Interview with Kaylin Pyles
Fitness Pro Kaylin Pyles is a Fitness Trainer in Ohio. Her background in integrated mathematics and athletics makes her a great asset to the PocketSuite Pro community. Kaylin talks to CEO, Chinwe Onyeagoro, about how she determined what she wanted for her own life and helps other women do the same.
First of all, your energy is amazing, your community is vibrant, and you just seem to be on point. You’re focused on fitness training, but also helping people just live great lives. I’d love to hear your story. Where did you start in your career and how did you end up here?
My business is The Higher Standard, and that is very deeply rooted in past experiences of my own of just always thinking in my head that I can do better, I can do better. I can do better for myself in a lot of different pockets and moments in my life where I found myself settling. I find that a lot of women can really resonate with that. That’s really where The Higher Standard came from is a compilation of those experiences and calling myself out. So this community, The Higher Standard, is all about that. Just women empowerment, forming a community of women who can call each other out by just saying, “You can do better,” and obviously, really deeply rooted in your health and fitness because we can all take better care of our bodies, our health, and ultimately, our mindset, too. Our body and mindset are so in tune with one another.
As far as getting into the health and fitness world, I was an athlete my entire life. I got a scholarship to play softball at Ohio University. I played all four years there and so very athletic background. I really loved it. I picked my strength and conditioning coach’s brain while I was there all four years and really fell in love with it.
And what was the pivot into this lifestyle brand that you’re building?
For a lot of us females, growing up we are always listening to what everyone else tells us to do. I’m very grateful that I listened to my dad. He told me to play softball. That got me a scholarship, but I majored in integrated mathematics. I don’t know why I did that. I did that because I was told to do it. Again, I had this stage where I was like, “When am I going to do what I want?”. It’s like, “What am I good at?” and so I did that. Graduated, taught high school math for a while, and I got to a point where I decided, “Okay, I just need to go do what I want.” That’s where it all really rooted from. Finally, doing that for my body, my mind, my career, and my relationships. I found myself just listening to other people all the time and settling into what they wanted me to do. I think the biggest point in my life was right after college. I moved to Michigan for a boy.
Classic. I really saw that he was thriving. He loved what he did. He’s a great guy, but man, it was just one of those situations. I was like, “Here I am, again, everything looks perfect on paper, but in here, it wasn’t for me.” I decided to find roommates on Craigslist that year and moved from Michigan to North Carolina. I’m going to figure it out. I’m just going to figure it out. I’m not going to listen to what others say. I’m just really going to go where I want to go and do what I want to do. If I fail in doing it, cool. I’ll build it back up some way, somehow. I don’t know how I got that. I think I just built that much trust with myself because if I can perform so well for others, I probably could do way better just performing for myself. I showed myself over and over and over again how well I can do that for other people. I was like, “I know I’ve got this by myself”, so it was definitely time to go ahead and do that.
It’s crazy how we can believe in other people’s vision and dreams and execute against that for them, but believing in ourselves is actually a harder lift. You’re a mathematician and an athlete and now a really successful entrepreneur. What was the hardest part about starting your business?
Oh man, I think the hardest part is doing it alone. So it’s funny that we mentioned Eddie in the beginning of this call because I think the hardest part is, as you are deciding to go down this path, it’s really hard to keep going when you’re doing it alone. I think the hardest part is finding someone who believes in your vision and who believes in you. I met Eddie online. For some reason, he believed in me so hard. I had no idea why, but he just did. I just held onto that and that helped me just push, push, push, push. I was like, “Okay, I’m not crazy. Someone else sees this vision, too.” I don’t know why, but he did. Definitely, he and I met at such a perfect time at the beginning of my business. He helped me really catapult and empower my belief in myself and my business and my vision overall.
I think when it comes to building a community, as the leader, as the coach, you had to have a sticky message. You have to be raw and real and transparent.
That first follower, right? That’s all you need is that first follower and then the rest happens. As you set out, how big was your vision initially and where is it now? What was that first milestone that you set for yourself, “If I can do this, I’m going places.”
