168,000, I gotta give them $3,800 of it, and I started the health club with $1,700. But nobody knew I had only $1,700, so I hired everybody to build it, and I knew that you could advertise and not have to pay for that for 30 days, so I advertised like crazy.
– That’s incredible. – And somehow every
week I had enough money to keep payin’ those
contractors to come in for another week, and I’d
give them half their money and say, come back next week,
I’ll have the other half, and somehow every week I
had the money to pay ’em. – What year was that?
– That was in 1978. – What ways were you marketing? – It was television, radio, newspaper, ’cause that’s what it was. But like I said, I knew you didn’t have to pay the bill for 30 days, so I figured I could maybe generate
enough memberships in all to keep it goin’ so by the time I even got to that point I’d be able to pay the bill, and I always was, somehow I always was. But I had complete
confidence, I never doubted that I could do it, and so
I was fortunate (mumbles). – Were there any days where, (laughs) I mean, never doubted, but like… You’re like, this is due tomorrow? Where’s this money gonna come from? – One thing you do is
when you’re in a situation like that, you work about
18 or 20 hours a day to figure out ways to do
it, and I was always able to figure out a way, I
mean, say during the extra five or six hours I could sleep, you usually stay awake thinkin’. But I never had fear
that I couldn’t do it, you know, doesn’t mean you don’t have to be thinking and thinking and thinking, doesn’t mean you have some anxiety, but you know that you
can do it in the end. And I had no doubts,
well I guess the reason I had no doubts is I, there was no Plan B. That’s all there was, and
there was nothin’ else I wanted to do, so I knew, I
knew I had to make it work. Remember, I had five years of experience of watching other people, and one thing that I am good at is
watching other people, the good, bad, and the ugly. And even for people who
were not good managers that I worked for during
those periods of time, I would still say there’s
gotta be somethin’ that they do, I gotta just watch and pick up the something good they do. I grew up in a really good family, so I knew the bad things you didn’t do, but it’s amazing how many people who run, not who run business,
maybe who manage business, and this is not a wholesale thing, but there’s people who will do things to cut angles, cut things short, and I just learned, you know, from that. But I also realized I’d learned a lot of things well before
that, I mean, I learned some really good
qualities from my parents, which was workin’ hard and
bein’ honest, and those kind of things, which you know
are critical in business. Because you know that you
can’t ever grow a business unless people can trust
you, and the only way they can trust you is if you
keep your word all the time. When I look back, I could remember the first year I was in the business, I worked for 11 different managers. The first thing you learn is
don’t become the manager. (laughing) Probably one of the guys that
made the biggest impact on me was my manager for three hours. I mean I learned
something from him that I, when I was 20 years old, I
said, that is really cool. And it had to do with a guy,
and I can never remember his last name, I remember
his first name was Peter. And I’d only been in the business now for a couple months, and he came in, he had just come in from Salt Lake City ’cause the company that
bought the Steve Spurrier Health Spa was out of Salt Lake City. And they brought him in to be the manager, and when he came in, he
introduced himself to me, he asked me if I’d give
him a tour, and I did. As I was giving him the tour,
he was actually showing me how to give a better tour, and I go, this is really cool, he’s
never even been here before, but he can tell me how
to give a better tour, and I looked at it
positively, not negatively. When he was done, he went in, and he met with the owners of the
company, after about 2 and a half hours he came out, and he
comes over, and he goes, Joe can I talk to you for
a second, I said sure. He goes, Joe, you’re new in
sales, right, and I said yes. He goes, they gave you
goals, right, and I said yes. And if you accomplish
the goals, the give you a bonus, and I said yeah, he
goes, did you accomplish it, I said yes, he goes, did
they change the bonus. Did they lower the bonus after you hit it? And I remember saying to him
yes, but I can still do okay. And he looks at me, he goes, okay, I’ll see you in just a few minutes. He left, goes back in with those guys, comes back out, sits down with me, goes, Joe, I just want you to
know it was really nice meeting you, he said, but I just resigned. He said, I would never work for a company that promised something,
and when you deliver it, they change their promise, and he said, I’m going back to Salt Lake. As he was walking out the door, I said, that was really cool, you know, I thought I will never make a promise to somebody that I don’t plan on keeping, and I said I would think through any promises I make in business, but even
if I think through it and then later I realize I made a mistake, I said I’ll still do whatever
it was I said I’d do. And it was just one of
those simple little lessons that he just brought to the forefront. Just little things like
that is how you learn. – Yeah, it’s amazing how little things like that stick with you for so long. So then all of a sudden we
have this giant company. (laughing) Like, fast forward! When did you start your
Gainesville Health & Fitness, you said that was ’78?
– 1978. – Okay, so 1978, and then
you have bills comin’ in, you’re like, I know I got 30
days to get this paid, boom. How long did it take before you were like, okay, we’ve really got something here. – Well I always thought we had something from the very beginning.
– Oh, and real quick, you said you didn’t have a Plan B, like, as an entrepreneur, do you
recommend having a Plan B? – No, I recommend not having a Plan B. – Just this is it, we’re gonna make it. – Too easy when things
get real hard to stop and go to Plan B.
– Okay. – If you have no Plan
B, you have no choice. And you’ll figure out
a way to make it work. Like I said, I learned
how to bring in revenue from nothing, and so as
it grew, then we grew. I’d look at situations,
I’d say now is the time, and one of the things is I
never had fear of growing. When we had an opportunity, I grew. Because I knew I had to get big. Sometimes in business,
you can be motivated, one of the greatest
motivators is fear, right? Motivators that somebody
bigger and better is gonna come into town, and I
get bigger and better before they come into town,
so that always inspired me. Take the next thing, do the next thing, and I never worried about the money. When I tell you I never
worried about the money, I never worried about the money. I can give you a good example, something I’ve just learned,
I’ve learned over the years, and that is, when you start with nothing, and you probably know this,
you risk everything, right? You know what happens
to people they’ll start with nothing, risk everything,
now they got something, and they’ll start avoiding risk, ’cause now they got something to lose. – But isn’t that just
because there’s so much more? I mean, you have so much more
riding on your shoulders, at a larger stage, now
you have team members and you got team members’
families, like it’s, isn’t that the pressure
that we feel it’s like, okay I’m not gonna go and I’m
not gonna risk all of that. – I think that’s the
reason why you do risk. Because sometimes when you don’t risk, that’s the beginning of the end, and so I just learned
that, that as the business became more successful, as I had more. The big fear could be don’t
risk it, you could lose it. And I’ll give you a perfect
example, and that was Tioga. The facility out there, I
looked at that and thought, that’s gonna cost $4 million to do that. This was back in 2006,
and I started lookin’ and said wait a minute,
I started to think like I don’t ever wanna think, which is, I’m afraid of losing it. And as soon as that thought
went through my head, I said, okay, let’s go, let’s
move forward, let’s go do it. As I’m telling you, I’m
not talking about risk like stupid risks, I’m saying the fear of growing your business
because you’ve got something to lose because
you got something, instead of what can you gain by doing it. And what can you lose by not doing it. ‘Cause I can look at it, say well another facility could go in and I got a lot of people who are members out there. And all of a sudden I could lose all those members, so no, I’m gonna do it. – With Tioga, when you get to that point, like, that was the second location? – No, the women’s club
was the second location. – [Collin] Okay, on 43rd. – But this was years and years later. – When you get to that
point where you’re like, okay, do this, how much time was spent, I can hear that, feel
that reaction, be like, I’m doubting myself, I
just need to do this, but how much time did
you really spend looking at all right, am I
cannibalizing a lot of people, I mean I know they can go to whichever, but you understand what I’m saying, how much time was spent in calculating, hey is this worth it?
