We interview Paul Burkett from PB Life, about motivation, the effects of ignoring health and more.
Hello Paul! What’s your background, and what is your business?
Over 20 years in sales and marketing has given Paul an insight into building and growing businesses around the globe. He has been instrumental in developing sales teams and start-ups across multiple industries – consulting, speaking and ultimately driving business outcomes.
After overcoming a heart condition with exercise, Paul found a passion for health and wellbeing. He now owns a gym equipment business, an F45 and has stakes in a boxing gym.
‘PB life’ also consults leaders in mastering sales and overcoming the inevitable hurdles on the path to their dreams.
What motivated you to get started with PB Life?
I started in sales and had a love of building businesses and helping good people. After a health scare, I moved into the thriving fitness business industry and have been driven by the purpose of helping people live a healthy, happy and profitable life since then.
Who is the ideal customer for PB Life? Why would they benefit?
Our ideal customer is someone that is going through emotional struggles, wanting to improve their health and physical wellbeing. The gym is a great place for stress release and perfect place to start. At times I have been to a gym and have had to wipe away tears, but I guess there is an anonymity of wiping away tears that could be sweat and that just sums up the fact that it’s a safe space, without any judgment.
As well as helping emotionally, the gym also leads to a healthy life – muscle gain, weight loss and body repair.
I need people around me that know more than me, and different skills to me so I can improve.
Looking back, how has your business evolved from initial idea to now?
I have always wanted to give back, with a strong focus on health and wellbeing. I believe that you are your business, and sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. I’ve had businesses that haven’t worked out in the past and now I am in the transitioning stage from direct sales to entrepreneur.
I have evolved by having great business partners and people around me. I have great staff, and have learnt that I can’t be the jack of all trades. I need people around me that know more than me, and different skills to me so I can improve. A business partner that understands is also very important.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Surround yourself with the right people, take your time and have experts working for you. Your best mate isn’t always the best business associate. I have tried to start a business with people that have “ideas” but you need “experts” and people that compliment your skills. Two sales people can’t create a business, just like two operations staff can’t.
Identify your skillset and find people with skills that differ to yours. Understand what you can and cannot do, the mistake I’ve made is dance too many discoes and it’s impossible to be great at everything.
How do you market PB Life to attract new customers?
I make sure that I have something that people want and have to have. If customers are provided with an amazing product or service, they are likely to refer their friends and family. I believe that referrals mean more than online advertisement because people are so sceptical today.
There are so many adverts online and plastered across social media that people are becoming desensitised. It is all about real, human connections for me.
What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?
I have ignored my health. I started suffering from a stress cough because I stopped breathing because I was too busy talking instead of just listening. My biggest mistake was not listening to other people or the signals from my family when they noticed I was unhappy and tried to help.
I didn’t listen to my gut intuition when I was making investments, and some ended badly. When you work for such long hours, your body starts to break down. I was eventually hospitalised. I pushed my body to the extreme and years of stress got the better of me.
Watching my heart not beat properly made me see what the exterior factors did to the interior and was a big wake up call. The turning factor was that I wanted to be there for my kids, so I stopped making health my second priority.
What trends have you noticed in your industry, and how are you evolving to meet them?
People don’t buy product, they buy people. I think there is an issue if you go into a business and don’t see a single staff member. We all want connection – someone saying hello, goodbye and being there to help. I’m making sure people represent my brands with a focus on people with high levels of emotional intelligence. A person can be qualified and have amazing knowledge, but not be a kind and happy person.
We want to work with staff that care about people. The more they care, the more valuable they are to the team. I also think the only people who need to be the ‘tough guys’ or even ‘assholes’ are the lawyers and accountants, everyone else should be nice.
Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? How have they helped?
Starting in sales, my first mentor was the person who poached me, Shane. His original training was as a school teacher and he always treated me like a student. He made a point of educating me and teaching me and that meant a lot. Because I learnt from him, I also use the power of education to motivate.
My mum was another of my mentors. She was nosy and wanted to know absolutely everything, which taught me to care. She also taught me the power of intuition, reading people and going with your gut. Mum also lived by “If you want something bad enough, even if you don’t need it, go get it.”
Even though she never had money, she instilled this belief to just go after it.
Dad is the final person that has influenced me. He worked extremely hard 7 days a week at his own business and would pay himself less if that meant he was able to keep the business going a bit longer. He put everything into his business and passed that on to me.
How did you acquire your first 20 customers?
My history is with face to face sales, so that’s my bread and butter in landing initial clients. It wasn’t easy to land the first 20 customers, but I relied on the skills I picked up over my career.
It taught me work ethic, coping with rejection, how it feels to be doing it tough, making mistakes and picking yourself back up again. I also learnt about communicating with people and that all people are unique.