How Persistence Helped Fitlosophy Sell Over Half a Million Books

fitlosophy

Angela Mader is the Founder of Fitlosophy, a 12-week series of fitness and nutrition journals that shuns quick-fix gimmicks and instead focuses on mindfulness and gratitude for goal setting.

On today’s podcast you’ll learn why she argues that persistence is more important than passion and how it helped her sell over half a million books.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What is "analysis paralysis" and how to combat it.
  • How to promote the content you create.
  • Why you should feature your customers rather than your products when getting PR.

Listen to Shopify Masters below…

Show notes:

Transcription

Felix: Today I’m joined by Angela Mader from Fitlosophy which is at getfitbook.com, it’s G-E-T-F-I-T-B-O-O-K.com. Angela is the creator of the 12 weeks series of Fitbook fitness and nutrition journals that shuns the quick fix gimmicks and instead focuses on mindfulness and gratitude for goal setting. Was started in 2008 and based in Newport Beach, California, welcome Angela.

Angela: Hi Felix, thank you so much for having me.

Felix: Yeah, excited to have you on. Tell us a little bit more about your story and what are some of the most … The Fitbook is the main product, the feature product but you have many kind of different products listed here. Tell us a little bit more about the products that you sell.

Angela: Yeah, absolutely. The Fitbook was created back in 2008, it came out of one of those necessity products that I wanted to create for myself and took it from there. Since then, we’ve really grown from just the single product to an entire line of lifestyle branded products that really have a goal setting methodology and approach to living a healthy lifestyle. That includes everything from … We have obviously an entire line of journals so not just Fitbook but we have one more geared towards weight loss or for expecting moms or kids and we have a newer journal out that is a fitness meets gratitude journal called a Fitspiration Journal all the way over to other products. Nutrition products and tools that help you gauge your portion control and measure progress through your health and weight loss journey.

It really has though always been circled around Fitbook because it really is the core of what we do. Everything that we do surrounds this idea of … Literally our mantra is live life fit. It’s a lifestyle, it’s not a quick fix and so Fitbook is still at the core of everything we do, we’ve just created a line around it to support people in their journey.

Felix: Very cool so say a little bit more about the Fitbook, what’s in it and how do people use it?

Angela: Yeah. Fitbook, like I said, I created it back in 2008 and it’s a fitness and nutrition journal so it’s 12 weeks and this is the original product. I say that because we have many iterations of the book since then. The original Fitbook is 12 weeks, you essentially set goals on a weekly basis, you set rewards, it reminds you to do different things on a weekly basis. Then you actually track your progress on a daily basis. Everything from your workouts and your fitness to your food and your nutrients and your portion control. It encourages sleeping, it encourages drinking you water so it really is more of a reflection and a really personal tool to track your progress through. We always say, a lot of trackers out there are what did you do, Fitbook is more what are you going to do.

The saying like, “Fail to plan, plan to fail,” Fitbook is all about planning so one of our sayings is, “Write it down, make it happen.” There’s just so much research behind why writing things down works, I can bore you for days on that but really writing things down is what works. We’ve taken that concept which at the time was very much like … My first trade show was an app all around me, every single booth around me was an app. Yet, Fitbook, to this day we have over half a million of them in distribution and growing strong.

Felix: Awesome. I was going to ask, in a world where everyone has an app, everyone uses apps, I’m guilty of looking for an app for anything that I want to make progress on. Why was it important for you to create a physical product instead?

Angela: Well, I knew that there was somebody like me, very type A person that really wants to have something tangible, I’m just a paper person. I knew if there were people like me out there that there was a market for it and all the research points to, believe it or not, that paper is what works. One of the studies that I refer to a lot is by Pew Research and they found that while most people do use some sort of method to track their health and fitness, they found that paper is actually the most effective tool and that technology really doesn’t play a role. They found that the average lifespan of a health and fitness app is anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks. There’s pretty short time to see results and so all the research points back to the fact that paper works. Yes, people ask me like literally the first question I get all the time is, “Do you have an app?”