That’s actually a really funny question because I feel like in fitness, I think a lot of us start off with, “Oh, if I can just get one in-person client, I made it,” right? Then you do that. Then you’re like, “Oh, okay. Now, if I get 30 I’ve made it.” Then obviously online coaching. I started my business back in 2017, so online coaching was coming up. I was just like, “I want to play around in that area, too, because I made such a mark in that one city, what if I can make a mark broader than that?” I dabbled in that a little bit. Then I was just like, “Oh, shoot, people are catching on. People followed me from more than just Columbus, Ohio.” I really started going that way.
Honestly, my vision has just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. I think now it’s endless. Now, we’re a team of six, hiring our seventh right now, which is absolutely amazing. It’s so amazing. The coaching staff is absolutely incredible. We have a sales team. We have a social media team. I had no idea that that was even a possibility when I first started. I was just playing small at first. I was like, “Okay, I’ve got to do this first step and then the first step will go into the second and we’ll see how this goes.” Now that I’m really seeing it, I went from coach to straight up entrepreneur. I love the building side. I love having the vision, doing this and doing that, hiring, outsourcing, and creating this. I definitely stepped a little bit away from the coaching side because we have such a magnificent coaching staff whose pure job is to coach. That’s it.
They don’t have to do anything. They don’t have to do sales. They don’t want to do anything else, except for just talking to their clients. I handle everything else. I think that that’s what I’ve really fallen into. I am the creator, the visionary. I think that the possibilities are endless now. I know that we’ll get there. The Higher Standard is already gone all over America, but we have clients in London. We have clients in Canada. We have clients in South Africa and Australia. Yeah, it’s pretty unique. It’s really, really cool how you can create a sticky message. I think my story really resonates with a lot of women who feel like they’re stuck or feel like they have settled and they really want to be a part of that movement. I do think that this is going to be a movement because a lot of women can relate to it.
You have really gotten it right when it comes to building an online community of people who support one another. Tell us what the full Higher Standard program experience is.
I think when it comes to building a community, as the leader, as the coach, you had to have a sticky message. You have to be raw and real and transparent. I think one of the biggest things that I see with other coaches that I see on social media is maybe doing a little bit too much of a highlight reel. I feel like we all do, but if you can really just expand on your story and whatever motivated you to do what you do, people really cling to that. It gives them hope because you’ve already shown and overcome that battle. That’s what a lot of our girls stick to is they see that and insert it into their own life to hold themselves to a higher standard in what area they’re struggling in.
If I join your program, what’s the first thing I will experience when I join? Is it with one of your coaches? Is it with the broader community?
First and foremost is you actually talk to our consultation specialist. Her name is Janae. She’s absolutely wonderful. She is actually a client of mine who, long story short, is now working for The Higher Standard. There’s literally nobody better than her for this position because she’s a client, so as a potential client, while you’re on the phone with her, she knows how scary it is to make that step and that investment. She can tell her story and she can really help walk you through that. You are with someone who’s going to take you into their arms and welcome you with open arms. Once you’re inside of the community, you commit, you’re now a client. You’ll receive a text message instantly from your coach whoever you’re assigned to. We do this based on personality goals.
Then she will set you up on an orientation call. You guys will schedule that together and do a face-to-face Zoom call like this. She’ll go through everything. She’ll go through all of our systems. This is where you do your workouts. This is how you put it in. Your nutrition – this is what that looks like. This is the communication. This is how you do check-ins – all that good stuff. Then you’re dropped into the group chat. This is where the community of women use WhatsApp for our community group. We tell you to drop where you’re from, what you do, how old you are, where you live, and all that good stuff. Then you’re just swarmed with, “Oh my god, so happy you’re here.” “Best decision you’ll ever make.” “Love to see you.” “Send a picture of your dog.” All the women are so welcoming. I think that, in an instant, really helps alleviate a lot of fear of, “Oh god, what did I just do? This is so scary.”
Did that happen organically? How did you build the community? Was that an intentional decision “This is something I have to have for this business to really take off,” or was it more organic?