– Yeah. Minimal amount of time
because I was looking way before anything
was built out that way. I was looking at all the gas lines, water lines, pipelines,
everything was being put in heading west on Newberry Road, so I looked and I said, well if they’re doing that, they’re planning on the
city growing out there. The irony to it’s we opened in 2007, and then the whole
recession hit, you know. When I figured all this
development is gonna go on, so that kinda like slowed the
growth, but it didn’t slow us. And we just kept working on
trying to make it better, trying to make it better,
now you look out there and there’s a phenomenal amount of growth that’s taking place out west. It was the right thing to do, I knew it was the right thing to do. – But you didn’t let
things, the possibility of things like that, slow you down? Even right now, there’s
a lot of discussion about oh, what’s gonna
happen in the economy. – We’re on the verge.
– We’re on the verge, we’re on the bubble,
everything’s gonna pop, you hear all this stuff,
as an entrepreneur, do you just have to put
it out and keep going, and just don’t even let that affect your decision-making, or should you? – Well you just have to be able to think through those situations when they happen, I gave you the example which is 2007. We still had the big club
and the women’s club, and I met with my staff, I said look, I need my top management,
I said here’s the deal. We’re gonna get hit by this recession, just like everybody is gonna get hit by this recession, I said
so what we need to do is we need to figure out how to cut costs in every way that a member will never see. We started looking at
how we set up payroll, how the different supervisors
worked their shifts, and we were able to cut $1
million out of our expenses, beginning at that point,
’cause see what happens a lot of times is your business grows, your business starts
getting a little fatter. You start adding this
on, and when you look at a situation like
this, you’re gonna say, where do we have the excess fat, where can we start cutting it down. But at the same time–
– The irony with it being a health
and fitness. (laughs) – But then at the same
time, my younger brother who was a painter, I said,
paint the entire health club. So my brother for almost
a year was on scaffolding, everything, painting the whole club. ‘Cause I didn’t want anybody to think we were gonna cut back on anything, I wanted them to see we
are still progressing. There’s other things that occur too, like 2012 the recession
was still going on. I put together a massive plan to add 12,000 square feet to the
front of the building. We’d build over a retention pond and start building that thing. Everybody I knew in the
industry goes, Joe, now is not the time, there’s
still a recession going on. I said, no no, now is
the exact perfect time. I said, because one of the
things that I’ve learned is people are attracted
to successful businesses, not the businesses that are failing. I said, we’ll show the
people in Gainesville, we’re gonna just move on
forward and they’ll see that we can be successful
even during the times when everybody else was
crying about the recession. When I say the smart thing about that was we were able to get steel at lower prices, all the things at lower prices,
’cause nobody was working. The construction business was like… (Collin and Joe talking at the same time) Not moving forward, so we
got all that stuff going, and then what happens, recession ends, and we’re able to be
way ahead of everybody to start a massive remodeling project of the entire center, and then over time, what do you think happens, like you know, Butler Plaza’s being built,
Celebration’s being built. Now it’s like okay we gotta
get our pool area done, where are the guys who,
where are the masons, we need to get masons, and
now everybody’s digging to try and get everybody,
but we only had to deal with that toward the end, you know. From that beginning of
the front of the building, the project of remodeling the club went on for six solid years, we just
finished this past summer. – It’s beautiful, it sounds like… When I’m looking at your model, again, a lot of this is outside perspective, I’m just fascinated by continuing to scale and grow the fitness
centers that are here. Was there ever a time when you’re like, oh, maybe Ocala, maybe
Tampa, maybe Jacksonville, maybe across the country, what is it that’s very focused on Gainesville? – My goal was to become the absolute best we could become in Gainesville, I never had a desire to start goin’ around and building and building and building. Over the years, there were other companies that wanted to buy me,
other fitness companies, and I can remember the first one, they were a big company
back then, so I said, what’s your plan, and so they tell me. Well we plan on putting
a box here and a box here and a box here and a,
and I’m sitting there as they’re saying this, I
said, I don’t build boxes. I look at my place as a
facility with human beings inside of it, where they
were just looking at it as a bunch of boxes, and I
said, that’s not who I am. I backed off from that,
you know, completely. There’s one change we’re now starting to develop boutique
centers, and I built one three years ago in Palm Harbor, Florida, and I’m just getting the equipment in for the one I built in
Tampa on Sunday or Monday. It’s just something that I
looked at, something that, well once again, you get
those moments in time. In 2011, I pick up a book
called The New Rules of Retail, and it talked about all the challenges department stores were starting to have with all the boutiques being built and their customers being pulled away. And I’m reading the book and I’m thinking, boy this is the same problem
health clubs are gonna have. I have a great architect up in New York, he’s built health clubs
all over the world, and his name’s Rudy
Fabiano, but he has no ego. He’s the best in our industry, but he… So I call him I say, hey
Rudy, I gotta tell you about this book I’m reading,
and I started talking about the ideas I got from the book. I said, you know Rudy, we’re gonna start a massive remodeling project, I said, I think if you get this concept right, it’ll change the way you design health clubs all over the world. And he goes, I’m really intrigued, so he went out and got the book. And I said, do me a favor, go into the new Bloomingdale’s in New York City, but when you walk around
it, don’t look at it like it’s a department store, look at it like it’s a health club,
and tell me what you see with all the different spaces. And he called me back, he
goes, that’s very interesting, he started telling me the things he saw, so we started discussing
it, but once again, when you start focusing in on something, right around that time I was
asked to speak in London. I was there for almost a week, and one day when I wasn’t speaking, I
was walking down the street, and I see this department
store, it’s called Selfridges. And I thought, eh, I’m
gonna go take a look at it. I was in that store for six hours. I’m lucky I didn’t get arrested, I was taking pictures of everything. – Casing the joint.
(Collin and Mike laughing) – Yeah, yeah, but it was
all these stores were inside this store, like
Gucci and Prada and Chanel, they were built right inside of the store, and I’m looking and I’m thinking you could pick up one of those businesses, one of those boutiques inside, put it out on the street corner, it’d
be a complete business. So I’m looking at all this stuff, and I called Rudy, I said, Rudy, I think the guy that
wrote that book must’ve been sitting inside of this store. I took all the pictures
and I sent it to him. Once again, when you start
focusing in on something, everything kinda starts getting
out there in front of you. I come home from England,
and I turn on the TV, what’s it say, PBS doing a show, such-and-such time, The
Secret of Selfridges. The entire history and
development of that store, which was built in 1909,
you would never know, nothing 1909 about it, so I watch it, and then I order the DVD. And I send it to Rudy, I
said, Rudy, watch this, and you’ll understand exactly what I saw. And that became the
beginning of this massive remodeling project that
we did over six years. But here’s the irony of it, I ordered a couple DVDs, and Deborah Butler, who was developing Butler Plaza, I said, Deborah, I got something, I want you to watch this, and she comes to request a (indiscernible) and she goes okay, so
about two weeks later, I said, Deborah, did you watch that video? And she goes, watch it, I
had my entire team watch it! She goes, we will be building stores that are like Selfridges, so it’s like one thing leads into another, but if I didn’t pick up that book… I guarantee if I was
walking down the street and I saw a department store, I would’ve never even walked
into the department store. But what I was just telling you earlier about the boutiques that
I built in Palm Harbor and now in Tampa, we have a program inside the health club
called X-Force Body, and it’s a phenomenal, phenomenal program. One day I was looking at it, and I go, hmm, I wonder if I can
do what I thought about when I was in Selfridges, if I could just take this model, put it somewhere else, and see if it could work all by itself. So I opened the place in
Palm Harbor simply to learn. So I just did it for three years and been building a place in Tampa, and got it all built and now we’ll be opening up in the next couple weeks. To take what I learned
from Palm Harbor now and apply in Tampa, and
it’s in South Tampa, so it’s a much more dense population than what we have in Palm Harbor. But I keep learning, and
seeing how that leads to the next one, and I
know what I would do there. I have those in the Tampa,
Clearwater, St. Petersburg area, but I’m learning, I’m still learning, so it’s not like I have
to go real fast to do it, just gotta keep learning, so
one thing leads to another. – How much time are you
spending on seeking out or figuring out the right locations, the right places, why Tampa,
why Palm Harbor, why… – It just so ended up
that there was a girl that I knew down in Clearwater who worked for a personal training
center who was phenomenal. And I always knew she was
phenomenal at what she did. The person who owned it,
I think, didn’t appreciate how great she was, maybe could
even get a little jealous? When you have an employee
who’s more popular than you are.
