Every entrepreneur has a story about where they got their hustle from. Bedros Keuilian’s story is not the typical journey you’d expect from the owner of an Inc. 5000 franchise, and that’s exactly why I want to share it with you today.
Defining the Immigrant Edge
Bedros Keuilian’s family immigrated here back in 1980 in order to escape Communist Russia. They were poor, they didn’t know the language, and they were unfamiliar with the culture. Yet, despite all that, his parents and siblings had all found employment within a day of their arrival. “When you experience adversity like an immigrant does when they first come to this country, that adversity strengthens you emotionally, mentally, and it builds your entrepreneurial muscles.” He continued, “Everyone can have that edge, but you have to look for it.”
“When you experience adversity like an immigrant does when they first come to this country, that adversity strengthens you emotionally, mentally, and it builds your entrepreneurial muscles. Everyone can have that edge, but you have to look for it.”
Keuilian and his family did indeed have to do a lot of looking during that first year of settling into the States. As they saved every penny in order to pay rent and bills, they found other ways to be resourceful. Like sending Bedros into the local grocery store’s dumpster to find expired (yet totally salvageable) food that was thrown away at the end of the day.
Want to hear more about Keuilian’s journey from immigrant to owner of one of the fastest growing franchises in the world? Check out our interview.
An Unexpected Jump into Entrepreneurship
Keuilian attributes his drive to entrepreneurship to those formative years of his childhood where he adopted that immigrant edge. He learned from his family that, rather than feeling sorry for themselves, make excuses, or even give up, it was about what you were willing to do with what you had that mattered: “When you don’t have resources, you get resourceful.”
“When you don’t have resources, you get resourceful.”
Although the drive was clearly present in Keuilian at a young age, the path may not have been totally clear at first. “Not only was I eating horrible, crappy food, but I was inactive as a young boy growing up,” he recounted. “When I got to high school, I was 40 pounds overweight.”
“Not only was I eating horrible, crappy food, but I was inactive as a young boy growing up. When I got to high school, I was 40 pounds overweight.”
As he approached his senior year and the prospect of having no date for prom, he decided to make a change. He started working out, reading muscle magazines, and learning about better nutrition. As a result, he lost 30 pounds and had a higher self-worth than he’d ever had before. Although he still wasn’t able to pull the trigger on asking his crush to the prom, he learned that his hustle didn’t have to end there. “You can ask yourself: what other challenges can I put myself through so I can build myself into a stronger, more capable human being?” It was this continued reliance on the immigrant edge that drove Keuilian to skip college, get certified in personal training, and work his way to founding Fit Body Bootcamp.
“You can ask yourself: what other challenges can I put myself through so I can build myself into a stronger, more capable human being?”
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Keuilian did not get his business smarts from an expensive MBA. Instead, he turned to his personal training client base to be his mentors. By simply asking “How do you make your money?” he learned all that he needed to in order to launch his own business.
For those that worry that they don’t have enough capital or even experience or any other obstacle that might stand in their way, Keuilian insists that those are just excuses, not reasons. You don’t need capital to start your own business anymore. So, what does he think it takes? A three-pronged approach:
- Create videos using your iPhone and publish them to your Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram accounts a couple times a week. Give your audience something free to whet their appetite.
- Create a WordPress website where you advertise your services. Funnel your visitors from social media to this website and entice them with a special offer or free voucher to give your company a try.
- Once you’ve got people into your place of business, give them an extra incentive to continue working with you.
Once you’ve got them hooked, then you can start looking to expand your business as Keuilian did.
But Keuilian does offer one caveat, and it’s this: if you can’t deal with the “suck factor,” then entrepreneurship is not for you. Not everyone is meant to go into business, and it’s the ones who aren’t willing to give their blood, sweat, and tears for it (at least to start) that will ultimately fail. That’s why Keuilian is so hard on his franchise applicants. He doesn’t want to setup anyone to fail, and he knows that it’s that immigrant edge that will give them their hustle to succeed. This is also why his franchise failure rate is currently below 2% (the industry average is 20%).