Welcome to The Jamin Show! My names Ben Villers. I'm a Fitness Trainer DJ & MC here in Los Angeles, California!
I appreciate everybody tuning in to everything that I do! You know, this is my first blog post and im excited about it. This post is the written version of Episode 1 Of The Jamin Show: My Story & Come Up
It's gonna be great to have these episodes in written form. The first episode of the podcast post takes place all the way back to the beginning of the pandemic, my first episode podcasting. Since then I have 40 Episodes of The Jamin Show! Check it out!
This is the first blog post:
"Right now, it's July 31, in the middle of the afternoon, and we're deep into COVID-19 territory these days, things have been crazy, you know, life is a constant chess match, it seems like just to do business, you know, nearly impossible to do any type of business these days without you having to be secretive about it or have to deal with some type of issue.
During this time, it's been nothing but a struggle. But, you know, for me, personally, I've been doing all right. I've been doing all right, making through growing my business, you know, I've had to pivot.
You know, before COVID-19, my business was really doing well. You know, business was coming in real fast, my referrals business really good. And going online was always something that I wanted to do, there was always a plan, but I didn't really have the time to really sit down and crank it out, you know, because I never had a mentor in the online space.
Never really had a true online job. You know, but when I got the time when when COVID-19 essentially shut my business down, I had the time to really focus on growing an online business. And it's been sick, man, it's been sick, you know, I've totally expanded my business my world, you know, and it's grown so fast. And it's a totally separate thing from my in-person business.
Things are pretty good. You know, it's lousy, how it's happening. But, you know, at the same time, you just got to fend for yourself, right? For fending for myself, I'm doing okay.
My DJ gigs have still been coming along pretty nicely. So that's been coming up. And, you know, as you can imagine, those are definitely different. I'm wearing a mask, keeping my distance from people, you know, the weddings aren't quite the same. But, you know, at the same time, I feel like a lot of people now really appreciate these moments, a lot more know, people used to get invited to a bunch of weddings. And it's like, oh, it's just another wedding. Right? And, and now you really appreciate these moments, right?
So I'm a DJ, and MC. And being a DJ was something that was a total curveball in my life. I've only been DJing for two and a half years, and it's been great, you know, it's been great. It's great that I'm a part of something that, you know, people really value me. So it's really cool.
I've partnered up with Vox DJs. And they do all my marketing, sales, you know, they've trained me and they scale me out, you know, I do a lot of events, weddings, corporate parties, family parties, you name it. I like to think that I execute these events at a really high level.
You know, it's a lot of fun, and I'm really fortunate to be doing this. And it's a big part of my business now. So, i'm really excited about that. But the other side of me is I'm a big jock, big fitness fanatic, big health nut. And I've been part of, you know, the health and wellness industry, as an athlete, student or in the business for 25 years, and I've only been alive for 28. So pretty much my entire life. I'm originally from the East Coast. I'm from Stamford, Connecticut, but I wasn't born there crazy enough. You know, I was born out of the country. I was born in Paris, France, right, real random stuff. And then I moved to Stamford, Connecticut, where I was raised. And I was playing sports as a little kid. I started swimming and skiing and playing soccer and all those fun things right. As soon as I started being able to walk, you know, my parents were very comfortable with getting me in the water.
And who knew that was going to be just the framework for the rest In my life, you know, each year as I continue to get older, you know, my parents supported me and allowing me to play sports and really follow my hobbies and interests. So that was really lucky for me. And, you know, I was a social guy, you know, but I had to choose between being social and sports a lot. So growing up, you know, missed a lot of Hang Outs, a lot of fun things to do so i can go to practice, travel & compete. But, you know, I made so many friends doing that, and who knew that would have been great networking as a kid, right? Networking at like, seven years old. Right. But, you know, that stuff's important. Looking back on it in hindsight, right? Really important. So that's really great.
Yeah, I got to do that really expand my network, rather than, you know, hang out with the same people over and over and over again, which, you know, it can be really easy to do because you like hanging out with those people.
Im fortunate to have played a bunch of different sports hang out with a bunch of different people, you know, I went to camp, and that was a lot of fun. That really allowed me to meet more new people.
