Today’s small business highlight is all about Joe Patterson.
I have known Joe since we were in school so that’s over 10 years! Joe to me is a special type of personal trainer because his overall values are so inspiring. His methods surrounding mental health and exercise have worked wonders for me and for the first time in my life, I have abs, eat more consistently and focus on doing the little thing that mentally make me happy whether its a 1 minute plank or a nice long walk.
Joe’s ethos is about empowering people and I see a lot of my business vision in his which is why I wanted to share his story.
Anyway, that’s enough from me. I’ll let Joe explain the rest himself!
- Give a little background about yourself
Let’s start from where I was born, Gainsborough which is in Lincolnshire. I moved to Sheffield as an only child with just my mother. I grew up on an estate called Wybourn, in Sheffield and still live there today. From living in a very small town to a pretty big city, the move has been one of the best things to happen to me and the family. It has lead to crazy opportunities for myself and for my mother. It forced us to make new friends, it forced me become close to friends who are now like brother figures. It moulded me into the man who I am today.
My actual first job was a paper-round when I was 13 years old, nothing glamorous at all! To be honest it was actually not that bad until the company who I used to work before began to take liberties. I had enough, so I’d chuck the papers into a recycling bin then go home. Reduce, reuse and recycle… I have always been a big believer in working efficiently. Looking back I can see a lot of traits what have stuck with me till this day. I like to be around people who stick to their word.
Fast forward a few years to where I fell into fitness at a young age of 18. This was due to me dropping out of college. Why? I did not want to go down the path of university. I preferred the more hands on approach. I wanted to sink my teeth into something interesting. This something has now made me become so passionate, so embodied, so complete me as an individual. That thing is Health and Fitness.
Gym instructing from 2012-2016 has to be the best years of my life in terms of self development. It taught me skills that you cannot learn at school, it brought the best out of me when I did not believe in myself, it forced me to grow spiritually and mentally.
2016-Present is where I am now as a personal trainer, with a combined time in the industry of just over 8 years. I feel like I have only just began and I cannot wait to see where I end up. The snowball effect is still coming on, but this time its helped me to forged a new empire.
- Give a little background on your PT career and Passion To Progress
My career in fitness began in 2012 at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre. I dropped out of college in June/July 2012 and did an apprenticeship for a month before becoming employed in August/ September 2012. This for me was a massive transition which till this day I have never been so thankful for. I never thought that I’d be where I am today. Over the years of being a gym instructor at Ponds Forge, it helped to mould a unique pathway for me. I have been blessed to meet and work with 100’s of people every year, people till this day who I am still in close relations with, which to me is very special.
In 2016 my career thrived, I decided to become self employed and begin my personal training business ‘Joe Patterson PT’. It was an organic progression. I felt it was the right decision for me and ever since then I have never had any regrets. In business as you know there’s plenty of ups and downs. Its helped me to develop and become a better personal and trainer.
I lay foundations in clients health and fitness journeys, as well as advise them on better life decisions. In an essence I see myself as a personal trainer/life coach. The mind has to become strong for the body to respond and react. They both work in unison.
The business over the past year has just evolved into the ‘Passion to Progress’ brand which is a combination of what I have been taught and what I want to teach new comers to the organisation. The reason why I decided to do this is because I want to leave a mark in the fitness industry, not just as myself but a symbol for people to gain discipline/habits from.
Going into the 4th year of being self-employed, continuously re-developing and evolving, I aim to make complicated things simple. There is sophistication in simplicity. My aim is to show people the neutral standing point to fitness and how also show that anybody can do ‘health and fitness’ at any time. It is not necessarily about how much you lift or what you can do, it’s about how much you have developed and how much better you are compared to 30 days ago. Who are you helping? What are you doing to change? Are you as focused as you say you are?
These are lessons that I have had to apply to myself to achieve desired outcomes.
- How/why did you start Passion To Progress?
I began Passion to Progress because due to the fact that I had a broad client base spread across Sheffield. Clients would see me one to two times a week then continue to train at gyms local to them with their custom programs which I tailor for them. This has meant that they could also carry on from home themselves during lock down with my support.
The brand was inspired by my need of owning a brand/hub or something that people of Sheffield can be a part of. I had to produce something because I don’t have my own HQ. I had to make something that added Joe Patterson name into the industry. I had to solidify something which represented my beliefs without it actually saying my name. ‘Passion to Progress’ came to mind and it stuck. There were ideas which were very embarrassing of course but coming from humble begins and knowing that the only way is up, even when I have been struck down, I know that I want to inspire and help people to know about there own worth and that you’re capable of anything when you put your mind to it. It’s my way of covering my clients/supporters from all angles. Angles such as: Personal Training, Podcast, Clothing. A vicious cycle I have produced to help people thrive and help them have a passion to progress within themselves.
- What has been your biggest high?
