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So You Wanna Start A CrossFit Gym with Meddy Paulus from Black Collar CrossFit

Welcome to our So You Wanna Start A... series, designed to give you a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the journeys that went into creating some of your favorite local brands.

Today's guest is Merenciana (Meddy) Paulus, owner of Black Collar CrossFit, a CrossFit gym in Des Moines, Iowa.

Our favorite piece of advice: "You can't and won't please everyone." Truth. There are going to be people who think you should operate your business differently or give you advice that's well intended but wrong for you and you have to know when to listen and when to tune it out. You are the one building your business so, at the end of the day, you have to make decisions that align with who you are and where you want your business to go.

If you're curious about starting your own gym, learn a little more from Meddy and connect with her using the links below!

1. What do you own and why did you start this business?

I own a CrossFit gym located in Downtown Des Moines. I made my decision to open my business because I wanted people to have a space where they felt safe and welcome while exploring their fitness journey. A space where it doesn't matter how "good" you are. What matters is the effort one puts into their fitness journey to become an overall a better human.

2. Tell us about your main offers.

My gym offers group classes that are high intensity, strength based and fun. Additionally, we offer personal training and nutrition coaching.

3. What's different or unique about Black Collar CrossFit?

What makes us stand out is our focus on the person, not the workout. My staff and I strive to ensure our membership and anyone new to our environment feel welcome and empowered. We are here for our members not the other way around.

4. What is an early win you had that made you feel like you were on the right path?

Oh man, I would say experiencing gratitude from my members as I was growing and continuing to grow. Witnessing my members hit milestones and goals they set forth. I am constantly inspired by my membership daily and am grateful to be able to continue to this journey.

5. What's one of the biggest challenges you’ve had?

I have numerous ones! I would say the biggest one or one that stands out the most was surviving and overcoming a major exodus of half my memberships at one time years ago. While emotionally it hurt very much and I was honestly scared and worried, at the same time it was one of the best things that could have happened to me. That event gave me the fuel to push on and to continue to prove that I deserved to be in the fitness space as well as learn several incredible lessons when it comes to business. For that I'm thankful.

6. What are three pieces of advice you’d give to aspiring business owners in the fitness industry?

1) You are going to f*ck up and you are going to f*ck up a lot. However, as long as you learn from these mistakes and put into practice what you learn you will be alright.

2) You can't and won't please everyone. That's perfectly fine. Don't take it personal.

3) Take the leap and move forward. Don't sit by wondering what if. Let people laugh at your ideas and tell you it's impossible and then go make happen.

7. What are some of your favorite business books or podcasts?

1) Chasing Excellence by Ben 

2) WTF Gym Talk Podcast - Stu Brauer

3) She Did It Her Way Podcast - Amanda Boleyn

 8. What are three of your favorite business resources you couldn’t live without?

Podcasts, Intuit QuickBooks, and my tax guy!

 9. Where is your business heading next and what are you excited about?

Right now we are heading into another evolution, looking at programing and improving the customer experience, and looking to head back to the classics with a twist.


Find Merenciana & Black Collar CrossFit:

Instagram: @blackcollarcf@meddypaulus

Facebook: @blackcollarcf, @mdp814



Want to be featured in our SYWSA series? Fill out our contact form here to get the ball rolling.


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