Interview with Eric Cressey
Eric Cressey is well known through his speaking, his writing, the great work that he’s done at Cressey Sports Performance, and the products that he’s created. He has really done it all as it relates to being a leader in the industry and also, a day to day coach who is bringing out the best in the hundreds of athletes that he serves.
I actually started out thinking I was going to be an accountant. I went to Babson College out of high school and was totally under the impression that the CPA route was what was going to be the right path for me. It just so happened that in my senior year of high school I was prepping to play college soccer and in the process of doing that, really got into my fitness. I starting training harder and harder and taking care of my diet.
What’s interesting is I was training hard, trying to become a higher performing athlete and I actually overdid it and wound up with an exercise addiction, eating disorder and really messed by body up pretty good. It ruined my chances of playing college soccer, but what it did do in the process, is it made me realize, here’s how you exercise better and here’s how you eat better and take care of your body. I had to go through a period of putting a lot more weight back on the right way. Learning how to take care of myself.
That happened over my first two years of undergrad while I was at Babson and I realized it was something I was much more passionate about rather than looking at debits and credits and balance sheets. After my sophomore year, I transferred from Babson to the University of New England. It was kind of a double thing in the sense that it gave me exposure to an exercise science curriculum and I was able to transfer all my business credits in and get a double major in Sports and Fitness Management. It also, just as importantly, allowed me to live at home. I was still getting my health back and rebounding, and all of that so I had a more predictable environment.
“We train baseball players from all 30 major league organizations. We see guys at just about every Olympics.”
I was also working out at a gym and was fortunate to have a guy in my hometown who really took me under his wing and mentored me and put me in a good position to start my coaching career in that realm at age 20. Kind of just one of those situations where all the stars aligned.
After I finished at UNE, I went to University of Connecticut to do my Master’s degree. I did a Masters in Kinesiology with a concentration in exercise science. That is where I got my first taste of training in the college sector and realized that I wanted to be a strength conditioning coach as opposed to a typical personal trainer or working in a research setting or whatever it may be.
I had a good experience at UConn and when I left, I made the decision to go to the private sector as opposed to staying with college strength and conditioning. One thing led to another and here we are. Basically 11 years later with two facilities. One in Massachusetts and one in Florida. We train baseball players from all 30 major league organizations. We see guys at just about every Olympics.
I have this long list of success that in large part actually came about by accident just because I was where preparation meets opportunity. I knew what I wanted to do and the stars just aligned the right way. When the opportunities came about, things worked out well. In fact, my freshman year roommate from Babson is actually now my business partner.
“I have this long list of success that in large part actually came about by accident just because I was where preparation meets opportunity.”
In addition to what we do with our actual Cressey Sports Performance brand, I also do a lot of writing, speaking, consulting in other avenues. I’m kind of the guy that wears quite a few different hats on a daily basis. I certainly really enjoy it.
Opening Cressey Sports Performance
When I finished my Masters, or towards the end, I was fortunate. A guy named Chris West who was the Associate Head of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Connecticut along with Tina Murray who’s now at the University of Louisville; both of them were really, really good about taking me under their wing and mentoring me and taking the opportunities in that realm. Actually, Chris and also Dr. Kramer at our department in UConn had gotten some phone calls about opportunities in the college realm. I was seriously considering going that route just because I had a lot of experience in college basketball. I had interviewed with a facility in Connecticut and was really interested in getting a young athlete training program off the ground. I liked the idea of being close to UConn so I could still go back and be involved. We were doing some stuff with some of the NBA guys at the time.
I liked the idea of staying involved with those guys and continuing to learn, so I made the decision to stay in the private sector there. I was there for about nine months and realized that it was probably not the right place for me in the sense that it was the kind of scenario where I had envisioned myself building a population of young athletes and training them there. Instead, I wound up, not unfortunate by any means, but just dealing with a lot of adult clients one-on-one and had a fully booked schedule within a matter of a couple of weeks. It was a great opportunity to make some money, to coach a lot of people, get some experience, get myself out of student debt and things like that but I realized long-term, it wasn’t for me.