I do not have one specific high, I do however have moments. Moments such as competing in an Mens Physique competition, placing 3rd and getting invited to the British finals to completing the Sheffield 10k on two weeks notice and again, completing it with the goal of getting every single client across the line in under an hour, all whilst being fit enough to talk whilst doing so, which of course, we all nailed!
I have produced many transformations with clients including their mind and body which keeps me going. Its massive for me to see positive change in a client, it helps me to see and it gives me proof that I can do my job as at times it gets difficult.
I recently helped a client go from beginner to winning his first ever kick boxing match within 8 months and whilst helping out a type 1 diabetic to get herself back on track with training, nutrition and mindset.
I have been head hunted on numerous occasion to work at places all over but it’s never been the right deal and that to me is quite refreshing at times knowing that there is somebody always watching.
I have worked with famous clients such as Ronan Keating, Sheffield United FC and Hallam FM.
The big highs are working with young people in Schools. I see the youth as our future, the new generation, its vital we teach them what we know to help see them win at life. When the kids ask if I am a footballer, it always cracks me up but its all good and I love inspiring the youth.
The above contributes towards giving me a ‘high’. I love inspiring people to make a change within themselves and the others around them. It makes me feel good when I do this, I strongly believe in the law of attraction and putting good things out there to receive them back in one way or another.
Overall, doing my job in general gives me a high (when I work with nice people). I am addicted to progress and I feel like it has always been in my blood to exploit weaknesses and then develop new inner and outer strength with each and every single client. I aspire to ensure that somebody takes a piece of value from myself at a price called time.
- What has been your lowest point with the business?
The lower point for me has to be ‘Hell Week’ which was roughly two years ago now when I was on a business venture with my old business partner. We spent coming up to a year planning to open up our own gym to help bring and show Sheffield what we were about, I quit my personal training role at Ponds Forge and my instructor job at TRIB3 to pursue the ‘dream’ whilst working temporarily from a gym called Muscle Madness which now by the way is my home.
After sacrificing so much physically and mentally to help create this dream, it became apparent that it was not a two way thing. I was just being used to help create the backbone and help set up the business without being actually being paid or credited for efforts. I sacrificed a lot of my self to help others out to get literally nothing in return except to be betrayed by my business partner, who took all of the glory and still to this day he runs the gym.
*Note to people – make sure you double check and read contracts as this can save you.*
It was a low point because it affected my trust with people, hindered my work ethic, questioned my morals and who I can have around me as I split up from my partner at the same time as me walking away from the business.
I call it hell week, because at the tip of the iceberg was me only having £240 to my name to survive on and for me, it struck a chord that this was not right. A bit late to notice I know but in life we learn. I will never forget the day, as it was so cold and I was that stressed that I had to go to the doctors to get my body checked out. That stress is something that I would not wish upon anyone in my whole entire life. Not even to my worst enemy. The reason why it hit me hard because a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the project of opening up the gym. Even my clients, friends and family knew how much it meant to me and how much it hurt for me to walk away despite actually labouring in the gym like a joiner and balancing my own training as well as personal training my clients on the side as well to sustain income. To this day, it has by far been the biggest lesson of my life so far as I am not liable to £50,000 of debt and I no longer am in contact with such a person. It’s a priceless lesson and it taught me a lot in hindsight, which I am now very grateful for and it makes me believe that everything actually happens for a reason. What If that did not happened? I certainly would not be here right now. The knowledge gained from the setback has been unreal and if anything it propelled me forwards in business to do the right thing and strive for greatness.
- Who do you think are your biggest supporters?
My biggest supporters are my family, friends, clients and hopefully my followers on social media. They all want to see me do well as they know how much ‘Passion to Progress’ means to me. I try not to talk about work when i’m outside of work but its too hard as work is life and my life is work.
My mum has had my back no matter what and she has been outstanding through out my whole entire process. She has helped to keep me in line since I first dropped out of college, taught me a lot of very valuable lessons and has been the father figure in my life to help keep me on path towards my destiny. I just think it’s amazing how one person can do all of this.
My close family members see what I do every week and I have to give a progress update on business and how I am. This is to ensure that I do not go insane and that everything remains results driven whilst being able to smell the flowers along the way. The love being involved with me to ensure that I’m well to still help others.
My other half has been unreal, she understands my ambition to succeed. It helps us as well as them. It keeps me content and keeps my mind on target. Having support from all angles helps to keep my mind at ease also ensures that I can have a shoulder to cry on (literally) for when the times do get really hard, but it also gives me purpose. Business aside, you want to come back to a home not a house and that is something that she has taught me. Price-less. Remember life is too short.
Close friends as well, the ones who have been there since day one. If it wasn’t for my friends, I would struggle with work/balance and also its good to have those around to support the brand whole-heartedly. I feel like it is a little advantage that I have as its good to sometimes talk about goals and share ideas and draw inspiration away from conversations.
