Meet Ben.

Learn how he’s managed to establish, grow, and monetize his media startup. We helped him get there.

Ben Lefort is an online fitness coach from Waterloo, Ontario who curates fitness workouts and mixes them in with his own.

Ben’s goal is to build a platform where other people who want to get fit for free, can.

“I’m already doing something, can I make this into a business, or a career?

In the time-strapped world we all live in I think that’s kind of the goal for everyone. I’m doing it already. The only difference really, for me, is that the camera’s on.”

THE BIG IDEA

About this time last year, I started seriously thinking, “enough — I’ve had this thought in my head for several years to try to make money off something you’ve been doing anyways” and I went for it.

When I first had the original idea, I had started doing workouts on YouTube and watching videos with millions of views. They were basic videos, white backdrop and sometimes a voiceover. The key thing, was that the workouts were good. The content was actually very helpful.

I had seen so many different styles of video from YouTube, and other creators in the space, and I realized that I can make these videos too.

I started trying to grow some presence in the online fitness community through Instagram initially because I didn’t have a website or anything yet. Then I started posting videos with short workout tips and I started to build an audience. From there, I thought, I’m going for it — I’m going to start a WordPress website. I incorporated, got the insurance and all those other things to make it a legitimate business. Then I thought, what’s the model for how people are monetizing their videos?

THE PLATFORM

I found out very quickly it’s not hard to build a website in 2017, but it’s hard to build a good website in 2017.

Building the whole thing through WordPress for free was my goal, but I don’t have a coding background and I’m not a website designer. I know about workouts, but I don’t know the ins and outs of hosting that amount of video.

You want to be a video creator and focus on fitness. You don’t want to worry about the whole technical side of it too much, which is exactly what I was doing. It bogged me down. I was spending less time filming workouts. I was spending the whole time trying to configure this WordPress site to host the workouts that I was eventually going to film. A few months had passed, and the doubts started to creep in… am I ever going to launch this site?

You need some sort of mentor, or guide, that knows a little bit about whatever your weakness is.

I saw that Communitech had this free course for startups so you can network and get some business fundamentals. I signed up for that thinking, well this isn’t a business yet because all I have is an Instagram account. It was great though, they took me on, I told them what I wanted to do, and they recommended that I get in touch with Dean who was putting together the platform at the time.

He was explaining to me the model behind it, and told me that I am not a website guy. I should be focusing on content creation… and that was exactly what I wanted to hear. He was showing me the features of the site, and I was blown away how simple it is for someone who’s not a web person.

It was such a relief. I just had to point and click to import a video I want to curate or an original video to my website, and sharing it to social media is a whole workflow. I didn’t have to do any coding at all, which was awesome.

I just started sharing more workouts, focused on filming videos and sharing it with people on Twitter and Instagram, and growing my audience. I was getting more content out to more people in less time, and I stopped banging my head against the WordPress wall.

THE MONETIZATION MODEL

I wanted some kind of platform for this to be on, somewhere that all my followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook could go, and see all the workouts in one place.

I initially thought this would be a subscription service for people to pay $5 a month. If I can get 100 people at $5 a month, and boom I’m living the dream.

Having the user pay for it up front isn’t the only way — now probably the best way, if you want to get significant traffic, is to offer your content for free. I tried the subscription model, as I’ve seen it in other places, but building a subscription site is extremely challenging. I thought that was the only way to make money with videos. It didn’t even occur to me to consider sponsorship income and all the other ways of generating revenue from content.

THE BIG WINS

The biggest wins I’ve experienced in the last couple months would be first, having my custom site launched in December. That was huge for me.

I also got my first sponsor shortly after that for Reign Fitness, which at the time of this article is our featured video.

That was a huge win for me, it was the first time my initial ideas came to fruition.

A year ago, I had this idea to make some revenue while creating fitness workouts, which was something I already did for fun. The first initial reality of that dream has actually come true, which is really exciting.

I recently met a gym owner in the area, and can officially announce that I will be filming workouts on location at this gym in Kitchener. It’s almost like a candy shop. They have TRX, every size of kettle bell, giant tires…they have all the toys.

The workouts I’m shooting at the gym can easily be done at home. It’s a fun way to get to know other people passionate about fitness, and to get some testimonials as to why fitness is important in their life. I’m hoping to get some cool content from people who are just getting started with their fitness journey to see their transformation.

THE FUTURE

Once the snow is gone I’ll be filming more workouts outdoors. I’d also like more excuses to get to the beach… so we’ll be filming some workouts there. My girlfriend will be happy, I’ll be happy, I’ll get my workout in, and we’ll be at the beach!

A hotel workout is on the roadmap for me, next time I travel I’m going to bring the camera and film some workout videos.

I have been wanting to find a way to make money doing something I love. This is exactly what I’ve done, and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me.

- Ben Lefort, No Days Off Productions

This article was originally published using Vimix, written by Jessica Jean Armstrong, Product Manager @ Vimix

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Originally published at marketing.vimix.tv.

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