As I got to be really competitive, I transitioned from soccer to football and from wrestling to basketball. Played baseball, and loved doing that. Played some lacrosse. All of these sports at the Varsity level.
I've really done what feels like everything. Water skiing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, skiing, sailing, tennis, snorkeling. Not much golfing or tennis. I do like those sports though.
That experience is really important to me because I'm a fitness trainer. I tell myself I own a company, called Jamin Fitness and COVID-19 has allowed me the time to really build that up and grow it, you know, who would have thought back in the day, all of the sports would have created a very universal practice for me, which would allow me to really teach people and change people's lives for the better.
I love what I do. I've really turned my hobbies into a paying livelihood. I get paid to work out and train people and play music and execute fun events. You know, it could be a lot, you know, like, work a lot, but at the same time, you know, I wouldn't trade anything at this point.
You know, it's, it's crazy to look at how my life has really shaped out. So many life decisions that were fork in the road moments that could have lead one way or the other. Instead of that, I would be doing something else, etc.
Where I am right now is so fragile. So, no regrets. There's literally not one thing I would do over again at this point. I wouldn't go back in time to do anything again because, you know, my problems then, have turned to my positives now. And, you know, my positives back in the day, are still positive. Its weird how life just plays out.
Life is really weird. A lot of question marks, but the fact that you know, I'm creating a podcast, the first episode, and I get to really just share my life with you guys & have fun and be really dope and really grow this thing. It's gonna be a way for me to really connect with you guys. And, you know, the fact that I make a pretty good living. You know, doing what I love is just crazy.
You know, it's crazy cuz I could have easily grown up and done the corporate thing. That's what I thought I wanted to do for a long time. Because I had no idea what I wanted to do, right. Like when I went from high school to college, I ended up studying kinesiology because that was the only thing I can do. Both the business school & sports marketing programs were additional applications you had to get accepted.
I first wanted to study sports marketing & management at Indiana University "Go Hoosiers" That was a really popular program. So then I opted into kinesiology because you know, people thought recommended that'd be really good fit for someone who played sports and someone who's really interested in in health and wellness, you know, more science.
I was a bit intimidated, you know, I wasn't a straight A student, but those are the types of majors that really just let you in. So I went with kinesiology and I didn't fail out. I did pretty good.
Eventually though, I got accepted into sports marketing & management. About halfway into sophomore year. I was pretty much halfway done at that point with the major so I ended up double majoring. When I first went to college I had no idea what I was doing and then I graduated having two majors. Feels good.
So I think that you need to go to college and make a decision on something that interests you. You don't know what you want to do with yourself for the rest of your life before you even get into school or during freshman year, or even when you graduate man. When I graduated, I was still clueless. I was late to the internship thing. When I was applying for an internship, you know, they're telling me I needed an internship before I apply for this internship, which to me at the time was breaking news.
Is there anyone else who can truly relate to that when they were applying for their internships, or like their first jobs? They were like, you need some experience already before you join this position.
What good with this? Like I thought this was where I get too, like, you know show off I'm a good person to do all that stuff? Right? So for me, you know, someone who wasn't really paying attention to getting like, you know, an internship or a job right away, slowly, late behind the ball there. But eventually, I lucked out on the internship And I got a pretty cool job on campus that counted for my internship.
After I graduated college, I went back to Stamford, Connecticut. I didn't really know what I was doing at the time. I guess that was my first freelance play as an adult, what do you do after college? Right? So after college, my situation was unique because my parents retired and moved from my hometown.
That presented some challenges. They moved to Delaware, which is a really nice spot. I definitely recommend visiting there, but it wasnt the place for me. I could have stayed in the Midwest, but I didn't have a job offer. The only option I felt was pretty much go back to the east coast, where I'm from originally and find a place to stay, or stay in the Midwest. But for some reason, at the time, the gut instinct was to go back to the East Coast. Yes, I was pretty much over the Midwest at that point. Looking back on hindsight, staying staying out in the Midwest doesn't sound like a bad idea. I'm sure a lot of great opportunities would have arose from being out there. But I ended up going back to the East Coast.
