At the beginning of this year, I decided to step from behind the scenes of my marketing consulting and contracting business, and create a brand to make a more significant impact on small businesses. I love the freedom of being an entrepreneur, but no one really prepared me for all the tough lessons that were ahead of me. Over the course of the year, I’ve made it my mission to share some of the insight that I have learned over the past 5 years, as well as the things I continue to learn. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned on this journey, is the power of shared experiences. If you have identified your passionate purpose, you have access to one of the most powerful tools in your entrepreneurial toolkit. In an earlier article, I talked about how your passionate purpose can fuel your business. I reached out to other entrepreneurs to find out what their passion was, and how it has helped them in their businesses. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Casey Kirch, owner of Earn It Lifestyle wellness brand. I was so grateful for our candid discussion on what makes Casey so passionate about his business. During the process of the conversation, Casey shared how his passion kept him going when the odds were against him.
Identify what you love
A favorite mantra among successful entrepreneurs to aspirational entrepreneurs is the famous quote by Confucius “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This is horrible business advice, by the way, doing what you love generally comes with a major price. But if you’re passionate about what you do, your bad days doing what you love are better than any day doing what you hate.
Coming out of college with a Business Management degree, Casey had no idea that he was going to own his own health and wellness brand. In fact, he really had not decided what he wanted to do with his life. He had always been an athlete, and had started facilitating team workouts at the age of 13 and went to college to play Division 1 Lacrosse. When he came out of college, he decided to take his love for fitness and get a job at Blue Streak Sports Training in Stamford, CT working as an administrator. After a while, he decided to get from behind the desk and start to work as a personal trainer.
Casey stayed close to the things he was familiar with, and eventually moved into an area of business that he loved. If you have identified that thing that you love and that has always been a part of your life, then pursue it or find a way to merge the things that you love into your current job.
Discover your passionate purpose
I struggled for a long time to figure out what my niche was in my business. I was sort of jack of all trades when I worked in the corporate world, and I know working with other entrepreneurs that struggle to find the niche in their brand. Casey is essentially his brand. So his passion in life is very connected to what drives him in business. My purpose did not come to me in a moment of clarity, while meditating on the top of a hill. In fact, I had gone through a period of dealing with some female entrepreneurs, that had some questionable business ethics. It made me sit back and think “there’s got to be a better way.”
Casey had a very similar situation when he excitedly started his training career. One of his regional managers, indicated that the focus of the group shouldn’t be the results of the clients but the amount of money they could get out of them. It was in that moment he discovered how cutthroat and nasty the personal training industry could be, and it motivated him to change the face of the industry forever. Talk about a passionate purpose, that reaches far outside of his own personal rewards and creates a legacy for other people looking to change their lives and their health.
Passion attracts opportunity
One of the things that impressed about Casey’s story, was the confidence and faith he had. He decided to take a leap of faith and move from Connecticut to San Diego, on $200 and the knowledge that he could make more of an impact in his business in California. I had to stop him in the conversation and ask him how he knew. “I made a lot of money for my previous employer, and I knew I could do it for myself,” Casey explained.
I had a very different experience the first few years in business for myself. I too had a great deal of success working for other people, but when it came to working for myself, I started to focus on my inadequacies instead of focusing on the strengths that made me successful in the corporate world. It’s in those moments of doubt that it’s important to look inside, for that burning desire that made you take the leap of faith in the first place.
Casey did, in fact, find a niche in his personal training business. He began getting private in-home clients as an independent contractor, which really began to change his business.
We all have moments of darkness
No journey is without its struggles. Casey shared a time when he fell into depression, when both his personal life and business were hit with major blows. He had two back to back business investments that fell through after his business partners deviated from the original business plans. At the same time, he found out his long-term girlfriend and business partner was cheating on him, and their relationship ended suddenly. Casey stopped working out, started drinking and partying, and was in, what he describes as “the darkest moment” of his life.
So here’s the thing. More entrepreneurs are bravely speaking out about their bouts with depression. In fact, in her award-winning article, “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship,” Jessica Bruder reveals that many successful entrepreneurs admitted “before they made it big, they struggled through moments of near-debilitating anxiety and despair–times when it seemed everything might crumble.” It’s also important to point out that, as an entrepreneur life problems and business problems generally collide to cause a stacking effect, since there’s not clock to punch in and punch out. Your business is a part of who you are. Casey handled his challenges the way many of us do, through avoidance, but he found his way out of the darkness. There’s a recently published resource by Peter Messmer, The Mindset Boss, that is a must read called “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Kicking Depression’s Ass.”
Passion comes to the rescue
I asked Casey how he was able to overcome his depression. I know that I have had so many moments of doubt, fear, and depression myself, and some days it seems like quitting is a viable option. He said that one day he just looked in the mirror and noticed he had fallen out of shape. He took a survey of his life, recognizing and evaluating the things that he had that were positive, and that got him going in the first place, and he started to move. He said that he started slow, but getting up and walking a bit. Then when he finally went for that first run, he reminded himself that today was the first day of a new life for himself. Fitness was his way back to the light.
A few weeks ago, I posted a plea on Facebook, because I was facing MAJOR writer’s block. I just needed to hear my voice again, because I was really feeling down. Then I started to journal again. I was not posting blog articles, but I was getting my thoughts on paper again. A few days later I too was on my way back to the light. These are the moments when your passion becomes the most important driving force in your life.
After he got his focus back when other working and personal issues would come up, he was equipped to handle them in a different way because of the things he had experienced. He gleaned the lessons from his dark time, and used them to move his business.
Earn It Lifestyle Now
There are a ton of things that I learned about business and the entrepreneurial journey talking to Casey. He is currently training clients in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood in a work loft. He also provides nutrition education for people who want to learning how to eat the right way, and has teamed up with other practitioners to offer holistic wellness programs. Be sure to follow him on his Facebook page for updates on his upcoming programs.