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This week I talk with Jason Barry, the owner of Evo Health Club at Hotel Realm in Barton, Canberra. As a small business owner, Jason talks about balancing running his own business and running his life as well as the benefits that come from building your business focused upon the creation of a unique and quality experience for people. He also gives a rundown of the lessons he's learnt and explains the methods and approaches he takes to making decisions
Discussed in this episode:
2:32 - The background of Evo Health Club
7:17 - How was business and successful business traits modelled growing up?
12:46 - How does calmness help in making a business decision?
18:00 - Mapping out a way ahead and methods of making decisions
21:52 - Biggest lessons from business in Port Macquarie
25:18 - What business are you really in?
32:32 - What does Evo Health Club do well?
37:51 - How did you get into this business?
41:52 - The importance of fitness
46:07 - Managing young family and owning your own business
48:51 - Biggest challenges in the business and how to reach people
55:22 - The two pillars of Evo Health Club
59:58 - Where to from here?
Linked in this episode:
Evo Health Club
57:00 - Gary Vaynerchuck
59:20 - Antica Ricetta
The Full Transcript:
Jonathan Doyle: Well, hey everybody, welcome, welcome welcome to the Canberra Business Podcast. I'm your host, Jonathan Doyle, from Canberra Executive Coaching. I loved doing this interview, it's a really good one, and I could not think of a better way to kick off this series than with this first podcast that we've done today, it's such a good, solid business message, there's a great backstory. I personally learned a great deal from listening in, I could relate to so much of it, but I think you will as well. I think what we cover in this first interview is going to really resonate with all the challenges that you face in building a successful business here in the Canberra region.
Jonathan Doyle: I'm going to introduce you in just a moment to our good friend Jason Barry, he's from the Evo Health Club at Hotel Realm in Canberra. Great story, great guy, father, husband, business owner, you're going to get a lot out of this. For now, sit back, relax, I'm going to talk to you again at the end, but I just really want you to get comfortable, and get as much value from this time as I did. I'm Jonathan Doyle, going to speak with you again soon.
Jason Barry: I had a tantrum and said, "I'm not playing anymore."
Jonathan Doyle: Really?
Jason Barry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I would have been 15, yeah. We were in the grand final though, so I can't even remember that.
Jonathan Doyle: We won the grand final.
Jason Barry: Did we?
Jonathan Doyle: Ladies and gentlemen, sorry to bring you in late, but we're just having a little conversation here. Welcome to the Canberra Business podcast. My special guest right now, he's a husband, he's a father, he's an athlete, and we've just been talking a little bit about his athletic career. We're talking with Jason Barry, who looks after the great team at Evo, Hotel Realm. Jason Barry, welcome to the Canberra Business Podcast.
Jason Barry: Great to be here.
Jonathan Doyle: Take us back to this glorious victory in the [inaudible 00:01:47] College under-15 B-side, which I think history says was against [inaudible 00:01:52], do you remember that day?
Jason Barry: I don't, you've just mentioned it to me a couple of minutes ago, and it completely had slipped my mind. I may not have had my best game that day, from memory.
Jonathan Doyle: Well, my real question is, you didn't peak that day, I hope.
Jason Barry: No.
Jonathan Doyle: I mean, life since then, I mean that wasn't the peak of your life so far?
Jason Barry: No, it wasn't, it was probably, I was actually on the backslide. As I said, it was the first year I had my DA, so I was pretty much topped out of my athletic career, so I was pretty much on the way down, but I have made a comeback over the last sort of 10, 15 years.
Jonathan Doyle: We'll get some photos later on so people can see that he has kept in shape. If you're looking as good as he does at this age, you're doing well. My friend, let's begin, let's talk a little bit about the business that you look after. I didn't really know the backstory, so tell us a little bit about Evo Health Club, tell us about what it is, how it started, how you got involved, tell us the backstory.
Jason Barry: The business started 10 years ago, it was another couple actually started, so the Hotel Realm obviously celebrated 10 years as well last year. The Health Club was designed around becoming a premium club in Canberra, which there was sort of a hole in that market. We got involved about eight years ago, my wife and I bought the business. I had done some other different things in the area, we'd moved away actually, got up to Port Macquarie for a couple years.
Jonathan Doyle: But you missed the winters here so much?
Jason Barry: We did, it was tough living up there on the beach, but yeah, we did, just dying to get back to the minuses.
Jonathan Doyle: What'd you do in Port?
Jason Barry: My family bought a car wash up there.
Jonathan Doyle: Okay.
Jason Barry: Yeah, it was the only car wash in town, and my wife and I had just got married, so we're talking probably 15 years ago, had just got married, so neither of us had really left Canberra, besides going to the south coast. We thought, "Well, let's do this, let's go up there, we'll run the car wash." We did that for a couple years, and as you say, we missed the Canberra winters, so we came back.
Jonathan Doyle: What did bring you back specifically?
Jason Barry: It was just, yeah look, [inaudible 00:03:54], particularly back then, it was quite a difficult place to get to, the roads weren't as good as they probably are now, so it was quite a trek up there and back.
Jonathan Doyle: Those road works, all the way from where? They start, what, past Newcastle?
Jason Barry: Yeah, look, pretty much, I mean even I think it's the M-7, is it? I'm losing track of Ms in Sydney.
Jonathan Doyle: You take the M-7-
Jason Barry: That wasn't even there when we were traveling, so as I said, it was quite a hike getting up there and back, and Qantas, I think from memory, were the only people that were flying there, so it was like $400 each way to fly there.
Jonathan Doyle: Back then, that's a fair bit of money.
Jason Barry: It was a lot, absolutely. It wasn't really an option to come back to Canberra very often, so we were sort of, I wouldn't say "isolated" up there, but we were left up there to our own devices, the two of us. Look, we had a great time, it's a great town, fantastic town to particularly holiday in, I would suggest. We were probably a little bit young at the time to really settle in there.
Jonathan Doyle: You haven't pursued a career working for the Port Macquarie tourism board or anything?
Jason Barry: No, I don't think they'd be employing us actually.
Jonathan Doyle: Okay, but there were some good memories.
Jason Barry: No, there is, definitely, yes. I mean, in saying that, like honestly, you know as you do when you get into a business, we worked very hard that first 12 months. I could count on one hand the amount of times we got to the beach, it was pretty crazy, to be honest. We thought we'd go up there and live this surfy lifestyle up on the coast, spend a couple of hours at the car wash every day, but you know it wasn't like that, as it is when you've got a business.
Jonathan Doyle: But it's kind of cool to get away. Like I mean, when Karen and I were first married, I think I'd read somewhere it was good advice that if you are newly married, it can be a good thing to get away. We took off to Cannes, and we spent like two years up there, and you get out of that sort of cycle of the intensity of... I mean, family is a great thing, but sometimes you just need to find out who you are just on your own.
Jason Barry: Absolutely, and that's exactly why we did it. We thought, "Look, let's get away and get to know each other. Now that we're married, we probably should know each other."
Jonathan Doyle: That's right, yeah, [crosstalk 00:05:48].
Jason Barry: Yeah, it is, it is.
Jonathan Doyle: What's your best memory of Port?
Jason Barry: Geez, that's a good question. I wouldn't have one as such, I mean-
Jonathan Doyle: Don't say leaving.
Jason Barry: No, it definitely wasn't that. Look mate, I think in terms of memory, I mean it would be more just memories, it's just when I think back there, I do, even though I said we didn't get to the beach that first year, the second year we got there a bit more often, and honestly it is, you know just to be able to go there on a Sunday afternoon and just basically walk off from your house and walk down the beach. For us, the two of us, it was really only the two of us there.