The opportunity came up to work in Massachusetts as an independent contractor. I moved up here with zero clients on August 1st, 2006 and business really took off. It kind of coincided with my business partner, Pete, finishing his MBA in the spring of 2007. He had also experienced coming and training with us. We had always kind of talked about maybe doing something. The opportunity came up and then we opened up Cressey Sports Performance.
What was good about it was we weren’t starting from scratch with a new facility. I actually had an existing clientele, quite a few baseball guys I had started working with. That allowed us to hit the ground running when we opened up. What I think is really important for a lot of people to remember is that, you walk into the facilities now and they see 15,000 square feet in Massachusetts. They see 7,700 square feet in Florida. They see the New Balance logo and nicely decorated walls. They see all the equipment. They see an athlete lounge and a staff lounge. Actually the lounge in our office is bigger than our original facility.
But we started out in 3,300 square feet, it was kind of like this inconvenient candy cane shape where you had blind spots to your coaching. We started small, we had a very manageable rent. We made it possible to be successful in the early going and get some momentum on our side. Actually just under a year after moving in, in May 2008, we had actually outgrown that space. We moved about three miles west in the town of Hudson to a larger space that was 6,600 square feet.
We didn’t bite off more than we could chew. Eventually we did a slight expansion to go to 7,600 square feet to take on more office space. Then ultimately went to 15,000 square feet when our landlord gave us an offer that we couldn’t refuse on a nice spot in our building. Something that really showcased what we did.
I think we were smart in the sense that we never got in over our heads. We managed our growth conservatively. Basically, in terms of rent, didn’t take on way too much early on or anything like that. I think that level of fiscal responsibility has served us really well over the course of time.
“Kind of didn’t bite off more than we could chew. We managed our growth conservatively.”
I think beyond the training environment, individualization, and the expertise, and stuff like that, if you were a business consultant and you walked into our office, the things that probably surprising relative to other gyms is how well we know our numbers. How meticulous we track things on the backend. That’s not something I generally see in the fitness industry. That’s a place where we’ve been able to differentiate ourselves.
Getting into the Baseball Niche
I played baseball up until eighth grade. I was a third baseman and when it came down to coming to high school, I was actually a much better tennis player. I went that route because they were in the same season. I’m a firm believer that if you look at any really successful business, it’s all about solving a problem. I used the TRX story as an example. Randy Hetrick, the founder of TRX, was a Navy Seal on a submarine trying to figure out a way to maintain a training effect. He threw some straps over a pipe and starting doing inverted rows and pull ups and things. He solved a problem for himself and then saw a market for it.
I think in our world, when I first moved to Boston back in ’06, I started working with some baseball guys and what was astounding to me was how underserved they were. Your classic, hey, here’s the football program, just go squat, bench and clean and you’ll be good to go. Then at the other end of the spectrum, there was ready-to-print rotator cuff programs that had been photocopied 800 times since the 1970’s.
There was this huge gap where baseball players were either being haphazardly managed or they were being kind of coddled. I was a firm believer that you can actually push these guys really hard if you understand their unique adaptations, their injury histories, and the functional demands of the sport. We tried to really cater to their individual needs and as that happened, we realized that this is something that has a market that can support it. This isn’t like we’re trying to train bikini models in Northern Alaska. There was enough baseball players around to do it.
What was even more interesting for us is we realized that because of the combination of expertise along with my writing, my consulting, my speaking, having more of a national presence; it was easy to get the word out. Instantly we had people from California who were flying out here to learn as much as they could and kind of do a crash course over four days. We had four kids from Alabama who, a couple summers ago, all drove up from junior-college, rented a house and trained all summer.