– That’s interesting. – One day she called
me up and she told me, I just got fired, I said, really. I said, why did you get
fired, and she went through and she said why she
was told she was fired, I said, that’s not the
reason you were fired. I said, I’ll tell you why you were fired. She had a little boy, and I said, did you get any severance pay or anything? She goes, five days, and she’d worked for this company for four years, never took a vacation,
never got a sick day, never took a day off, and so
she went through everything, I said, man, that’s great news, and she goes, what do you mean? I said, you’re gonna work for me now. I said, we’re gonna build
a place right by you. I found a location which was by her, I wanted to get something ’cause I knew she had a little boy and everything, and I wanted to have her
close to where she lived. – [Collin] That’s so crazy. (laughs) – So I found this location,
and it was a nice-looking shopping center, strip mall,
but it was very nice-looking, and just negotiated and built it. When I started looking around Tampa, I had a friend of mine
who was a broker taking me all around Tampa, and I’m
looking at all the strip centers, ’cause that’s where you wanna
put this particular thing. And I’m looking and I’m
going, I would never put a facility in any of these strip centers. I said, I’d have to remodel
the whole strip center. To make it look like I want it to look to put in (chuckles) my own boutique. About a year ago, she said, hey, they’re really developing a new one, they’re just building
it, and it’s really nice. So I went over there
and I saw it, and I go, this is the kind of center I wanna be in. And it’s in South Tampa,
which is a great area. So I started negotiating on the lease, well I had a lawyer out of Chicago who’s great negotiating a lease. We signed the lease a while ago, started building it I guess
probably last September, and it’s all finished now, like I said, we’re just waiting for
the equipment to come in. We’re putting all the
open houses and all the PR and everything together
’cause I was thinking about it, just like you have to think about marketing and
all, I said, where’s one of the best ways to
get good PR down there? I said, the Tampa Bay Bucs
are a pretty popular team, so what I’m doing is, through
one of the cheerleaders, who was a cheerleader like 25 years ago, she’s sending a message
out to all the cheerleaders who are at least 45 years old now, and we’re gonna run a trial program with about 10 of ’em to
show what we could do to them because I know
they’re all so well-known in that area, and we have
some media people coming in who are gonna go through the program. And we know what we can do to ’em, and it’s dramatic what we can do to ’em. We’re getting all that
stuff going right now. – It’s so interesting, I mean… I just think as an entrepreneur,
sometimes you can be very impatient, and that just sounds like a very patient process. (chuckles) You’ve had the centers here in Gainesville for a long time, now these boutiques because you recognized this opportunity. I don’t know, I’m just fascinated by, will you just spend time
focusing on the Tampa store, the Tampa studio, and then being like, all right, now the next, now the next, now the next, or are you already looking? – No, not yet, ’cause I
wanna get this one going. – [Collin] You’re just
waiting for the opportunities? – And learn what it is,
because the opportunities will be there but the super thing is, this particular girl is, she’s Bulgarian, she just became an American
citizen about three years ago. Hard worker, just a great personality, connects to people really well, and I can really develop the business through her, which is what I want to do. I go down there, I meet with
the different people, but– – How often do you see yourself
having to go down there? – Maybe once every two weeks. It’s in real good hands,
and we have really good people working for
us down there already, ’cause she really develops
a great family culture with the employees, and
they’ll do anything for her, and she’ll do anything for them. Now we’ll just, we’ll see, I’m learning, and I accept the fact that I’m learning, that I don’t know it all, and we’ll keep figuring it out as we move forward. As you know too, growing
a business is a matter of being able to delegate responsibilities to the right people and
then holding the people accountable and following
up with the people, and not disconnecting yourself from them. We’ll just kinda keep it all together and keep moving forward together. – I feel like accountability
is the hard part. That’s the part that I’m not the best at, Because I don’t know maybe
it’s just because you don’t… I think you just want to be like, hey, I just want you to show up and do your job and do a good job.
– Be accountable. Not really come from within, but… – Yeah, yeah, like just do what I ask and do what you’re supposed to do, and I won’t have to stress over anything. – I know, but you don’t
wanna not stress over things ’cause you don’t know, you know, so the thing is, once we set up the plans, then it’s a matter of
everybody following the plan. Just like in the health clubs, I mean, we’ve put together all our objectives, we put our objectives together in 2017 for two years, and every month, we all get together and go through all the objectives to make sure everybody’s doing all the things that they said they’re gonna be doing. But when you really
develop a team of people, if you are all part of my team, and Collin, you were
having a problem getting one thing done, the goal of the team is that we can all pitch in and help you. You know, get it done, but I have to know whether or not you’re getting it done. And so we do hold people accountable, and we do expect them to do their job and it doesn’t matter how
long you’ve been working with me, I have some
employees been with me… I got one employee with me for 42 years. I got others who’ve been
with me 30 to 40 years, a whole bunch of ’em, but
we still have the things that we have to accomplish, and we have to hold each other accountable. Just like I have to be held accountable for the things I have to do too. – [Collin] How do they
hold you accountable? – They can ask me what’s going
on in any particular area, where we are in any particular area, but the thing that I always do is I always make them aware of where I am on different projects, different things that we’re working on because I meet with my leadership team
every single Monday morning for two to three hours,
every single Monday morning. People say, what do you
cover every Monday morning? I said, we always have
enough stuff to cover, to make sure we’re getting
things done that we need to get done, and then if
there’s questions or issues. A lot of times it can be
learning about different things, and we’re pretty big
in that, even history, making sure that my whole team understands not our history, but
the history of America. ‘Cause I want ’em to understand where we all came from
and where our DNA is from, and doing fun things
with them, for example when I was, showing ’em
a lot on the Civil War. And on Gettysburg, and
they most everyone gets into the different series and learning about the different battles,
and when it’s all said and done, I brought ’em
all up to Gettysburg for three days and we went
through battlefield leadership where they all had to take the role of the commanding officer
for all the different battles that took place, and say,
okay let’s talk about it. So just different things like that, where you can all learn together. That’s what we do.
