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AMA: Tristan Rushworth, co-founder of Class-ify

AMA: Tristan Rushworth, co-founder of Class-ify

Unable to see clients face-to-face, PTs sought all kinds of ways to generate income during the UK lockdowns.

Recognising their struggle, Tristan Rushworth and his co-founders launched Class-ify. An online platform that provides everything fitness trainers could possibly need to grow their own businesses and forge a community.

Tristan tells us how it all began and much more.

Tristan R., Class-ify

Hi Tristan! tell us a bit about your company.

At Class-ify, we help personal trainers build independent online businesses.

We give PTs support, and accountability through a sales and marketing system to help them to get more clients and grow their revenue.

We also simplify things, providing all the technology an online trainer needs to communicate, track & monitor the progress and get results for their clients.

The company is only 18 months old, but through the global reach of social media, we’re already working with trainers in 17 different countries around the world.

How did the idea for Class-ify come about?

Several of my friends are personal trainers and when lockdowns hit the UK most of them suffered huge drops in revenue because they weren’t able to work with their face-to-face clients.

Some of them found ‘hacky’ ways to get online, using a streaming platform (e.g. FB live, Zoom) and asking for donations.

At the same time, I was being coached by another friend called Mark, who was already working with clients online and his business was thriving. Mark has built an incredible business, getting clients (including myself) amazing results through something called online coaching.

My two co-founders (Daniel Stott and Jim Beattie) and I saw an opportunity to help personal trainers that wanted to build a successful online business but didn’t know how.

This gave me an opportunity for me to personally combine my passions for fitness and helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

Can you share any practical tips or processes to help people work remotely?

We have a bit of an advantage with this, in that we’ve been a remote business since the start.

Whilst I think working remotely has a load of benefits - for example, I’m able to run my business, which is based in the UK from sunny Mallorca - it does have some challenges.

The main issue I’ve found is having a boundary between work and the rest of my life. It’s really easy to jump on the laptop at night to reply to a few urgent emails and before I know it it’s 1 AM and now I can’t sleep because I’ve been staring at a screen for a few hours.

Allowing time for rest and recovery enables me (and the team) to show up the next day with more energy, creativity and drive. Some things that have helped me are having an end-of-day routine - I like to train in the evening and I avoid working after I get home.

I also have at least one day per week where I don’t check my messages or emails. Working in a start-up, the to-do list never ends, but I believe that the typical start-up culture is counter-productive and can lead to lower performance, poor decisions and burnout.

How do you keep your team aligned?

The key way we do this is to align the team around the company’s objectives. On a Monday morning, the team gets together via Zoom and everyone shares their goals for the week.

We make sure these goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) and are aligned with the business' short-term goals.

On a Friday we all share how we got on with our goals and also our key wins for the week - this is my absolute favourite time of the week and is usually a really positive and uplifting way to end the working week!

What is the biggest mistake you've made as an entrepreneur?

Being too optimistic about how many customer problems a small team can tackle in the early stages. We are now much more focused.

When leading a startup, I’ve found it’s more important to think about what you’re not going to tackle, than what you are going to. Shiny objects are everywhere and prioritisation is crucial.

Do you have a share or option scheme in place for your team? 

I think it’s really important for the team to be personally invested in the business.

We try really hard to make sure that everyone that joins us is passionate about our mission and shares are a great way to keep people engaged when things inevitably get tough.

I also think it’s only fair to reward the team for their hard work.

If you were going to invest in a startup business and you could only give one piece of advice to the team running that company, what would it be?

Be curious and have a learning mindset. Particularly when it comes to your customers. I’ve found that having a great relationship with your customers allows you to gain a deep understanding of their world.

Learning about our customers' day-to-day challenges has presented us with the best ideas and opportunities to help them, and for us to create products and services they love.

What’s your morning routine?

I like to start my day with a really cold shower, followed by a 20-minute mindfulness practice. After that, I have a coffee and write down my priorities for the day.

Then I take my dog, Benji, for a walk and listen to a podcast. My go-to is The Joe Rogan Experience, I love the variety of guests and interesting topics discussed.

Who’s your favourite band or musician?

Being a big Leeds United fan I would have to go to Kaiser Chiefs, who take their name from a South African football team club legend Lucas Radebe played for.

And finally, what's your favourite film?

Inception - great cast, storyline and musical score!

Excellent choice! Thanks so much for your time, Tristan.

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