Tracy Brinkmann  00:00

Does a wing and Tiger have to do with fitness and small business? Today’s guests reveal that and many other entrepreneurial gems. Okay, here’s the question. How are we dark horses? You know, the ones everyone is betting against the ones they don’t expect to win place or even show on the track. And they’ll even laugh on us when we talk about trying. How do we show the world our greatness and triumph? Come on? Well, that’s the question, and this podcast will give you the answers. This is the Dark Horse entrepreneur. My name is Tracy Brinkmann. Welcome back to your weekly dose of wicked tiger and fitness learning. I’m your dark horse host Tracy Brinkmann and you infinitely more importantly, our driven entrepreneur, or business owner are hoping to be one very soon. But either way, you’re ready to start, restart kickstart or start leveling up with some great marketing, personal or business results to build that beautiful business of yours into the Empire it deserves to be. Now to keep receiving this valuable information, please go on down and hit that subscribe button wire there. Give us a five star rating and write us a quick review. And of course, don’t keep all this entrepreneurial, gold to yourself. Share the podcast with other entrepreneurs and business owners. Another big episode today today Kelli Howard shares about the importance of having teams continuous learning creating a working rhythm and working within that rhythm and going into your business with your eye on the exit plus gonna let you in on next episodes guest who utilizes tiny time to get big results. As per usual, the Dark Horse corrals are chock full of personal marketing and business g o l d spilling from every corner of the Dark Horse entrepreneur HQ. So let’s get to the starting gates and go alright fellow and fellow s dark entrepreneurs. Today our guest is Kelly Howard. She’s the gal behind the scenes behind the curtain, so to speak of fit is freedom for Kelly. Fitness is an imperative to what she always believes right. And I think that’s this, she believes that’s the same for everyone. And I can say wholeheartedly my wife and I would definitely concur with you on that. For me, I agree. I agree also with Kelly’s mantra of if it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable. And I think we all can probably get behind that when so many times we Hey, I’m gonna go do this because it’s good for me and you’re you just don’t enjoy it. You’re like, well, crap, I’m not gonna keep doing this. Right. So Kelly goes on with his thoughts that, you know, we can get just about anything we want. With a little bit of help. Some accountability, and good friends, right? I’m with you so far, Kelly. And then we she goes on says that there’s always more work at the end of our to do list and I’m a I’m a checkbox kind of guy. So I’m really back behind this one is but the thing is, it’s our job to put our health first so that you know we can do everything else that we want and need to do. Kelly is lucky in the fact that she feels Her work is often her play. And she could she actually wouldn’t have it any other way. And I think most of us would would love it if our work was our play. And now I know she wrote a book started a couple of businesses and was the catch this c l o and that means the chief love officer at true calm until she realized that she and like most of us dark horses just wasn’t finding it enjoyable. Some of us Kayla we actually found that we weren’t employable either. More on that. So back in 2005 Kelly took over the bayou city outdoors and turned it into the largest outdoor and social membership of its kind along the way. She found passions like kayaking and hiking and backpacking, biking just about anything that gets you outside and get your moving. Alright, well talk about moving let’s just get this show moving along. ship. Kelly, welcome to the show.

Kelly Howard  04:07

Thank you, thank you so much for having me here.

Tracy Brinkmann  04:09

I’m excited. Absolutely. I appreciate you taking the time to to hang out and and share some of your some of your wisdom. But before that, I just want to step you literally step back from the mic and just let you have at it and share with us your story from your you know, your point of view, where you came from the road you traveled, how you got to where you are today and why you love doing what you do so much.

Kelly Howard  04:34

Okay, you know, let me tell you, this is an old story. But it’s it’s a it’s an interesting story for me because it made me realize very young that I wanted to work for myself. And what it was was I A friend of mine said we should start a fruit stand. I’d like a fruit stand right. I’m 1616 years old. And he said yeah, I’ll go in in the morning and get the fruit a new salad. Whatever. So turns out, I hire my little brother and the little kid down the street and, and we do it. I mean, we’re selling food and we’re making a ton of money. It’s crazy cash only business, we’ve got this little place health department comes in shuts us down, like, you know, you don’t have a permit. And like, I didn’t know we had that permit. And so next day I go and open it back up, right? Health guy comes back again. And it was funny because I spent my whole summer doing that. And at the end of the summer, I realized that I’d been I had worked as a hostess, and a waitress, and, uh, you know, all those things you do when you’re 1516 years old, and retail. And I did so well financially, and I had so much fun, right? Like, I was meeting people and chatting with them and learning about marketing and learning about sales. I was hooked. I was hooked after that. Next thing I know, I have, actually, with the exception of the I actually didn’t leave I was fired, because I’m totally unemployable. And so you know, I’ve been working for myself since then.

Tracy Brinkmann  06:07

Nice. So was it? I guess let me let me let me back up an S asked a question about Were you not enjoying it and firing It was kind of a relief in that entered you into the Okay, I’m gonna do this thing that I do enjoy.


