The cavnessHR Podcast – A talk with Cory McKane of WeStrive
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Social Media links for Cory!!
Cory’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cory.mf/
WeStrive Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/WeStriveApp/
WeStrive website: https://www.westriveapp.com/
For anyone that's a trainer, we will more than likely have our Westrive platform ready to go. As far as beta testing goes. You'll be able to go to Westriveapp.com and then they'll be a trainer section. You can apply to be a beta tester right there. Anyone who wants to email me Cory@ westriveapp.com, I will send you free programs for days so you can follow any fitness program you want.
Jason: Hello, and welcome to the cavnessHR podcast. I'm your host Jason Cavness. Our guest today is Cory McKane. Cory are you ready to be great today.
Cory: Everything's going great man. Absolutely.
Jason: The idea of creating a social personal training app sounded like the easy task at the time. Corey, the perfect app founder discovered just how hard his journey would be. Cory spent years pitching investors, looking for developers, and really just talking with anyone and everyone trying to figure out how you even go about building an app. Corey sounds like you're having the stereotypical entrepreneur journey right there.
Cory: Well, I didn't know what the entrepreneur journey was before I was on it. From my perspective, I thought it was crazy how difficult it was, once I got started. I first had the idea. I was like we're gonna have the idea launched in two months making a million bucks. I really did not know what the entrepreneurship journey was before I was one it. Then I realized I wasn't alone. I realized there's a lot of people out there that went through the same opportunity or the same journey. It was definitely a struggle.
Jason: Honestly, most people start a business, oh, next month, I'll be Mark Zuckerberg or whoever. I mean you have been working on this for four years. People don't realize it's a journey. You gotta have a lot of patience and focus, don't you?
Cory: Absolutely, people see the Zuckerberg’s and the Gates's and the Bezos of the world. They seem to forget that Bezos when he first started, there's a picture of him in like, 1998, or something like that. He's sitting in the small office, and they're selling books online. People always see the money that you have, and they assume you just got it really easy or you got lucky. They kind of forget that there's a whole entire journey. It's a lot of stuff that you have to go through and a lot of stuff you have to lose before you get to that point.
Jason: I remember when Zuckerberg first came out with Facebook and he became a success. Someone asked him, what's it feel like to be an overnight success? He said, Well, if you don't count my six years coding in my dorm room and my basement? Yeah, I guess I'm an overnight success.
Cory: Exactly. Yeah. That was successful. I wasn't successful yesterday. Now I am today. So overnight.
Jason: Cory, what exactly is WeStrive and what are you trying to do with that platform?
Cory: That's kind of a long answer. Basically, in high school, I realized that I had a lot of personal trainer friends. They had two problems, and they still do to this day. First problem is that they're working out at the gym, they're training their clients. Then they have a four minute window in between clients. What happens is, they're constantly getting approached by random people saying, hey, how do I lose weight? Hey, how do I do this? They have a four minute window, they will write them some little thing out on a piece of paper. Then that random person will get some pretty crappy advice as it's not actually planned out. It's like a quick piece of advice. Then they'll go do their thing. Then the trainer gets nothing out of it. So, there's really no structured way for trainers to grow their business in the gym. The other side of things was that personal trainers just have all these hundreds of fitness programs, that they've created for their clients over the years.
Cory: I wanted to combine that with the fact that it's really hard as a person that works out to find the best program for you. People look on Google, people are asking friends and I wanted to make this a market place where personal trainers can meet exercisers. So that's where we start. That's where the original perfect app came from years of working on that. Since then, we've molded that into more the trainers are looking for with our new SAS model. SAS stands for software as a service. Basically, we're allowing trainers to run their entire private training business now.
Jason: Cory on your app, you provide certified trainers. What exactly does that mean and how does someone prove that that's certified?
Cory: That's actually a really common question I get. So, it's funny because for me, like, it seems so obvious. I've been doing this for four years. So, I get that question all the time. By this point, I should realize that most people aren't familiar with the certifications that go into personal training. Personal trainers actually have to pass a specific certification to be certified. In order to be able to train. There are various certifications all over the country all over the world. Basically, we can't say what certification is best. But all we can do from our perspective is only allow certified trainers on the platform. So basically, if you haven't been able to pass the test, proving that you are capable of training someone and then you can't sell products on our platform. It's a cool feature we offer. But it's actually been unfortunate to some trainers. Because there is a lot of trainers out are that are some of the best traders on the planet that just don't have certifications. So we lose a few of those that way. But for the most part, it makes our platform a little more legit.
Jason: Cory you started this in 2014. Why have you not quit? What keeps you going?
Cory: There are a few factors. There's definitely a competitive side to it. I just really want to succeed. I feel like the first ever entrepreneur might have quit pretty early on because they didn't have anyone around them or anyone that had been through what they're going through. So, from my perspective, I've seen literally thousands of entrepreneurs that have been on a four or five, six year journey. I got buddies that are just now making it to the top and they started in 2010 with their platform. I've also seen some of our competitors sell for a hell of a lot of money. So that's kind the financial reason for it.
Jason: Corey, can you talk a little bit about your podcast and how the podcast is helping to build your business?
Cory: Absolutely. Basically, I started that WeStrive podcast for a couple of reasons. The public reason is I love hearing stories. I love connecting people. I love sitting down with someone and just hearing how they got to their to where they're at. A selfish reason, I want to know, for myself, like how these founders got to where they are. I want to know when to dig deep, like what steps they took, who they connected with. But the way a, b and c got them to D and F. So that was kind of the selfish reason. Then also I knew it'd be a great cross promotion for my app. Once we got the app going, it would be a way to kind of cross promote.
Jason: Cory, if I was on your podcast and you asked me the same question. I would answer the same word for word to be honest with you. You just meet so many great people. Can you talk about some about how you built your team?
Cory: I feel like, again, if you asked me like, four years ago how I built my team, or how I'm going to build it, I would have just been like, I'm going to put this person, this person, this person. I thought it'd be super easy, and it would have been done with and one thing I realized. ls that every entrepreneur has gone through what I'm about to say is that I really don't know how I built my team. It was just kind of happenstance.
Jason: I don't think most people realize how hard it is to build a team because first of all, as a startup, you have no money to pay anyone. I tell people, I can tell you I am going to give you a certain percentage of my company as equity. But that is the same as me telling you, see that rainbow. That pot of gold at the end is yours. Is that going to happen? Probably not. People don't realize that. I have been through so many people at cavnessHR.
Cory: Yeah, no hundred percent. I mean equity doesn't mean shit. Money makes the world go around and having equity is important. So I totally get both sides of it. Yeah.
Jason: Cory. So I know you can't give me an accurate number on this. But you can give us an estimate of how many people you've talked to you about your app?
Cory: Yeah, I don't know. I've been doing this for four years. I mean, it started off like it's crazy. I started off at my college. I was telling everyone I knew. I was going to events and pitches. I probably talked to at least 25,000 people about my app. 12,000 of those I can verify because I sent out a stupid amount of LinkedIn messages to trainers. I've literally, we have over 345 trainers, and we got those trainers before we even had the app. I added over 20,000 trainers on LinkedIn about 13,000 added me back and I sent out about 12,000 personalized messages to traders over the years.
Jason: I sometimes wonder how people found jobs or built businesses before LinkedIn came around, be honest with you.
Cory: Yeah, because if I didn't have LinkedIn or Instagram, it would eventually be a word of mouth thing. But I probably couldn't have done it.
Jason: I don't think most entrepreneurs realize how often they are going to hear no. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Cory: I hear no all the time. What sucks for me is that I let that get to me. That's something that if you don't let no get to you. Then you're going to do really well in life. I literally had an investor tell me no, two weeks ago. Now we're bringing him on board for 15,000 at 1%. He told me no. I was like, ok I just moved on. Actually, I did better than I usually do, I was actually really confident I was like, whatever, I'm just gonna move on, who cares, we'll find another investor. Then literally the next day, he calls him back and says, Hey, I actually want to put my money in and we're signing the contracts today. I know I get told no all the time. It's from the same people that a lot of times from people and from my perspective. I feel like they're not creative enough. They don't understand what we're doing. Then I get told yes, all the time, too. So, it goes back and forth. You just have to be able to filter through the nos and just wait for the yeses.
Cory: I kept going and I've gotten so many no's since. You just need to find a way to turn those nos into the positives. One thing I started doing is if someone tells me no. I put the name on a list. I don't talk crap or anything. I just put their name on the list. Then when I do succeed, I just look at that list of how many people told me no. Just find a way to put a positive spin on it.
Jason: You know what, I'm doing the exact same thing. Cory, how do you plan on marketing your app?