– That’s awesome. – It seems like you’ve
been on the forefront of a lot of change in the industry, whether it was what you
built here, the boutiques, and there’s a great confidence there, and we talked about being an entrepreneur and only having a Plan A, do you think that confidence comes more from the vision that you’ve come up with, or is it more the skills that you’ve developed and the team you’ve
surrounded yourself with, and just knowing that it’s gonna work out. – It’s gaining more
knowledge all the time. I am a continual learner,
I never looked at it like I know enough, I never look at it like I’m good enough, that
I have to become better. Fortunately, my whole team, (chuckles) they all look at it that way, we all have to find ways to become better, so I look for all the different resources for all of us, and I’ll
give you an example. There’s a person who’s in
charge of what’s called enculturation inside of our company. When I began, I had three employees, and today I have 500
employees, but you always wanna make sure that everybody is sticking to what the culture of the company is. We had first defined
all that, which we did. Her role is making sure
the culture of the company stays consistent through all departments. For example, one of the
things that she would do is she has three meetings with
12 different individuals where they talk about
all the different issues in their particular area,
and then they make sure once you understand all
that, now you get it out to all the people so they understand it. But I just couldn’t say, okay Allison, you’re in charge of enculturation, I hired somebody who was an expert in it for a year to work with
her, to help her understand the whole process that you go through to be able to become a
good leader in that area. So you have the vision for the company, and now you gotta
implement what other things to accomplish the mission,
how do we make sure we live the core values of the company, how do we make sure that
people inside the company fit the culture of the
company, which then says, how will we become better at hiring people so we’ll know whether or
not they fit the culture of the company, if they have
the core values that we have, because I’ve just learned over the years you can’t teach somebody your core values, I can’t teach you to have integrity, you either got it or you don’t. We just have to find out if you have it. So there’s different things
that we can do to find out, and that all becomes part
of the hiring process. – Have you ever had a time over the years where you’re just, (inhales sharply) 500 team members is a lot, (laughs) at a point where it was growing quickly, you noticed things were I
don’t wanna say falling apart, but from a cultural standpoint, unhealthy? – No, every once in a
while, they may have made a mistake in hiring
somebody, but that’s so rare. So rare, it hasn’t happened
in prolly the last time I saw that happen was 10 years ago. To give you a simple thing that we do is, I have about five people
on that hiring team, and when they’re going
through each individual and deciding who they’re gonna bring on, if one person says, I just
didn’t feel right about it, we don’t hire that person. Years and years ago, somebody
was brought onto the team and one person said, I don’t
really feel good about him, and she was overridden,
which she never should have been overridden, but she was overridden by the person who was the leader. That person turned out to be a bad person for us to hire, but we quickly ended that. And then we made sure we all understand, unless everybody agrees,
because sometimes, I really trust gut feelings, I mean, a lot of people say, oh
you gotta use your brain, but I’m gonna tell you, I think you know who Deepak Chopra is,
right, I once heard him say it perfectly, he says,
you know we have the same neurotransmitters in our gut
that we have in our brain. The only difference between the two is the ones in our gut haven’t elevated to the same level of self-doubt that the ones in our brain have. So you go with your gut,
’cause just something doesn’t feel right, and you learn
to, you learn, you learn. – I’m that guy.
– Yeah. – You have that, and you’ve
been in similar situations, and we don’t have to discuss that, like where that gut feeling, I mean… You didn’t make it and it hurt. – Yeah, no I know, you just feel it, and after a while you
say, God, why not just trust my gut.
– Yep. I’ve had big mistakes,
I think I’ve even talked about some of ’em on the podcast where I didn’t go with
my gut, and I’m like, (grunts) and it’s usually
because of outsiders. My gut’s telling me one
thing, but everybody, kinda like where you’re saying, oh, where people are advising you, Joe, don’t do that right now,
the economy’s gonna crash, you’d be stupid to do that right now. No, my gut’s telling me do it, and I had all these outside voices saying, no, don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t… And then I listened to
’em, and sure enough, failure. (laughs)
– I’m a pilot, so I fly all the time,
also you use your brains, you look through and you
think, but then your gut may say, everything seems to be okay, but there’s something just right. I can remember one time I had some people in my airplane, we were flying back from North Carolina, and it was night. And I turned my engine
on, and I’m sitting there, and every report at the
airport was it was fine. I just said to the people,
something just doesn’t seem right, and I’m sitting in my airplane with the propeller going, not taxiing yet, all of a sudden, this
massive wind comes through. My airplane was stable,
but it went right past me, went and ripped a tree
right outta the ground. I turned off the engine, I said, we’re not leaving tonight.
(all laugh) But I don’t even know why,
it was pitch black out, couldn’t see anything,
and the reports were, the airport was fine,
but there was something they didn’t see, so that’s
where your gut can tell you, okay maybe something isn’t right. – Where did the passion
for flying come from? Is that something you always had? – It was funny, when
I was 21 I read a book called Think and Grow
Rich, and I was so inspired at the end I wrote a list of 10 things that I wanted to do, and it was funny ’cause it was right after I
got down to my last 12 cents. I got the book and I wrote my list out, and I think it was number
five on my list was I’ll become a pilot and
own my own airplane. I read that list every
night, every morning, for years and years and years, and by the time I was 24
1/2 and I started building the club, I didn’t have
time to read it anymore ’cause I was working 18 hours
a day to build the club. There was no difference
between going go bed and getting up in the morning anymore. It was funny ’cause
when I was 28 years old, I was sitting in my office
in my first health club, and a friend of mine who was a lawyer who was also a pilot,
and I’d flown with him, he comes inside of my office, he goes, so you ever gonna learn
how to fly a plane? I go, darn, that’s on my list. And I said, where do you learn? And so he told me, they do it over then told me the name of
the place at the airport. It was called Gulf Atlantic back then, so I called ’em up, it was
two o’clock on a Tuesday, I said, what do I need
to do to become a pilot? They go, you just have to
meet with a flight instructor and he’ll go over everything with you. I said, well when do you have an opening? He goes, we have one
at 2:30, I said, okay, I’ll be right over, I said,
I’ll see you later, Bill. I left, and I went over and I sat down with the flight instructor,
and he explained to me all the things I have
to do to become a pilot. I said to him, so well when can I start? And he goes, right now, so I went outside, he showed me how to
pre-flight an airplane, got in the pilot’s seat,
showed me how to use the radio, we got to the end, he
goes, now go over here and give it full power,
and when it gets to 60, pull it back, and I
did, and started flying. He’s telling me now do
this, do this, do this, and we flew for a while and he goes, okay we’ll go back and land, I said, you actually want me
to land this thing too? He goes, no no, I’ll
take care of that part. But from that day, I never stopped flying. If I didn’t have it on the list, I would have probably said,
eh, someday I’ll do it. And if he didn’t question
me, maybe I wouldn’t have done it at that moment,
but I would have done it, ’cause I did everything I had on my list. – When you’re going to
these other locations, are you gonna be flying
there, or you drive? – Yeah.
– Yeah? – I fly all the time.
