The Journey, Not the Destination [Matej Varhalik]

“Business is like life, you can’t cut corners.

Just one of the inspiring pieces of advice that came out of my interview with Matej Varhalik. CEO and Founder of Speedfit.

For Matej, it is that focus on the journey, and all that comes with it – the good, the bad, the ugly – that helps you and your business learn, grow and, ultimately, be successful.

And his journey is an inspiring one.

The native Slovakian immigrated to Australia in 2013 with dreams to build his fitness business.

It was a risky move.

The technology used in SpeedFit, a European fitness technology called EMS (electronic muscle stimulation), had been successful in Slovakia but was never before seen in Australia.

Plus, after immigrating, Matej quickly learned that his grasp of the English language wasn’t ‘business English’ standard and he struggled to make sales calls over the phone and email.

And on top of that, he was having to negotiate the lengthy Australian VISA process.

Despite these challenges, Matej managed to build his business up to five SpeedFit studios within just 4 years.

Then it seemed that his hard work had paid off when he was invited to appear on Channel 10’s Shark Tank. But, when Matej and his business partner were faced with low offers from two of the sharks, Janine Allis and Steve Baxter, they turned them down. It was seemingly another bump in the road for the business.

“[They were] a little dismissive about the business, believing EMS to be a fad. We knew already that we could not succeed with an investor who had that kind of attitude,” Matej said of his decision.

But, true to his philosophy, this new hurdle did not deter them, but instead was a key learning experience for them. Matej was at the beginning of the journey, thinking about his other projects and believed it was too far advanced for what he was willing to give up at the time.

Through backing himself and much hard work, Matej was able to continue on his business journey his way. Since that time, he has expanded into a franchise model and now has 22 locations across Australia.

“Everything in life happens for a reason, it is how you react to things.. It helps you bounce back better than before”.

Now in his busy life balancing the business, a working relationship with his wife Zuzana (who now works in SpeedFit), and spending quality time with the family, Matej’s journey is still going.

For Matej, there will never be a time when you sit back and think that everything is complete; “success is enjoying what you do… and the ‘to-do’ list is never-ending”.

But as Matej continues on his journey, he feels he is 100% successful.

Enjoy Episode 15 of It’s Never About Money.

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