I say, “Well paper is what works but yes, we do have an app.” We do have an app and it’s a goal setting app, it literally takes you through the process of setting goals. If somebody were sitting down with me having coffee, I drill them in a very loving way on what their goals are and why they want to achieve them. Then they use Fitbook to track their progress.

Felix: Very cool. Yeah, I’m a big fan of pen and paper too, like I was saying before, I use a lot of apps but I don’t get as involved or I guess I don’t get as immersed into the process whether it be for planning or maybe I’m writing something, just by the hand of putting pen to paper itself just feels like it gets you more involved and actually focused on the task. When I have an app, I’m almost looking for the fastest way to leave it and go do something else.

Angela: Yeah and there are so many distractions and actually it’s [inaudible 00:06:13] that research, this really cool article I found on entrepreneur.com which solidified everything we had ever thought was this goes beyond your health and fitness. Whatever goal it is you want to achieve, whether it’s financial or whether it’s career or whether it’s health and fitness, they did find that people are 76% more likely to reach their goal if they actually write it down pen to paper and, and here’s the underlined and bold, and also tell someone.

It really brings in this idea of accountability. At Fitlosophy, we try to not just create the products but create the accountability and this group that we call Fitbookers but I lovingly refer to them as my customers which are all in this together.

Felix: Awesome, yeah. I want to talk about your Fitbookers and the [inaudible 00:06:57] that you mentioned a couple of times. Before we get there, the very beginning of this … Maybe before that, what were you doing, what was your background before you got into this business back in 2008?

Angela: Jeez, actually, I don’t have a health or fitness degree per se. I actually did my undergrad more in computer science side of things and business and went into that. I always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur, I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, I’ve been reading entrepreneur magazines since I was 12 years old, I had to do something in this world. I went to a conference some time and he said … It was actually Jack Canfield and he said, “What do you spend time doing where you lose track of time?” For me, it was reading entrepreneur magazine and it was reading any fitness magazine and so through this process, I decided I wanted a product in this space. I came up with Fitbook because it was something I was already creating for myself.

I actually went into my MBA program in 2005, I already had the idea of Fitbook then through many programs and projects in school, I used Fitbook as a source of a design project, as a source of a business plan design project, also part of a … What else did I do? An entrepreneurship course. I was using this idea of Fitbook for all these projects and so when I graduated in 2007, I actually had already started a marketing company but the only reason I started my marketing company was so I had the flexibility to start Fitlosophy at night. I started that at night and then I actually went full-time with that in 2008 and officially launched the product. Now, to this day, I do have certifications in personal training, in fitness nutrition and we actually bring on really knowledgeable people to help in the development of a lot of our programs.

Really, I think if you’re an entrepreneur and you just have an idea, it’s not that you necessarily have the credibility or even the education a lot of times. I tell people I’m super grateful I got my MBA but you don’t need one at all to start a business. It’s something that you have to do and that’s what I felt with Fitlosophy.

Felix: I’m not sure if this is actually an issue for you just based on what I’m hearing from you but when you touched on the whole credibility thing, I think this is an important point because a lot of entrepreneurs I talk to, a lot of the ones that want to be entrepreneurs are thinking about getting started for the first time. There is this feeling that they need permission to get started from somebody else, basically everyone besides them. Hearing you talk about, maybe you never experienced this issue but maybe talk about how you get around that or I guess fight that feeling where you need permission or need credibility, need validation from other people before you get started.

Angela: Yeah. I think it’s because people think that it’s bigger than it really is. When I tell people in the beginning like, it wasn’t like I thought, of course I had big dreams for Fitlosophy and for Fitbook but it wasn’t … If I literally thought, “Well I’m going to start this company, I’m going to sell in all these mass retailers, I’m going to have hundreds of thousands of people buying this product, if I thought that, it would be intimidating. The truth is, you just have to take that first step, if you don’t take that first step, you will never even know. I remember I was at my first trade show back in 2008 and literally, it’s amusing because it was me and my mom and my designer. Literally, we did not have a team, it was just us. I show up and I had at least 5 personal trainers come up to me and say, “I had that idea.” My response and I mean this in the most kind way was, “Well, where is it?”

