FMI Annual Fitness MBA Summit Newbie Turned Lifer

FMI Guild 2014

by Kylie Burnside

Since meeting fitness photographer and FMI CEO Natalie Minh nearly two years ago, I've been eyeing the FMI Guild Annual Fitness MBA Summit. In recent weeks, I finally had the opportunity to attend, both as a volunteer and participant. Despite my desire to take part in the conference in the past, this was the first year it became an absolute priority to go.

Last month, I left my full time job at a communications firm to go “all in” pursuing a fitness and writing career. That is why this was an event I could not miss and would not miss no matter what. As a self-proclaimed “conference nerd,” I figured it would be a fun learning experience, but it actually ended up being way more meaningful than I imagined it to be.

FMI Guild Conference 2014Throughout our time in beautiful Newport Beach, California, 17 classes and dozens of photo shoot sessions were completed. I had the opportunity to attend 13 valuable sessions, including a day long workshop on business plan development led by FMI co-founder Gary Warren; a fitness writing lecture taught by past FMI attendee Sohee Lee of Sohee Fit; and a powerful keynote address by Greg Plitt about building a fitness megabrand from humble beginnings. The storytelling ability of each speaker, including YouTube power house Mike Rashid, The Biggest Loser trainer Kim Lyons, and another FMI graduate and Phase 1 founder Mike Waters, was absolutely phenomenal.

Despite each session lead coming from completely different backgrounds and having unique stories, the same “blueprint to success” was repeated time and time again during our three days together: work hard + never give up. While each person standing at the front of the room has reached mass amounts of success, it hasn't been without failures along the way. Having the opportunity to hear candidly from industry leaders was truly motivating and deeply inspired me to become someone who could speak at the front of that room one day.

While high-level inspiration is both meaningful and useful, I also appreciated that every session included real world and tactical advice that any of us listening could start implementing right away to improve our business practices—better budgeting ideas, trademark law info, contract negotiation guidance and suggestions on choosing better blog titles, to name a few. Honestly, the biggest challenge I experienced in my time at the Fitness MBA Summit was deciding which class to attend when another was happening simultaneously. Luckily, every session was recorded, so participants can watch anything that was missed online—phew!

FMI Guild Conference 2014

After three full days of learning, being inspired and making new, and more importantly, real connections, I couldn't be happier or more fulfilled with this experience. This has been a life changing event that has further validated my decision to move forward as an entrepreneur in this competitive, yet highly rewarding industry. I'm already looking forward to next year and can't wait to see the success fellow FMI alumni reach over the next twelve months until we meet again.

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