Four years ago, Dwayne Hern decided he needed a change – a major one. To prevent burnout, which he felt sure was heading his way, he sold his business, his car and everything else he owned and left Joburg.
He hit the road, travelling until he reached Knysna. The plan was to eventually reach Bali, but a brief stint coaching at a local gym in the seaside village was the perfect stop over.
Four years later, Dwayne and his partners are running a new lifestyle-oriented gym with a difference. “I had ten years’ experience running gyms and the owner of the gym I was coaching at, Chris, we looking for some assistance. It was a good fit and I soon bought in, making the decision to stay in Knysna,” says Dwayne.
What we love about Dwayne’s entrepreneurial journey are all the similarities between entrepreneurialism and fitness – all of which are evident in The Club Knysna, Dwayne and Chris’s gym.
It’s all about community
“I believe that movement heals,” says Dwayne. “Many of our members come to us with physical and emotional issues. They want to feel better about themselves. Ultimately, movement is a great healer. We’ve seen how powerful physical change can be in emotions as well. The key is that it comes down to community.”
The reality is that anyone can work out in their backyard, and yet very few people do. They need the support and encouragement of their peers, a great coach and expert advise. Building a business is the same.
“The Club was a lockdown project,” says Dwayne. “We were running a crossfit but wanted to create a safe space for people to train that was completely non-judgemental. There are no mirrors and the coaching is completely personal.”
Gyms are also an excellent way to meet people, and as more and more South Africans are choosing to leave big cities for smaller towns, The Club is a place for like-minded people to find each other.
Play the long game
“I’ve spent 15 years bumping my head and learning lessons and one of them is that where we used to approach fitness as how hard could we push, I’ve learnt that it’s actually about helping people to view themselves and their health in an entirely new way. It’s not about what I will look like next week or next month, but in 15 years’ time.”
As we know, businesses are the same – the foundation you put in place today will shape your business tomorrow.
Focus on small, incremental changes
Push too hard and too fast when you start training and you can injure yourself. “This just ends up having the opposite effect of what you were going for in the first place,” says Dwayne. “Slow and steady is a far more effective strategy. Small changes that build on each other. Small wins that lead to new habits. That’s how you achieve your goals.”
And what does that look like in business? It’s not trying to be everything to everyone and grow too quickly. It’s having a plan in place and sticking to it. And most importantly, it’s celebrating the small wins and enjoying the journey.
For a sneak peek into The Club Knysna and Dwayne’s journey, watch the full video here: link
To support Dwayne’s business (even if you don’t live in Knysna):