“If you understand how to be the industry leader because you’ve created that niche, it certainly puts you in a better position to weather the storm when things are quieter…”
We started to realize that there’s a market far beyond just our local town. That was where the niche really became possible, which we realized it also creates problems in the sense that you have a seasonal business. If you understand how to be the industry leader because you’ve created that niche, it certainly puts you in a better position to weather the storm when things are quieter. That’s where some of the mentorships came from, some of the product development and opportunities in that realm.
I think, selfishly, the mentorships was a way for us to find places to whom we could refer athletes around the country. What we’d invariably get, without a doubt, every week was four to five emails that are either “hey you should open a facility in Pittsburgh, or Minnesota, or New Mexico. There’s a great market here for it.”
Or you get an email that says “hey is there someone that does what you do in Oregon?” They want people that are right there in the street. We’re so niched and specialized, it’s really hard to truly illustrate that to folks who are casual deliverers to exercise physiology and strength and conditioning. If you have a kid that has thoracic outlet syndrome or a stress fracture in his lower back or something like that, we’ve seen those guys 400 or 500 times by now so we know that we have this pretty good sample size where we can really help you and if not, we can certainly get you connected with the right professionals in our region that help the cause.
That side of it was one of the guiding reasons, honestly, for the mentorships it was a way for us to build our network nationwide so that when I have a guy who needs soft-tissue work in the Florida State League, this is the guy I know. Here, there, wherever it may be. That was helpful.
Building on that, I think what we also realized was that we have a very good team approach where myself and our coaches here work hand-in-hand with Matt Blake, who’s our pitching coordinator. Eric Schoenberg who is a great rehabilitation specialist, who may see guys during physical therapy after Tommy John, or whatever it may be. We have a very good team approach where there’s really no egos. I think that was something that is a model that needs to be employed more. Not just in baseball but across all realms. It was something that we wanted to teach and we’ve had volleyball coaches come and take our courses. We’ve had swimming coaches, things like that.
“We have a very good team approach where there’s really no egos. I think that was something that is a model that needs to be employed more.”
What I think is really interesting about the mentorships though is it teaches across disciplines. You’ll see pitching coaches, physical therapists, athletic trainers, strength coaches, parents, chiropractors coming and taking it. There’s something for everybody, but I think what’s just as important is they see the areas of common interest. They see the commonalities, instead of just the differences. It allows them to be empowered to create their own networks, whether they’re in Wisconsin, or Texas, or Alabama, or wherever they may be.
Writing and Social Media
One of the things I talk about is how you can do the mind map for the whole Eric Cressey brand that ties together what we do at the facility, with what we do with information products, what we do with writing, and all these different things and consulting opportunities and everything. They’re all interrelated.
One of the things I can say is when I write less, my income goes down. That means there is less people in California reading my blog who are interested in a one-time consult at Cressey Sports Performance. There’s fewer athletic trainers in Nebraska who are interested in our functional stability training series. There’s a million different things out there that can be impacted by the fact that I might not be as active, whether it’s in writing on my blog, writing elsewhere, or even just social media activity. That’s very much the thing that drives a lot of it, particularly on the nationwide scale.
It won’t necessarily have as much impact in terms of local stuff. Somebody from a town over, whether I write a blog that goes out to my whole newsletter list or not doesn’t necessarily play into it but the social media stuff certainly does. Any kind of local press we get, stuff along those lines will drive the facility.
I look at writing very much as a lead generator. It’s something that also helps with lead conversion indirectly because it’s one more way for people to perceive our expertise. You might have someone that reaches out to the facility and says, “Hey, my son has a lat strain, he’s a college pitcher in Texas, we’re thinking about coming up.” My business partner can say, “No problem, we’ve seen guys like this all the time, here’s an article Eric actually wrote all about lat strains last week.” It’s a great way for them to perceive it in a different context.
I think everyone kind of perceives that expertise in different ways. Some people want to interact with you and ask you questions. Some people want to watch you coach. Some people want to see a promo video on YouTube. Some people want to interact with other clients you trained to get their take on it. It’s one more way for us to establish to them that we’re the right fit for them. I think that’s a really big part of it.