Actually, it was it was well, getting fired, was it It took me aback, it truly took me aback. I didn’t expect it. But the way I got there was that they bought one of my companies. And I have, I’ve started and sold a few companies, and they bought one of them. And part of the deal with buying the company was that I had to come along, because what they’re really trying to do is they’re trying to employ me, and I didn’t really care. So that was the deal is okay, we’ll buy your company, you have to come work for us. You’ve got a contract for I think it was like a year or something I have to tell you, like, if you haven’t worked for someone before, the idea that every two weeks, there’s money in your bank account, it was like magic. It took me a while to get used to that one. But what I found was that the owner of the company, who is a he was a very interesting guy. And I learned a lot from him. But he, he and I, well, I we butted heads because I thought I knew what I was doing more than he did. And it’s because I’ve just always run my own show. And he would do something and I’d be like, Oh my gosh, you can’t do that now Bad, bad, bad idea. And after a while, I think he just got sick and tired of me telling them how to run his company. Right. And, and then that was that. And so it was it was okay. Like once I got used to the idea that I had been actually fired from something, because I’m used to maybe working hard, but always ending up being successful, that it felt like a failure, it really felt like a big failure. But at the end, I mean, they had to keep paying me because it was in my contract. So I wasn’t working. They were paying me they were paying me for the business. They were paying me to work. And it allowed me to buy, buy, buy used to the outdoors and make it into a successful company. So it was a win win. It was just kind of a circuitous route I there’s some times you hear that. You don’t know, I think it’s Steve Jobs that I’m going to brutally butcher this one. But you can’t tell where you’re going without looking back to where you’ve been something like that. And I know that like while it was all going on. I was like, Oh, this is so tragic, and so on and so forth. And then you look back and it was so perfect. Because, like how else could I have gotten the opportunity to have all that time and money coming in and everything else I needed to start another fancy business?

Tracy Brinkmann  08:53

Nice. Yeah, I like that. It was a was an article, there was something I was writing many, many moons ago. And I say many moons ago. I’m talking about late 90s, early 2000. And it was I use the analogy of driving a car. And of course obviously when you’re driving a car, you do want to be looking in front of you. None of you are texting right now. Right? Okay. So you want to be looking in front of you. And obviously you do the the occasional side to side. And the rearview mirrors that you have at your disposal should be used as a percentage of the size of your windshield. And I think the same is that with life to so many of us in many areas, personal business, you know financial, we’re so busy looking, staring into the rearview mirror or just completely twisted around, staring out the back window that we crashed into a ditch you know, in that area of our life, right where if you’re, if you’re looking forward and doing this, that quick gut checks, like you said, checking your rearview mirrors to kind of remind you where you been and you know don’t forget where you come from. Kind of saying at that same ratio of the window to mirror size, that will probably work out best for you. Good point, right? So, so a quick dig back. So you’re back at you’re 16 years old, your your friend comes up with the idea, let’s do a fruit stand, I’ll get the fruit, you sell it. And then you turn around and head, your brothers among the folks selling it for you instead.


Hey, with me with me, I hired this guy, because I, you know, I mean, I learned Actually, I learned really young, like eight years old, I had a horse. And the only way I had this horse was because I fed all the horses in the stable, and I cleaned all the stalls, and I learned back then there’s a lot of work. And so I wasn’t willing to do all the literally heavy lifting. So that’s where the kids came in. And they weren’t kids. I mean, they were just a few years younger than me. But it’s also where I learned that you really need a team. Like when you have people to help you work. It makes everything so much easier. Like it wouldn’t have been a fun summer doing that if I was just making money and working myself to death. Big difference,

Tracy Brinkmann  11:09

right? And then, yeah, right, you get to build a team at the same time. And I think we find when we do that we find everyone has, they fall into their groove, right? Maybe someone’s really good at talking to people. And someone’s really good at making that sale. And someone’s really good at restocking and I’m just I’m picking things off random right here. And then that that team starts to gel and you really have a good time on top of the cash that comes in. Right. Is that correct? And and it’s true. Yeah. I mean, that kind of probably flows, even with the businesses that you’ve built in sold and are running today.


Well, it comes back to what you mentioned early on, if it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable. And so many times like and, okay, I mean, since we’re all entrepreneurs, here are aspiring entrepreneurs are working our way toward that, right? I can say this, I can how many people do you know who work at a job, the job, and they hate it, they just hate it. And it’s, it’s a grind, versus being able to like, it’s not, it’s not always roses, we know this, but being able to go ahead and do the things that you enjoy doing. You can switch you can task which if you need to, like some days, when I’m like, on fire, then I do those things that require me to be on fire for and I’m having fun doing them. And then some days, if I had a poor night’s sleep, then I do something else. And and it allows me to create a rhythm and to enjoy the what I would call the fun part of it. Because the fun to me and running your own business is calling your own shots.

Tracy Brinkmann  12:52

And therein lies a huge Jim. I think one of my earliest experiences when it comes when it came, it’s good speech. And wouldn’t it when it when it comes to something like that is a friend of mine. I had worked with at the Coca Cola company probably for at that point, about seven years decided to take an early retirement package. And they were going to buy a franchise of a childcare facility. And you know, I kept up with her after she left the company and her and her husband, you know, they bought the site, they built a brand new building and they got it up and running. And as I was I was talking to them as they went through this process. They were working twice as hard at their, their new franchise business and having probably four to 10 times more fun had they had more energy doing twice the work. You know, they were doing like 8090 hour weeks sometimes to get it up and running. Where were we worked at we work in a pretty well it was nine to 595 we had a pretty easy workday. And I was like, Oh, you really you you traded to this. And she said and and her face. And you know, I was I was probably my gosh, I was in my early 30s and I was bringing home it was really good money for me back then I’m like, I was almost at six figures. So I was like you’ve left this to do that. You know, and then her I saw her face light up. And then she started sharing with me all the passion behind it. I get to see the kids and it’s my job. And if I want to go on vacation with my husband, then this person takes over, you know, the director takes over and does it all for me and Mike it started I was like Okay, I get it. I get it. And you know the little lights really started going off I mean cuz like you back in my teenage years, you know, I was a hustler. I did things like you know, painting cars and installing stereo systems and I was the guy if you wanted a good radio in your car. You know, this is, you know, the 80s and 90s. And all our cars had to have the cool sounds right? You know, I was the guy to turn to for that. And my brother, he was the engine guy. So we had the, the car scene. It just kind of nailed it was it was fun. But like you said, that was it was fun. So someone say, hey, you want me to install your stereo? You know, can you could you install Meister on like, Yeah, come on over, you know, hang out, you know, and chew the fat and all sort of stereo, what have you but so you’re you’re doing the the bayou city outdoors. Tell me about that.