The only difference between me and the person that said they had that idea is that I did it. I’m constantly encouraging people, if you’re not ever going to step out and just try, you’ll never even know. The way I get around that personally is, what drives me I guess is more so not the fear of failing but the fear of never trying. I really operate in this space of, “Go, go, go, do, do, do.” I may fail miserably but I’m not afraid of that, I’m afraid of not doing anything at all.

Felix: Yeah, I think what you’re getting at too is just, you’ve just got to get started, there’s really no other way to, no other just cliché that we can drop here but when you just get started, that’s how you learn … You don’t learn just from reading books or reading … That stuff helps but I feel like sometimes we spend too much time preparing rather than doing and I think that’s what you’re get too is just try it out and just get started.

Angela: Well I call it analysis paralysis, you can analyze something until you’re blue in the face, just start somewhere. For me, I started Googling, that was literally … How do I make a book, how do I make a book with binding, who will make …? I found out there are very few people to do this, I started calling people. I didn’t have this whole bold, smart business plan in place, I just started something.

Felix: Yeah, the beautiful thing about what you’re saying too is that you didn’t just randomly start learning a bunch of stuff that you may or may not need, you had something that you were already working on, you were taking action on it. By taking action on it, the things that you need to learn came to the surface and you could then focus your education around, “How do I create a book, how do I distribute a book?” It aligned all of your actions together when you started taking action so I think that that’s great advice that you’re giving. One thing you were saying earlier though that I would definitely want to go back to is that you said Jack Canfield said to you or said to the crowd that, “What do you do that makes you lose track of time?” Can you say more about this?

Angela: Yeah. I think it changes through different stages of life. For me at the time, my world was I’m going to be an entrepreneur if it kills me, this was literally my motive in life. That’s what I spent time thinking about, dreaming about and the most frustrating thing for me was, “Okay, great. I want to be an entrepreneur, what the heck does that mean because if I don’t have anything to sell, what am I going to do?” When he said that, I was just like, “Oh my Gosh, my idea of a good night is Barnes , Noble with coffee, sitting in the fitness section, sitting in the magazine section, buying all these business books that I don’t even know what I’m going to start a business about.

It hit me, if you can somehow combine your passion with something that you think you could make money doing. I think that’s the big difference too, just because you have a hobby doesn’t mean you can make money doing it. Here’s the other thing I think that’s interesting, it was my hobby and my passion at one time, when it becomes your business, it does take some of the joy out of the hobby because you’re doing it every day. I can seriously tell you to this day, I cannot read a fitness magazine now without it feeling like work. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but even being at the gym, I’m like, “Okay, well should I be taking a picture of the product like this or should I be snapchatting this?” Sometimes what is your original passion, be careful that you understand that eventually, in order to make money, it does become work.

I couldn’t be more grateful because to me, it’s a natural part of my life and what’s the saying like, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” that’s how I feel.

Felix: No, I love that, that you say that just because it’s a hobby or passion doesn’t mean you can make money from it. When you do start making money from it, it does change relationship I guess to the hobby or passion because like you were saying, you had to show up every day, it’s not something that you just do because now you feel like spend today doing specific things and tomorrow you don’t want to do it but you still have to. I think that it doesn’t …. I wouldn’t say you start losing your passion from there but you just change your relationship with it. Same thing for me because I spend so much time starting podcasts and creating content, I have a, not to say a hard time but when it comes to consuming content, I don’t like consuming as much content I used to before because you don’t want to spend 24 hours on doing any specific thing.