“I think when you build a following, you can leverage them in different ways. It’s also a way to make it easier for clients to refer people to you.”
The writing drives a whole bunch of other stuff, whether it’s DVD’s or other product development. It’s also seminar stuff. I’ve been fortunate to build a pretty good following so if I decide I’m going to do a seminar in St. Louis later this summer, I know I can direct mail people in Missouri, and Kansas, and surrounding regions and let them know I’m doing a talk there.
I remember Ryan Lee, a long, long time ago saying if my house burned to the ground, I lost everything, as long as I have my list, I’m okay. I think that certainly makes a lot of sense and the more ways you have to get in touch with people, the better. Having a good Instagram following, Facebook following, Twitter following, newsletter following, all that stuff really, really helps.
I was joking the other day and I didn’t realize it. I always did use YouTube videos as a means of supporting blog content so the videos were a way to break up text or maybe to make a point easier instead of listing out all kinds of geeky anatomy terms. I could literally point to somebody’s elbow and say here’s what’s going on. I just looked at it the other day and I’m like, wow, I have 32,000 subscribers on YouTube. I never even realized I had that many.
I think when you build a following, you can leverage them in different ways. It’s also a way to make it easier for clients to refer people to you. It’s funny, it was a couple of years ago, when we were about to announce Cressey Sports Performance, I went out of my way to talk to some of our guys saying, “What do you think about a Florida facility, do you think this would work?” One of our launcher athletes, he’s originally from Massachusetts and was playing for the Tampa Bay Rays, I remember asking him about it because he was in Tampa and would always come back home and visit his parents and stay there and train with us for a week. Then I’d watch over him from afar. I was talking about it and he’s like, “Man, everybody knows about you, guys are reading your stuff on their iPad after BP when we’re in the clubhouse getting a pre-game meal. They’re just not coming to Massachusetts. Basically you need a way to make it more accessible to them.”
We’d already generated existing leads. So lead conversion, in that case, was making something more geographically feasible. Sure enough, the day in July of 2014, we announced our facility in Florida, the phone rang off the hook. We had multiple big league guys call us that afternoon saying “I’m in, I can’t wait for this. I’ve had my teammate who’s trained with you guys in the past and he raves about it.” You know, all that online stuff basically made it much, much easier for us to initially make contact with these people and ultimately convert them.
It’s honestly one reason why it drives me bonkers when I hear about someone in our industry who’s struggling with their business and they’re like I’m not a social media guy or I don’t write. I’m like, well then you might not survive because that’s the direction the industry is going.
I actually had a mom who emailed me one day and she said, “I’m pretty you’re sure the only strength and conditioning coach I know who knows how to correctly use a semi-colon.” People will perceive your expertise in a million different ways. I don’t have any unique gifts. I really do mean that. I maybe pick things up a little quicker, but that’s in large part because I’m very passionate about it and I’m very hard on myself if I don’t know something.
“Happiness consists not of having great possessions but in having few wants.”
This is going to be like a long sob story, but I went home actually during my grad degree at UConn and I remember being in the kitchen on a Friday night with my mom. My mom is like the Mother Theresa of my hometown. We go to the grocery store and all these parents come up and thank her because she’s been a teacher at the high school that I went to since 1986. She’s actually a principal there now. I can remember distinctly her just having a beer, casually on a Friday night. It wasn’t a really great beer and I was like, “Mom, you’re an administrator now, you can drink good beer.” She’s like, “I never did drink good beer, we could never afford it.” I was like, what? She told me a story about how growing up, there was a Thanksgiving where we couldn’t even afford canned goods. My mom was waiting on a check from the babysitting she did to be able to go and buy Thanksgiving dinner for the next day.
The crazy part about it was, I never knew. My brother and I were as happy as could be. We never knew that any of that was going on. Happiness consists not of having great possessions but in having few wants. I look back on it, we didn’t go on elaborate vacations. I went to Disney when I was in second grade with my dad who was on a business trip. That was kind of it. We never went to Europe or anything like that.
