E032 - How To Make Progress In Your Life *quickly* | Charlie Mardon

Added: Feb 12, 2024

In this podcast episode, Charlie Mardon discusses his journey of opening multiple gyms under the brand Ultraflex. He talks about his inspiration for starting the gyms, the challenges he faced, and the strategies he used to make them successful.

Key takeaways


Starting a successful gym franchise requires strategically choosing locations, and creating a unique selling point to stand out in the market.


Managing multiple business ventures involves delegating responsibilities, partnering with individuals who share the vision, and maintaining a focus on overall strategy.


Charlie was inspired by Dorian Yates to emphasize quality training, intensity, and disciplined recovery in his approach to fitness.


Funding gym ventures through self-financing and partnerships allows for greater control over the business and minimizes financial risks associated with loans.


Diversifying investments across industries like wealth management, property, and other businesses provides opportunities for growth and mitigates risks.

Starting the Gyms

Charlie Mardon was inspired to open his own gyms after realizing the lack of high-quality fitness facilities in the UK. He wanted to create a space that offered top-notch equipment and a great training atmosphere. His passion for training and competing drove him to establish Ultraflex gyms in various locations.

Choosing Locations

When deciding on where to open a gym, Charlie considers factors like local competition, car parking availability, and the demand for premium fitness facilities in the area. He strategically places the gyms 45 minutes to an hour apart to ensure accessibility for members. He also collaborates with business partners who bring in expertise and existing gym equipment to streamline the process.

Funding and Finance

Charlie finances the gyms through his wealth management business and brings in business partners to share the investment. By self-funding the gyms, he avoids high-interest rates and financial risks associated with loans. This approach allows him to maintain control over the business and make decisions based on his vision for the gyms.

Launching and Marketing

The launch of the first gym in Leeds was a slow start as people were not familiar with the Ultraflex brand. However, through strategic marketing on social media and word of mouth, the gym gained popularity. Charlie emphasizes the importance of creating a unique selling point for the gyms to stand out in a competitive market.

Expansion and International Venture

After the success of the first gym, Charlie expanded to multiple locations in the UK. He recently announced the opening of a gym in Athens, marking his first international venture. The decision to expand to Athens was based on the demand for high-quality gyms in the area and the potential for growth in a new market.

Challenges and Obstacles

Opening gyms in different locations comes with its challenges, including dealing with landlords, obtaining planning permissions, and navigating local regulations. Charlie highlights the importance of having a good understanding of the legal requirements and building relationships with local authorities to fast-track the process.

Managing Multiple Locations

To manage multiple gyms effectively, Charlie partners with individuals who have equity in the business and a vested interest in its success. This allows him to focus on the overall strategy and vision for the gyms while his partners oversee the day-to-day operations. By delegating responsibilities and selecting the right partners, he ensures that each gym runs smoothly.

Training Philosophy and Inspiration

Charlie's training philosophy is influenced by bodybuilding legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Dorian Yates. He emphasizes the importance of quality over quantity in training, focusing on intensity and recovery. His inspiration comes from Dorian Yates' disciplined approach to training and dedication to pushing beyond limits.

Training with Dorian Yates

Charlie shares his experience of training with Dorian Yates, where he learned the value of intensity and pushing oneself to the limit. He admires Dorian's work ethic and mental attitude towards training, which has influenced his own approach to fitness. By following Dorian's principles of stimulation over annihilation, Charlie aims to achieve optimal results in his training.

Balancing Fitness with Travel

Despite his busy schedule and frequent travels, Charlie prioritizes his gym sessions by blocking out time for training in his diary. He acknowledges the challenges of maintaining a routine while traveling but emphasizes the importance of making time for shorter, productive sessions. By planning ahead and staying disciplined, he ensures that fitness remains a key focus in his lifestyle.

Wealth Management Business

Charlie's wealth management business focuses on advising clients on investments, pensions, tax, and estate planning. He emphasizes the importance of saving and investing for the future, especially for retirement. He mentions that it is crucial to have a personalized financial plan based on individual goals and circumstances. He also highlights the significance of diversification in investments to mitigate risks.