So yeah, so we basically outdoors, we call it VCO. And it was an interesting business because it was actually owned by a friend of mine, or somebody that I knew in passing. And he was a member, I had another company at the time, he was a member of my company. And I just thought his business was so cool. I like here you are you, you go out and it was a calendar, like you have a calendar, and it’s a membership. And so people would go to hiking and biking and camping and kayaking events, and then also social events. And so I was always trying to help him promote this company, because I just couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t taking off. And so he he actually the company I had at the time was it was a singles membership. So we would people would meet this way. I mean, this was back in the days when, like the internet was dial up. And I mean, it was a million years ago before I mean, that was just kind of like showing up on the on the horizon. I had been running for a couple of years. And he met his wife through that company. And so he told me that he was shutting down by using the outdoors because he didn’t have time to do everything. And it just came out of my mouth is like you can’t do that. I’ll buy it. And like totally knowing nothing about it or anything. So I bought it. And there were, I think he had 68 members at the time. And so I buy this thing, and I give him a reasonable amount for what it was, but it has a lot of it had a lot of history. And so I send out an email to everybody because I I send emails, send out this email saying hi, and 38 people cancelled.

Tracy Brinkmann  17:17

Oh, my goodness.


They were like, Oh, my gosh, I keep forgetting that I’m paying for that thing every month. I just I don’t want to do this anymore. He’d been flying under the radar because he figured if he kept his mouth shut, they just keep paying. Right. Gotcha. And it was it was kind of it was another one of those getting taken aback things. And I was like, Huh, well, that’s interesting. But it didn’t. I mean, it didn’t shake me because I knew the value that this company had to offer. I mean, it’s huge value. And then I ended up going up to about 1000 people, about 1000 paid members along the way, people connected like best friends were made. I mean, that’s like, the most benign way of saying that. Millions of great friendships were made sure, married people, you know, met their best friends. I mean, it was just such an it still is such a cool community. And people learn things like I got to learn all these things that I love doing it, so did other people. So it’s really it’s a very cool business. And there’s a few of them like it around the country. bco is the biggest and it just, it’s been a little slower. But this whole coat because we’re being we’re doing this recording while COVID is going on. Right. But at the same time, it’s still providing all these things for people. So and then a good friend of mine, one of the members purchased it. So it’s it’s in it’s still ongoing. So it’s like just one of those fairy tales for businesses.

Tracy Brinkmann  18:50

Yeah, right. buying it, building it being able to sell it. Right.

Kelly Howard  18:54


Tracy Brinkmann  18:55

Yeah. So. So as you as you’re aware, a lot? Well, I’m hoping all of the audience is, you know, entrepreneurial in spirit, if not already in action. So I’ve heard you say a number of times, and I obviously read about it that you have bought and sold a number of businesses. So are these the results of ideas? Or is it just like the bcos where you’re looking at something saying, okay, that could be more, and you get involved or you buy it and then you build it and then either continue doing it or flip it and move on? Do you now listen to the Dark Horse entrepreneur podcast?


Typically, like the other businesses I’ve had, I’ve always all started. Not true, right? I just I just slide. One. One other one was somebody else’s company. And it was just kind of languishing. And but the other ones I started and then it’s not that I Well, let me rephrase that. I have up until what I’m doing right now. I have a I always had an eye on the exit. Because I have usually about, about about nine years of me. That’s it. I don’t know why, but that seems to be my number after about nine years, I’m ready to try something new. Okay, I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it with myself through many, many incarnations. So I kind of always have an eye on what’s my exit, the company that I’m doing now, I don’t have that eye on my exit. Because it’s more of a, it’s more of a personal brand, than it is, you know, building up another membership company and, and sending your way with somebody else. So it’s a different, it’s a different horse. But generally speaking, you know, if you’re, if you’re going to start a business, I really do believe that you should start one with the eye on what’s your exit? Because there’s two things that happen when you do that. One of them is that you, you build your systems properly. So that when you’re I mean, well, in the perfect world, you build your systems properly, so that later on, it would be you know, something that someone could take over. And the benefit of that is that you get all the systems that you’ve created, so that as you run your business, it’s easier. Because I want my companies to be as easy to run as possible. That’s, that’s comes back to call it fun, or call it lazy. I don’t care what you say. You know, you thinking in that mindset of, what’s your exit?