Jonathan Doyle: Can't you recreate that now, can't you leave Evo at Hotel Realm, go down to Burley Griffin on the shoreline there and feel the same?
Jason Barry: Look, we could because we do live quite close to the lake, so we could, and we tried it a couple of times, it just-
Jonathan Doyle: It's just not quite the same.
Jason Barry: The magic's just not there. Whether it's because we've got two kids with us now, I don't know if that's the change, but something's not quite right with it.
Jonathan Doyle: I want a syndicate of Canberra business people to start one of those massive wave pools.
Jason Barry: [inaudible 00:06:47]
Jonathan Doyle: Mate, you know? In winter, it'd still struggle, but you know.
Jason Barry: Well, you'd just put in a mall, like they do in Dubai. Isn't that what they do over there?
Jonathan Doyle: Well, we were in Hawaii recently, in their Wet and Wild, it was amazing, there was about three people there, and they don't have all that intense health and safety stuff, so you could have a good go at killing yourself pretty regularly. The other day we were at the Gold Coast in the Wet and Wild there, it was awesome, it was just Karen, I, the kids, 400,000 other people. They have a wave pool there, and yeah, people don't drown in that, it was just like literally shoulder to shoulder.
Jonathan Doyle: Take us back, even before Port, the DNA of this podcast is around encouraging business people, networking business people, because I'm just going to put it out there right at the start, I'm not a huge fan of a growing public sector.
Jonathan Doyle: I like business, I love to see people making money. Was this in your family DNA? I don't know your full backstory, you don't have to go into too much detail, but did you grow up having business modeled to you, was it entrepreneurship, work, what was the backstory in your childhood?
Jason Barry: Yeah, look, definitely. My parents had their own business ever since I knew them, which was basically my mom gave birth to me. Yeah, I mean it was something they always did, and my dad ended up having quite a successful business in Canberra, he was a [inaudible 00:08:04] distributor here. Yeah, I guess it does sort of get ingrained in your own DNA, I think if you see your parents, and my old man, he worked extremely hard, you know he was always working in the business, and mom was obviously taking care of us. It was a perfect balance that they had going, because you know I've got a brother and sister in my family, so there's a lot to do, as anyone that's got children know.
Jason Barry: They had a great balance, so yeah, there's definitely something that I was very keen to do. I was sort of, not following in his footsteps I suppose, but just to sort of see the success he had had, because certainly when I was young we didn't have too much, we only had the bare minimum like a lot of people do, so it was only in the later years I guess that we saw a bit of that success. You see it and you think, "Yeah, it's great."
Jonathan Doyle: What stopped you just doing what many people do, doing some study, maybe going into the public service? Can you identify that impulse?
Jason Barry: Look, I can, I mean I did study, I did go to Canberra Uni after I left school, because that was just something that was assumed you'd do I suppose at the time. I've got to say, once I finished, I've never had any inclination to get into the public service, to be honest, and I really don't know why, I can't put my finger on it. I think probably back in those days, even though I think the jokes are still around about public servants and how hard they work, I think back then it was even worse.
Jonathan Doyle: Yeah.
Jason Barry: I suppose for me, I didn't even want to have that associated with me now. In saying that, I'm sure we know public servants, a lot of them work very hard, but they just had that, there was that stigma I suppose. It was never something that I even broached, you know it was I did this Uni course, and then I actually went and worked in my father's business for a few years, which was great.
Jonathan Doyle: What did you learn there, what did you experience, what was it like working with your own father?
Jason Barry: It was great, actually.
Jonathan Doyle: Yeah?
Jason Barry: Yeah no, I really enjoyed it. I looked up to him, he was my hero as a kid, I suppose. I mean, you've always got your sporting heroes and your idols that you love, and probably at the time you think they're your heroes. Maybe when you look back you realize they weren't your heroes, they were people you looked up to and wouldn't mind being, but at the end of the day, I know my father was the guy that really shaped me.
Jonathan Doyle: What did you admire about him?
Jason Barry: Mate, just his nature. He was the sort of guy, he was hard working, which I think is a very honorable trait to have, he was also smart, so he knew what he was doing in business. I mean, because a lot of people will work hard all their life and maybe not achieve the success that they would hope or want, so he was smart about what he was doing as well. Between those two things, you know I think it was a fantastic quality.
Jonathan Doyle: How do you define that, when you talk about his business acumen, what was that, what did you notice? He just made successful decisions, he was patient, he was intuitive, what was it?
Jason Barry: I think intuitive, that's spot on the word. I think it's a very hard thing to learn I think for people. I think, to a degree, you've either got it or you don't.
Jonathan Doyle: Do you think you have it?
Jason Barry: Yeah, I think I do, I think it's something you tend to, as I said, almost be born with. I mean, I think you can learn it, you know and obviously that's what business mentors and business coaches are around and they do, and they absolutely help people, there's no doubt about it. You can sort of acquire some of that knowledge and that sort of thing. Yeah, they were the two things I really admired about him, and just the nature of the man, he was such a gentle man, he was caring, everybody loved him. He was one of those guys that just, he was everyone's friend. He was a very good guy to learn from. He sold his business after a few years of me working there.
Jonathan Doyle: That wasn't something you caused, was it?
Jason Barry: It was coincidence, in hindsight, yeah.
Jonathan Doyle: He starts looking at the spreadsheet going, "What has happened?"
Jason Barry: I don't know, I might ask him that question one of these days, I'd been going to, but no, I think it was quite a stressful environment for him, as we know business can be. I think he obviously got an offer that was very good, and he decided to take that. Good luck to him, it was a good decision I think in hindsight for him.
Jonathan Doyle: The time you did work with him, of his traits, which ones do you think that you've taken forward or carried forward?
Jason Barry: I think definitely that calmness about someone, you know that ability to not get too worked up about things that might be going on, you know I think that's really really important for me. I think in the way our business has evolved, I think it's been an important trait.
Jonathan Doyle: Two points on that: first, please write a book about that.
Jason Barry: Okay.
Jonathan Doyle: Please write a book about calmness in business, because we've had our success, but Karen's the calm one. What is that, like how does that play out? Imagine that you're dealing with a difficult decision, and what actually, how does that calmness manifest?
Jason Barry: Look, I think it's just, with those sorts of things, for me, you know and I think it's something I've learnt more so over the years, I probably was not quite as calm back in the day, but I think it's something I've developed more as time's moved on. I think you get an appreciation of life as you get a bit older, you mature, you probably don't take things too seriously and understand that life is precious, it really is. I think that's something that I've really learned to accept, that we're not here for a long time, and I think if we're going to be here, then we might as well utilize it and have fun and try and enjoy the time we're here. There's no point for me getting completely worked up about things that might be happening at work or even at home that are really, at the end of the day, quite trivial.
Jason Barry: I made a decision a while back to really focus on that, and you know so I think that's sort of rubbed off hopefully at work.
Jonathan Doyle: Is that just a mental discipline? Like if you've had a tough quarter, or there's a problem, or the challenges you face with family life and work, what stops you spiraling into worry or stress or drinking four bottles of vodka a night? What is that? Because I'm interested in what we call modeling, like helping listeners get a feel for how you actually do what you do. Because it's true, I mean I've known you for a long time, and you're definitely a sort of laid back, pretty calm guy, and you probably picked up a fair bit of that listening to you talk about your father, like the ability to relate to a lot of people.
Jonathan Doyle: Take us, can you help people who are listening who might be facing a lot of stress right now, who might be facing something difficult, what is that mindset? Talk us through what happens inside your head when something's difficult for you in your business.