– That’s awesome. Like, eh, I’m just gonna
jump in my plane and (all speaking at once) That’s cool, tell me a
little bit about the list, ’cause I know that that’s
part of your story, and a big part right,
when you read that book and you wrote those, it was 10 things? – The first thing on the list was I’ll own my health club in Gainesville, Florida. I will own my own health
club in Gainesville, Florida, so no one’s ever gonna tell
me where I’m gonna live. ‘Cause I had to live in Merritt Island, I had to live St. Petersburg
during those periods of time. Back then I told you, all
the clubs I worked for they went bankrupt, well there were more than just the ones I worked for. So the second thing on the list was I’ll make the health club respected in the Gainesville
community, ’cause I said, they had a horrible reputation. Then I just started putting
some fun things down, like okay, I’ll have a
home in the mountains, and a home in the ocean, and
I’ll build my parents a home. Put down that I’ll own a little Mercedes like the kind The Six Million
Dollar Man used to drive, which was a TV show when I was a kid. Then I put down that by
the time I’m 25 years old, I will make $100,000, and
(mumbles) making no money at all. Then I put down that I’ll become a pilot, own my own airplane, put down
that I’ll become a black belt, put down I’ll travel all over the world. I’ve traveled all over America, so I’ll travel all over the world. I remember the last thing I wrote down was I’ll save $1 million only
because when I grew up, I would hear everybody
saying, wish I had $1 million, so I said, I’ll just put it on the list. So I did, but every night I read it, and every morning I
read it, ’cause I heard a psychologist, guy by
the name of Denis Waitley, I used to listen to
his tapes all the time. He just made a comment, he goes, you can’t move away from
what you’re thinking. He goes, you’re always
moving in the direction of your dominant thoughts,
and I said, well let me put my thoughts into my head so
much that I’ll keep doing the kind of things I
need to do to get there. Probably the biggest eye
opener on that list was, I started the health
club when I was 24 1/2, if you took when I was 21, 22, 23, I never made over $11,000 in a year. And when I was 23, I actually put a line through $100,000 and I put $60,000. And I said, I don’t know how
I’m gonna do that either. But I was always reading
books on how to think. When I was 24, I was
still reading my list. I thought, man I just copped out, I’ve just finished reading the book The Laws of Success, and I said, man I copped out, it
just says you’re supposed to believe it, so I put a
line back through $60,000 I put $100,000 back on that list. So at 24 1/2, I started the health club with the $1,700 but the
day that I turned 26, I had exactly $100,000
in my savings account. I remember when I saw that number, I said, you know, it’s not 99, it’s not 101, it was the exact number I wrote down. I said, I can do anything. – Don’t you wish you would’ve written down $100 million? (laughing boisterously) – No, I didn’t need $100 million, I only put $100,000
because that sounded good at that point, and I put a million because I always heard that number. I came from a very middle class family in upstate New York, and I have
seven brothers and sisters. My mother was a nurse,
my father was military, you didn’t think that big,
right, but a million was big. By the time I was 32, I
did every single thing on that list, and I just realized, you just have to know
what it is you wanna do. It’s not like I kept
thinking, I want $1 million, I didn’t, I just went to work, and I just worked hard all the time. I used to watch some people
that they didn’t work that hard and say, why do
people waste so much time? I just didn’t understand
it, like why are they just BSing instead of doing their work? And then I realized,
they didn’t have a list. They’re just doing it to
make it to five o’clock, you know, to go home,
and I wasn’t doing that. – [Collin] Yeah, me neither. Do you have another list? – I didn’t need to put
together another list because I knew what the,
I think the list became projects, okay the next
project, the next one. ‘Cause it’s not like I want
all these things, I don’t. – [Collin] You don’t need
all these possessions. – I never thought about those, I figured if all the other things go right, if I want something I can buy it. But the focus was never on
that, the focus was always on how do we make the business better, how do we make the staff better, how do I help the staff become better. Those were the things
that always drove me. Once again, when I was 21, since I, I read a lot of great
books, but when I was 21, some of the things hit me,
and I was reading a book and I came across a quote and it said, if you help enough
people get what they want out of life, you’ll get
everything you want out of life. And I read that and I go, hmm, that’s what business is all about. It’s not about you, it’s about
how do you help other people. And that was a humongous driving force for the business, for my own business, and everybody in my business understands. It’s not about you, it’s
about how do you help them. And I tell ’em, somehow
the way the universe works, it’ll come back to you without you ever worrying about it coming back to you. If you worry about it coming back to you, it ain’t gonna come back to you, so that’s been a driving
force for the whole company and for everything that I do. – How much do you read now?
– I still read all the time. But they’re different things
that I read, I read a lot about strategy, I read a
lot about the military. Back then, all the books that I read was how to keep my mind
focused on accomplishing, on keeping me going, ’cause
everybody would tell me, just get out of that
business, man, it’s terrible. I had one bank president
tell me he felt sorry for me. When I was trying to get
money to start my own club. I had to read books on how
to keep thinking, and… But once again, a lot
of these things are just (scoffs) a matter of luck, but that’s when preparation meets opportunity, right? When I was 20 years old, I was sitting in an office, and I opened up a drawer, and there was a book in there, The Power of Positive Thinking
by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. I go, hm, heard about these
positive thinking books, never read one but I’d heard about ’em. And I started reading it, and I’m reading about these people who’ve accomplished these phenomenal things by
the way that they thought. I remember I’m reading
this book and I’m going, I got a mind just like these people have, why can’t I accomplish something? So I remember, brand new in the business, brand new salesperson, so I set a goal, and I said, I’m gonna
become the top salesperson in this entire company, and they had clubs out through Salt Lake City and everywhere. Three months later, I
was the top salesperson in the entire company,
and I remember saying, how did that happen,
and then I realized it. When I put this thing into my head, then I started doing
all the things it took to become better at what I was doing. There was a guy who ran a health club down in Ocala who lived in Gainesville, he didn’t have a car, but
I knew he was very good in sales and I said,
how about if I drive you to work every morning,
early in the morning. But I get to talk to you
the whole time about sales. And that’s what I did, and
I learned a lot from him. – [Collin] (laughing) That’s incredible. – When you have those
things, all of a sudden, they just become huge opportunities for you because that book just
kinda got my brain thinking. But then I got transferred,
and I got transferred to Merritt Island, and I
had to live in Cocoa Beach. I had to live in a Holiday
Inn, and I would go to work all day, I’d go back at night to the Holiday Inn,
come back the next day, go back to the Holiday Inn, I hated it. I knew Merritt Island wasn’t
where I wanted to live. – [Mike] I’m from Merritt
Island. (laughing) – I visit, I visit–
– Merritt Island sucks, Mike! – I just had to mention it at that point. – I have great friends from down there, but I knew it’s not
where I wanted to live. I can remember one day
I was driving to work, literally, now understand
I’m 20 years old, I got tears coming outta my eyes, I’m thinking, I hate it
here, I don’t wanna be here. And I decided I was going to quit. Then I thought, what am
I gonna do when I quit? Go home, I have great
parents, but I wasn’t ready to go home and live with ’em again. I thought, maybe I can find another book, and so I went to the bookstore and I, inside the Merritt Square
Mall, and I see this book, The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking. I said, oh must be people who
read that book like I did. And it wasn’t, but I’m reading the book about these people who went
through the most miserable times and how they worked their way through it, and I’m reading the book thinking, man, I don’t have a problem,
that guy, he has a problem. (Collin and Mike laugh) I just
had that attitude problem, and I changed my attitude, and I changed, I like it here, I like it here, and everything about it changed. That was the beginning of that. Eventually when I was asked to come back to Gainesville, and that one’s another long story I won’t go
through the whole thing with you but when I was asked to come back to Gainesville when I was 21, and this guy from Louisiana asked me
if I wanted to manage the club in Gainesville,
of course I said yes. I wanted to be back, I
thought maybe I better go get another book, so
I went to the bookstore and I see this book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and I thought, well that’s a cool title for a book. And I took if off the shelf, and right on the back it said, this book is responsible for more people becoming millionaires than
any book ever written. And I thought, not that I ever thought about becoming a millionaire I thought, but that’s a pretty cool
thing to be able to say. I just read the book, and
