If you don’t know who I am by now, my name is Rocco Castellano… and I want to give you the confidence be a better person in every part of your life. To either drive your business from just surviving and living paycheck to paycheck … to actually thriving and living your life with absolute significance.
In order to thrive in every aspect of your life you need to be extraordinary. That is what I want.
And what is better than creating an extraordinary life anyway. Why settle for average? You’re no asshole..
What did I Discover along the way to becoming who I am today?
From a Stuttering kid, afraid of everything to Millionaire Author, Speaker, Fitness Personality and self described Jeopardy Head
What my business card used to say was… Author, Speaker, Fitness Personality. A testament to where I was and my journey to becoming a multi-millionaire fitness personality… and what a journey it was. Now… you couldn’t get my number if my life depended on it.
Ever since I was a kid I always worked hard and made money. When I was 6 years old I shined shoes every morning at the Bus Stop in front of my Apartment complex on Shaler Blvd in Ridgefield, NJ… humping my shine box to make sure I got at least 4 shines before the bus drove away with my customers.
When I was 10 years old I worked as a gopher for a construction company making 10-12 dollars a day to cook my brother’s dinner every night when my mother worked the graveyard shift… I’d do anything to keep from getting back on welfare and using food stamps to buy food at the local grocery store.
And to make it worse … at the age of 5 I developed a really bad stutter that kept me from communicating what I really wanted. My own mother would try to figure out what I was trying to say by guessing at what I wanted. If I started stuttering and the sound K,K,K,K,K,K,K,K,K,K came out of my mouth, my mother in rapid fire would spew the words Cake, Cat, Coffee Can, Coat and eventually Cookie, which I feebly nodded my head forward in acceptance of a cookie from the cookie jar… even though I wanted to ask her if I “could” go outside and play with my friends. I took the cookie and ran out to play without asking… it was just too much work.
My stuttering became such a hassle that even my Guidance Counselor at school told me that I should “learn a trade” so I wouldn’t have to speak too often for my work. I did take up a trade and learned Masonry and Carpentry from two awesome mentors Michael Broderick and Ricky Venasanos but realized quickly that I would rather not break my balls too hard for my living… I still semi-mastered my trades but worked for my “Cousins” part time at a gym called North Jersey Health Club. They weren’t really my cousins … but that’s another story completely.
The fitness bug hit me hard and I was good at it… the only problem was I still stuttered and found myself only cleaning showers, emptying garbage and vacuuming the gym… I really wanted to be like my “cousin” Frank and train people… well… I became so fit, so strong and so tough that my “cousin” put me to work in his other “family” business… and I was good at that too.
It was like an episode from the Soprano’s… really. Rocco this is Joey… now break his leg.
Breaking bones seemed to come naturally to me… because I couldn’t really talk I just snapped fingers, toes or maybe an elbow or nose. Nothing to it.
The only problem with that was the Authorities were always looking over our shoulders… not a good way to live your life… always trying to Survive. I needed to get out of just surviving and get something stable.
I knew I needed a change… but I had no road map… I had no idea how to change my life… I just knew it had to change… through sheer determination and tenacity I decided to find a way to stop stuttering. I stuttered my way through many a sales pitch at the gym… I spoke in front of crowds in School and as one of the Captains of the Wrestling Team I lead Pep rallies… screw it… I was on a mission.
… then life steps in and slaps you in the face! My bone breaking acumen got me in a little trouble that sent me a way for a year… a year to think about how I was going to be a millionaire.
In jail I overcame much of my stuttering… I really had to learn to communicate quickly and efficiently because my Sensai Carlos told me before going in that “I should never, ever fight with anyone because I would be showing my cards… and it was always better to keep them guessing about the big tough “white guy”.
I took that advice seriously… and studied the dictionary and thesaurus everyday looking for words I could say. Because I stuttered on sounds like “G”, ” B”, and “W” I changed the word from “get” to “ acquire”, or “bring” to “take” or “work” to “task”… it was like my world changed… I was able to speak and communicate. Now I was ready to build my future. I threw away all my Mafia history and handbooks and studied every sales, marketing and business strategy from Tom Peters, “In Search of Excellence” , Eliyahu Goldratt’s, “The Goal” to Jay Levinson’s, “Guerilla Marketing.