I spent a year with a family like figure. Not blood, but close family friends who I knew growing up. They let me stay in their place for a whole year, trying to figure it out.
Right after college, I started coaching football. I had nothing else that I knew that I wanted to do so I started coaching football. That was so dope. That was like my first gig. I was an offensive coordinator for the freshmen football team at my alma mater Westhill High school.
We had a blast but a lesson was learned out of this. About when to quit or when to never quit. You never ever want to really quit anything, right? You really want to see it through. Um, but unfortunately, I had to make a tough decision.
He demoted me and I had less power on the team. I didn't have the offensive coordinator decision making job anymore.
I also had gotten a "real" job offer that I was planning on going to start after the season. Once I got demoted on the football team, it made no sense for me to be there and I left the team in the middle of the season. The head coach of the program, who was a different coach from when I played football there, didn't see eye to eye with me on how to manage the kids. I had a great relationship with the team, but the coach took away my responsibilities. I felt I could not waste my time and that was that.
When I got my responsibilities taken away, I had left them with an inferior coach. Which is sad. But I had to take on this shitty sales job at the time and start my career.
My first big boy job which was selling T Mobile cell phones... T Mobile cell phones... In the middle of nowhere, Connecticut, rural Connecticut, and I was selling a service that didn't even work in the area that I was selling it so really lousy job, I did that for like two months. I was applying like crazy at the same time. I knew I had to get out of there.
But it did build character. And I don't regret doing it at all. It was a miserable two months, but definitely the right play at the time. And I encourage anyone getting out of school, or anyone trying to really find their lane to really make a sacrifice in the beginning. To set you up for the long term future. You want to be a servant in the beginning. You want to serve and bring value to people, and prove yourself that you're worth being there.
I don't think we're taught to really bring value to people when we're growing up. Thats what the real world is all about. I was taught academic subjects, but never in the art of business and bringing value. At least nothing that ever stood out and stuck. In the end, it's about what you know, who you know, and what value you can bring. That's the stuff that they don't teach you.
My next job was a marketing job, for a company that had a lot of clients. My account was MasterCard. I was just an account trainee, which is the lowest position you can get. It wasn't even a long term contract just a few months.
The person who hired me, literally told me, the reason why I hired you is, when I looked at your resume, i saw that you had a sales background and you would be a hard worker. So anyone who's really contemplating taking a sales job out there, or you don't really know what to do. Maybe suck it up in the beginning and do what it takes to get your foot in the door.
The beginning of any career can be painful & a struggle so its important you have safety nets to hold you up. Keep you going. But if you can get through that startup phase, then you'll learn great life lessons. You're going to maximize your true potential by making those sacrifices. Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations.
That new marketing job, also sucked. I worked every single day, and they paid me practically nothing. But that job led to another marketing job in the same company, where I got to drive a lot of cool BMWs and travel around the country.
Finally doing something better. That was pretty sweet. And at the time, it paid what I needed it to pay for, but still not much.
Eventually I had to find a real job that paid me real money. That's what people tell you is you got to find a real job. I then got another job. I'm still in Stamford at this point at some magazine subscription company or whatever. The job was another dogshit marketing assistant job but was a slightly more legit paying job.
Really nothing special, really doing nothing, just some busy work. But then, you know, an opportunity presented itself for me to move to California. And I moved to California, when an opportunity arose for me to move into a rent controlled space in Santa Monica. So I had to make a pretty big decision at the time. You know, growing up, I've always aspired to leave Stamford. Not because I don't enjoy it, but I just am so curious about the adventures outside of where I'm from.
I actually love where I'm from so shout out to Stamford, Connecticut. Really great place to grow up and live as a young adult. I miss it a lot. I miss all my friends, but unfortunately, my family doesn't live there anymore.
When the opportunity presented itself to go to California, where I did have some family to be around family i wanted to take on a new challenge and new opportunities. I just felt like it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I took it and ran.
I left a job on the East Coast. And I went to the west coast with no job. At that point is when I started racking up credit card debt. At one point I was like two weeks away from being bankrupt.
