Coop Mitchell is an entrepreneur who started his business, Garage Gym Reviews, with the mission of making fitness more accessible. He now runs a YouTube channel with 285k subscribers and an Instagram with 290k followers.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Coop Mitchell: I am Coop Mitchell, the founder of Garage Gym Reviews, the one-stop-shop online resource for people who like working out at home. Garage Gym Reviews specializes in providing unbiased, in-depth articles on everything fitness-related. In addition, we offer the ability for users to build their own setup and show it off to the community.
I started Garage Gym Reviews in 2014 and never looked back. Although I’ve worked in digital marketing for the past decade, I started in finance as an Investment Manager but am thankful I no longer have to wear a suit every day.
I live in Ozark, Missouri with my wife, three kids, and our dog.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Coop Mitchell: I believe that everyone has the potential to become a successful entrepreneur in today’s world. Inspiration and new ideas can come from anywhere. With the technology that we have available now, your dreams can turn into reality with persistence and hard work.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Coop Mitchell: I would say that I am not afraid to fail. Starting the journey as an entrepreneur is exciting but it is also scary. On one hand you might fail, but on the other hand, you might create something way beyond your wildest dreams. Every step you take as an entrepreneur has the potential to be best decision you’ve ever made. Being afraid to fail and being afraid of the negative possibilities only holds you back. You have to put yourself out there and trust that you are making the correct decisions for yourself and your business.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Coop Mitchell: Garage Gym Reviews helps people make smarter buying decisions when it comes to home gym equipment. We give in-depth and honest reviews on everything fitness related.
Since starting the business in 2014 our audience has grown exponentially. This has given us the resources needed to step up our video production and create a panel of 14 health and fitness experts to give advice and tips to our readers. In the process, we have created partnerships with other business in the fitness industry and created an affiliate program to broaden our reach. What started as a fun weekend project has turned into a full-fledged business where we get to do what we love everyday.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Coop Mitchell: When starting a business, an entrepreneur has to assume that their idea is going to change their life. It doesn’t matter how good the product or idea is if the person behind it doesn’t think they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. You should assume that the energy you are putting into the business is going to return to you three-fold. With 11.000 new businesses being created every day, reckless optimism is the only way that your business is going to succeed.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Coop Mitchell: I started Garage Gym Reviews as a side project to take my mind off of the daily 9-5. I was interested in gym equipment and wanted to find a way to connect with other like-minded people. At the beginning of it, I never thought that this would turn into what it is today. I assumed that something like this would get lost in the fold of the internet with only a couple hundred subscribers. If I had put everything I had behind it, I could have started working full time on Garage Gym Reviews sooner and grown it even more in those first few years. I assumed that I was not going to be successful and it took me a while to figure out that all of the building blocks were right in front of me, just waiting to build something incredible.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain
Coop Mitchell: My biggest advice to young Coop is to soak it all in. The last seven years have gone by in a flash. Take a moment every day, even on the rough days, to remind yourself that this is exactly what you wanted. Not everybody gets the opportunity to do a job as unique and fun as you do. Enjoy every last minute of it and make sure that you find time to appreciate everything you have accomplished so far.
My second piece of advice is to hire someone to do your taxes when you start making money off of your business. Taxes are too complicated to do by yourself. Don’t be silly enough to pick up “taxes for dummies” and think you have it under control.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Coop Mitchell: The worst advice I ever got was to stick strictly to what was working. As an entrepreneur, there are tons of ways to measure the success of your business. And a lot of times this boils down to “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” The advice that I got was to stick to what my audience was expecting from me and not deviate from what was working. But I like trying new things and I didn’t want to be stuck to a templated version of a business that I knew could go in so many different directions. Your core audience will grow as you grow.
Don’t feel tied to one specific type of product or one expectation from your audience if you want to do something new. Sit down to make a plan and find a way to incorporate your new ideas into your business in a way that excites your audience and gets them on board.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Coop Mitchell: COVID-19 has proven that the needs and interests of society can change in a heartbeat and that you can’t control everything, no matter how much money or time you put into your business. Before the pandemic, we had a great audience and we were happy to be where we were. When gyms started closing and people started being in their homes 24/7 we saw a lot of new faces interacting with us on social media and YouTube and our website. We were doing nothing differently, but because of an outside force, we suddenly saw an uptick in people interested in home gyms. We were getting the benefits from something outside of our control.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Coop Mitchell: I think a common myth is that entrepreneurship is a failure if you don’t become the next Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. I believe that anyone can work a little here and a little there on their small business and make something great. You see a lot about multi-million dollar enterprises that started with someone working out of their garage. But the reality is that most small businesses never get that way. A lot of small businesses see very little ROI in the first few years. That doesn’t mean that you’re a failure or that your idea is bad.
The success of a small business can be measured by so much more than profit. Entrepreneurs have to tune out the constant noise of money being the end goal and figure out what success looks like to them. If an entrepreneur is personally fulfilled by their work, then they have been just as successful as a tech giant making billions of dollars.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Coop Mitchell: I believe the most important quality in an entrepreneur is a willingness to learn new things. There is so much more to running a business than I could ever have imagined. Don’t get discouraged by the paperwork or the never-ending to-do list. Keep going and eventually, you will learn everything you need to know.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Coop Mitchell: Books and websites are great resources for people looking to start a business. I think the best way is to connect with people. If there is a small business in your town or at your school, try to get some time on their calendar and see what they have to say. Ask them about their experience and what they have learned. Social media is a great tool, too. Search for some people that post about entrepreneurship and see what they have to say. A lot of small businesses and artists also post about what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Coop Mitchell: If I could choose any other job it would be a gear tester for an outdoor brand. I love being outside and think it would be really cool to get paid to go on hikes and test how new products do out in the elements.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Coop Mitchell: If I could add anyone to Mount Rushmore it would absolutely have to be Master Yoda. He’s hands down one of the coolest characters ever made.
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Coop Mitchell for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Coop Mitchell or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
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