Angela: Yeah, you burn out, right? I’ve been doing this for … I say I’ve been doing it for almost 8 years but the truth is I had the idea for Fitbook way beyond that. Let’s say I’ve been doing this for 10 years, of course I find things every single day that invigorate me and excite me but I can honestly tell you the entrepreneurship side and the business side excites me just as much now as the fitness side of it. To be honest with you, in some ways, I am more passionate about people being the best versions of themselves and I don’t necessarily think that weight loss is always a component of that. That’s how really our products have evolved and how I’ve evolved as a person. When I first started Fitlosophy, I had a little 6 pack and I was doing fitness competitions, I was obsessed with the gym.

As things have evolved, I still love working out, I love being active but it’s not all of who I am, it doesn’t define me. You can see that in my latest product which is called the Fitspirational Journal which focuses on more whole life concepts like gratitude and appreciating things and integrating health and fitness into your life in a healthy way but not having it be your life.

Felix: Makes sense. You had this idea for a very long time and definitely [inaudible 00:16:19] it out all the way through. I hear all the time people wanting to do things, have ideas for things and then once it gets hard, they jump to the next thing, it’s a very common problem. You’ve had this idea for such a long time so that [inaudible 00:16:30] on that. The other funny thing you mentioned was that you basically started a business so that you could work on your true business or your business that you really wanted to flourish. Tell us about that, once you decided to start this, you [started 00:16:43] a marketing consultancy?

Angela: Yeah. I started off in the high tech industry and I was doing marketing and consulting. I was doing it for other people and I realized that I could do the same thing with my own clients and start my own consulting company which I did the same year that I got my MBA. I literally, this is why it’s so fascinating, I wrote down on paper how much money I needed to make in my marketing company to be able to replace my full-time income. I had just landed my first 6 figure job at a advertising agency, my mom wanted to choke me because I said I was quitting my job but it was a rat race. I didn’t like the hours, I didn’t like that I was making someone else just super wealthy and I was doing all the work. I literally wrote down on paper, “Okay, I’m going to make this much and I’m going to start my own company and well I’m going to hold if I didn’t achieve that in the first year.”

Now, what I will say is I’m super passionate about marketing and branding and if you spend any time looking at Fitlosophy you could see that sometimes, even your talents and things you’re good at can be seen through your business. For me Fitlosophy was also an outlet and I looked at Fitlosophy as one of my clients when I had my marketing company. I had all my high tech company first my clients but then at night, guess what I did, I worked on Fitlosophy. I had logos and I had websites and that was where the high tech background came in because I could do all the high tech dorky stuff on my own at night and create this business on the side. Talk about losing track of time, I would work until 2 and 3 in the morning and now I look and I don’t even know how I did it to be honest with you, I’m tired. Back then, I somehow just had this crazy amount of passion for it and amazing amount of persistence obviously to come this far I guess.

Felix: Definitely. Give us an idea of a timeline, you just got a 6 figure job and very soon after that, you quit to start your own company, was this around 2008 as well or before then?

Angela: No, 2007. I graduated in 2007, I had landed that job towards the end of 2006, I was there about 3 months. In 2007, I graduated, quit my job and started Fitlosophy at night. I had been working on Fitlosophy all along even when I had my job but what I realized while having that job was number 1, I was miserable. I tell people this a lot, whenever I speak in colleges especially, I say, “Please don’t quit your job, your mom will come find me and hunt me down.” Here’s the thing, I knew … If you have a job that fulfills you and you’re happy when you get home at night, then you have that energy to work on that business at night. When I was getting home, I was drained, I was cranky, I was tired and I didn’t have this energy to work on my passion project. I knew that, “Okay, well, I can either sit around complaining about it or I could actually do something about it.”