Jason Barry: Yeah look, it's a good question, because I do think a lot of it, again, is an inane sort of thing within you. I mean, we've all seen people that just absolutely lose the plot seemingly over nothing, and we've all probably dealt with clients or whatever it might be in business, or you have those people at your meeting, you know hopefully not on a daily basis, but-
Jonathan Doyle: I was in Starbucks in New York a few months ago, and it was after one of those serial bombings, the chlorine attack. There's a guy in front of me, and I think Starbucks there, we were on the Upper East Side, it opened at like 6:00. They opened at 6:03, and this guy just lost his shit completely, he was just like, "God damn this, it says 6:00 here," and the Starbucks staff were just like, "We're really sorry, sir." I'm just there with my phone reading the news going, "A bunch of kids just got gassed with chlorine." Perspective.
Jason Barry: Yeah, good word.
Jonathan Doyle: Perspective, is that it for you, you just go... Because, I mean I'll be honest, when I get stressed out, and Karen is the stable one, I don't drink four bottles of vodka necessarily, but take us through again, just finish that off, how you manage difficulty and stress in your business.
Jason Barry: Yeah, well as I was saying, I think it's something that can be hard to teach and can be hard for people, you know because like as with the point we're just saying, you know that guy was a classic example, I mean how do you try and explain to that guy, it would be almost impossible to explain to that guy at Starbucks, "Dude, just relax. It's only a couple minutes, it's not the end of the world," as you said, there's other stuff going on in the world, and probably some people having a worse time than you.
Jason Barry: We do all have our issues, and we all have our dramas in life, and I suppose you hit the nail on the head with that word "perspective", it is just putting some perspective around what's going on, and understanding, "Okay, yeah, you might be having a few issues with a staff member, or yeah, the turnover has been down on this month."
Jason Barry: Okay, well look, there's no point getting all caught up about it or worried about it, you know how do we actually fix it, what can we do?
Jonathan Doyle: Yeah, what are your options?
Jason Barry: Exactly, you know and whether that's writing it down, a lot of people that's good for them, to write it down, and say, "Okay, well you might be laying awake at night, and that's when you tend to think about all these things, isn't it, which doesn't help you sleep, let's be honest.
Jonathan Doyle: Yeah, what is that?
Jason Barry: I don't know.
Jonathan Doyle: It's something about, I didn't have that problem really in my 20s or my 30s, but something about this season right now, whether it's having young kids and just business, and it's like, I just lie awake and your brain's like... I'm reading a lot of stuff, and I'll post some links on this, you know on mindfulness stuff, because I think there's a lot to be learned there. It's like you're lying there at 3:00 a.m, going, "Nothing I can do right now is going to help," but you're trying to go. Man, I p§ut my kids to bed, they just sleep. I want to go back there.
Jason Barry: Yeah, absolutely.
Jonathan Doyle: We're going to talk about Port, we're going to talk about your work and taking over at Evo, but I want to talk about the kind of business that is. Just something you said a minute ago was that you want to talk about options when you're facing a difficulty in your business.
Jonathan Doyle: Now, when you're trying to map out a way ahead, so let's just say whatever, you don't have to tell us what your challenges are in business, but do you have mentors, do you withdraw to yourself, do you journal, do you write, do you go for walks, do you talk to Erin, how do you work out strategy when you're faced with something, what's your personal approach?
Jason Barry: Look, I don't have a mentor as such, I would definitely, you know I mean the closest thing to a mentor I would have is, again, back to my father. I'll often talk to him about things like that, you know issues that we might have or challenges that we're facing or opportunities that are coming up, get his feel on it. Of course I talk to my wife Erin, she's a good listener, she's a fantastic talker, so she loves to do that, but I think she does like me saying a few words every now and again, so I think she appreciates that, instead of her just chitty chatting all the time. Like we'll chat about it, and-
Jonathan Doyle: Do you need to do that, do you need to talk stuff out of your head?
Jason Barry: No, I don't, to be honest, I don't. I do deal a lot of it internally within myself, and yeah, that is quite often writing things down, you know I'll often spend time just making notes on, you know and it's as simple as your phone these days, you know there's apps and all sorts of things where you can just make notes.
Jason Barry: For me, just getting it down, getting it where I can actually read it, look at it, that's what helps me, and as I said, chatting to a few different people as well, chat to some of the guys at work, some of our trusted employees at work who've been there for a while, so about things that are happening at work, so anything work related for sure I'll always touch base with them about some things. I think getting it out there, I think, is definitely a good thing, you know.
Jonathan Doyle: At the point of a decision, so you've got to make a decision on something, are you intuitive, are you a risk-taker, do you back yourself, or is it more that you've got to have everything lined up, you've got to have all your parameters and see the three options, and then lie awake at 3:00 a.m., or do you get to a point where you just go, "I've talked, I've done this," and you just-
Jason Barry: Yeah, definitely the latter for me.
Jonathan Doyle: Do you worry, are you a risk-taker?
Jason Barry: Do I worry? Yeah, look, to a degree I suppose everyone worries, to a degree, I mean but at the end of the day, if I decide we're going to do something, then we just roll with it and do it and just make it happen. You know, I mean hopefully you're making a decision based on some sound financial-
Jonathan Doyle: You're not flipping coins.
Jason Barry: No, that's right, so hopefully there's some financial things that you can see in what you're doing, and say, "Yeah, well look, as long as we can keep track to that, then I'll be okay." I mean, if you're in business, and particularly in small business, look, you're taking risks. I mean, you know almost every day you go in, it's probably a risk to a degree, so there's always that element to it, and obviously anyone, as I said, that's undertaking a small business or becoming an entrepreneur or whatever, I mean they are a risk-taker. You can't say you're not if you're doing that, because at the end of the day, it's your jaw, neck's on the line, so to speak. I mean, there's nothing more risky than that, probably.
Jonathan Doyle: Well, I've talked to Karen over the years about, and she doesn't like this language, but "blowing stuff up", you know sometimes I've just got so, you know not stressed, but just so keen to get some kind of breakthrough that, you talk about betting the farm or just, "Let's blow this up, let's just really risk." As the older I get, I think it's a bigger and bigger deal. I think you've got to risk it for the biscuit, and I think without being frivolous, I think to do anything interesting in the world at some point, and even in your industry, which we are going to talk about, innovation probably requires, "Hey, let's try this and see if it works." Now, let's press on, let's leave Port behind.
Jason Barry: We have, yeah, we definitely have.
Jonathan Doyle: People of Port Macquarie, we love you, this is the Canberra Business Podcast.
Jason Barry: That's right.
Jonathan Doyle: I don't have the expertise to do the Port Macquarie business podcast, but Jason did love his time with you. I want to ask you, Jason, what was the one big lesson you learned about business in your time at Port Macquarie looking back, what's something you took away, what about customers or service or cashflow, or what would you look back and say the one big lesson you took out of that time business-wise?
Jason Barry: Probably, to be honest, hard work, even though I'd seen it, and I'd mentioned before I'd seen it from my father for so long growing up, you know it probably wasn't 'til I got up there that the requirement came from me to really roll up my sleeves, because we were all working literally seven days a week up there for 10, 12 hours a day.
Jonathan Doyle: This wasn't like an automated, drop a coin in, spray it, you had people there cleaning cars?
Jason Barry: No, it was the old school four bays, with an automatic machine as well. Place had been, was a bit run down, so there was a lot of work to be done. Yeah, it required us to be there, and at the time at that point in our lives, like I had felt that we needed to just, as I said, roll the sleeves up and just rip in and be the people there. We also had the Avis Agency as well, the car rental people.
Jonathan Doyle: I've actually rented from Avis in Port Macquarie.
Jason Barry: There you go.
Jonathan Doyle: I don't know if it was that long ago.