then I put together the list. Then there was book after book after book, but then one day I was
in a car with this guy who was coming down to run a health club, and he came also from Utah, and I’m in the car with
him and I see this book. He’s got Laws of Success by Napoleon Hill. I said, I didn’t know
Napoleon Hill had written another book, he goes, yeah,
he goes, this is like my Bible. And I got that book and I could
not stop reading that book. – [Collin] What was that one called? – Laws of Success, 16 Laws of Success. – I’ve read Think and Grow Rich, but… – This is about this thick, (chuckles) it’s a big book, but it’s a great book. Let me just tell you how things go. I put together my personal list, but when I started back in
’96, ’97, right around there, I had a meeting with my key people that I thought was going
to last eight hours, it lasted six months,
we kept working on it, working on it, working on it. One of the points, I said, okay, this is our next project, imagine
it’s 10 years from now. This was ’98, I said, imagine
it’s 10 years from now, and a national business magazine is coming to write a story about us, and I want you to go somewhere in this
house, you got an hour. Write the story they’re gonna be writing about us when it’s 10 years from now. They all came back with their stories, and they read their
stories, and we’re starting to write off all these things on a board, that’s cool as heck,
and we started writing all these things down that
they would be writing about us. I won’t go through all of ’em with you, but the very last thing is, we’ll be on the cover of a national
business magazine. And in 2008, we were on
the cover of Inc. magazine. It was a thing that was on the list, and we also would be on national news for something good, and we were. The irony to that is when the, well the author was a great guy, I’ve become super friends with, wrote the entire article for the magazine. One day I get this package in the mail. I look at it and I open it up, and there’s two books in there. One is Collector’s Edition
of Think and Grow Rich, and the other one is all the articles that Napoleon Hill had written 21 years before he ever wrote Think and Grow Rich. There’s a letter from
the executive director of the Napoleon Hill Foundation, he said, I read your article
and all your references to Think and Grow Rich, and he said, I just wanted to send this to you, and so I had the books,
so I called him up. And I said, hey it’s Joe Cirulli, I said, I got your books, and I
said, I just wanna say thank you very much for
doing that, it means a lot. He goes, well, I’ve been meaning to do it, he goes, but I was at home, and he goes, I got on my treadmill
and I turned on the news, and you’re on the news, I was on Fox News. He said, so I got off the treadmill, and I went and put it
together and sent the books. It’s just funny how things,
– Yeah. – how things all tie in together. – It’s crazy just hearing, here last week we had John Spence on, and just hearing a lot of the similarities, I mean, from these little turning points, these little light bulbs, these little, like investing into yourself, the reading, because that was one of
the big things he said too. Was he had reached that
moment and he was just like– – I think he has read
more books than they have in the library.
– Yeah, I mean… It’s crazy, and I’m trying
to figure out my way of consuming that kind of, I’m doing a lot of Audible and stuff right now. – Oh yeah, me too.
– Okay. – Because you can read a
book and listen to a book at the same time.
– Yeah, and I’m really terrible at reading
books, I don’t know, I think I just have multiple
problems with my brain, and I think it’s not a problem at all, I think it’s my brain starts firing because I start getting ideas, and I have to stop reading (chuckles) – And write down…
– And write down ideas. – Which is fine, (indiscernible) all the time in the world to read a book. – I just never finish a book. (laughs) – Yeah, as long as you get
some great ideas, you’re okay. – Yeah, yeah, and that’s
something other people have encouraged me on is they say, look, if you read a book and
you can take one thing away from it,
– Oh, sure. – then it was a success.
– Sure, sure. – It’s just really, really interesting. I did have something
else that, but I forgot where I was going with
that, anyway, what you got? – I kinda wanted to circle
back to some of the things in your business, I know
that we talked about hiring a little bit and getting
the right people in there. I’ve lived here in
Gainesville now for 15 years, so I’ve had several friends that have gone through the interview
process at Gainesville Health & Fitness, and some that made it, some that didn’t, but one of the things that I feel like you used
to do, maybe still do, were group interviews and stuff like that, and there’s unique things that I’ve heard some of ’em I just remember
that they were unique, but I don’t exactly
remember what they were. Can you talk just a little bit about that and isolating the right people. Does that ever even change as we go from Gen X to Millennials to now Gen Z. How do you isolate those people, and what are those interviews like? – Well, what doesn’t change are the core values of the company, what doesn’t change is the
culture of the company. So it doesn’t matter
which generation you are, but you have to fit into that culture. You have to have those core values, so if we have a thing in our culture that’s built around the fact that when people talk to
you, you listen to them. And you could do a simple thing like just ask eight people
to write about themself for five minutes and then stand
up and read their stories. And then you could just look at everybody and see, are they listening to him, are they listening to you, or do they all of a sudden start writing more things about themself that
they just thought about. If they do that, they’ll never make it to the next interview. You go through the
things, now we wanna know do you actually listen to ’em. So it could be, Mary, could you tell us a little bit about
Collin, where he’s from, and what are some of the
books he talked about reading, and you’re gonna know whether or not somebody actually listened to you. But there’s even simple things, like I remember in the Inc. Magazine, they wrote about one
where you go into a room, there would be maybe
eight chairs in the room, and we’d be interviewing you. We’d say, excuse me, before we start, they need some chairs next door, and I’m just gonna grab
some of these chairs. Start grabbing the chairs and walking out the door with ’em,
after the second chair, if you don’t stand up and grab a chair and walk out with me, you’ll never make it through the interview, you know. Or they put some garbage
– That’s awesome. – on the ground, and eight
people walk right past it. I had a supervisor go and say, I just wanna thank you all for being here, the interview’s over, I
mean nobody even stopped to pick it off the ground,
’cause you need people who naturally do those kind of things. But you as a leader have to always do all those kind of things,
and I’ll give you an example. One of the things I’m big on is when a person comes to our business, the moment the beginning of the visit to the business begins is when
they get out of their car. That means if we have garbage and stuff in the parking lot, that’s the first thing that they see, so we’re all responsible for picking up garbage when you’re walking from your car to the front door. Couple weeks ago, I was
walking through the parking lot and there was something
that was on the ground, and it was like broken up, and when I, one of my trainers comes
there and he sees me, and he’s picking it all up, and he goes, I’m only getting it
before you do. (chuckles) So you just have to make sure that you do those same things, but
there’s other things too. A long time ago I
learned that you could be my friend until things get real tough. Then all of a sudden, you’re just not the same person anymore, I learned that a long time ago, that people
under pressure are not the same people they are
when there’s no pressure. There’s just an example that back in the early ’80s and
I saw this and I’d go, wow, what a change in that person! So I said, I gotta find out
what you’re made out of. The question is, how do I put you under an intense situation, but I’m gonna learn what you’re like under
an intense situation. So me knowing what I know, I said, we’re gonna take every person through a high-intensity workout,
it’s gonna be miserable. I don’t even care if you
can’t make it through, ’cause most people won’t
be able to make it through. What I do care is that you give it everything you got until you can’t go. And you don’t complain or whatever else that you could do. That you listen to directions, and you give it everything you got. When I talk to all the employees, I ask ’em, well how was
the interview workout? And they go (grumbles), I go, (mumbles) thing is the reason you’re here is ’cause you all gave it everything you had. You can learn a lot, I’ll
give another example. My manager, there was this one guy that everybody was high on, aw, he’d be really, really good, he goes, let me take him through the workout. He took him to the workout, and the kid, and I mean muscular kid now, he’s doing a leg extension,
and he just stopped. The manager says, I think
you can do a couple more. So he does a couple more and he stops. He goes, I think you could
still get another one. And the kid made a few
disparaging comments to the manager and got up
and walked out the door. Which is great, right,
because he just didn’t like that someone was asking him that, say you could put up, you could do more. All of my people just do it, it’s not like we’re gonna be dictators when they’re there, but
I just wanna find out that you’ll give it everything you got. ‘Cause that’s what you
show in your work too. Everybody does it, even
if you’re going to work in the Kids Club, you’re gonna do it. – We’re gonna start
sending New Scooters 4 Less team members through that.
