“Get Sound Advice From Other Leaders” Words Of Wisdom With Anthony Geisler, CEO of Club Pilates

Today, I got the opportunity to speak with Anthony Geisler, CEO of Club Pilates. Club Pilates brings the opportunity for people to work out across the United States. They offer high-quality, life-changing training at an affordable price all while leading their members to a fuller, more satisfying workout experience.

What is your “backstory?”

I grew up in a working class family in Orange County, CA and always had an entrepreneurial mindset. I spent my weekends working for my mom’s cleaning business and ended up being the first in my family to attend college. After graduating in 1999 from USC with an Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, I created a web development business with a friend and sold it for $20K within a year. After that, we moved on to casino gaming software and sold 65 casino games to major casinos in Las Vegas. That company was valued at $170M by January 2000. After the dot.com bust in 2001, my next venture came while training at a small boxing gym called LA Boxing in Costa Mesa, CA. I loved the workout and became friends with the owners and soon realized the brand was undervalued. Shortly after, I bought the company and decided to expand it through franchising. By 2012 we had built LA Boxing into the largest boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts fitness franchise in the country, with 200 locations in 35 states, and opened up a historically fighter-centric workout to the masses. In 2012, we sold that company to UFC gym and I stayed involved until 2014.

I saw the business opportunity in specialized workouts, which is when I bought Club Pilates in 2015. At the time the brand was a small collection of boutique reformer Pilates studios concentrated in California. I brought in the LA Boxing team to lay groundwork for a franchise rollout, and since then have expanded the brand to close to 780 franchises sold. We will have 350 studios open by the end of 2017. Club Pilates recently received an investment by TPG Growth, the same company that’s backed conglomerates like Uber and AirBnB.

Which person or which company do you most admire and why?

I admire Edward Tracy, the former CEO of the Trump Organization, where he was responsible for managing over 12,500 employees, 3,000 luxury hotel rooms and 240,000 square feet of casino space. He is a self-made guy and has done a tremendous job in the business world.

Sam Gangwer / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

The success of Club Pilates and the incredible growth that we’ve had has brought thousands of jobs to the country, and I am proud of that. Our corporate team has 40 employees, but even more impressive is that since growing this brand, we’ve created more than 1,600 jobs across the country through our studios. We’ve also given hundreds of franchisees the chance to own their own business and be happy and profitable with their work. To me, that is as good as it gets. When you create a business that creates jobs, supports families and builds communities, I would define that as goodness.

The five things I wished someone told me when I started?

No one will work harder than you: When starting out in business, it’s important to remember that you might get investments and partners lining up at the door, but it’s incredibly hard to find someone who will work as hard as you will for the sake of the business. Don’t lose sight of that.

Create balance in your life in the startup phase: I love the life I’ve created, as I am married and have a beautiful daughter. But I probably should have focused on my personal life earlier on in my career. I got married later in life and because I was single while building my businesses, it contributed to stress and anxiety at some points in my life. You can fit it all in.

Make time for family and friends: No matter how busy you are in the business world, you must make time to decompress with family and friends. You need that outlet in your life, and you need the balance. It creates a sense of reward.

Don’t Waste Time Looking in the Rear-View Mirror: Focus on what’s in front of you and what you can achieve in your life. If you’re looking back and second-guessing every decision you make, it’s only going to hold you back.

Get Sound Advice from Other Leaders: As you enter a new career or start a new business, you’d be wise to learn the best ways to set boundaries with people you work with. Look to other leaders of successful businesses for this advice so you have personal insight as you’re trying to figure out your own ways to create boundaries.

Keith Williams

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

Eminem. Against all the odds, he has shown the determination to make something of himself. I admire him for building something from the ground up and would love to hear his perspective looking back on his journey to where he is today. He chose a communication style that I respect.

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