Cory: There's obviously there are so many typical ways to market the app. I, my advisors and my investors are all about those ways. Putting it on the App Store, putting our market on the App Store. Hiring Instagram influencers. I don't really believe in all that crap. I think I think you could spend a 10th of the money and just be extremely creative and get 100 times the results. But unfortunately, that's not how the world works. So, if we do raise VC, or Angel funding, we will be doing that kind of stuff. You know, that always works out, it always helps. But I believe in creative marketing. I believe in finding a way to stick out in a crowded room. I mean, I see a million ads a day about this fitness company, this T shirt brand. So, we're going to find some creative ways to really stick out in whether it's a funny commercial or something. But the main ways our apps being marketed is aside from the typical ways is through our trainer marketing.
Cory: Basically the way we've structured our app is trainers post about their own programs on the app. They post about how they're selling programs, either working privately with clients and in turn, they're actually promoting us. So, every time a trainer posts on Instagram, saying, hey, follow my program on Westrive. They're essentially promoting, Wetrive for free. So, trainer marketing is a huge way to do it. We also have a referral program for trainers. We're actually gonna be paying trainers 10% of what we make every month for every trainer they bring on board. So, trainers can get to the point where they're making a couple hundred bucks a month. Just in perpetuity just because they brought their friends on board. The podcast is also a way.
Jason: Cory, let's say there is someone out there that wants to build an app. What would you tell that person?
Cory: Tell them to figure something else out. I'm just kidding. People ask me all the time how do you build an app. I think the cool part about building an app and building a platform like this is you kind of have to take your own journey and take your own steps. But I mean, as far as advice goes, I'd say start putting pen to paper. I mean, even right now as we speak a minute before we even hopped on the call. I'm working on our nutrition update. So by next December, we're going to start developing a nutrition update in our app. You can literally work out whenever you want. But you can track all of your all your daily intake you can track you can scan foods like similar apps do that. So basically, we're going to become the ultimate fitness and nutrition app. But anyways, I'm currently designing that right now. I have the idea for how I want the concept to work. I'm not talking to anyone about it. I'm just drawing and drawing and drawing and drawing and redrawing and so my best advice would be to just basically put pen to paper so if you want to build an app
Jason: I think that's great advice Corey, just get started. It is never the perfect time, just get started and start working on it. Corey, I understand you can have some new for our listeners.
Cory: Absolutely. The platform launches in September. We should have some beta testing available I'm not 100% positive. But for anyone listening, that's a trainer we will more than likely have our Westrive platform ready to go. As far as beta testing goes. You'll be able to go to Westriveapp.com and then there will be a trainer section. You can apply to be a beta tester right there. Anyone who wants to email me Cory@westriveapp.com I will send you free programs for days so you can follow any fitness program you want.
Jason: Corey, we are coming to the end of our talk. Can you provide us and our listeners any wisdom or advice you want to talk about on any subject?
Cory: Be very smart about who you bring on your team. As we speak, I'm currently trying to buy back some of my original investors because I brought them on board for just a couple thousand dollars and gave them a couple percent. Now that couple percent is worth anywhere from 30 to 40 K and I'm trying to find a way to give them thousands of dollars to pay them back. In retrospect, instead of getting their thousands of dollars, I could have just worked a little bit harder at my job and put in that money in myself. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was already putting in a lot of money. Be really smart about who you bring on board. This is kind of maybe too advanced for some people. But make sure you have vesting schedules on who you bring on board.
Cory: So, if someone invests in your company or wants to be a part of it, don't just give them 2% up front. Give them a vesting schedule that allows them to slowly grow equity over time. If they quit, that equity doesn't keep rolling, or they lose some of it. So that's the biggest problem that I'm facing right now is that we've actually freed up a lot of cap space recently. Because we want to do a huge VC Angel round soon. But there's so much equity that's just locked in with early investors that had I put them on a vesting schedule, or had I wrote into their contract that at a certain point, they're going to start being diluted. Then I wouldn't even be facing this problem. So, don't spend too much money on legal work either early on. But I mean, definitely take your time, do your research, and make sure those contracts are more than just like a simple, you get this equity for this percentage because I can speak for myself. I'm currently battling that, and my contracts were signed like three years ago.
Cory: My second point, be optimistic. If you're not an optimistic person to find a way to be because you're going to have a ton of crap thrown at you. You're going to have a ton of terrible situations happen. If you can't go, oh, that sucks. I lost $5,000. But I learned my lesson, then you're not going to make it. So I've lost many $5,000 over the years and you know, just kind of find a way to turn it into a lesson and don't make a mistake again.
Jason: For our listeners, we will have Cory's social media links in our show notes and you find the show notes at www.cavnesshrblog.com. Cory, thank you for your time today. I really appreciate it.