Young Money spoke to Joseph Chavnau. A 23 year old graduate from the University of Nebraska. After changing his body in only 12 weeks he started Spartan Muscle, a company to help other people achieve their perfect bodies.
YM: Why did you decide to start this company?
JC: From a young age I was intrigued with creating ways to make money. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I knew starting a real business was in my future. My freshman year of college I made a goal to have my own business by graduation, but I had no clue what that would be! During college I started exercising and set some basic health goals. From this I became very motivated in my workouts and saw results. I studied weight training and nutrition in my spare time and became fascinated with the science. I then set some big goals to transform my physique in 12 weeks. I created a schedule of workouts for myself, followed proper nutrition methods, and stuck to what I said I would do—transform my body.
After 12 weeks I transformed my physique. I went from average Joe to underwear model Joe! But something else changed; my self-efficacy was strengthened. I found myself confident in my ability to create a vision and then bring it to reality. During my transformation friends and family were shocked to see my development, and then all the questions started…what do you eat?, what do you do for your abs?, how many days a week do you workout?, what should I do to lose fat?, etc. Most of these people were guys from my fraternity.
I found my facebook account flooded with messages asking for advice. I then thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a website dedicated to the guy who wants to get the look rather than getting bodybuilder big or lose 50lbs?” College guys want to look and feel strong, so I developed the idea to create an online fitness resource for men that would give them all the insights of getting their alpha male physique. I had no name. I tossed around a bunch of silly names like “Organic Traning.com” and other stupid names. I then heard everyone talk about the movie 300 and how ripped the Spartan guys were in the film. A light bulb went off and the name Spartan Muscle was conceived. The next week I incorporated and the rest is history.
YM: What exactly is your company?
JC: SpartanMuscle.com is a simplified website that provides workout programs you can download and take to the gym. They lead you rep by rep, set by set, day by day. No more guessing in the gym or doing the same old routine. The workouts are easy to follow, give you results, and are intense. We have over 52 weeks of workouts along with 120 exercise videos. Spartan Muscle also covers the specifics on proper training, nutrition, and lifestyle topics to leave guys with the know-how for losing fat, gaining lean muscle, and getting ripped.
Beyond just providing information we are also a community similar to facebook. Members can create their own profile, posing pictures, training stats, and leave comments on other member’s profiles.
We hit on exactly what guys want. The college guy does not want to get huge muscles, he wants to feel confident and attract girls. When he goes out he want to feel like he fills out the sleeves of his shirt, or looks good in the hot tub. Again, he wants to feel confident enough to approach girls.
YM: Do you make 12-week workouts for men & women?
JC: Currently Spartan Muscle is just for men. Just like Men’s Health is for men and Cosmopolitan magazine is for women, this does mean the content would not appeal or apply to women.
Taking on a highly competitive market like fitness, you must attack the market as a whole or a niche. I chose the niche route. My niche is the young emerging professional man who has some fitness experience, and wants to put value in their physical appearance. Men’s fitness is very different than women’s fitness, and this goes to marketing as well. I chose to focus on what I know best, guy psychology.
YM: You have before & after pics but how can someone be sure it will work for them?
JC: Just like anything you have to try something to know for yourself. Everyone has a different body type and genetics do play a part in muscular development. But science remains the same. It’s common science that when you create consistent rigorous activity in your body, implement proper nutrition, and rest, your body can’t do anything but what the science knows to do: burn the fat stores for energy, and repair the muscle tissue which has been exercised. If you do this on a consistent basis then your body has no choice but to follow your lead.
YM: What if it doesn’t?
JC: If you were to follow Spartan Muscle exactly and have no measurable progress, then you are doing something wrong. Not everyone can workout and magically look like an underwear model. But everyone does have their best body and can get solid results.
YM: How much does it cost to join?
JC: A monthly membership is $15.95 for your 1st month then $9.95 there after. The other option is a one year membership for $79.95
YM: How much time is spent a day during the 12 week plan?
JC: No more than 60 minutes in the gym for 5 days a week.
The program except the last four weeks is:
3 60 minute Weight Training Sessions
2 20 minute cardio sessions
On this program you will never workout more than 5 days per week for more than 60minutes in a workout.
YM: How did you get the money to begin?
JC: Two business credit cards…thank you Visa for believing in me. I also won $300 cash from the University Business Plan competition.
YM: How do you keep down costs?
JC: The key is to find a business with low overhead. A website is virtual, that means I don’t have to pay rent, electricity, and other operational expenses for a physical location. Also, build slowly: don’t spend money on the things that might be really cool to have now, but aren’t necessary for the business. I have a million ideas for the website but unfortunately I do not have the capital to invest to implement these great ideas. I built gradually and when I generate revenue I allocate portions of the revenue for new improvements.
YM: Do you have any marketing tips?
JC: Get specific! First, you must choose a product that appeals to a niche market or the market as a whole…nothing in between. If you are in between you will find it hard to set yourself apart from competitors.
Second, know your customer. Know their psychology, meaning what they think, eat, drink, where they go out, know their emotions, what gets them intrigued, what will they actually spend money on, and what keeps them excited about your product. The more you understand your customer the more direction you will have in your business.
YM: Do you have advice for other young entrepreneurs?
JC: Find a business where your money can eventually work for you. Too many businesses provide great services but the problem is you have to be present for any money to be made. Find a service where revenues are being generated while you are sleeping, watching football, working out, and so on.
Next is to build a business where residual income can be produced. Meaning money will keep coming daily without having to attract new customers.
YM: What plans do you have for the future?
JC: Right now my plans for the business are to grow until it is too big for me to operate. It is my vision to build the brand and community then merge with a large corporation with greater infrastructure who can take it to higher levels.
I would also like to build a house in Colorado where I can be near the mountains and eventually build a family. Music is a passion of mine as well; I enjoy writing songs, recording, and performing.