Honestly, the more logical, older part of me is like, “Wow, that was bold.” I continue to be bold in the decisions I make in the business as well and part of that is because complacency is just not something that is acceptable for me. I can’t stay in the same place and you talked earlier about a lot of people have a lot of ideas but they don’t stick with it. Oh my Gosh, I have a file folder full of businesses that I started or ideas that I have or things that I completely [inaudible 00:20:09] out. The only reason I really stuck with so to speak Fitlosophy and Fitbook was because I saw an interest and it sold. Whenever people come up to you and say, “Where did you get that, can I buy one?” You decide, maybe you’re on to something.

Felix: No, definitely makes sense. I love that you … I’ve never seen so [inaudible 00:20:30] someone I guess on this podcast at least talk about this middle ground that you’re talking about, most people just say, “Yeah, quit your job and go on full time.” Or people that say, “Don’t quit your job and just stick it out until the very end.” You’re saying that if your job is fulfilling and it actually makes you feel you have energy on the day then stick with that job because you can still have the energy and the will power to work on your business after and outside of work, I thinks that’s a really important point.

Angela: [Crostalk 00:20:55] replaces your income. I was in a different place too, some people … I have a lot of friends that … Actually one friend I’m talking to right now about this concept of she hates her job, she wants to quit, she wants to do her own thing, how did I do it? She has a baby and she has another one on the way. She’s in a very different place in life and I’m not sure what decision she’s going to make but I didn’t have that element. I figured if I failed completely, I could find another job, I always thought that way and so many people … You have to remember, I started this company in 2008 which we all know was the complete down turn of this economy. People were losing jobs right and left. When I graduated from undergrad, people were getting signing bonuses, I don’t even know if they do that anymore but I was in the high tech space at the dot com boom, money was just like … Company parties were insane and sick almost.

It was very different in 2008, people were losing their jobs. For me, it wasn’t this choice of I would lose control but I felt like I was going to be in more control. At the end of the day, if I lost my job, what was I going to do? If I was starting my own company, I knew that if anybody was to blame, it was going to be me.

Felix: Right, makes sense. You created this product … At least the Fitbook initially, you created it for yourself, you felt like you needed it so you created it yourself, did you have to validate it in any way to make sure that there were other … It just sounds like the reason why you stuck with this one was because it was going to be profitable, felt like it was going to be profitable, felt like there was a market for it, how did you validate early on to come to that conclusion?

Angela: Well, the story goes that I created it because for 7 years leading up to the creation of the product, I though 7 years through college and high school, I had multiple series of battles of eating disorders and body image problems and all these things that made me very unhealthy. It was through the process of journaling, actually through a program I went through journaling is really what helped me identify my thoughts and my feelings and really dial things in and get control over something that was controlling my life. I knew, “Well, if that worked for me, it might work for somebody else.”

Honestly I just made it and I was at 24 Hour Fitness actually one day and this guy comes up to me and he says, “Hey, where did you get that?” I said, “I sell them.” Mind you, I did not sell them at this point and he said, “Well, where can I buy one?” I was like, “How many do you want?” He was like, “Well how much do they cost?” I said, “20 bucks.” He was like, “All right.” I went home that weekend, I printed out a couple of copies at [Kinkos 00:23:30], I had them bound, I bought little pins, I stuck them in there, I was like, “Okay, I can do this.” I still have those 2 $20 bills to this day in my office and I’m super proud of this. For me, it was like, “Okay, I’m on to something.” Honestly, I’m going to be really clear, I did not create rocket science, this is not … It’s a book and the reason it sells is this, I think number is we don’t sell any hype or anything like that but we do sell this concept of hope.

People that use Fitbook are hopeful that they’re going to achieve their goals that they set out to. We are not the only journal in the market nor were we ever be the only journal in the market. There are literally hundreds of competitors out there. The only difference is we actually are the only company that is in the business of fitness and nutrition journals as our core product and we’ve created a lifestyle around it.