Tracy Brinkmann  21:36

Absolutely. And I’ve heard that a number of times. And yeah, I guess when I first started my an entrepreneurial gig, I didn’t get it. I get it now, after having a little more rubber on the road. Whereas like, Okay, if you’re going to build something, are you going to? What are you building it to? Do with? Are you building it to sell it? Are you building it just to be a personal brand, or etc, I heard a great example of a story of a couple, I believe they were in Australia, and they were contract workers, they did plumbing. And they started this plumbing business did a great job built into, you know, 15 trucks traveling around their area of Australia. And the the husband was always focused on Alright, if I get more trucks, I get bigger business, right. But as as this went forward, they started losing money as opposed to gaining it. So there’s a point, there’s a point of depreciation when everything’s costing more than you’re bringing in. And he started, he paused, took a look at everything is okay, what do I want to do with this business. And that’s when they decided they wanted to sell it. And then they started picking away building the systems, just like you said, reeling back to a handful of trucks. And then they started making profit hand over fist. And they even got to the point that it was so systematized that him and his wife, were only working on the business about an hour a week, and I’m trying not to exaggerate, it may have been two or three hours a week, because, you know, they had managers and they had, you know, other supervisors that were able to do everything else for them. So they could just step back. And now what they did from that learning is they turn and said, Okay, if this happened to us, how many other folks don’t know this. So they built a what they in, in Australia, if you’re a tradesperson, they’re called a tradie. So they built a tradie I think he’s trading Comm. But it’s just, it’s a membership site for all these folks that come learn how to run a business. Because they think so often, a tradesman being a mechanic, or a plumber, or an electrician, they go to school, and they learn how to do that job. And they go out there and they start maybe building their own business, but they’re not taught how to really to run a business while they’re trained how to, you know, plunge a toilet, you know, you know, does that make sense? We’re not, we’re not taught to do any of that stuff. Yeah, so much of that is just left out as we’re growing up and we learn it, you know, either through trial and error, right? Or if you’re lucky enough to have a parent or a relative or if you find a mentor early enough to teach you these things. Or, you know, you could do like, I know I’ve done is going out and find that mentor and say, okay, you’re doing this, I want to be doing this soon. Teach me I want to learn from you, whether that’s through trade, or I’m going to hand you cash and you teach me your systems, whatever it is, how do you think you learned it as you went through your your road life?


A lot of ways always share a reader. Okay? I mean, I’m a big reader. I so back in the day, a million years ago before the web was a thing. That was the easiest way to learn. from reading, you know, going to seminars, things like that. So I did, like I would go to seminars, even when I was just getting started. And it was a big stretch for me financially, but I knew that I had to learn. And then I’ve taken so many courses. I am big, big believer in online courses. And I’m a big believer in podcasts. Because there’s so many people who have great online courses, who if you’re not willing to invest in them right away, they’ve also got excellent podcasts. And they’re giving you everything for free. The course just happens to have it all in there and a nice, neat package, so you don’t have to go digging through the web all your life. Right. And I had, I’m a believer in masterminds. mentors, I’ve, you know, it’s funny, I’ve never really had what I would call a true mentor. But I’ve definitely been in some different masterminds with some pretty impressive people, you know, who I learned a lot from Sure. And then just just being open, you know, and being willing to learn new things. I mean, you’ve got to, like when you’re even when even when you’re the owner, and you have a team. You need to know how things work, and why they work. And so like my specialty would be marketing. Like, that’s what I that’s, that’s if you want to talk about something that gets me going. I’m a total marketing geek,

Tracy Brinkmann  26:31

I guess I can see the size of your mouth turning up now.


No, yeah, right. And at the same time, I have to know so much of the tech just in case. And I look at the tech and and that kind of stuff. Okay, technology has made me cry. No doubt about it. But I’ve cried over software before. And then I finally got to the point where I went, you know what, this is? A this is like school, like I’m learning. And this is just a new class that I have to take. And so now I look at it as Okay, you know, I just have to learn something new. And I’m, I’m always, like, I’m always learning like, I don’t think there’s a week that goes by that I’m not trying something new or something different. Nice. And not because it’s so not because I have to. But I think it’s important to do it. Because you’ve always got to be stretching, like, you know, I’m always looking for, I’m always looking for those fear points. Like, what am I afraid of? Why am I not doing x? And if I’m not doing x, am I not doing it? Because I’m afraid of it. And if I am, then I just have to go do it. So and I think that works really well. If someone’s in business or wants to be in business for themselves to always be looking like you don’t have to throw yourself off the cliff. But you need to be looking for your fear points and figuring out why.

Tracy Brinkmann  28:01

Why why you’re afraid or why you’re not doing it. Both.


I don’t think it matters as much why you’re not afraid or why you’re afraid if you’re willing to do it. That’s I mean, that’s that is I think the trick is that anytime like I mean, what’s an example, I’m just trying to think of an example. Oh, I actually this is not business. But it’s life that this is interesting to me is that on my 30th birthday, I decided that it was time to start finding things that I was afraid of and every year on my birthday good to it. So 30th birthday, I mean, I had a terrible fear of heights. I couldn’t walk across a footbridge over like a little stream without getting dizzy, and having to hang on. So I went skydiving. And then you know, after that I started doing more and more and more things, until I found that I didn’t have that fear of most things anymore. Like I just can’t I mean, there’s a lot there’s a couple of things I want to out there, but not too many. And so then I started turning that and looking at business because I thought okay, well, you know, you’re, you’re pushing all your buttons to become an adrenaline junkie, but isn’t doing you any good in the rest of your life. And it was because I was learning fun things and doing fun things. But I wasn’t applying it to my business. So then I started applying it to my business. And that could be like, like the first time I did a Facebook Live. It’s like old hat now I’ll go live without even thinking about it. First time, it took me about a month, like literally a month to suck up and do it. Because I was so like worried about everything. And I think that when you’re willing to just go out there and figure out what you’re afraid of and then try it. It just kind of I wouldn’t say enesta size issue because I don’t think that’s true. I think it makes you more alive. And the more alive you are, the more vitality there is in your life. Then the more to me, the more fun you can have in your business, the more ways you can think big in your business, the more things you can do that make a difference for people. It’s just, you know, it kind of, it’s kind of that pushing that Domino.

