Dr. Jeremy James, DC, CSCS, has worked for ten years helping various people from all walks of life move past chronic pain to take their lives back and enjoy doing the activities, sports, or even the tasks of daily life. He has worked with Olympic athletes, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and ordinary people, because pain afflicts everyone.
Teaming up with Bill Fabrocini PT, CSCS, a sports performance expert, and Todd Albert, MD, a world-renowned spine expert, Jeremy James has created FITFOREVER, “the most effective digital fitness program anywhere.” Their shared expertise in the interconnected fields of “human biomechanics, sports performance, and joint and spine health” has left a sizable impact on FITFOREVER’s effectiveness in safely helping you return to peak physical shape and making you feel the best you’ve ever felt.
With FITFOREVER, Jeremy James gives people of all ages and levels of physical fitness exercise techniques to help them reach peak physical shape while overcoming threats of chronic back pain. Just get yourself a nice internet connection and the will to live your best life and you’re good to go.
Jeremy James has also written, together with Chris Crowley, the best-selling book “Younger Next Year Back Book.” James is also the former Director of the Aspen Club Back Institute.
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Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Jeremy James: I was director of a destination clinic in Aspen, Colorado for over a decade. It became known as the “clinic of last resort” for chronic back and neck pain sufferers who had already tried everything else, but still lived with chronic pain. Our patients came from all over the world to spend anywhere from a few weeks to months with us, so we could teach them the behavioral changes necessary to rebuild their bodies and change habits to permanently relieve their pain. After doing this for years I wanted to find a way to offer people worldwide an inexpensive way to get the same care and instruction as the patients in my clinic. To that end I first wrote a book — The Younger Next Year Back Book — and then created our first digital program, BACKFOREVER. These were successful in helping thousands of people permanently relieve chronic back and neck pain. I then decided to turn my attention to using fitness and exercise to prevent the common causes of pain and injuries. Most of the people who visited my clinic needed our help due to a lack of exercise or poor exercise habits that could be doing more harm to their body than good. It became clear that there was a great need for a medically backed, guided fitness program for those millions of people who want to get fit in a safe, healthy way, with a focus on quality of life and injury prevention. I created FITFOREVER to do just that. FITFOREVER is a customized digital fitness program with a comprehensive self-assessment that provides users with an ongoing, progressive fitness program tailored to their goals, fitness level, access to equipment, and any preexisting injuries or conditions they may have. It creates the closest possible environment to seeing me and my team in person, and the results have been surprisingly similar.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Jeremy James: There were so many challenging days in the first year. Starting a company was far more difficult than I anticipated. One particular incident that comes to mind involved my sister in law’s wedding. My wife, son and I were in Australia for the wedding and it happened to coincide with the launch of our new GOLFFOREVER program. After a lot of challenges, we were delayed multiple days and the launch actually coincided with the wedding itself. That morning I was on the phone and computer all day, starting at 3 a.m. By the time we got to the wedding, multiple problems had arisen with the launch and I spent most of the wedding in a bathroom stall on my laptop. That was tough. Moral of the story: I’m incredibly grateful to have an understanding and supportive significant other! My drive to continue comes from many places: my wife, my son, my employees and my belief that we are doing something that’s going to make the world a better place for many people. I know that most people can live longer, be free of pain, and continue to do what they love in life, if they just have the right guidance for exercise and health. I remind myself that anything that’s good in life is difficult. As a healthcare provider, I know this even applies to our bodies: Exercise can be hard, yes, but it’s the key to health and longevity.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Jeremy James: Without a doubt, that would be my initial business plan. I literally laugh out loud reading it now; I was so naive, and so optimistic. And I feel lucky that I was able to raise seed money with it, mainly because our investors saw the incredible potential and impact a business and digital program such as ours can have on the world. I’ve learned so much since then and continue to evolve every day as a CEO and leader of our growing company.
Jerome Knyszewski: Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Evaluate your business and determine what, if anything, is keeping you from transitioning from be being “committed to it” to being passionate about it. Take the appropriate steps to make the changes necessary to foster that change in mindset and feeling. I’ve dealt with this personally when I felt we needed to do more to give-back, even though we weren’t cashflow positive yet. Before starting this business I saw patients every day and was rewarded daily by seeing how my work was helping others. In the first year of my new company I was becoming very bogged down by dealing only with the day-to-day “business” and not seeing any benefit to others. To get my passion back I decided to offer our BACKFOREVER program for free to the U.S. military before we were profitable or had cashflow. It involved a lot of work on our side but in the end was exactly the right thing to do, and we helped a lot of people. Hearing their wonderful stories of success made it all worth it.
- Be open to evaluating your company’s products, trajectory, goals, and strategies, at least every 90 days and be willing to pivot as needed. Try not to have any “sacred cows” that are immune from the chopping block. I personally had to make this tough decision by pivoting a lot of the focus away from BACKFOREVER with its more limited appeal, to FITFOREVER, which has a broader appeal. It was painful at the time but was unquestionably the right move.
- Never ask more from your employees than you ask from yourself. Lead by example. Put in the work. I try to be the first at the computer and the last to turn it off on most days.
- Always allow open communication and expression of ideas. This is particularly important in the early stages before more structural rules are in place. Diversity of ideas, and a culture of accepting differing ideas and values is crucial. Your employees will appreciate you and the company for it. People are willing to go above and beyond for a company culture that they respect and believe in.
- Base your company culture on positive things that will improve your employees’ lives outside of work. If you’re going to ask them to work long hours which often far exceeds the traditional corporate structure, also give them ways to improve their mental and physical health at the same time.
Jerome Knyszewski: Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?
Jeremy James: There are going to be times throughout your company’s life cycle when things get incredibly difficult. You and your team will have to work very long hours and overcome countless obstacles. I believe there comes a point for many people that are just doing it for the money or success of the company, that it won’t be rewarding enough and the success of the business is impacted by that. Knowing that you are doing something to improve the lives of others or make the world a better place gives your life, and your company’s life, a purpose far beyond money or your company’s metrics. It can mean the difference between being committed to your company to being genuinely passionate about it.
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?
Jeremy James: The health and wellness space is quite competitive, but fortunately for us our approach is inherently unique in that we are a fitness company which cares more about how you feel than how you look. Our approach to fitness is drastically different than all of the other brands you see and hear about, so that works in our favor.
Increasing conversion rates has been about making sure we focus on the key benefits and differentiators of our company, that we speak authentically to our audience, and that we find a balance between generating awareness for our new brand in a competitive space. Also finding the right media mix that offers potential members solutions for where they are.
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Jeremy James: From the very early days of our business we’ve included our members in the development of the brand and the product. This means a high level of customer service, as well as asking them along the way via surveys and direct communication how we can improve, what they want more or less of, what frustrates them, and we’ve responded accordingly.
In a way, our new FITFOREVER program was built by feedback from our members when you look at naming conventions, price, content, and ultimately the personalization of their program. We developed an entire segment of content for functionally-limited members because we heard some of them couldn’t get on the floor or their hands and knees, and now we have options for them. We also heard many of our members would only like to use the program via Roku or Apple TV, so we prioritized those channels for them in addition to mobile, tablet and desktop devices.
It’s also about offering them value they didn’t know they need. Our team of medical experts develops workouts, member emails and blog posts to address questions we hear often on social media and through customer service. By providing answers to common questions about form, pain, equipment, various approaches to fitness, workout recovery etc., we’re able to complement their physical fitness with valuable educational content that helps them move better, avoid injuries and workout smarter.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jeremy James: You can find us at fitforever.com and on Facebook and Instagram at @fitforeverprogram.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
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