Jason Barry: Well it was 15 years ago, it might have been me handing you the keys, although I probably would have recognized you.
Jonathan Doyle: Car broke down, and ... No, it didn't happen, that's not true. Avis, we love you.
Jason Barry: That's it, yeah.
Jonathan Doyle: Never happened.
Jason Barry: Erin was working for the Port Macquarie council, I think from memory at the time actually, but on the weekends, she would then come and do the overs thing. As I said, between the two of us, we were doing seven days a week. Yeah, it was just for me, that was an important thing for us to be doing at that time, like we weren't going up there to lay on beaches and live, even though it is a retirement probably capital of Australia, we weren't quite at the age where we probably were retiring, given we were late 20s, whatever we were. We had the mindset we're going to work, and we're going to get ahead, and we're going to make this business a success. It was, I mean I think it was, you know the business was that. I think for me, it showed that hard work, there's nothing wrong with that.
Jonathan Doyle: The one thing looking back you'd do differently?
Jason Barry: Geez, that's a good one. Mate, I don't think I would do anything differently, quite honestly. Like I'm not the sort of person that puts too much thought into what-ifs or regrets or things like that, you know I mean I think sometimes it is important to maybe look back on things and say, "You know, what could I have done better", you know just to help you with something that you're going to be doing going forward, but yeah, look, I wouldn't change anything, to be honest. Because you don't know what your experience might be if something had changed. Well, it would be different, your experience would be different if something had been done different.
Jonathan Doyle: That's right, yeah yeah.
Jason Barry: You know, I think what we got out of it was great, as I said, we enjoyed our time up there. You know mate, I'm happy to say, look, it was perfect.
Jonathan Doyle: Yeah, I like those questions like "if, but what if, but what if". My kids go, my little daughter who's seven is like, "Dad if you were a pony, what color would you be?" I'm like, "Darling, I wouldn't be a pony," "But if you were," "But I'm not going to be a pony," "But if you were a pony, dad." Karen's like, "Jonathan, just be a pony," I'm like, "Okay, I'd be black," "Okay."
Jason Barry: Then they go, "Oh, okay."
Jonathan Doyle: I want to ask you, let's talk about Evo, let's talk about the Evo Health Club at Hotel Realm, awesome Canberra community-based business. Full disclaimer, I train at Evo and I'm a huge fan, I admire a lot about their business. One of the things, and I might not have told you this, something we want to talk about in a minute is, I think you seem to have really low turnover, which is always a great sign for a business. I want you to tell us in a minute about how you came into that business, why you selected it, or whether it selected you, but I want to start with just a framing question, which is one of my all-time favorite business questions, which I probably ask everybody on this podcast.
Jonathan Doyle: It comes from the inimitable Tony Robbins, who in his business mastery course, he talks about, you know he trains people. The first question he says is, "What business are you in?" The second question, I don't know if you've heard this, is he says, "What business are you really in?" I always thought that was very insightful. The example he gives is he'd be talking to restaurant people, and he'd say to them, "What business are you in?" The restaurant people would be like, "I'm in the restaurant business." He'd just drill them and say, "You ain't in the restaurant business," you know he would train them and say, "You're in the experience business, right? You're actually, what you're doing is creating an experience for people with food, with décor, with ambience, music, staffing, and if you create a great experience, you have a viable business, if you create a crap experience ... You're not really in the restaurant business."
Jonathan Doyle: It's easy for people in the health and fitness industry to say, "Oh, you know I'm in the gym business or I'm in the training business," so my first framing question for you is this great local business, Evo Health Club at Hotel Realm, what business are you really in?
Jason Barry: The experience, yeah, I mean can I say that?
Jonathan Doyle: You can, you just did. We'll check with Tony later.
Jason Barry: You can't give me the answer.
Jonathan Doyle: I'll get Tony, going, "Tony, Jason said that, all right?" What's the experience you want people to have?
Jason Barry: We are trying to help people, that's what we're trying to do there. Yep, we are in the gym business, the fitness business, the health business, whatever you want to call it, but look, we are there to help people, and yeah, look, I hate using that word, but it is exactly right. I do talk to our guys at work saying that exact thing, that we want someone, when they come into our club or into the day spa, to have the perfect experience, okay? If they're not getting that, then we're not doing our job properly.
Jonathan Doyle: Why do you want that? Now, the easy answer is, "Well, because I just do," but there are tons of people running businesses that really couldn't care less whether people have a great experience. I want to go to the core of this, because this is what people need to hear. Why give a damn? It's not enough to say, "Well, we run a good, successful business," I know that's true, but I think you actually believe this, I think you do genuinely, and I've experienced it, you want people to have a great experience there, why?
Jason Barry: Yeah look, I probably haven't, maybe I haven't answered that question myself enough, because I'm just trying to think of the answer to it here now as you're asking me that. Why do I want that? I think maybe A, because that's what I like when I go somewhere, I mean that's what you'd like to happen. Yeah, I don't know, I don't know if it's because I have just a love of people and ensuring that they are, you know I spoke about it before, enjoying life. I think that's a core belief of mine.
Jason Barry: If someone comes into our club, I want them to enjoy it, I want them to experience something that's positive, and yeah, when they walk out the door, going, "That was a fantastic hour I've just had in my life, or an hour and a half I've just had," and be able to then move on to whatever their next activity is in a good frame of mind.
Jonathan Doyle: What's important to you about that?
Jason Barry: That's a good, geez, you're drilling me here mate, I didn't know, I wish you'd given me these questions before I turned up here.
Jonathan Doyle: Because I want to get to the core. You've actually already answered it a few minutes ago, and I want to see if I can get you back there, because it's actually, if you can articulate the core, and if other business owners listening to this can start to really think about the question... There are other business owners who are relatively indifferent, somebody walks out of their restaurant, they're like, "Eh, there's enough people, we'll get someone else in." The vibe in that place, the people, the small details genuinely create a rich experience for people. You know even stuff like you go in the bathrooms, and you've got hairspray there, which is important for me.
Jason Barry: Absolutely, mate.
Jonathan Doyle: Thank you.
Jason Barry: We've only stopped it now that you've started coming [crosstalk 00:29:38].
Jonathan Doyle: You handled that really well. People, check out the various Facebook page and Instagram to understand why that's funny, but what's important to you about people having a great experience?
Jason Barry: Well yeah, I think it's just that need for me to see people enjoy themselves, you know I think-
Jonathan Doyle: What's important about that?
Jason Barry: What's important about that?
Jonathan Doyle: What does it give you, when people walk out or they feedback-
Jason Barry: Satisfaction. Yeah, I mean it is, I guess at the end of the day, helping them is helping me. Maybe it's as simple as that, you know we all as humans have our needs, and once we have them, we also have our needs that need to be met, you know to be human. I would suggest that that's something that I need in my life, is to have that positive affirmation from someone that they've enjoyed what we've done for them. Yeah, I mean it's definitely, as I said, it's the most important thing that we provide, and if it doesn't happen, then we take usually extraordinary lengths to make sure that it's fixed if it does happen.
Jason Barry: Because you know I'm not going to sit here and tell you every single person that comes into the gym or the day spa has the most perfect experience, and I would challenge any business to be able to say that. We all have our little issues from time to time, there's no doubt about it, you know I think it's how you respond to that which is important as well. As you've alluded to, some people just go, "Eh, whatever, they didn't enjoy it, and who cares?" You know, but if we find out that someone hasn't quite had that 100% experience, well then we will absolutely try and reverse it and make it a positive one.
Jonathan Doyle: I lost my Rolex in there the other day, can you replace that, is that okay?
Jason Barry: I never saw it, never saw it.