Tracy Brinkmann  30:17

I hear you, I’m in a kudos to you for skydiving, a. I love skydiving. And there’s just something about that first step. I actually started, I started as a paratrooper in the military, and you go through all that great training, and they take you up on a tower and you jump off the tower and practice your landings, they take you on a bigger tower that’s pulled up with the parachute, they let you go and it opens and you practice landings, you know, you go through all that really good training, and then you’re up in the plane. And as you know, having experienced it, as soon as you’re getting ready to face to go out that door is what, hello, there’s something in your body saying, What in the world are you about to do? You know, and once you jump out, though, and I say, I think we only we don’t need to be brave. For a long time. It’s probably about three seconds. You know, it’s three seconds to step out that out that plane, and just enjoy that ride. It’s three seconds to push record on that Facebook Live, it’s three seconds to get up on zoom to talk to me, which we’re going to air with a bunch of folks, you know, it’s three seconds to take that first step. And then every step after that, you’re going to go well, why didn’t I do this before? You Exactly, yeah, no, I hear you there. It’s a it’s a big thing. And it can, especially if you if you do like you did, like I hear you did you start doing that consistently. And you know, alright, I conquered that. Now. Let me conquer this and apply that into other parts of your life. It’s got huge, huge repercussions. And in a positive way. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I actually want to go out and I want to hang light now.

Kelly Howard  32:02

Oh, yeah.

Tracy Brinkmann  32:04

That’s what I want to try. There’s this really cool place. It’s called Ruby falls in Tennessee in Tennessee. Yeah, exactly where it is. And I’ve been to the falls. And I’ve been there. I used to live in Atlanta. So we used to go up there and visit quite often. It’s It’s beautiful out there. But there’s these cliffs and Ruby falls that they have hang you can you get taught how to hang glider. And literally you run right off the cliff with the hang glider. That would be cool.

Kelly Howard  32:33

Okay, I’ll meet you out there. All right, that sounds brilliant. Sounds

Tracy Brinkmann  32:38

awesome. And they will come back and say, Okay, how we can? How can we transfer this to our business? Right?

Kelly Howard  32:47

It’s exactly right. When you do stuff like that, you can do anything like on your phone, and it says whatever.

Tracy Brinkmann  32:53

Yeah, get another note from somebody that you really didn’t want to do business with. Anyway. That’s right. So as I as I look, now you’re uh, correct me if I’m wrong, you’re a motivation. adventure in a accountability coach, I think you focus on ladies and fitness, correct?


I do. I do. And, you know, fitness has been fitness is kind of, like my foot in the door. Okay, in the end, what I want people to do is to feel great, all the way around. Physically. Sure. And have, you know, fun, like fun, exciting lives. So you know, everyone’s like, Oh, I need to get fit. Although, obviously, it’s not true, because we’re not exactly the healthiest country out there.

Tracy Brinkmann  33:42

But yeah, don’t don’t tell anybody.

Kelly Howard  33:46

I know. I’ve been trying to give it a secret.

Tracy Brinkmann  33:51

Yeah, that’s, I


mean, that’s what I do. And, and it had been, it started because in VCO, I started realizing that the times that I was having the most fun is when someone would show up. And they are super uncomfortable. Like, they didn’t think they could do whatever it was we were gonna do. They, they were looking for a way out. They, they didn’t even know why they were there. Like you could just see it in their face. They just wanted me to say go home. And one time a lady showed up, and she she showed up and she had a cane. And like people come with this was for a hike. And people come with walking sticks or, you know, trekking poles, but I’ve never had someone show up with a cane and be like, Well, I have had I’ve got knee problems. And I’ve had knee surgery and I’ve done this and I’ve done that. I don’t think I should go should I? I would of course you should. Absolutely. Right. When is your promotion thinking? Oh, I hope she makes it Right. Right. Yeah. And so I got a couple of people to hang back with her. And, and we make no, it’s no big deal. If somebody slower somebody fast. I mean, I always, I always made sure at the time that I would kind of fall in the middle of the pack, because I don’t want people to feel like they’re going too slow. Sure. And she finished, she finished this hike. And she was beaming, like, nose to toes. happiest person you’ve ever seen. And like making plans. She was, I don’t know, she was she was in her 60s at the time. And I don’t know what that number actually was, but somewhere around there. And she’s like, Oh my gosh, I’ve always wanted to do this. And I’ve always wanted to do that, and so on and so forth. And I’m like, Well, now you can do it, right. She did. Like she went from that one hike in Houston, Texas, to doing all kinds of things. And it made me feel so awesome. And she’s like, one piece like, I had so many people that happened with you know, they’d come to one little thing and then I’d have him bike riding across the country or something crazy, right? Nice. And I I love that stuff. And I just love when, when people I mean, I do mostly work with women, but I have guys in there too. But I love when people do something they never thought they could do. And they’re hooked. Because all of a sudden, the world opens up. It’s right. Like it’s a completely different animal.

