This year hasn’t been business as usual at Equilibrium, but—spoiler alert—this isn’t a Covid-19 sob story.
A year ago, Equilibrium co-founders Niko Algieri and Jay Brockway were walking away from the dream studio they had built in London. They had rows of neatly-hung TRX straps, a collection of pricey treadmills, and a roster of celebrity clients. They also had rent totaling more than £50,000 annually and a bad business partnership.
“We had this beautiful studio and brought in all these celebrities, but I wasn't making loads of money where I could buy a nice car, buy a house. It's impossible. I could eat and I could live, but I couldn't buy anything nice,” Algieri explained.
The studio was beautiful, but it was a drain on their bank accounts. Equilibrium needed a reset, so Algieri and Brockway decided to leave their picture-perfect space behind and start over.
But, again, this isn’t a sad story.
Let’s backtrack for a moment. Algieri started in the fitness business 12 years ago. Brockway, his brother, joined him four years later. The brothers built a reputation in personal training and through social media. (Algieri has more than 20,000 Instagram followers, and Brockway has more than 9,000.) Between hard work and social media savvy, they grew their client base, opened a gym, and started selling out group classes.
When they left their posh brick-and-mortar digs and group fitness behind, their old personal training clients came calling. Soon, they were training clients in their homes, and had almost no overhead expenses. When a friend offered them a smaller, more affordable space for personal training, Equilibrium found its new home.
Then the pandemic happened.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Equilibrium was only offering in-person personal training sessions. If Algieri and Brockway were to continue making a living, they would have to make their client appointments virtual.
That sparked an idea. If they were training their London clients online, why couldn’t they tap into their social media following and offer virtual training to clients in other cities, too? And, if all fitness classes were becoming virtual classes, why not reboot their Equilibrium group classes on Zoom?
“With Covid and the virtual class experience, we've added our classes back in. We're doing [personal training] and then training 40 people in a class,” Algieri said. Business, despite global stay-at-home orders, is better than ever because now the brothers are working with an international client base. From New York to Los Angeles, Zurich to Tehran, they’ve seen explosive growth in a matter of weeks.
Every trainer will encounter business obstacles at some point in their career, but—as Algieri and Brockway have demonstrated—setbacks can set the stage for bigger opportunities. Instead of maintaining the status quo or simply mitigating the damage, these trainers found a creative way to grow.
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