“Building a business was never my original intention,” says Fitset founder, Tim Gourlay.
Before starting his company, Tim had his sights set on becoming a professional volleyball player in hopes of competing in The Olympics someday. Tim trained at the National Team Training Centre in Ottawa for six months before being chosen to play in Germany for a few seasons.
After his time in Europe, Tim decided to return to Canada and shortly after got married and began working in sales and business development.
As a former professional athlete, physical fitness has always been an important part of his life. However, his gym routine soon started to feel monotonous.
Tim quickly fell in love with group fitness activities, but the multiple memberships were getting costly.
“During that time, I began thinking about a multi-studio access pass and what that would look like,” he says. “I hemmed and hawed about the idea for months until I finally made the commitment to go ahead and execute it!”
Tim called this service Fitset.
“Fitset is a custom pass for people to discover, book and sweat in studios and facilities across Edmonton – all from a digital platform online or on a mobile device,” says Tim.
Fitset partners with high-quality fitness studios and gyms to provide its members with a diverse range of workouts.
“For our fitness studio partners, Fitset provides a way to get new people through their doors, fill up excess capacity in their studio and create a new incremental revenue stream,” says Tim.
Fitset’s service was built to be mobile-friendly. With that being said, developing an app with little to no experience or knowledge in app development proved challenging.
“I didn’t have a technical co-founder and it was expensive to hire really strong software developers,” he says. “In the early stages of the business, I tried to build our product on a shoestring budget and it was always challenging to navigate bugs, technical issues and other software-related challenges.”
From then on, in order to stay on top of everything, he made sure that he established the “what” and the “why” behind every move that his developers were making, even if he didn’t understand all of the coding and micro-technical details.
Now that the tough development challenges are behind him, Tim’s business has found momentum. Despite having a tough first two years, the fitness entrepreneur has proudly formed a strong team over the last six months.’
“Moving forward, I’m most excited about the plan that we have for 2018 and how that plan can take us closer to our vision of Fitset becoming the fitness companion to the active lifestyle for the Canadian masses,” says John.
Fitset is on its way to one day expanding across Canada and it couldn’t have been done without resilience and perseverance.
“We want to have Fitset in every major city in Canada and beyond,” he says.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Tim says the best way to start a business is to jump right in.
“JUST START! Start working on the idea and make a commitment to work towards it until you fail, and don’t be afraid to fail – that is where the learning takes place. The hardest part for me was just putting pen to paper. I wish I would have started pursuing my business idea sooner.”
For 2018, Tim has made another commitment. “My resolution is to tell my story to inspire others who are on this entrepreneurial journey.”
Written by: Sara Pivato, Social Media & Content Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada