[quote style=”boxed”]Become interested in your field, become an expert, an authority and share your knowledge via videos or articles. But find a niche. Don’t try to be too many things to your clients. It is far better to be really good in a smaller specific area of interest.[/quote]
The Race Club is owned and operated by Gary Hall, M.D., his wife Mary and members of their family. Dr. Hall is a three-time Olympic medalist (1968, 1972 and 1976) who was twice voted the World’s greatest male swimmer in 1969 and 1970. During his career he held 10 World records in four different events; individual medley, butterfly, backstroke and freestyle and captured 23 individual National titles and seven NCAA titles. As a swimmer under the legendary coach, Doc Counsilman at Indiana University, he was voted in 1970 by the Helm’s Foundation as the outstanding amateur athlete in North America. Dr. Hall considers his greatest honor as being selected to be the standard bearer in the 1976 Olympics and lead the great USA team into the Opening Ceremony.
After retiring from world-class competition in 1976, Dr. Hall established his medical practice in Phoenix, Arizona, where he owned and operated one of the most successful Eye Laser Centers in America. Throughout his medical career, Dr. Hall continued to compete in triathlons and swimming events, most recently breaking several world records in Masters swimming competition. In 2006, he retired from his medical practice in order to devote more time to his family and passion for swimming. He and his wife moved to Islamorada, Florida, to help direct the operations of The Race Club.
Where did the idea for The Race Club come from?
My son, Gary Hall Jr. and I are three-time Olympic swimmers. When Gary Jr. was training for the Olympics, we put together an amazing group of swimmers all competing and training in Islamorada, FL (Florida Keys). We were using innovative training techniques and incorporating many things into the lifestyle and training methods. We started sharing what we learned from these top swimmers along with the positive training environment we created for them. Swimmers from all over the world starting coming to experience the Race Club training methods and environment. My son, Richard Hall began making instructional videos of what we teach and our audience has grown on youtube to over 3.3 million views.
What does your typical day look like?
There is no typical day. We are a service-based business, so I coach swimmers on deck as well as have consultation sessions via skype and email. When not doing that, we are working on educational articles or webisodes for our audience.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We listen to what our customers want and then we adapt our services to their needs.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Coaching without being on deck. We are investigating software that will enable us to coach or use other coaches’ services worldwide from the web.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Thinking outside the box. Challenging conventional teaching. Being creative.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I have had only two jobs in my life; ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) and coach (teacher). Of the two, I prefer coaching, though I learned a great deal about life and dealing with people and politics from ophthalmology.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Devote more time to what I am doing now.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
We keep teaching The Race Club philosophy – spreading the word! We provide high quality videos and give away all the information and knowledge we have in our videos. The business grows when you give free information and expert knowledge on a specific subject.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
In seven years, we have grown by word of mouth and by giving away free information. It is still our best marketing tool and we assume it will always be. Face to face interaction with clients is the best way to grow our business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As an ophthalmologist and as a coach, I have always been creative. I have had several inventions (patents) pertaining to both fields. Some of my ideas were or are valid, but did not get commercialized because of insufficient capital. I have learned to pursue the ideas that do not require such high capital in order to succeed.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Become interested in your field, become an expert, an authority and share your knowledge via videos or articles. But find a niche. Don’t try to be too many things to your clients. It is far better to be really good in a smaller specific area of interest.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I am the only swimmer to ever carry the flag for the United States Olympic Team in the Opening Ceremony. There have been many great athletes bestowed this honor…but only one swimmer.
What software and web services do you use?
What do you love about them? We just started using Vocus to help market our content through social media sites and traditional media. We use wordpress for our website that is almost completely redone! We also are starting to use innovative software called JamboDoc. This software was designed and developed by a medical doctor to treat and communicate with patients more efficiently. We will use it for coaching with our consultation clients so anyone signed up on a month to month plan, can contact the coach, nutritionist, strength trainer, or professional via IM, email, Skype or phone. It is quite effective for remote coaching or professional advice. We love that each client is treated with the attention they need.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Spark by Dr. John Rainey. It is the first book to show the relationship between exercise and cerebral function and other health benefits.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Dr. James Counsilman. Legendary swimming coach from the 1960’s and1970’s. Mike Bottom, head swimming coach U of Michigan. Dr. James Gills, ophthalmologist in Tampa Florida and former owner of Ironman triathlon events.
The Race Club on Facebook:
The Race Club on Twitter: @theraceclub
Gary Hall on LinkedIn:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.