Felix: That’s awesome, yeah, definitely want to talk about this idea of not just selling a book. It’s funny too, before we get there it’s funny that you said that you validated this for the first time just being out there in the gym. This is not the first time I’ve heard of this either from people, other companies that are in the fitness space where they are wearing their shirt or using their fitness gear at the gym and someone comes up to them and asks them, “Where can I buy?” Then that’s when they first find out. It’s funny because I’ve never looked around at the gym and wondered what is the next big product, I don’t look at anybody at the gym. Whenever I hear that, I’m like, “Wow, that must be great validation because I never look around to talk to anybody about their products at the gym.

You said that you did not create rocket science, I think it’s a really important I guess point to talk about because, especially for new entrepreneurs that are sitting there thinking about products that they want to create and they started thinking about crazy ideas of never before seen this and that. It sounds like you didn’t use this thing, you didn’t use that for this project or this product, is there ever a time where you … Like if you were to start over, would you take the same approach where you don’t reinvent the wheel or is there a place for you to come in and say, “Let me create something brand new that no one’s ever seen before?”

Angela: Well, it’s funny you say that because even though I say there were tons of journals out there, I really … Because I don’t want to claim this because it sounds like really super confident but I was having a meeting with my target buyer and the target buyer had actually picked up 4 journals from a competing company, they’re a huge company in our space and I had been in Target for a year and I was owning that isle. All of a sudden, this company comes in that has lots more money than me, let me tell you, and they have 4 journals underneath mine. I remember seeing it and I wanted to cry, I literally … No, I did cry. I sat down on a shelf in Target and I started bawling and I was like, “This is the end of me.”

At this point, I know we’re getting the numbers later but at this point Target was about half of my revenue. You can imagine when a competitor comes in, you’re like, “Jeez, I’m out, I’m done.” Here’s the fascinating part though, they didn’t sell, theirs didn’t sell. They actually ended up taking all the journals out and Fitbook remained. Here’s why, because I didn’t just create something like, “Hey, here’s what works for me,” and just put it on the shelf and hope it works. When I talked about my Fitbook [inaudible 00:26:49], you have no idea how involved my customers have been in creating this product. Everything down to, “We want an extra line for extra sizes.” “Okay, we’ll add an extra line.” We think that this is hard to understand, what do you think about this?” I have involved my customers since day one and the overall idea and concept behind Fitbook has stayed very consistent.

I will tell you that involving my customers in this process has resulted in a product that is from a design perspective really unique and creative in the way that it walks someone through the process of not only setting goals but tracking them and then reflecting along the way, it holds your hand literally. We also don’t take ourselves too seriously, it’s a funny product if you read through it. I guess my long point is that the competitors did actually come into this space but according to this talk with my fitness buyer at Target, she’s like, “You really created this space Angela. We didn’t even have a fitness journal in our isle until we met you.” It took off and one of these large companies comes in because they see the opportunity that they missed. With that I think I was really proud of the fact that like, hey, we brought back this old school concept of writing things down in the fitness space and since then tons of fitness journals have come out.

I don’t like to knock any competitors because honestly, I want people to use what works for them. I’m super excited that what we’re doing is opening people’s eyes to apps aren’t the only way, diet pills are not the way. This is something that has proven to work, give it a try.

Felix: Awesome. One thing you said about involving your customers early on, I think that’s a great point too. How do you get feedback from your customers, what are you doing? Then, the 2nd point to this is how do you know what feedback to take versus what not to take?

Angela: Well, that’s always interesting because I think the bigger we’ve got and the funny feedback like the emails, we literally … My funniest customer service email was, on our website, a long time ago, it said, “It’s [inaudible 00:28:54] size, easy to tote around and toss in your gym bag or your purse.” I get an email from a customer because you’re not … She said, “I want to return my Fitbook, it doesn’t fit my purse.” My assistant at the time was my cousin, she was in college, I needed help, she was helping me. she’s like, “I want to tell her to buy a new purse.” I’m like, “Yes.” In all seriousness, early on it was easy because we had our email list which literally started out with my friends and family and people that I went to school with and stuff like that and obviously it grew over time.