Tracy Brinkmann  36:18

When one day you were in a box, and the next day, you’re just kicking ass and taking names. I feel young that it can I think we can almost loop that right back to facing your fear. I mean, in that lady’s lives again, she probably had the fear of Can I finish this hike? Am I gonna put anybody out and next thing you know, you know, she’s out there doing all kinds of things in her 60s, y’all. Hello, Ryan, I met an amazing woman, oh, gosh, six years now, about six or seven years ago. She’s now my wife. Thank God, she married me. But she’s a she’s a huge fitness gal and knows, probably more than Oliver he will be able to conceive when it comes to fitness. And I thought I was in Okay, shape. I knew I was out of shape. But I wasn’t like, I could still get out and around and do things. I was a crazy cheer Dad, you know, so I stayed active. But my waistline was a little bigger than it needed to be, you know, I didn’t eat great. And she never pressured me. It was like, Okay, well, you know, here’s what you could do. You know, hey, do you want to work out with me? And we started working out and I was like, wow, I could I could do this. You know, I’m 50 somewhere 50 and a half, almost 60. Right. 50 some years old. And here I am, you know, lifting weights and going on his long hikes. And we are big concert fans. So we go to these festivals that are three days long. And if you don’t have the endurance, you know, you’re not going to enjoy the shows. And I was like thanking the heavens, that I met this woman who got me back into really good shape, so that I could really enjoy all the amazing things we got to do. And you know, going out and enjoying nature and doing the hikes and when have you. Otherwise you’re like, ah, and it was really again, it’s gonna loop back around to facing the fear. I knew I needed to, you know, drop a few pounds, I just didn’t want to go do it. I was afraid what I was going to give up. And you don’t have to give up anything to do these things is the key. And I think you would echo that with me.


Yeah, now you’re right. I mean, the fear of giving up things or missing out is so huge. And, and actually, it’s kind of unfounded. And, and I mean, like you said, you don’t have to give up all the fun stuff that you were eating or doing whatever. But at the same time, it opens up just these VISTAs that you never even realized were possible. You met somebody amazing. I mean, I love it. Because I really do. I mean, I think that the reason I mean other than just like seeing people change and transform from doing things that they didn’t think they could do. The other thing that really got me going with this company is that call it two years ago, I started meeting all these women who were running their own businesses. And it was through a big mastermind I was in. And so I’m meeting all these people, I’m meeting all these people online. And what I’m realizing is everybody is working like a dog. Like, everybody’s just like working so hard. And they’ve got this thing going on in their head that next week, or when I finished this project or when I launched this company or when I get that course out the door or whatever it is right when this thing happens then then I’m going to focus on myself. Yep, tomorrow. It doesn’t work. Yeah, it’s the Monday center right next Monday is what I’m going to start working out. I’m gonna start eating right or whatever it is, and it’s just not the right thing to do because in the end, you know, our our weeks go by, or time goes by. And if we’re not in tip top shape and tip top shape for everybody’s different, I’m not saying that you got to be buff, and, you know, run a marathons. tip top shape is feeling good. That’s it. Yeah, if you feel good, and, and you’re not just making stuff up, but you feel good, then your business is going to run better, your life’s gonna run better, your relationships are going to be happier. I mean, you’re going to be able to have more fun, you’re gonna be able to go to festivals and, and just like, keep up and do all the things that you want to do. And not be that person sitting back on that chair going, Oh, I think I’m going to sit this one out.

Tracy Brinkmann  40:39

Forget that. Amen. And I think I think that can apply into so many things in our world, not just not just fitness, but, you know, business and personal development. It’s like, okay, man, I don’t want to drive down to the gym and spend a half hour working on drive home, just to shower and then turn around and wow, where, right? Okay, well, you know, I don’t want to drive down and do that mastermind meeting or network with those people and drive all the way back. I only get 45 minutes for lunch, I got to pick up the kid land where, where, where, where, right. So it’s like, dude, take five minutes, go pick up a sack of potatoes. When we were talking fitness more moment. You know, do something for five minutes, read a book to your point your reading is is a big thing. Read a Kindle, whatever. And then the next thing you know, you’ll find that five minutes turns into 10 to 10 turns into 15 you’re having a good time. If you’re not you’ll find something that you finally enjoy. And then you’ll start having a good time. And then guess what, when we have a good time doing it, we’ll find time to do it. I always have, I’m always able to find time to do the things I enjoy.

Kelly Howard  41:51

Yeah. So if we were good like that,

Tracy Brinkmann  41:54

yeah. If we could just take that same mentality that’s holding us back in anything, be it fitness or business or personal relationships, and say, Alright, what can I do? That’s fine. And market my business? What can I do that’s fun to meet the debt lady or that man? What can I do? That’s fun. That helped me, you know, get into the next size down of my pants, and just go from there. Right?

Kelly Howard  42:23

Yeah, yep. Okay, so it’ll take you a long ways.

Tracy Brinkmann  42:27

I’m telling you. Amen to that. So I want to give you a chance here. Tell me I got to get to two questions. One is, you know, tell us about where we can get to, if anyone wants to find out more about Kelly. And what she does, you know, obviously, give you a chance to I want you to play your podcasts and your your business and your socials here. But you can do either one first. But you’ve got to tell me about the tiger with wings.


