Our students are immersed in business from day one so it's no wonder so many of them are enterprising and set up their own businesses. Oliver Anwar is a third year student at Pearson Business School and after he finished his first year he set up his own business. We caught up with him to find out more about his business - Roanwar Fitness.
Tell us about your business?
My business is an online personal training and fitness coaching business which helps people lose fat, build muscle and generally improve their fitness and health. Since September 2016 when I set up my business, I have provided online training and nutrition programs for over 15,000 people, been featured on Sweatcoin which is the most downloaded fitness app on the app store, provided talks to young people at university and start-up events and grown an online presence – with over 23k followers on my Instagram page and around 100-250k hits to my website each month.
What inspired you to create your business?
I was sat on a friend's sofa one summer and he was looking on his laptop at domains. He told me that the website www.roanwarfitness.com was available for £0.01. Having experience training myself, friends and family I saw an opportunity to begin a blog to share my fitness story. Over the summer as I built this website by myself, I realised I could create a business from selling online training, nutrition plans and coaching plans online.
When I first got into fitness, I made so many mistakes when it came to my training and nutrition. I wasn’t training optimally, I was injuring myself and this massively demotivated me. I was naively following sample training plans and guides from professional fitness competitors/models who were unfortunately chemically enhanced (taking steroids and other performance enhancing drugs) and therefore their approach to fitness was going to be completely different from mine as a young natural lifter.
I then began to delve into evidence-based research and the science behind nutrition and training. As I did this, my body started to transform rapidly and the progress I made in the first three years was hugely outweighed by just one year of me training in a more optimal way and following the correct protocols.
As my physique started developing, lots of my friends and relatives began asking me how I got into shape and then started asking if I could put plans and programs together for them. I realised at this point there was scope for me to build a business; there was a demand from people. I understood how to implement training and nutrition correctly through my own experience and building up of knowledge and I had a few friends who I knew could help me set up a website and give me resources/guidance to get the business off the ground.
The main reason I wanted to start this business was because I didn’t want people to have to go through the trials and tribulations and make the same mistakes I did when they first get into training in the gym. I was also at university when I was thinking of setting up my business and thought it would be a good way for me to receive another form of income alongside my studies and working part-time.
Can you share one personal business highlight that you’ve had over the past year?
Being featured on the most downloaded fitness app on the app store on a monthly basis has been a great experience. Having the opportunity to provide thousands of people with my training programs has been a humbling experience for me. Also, being able to talk at start-up and university events has been a great way to share my story and meet lots of great people in real life.
What makes a successful entrepreneur, in your opinion?
There are lots of skills that make a successful entrepreneur in my opinion but I believe being able to adapt, work relentlessly hard and not lose enthusiasm from setbacks is key. There are lots of times when you're running your own business where you may not be getting a return; you're putting in a lot of hours and it can feel like you're not getting anywhere. The key is to really persist, collaborate with people and keep a positive outlook throughout because once people start to recognise you and see the potential in your business/brand/product, opportunities begin to open up and it becomes clear why you started the business in the first place.
As an entrepreneur, what are the biggest lessons you’ve learnt so far?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is that conducting yourself with integrity and authenticity is key. The times where things have gone the best for me have been when I’ve been my best self; living by my own values and doing what I believed in and I think that lots of entrepreneurs can lose their uniqueness in the hustle and bustle of business.
People are the most important thing. Working, collaborating and positively impacting people is the key to building a successful business in my opinion. I’ve learnt that trying to provide as much value to them as possible; be it through my social media content, my plans and programs or meeting them at a talk, it’s really what sets a good entrepreneur apart from a bad one.
If you could start all over again, what (if anything) would you do differently?
I wouldn’t really change anything as I believe I wouldn’t have learnt as much as I have if it wasn’t from the experiences I’ve had; but if I had to choose one, it would probably be to have more confidence in the beginning. To start with I was a little shy with putting myself and my business out there and I think the idea of letting the whole world know I was launching a business was a bit of a scary idea for me. Saying that, I’m glad I took the time I have to build it, as I’ve learnt a lot in the process and I’ve still got a lot more to learn which is great!