Jonathan Doyle: No, it never happened. What I'm driving at here listening to is, there's a principle in coaching around chunking up, and it's a process by which you move people to higher values. Often people do stuff around a business, take action in the world in some way, and it's sort of they're not quite sure why they do it, and they're just like, "Oh, I just do it." Then when you push them, and I was pushing you, I'm going, "Well, what's important about that?" That's a specific question because it moves people up the chain, and you actually said it earlier, I don't know if you caught yourself saying it, but you basically talked about that, you love people, you actually care about people.
Jonathan Doyle: It's hard in business to talk about that, because it sounds like a soft skill, but if you genuinely care about people, then you're going to want those people to have a great experience, and then the money takes care of itself. I'm saying that to everybody listening because it's so easy for us all to get fixated on the bottom line, but I think if we create great businesses and great experiences, then that stuff flows.
Jason Barry: Absolutely.
Jonathan Doyle: What's the essence of the Evo experience? If you had to sort of pin a couple of things that you guys do well that you're proud of, that bring people back, what do you do well?
Jason Barry: I think there's no doubt the obvious one is we train people well, there's no doubt about that. Of course that's important, because at the end of the day, that's why people are coming there, you know that's why they believe they're coming there. We do that well, we've got an absolutely outstanding crop of trainers there at the moment.
Jonathan Doyle: Yeah, you do.
Jason Barry: We really do, they're highly skilled.
Jonathan Doyle: They're nice humans though.
Jason Barry: They are, they're all good people.
Jonathan Doyle: Matt is hilarious.
Jason Barry: Yeah, he is, he's good value.
Jonathan Doyle: He's funny.
Jason Barry: Yep, and I was actually going to replace me with him today actually.
Jonathan Doyle: Wow, really?
Jason Barry: On the party, so-
Jonathan Doyle: Well, we can get him in another time.
Jason Barry: Mate, you have to get him in one day, yeah, but probably don't talk business, just talk life, because he is such a-
Jonathan Doyle: Because his gift, I don't know if I can say this, I might have to edit it out, but his confidence, his self confidence is very engaging.
Jason Barry: It is, absolutely, it's not a cocky.
Jonathan Doyle: Yeah, exactly, and other people could take that a step further. I was in there doing a class the other day, and it was me, you know a rugged, chiseled, super-fit 44, and a whole bunch of beautiful ladies in their sort of 60s and 70s, and he had us in hysterics. He just had me laughing, he really did.
Jason Barry: Yeah no, he's gold. We've got those people, and so I think that's probably a second thing, is our ability to attract good people, you know so that's another thing we do well.
Jonathan Doyle: How does that happen?
Jason Barry: I just think the way the business functions, I think it just naturally, people gravitate towards it.
Jonathan Doyle: I need more than that.
Jason Barry: A bit airy-fairy, isn't it?
Jonathan Doyle: No, it's probably true, but the question is, it's hard to get great people, it's hard to retain them. Why-
Jason Barry: It's incredibly hard, and we've struggled, again, I'm not saying this happens for us every time, I'm not saying, but at the moment we definitely do, and I think we've got a good track record. Like you said, or alluded to, we don't actually have high turnover, which in the fitness industry and the beauty industry, you know they're both industries that are probably renowned for people coming and going.
Jason Barry: Trainer-wise, we do have quite a solid base. Now, I can only put that down to the fact that it's a good environment to work in, and we are told that constantly as business owners, that people enjoy working for us and working at the club. I think that is something that's a real positive for our club.
Jonathan Doyle: How do you treat your people, what sort of do you notice in yourself in terms of managing people, what are some of the key things, how do you keep them engaged, interested, inspired, motivated, what do you do for your own people?
Jason Barry: Well, we've got some good managers there at the moment, so they're the ones that are probably dealing directly with the staff, as opposed to me so much these days, but I think it's just, it's a matter of treating people with respect with your staff, and just not asking them to do things that I guess you wouldn't do yourself, you know and that's probably an oldie but a goodie, that one, in terms of how you relate to people. I think they get a certain latitude as well down there, you know we're not dictators down there, and they get quite a wide girth to sort of maneuver around and train clients and do that sort of thing. They're not told every minute of every day, "This is how you have to train this person, and blah blah blah."
Jason Barry: Of course there's an agenda that they need to follow to a degree, but otherwise they've got that latitude to sort of do what they think needs to happen.
Jonathan Doyle: How do you communicate your sort of DNA, your vision, how do they pick up the values of the place?
Jason Barry: I think it's more in just absorbing what goes on there, and how everyone is dealing with other people. We're very big on instructing the staff how they need to treat people, there's no doubt about that, but there's not much latitude with that. You know, like they need to, again, make sure that, you know they're told the person needs to enjoy it, if they're a personal trainer, their client, they need to get results, you know because that's obviously very important. Not for everyone, I've got to tell you, maybe some people just come to train just to train, and get some movement for 45 minutes or an hour or two hours a week.
Jason Barry: Now, they might not be as such an actual physical goal that they're looking at, but it's just coming into the club, you know just being around people, being in that environment, and as I said, just moving is enough. I'm talking more so the elderly people that we have, you know that's what they want. I think just as a staff sort of absorb what's going on around them, as I said, we've got staff that have been there for a while, so they're obviously fully engaged in what we do and how we do it, and they set fantastic examples for everybody else.
Jonathan Doyle: Well it's great small details like, you know I was there a week or two ago, Karen, my wife hadn't been in for a while, and one of the girls there was like, "Oh, where's Karen?" I'm like, firstly she new Karen's name, she knew Karen hadn't been there, and so it was just small stuff I thought was impressive. You go from petroleum to car washes, tell us why you got into this, what was the attraction?
Jason Barry: Yeah, look, good question. I mean, I was doing some other things after we came back from Port Macquarie.
Jonathan Doyle: They were legal things?
Jason Barry: They were, absolutely, yeah. If golf's legal, then yes, they were legal.
Jonathan Doyle: You were just playing golf, you just came back and played some golf?
Jason Barry: I had a couple of months where I was sort of obviously reassessing what I was going to do. Erin went back, because she was actually from the public service, so she went back to that, she'd be very happy to hear. She was doing that, so yeah, while I was sort of thinking about what I was doing, I was playing a little bit of golf, something I hadn't done for a long time, and I enjoy golf, so it was quite good. It actually gave me some time to reassess what I was up to. Pretty much from there, I took a job in an accounting firm, I did some financial planning as well.
Jonathan Doyle: Was that stimulating, did you wake up every day going, "I cannot wait to get into the office today"?
Jason Barry: Absolutely, try to get in there and count some beans.
Jonathan Doyle: Having to look at a spreadsheet for 12 hours. No offense to the people in the finance industry, we love you.
Jason Barry: Of course, yeah. That's not for me, other people can do that, and that's fine, but that wasn't for me. It was only a short term thing, and quite honestly, I was just looking, I must have been looking at the businesses for sale I think at the time on the web or internet, whatever you want to call it, and I saw this Evo Health Club for sale. The first thing that struck me was that I'd never heard of it, you know and I'd been a big gym goer back in the day and I thought I knew everything about gyms in Canberra and been to every gym in Canberra. Quite honestly, that's how it started, was like, "What is this place? Like I've never heard of it," it was advertised as this premium boutique facility, you know and I'm thinking, "These aren't in Canberra, like where has this come from?"
Jason Barry: Honestly from there, I would say it was four months later we'd bought the business. It was just really a "what is this" to, as I said, four or five months later, we'd actually bought it.
Jonathan Doyle: Wow.
