In my late twenties I decided it was finally time to take myself seriously. This involved the following:
Try not to binge drink (keep to below 20 units a week)
Get a suitable boyfriend (someone who had a job and could dress themselves – to date I’ve failed at this miserably)
Wear grown up clothes (not have yesterday’s dinner spilt down your top)
Get fit (be able to walk up the underground stairwell and not look like you’re going to have a seizure when you reach the top)
The last action point terrified me the most. I am NOT a gym bunny and have had a fear of any type of group exercise ever since the days I was locked in the school's gym locker room as a punishment for forgetting to wear a bra to netball practice. For anyone who knows me you can understand there was no option at the time but to sit on the sidelines.
In my quest to become a grown up I looked about for a reputable personal trainer who was willing to take me on. Matt was introduced to me via my best friend Stevie who gave me the background story that he had at one point been "one of us" until he had the bravery to ditch advertising life in order to re-train as a personal trainer setting up Fitter You. Alongside this he had also co-founded Wireless Fitness a technology company that allowed you to run music-based exercise classes in any location without paying for studio space, carry bulky stereo equipment or disturb anyone nearby. I was also told (to add to these outstanding credentials) that he was a karaoke expert and general all round top guy.
This was enough to impress me so I signed up, purchased a sports bra and got ready to transform into a Victoria's Secret model.
Not only has Matt taught me how to do press-ups in LA nightclubs after 15 gin and tonics (very important life skill) he’s also shown how hard work whilst having a great attitude can deliver ten-fold when you’re trying to set up a business. He’s also pretty darn hilarious (check out his Instagram for proof of this) and is even a "celebrity" of sorts after making it on to Dragons Den, check out his grilling by these serious entrepreneurs here.
In a world where sports/health brands can seem so sterile and boring I love that Matt offers something authentic, unique and just plain fun. Hence why I’m writing this – cause if you look Matt Boyles up in the dictionary the description of #GuyDoneGood would definitely be listed.
How long have you been freelance/working for yourself #goingsolo?
Just over three years – I was half and half before that for about nine months, then #goingsolo was just too appealing, and I’d built enough of a client base to support my solo endeavours
Describe what you do in five words… GO!
Tanned impulsive outdoor fitness entrepreneur (But everyone calls me a TIOFE… or at least I think that’s what they call me)
What made you decide to take the plunge?
I had worked in Marketing for almost 10 years and while I enjoyed it mostly, it was never a passion. I was also into fitness a bit and had done a few triathlons and went to the gym fairly regularly. One day I had an idea along the lines of ‘what if I could get paid for being fit and healthy’… So I signed up for a Personal Trainer qualification and started studying for that. The more I did it, the more I loved it, so worked harder at it (in secret) until I had passed the exams that let you start training real people. At this point I told the company I worked for, and they, amazingly, let me go part time, so I worked in the office for two and a half days a week, and started building my client base the rest of the time. Nine months after that, I had a solid client base and the confidence, just about, to take the plunge. So off I went.
What’s the best bit about being your own boss?
This is going to be cliché after cliché, BUT the freedom it provides is amazing. Working when I want to work, with who I want to work with, on my terms is a great feeling. Conversely, not having to be in the same office every day, at the same time, catching the same Northern Line tube… is also amazing.
What’s the biggest pain in the arse?
At first it was the irregularity of being paid – “will client X pay me when they said they would?” However, that has settled down now and I’ve got loads better with money (I’ve had to). I would say ‘doing my accounts’ but I pay someone to do that.
What’s the grand plan/big idea?
I’m sorry, I’m meant to have some kind of plan? Do people do that?! I don’t have any grand plan, it’s not how my brain works; I do however have smaller, more bite-size goals. The next one is launch my online training programme (If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of a bandwagon crashing into a wall…)
What’s the best bit of advice you could give someone about it #gosolo?
Make sure you’ve got your first few months of cash covered, in case there is a surprise shortfall. Boring, but it’s the most important thing, especially at the start. Also, as quickly as possible, investigate ways to create a passive income, e.g. something that pays you when you’re not working, so you can go on holiday and still be earning. Christ that turned dry quickly.
Where do you get your inspiration from? (person, place, action)
Bjork & Roisin Murphy & Sia & Marina and The Diamonds and Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj and Kelly Clarkson and Carly Rae Jepson and Rihanna & Beyonce & Katy Perry & Kylie & Nicola Roberts & Miley Cyrus & Lady Gaga & Lily Allen & Allie X & Gwen Stefani & Nina Nesbitt & Britney Spears & Cher. You get the picture.
If we could give you one thing right now (not a wad of cash) that would help your business out the most, what would it be?
Better Facebook marketing skillz pls
Hindsight is a wonderful thing – discuss
Is it? I’ve just read, and am re-reading a book which makes you question all sorts of things like this. It’s somewhat hippy dippy nonsense, but there’s a really great section on letting things go and not being haunted by mistakes/missteps in the past. I know you want me to talk about learning from my mistakes with a particularly hilarious example of when I didn’t, but I can’t think of one. Sorry!
What’s your favourite quote to live/work by?
“Simplify, simplify” … from Henry David Thoreau, the American writer/philosopher. Although I forget it regularly, but when I remember it, boy do I implement it hard. (The ironic thing is, you can simplify “Simplify, simplify” by just writing “Simplify”)
To find out more about Matt's personal training skillz & find out how you can do press-ups on a club floor then visit his website!