Property Investment

Charlie has invested in property primarily in the north of England, where he has seen good returns due to high yields and demand exceeding supply. He mentions that leveraging property investments can magnify returns but also increase risks. He shares his experience with property investments in cities like Leeds, Doncaster, and Wakefield, where he has seen capital appreciation and rental income.

Nightclub and Bar Industry

In addition to wealth management and property investments, Charlie has ventured into the nightclub and bar industry in Leeds. He talks about the importance of offering a range of experiences for customers, from VIP booths to affordable table options. He emphasizes the need to provide a positive and inclusive environment for patrons to enjoy their night out.

Investing in Various Businesses

Charlie has invested in a diverse range of businesses, including physiotherapy, barber shops, fintech, supplements, aesthetics, gymnastics centers, recruitment, bakeries, and MMA. He mentions that he looks for opportunities where he can support entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses and providing guidance on growth strategies. His approach involves finding great people with promising business ideas and helping them succeed.

Recruiting the Right People

When it comes to recruiting employees, Charlie emphasizes the importance of work ethic and attitude. He looks for individuals with a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, and resilience. He mentions that while interviewing candidates, asking effective questions and observing their behavior can help in identifying the right fit for the team. He also discusses the challenges of letting go of underperforming employees and the importance of setting clear expectations and deadlines for improvement.

Building a Personal Brand

Charlie acknowledges the importance of building a personal brand and increasing visibility, especially in the wealth management industry. He recognizes the potential opportunities that come with having a trusted and respected personal brand, which can attract clients and business opportunities. He mentions his focus on social media for promoting his gyms and leisure businesses but acknowledges the need to expand his presence in the wealth management sector.

Managing Relationships and Equity

In managing relationships with employees, Charlie discusses offering performance-based incentives such as equity or benefits to maximize productivity. He mentions that providing employees with a stake in the business can increase their motivation and commitment to its success. He emphasizes the importance of setting clear performance measures and rewarding employees based on their contributions to the company's growth.

Transitioning to Entrepreneurship

Transitioning from a corporate job to entrepreneurship, Charlie found fulfillment in building his own business and working with passionate individuals. He mentions the importance of surrounding oneself with successful and driven individuals to stay motivated and continuously improve. He also touches on the changing trends in content creation, noting a shift towards more authentic and relatable content.

Mentorship and Giving Back

Charlie reflects on his experience with mentorship, emphasizing the impact it had on his personal and professional growth. He recalls a mentor who provided valuable guidance and insights, prompting him to pay it forward by mentoring others. He finds joy in helping others succeed and staying motivated by their enthusiasm and drive.

Surrounding Oneself with Success

Charlie highlights the importance of surrounding oneself with successful individuals to stay motivated and inspired. He shares how being in the company of high achievers pushes him to strive for more and continuously improve. By immersing himself in a network of successful individuals, he finds motivation to pursue new opportunities and challenges.

The Importance of Hard Work

Charlie emphasizes the role of hard work and dedication in achieving success. He acknowledges the challenges and setbacks that come with entrepreneurship but believes that consistent effort and perseverance are key to long-term success. By staying focused on his goals and surrounding himself with motivated individuals, he continues to push himself to new heights.

Balancing Personal and Professional Life

As a father and entrepreneur, Charlie prioritizes maintaining a healthy work-life balance. He values spending time with his family and staying active to ensure his well-being. By staying fit and healthy, Charlie aims to set a positive example for his son and enjoy a fulfilling personal life alongside his professional endeavors.

Future Plans and Goals

Looking ahead, Charlie shares his plans to expand his gym franchise, UltraFlex, and grow his wealth management business in Dubai. He aims to open new offices in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia to reach a wider audience and offer financial services to a broader clientele. By focusing on business expansion and personal well-being, Charlie strives to achieve long-term success and fulfillment in his career.


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