I don’t fault my parents for it at all because we were happy. They figured out a way for my brother to get tennis lessons and me to go to soccer camp. We were very fortunate and very loved. I look back on it and it’s not like I came from this other world of privilege where they sent me off to camp, after camp, after camp to train me for this but what my parents really did do for me is they taught me work ethic.
My dad was co-founder, along with my grandpa of a school bus distributorship. I grew up cleaning floors of school buses before they were delivered to school districts. I can remember my dad leaving the house in the middle of the night to write bids, proposals to school districts. I can remember my mom correcting papers every night in bed, off the clock. I can remember her having students who couldn’t afford to eat and she would be giving them crackers for breakfast at her desk at school.
It taught me a lot about the level of consistency you need to have, like you need to show up every day. You need to not take days off. You need to genuinely care about people. You need to build a culture where people really look to you as a resource to help. You stare into your head to find ways to over-deliver. It’s very easy to be a school teacher who just shows up when the bell rings at the beginning of the day and then goes home at 2:10, when the last bell ends. She was someone who was always going above and beyond. We’ve had kids who had no place to stay who have lived at our house. That’s the kind of people that my parents were and that’s who they’ve raised me to be.
“You need to build a culture where people really look to you as a resource to help…find ways to over-deliver.”
I think it’s, without even realizing it, it’s taught me how to run a business. I want people to be part of a family. I want them to be happy and to think about what they have going for them. Recognize that we’re resources in their corner.
What it Takes to be Successful
It’s interesting, every semester of interns, I always make the point. I have a presentation I do called the top ten financial mistakes bonehead trainers make. It’s a combination of not hiring an accountant, not understanding appreciable assets vs. depreciable assets, not understanding job specific tax deductions, things like that.
Every time I give that presentation, I look around the room and I say, “how many of you guys want to open your own facility?” Invariably, I’ve kept a running tab, over 80% say they want to open their own place. It’s mind numbing to me, and literally I spend the next hour saying, “You’re probably an idiot if you think you’re ready for it.” I genuinely talk them out of it. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had former interns who are doing an awesome job in various places around the country and do phenomenally.
I think we really, really have to be careful of when we see the classic intern that are guys who are just wrapping up their undergrad. They’ve dropped a quarter million dollars on an exercise science degree or something and they’re swimming in 80 grand in student loan debt. What I really try to say as tactfully as I possibly can is that the world does not owe you anything. Absolutely nothing—because if you think that you took on this level of debt and you invested this much time and all that stuff, there’s no guarantee that you are going to have an awesome job waiting for you or anything like that.
I know that I hired Greg Robbins and he is an absolute stud at our facility. Greg has one semester of college under his belt. He probably learned more for free in the Marines that made him a successful coach here than he could have ever gotten in any exercise science program across the country. My business partner Brian has a year of Notre Dame under his belt. When he went there as a baseball player, he basically had thoracic outlet before it was cool, never finished his degree, but he’s a stud coach. He can speak the language with injured throwers. These guys have unique skillsets that you can’t just get from a curriculum.
When we hire, it’s not much different than when you open a facility. When we hire, we hire for competency and we hire for fit. From a pure competency standpoint, the chances of an undergraduate curriculum teaching exactly what you need to know to be successful as either an employee or as an owner, are incredibly low. There’s just too many subtle intricacies to any job that you take on. There’s always going to be a learning curve when you take on a new job.
One of the reasons we hire exclusively from our internship program is because we also need to evaluate fit. From a competency standpoint, I know that over the course of a three or four-month internship, I can make anybody competent in our model. If they’ve got a good foundation of knowledge, they’re willing to learn, and they go through everything that we put in front of them. We really challenge them and they respond well. They’re going to be competent and able to coach in our environment.
“There’s always going to be a learning curve when you take on a new job.”