Because I couldn’t speak growing up… I listened… a lot… one of my true father figures, a great man named Ed Bogosian told me… “if you have no money, your best investment is knowledge”. I studied and studied… when I got out of jail I decided to start my own business armed with all the knowledge I had accumulated… the first business I was to “acquire” was my “cousins” gym. In my first deal, the details I’ll disclose when we meet, I was able to take over the gym I grew up in.
When I look back at my story I realize that I had an uncanny ability to look into the future… like I had a crystal ball… to get myself out of being stuck. I had to develop that skill because I needed to make more money in less time. And even today I use that same skill I developed in my youth to get myself and my clients results… to a place they need to be.
In 1991 I saw an ad in Muscle & Fitness for a brand new profession that I could get “Certified” in without a College Diploma and bought a plane ticket to Chicago to become one of the first 400 Personal Trainers Certified by Bob Goldman’s National Academy of Sports Medicine and became the only “Certified Personal Trainer” in New Jersey. I used that statement in a big $15,000 Yellow Pages ad (remember them… before you Googled anything) that landed me my first Personal Training client… actually it was a Progressive Corporation that wanted to add an amenity of a personal trainer for their bond trading employees. Being the “only” Personal Trainer in New Jersey had it’s perks. I went to the interview and was hired on the spot for $25 bucks an hour… who wouldn’t want a “personal trainer” named Rocco?
If there is only one thing that I learned with my time in the “Family” business… it is that your past always comes back to haunt you… again it did. This time I beat up the wrong guy… so my “cousins” told me it was a good idea to get out of New Jersey. Get out of Jersey I did. I borrowed money from some friends and got on a Greyhound Bus to Cincinnati, OH… 14 hours later and $60 dollars in my pocket… I set out to change the world… OK… the fat people in Cincinnati… but I did set out… and set out I did.
Within the first six month’s I met a friend who owned a Hair Salon named “Strands”. I made a deal to Personally train him for use of his vacate room to do massage. He jumped at the chance to have that amenity as well as be trained.
Within the first three months I worked at Strands, I got in front of enough people and talked about Personal Training that I had to give up doing Massage and wound up training a full list of clients at a place called “The Boathouse for $25 bucks a session, making $5000.00 my first month … I really busted my ass.
90 days later I had my own 800 square foot facility making $10,000 a month… basically doubling my income. Big problem though… I doubled my income but was working 5:30am to Midnight everyday… including Sundays.
This is when it all turned around… I put one of my lessons to work… “Get yourself in front of the right people”, so I did… I hung out at a Bar where all the radio jocks hung out and met… Jimmy the Weasel. Jimmy saw some great potential on having me on the Dawn Patrol and from that I met a now long time friend Rick Consolo who asked me to visit “The Gary Burbank Show”… and that’s when my Celebrity began to build… Nobody was a better teacher than 2 time Marconi Winner Gary Burbank to teach a kid named Rocco from New Jersey how to be on radio… my attitude and Gary’s tutelage created a Celebrity juggernaut.
With my Celebrity building I decided to do something everyone told me wouldn’t work… I more than doubled my prices, and something strange happened.
I attracted a better client and reduced my workload by half!
Within 1 year I went from “0” dollars to making $60,000.00, $120,000.00 to $250,000.00 and buying my first 1600 sq. ft. facility at 519 Main Street, Covington, KY.
The next year I stumbled upon the best client retention system… I told the truth. It worked so well that I had a waiting list of more than 100 people… and I started firing the clients that didn’t live up to the “Rocco’s” standard.
They went kicking and screaming because no one wanted to leave… results didn’t lie.
Everything was going so well that I opened a facility across the river in Downtown Cincinnati on 7th Street… and started a boot camp as well as personal training… that was 2001
At this point I hit Significance. I had 2 facilities, 4 trainers, 4 group fitness trainers, an admin staff, was on the #1 Radio Show, had the #1 Column on the Web & Newsstand, and was a regular on all the news outlets… specifically “Sports Rock” with Ken Broo and George Vogel.
Today I want for you what I was able to do for myself.