(talking over each other) Send ’em over there,
let ’em go through that. Up, okay, it’s time for the second part of your interview, you’re going to Gainesville Health & Fitness, and this is what you have to do. Have you had other
businesses request that? – No.
– ‘Cause it sounds awesome. – Anyway, it’s just a way
I can make it miserable on you and see how you are
when things are not so great. I’ve just learned different
things over the years. – I think it’s fascinating
because I feel like, I feel like sometimes I come up just short of maybe having this savior complex where it’s like I feel like as a leader, maybe through my influence,
I can create change. I wanna believe in the good of people, and I think it’s interesting that you work in this business, or
you built this business where reformation is a
huge part of what you do, and a lot of that’s physical, but a lot of that’s mental too. When it comes down to hiring people, it’s about just, you’ve
either got it or you don’t. – I can give you a perfect example. Back a long time ago when I was reading all these books, on how
to think, how to think, I actually got to the point I said, I think I can help people think like this. As I said, as I’ve told other people, by the time I went through
about 100 employees and maybe one of ’em changed, I thought, may be better if I just
hire people like this. That’s how it was, some
things you can’t instill in a person, you can see
raw talent in people. I’m not saying you can’t, I mean, I remember I met, through friends of mine in Cocoa Beach, this guy
who was a friend of theirs. Real nice kid, real country, he couldn’t complete one sentence where I think he got the grammar right. But I could tell he was a good person, next thing you know, he’s
moving to Gainesville, and he’s applying for a job, and he went through a workout, he gave it so much, he couldn’t leave the club for four hours after the workout, he
was sitting in the lobby couldn’t get outta the chair.
(Collin laughing) Anyway, we hired him
because of those qualities. He came to me and he said, Joe, he goes, what can I do to become better? And I said, you need to start reading. You need to start reading more, ’cause you need to improve your grammar. Wanna know something,
not only did he improve his grammar, he became the sales, became one of the best
salespeople I’ve ever had. Then he was offered a job
in Tampa, or excuse me, in Atlanta, and you
know what he does today? He goes to all the
major banks in the world selling them technology.
– Dang. – Oh yeah, he’s very, very successful, and he’s still a great friend of mine, and we train together, so
there’s just different. You first have to go with the character of the person ’cause you
can teach ’em skills, but I can’t teach you your character. It’s something you got, and it may work in another company, it just wouldn’t work in our company if they didn’t
have the right character. – That’s awesome, we
gotta wrap up in a minute, but I have a couple more questions. Like I said, we had
John Spence on the show last week and I said, so John, I was like, we have Joe coming up on the show. I was like, what questions,
’cause I’m trying to really, one, everybody’s gotta know I only want this podcast to be different
than other podcasts. I really want to, you know, I just, I want it to have that thing that’s just different and special and unique. And so I was like, there
ain’t no better person to ask than John (laughs) right? We asked him this question, he was like, you need to ask Joe the same question. One of ’em was, what do you think Gainesville needs to meet its potential? – I think Gainesville is
moving towards its potential right now, obviously we’ve
got a highly-educated group of people who live in Gainesville. With all the technology
and everything (mumbles), it’s kind of a perfect model, I mean, the things that we needed
to make Gainesville a more upscale city are the things that are occurring right
now with Butler Plaza and at Celebrations, and
all the other construction that’s going around this city. So I think we have all
the right ingredients right now, I don’t think I’m gonna say, well we need this or we need that. I think we’re developing those things, and as you’re learning yourself through all the different
podcasts you’re doing, how many great organizations are out there doing their thing, you
just never heard about ’em. Like we wouldn’t, Mitch
Glaeser and Rich Blaser, the things that they’re
doing now in Alachua, and the developments and the
vision that they have there. Because that’s what
develops a city, right, is a lot of people and vision,
and I think we have those. – I have a vlog of that coming out soon, so if you (mumbles),
Mitch took me out there, we had a little private
tour going through that, it was cool, man, it’s
neat. (inhales deeply) I know we talked a little
bit about the boutique stuff, but where do you see the health and fitness industry in a decade? – I don’t know if I’m good enough to go out for a decade, you know, I can remember one day I was listening to one of my employees interviewing a girl that wanted to work in the Kids Club, and they said, what is
your five-year plan? I’m thinking, damn, I don’t know if I have a five-year plan, you know, it’s just– – [Collin] It’s really
hard these days, right? – I know because it just evolves, – Changes so fast.
– it evolves all the time, the one thing that I do know is that the human body still needs exercise, and it’s just a matter of finding out the kind of things that you have to change and adapt and adjust,
my first health club is 1,500 square feet, my current one, the big one’s 80,000 square feet. There’s a lot of things that change, the one thing in the industry is, that’s growing out
throughout the whole world, is virtual reality, so
the thing is how does virtual reality tie into
what we do inside the clubs? In our women’s club, we
just instituted a lot of virtual classes, so we
have all the regular schedule of classes, but there’s times
when we don’t have classes, so we have a whole
schedule of virtual classes so you could go into the group
X room and do the classes with a screen and a teacher on the screen. If you look at Peloton,
that’s one of the things that they’re doing, obviously, that’s making them very
popular, but it’s one of the things that’s growing
inside of our industry. The other things is the use of technology inside the clubs, which
will have its challenges where you come into the
club, they can track you, everything you do, and get an idea of all the different places you go. Even some of the clubs are sending you an email based upon where they see you, the information based upon where they see you spending most of your time. There’s also gonna be all kinds of laws, and I don’t know how I
actually feel about that, knowing you walk into a club and you know you’re being tracked everywhere. But you’re being tracked on your phone, we’re all being tracked– – Apple, right now, on my iWatch. – Oh yeah, no no no no no.