Jason Barry: Once we looked into it, you know contacted the owners obviously, and they were great people to deal with, and yeah, as I said, it was something, the fitness industry was something I'd always been into as a young guy. My mom sent me onto a gym, I think joined me up at a gym when I was probably, I think 17, we were heading for Outward Bound. As anyone in [inaudible 00:40:19] knows, I was a very skinny little kid back at school, so she was worried that I wouldn't make it through Outward Bound.
Jonathan Doyle: Wow.
Jason Barry: She joined me up to this gym, and that's when it started.
Jonathan Doyle: You were never skinny at school, I don't remember you being skinny at school.
Jason Barry: I was, very.
Jonathan Doyle: Were you?
Jason Barry: Yep no, check that photo, the under-15s grand final.
Jonathan Doyle: I would have said "lean".
Jason Barry: Yeah, lean, cut, shredded.
Jonathan Doyle: Lean.
Jason Barry: That's the word you're looking for.
Jonathan Doyle: Ketosis.
Jason Barry: I would have been shredded back then, but they didn't use the word "shredded", it was "skinny".
Jonathan Doyle: Seriously funny, because back then, you're 17, you're like, "Oh God, I don't weigh enough, I don't weigh enough," now we're in our 40s and most guys are like, "Damn, weigh too much, man, if I could just weigh what I did at 17."
Jason Barry: That's it, it always comes full circle, life. That's how it started for me back in the day with the gyms. Mate, once I started going to a gym, I loved it and really got into it.
Jonathan Doyle: What is that, what do you love about going to gyms?
Jason Barry: Mate, I don't know. I guess it's, again, maybe it's that personal satisfaction, you know again, it's just you go in there and you're getting into it for an hour or an hour and a half, whatever it ends up being. I'm sure there's obviously a physical and a chemical reaction that happens, and I think it just gives you a lot of positive energy.
Jonathan Doyle: Sure.
Jason Barry: Even though you might be a spent force after it, physically, you feel great.
Jonathan Doyle: I wanted to ask you, on that, it occurred to me this morning before you came in, all the business owners out there now that are in the trenches working hard, stressed out, maybe on the wrong end of a bottle of Chardonnay each night, you know these guys need what you have, they need to train, they need to make time for that, what would you say to people listening who are like, "Oh, but I'm too busy"? Where does health and fitness well-being fit into the life of the business owner?
Jason Barry: Well, I think it's, look, obviously I'm going to say it probably, I think it's incredibly-
Gary Vaynerchuk: [crosstalk 00:42:06], keep eating!
Jason Barry: That's it. I think it's incredibly important, you know I mean look, the busiest people in the world, and there's a lot of famous people that talk about health and fitness, and presidents of the United States get their workouts in. To me, if they can get their workout in, anybody can get their workout in. I think that would be the busiest people on the planet. It's just prioritizing, and maybe understanding that I think it's not just a physical thing, and I think there is a lot of benefits to the mind to train, and there's no doubt about that. I think it's just a matter of saying, "Well look, yes, I am unbelievably busy, but an hour is not a lot of time." We have 24 of them in every day, so I think everyone can find one hour to put aside to do something like that.
Jason Barry: It doesn't have to be a gym. Yeah, I'd love everyone to come join Evo Health Club, but you know as long as they're getting out and getting a fix somewhere, you know and it might be going for a run, it might be, obviously you're a keen cyclist, so you go and do your bike riding. Whatever it's going to be, it's going to help you. You've got to get out of that grind, you know I mean it's a noble thing and it's a fantastic thing and you need to do it of course in business, but you've got to put aside some time. If it's not every day, at least it should be every second day, three or four times a week, getting out there.
Jason Barry: Obviously in Canberra it's a bit hard to do that outside year-round as we know, so then I guess that's where gyms become pretty handy in the Canberra winter, we get a lot of people joining up at the gym in the Canberra winter, because they can't get outside anymore. You know, and we do have members like that that only come in for six months.
Jonathan Doyle: In the winter.
Jason Barry: Yeah, and then obviously in the summer, they go out and do their outdoors stuff, and if that's what helps them, that's great, that's fantastic. Yeah, look, it's important, it's a mindset, it's finding that time of day I think is more important. In terms of determining how you can take that time out, there's no good me saying to you, and I hear it all the time, "Oh, you've got to get up early, you've got to get up at 4:00 a.m., 5:00 a.m. and get to the gym, it's the only way you're going to do it." Well, quite honestly, a lot of people aren't good at that time of day.
Jonathan Doyle: No, circadian rhythm stuff, yeah yeah.
Jason Barry: It is, and there's no point, and I'm one of those people, I cannot train or do much physical activity before 10:00 a.m.
Jonathan Doyle: Really?
Jason Barry: 10:00, 11:00 a.m.
Jonathan Doyle: That's insane.
Jason Barry: It is, I know, and I've always been like that, so I've never tried to do it, because it's not going to happen for me.
Jonathan Doyle: Really?
Jason Barry: Yeah.
Jonathan Doyle: That's circadian rhythm stuff. I mean, as you know, I was up at 4:00 this morning, did 50k on the bike, and then I'm going to go over to Evo today, and I'll work here in the office for a bit, and then I am honestly, by 8:00 p.m., I'm a disaster, I'm not safe to operate heavy machinery. I'm just like, I can go to sleep at 8:00 p.m. and it's over, but I'm up at 4:00, but yeah.
Jason Barry: Look, I think in terms of your day, if you can get up early and get it done, fantastic, like I think it is the best way to do it, but as I'm saying, I'm just not saying that's just not quite for everyone. Like if you're not an early morning riser, then don't panic, don't think, "I can't get up at 5:00 to do this, it's not going to happen for me." If you've got to find a lunch time to do it, take a lunch out, and that's why it's important for anything you're going to do health-wise.
Jonathan Doyle: At Chateau Barry each morning, I mean, what, you wake up at about 8:30, Erin brings your slippers.
Jason Barry: Yeah, breakfast in bed comes in, yeah.
Jason Barry: Talking about the day, you know? [inaudible 00:45:36]
Jonathan Doyle: Very French. [crosstalk 00:45:40]
Jonathan Doyle: When you're talking about encouraging business owners, if it's a train, there's a great, one of my favorite lines is a French proverb which says, that the graveyard is full of indispensable people.
Jonathan Doyle: Another great quote from Tiny Robbins was "richest person in the graveyard is not the goal of life".
Jason Barry: That's true.
Jonathan Doyle: It's hard, like I just... I was saying to Karen this morning, like trying to fiddle the parts of life, in and that was one of the questions that I wanna ask you, I'll ask you a couple more questions.
Jonathan Doyle: You've got two young daughters. How do you go about managing that part of life, this season of life? What are some of the challenges with a young family and owning your own business?
Jason Barry: Look, yeah, it is tough, cause again there isn't... we've just said there's 24 hours in a day, which sounds like a lot, but it can be quickly taken up.
Jonathan Doyle: Do you switch off? Do you come home from work, your girls need the best of you, are you...
Jason Barry: I have an ability about to switch off while I'm still on, if you know what that means? Like yeah business opens at 5:30 in the morning, we close at 8:30 at night, and that's pretty much 7 days a week. So, to a degree you're always on, I'm not gonna sit here and say I get home from work and turn my phone off, mate I don't, at all.
Jason Barry: I'm quite often, while I'm talking to the kid and mucking around with the kids, got my phone not far away from me, checking emails and that sort of thing.
Jason Barry: But it doesn't affect the time I spend with my girls, which is incredibly precious, they mean everything to me, as I'm sure everyone's kids do to them, so it definitely changes the way you operate, I think, once you have kids, there's no doubt about that, they become very much a central part of your life, and central focus of what you're doing. Our girls are fantastic, they really are, beautiful little girls and so, yeah, I mean you obviously wanna give them as much time as you can, because they go through phases. I guess the phase they're in, currently, which are the one they were born in, so I've been quite lucky, is that dad is everything.