Yeah, so it actually happened pretty organically. When I was in Columbus just doing in-person, I saw that a lot of my clients ended up becoming best friends, hanging out, texting, doing workouts outside of our sessions together. I was just like, “This is pretty unique.” So COVID hit, and I was like, “Oh, well, now what? Now, I’m pulling everybody apart. I can’t see them in person anymore.” So we had to transition really quick. WhatsApp saved our life because it’s so easy to use it. It helped everyone stay together. Obviously, we have to split our group chats up into three different ones now since we’ve grown so large it would be a little overwhelming to have everybody. But, that’s how we stay in the community now. That’s how we transition. We have girls that we work with, one’s in California, one’s in Florida, and they’re best friends, and they text every single day. It’s super unique. I love it.
Now that COVID has hit and everyone has gone online, even folks who probably wouldn’t have if we weren’t in this situation, has that changed the way you differentiate “The Higher Standard” and the approach that you take in telling your story?
Yeah, 100%. This is another story of adversity with COVID. When I tell my story, I speak a lot about adversity. I speak a lot about how I quit my job and how I found roommates on Craigslist. How I moved to North Carolina alone and how I didn’t have a job lined up. How I slept on the floor for two months. That was adversity, adversity, adversity. When COVID hit, that helped me to come in even stronger. I was just like, “You’ve handled adversity before, we can do this.” I get it. Everyone should be freaking out. It is scary. There are a lot of unknowns right now. No one should be happy about it, right? But you have to control the controllables and what you can control is you.
We can workout from home. We can pivot. You can always pivot in life. You really, really can. I know my story is very different than most people, but the comparison isn’t important. You don’t have to have a crazy story like I do, but you have had struggles before in the past, you had adversity in the past and you have overcome it before, so you can do it again.
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I have to imagine that you’re getting a lot of outreach from people who would like to do what you do. How can they become fitness trainers? Are you exploring going into the business coaching realm?
I could talk about business all day, every day. If I had to give advice, you do need to invest in yourself and you should probably invest in a business coach. I know I did, quite a few times because just like health and fitness coaches, the reason why a client would hire you as a health and fitness coach is because you’re taking 10 plus years of knowledge, or however long you’ve been doing it, and helping your client just shorten that amount of time. Same thing for business. If you want to build a business, go hire a business coach who literally took 20 years of their life figuring it out so that they can help you in a year or two. That’s the whole purpose. Just invest in yourself and give it time just like anything else. A lot of times, you’re just throwing things at the wall and you’re like, “I don’t know if this is going to work.” But honestly, it’s just like, “What if it doesn’t? Who cares? You’re just going to move on to the next thing and pivot.”
I think that that’s the hardest thing for people to remember because a lot of people are self-conscious. What if it doesn’t work? What if I look like this? What if I can’t do this? It’s okay. I can’t even imagine what my first year in business looked like compared to now. I don’t even want to look at it, to be honest. The only reason why I’m here is because I decided to try. I think I was just doing a lot of, “Oh god,” HIIT workouts like crazy, jumping, and just weird moves back in the day, but it’s fine. Just do it now and learn from it.
I totally get it. I’m based in Silicon Valley and they say, “If you are not embarrassed by your first product or service release, you probably waited too long to get it done.” Are you doing any business coaching?
No, I’m not. Guest speaking for sure.
Who are your role models? Who do you look to and say, “Yeah, they’re really on the right track. They’re charting that path. That’s where I’m headed.”
Man, I love Rachel Hollis. I think she’s a great role model for all women. She has a huge story. I like her style. She doesn’t beat around the bush. It’s just straight to it. I feel like that’s my coaching style and outlook on life, too. Then as far as community – health and fitness, there’s a brand called Tone It Up. I just love how cohesive and how tight their community is. Ours is definitely a little bit more one-on-one based. Theirs is more broad, but man, they kill it. It’s such a great, positive, encouraging, women-empowerment community that I really look up to as well.
How has PocketSuite made a difference for you and your business?
Oh my god, you guys make it so easy. No, I really appreciate it. Actually, I think in the very beginning I used Venmo because I didn’t know what I was doing. But, PocketSuite, you guys have streamlined everything. From being a solopreneur to having a team, you guys have made it easy. My team has access. You get the subscriptions. The contracts and subscriptions together, definitely, a game changer. It just keeps everything organized. I love, love, love, love, love how you can see the growth from year to year to year to year. That’s my favorite part because I know that we doubled or tripled every year, which is just absolutely insane. I love having that overview.