I’m a behind the scenes kinda guy. I love to know how someone got to the top. You can learn so much from their story. Plus it keeps me going when I need a boost.
It also puts into perspective that if we want our end result, strap on your seatbelt cause it’s going to be a wild ride.
That’s what I get from watching a show on CNBC and it’s called “How I Made My Millions”. It’s about how everyday people have taken ordinary ideas and turned them into extraordinary businesses.
Recently I watched it and Tony Horton was profiled. You may or may not know him. But if anyone’s been trying to get into shape, they likely have heard of or done P90X.
First of all, the guy is 52 years old. Fifty-two! They guy is in fantastic shape so he doesn’t look his age.
Knowing how popular P90X is, I’m not surprised Tony is a millionaire.
Still it wasn’t an overnight success. He didn’t even begin his career dreaming of being a celebrity fitness trainer. It happened through a strange turn of events.
Lots of people know Tony is the person behind P90X, but I don’t think many people really know his story.
The Early Days
He was a trained pantomime. As outgoing and loud as Tony is, it’s hard to believe he used to performed without speaking. He seems to never stop talking!
It seems pretty unrelated now, but it played a factor in who he is today. It helped overcome his stuttering and helped fund his cross country trip to move from the east coast to Los Angeles.
He moved to Los Angeles to try and be an actor. Just about every actor struggles a lot at the beginning. He made money by being a pantomime, doing standup comedy and some acting gigs.
One day an agent told him he was chubby and needed to lose some weight if he wanted to get more acting gigs.
Most people would be offended. “What? Me lose weight?” But he took the advice and got serious about getting in shape.
Imagine if he got upset because the agent suggested he lose some weight? He wouldn’t be where he is today.
Soon at the gym people were noticing and wanting him to train them.
Then celebrities were hiring him to train them. In the interview, he said one morning he’d have Tom Petty, Billy Idol, Annie Lenox, Steven Stills all in a row. He said he was “Keeping rockers from the 70′s alive”.
Still that wasn’t making him that much money. He had $60K in credit card debt.
You never know who will change your life
He met a guy named Carl Daikeler through another client. He started training Carl and they both hit it off. Carl said they needed to work together one day, but didn’t know how yet.
Carl ended up leaving his company to start a home fitness DVD company, called Beachbody. He wanted Tony to create a workout, like he taught his celebrity clients, but do it with just resistance bands and weights.
Their first product was called Great Body Guaranteed. It did okay and made enough money to next create Power 90.
Power 90 was a workout and diet program. Carl and Jon (the other owner of the new company) both went through the program and transformed their bodies from fat to six pack abs. So they knew it would work.
Industry insiders thought they were nuts!! They thought no one wanted to workout that hard at home. It hadn’t been done before so it wouldn’t work now.
It was released in 2001. Sales did okay to keep the company afloat. In 2004, the company did $100 million in sales. Amazing.
For Tony, the royalty checks he earned were unbelievable. For 21 years, he lived in the same tiny Santa Monica apartment. Now he could afford to buy a house with a huge backyard where he could turn it into an outdoor exercise area for his clients.
Then sales started to slow down. It was time to get back to work. He needed to create something new.
Developing P90x was a long and painstaking process. When it was released in 2004, it didn’t really catch on. That’s everyone’s nightmare when launching a product. This is what Tony said about it:
When it didn’t catch on . . . I dunno. It was disappointing, sure. But I thought it would eventually find a home. We didn’t know it would take this long, but we always believed in it. We knew it was good program. The quality of the show was way above anything ever done. I just always felt it would find its niche. It was too good not to. Then one day it took off.
P90x went viral. It was hard to miss if you were watching television late at night. It would have these amazing before and after pictures. Talk show hosts were mentioning it. You probably had friends who’ve done it and talked about it.
P90X turned into a sensation and made Beachbody, the company critics thought would never make it, and Tony Horton very rich.
Watching the interview, I could tell Tony’s passion for what he is doing. He loves it. He loves help transform people’s lives.
He’s found that cross section of doing something he’s passionate about and helping people solve a problem. It’s the sweet spot.
The Cool Down
Some great lessons you can learn from Tony’s story.
- What you’re doing right now doesn’t mean you will do it forever. Tony was a trained pantomime and wanted to be an actor. While trying to get more acting work, a new opportunity arose.
Whatever you’re doing now, may not be what you want to do forever, but at least be doing something.
When you’re doing something and moving forward, you create opportunities that present themselves in your life.
- You never know if the next person you meet might help you change your life. So keep networking.
- Really believe in what you’re doing and you’ll find others who will too.
Tony really believed in P90X, even though it started slow. He and Beachbody didn’t abandon the product too soon because they knew it was a quality product. It probably took longer to catch on because it was so different than any other workout out there.
Finally I end with a quote from Tony.
“It didn’t happen over night, didn’t happen in my teens, 20′s, 30′s. It happened in my 40′s. Keep doing your thing. Keep following your passion. Because if you do, it can happen.”