Jonathan Doyle: Really? So good.
Jason Barry: Much to Erin's chagrin.
Jason Barry: But as I've said to Erin, this will turn. I have no doubt at some stage they will become very much anti-dad and all over mom, so, I'm just soaking it up at the moment. Because, just making the most of it. What's gonna happen but [crosstalk 00:48:06]. I give them as much time as I can. We are a bit fortunate with our business that we... that flexibility is there. So there's definitely days that I can take them to their swimming lessons, or go and see their concert or their cross country run or whatever it is they're up to.
Jason Barry: I'm lucky, I know I am lucky to be able to do that, but also I really want to do it, it's not them having to drag me to do it. I want to do it. I would love to see everything that they doing.
Jason Barry: I'd like to be a fly on the wall at school, would be incredible to see what they get up to I reckon, they are kids. It would be an eye opener I think, but yeah that's, it is a balancing act, it's a juggling act with kids and work and your family and that sort of thing so.
Jonathan Doyle: What are your biggest challenges, what are the things, and you don't have to give us specific detail, you know, in terms of too specific to your business, but what do you find hardest? What are the things in your business that are most challenging for you?
Jason Barry: Staff, I've obviously spent some time saying how good we are with staff and that sort of things, but it is not easy to actually attract quality staff. I think we are lucky I think that we are able to do it, but it's not, it's something we work hard at doing in making sure that we, as I said, provide that atmosphere, and that environment that people wanna be there and once they're there they want to stay there.
Jason Barry: But Canberra, you know, the size of Canberra is not a huge city as we all know. Like everything, it's got its pros and cons, so one of the cons I guess is the numbers of people here, and even though the fitness industry is growing and it's still, to find great trainers, it's not easy. So definitely staff-wise I think is always a challenge and it's probably most business owners' biggest challenge is staff.
Jason Barry: And while the fitness industry is growing, is a good thing, if that's your industry. You know there's obviously more competition, comes on, the amount of competition that's around compared to when we started is astronomical, it's...
Jonathan Doyle: So how do you get cut through? So I'm looking at your business, I'm thinking "okay, I know it's a great product", what's going on in perspective buyers' minds? I have to look at pre education of a market, sometimes you gotta educate people that they need what you have... we don't have that problem with, we don't have that problem with bread, milk and water.
Jonathan Doyle: How do you do that? How do you reach people? What do you think works, what do you wanna do more of? How are you getting to reaching people?
Jason Barry: Engaging customers you mean?
Jonathan Doyle: Yeah.
Jason Barry: Yeah look, we don't do a lot of advertising, quite honestly. I think a lot of people that have heard of Evo Health Club, probably know it's at the Hotel Realm and a lot of people still assume it's just for hotel guests.
Jason Barry: Which is incredible. So, yeah, we don't do a lot of advertising. Most of our advertising is just word of mouth. Which I think is a great thing, that we've got such a great business obviously just through word of mouth.
Jason Barry: We do advertise here and there, with different things, but, I guess that's why it is, for me, it is so important that we do provide that great experience to people, to ensure that they're telling their friends or their co-workers or whoever it might be that you're looking for a gym, you gotta go to Evo. Or if you're not looking for one, you should, because it's a really positive place to be.
Jonathan Doyle: I wanted to ask you, I was in there the other day thinking about this kind of question. There must be a strange tipping point in the gym and fitness industry where too many clients can also be a bad thing, because sometimes I go in there and pick a nice time of day and it's nice and quiet, you got space, you got room, and then if your business is too successful, you could have either too many people or dare I say it, maybe the wrong kinds of people. How do you manage that tension between...
Jason Barry: Look that is a balance and a lot of businesses is gonna face that sort of challenge, the typical things with the gym are it's busier in the morning, mid-morning there's no one. Lunch time it gets busy again, mid-afternoon there's no one. And then at night it's crazy busy. We are the same as most other gyms would be.
Jason Barry: So we do have to be careful about a balance on certainly some of our membership categories in terms of how many people that we do let come into the club. In terms of joining the club, so we do have definitely caps on that.
Jonathan Doyle: Do you see yourself as a premium product? When I was actually looking for a gym, what I loved about you guys was the quality of the equipment, it's a great facility so I was kinda educated by a buyer who wanted a premium product. Do you see yourself as a premium product? Do you position that way?
Jason Barry: We definitely do yeah. And it's been that way since the club started and the people that did start the club, that's absolutely what they wanted to do. Canberra didn't have anything like that at the time, so it was definitely a market that they identified as missing, so yeah, we still, obviously pride ourselves on that place in the market so that premium feel, that's what we're aiming for, that's why we have the best equipment that you can buy. That's why the club is always, hopefully, immaculately presented.
Jonathan Doyle: It is.
Jason Barry: And so, those things are important.
Jonathan Doyle: Because I listen to you and I think I want people to hear this, said old mantra that a product for everyone is a product for no one. I think one of the smartest things that we can do in business is own our DNA and go "this is who we are, it's what we do, we're not the cheapest, or we are the cheapest".
Jonathan Doyle: But for anyone listening, make a decision, if you're gonna be a premium product then, my younger brother is really good on this stuff and his business is around just, he's in the fashion industry, high end stuff, like global stuff. Like he'll spend, God bless him, 5000 US on a jumper. And he was telling me about a friend of his in the industry who sells socks for 2000 US a pair, and I said like "who is buying that?", and he's just going "well, you only need a certain size of market, you only need a certain proportion of the market" and yeah, if you are the spouse of someone who is worth a couple of billion, what do you get the person who's got everything? Hey, got you some socks.
Jonathan Doyle: They're made from goats from Mount Olympus.
Jason Barry: You gotta embrace it, and we definitely do. You shouldn't be apologizing, that's where you are in the market, and we don't, we embrace that as where we are.
Jonathan Doyle: I think you guys do well as like, look at the trainers, is that they are that cutting edge like, I've had that back injury and I've been working with Matt and you don't know what you don't know. Like I'm a pretty fit guy, incredibly fit guy...
Jason Barry: Absolutely
Jonathan Doyle: Thank you. But I'm like, recovering from this back injury. I was the guy that would just go there all the time and smash squats and deadlift. But working with your team I'm like "okay, there's this whole concept of movement and flexibility" and Matt's dragging me off the bench press cause I just wanna smash those like "no you can't touch [inaudible 00:55:13]".
Jonathan Doyle: So I want to encourage you because I think you are a premium product, in a great location and owning that and having great people.
Jonathan Doyle: We should wrap up and, but I wanna, it was occurred to me. The elements of your business, what do you think are the two pillars to them. It can be more, but what are two things that you would define as real pillars of the Evo experience or your attitude to business. What are two things that are kind non-negotiable, central for you in business?
Jason Barry: I think, in terms of our business, I think staff is a key thing. We've touched on it a couple of times, just how important it is that we have the right staff. Cause I need to be able to embrace the culture that you want to have at your club or your business or whatever it might be. Cause if they are not on point and not sort of aligned with what your thoughts are, then there's no way you're gonna be able to let your customers or your members feel what you want them to feel.
Jonathan Doyle: Yeah.
Jason Barry: So I think that's very important and secondly I think is just, with business, I guess for me, it's being able to actually find that balance of how you're trying to run your business, run your life, all the other things that are going on, we've all got lots of things going on in life, so it's about, if you're not happy away from work, you're not gonna be happy at work. So I think it's really important that you have positive approach and a holistic approach to your life. I think that helps you then maintain a steady focus with your business and I'm sure it goes a long way to helping your success.