Yeah, so Angel tiger. And what happened was about this probably 20 years ago, now, I had the stream. And in the stream, there’s this black and blue Tiger running, I’m running through the forest, and it’s black and blue Tigers running through the forest. But it’s not. I’m not afraid. And I look over and this Tiger has wings. And she’s running next to me. Now, in my real world in the day to day life in black and white. I want to be a runner. It’s the one thing fitness wise that I’ve never been able to do. I get injured for some reason like it, it just seems to come up a lot. So you know, but in this dream, I am just running and this Tiger is running with me. Well, it ends up that this Tiger dream comes back a lot, a lot, several times several times over the next couple of years. And so I I just never business but I certainly found an artist and I said I said I want a logo for Angel tiger and I wanted a tiger with wings and I ended up with this Tiger with wings and the Halo. I mean she’s just beautiful. And my original with the company that I have right now fitness freedom. It was called Angel tiger. And then I changed it to Angel Tiger fit to make it sound a little bit more like fitness company. And last year, I had a coach had a mastermind I was doing my damnedest to be coachable because you’re supposed to be coachable if you’ve got a coach, right? And that coach said, I don’t I don’t see the connection between fitness and this tiger. I was like oh, okay, well, you know, I’ll be coachable and I’ll change it. And and I did I change it to the new company name, which I think is a good move. But the angel Tiger has now become an angel Tiger Foundation, because I want the tiger to live on and that’s going to be the charitable donation part. Because I think she’s it’s part of me right now.

Tracy Brinkmann  45:00

Definitely one you definitely want to honor something like that if you if you feel that passion for Absolutely. And I’m looking at it right here on your website, it is a, it’s a really cool, it’s a cool tiger. I’m a big Tiger I have, I’m all about tigers. Okay, so tell us tell us about fitness freedom and where folks can get ahold of you if they want to know more. And, you know, your socials. And obviously, I’ll put all the links in the show notes and what have you. But


Sure, sure, and I’m gonna ask you an embarrassing question, because I’m not sure if we did this. But did we send you a download that if people want it, they can get it?

Tracy Brinkmann  45:37

You’re going to,


I’m going to cool. Let me do that. Because I’m big on content, big on content.

Tracy Brinkmann  45:44

I know when I know, when we originally set up this this interview, which was I believe, it was well over a couple of weeks ago, it was in the making, and you were gonna send it when you had it ready?


Ah, sorry, see that? That’s why you have people who take care of your stuff.

Tracy Brinkmann  46:00

You never let me do that.


So yes, so it’s a it’s Sorry, it’s not a tiger. It is it is freedom. And the websites fit is And, you know, I send people a website for two reasons. One reason and this is just like, this is this is me doing a rant, me doing the rant is that website is my real estate, I own it, I you know, I can do whatever I want to on it. It’s not someone else’s platform, it’s us. It’s not a social media platform that someone can change the rules on me. So from that website, you can get to all of our social media, I the podcast, same thing. Fit is or fitness freedom podcast, and it’s on the website. And then I also do a Monday night lives on Facebook, where either I’m the talker, or sometimes I’ve got somebody being interviewed. And on our website, we have an events page, where we’ve got a calendar of all the podcast drops and all the lives and other things that are going on. So that’s that’s where I drive people. And there’s a lot going on there. And I am more than happy to send something, send a really great download over to your people and and I’ll find something that just really resonates with entrepreneurs, we’ve got some fun things that we’ve created over the years. And I will send that over so that they can grab it out of your show notes.

Tracy Brinkmann  47:27

Absolutely, absolutely. We’ll be sure that anyone that’s on our newsletter will get that as well as, as part of their their drop as well. And I totally agree with you. I’ve had a couple of folks actually say that about, you know, I just send them to my website, because if they need my Pinterest, and my Facebook and my Twitter, it’s all right there too. And yours are very clearly laid out yours very well organized. So anyone can find all your good stuff, including your podcast here. Thanks. Thanks. All right. So any parting words of wisdom tips for our dark horse entrepreneurs that you’d like to leave them with?


Actually, yes, there. And this is kind of a big tip, but I’m going to go ahead and throw it out there. Because one of the things that I’m seeing right now, and motivation is is one of my, one of my pieces, right? And I’m finding that right now, since we’re recording in 2020. It’s, it’s, it’s a harder time for a lot of people simply because there’s so much going on, and there’s so much stress in our lives, like so much stress in our lives is we’ve got this low level of stress going on, that just seems to be chewing on people. And I like to encourage people with the idea that motivation, like you don’t need a coach to be to have motivation. Like, I mean, I’m happy to give people a rah rah speech. But I prefer to be known as like a cheerleader with a bullet. Because reality is is that motivation comes from within head. Yeah, it is it is an inside job. And it’s just a matter of finding the things that make it easy for you. And in fact, now that I’m saying this out loud, this is what I’m going to send you because I think that we’ve got an excellent PDF

Kelly Howard  49:19

on this,


but it is when you’re working for yourself or when you’re going to be working for yourself, where you’re working toward that. The most important thing you can do is keep yourself happy. Motivated your mindset good, because there’s nobody else that’s going to do it for you. And I think it is truly the most important thing we can do, which of course includes move it around because when you’re moving around, you’re feeling better. Right? Absolutely all comes from within. And it truly is an inside job and I mean I love working with people and I’m happy to coach anybody. Well, not anybody actually. The truth is I only work people I love working with But at the same time, we’ve all got it in ourselves to do this, we really do. And I think that if you’re thinking about doing it, or you’re already doing it, kudos, kudos to you for this podcast, and kudos for doing it.