Finally, I can’t forget about the unreal client base that I have been blessed with. They have helped me in return which is a blessing in itself. I honestly think I work with some amazing people and I only have God to thank for blessing me with such people and lessons. Without them I would not exist, it is as simple as that.
- Where do you see the Passion To Progress brand going?
My vision with Passion to Progress is for me to own a facility which is not only a gym but a hub for people to come in workout, chill, congregate. Then for me and my team to mill through and have an environment suitable for PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). I can see this going worldwide, the ethos is in the name – Passion to Progress. I want to help show people their own worth and I want to travel around the world.
I want to conduct talks to enlighten people, I want to record and carry out live workouts to inspire people and then create clothing to cover peoples backs.
Even when I eventually retire, I want the brand to keep on going and impact on peoples lives someway or another. For me, deep down in my gut, I know it is the right thing to do. It’s why I have said no to so many things in the past, it’s why I wake up every day and it’s why I do what I do.
I just want to have a positive impact.
- Do you believe it is important to collaborate and why?
Yes, I do believe it is important BUT you have to be very careful, I have been given a lot of opportunities to collaborate. Examples such as starring on shows such as: Love Island, Shipwrecked, The Circle, Celebs Go Dating have been ways for me to collaborate and become ‘Instagram Famous’ but to me it has never come across my mind to jump at the this as I feel it would destroy what I believe in lead a false life.
Everything that’s ‘glitter ain’t gold’. Kudos to the people doing their thing though. A big point in my career was shortly after the bust up with me and my old business partner. I got the chance to pack up and leave to move over and work at Dubai with a friend who I am grateful to have met. However, it just doesn’t seem right for me. All of the fancy things just don’t sit well with me. I have never known why, but if I didn’t say no to those things, I’d never have gotten to where I am right now. I personally feel that we get tests on purpose to see what we are made of.
Personally for me in business, perennial success is what I aspire to achieve. Nothing short- term or medium, but long term. I want to carry on building up from the bottom as I was given a 0 hour working contract to now where I can currently work from home, choose to work with who I want to, create products, do podcast episodes all in the name of developing and building my brand.
I have worked with insanely good trainers, nutritionists, sport therapists and companies who have all played parts in helping me be me. So, my advice is to never be afraid to ask questions but to also follow your GUT instincts. It is very easy to fall into traps. Yes, we will come across a few but that’s life. Just make sure you learn from them. Collaborate, take risks and prosper but make sure it correlates with what YOU want to achieve.
- Who would be your ultimate collaboration?
Without a shadow of a doubt it has to be Nike. From a young age I always have wanted to be involved with Nike. I don’t know what it is, but everything seems to be so clean. From the branding to the actual products, everything seems awesome to me. Their support for athletes is also immense and they collaborate with hubs and facilities too, which I want to aim for in the next 5 years. The always seem to be killing it in the most creative ways. They collaborate with people such as OffWhite, LeBron James and big teams and names around the world. Hopefully one day, I’ll be a part of there process with passion to progress.
- Any advice to other young entrepreneurs in your position who want to be entrepreneurs themselves?
The main bit of advice what I have for the young ones out there is to follow your dreams. It’s bit like when your parents tell you NOT to play out and then you sneak out and do it and end up having some of the greatest times out there with friends. You know you shouldn’t be doing it but its feels too good not to do it.
By this I mean, follow your heart and gut. The path is not always clear, nobody has it all figured out and as an adult, I to this day, still seek advice and learn constantly to ensure that my mind and body is right.
Be open to advice, but nit pick the things that apply to you and what ever you do, do it with passion and have a passion to progress in it.
Half arsing things and winging it will only take you so far before you need to have a plan, a mission and a purpose. My purpose is a lot greater than just having a phenomenal business. I want to be able to provide for my future wife, family and my own kids. This is the key to life. To make sure that you’re fulfilled and you achieve what you want to achieve.
From coming from such humble begins to me, I sometimes stop to smell the flowers along the way. Do not forget to do this also because life is very short and along my journey a co-worker of mine committed suicide because he was struggling mentally. I never expected it and neither did his family but it taught me a big lesson. What I took away from this is that you must express your TRUE feelings and not to be ashamed. Do not let the demons eat you up from inside, but aim for the top and if you get side-tracked, just learn.
There is no harm in learning, experience is priceless and now when I look back, the setbacks, misfortunes, bad clients, missed payments, betrayals, speed humps, bad days, ugly days and even the good days, highs, lows, crazy events, achievements etc. all have served a purpose to make me a better human today.
As a stubborn person, sometimes you just have to accept things as they are and just get cracking on. Every moment is that special moment. We’re all going to die regardless of what anyone thinks, so why not leave a mark but change the world in our own unique way.