Jonathan Doyle: The staffing thing's crucial mate. For everybody listening, I'll try and put this in the show notes, but Gary Vaynerchuk, if no one's listening to me, go listen to Gary, New York guy who's just brilliant, like his stuff on staffing.
Jonathan Doyle: He was asked a question recently and he's always like, all of entrepreneurs, this guy's huge, his following is massive, and I'll try to link to this particular episode but, he's constantly asked by entrepreneurs and people "how do I get staff as passionate about my business as I am?" And he goes "you're an idiot, you can't".
Jonathan Doyle: And it's very kind of intuitive cause we al think "oh yeah I can develop staff that will love my business" but then they won't. They never will. He said, but what you can do is get people to an 8.5 out of 10. You can get people, and he's ruthless of really caring for people. Because it's a camera podcast, a shout-out, I was at the Toy World out at Fyshwick, and my little boy's birthday I bought him this beautiful remote control plane, like a serious one, right.
Jason Barry: You didn't get him the socks?
Jonathan Doyle: I didn't get him the socks, he was at me for it. But I got him this plane and I cannot confirm or deny whether we've actually been able to fly it yet. Or whether or not I've broken it heaps of times.
Jonathan Doyle: But anyway, we had some problems with it and I ended up taking it back out to the Toy World place at Fyshwick, most people would know it.
Jonathan Doyle: And this guy there, Dan, that runs the model area, and I was blown away, it was, I rang him up first and it was just old school. And he just nailed it, he just rebuilt the damn thing, taught me everything, to the point that it was awkward. I was like "I gotta run a business, I gotta leave now" and he was like still telling me stuff and I said to Karen, this is old-school, it's like a guy that knows his stuff. Doesn't own the business, but he loves what he does, and cares about it, and wants to grow it.
Jason Barry: Mate, they're invaluable that sort of if you've got staff like that, I mean, that's as you said, you're gonna go a long way to having a successful business. I mean, you're gonna go and tell everybody that story now, in fact you've just told everybody that story [crosstalk 00:58:58].
Jason Barry: But you're not doing it for that, you're doing it because it's, you know it's a positive experience you've had at that place and you want to tell people about it. And that goes back to what we're talking about before about the whole thing of, certainly our business or a lot of people's business is, is getting that real positive experience and you know, you go away and tell people you've had a great time and it encourages them to go and do the same.
Jonathan Doyle: There's a great restaurant just here in [inaudible 00:59:22]... I'll put it in the show notes, Italian place just here, I'll take you there in the next couple of weeks. It's so good. And it's like Italian, and it's like they have Italian stAff. It's the first big tick. It's like you're not getting some surly Uni student, no offense surly Uni students, I love you. But there's work for you on the Port Macquarie tourism board. I sat there, like a lot of places you'll go and you'll just get some attitude, you know?
Jason Barry: Yeah.
Jonathan Doyle: But, I went there and these people were just positive. Couldn't understand what they said, but it was a great experience.
Jonathan Doyle: Mate, let's wrap up. Tell me, where do you want to go?
Jonathan Doyle: What do you want this to become? Where's you heart, what are you thinking about business and where you wanna take this?
Jason Barry: Look, we'd like to expand it, for sure. No doubt about that.
Jonathan Doyle: Another property, or you just want to enhance the pool of membership, or..
Jason Barry: Yeah I mean look, definitely another property. We're actually looking at one at the moment as I'm talking to you, so hopefully that will come off. I mean we've talked to a few different developers and things the last few months actually, so I'm hoping something will happen there in terms of opening another club here in Canberra. Or something very similar. So yeah, that's sort of where we're at. I think the model is a really good one. That we've got.
Jason Barry: So yeah, it's just a matter of trying to take it to a few more people. Don't wanna take over the world as such, but, we definitely want to, as I said, we believe we do a good thing so, as I said, from the outset that's why we're doing what we're doing. The more people that can experience it, get involved and the better it will be, I think.
Jonathan Doyle: Hundred percent.
Jonathan Doyle: This podcast exist because I want to encourage business owners to make as much money as possible. I think the more money we make, the more we can grow our communities. Might not pay as much tax as anybody listening but it's that, as we grow businesses, we grow the common wealth of the country and I just wanna encourage everybody listening to be proud of what you do and to grow it. So what I wanna say is, everybody listening, you got to go to Evo Health Club.
Jonathan Doyle: I'm a big fan. I don't care, it's a full disclosure.
Jonathan Doyle: If you're not in a gym, I want you to go check these guys out. I want you to go say hi to Jason and the team at Evo.
Jonathan Doyle: You know, when I was checking them out, I was like "oh you know I didn't want to go check out another gym" and you get nervous about, what if you walk in and they'll take your kidney and but they didn't do that. It was the coolest experience just to be shown around so if you're not in a gym, you need to join.
Jonathan Doyle: Go check them out, go say hello. Also check out the mud health spa which is there on the property, it's... My wife ran a conference recently and she worked really hard and I surprised her with a great gift voucher, their muds awesome. Like we're all busy and stressed out. So if you listen to this, and you need a break, here's some permission. Go down to, it's just in Hotel Realm, right there inside Evo, go and check out the health spa there. I really love what you do in your business. I'm gonna be there in a couple of hours, not touching the bench press, in case Matt comes around the corner.
Jonathan Doyle: I think your father would be, or is, really proud of you. I think that's a great thing for any man to know, that you've lived your life and your marriage and your parenting, and you've been a great friend to a lot of people, taken a lot of money off of people on golf courses which is not great, but I wish you every success in your business and I'm gonna link out to the website for Evo through the show notes but mate, I wish you every success.
Jonathan Doyle: Thank you so much for coming on the Canberra Business Podcast.
Jason Barry: Pleasure mate. I appreciate you asking me on, it's my first time on a podcast so...
Jonathan Doyle: Nailed it.
Jason Barry: Absolutely. I'm sure there will be many many more after people here this.
Jonathan Doyle: Awesome.
Jason Barry: Thanks again.
Jonathan Doyle: Appreciate it.
Jason Barry: Really had a great time.
Jonathan Doyle: Awesome. Thank you.
Jonathan Doyle: Well there you go, how good was that? I really hope that you enjoyed listening to that as much as I did recording it.
Jonathan Doyle: As I said at the start, I couldn't think of a better way to start off this series than with an interview with a good friend. A guy who's building a business, making a difference in his community and also really committed to his family and finding that balance in life. I really do want you to go check out Evo Health Club, there will be links to the website in the show notes. But if you just google Evo Health Club Canberra, you're gonna find them. Go check them out. Just say hi.
Jonathan Doyle: There's no pressure, you can just walk in, check out the facility, meet a few people, just put that on your to-do list, wherever you are because this fitness we talked about, this wellbeing is so crucial to what you do as a business owner.
Jonathan Doyle: If I could be of any help to you in the coaching space, if you're looking for somebody to just partner with you, to walk with you for a little way and just take a look of how things operating for you, please reach out to me at Canberra Executive Coaching. There will be links here. I'd love to just spend some time with you and find out how we can help move you, your life, your business further forward, but make sure you subscribe, wherever your listening this, please subscribe, Stitcher, Apple Podcast, Google Play, there's so many places you could subscribe so you don't miss the next series.
Jonathan Doyle: Really what I want to do is build a community here, I really just wanna encourage and network with you guys, so that you can encourage and support each other and hear what each other are doing. And I don't want you to miss any future ones, so for now, that's it for me, Jonothan Doyle at Canberra Executive Coaching, I'm gonna have another message for you, another great interview for you very soon.