Thriving vs. surviving amid a pandemic: an entrepreneur’s journey
“It’s a pandemic,” they say. “I’ll get back to my routine in the spring,” you say. Well, we’re coming upon two years this March and if your definition of spring is two years later, you’re in luck – your procrastination has paid off.
Some of us managed to avoid the Netflix spiral and start successful businesses. Enter Matt Moosavian. A Georgetown University grad, professional CrossFit athlete and the founder of MooseFit (now, Moxie) to crush all our pandemic expectations of surviving vs. thriving. While fitness was a part of Matt’s life, it wasn’t always one of his career aspirations. He was on the pre-med track at Georgetown and earned a neurobiology degree. While he thought about graduate school, Matt was working as the Chief of Staff to the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) at Cardinal Health.
“What I found was a creative side of thinking and an operational side of managing that I didn't have the ability to experience when I was reading with my nose in a textbook for four years,” says Matt.
Ideal Positioning for the Pandemic
With this creativity enabled through remote working, Matt had more time to fuel his life’s passion: fitness.
His company, MooseFit, was born. Matt positioned himself and his services as competitive fitness training that was customizable, effective, and affordable. Using low-cost third-party apps, he was able to design workout programs based on equipment individuals had at home versus having a gym membership. Clients could access high-quality workouts via the app, and this saved them money while Matt provided a personalized service from the convenience of home.
At first, Matt’s primary communication channel was Instagram reels, to create quick, fun but effective exercise videos for everyone stuck at home. Through cross-tagging via his clients and local fitness contacts, Matt’s premier workouts gained momentum and indicated that MooseFit was on to something.
An influencer strategy drives community-led growth
While his approach was successful, as the pandemic carried on it became evident to Matt that his customers were looking for more than just workouts. So, he took a leap and began building a hybrid in-person and virtual model not only focused on individual fitness, but working with other local coaches and instructors to give them the tools and resources they needed to build or expand a community of their own.
Partners such as Longview Gallery, an art exhibit space, signed up offering MooseFit outdoor locations due to COVID closures at fitness facilities. These new spaces brought a unique set of health and wellness experts, offerings, and brands together. Matt carefully cultivated a variety of classes, styles (CrossFit, yoga, etc.), and instructors into an ecosystem of influencers – connected via a one-stop-shop (MooseFit) to engage and amplify each other’s efforts and, consequently, Instagram followers.
Community members leveraged the approach Matt had started with Instagram reels and cross-tagging, but now with each instructor’s brand and loyal followers, the amplification effect extended awareness from one personal network to the next. He coupled the group’s social efforts with direct marketing campaigns that offered free classes to new clients and discounted services for existing members to try a new style of exercise.
Developing a Unique Fitness Marketplace
Through business connections, Matt met Jason Goldberg, founder of Moxie – a platform for fitness instructors to hold their classes virtually and give them all the tools they need to run their fitness business. Jason helped Matt wrap a more sophisticated technology platform around MooseFit’s model.
Services expanded including everything from creating memberships and scheduling virtual classes to website schedule integration and virtual class hosting. All are built into the platform and the instructors have the ability to own the [on-demand] content that they're creating under their own brand.
When Moxie offered to buy Matt’s company while still allowing him to stay on as General Manager for the DMV region, he jumped on board. Today Moxie boasts 500+ instructors and thousands of users. And virtual, let’s face it, isn’t going anywhere – it’s just too convenient.
In the middle of a pandemic Matt was able to build a successful company by pursuing his passion.
“I had created a reputation in the [fitness] community of being able to push people past levels they were comfortable with physically through my coaching and programming. The feeling that I get in a workout, knowing that I can push myself further, and carrying that over into other aspects of my life that drive me professionally.”