That doesn’t speak to fit. There are going to be people who, just for whatever reason, aren’t a good fit with our staff, maybe from a geographic standpoint, they don’t want to live in the north east during the winter, or they don’t want to live in Florida during the hot summers. Those are all the different things that go into a fit. You need to have both but I think you go an extra step further when you talk about opening your own place because there has to be competency, to be able to be both a technician and entrepreneur, a manager. People look at the old Michael Gerber E-Myth approach, you also have to have the fit.
You need to be willing to make sacrifices in the rest of your life. You need to know that your wife or significant other is probably really angry at you for getting home late three or four nights a week for those first couple years. You’re going to have to make sacrifices in terms of the amount of time you spend with your kids, and your family, and all this stuff. You’re going to have to give up your hobby, etc…
You have to be ready to make those sacrifices to make sure you’re a good fit for entrepreneurship. Then after you’ve done that stuff to say that you’re qualified to even attempt to be a business owner, you have to have financial wherewithal. When we opened Cressey Sports Performance, people don’t know this, I graduated from the University of Connecticut with $40,000 worth of student loans.
I literally knew that there was going to come a day when I wanted to open my own place. I literally saved like a chipmunk, I made a DVD, I wrote a book. I did everything I possibly could. Personal trained 50 hours a week to clear that debt as fast as I could. On my 25th birthday, I wrote a check to clear my student loan debt. It was the smartest thing I ever did because it put me in a position to start saving to open. Then when the time came to open our gym, I hadn’t sunk 10 grand a year into going to the bars and drinking. I hadn’t blown money on things I couldn’t afford. I was still driving the same old crappy Honda Accord that I’ve been driving for a while to put myself in a position, when we decided to open up, to do it the way I wanted to.
We spent $127,000 of my savings in 2007. It was what it took to open the gym up, from flooring, to turf, to equipment, to office renovations. We did about 30 grand in renovations. Power racks, computers, printers, all this stuff and it was something I knew was coming. I invested in it. In hindsight, if you look at what it takes when you invest into a business, you’re not just trying to make your $127,000 back, you’re competing against whatever that $127,000 would have done if you had just put it in stocks and bonds. You need it to double over the course of the next seven or eight years if you look at historical rate of return. By 2014, I needed to have $254,000 at the very least to justify that investment in my business.
“I have no problem taking a really good pay check right now. We’ve earned it. I’m the one that took on all the risk.”
Building on top of that, there’s an opportunity cost to what my seven years of employment had done. I probably could have been a $50,000 a year personal trainer, not working all that hard over those times. Those seven years, that’s $350,000 in revenue. Add the $250,000 to the $350,000 and you’re basically saying I’ve got to clear $700,000 in the 7 to 8 years to make this a worthwhile endeavor.
Then just when you think you’re done doing all the calculations, you got to realize, oh yeah, I’m going to give up a lot of time with family and friends. I’m going to lose a lot of sleep over all this stuff. My life can really suck in a lot of ways the first, especially two to three years of doing this. You do it because you expect your business to be around for 100 years. Not because you’re just trying to get through your three to five-year lease or anything like that.
What it speaks to is, I have no problem taking a really good paycheck right now. We’ve earned it. I’m the one that took on all the risk. I’m the one that busted my hump and sunk everything I had into the business back in 2007. Likewise, my business partner Pete, I think his average starting salary was, for an MBA out of Babson, $88,000 back in 2007 when we opened up. If you look at inflation, he walked away from a guaranteed six figure position when all that happened to come and work for a guaranteed payment of $2000 a month until we hit break-even.
Pete made $2000 a month for the first 17 months that we were in business on an exchange for his equity. Now he does much better but that’s the thing people don’t realize. They walk in and see a well-oiled machine. My business partner says it best, “We make it look easy.” That’s the problem. They come in here, they see us wearing sweatpants to work, I get to bring my dog with me, there’s loud music playing in the background and we have a MLB game on in the office. There’s New Balance kicks everywhere. It’s a cool place to be.
