Sean Toy was born in Fort Worth, Texas. His family moved around a bit when he was a kid and he wound up in Massachusetts for his high school years. He returned to Texas for college at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and studied business. He recently completed a financial management certificate from Cornell. He also has a variety of different certifications related to personal training, including sports nutrition and corrective exercise.
During college he had done an internship in commercial real estate, but that work was not quite what he had expected. His dad was a national title holder for power lifting, so Sean had always felt comfortable in the gym and he realized it was something he really loved, so after college he moved back to Boston and began working in a gym. He started working at a desk and working the night shift which included cleaning the equipment, taking out the trash, and closing the facility while he also worked on completing his personal trainer certifications. He became a part time personal trainer and a few months after that he was promoted to become the head trainer for the facility. Later he also was promoted to a fitness manager. He helped that club to develop a training program grow 35% in personal training revenue.
He was then scouted and picked up from a company called Lifetime Athletics to help them a new location. He worked there for three years as an onboarding manager, getting all new members set up into personal training programs. Sean was nationally ranked in the top 10 out of 4,500 trainers for the last two years and most recently this March he was ranked at #3, but the gym was then shut down due to the coronavirus.
Sean Toy is currently the President of Levo Labs Inc. He and his co-founder decided to create with a virtual training platform to do virtual personal training and virtual programming. Right now, Levo Labs, Inc. has 150 founding members that are all doing personal training. Within the next six months Levo will be opening their first fitness facility. He currently has clients from North America, Canada, and Australia.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
The beauty of virtual personal training is not only is it safe during COVID, but it also saves people time. They no longer have to take the time to travel back and forth to the gym. Through Levo Labs provides personal one-on-one sessions, and we also provide virtual programming. Often when people come to the gym, they don’t understand how to exercise correctly for their goals and the results they are looking for. We write the program which is like roadmap or a blueprint for them to follow and they execute it through an app. It is an individually tailored program, and this provides better results for our clients.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up around 6 am. The first thing I do is walk my dog. Then I get ready for work and start my day with the emails that came in overnight, often people asking about personal training, exercise, and nutrition. Then I get right into virtual one-on-one personal training or in-person personal training in the studio throughout the day until about 8 pm, and I will handle administrative work until 9 pm.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I always continue to learn. I keep speaking to people. I know a lot of people in the fitness industry and I am lucky enough to be able to share ideas. Sharing ideas makes me think about what the possibilities are, and then I can bounce them off with my co-founder and our media team. We roll with it from there. When I get a hold of something, I have a tendency to work at it until it is done.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited about people being able to exercise with their family. I have so many clients that are sharing this with their parents and their kids. It is a huge uptick from before. They see their results and they get really excited. Referrals are great, but referrals to family and people they love and trust, it’s like another level.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I always get back to people immediately. When something comes in, as soon as I have available time, I get after it. I don’t wait.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Everything is a learning experience. Take everything in and be more present. Pay more close attention to the lessons from older people, like the things my grandfather would have taught me.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can eat carbohydrates and lose weight at the same time. You can eat sugar and still lose weight. Most people don’t agree with that. Caloric deficit and energy output determine whether you lose weight. But it does not matter if the calories come from fat, protein, or carbohydrates. If you are in a deficit you will lose weight.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I always follow up. Nothing moves at the pace that you want it to. You might want to move on things pretty quickly but there are other factors that come into play. If I didn’t follow up as much as I have, we would not be where we currently are.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Work ethic and being methodical matters. I make sure that I plan things as best as I can because the unexpected tends to come up. Make a plan and execute from there.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Don’t always expect things to go as planned because things change quite a bit. You have to be able to roll with the punches. We’ve been trying to get a lease on about 6 different places, but when you open a company if you don’t have over two years of revenue to show, a lot of places are not inclined to give you a lease. We have had to adapt to that. In the meantime, we have increased our virtual presence and kept pushing to find another leasing space.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Figuring out a way to incorporate accountability into your fitness routines would be a great business idea. For instance, companies like Peloton have created a product to sell, but figuring a way to get people to show up and be accountable through a tracking system of some kind would be even better.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently purchased one of those robot vacuums. It was a less expensive version of a Roomba. We have a lot of light in one part of the house and you could see so much dust. But that vacuum has really helped and now that area looks immaculate.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use Calendly to make appointments with our clients. We could not get new clients without it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend LifeSpan: Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair. It gives great ideas on how to live a longer and healthier life.
What is your favorite quote?
“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. Strength comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” Rikki Rogers.
• Follow up immediately.
• Have a strong work ethic.
• The ability to adapt helps you to overcome challenges.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.