I did a lot of surveys, I’ve done a lot of user groups so we’ll do Google Hangouts and ask for people’s input. I also will have on site groups where I bring in Fitbookers and ask them questions about products and usability and things like that. We have a lot of different ways of asking people things but what I’ve learned is this far in though, if I were to change anything dramatic about Fitbook, I would probably make more people mad than I would actually make people happy. With that, we’ve started developing new iterations of Fitbook so for example, Fitbook was very 12 weeks, sets and reps image and the person that knows what they’re doing in the gym. We went ahead and created a product called Fitbook lite which was 6 weeks and it took a more entry level approach to reaching goals.

Not everybody knows sets and reps at the gym or pounds weights and so this was more 4 healthy tweaks to lose 5 pounds in 6 weeks. It made weight loss a lot more achievable. Then on the other complete side of the spectrum, we just came out with a product called Fitbook PREP which in partnership with Nicole Wilkins that actually is for the hardcore figure competitor, somebody that’s really into that body building space. We started developing out these products in the niche markets so that we don’t upset our original customer because I’ll be honest with you, I have people that have literally used Fitbook for 8 years and still have everything about Fitbook and they post pictures of them. I am more loyal to them than a new customer that’s like, “Hey, you need to do this.” I’m like, “No, these guys have been with me for a long time.”

Felix: I love this that you’re saying that rather than changing the existing product because there so many I guess like legacy, not legacy but there are so many users or so many customers that are already used to the way that it’s been done before, you created a new product. How do you know when it’s time to … You’re saying as well that you have iterated the Fitbook over time. How do you know when that line is crossed where you’re saying, “You know what, let’s not change the existing product, let’s create a brand new one for this other type of customer base?”

Angela: Well, a perfect example is we have Fitbook and then I name them all, I don’t know why, it’s probably the tech background in me so we have Fitbook 2.0. Fitbook 2.0 which people don’t know this is their internal names. We had to change it because we had the food pyramid and the Fitbook. Well, everything from food pyramid went away so we were outdated, people were upset so we went more into this, we actually created a concept similar to My Play but we call it our food Fitlosophy. We had to make a change on that and so we asked customers at that time, “What do you want?” We realized that there were … People were like, “Well you have space for cardio but you don’t have space for classes.” We were like, “That’s a really good point.” so we added that. Anything that made sense and where we felt like these customers have really go input and adding extra space of exercises while keeping the integrity of the product or people wanted to originally add space to track calories and I was adamant against that.

Counting calories was like the death of me when I was battling my issues with eating disorders and so I wouldn’t put anything about calories in there so I would say no. There were some standards that we just said, “No, this is what Fitbook is.” Fast forward, our Fitbook PREP that we just came out with, it does encourage counting your macros because frankly, somebody that’s competing at a high end athletic competitive part of the sport, they have to be tracking those things. We really try to separate them so that we encourage the user regardless of their goal.

Felix: I like that. It sounds like you’ve based on what is the goal of the customer and if it can’t achieved with that same product without changing it too much, you create a new one, I think that’s a great approach. One thing you were saying earlier was that you don’t sell a book, you sell hope and this is another thing that I think you said to us in the pre-interview portion which is that, people don’t want to be marketed to, they want to be inspired. I think these 2 are very closely … Too close that you say that are very closely aligned. Tell us a little bit more about this, what do you mean by not selling a book or not selling a product but instead selling this kind of feeling of hope?

Angela: Yeah. I think … I’m in a very special market called health and fitness and while I love that because I have an opportunity to have a different voice, I’m not proud of the industry and the message that we send people. Happiness is having a 6 pack, happiness is feeling good in a bikini and looking like this. Whatever this definition is of what healthy is and so we really try to change the conversation from basing your happiness and your health on what the world thinks and instead being the best version of you that you were created to be. We really try to step outside of the product sale, almost to a fault, sometimes I’ll be talking to my marketing girl and I’m like, “We haven’t posted a picture of a product in a while.” We love to inspire people because I think that if you can inspire people and tap into what they really want to be and who they want to be, there is this one saying, “Aim to be a value, not a success.”

