Georgio Batsinilas is the co-founder of FitazFK (or Fitaz Functional Kinetics), a 28-day fitness and nutrition program, and which now comprises a bricks and mortar gym in Brisbane. Georgio and his co-founder, Aaron McAllister both invested $10K at the outset and recovered their costs within the first 24 hours of launching the program. They attribute this largely to a solid influencer marketing plan (331K people follow FitazFK closely on Instagram). In the lead-up to Georgio hosting his upcoming Collective101 masterclass, we got to know his story a little more.
What you were doing career wise when you founded FitazFK?
I’ve been in the fitness industry since 2007 and have worn multiple hats working as a PT, gym manager, shop manager, fitness leader with Brisbane City Council, and then eventually heading into teaching. I taught Certificate III, IV, and Diploma of Fitness. I was teaching when I started FitazFK.
When was the idea hatched?
My co-founder and mate, Aaron McAllister, owned a corporate health business which was called FitAz. I initially wanted to buy the business name off him, but we decided to join forces and get into this together. I loved the term so much, I started an Instagram account called FitazFK. We built our account based off this hashtag, posting inspirational, informative and engaging fitness posts.
After a few months of posting (we were at about 50K followers at this stage), we created a landing page and posted a teaser image asking our followers to sign-up and express their interest in an online fitness guide we were developing. My partner, Thessy Kouzoukas (founder and co-owner of Sabo Skirt), was piloting a version of the guide and promoting her results on Instagram.
Before you know it, we had 13K subscriptions on our database. I remember receiving so many notifications via MailChimp saying our database was growing. Back then, I barely even knew how to log into MailChimp. After receiving a huge amount of interest, Aaron and I knew we had to build this thing and get it out fast!
When was the business founded?
Our business was founded in the early 2000s by Aaron, which was originally called FITAZ. He ran it as a national corporate health business, where he would complete fitness overhauls around Australia. In 2007, Aaron hit me up to run some bootcamps for him and the relationship ended up with us combining forces in 2014 to create FitazFK. We both invested $10K each into this thing and we just knew it was going to work.
And what were the first steps you took to get it off the ground?
We changed our name to FitazFK and gaining traction around this on our Instagram platform. This was when it was a lot easier to build and grow your brand quickly on Instagram. It was new, fresh and we were hungry to succeed!
We then launched the program on April 2, 2015. We recovered our costs within the first 24 hours. Within six weeks, we were working with influencers all around the world to push our guide. Influencer marketing wasn’t really a thing back then; not many businesses were working with “influencers” so it was a lot easier (and super cost-effective) and was a really easy way to grow traffic to your website.
What was some of the research that went into creating FitazFK?
We really took the time and invested the resources to understand our audience. Not just who they are, but what they actually do. We researched things such as what they do when they wake up first thing in the morning, what is the first thing they do on their phone, their general interests, to even what type of transport they use. We dove into this so deeply, we have a 14-page document on our target audience.
What is the program’s unique selling point/how does it differ to similar offerings?
Where do I even start! Firstly, FitazFK is a unique method. It isn’t just six exercises thrown in together to make one workout. Our workouts have an even balance in movement and muscle groups being used. For example, our full body workout will have an upper body to lower body exercise flow consisting of a vertical push, horizontal push, vertical pull and horizontal pull. It also has an even spread with anterior and posterior lower body exercises. We like to mix things up, keep it interesting, so our guys and girls don’t get bored!
It has an accountability method with the minute on the minute element, sort of creating a PT sensation giving you accountability and ensuring you can’t fail. It’s essentially only 18 minutes of work (the other 10 minutes are derived from 5 minutes warm-up and 5 minutes cool down). As you can see, it’s a formula and a well thought-out, researched method. Not many programs out there have put this much thought and detail into their method.
How have you been able to grow such a sizeable following?
Living and breathing Instagram. We know the algorithms that are trending when we need to know them. Our following is OK, but what we have is a strong consumer following. Meaning the majority of our 311K followers are waiting to buy. A lot of people confuse massive accounts or high like ratios that have non-consumer followers as awesome, when this isn’t the case.
What were some of the learning curves you had to face in starting your own business?
Again, where do I start…accounting, email communication, trust, staffing, to name a few.
What has been the biggest challenge in creating FitazFK?
Making sure we are up to date with new ways to market and sell. With social media, it changes every day and this challenge is to stay current. In saying this, it’s sort of fun. Definitely keeps you on your toes.
What’s next for the brand in 2018?
We’ve just opened up our first bricks and mortar FitazFK Gym. This has always been a big dream for us and to see it come to life has been really special. It literally brings our FitazFK Method to life to our customers and members in Brisbane. But next on the cards, we are exploring activewear. But let’s talk about that another day.