The twenty-two-year-old kid who’s just out of his internship, doesn’t get that it’s really damn hard and it’s even harder because I think the nature of the industry now is harder than ever to be a brick-and-mortar business. It’s a lot easier to be that online consulting guy who does $40,000 a year of online coaching, pays his $1200 a month for rent at his apartment and has a pretty mellow life that he does on his own clock. It’s a lot different when you’re working while other people play.
To take it a step further, that other calculation that I didn’t even mention is that I personally guaranteed the leases on both facilities. That’s a very hefty initiative. My life insurance policy, if I had my business today, it covers the mortgages on our two houses and then it covers the leases on both those facilities. Then you hope the rest will take care of your daughters and your wife so that she doesn’t have to work if she’s a single mom and all this stuff. There are a lot of factors that go into it that to the casual observer who walks in and hears Rage Against the Machine playing and guys dead lifting, don’t think about. It’s one of the things that we try to make them aware of.
Top Insights for Entrepreneurs
There are two kinds of people we have never, ever, ever failed on in the hiring process, whether it’s for an internship or for an actual job. You will never, ever, ever have problems with someone who comes from a background of self-employment.
“I think what you just have to do is you look and find value in places where other people have missed it.”
I’ll give you an example. Brian St, Pierre was our first employee. Brian’s dad owns a paint store in Lewiston, Maine. Brian was a stud. He revolutionized the way we approached nutrition in our facility. Our clients adored him. Brian’s wife got a residency in the dental world back in Maine. He decided to go back to his Master’s degree and that’s the only reason he left. I wrote him a glowing recommendation and called John Berardi, personally. He’s basically John Berardi’s right hand man now. Brian is awesome, he learned it all because he busted his butt at his dad’s paint store growing up.
We’ve got a ton of really good interns and coaches who come from families who have self-employment because they can walk a mile in their shoes. If you’ve heard Gary Vaynerchuk’s stuff, it’s very much similar. He talks about working in his dad’s wine store and everything. Always having a parent overlooking him, just to make sure that he wasn’t screwing off or anything like that. That’s an awesome one.
The other thing I would just say is that kind of a little Hatney term, successful people find value in unexpected places. We have a kid who is finishing up, I think he’s actually doing a degree in mathematics, super bright kid, played college club baseball and trained. Absolute genius, he’s like the guy who’s going to be the GM who knows all the stats and everything. He wants to get an internship opportunity in baseball operations, so he sent me his resume to look over.
I was looking at it, it’s the classic, played club baseball, here’s my GPA, here’s my thing, and you go all the way down to the bottom of his resume and when the kid was nine years old, he bought and sold stuff on eBay and turned a $40,000 profit in a year. I was like that’s incredible, like buying random stuff and then selling it for more than you bought it for. There is a guy who finds value in unexpected places, and I was like, “Dude, move that up in your resume, highlight it, it means so much more than you scooping ice cream for a summer or something like that.”
I love seeing stuff like that. I wish more people would try to find that stuff. We had hired Tony and Miguel during my first off season down in Florida. One to replace me because we were growing and Tony was an awesome coach and we couldn’t let him go. One of the things I did when I got back to Massachusetts was I sat down with them and I was like, “Hey you guys, what are things that you like, what do you enjoy doing.”
I just start racking my brain to say “hey, where can I find traction-value in these guys?” Since then Tony Bonvechio has grown a women’s power lifting group that’s super popular up here. That’s right in his zone and he’s having a blast with it and making more money. Miguel’s helped me out a lot with content to lead training mentorships because I’ve realized he’s a guy who’s very analytical, does a good job of synthesizing his thoughts and organizing them for webinars and things like that.
I think what you just have to do is you look and find value in places where other people have missed it. For me, it doubles as a good opportunity to basically empower guys and allow them to expand their roles around here. Hire self-employed people, military people are also awesome, and then also finding value in unexpected places.