I want to add value for my users and so you have to couple that and marry that in a smart way to sales. Obviously at the end of the day, we’re not running a non-profit here but what drives this business in my opinion is the fact that the products work. If all I need to do is inspire people and convince them that, “You know what, there is another way and you don’t have to be what the world thinks to be happy.” I believe that they will want more of where that came from. We try to do that through, whether it’s just inspirational images we post a lot on social media to blog posts. One of our recent blog posts was reasons why you should toss your scale because there are so many other reasons to lose weight but health is number one, not looking a certain way. Changing this conversation has really been I think a key differentiator in creating a different conversation within this industry.

Felix: I love that. In terms of marketing the business, what has been the most successful for you guys, has it been the social media or what other I guess mediums have you used to market the business?

Angela: Yeah, I would say early on because things have drastically changed. When we started this business, we … When I started the business, there was no social media, believe or not, I know that makes me sound really old but we didn’t have social media and so we started out with email marketing. Other ways that we’ve decided to market the business obviously is through social media, email marketing is a huge part of how we actually retain people and actually nurture our relationships with people. It’s through content so blogs are huge for us. We do SEO, we’ve seen a lot of success with that because frankly if people can’t find you, they’re not going to buy you. One of our most successful ways early on was PR. When I say PR, it was literally Angela packing up a red box and finding the name of editors and sending it to them and hoping that they would feature it.

We got some early winds pretty early on with some magazines, got some placements so that really helped spread the word. Fast forward to today, we really do lean heavily on email marketing, content marketing and a lot of SEO.

Felix: Cool so email marketing, content marketing, SEOs. Let’s start with email marketing, you mentioned that you used email marketing a lot to retain customers so tell us a little bit more about how do you use email to do that?

Angela: Yeah so here’s the cool thing about our product, if somebody buys a product and then they’re like, “Okay, what next?” We have this opportunity to help them. We use auto emails so that let’s say somebody receives a Fitbook, maybe a week after they receive it we’re like, “What’s your goal? If you need help setting a goal, try out our app, it’s free.” We nurture that and then say, “Hey, get you goal.” Then a couple of weeks in we say, “Great job, keep going, how’s it going, connect with us on social media so you can be part of the Fitbook family.” Then 6 weeks in, halfway there, we really do nurture them through the process of using our product. Let’s say they buy one of our products, lets say our food scale or our snack stocker, anything like that, we will send them recipes or we’ll send them information that not only just gives them the product but actually gives them useful information for how to use the product. In that way you’re nurturing them through the process.

Felix: That’s an awesome point because I think when a lot of us think about email marketing or [inaudible 00:38:10] email campaign or auto respond or you’re talking about, we think about hitting the recipient with as many things as possible, as much content as possible, as many other things to buy as possible. I think what you’re getting in and I’ve heard of this as well is to help the customer get the most value out of the product that they just bought from you. Getting them to realize the value of it and get the most out of it, that’s how you win the customer, not by bombarding them with more things but help them get the most out of what they’ve already bought from you. It’s sounds like that’s what you’ve been doing which is based on what they’re buying, helping them get the most value out of that particular product, I think that’s a great move.

Angela: Yeah and I think one thing too is it obviously makes sense because we love our customers but from a complete business and logistical perspective, it costs way more money to acquire a new customer. Think of your cost acquisition for a new customer, it’s a lot more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing customer. The challenge and the opportunity is thinking about yes, getting new customers is great, you want to spread the word but how do you nurture that existing customer? Not only do they continue buying from you but they actually spread the word about you as well.

Felix: Yeah, that’s an awesome point. How do you actually get these people onto your mailing list to begin with, what are some strategies that have worked well for you?

Angela: Yeah so we do a lot with Shopify, I love Shopify. Our bl