– My heartbeat right now. (talking over each other) My heartbeats per minute is… – Yeah, and somebody else may know your heartbeat per minute, or… That’s the thing, those are the things that are changing is the use of technology for marketing purposes
and the virtual reality. Those are the things that are occurring, but there’s also something
else that we did too, ’cause I knew this would be coming, and that is really discussing recovery in all of our marketing messaging. So we developed an
entire room that’s based on recovery, we had the whole pool area completely redone so that it would be more resort-like to make it really around the concept of
now take time to recover. Through the steams and
saunas and whirlpools and cold plunges and stuff like that. – That’s super interesting,
do you see there’s, I feel, and it’s come up on the podcast a couple times, we’re definitely in a time where mental health is
extremely important. Is that something that
you guys see incorporating into what you’re doing, or…
– I’ll make the story short, within a two-year period, I
had four deaths in my family, my mother, my father, my
younger sister’s husband, and my older sister’s
husband, he had cancer. My parents had some other
issues that occurred. But my one brother-in-law, he
had so much stress in his life and he must of had a
major stroke at like 59, and then I had a woman
who was helping take care of my father because he had had a stroke, and one day I was at the
house, she’s 52 years old. And once again, to make
a long story short, she got a call that her
husband had a heart attack, and he was one of the
drivers of the big logs, the big trees that are
cut down out in the forest for transport to the other places. He was up in Homerville, Georgia, and he had a heart attack
out in the boondocks. It was an interesting
hour trying to figure out what was going on until,
one of the things too just so you can always know,
if you ever call 9-1-1, you can ask to talk to
someone in another city, in another state, and I
said, can you connect me to the 9-1-1 in Homerville, Georgia. And they did and I said,
can I talk to the sheriff? I talked to the sheriff, and he was like an old country boy Georgia sheriff. And he was in tears, he did, he said, he couldn’t help him,
he said I was with him. And I had put him on the
phone with Eee, the wife. And she just broke down,
and when I drove her, I drove her back home to
Lake City where she lived, and on the way back, I was just thinking, how many people die from stress, get sick from stress,
’cause he was 52 years old, but I knew he was under a lot of stress. I was driving back and
thinking, I gotta build an area that’s designed
to help people just relax. A room that I’d kept vacant for a year ’cause I didn’t know what to do with it, and I said, okay, now I
know what to do with it. So we built a whole
room, it’s called Chill. It’s got really, really
high-end massage tables in it that you just sit down
and put a code into it, and you’ll (indiscernible) best massage, and it’s all water that’s
constantly hitting your body. So that was a beginning,
and then when I talked to the the architect about the pool area, said I wanna continue this, he goes, I’ll build a pool area
that’s like a hotel resort. And that’s what we did, and I know we did because originally it was
supposed to cost $400,000 by the time we got done
it was $1.2 million. So I know we accomplished
(laughs). – [Collin] That’s super interesting, what are you reading right now? – Actually right now I’m
– On a break? – No no no no, oh no no no,
it’s actually called Pale Horse. And the only reason is I’m part of a group called Vistage, you may be familiar with, and they bring in great speakers, and the last speaker was a 30-year veteran in the Army and he was really involved in strategy and teamwork,
and so I listened to his presentation, which is exceptional, and I downloaded his book,
so I’m listening to that. I listened to one right before that, which was military but not military, and it’s called Can’t Hurt Me, you gotta be ready for, every other word out of his mouth is…
(Collin and Mike laugh) But the story he tells is
incredible, incredible. Guy who was overweight, 297 pounds, talked about the dozen
donuts he ate every day, everything else, and came home one day and saw a show on the Navy SEALs, and from that point on, called the Navy, 10 guys won’t even talk to him, the 11th guy said, come on in. He stepped on the scale,
he goes, you’re a big boy. He goes, yeah I know, and he says, okay, here’s the deal, you wanna become a SEAL? You have to lose 106
pounds in three months, and he did.
– Dang. – Then you listen to the
story of becoming a SEAL, him becoming an Army Ranger,
him running 100-mile races, him eventually saying I’m
gonna set the world record in chin-ups, and doing
4,134 chin-ups in 24 hours. You’re going, holy cow, everything is, it’s in your mind, it’s in your mind, you can either quit or you can keep going. Now they’re a little bit more military, they’re still very inspiring to me. So that’s what I’ve been going through, but I mean I go through other books. – That kinda leads me
into my next question. You get to a point where
you gotta keep going, keep going, don’t quit, so
what, over all of these years, what’s been your biggest failure? – I don’t mean to sound egotistical, I can’t think of my biggest failure, because there’s nothing that I did, somethin’d happen that helped
me go on to the next thing. When I look at all the
health clubs I worked for and they went bankrupt, it was my failure. They weren’t really my failures, but I remember reading a quote once that says, if you look back over your life and you look at all the things
that seemed to be so wrong, so terrible, that spurred
you on to the next thing, and if those things never
happened, you would have never been spurred on to the next thing. So that’s how I look
at it, there’s nothing that I look at and say,
wow, that was a catastrophe. If I make a mistake with
something, I can quickly correct the mistake, times
when I was going to become a pilot, and I almost
got killed, I thought, maybe okay, that could’ve
been a catastrophe. Because there were times,
and then I just said, the only way I’m gonna learn
how to become a good pilot is if I get in horrible situations
I gotta work my way through. I remember one time I almost got killed, and I’d flown my mother
up to Jacksonville, and I was coming back,
and I was a new pilot in a really fast airplane
and I made a mistake with something that I did, and I was going right into the ground, and I was going into the ground so fast that I knew I just couldn’t pull back ’cause I would’ve ripped the wings off, so slowly I had to pull back and pull back and pull back. And all I could picture
was doing a belly flop, on the runway, and
obviously I did recover, but the whole time, the
only thing I thought was, if I get killed, my mother’s
never gonna forgive herself. And that was the thing that
just was the worst thing. Those would’ve been catastrophes, but somehow I made it through. – My dad was an Air Force pilot, and he flew F-111s and,
you know, we were actually in England, so I like hearing
you talk about England. Now he’s a commercial airline pilot for Southwest Airlines, and I’m fascinated because he watches this show on… – Airplane Disasters?
– Airplane Disasters! – [Joe] I watch ’em all the time. – I’m like, Dad, you fly all the time! – No, you learn, I watch ’em all the time. – That’s what he says,
he’s like, you learn what to do in those situations (mutters). – You become a better pilot, I mean, you start looking at things
you didn’t even think of as could be a problem,
it could be a problem. – I’m just fascinated,
these pilots watching Airplane Disasters,
(laughs) like all right. – [Joe] All the time. – You guys just keep
doing your thing then. Well, thank you so much for being here. – Ah you’re welcome, Collin. – It was awesome ’cause when John Spence, when I told him you were
gonna be on the show, he goes, he said one thing, he goes, Joe is one of those few
people that have said he’s going to change the world, and has actually done it, and I was like, man that’s just awesome, and I hope somebody can say something
similar about me one day. – Well I got a great team,
we all do it together. – Yeah, you guys are incredible. Well keep it up, thank you so much, where can everybody find you, you got social networks and stuff,
what’s the best way to– – Obviously our website is ghfc.com. – [Collin] Start there, and
you can get to everywhere else. – Yeah, start there, yes,
and you can make contact with any of us, my email address is joe.cirulli, C-I-R-U-L-L-I, @ghfc.com. – [Collin] Awesome. – I’m gonna tell you a quick thing, I was doing an interview
for a guy and I said, where are you, and he
goes, Rio de Janeiro, and so when we finished the interview, the first contact I got
was from a 17-year-old Mulsim in Sarajevo asking me
about building a business. The second one I got was from Iceland. So anyway, it was pretty cool.
– That’s awesome. – So that’s how you get me.
– Yeah, that’s awesome. Well thank you so much for being here, and thanks for your (mumbles), hey everybody that’s listening, I want to ask you to do me a big favor, ’cause I haven’t asked for this yet. I want you to go leave us a review. We’re on iTunes, Spotify, everywhere, so on iTunes, you can leave a review, leave a review even if it’s like, if you think I’m terrible,
then just tell me that I’m terrible, but
give me some positive… – Back away from the
microphone a little bit. – Give me some feedback so I can learn, don’t just say, hey
Collin, you’re terrible. If I’m terrible then tell
me what I need to do better. – You’re both very
(laughter drowns him out). – Well thank you, and please share this with somebody, share this
episode with somebody. Share any episode with anybody, we really wanna grow this, we’re going into year two, baby,
we’re going into year two. And don’t forget to
communicate, talk with us on Instagram and Facebook,
it’s just @whoagnv on Instagram and then it’s /whoagnvpodcast on Facebook, but if you
communicate via Messenger, we’re gonna answer, and you can hit me up directly, my Instagram
is just CollinAustin, and hit me up directly, say hello, I wanna build relationships,
I wanna continue to further build this community. Thank you so much for listening, this is the WHOA GNV Podcast, the podcast bringing you businesses and individuals that make you go – [Both] Whoa! – We will see you later, bye. (energetic rock music) ♪ Gainesville Rock City ♪ ♪ Gainesville Rock City ♪ ♪ Gainesville Rock City ♪

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