Tracy Brinkmann  50:15

Perfect. And you actually Sue in a bonus tip in there only work with people you want to work with. You snuck that one in there on the sly, but I’m not gonna let that one go unnoticed. That one is one of those 10 commandments. Well, you know, and I think that that’s a that’s actually a hidden gem. And I think a lot of myself included starting entrepreneurs, you know, when I first started doing digital marketing, I was like I can, I’ll take anybody for a client, you know, you and you get, you get just that, you’ll get those folks that will, you know, take every inch, it’s like you’re dry, when you can find the person that you resonate with. They may you may make just as much profits or revenue from them that you did the other folks but you walk away with a smile on both yalls face. So definitely, definitely, definitely keep yourself motivated from within. So that’s a great tip. But you know that that that second, while it’s not that one, let’s let that one to resonate towards the end of the show here. I only work with people you want to work with. Kelly, I, you go ahead.

Kelly Howard  51:25

No, that’s it.

Tracy Brinkmann  51:26

Okay. I want to be mindful of your time. And I definitely appreciate you coming on and hanging out with this for a while. I’ve managed to loop back and catch up with you see what kind of new things you have going on in a in a few months and see what new businesses you’ve bought and sold.


I would be thrilled to that. Thrilled to do that. And thrilled to get to chat again. Because Absolutely. All right.

Tracy Brinkmann  51:47

I appreciate your time. Thanks so much, Kelly. Thank you. You

Kelly Howard  51:50

have a wonderful day

Tracy Brinkmann  51:51

you do the same. All right. Got to say a big thank you to Kelly hire for stopping by and dropping those nuggets. Here’s a few thoughts I walked away with thought number one, you can’t tell where you’re going. If you don’t look at where you’ve been. You know, so many times we have a heart set on something and bam, life happens. You get fired, divorce go bankrupt business fails, someone dies, or any of 100 of life’s other tragic turns hit you right smack dab in the face, often causing you to a faceplant. But here’s the thing. Once you get through that, that awful time, and you will get through it. Once you get through it, it’s time to pause and reevaluate the road ahead and what to do what to do with it right, you need to do that re evaluation, you really can have to re evaluate the road you just traveled, but not relive it, review it. Remember the bumps, those slick spots, those tough turns, then make a tough turn and move forward along your new path with the old path and the education and experience from it in your rearview mirror. Thought number two, there’s value in having a team. Besides you know, me, we all don’t want to do the work ourselves. We don’t do all that heavy lift heavy lifting, right. Having a team enables you to bring in other expertise, way beyond your own clusters, that human connection factor of having a team with you so that you can enjoy that entrepreneurial journey together. And if you remember in episode eight, Justin Popovich also talked about the power of a team, both Justin and Kelly have had the experience of doing it themselves. But realize the benefits of getting the right people involved to make the business even better, better for you better for the customer, and at the end better for your bottom line. Thought number three, create a rhythm. Even before you have your team, you’re going to have to wear many hats. I mean, as entrepreneurs that’s, that’s what we do. We wear lots of hats. I mean, if you think about it, in the very creation of the podcast you’re listening to, I had to be the salesman to pitch Kelly to come on for the interview, the tech the setup, the meeting, the reporter to do the interview, the scribe to take the notes, the sound engineer that dial into sound quality, the editor and the producer to cut all that together into the interview and create all those components. You know, the music starts and the sweepers and intros and outros, and then the ad man to take all that and upload it and create the post to get the people out there to pause and come listen. So being an entrepreneur and wearing so many hats, it’s just part of the gig. However, if you can find that rhythm and put that hat on at the right time, and maximize your output, and do it when you enjoy it most. That’s what it’s all about. Create that rhythm and then work within that rhythm. Thought number four, learn and always have your eye on the exit. See, what is your exit plan for your business right knowing this will enable you to build your systems properly. That’s going to enable you to run your business easier, right? When I talked about the the folks that ended up spending a whole hour on their business. And then when you do make that choice to sell, all of that is an asset. And it’s part of the business that you’ll be selling. And then you won’t have to become that employee to the new owners as a result of that sale. Right. And the best way to build those systems and keep yourself and your business relevant is to keep learning via all the methods and mediums that are out there. You know, books, online courses, masterminds conferences, and of course, podcasts. That number five, only work with people you enjoy. This one kind of stands by itself, no need to really expand on this one. But while you’re working with the people who enjoy, push your boundaries, and face your fears, right? Think about doing those two things, right, facing your fears, and working with people to enjoy as you do them. Not only will you find out more about yourself, but you’ll find amazing ways to grow yourself and your business. What thoughts got stuck in your ear, whatever they weren’t, take some time today, and put them down and put them into action. Go out there, run your race and get your results. And let me hear about them. email me at Tracy at Dark Horse Share the things that you know that caught your caught your eye caught your ear actually how you put them in action, and what results you gained from them. We’ll be building a prize pool from the past guests. And if you email me and I read it on the show, you win. Now in our next episode, Yasmin varje, is going to share her story of going from being made redundant in corporate America to taking tiny time and turning it into big results. Well, from that, I’m going to take a tiny bit of your time and leave you as I always do think successfully and take action. Thank you for listening to the Dark Horse entrepreneur podcast. Thanks for tuning in. Check us out at www dot Darkhorse All right. My name is Tracy Brinkmann.

EP 010 Kelly Howard If It Is Not Fun It Is Not Sustainable

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