I had gone on job interviews, but I was blowing the interviews left and right. I had put a lot of pressure on myself. I've always been a good public speaker, and have always had a lot of confidence, but not really great interview strategy. At that time I was not that good at being interviewed (or I would have had a job)
These interviews were tough. They really were. But I was just not putting on my best performance and I kept getting turned down. I was getting nervous, anxious, I was runnig out of money and my debt was racking up. The pressure was building up and then I finally got a job.
It was actually with the same company that had the cool marketing accounts with the cool cars. They were a bi-coastal company. I was lucky enough to get in and I did the West Coast version of that job for a year. That bought me some time. It was really cool, fun, but they didn't pay me much. I was still super poor. Still had to do other part time jobs, like driving Uber. Got into a car accident or two while Uber driving.
Then, I got really sick from working out all the time and not, feeding myself correctly because I couldn't really afford to. A lot of lousy events happened in that year, but as always there were good times too. It was a year of grind though. At the end of the year working for that company it led me to a real fork in the road moment. When I had to make a decision what to do next.
I didn't know many people in Cali yet, I was having trouble really growing into myself, having confidence, and I was missing home. I wasn't in a good place mentally, but still trying to be strong. I was about to go back to the northeast. I was very close to making that decision. But I just felt like, in my gut, that didn't seem right no matter how I felt.
I had just gotten here a year earlier. Not a long time. How can I just pick up my things and go back, you know?
I had a job offer on the East Coast waiting for me that a friend got me set up with. I put them on pause for like, two weeks because I straight up was just like, I have to think about this, like I just got here. I really appreciate you, you really wanting me and accepting me, but I just have to think about this. So they gave me my space, which I really appreciated & needed.
But just recently at the same time, I had gotten a part time job as a brand ambassador for this meal prep company, which was a good fit for me. You know, part time Mr. fitness trainer, part time nutrition rep.
It came to a point where I had to make a decision. So when I got that part time job as a brand ambassador, I was like, oh, wait a minute, you know, they are expanding to the west coast from Florida.
They've got to have some work for me. They gotta so I reached out to the guy who hired me, with nothing to lose. The guy who hired me was the West Coast Promotions Manager for the company. I was like, "I got a job offer back on the east coast. But I don't want to go back. So I know you guys just came from the East Coast to the West Coast. There's got to be some job for me, like, what's up?"
He goes, You know, I'm actually leaving the company, do you want my job? And at that moment, I'm just like, no way that just happened. This guy just offered me a pretty cool job with a food and health company like as the manager for the promotion for the West Coast. This was the best opportunity I had to date.
And I'm like, Yeah, I do want your job. He goes, let me reach out to the owner and see if he's around. Would you be willing to go interview with him? I told him absolutely. He called him up that afternoon and I went in sat with him for like two hours. The owner and I really connected for like, literally about two hours.
I don't even know. I barely even remember it's crazy. My adrenaline was pumping so high because of what was going on that you know, I didn't even realize that I was in like such a startup warehouse environment. Most people would have been like shook to be in this place but I didn't care because you know, I just felt like there was an opportunity for me. A way for me to really take control of my career.
I'm three years past college graduation and I know a bunch of people who have good jobs getting paid and I'm still the scrub pretty much. Still a trainee assistant, bouncing around. Part time trainer have no idea what I'm doing and still three years out of college getting paid pennies.
When the owner was like you got the job I was so pumped. I didn't care about anything, I went and called my parents right away, to let them know, I got this job, I'm staying on the West Coast, and I turned down the job on the East Coast.
I thought I was living big until the job actually started. When the job started I realized that this wasn't what i expected. The way I thought it was in my head, wasn't actually the reality. I thought it was going to be a much greater role. I didn't realize I was gonna have to really grow this role, and would have to come into my own. You know, they promised hours, but they just meant, they promised that there's a million things to do and that I have to do all for them.
But like, that wasn't even how it worked either. I had to work for free on the front end to book paid events in the future. So I had to sacrifice time to set up an event. And then I'll get paid for that event. To some people that sounds wild to think about. I turned down a full time salary job for this job. I guess maybe it was pretty stupid at the time, most people would have done the other thing, but you know, it was a complete blessing. This was training to be an Entrepreneur.
On that first day of cold calling, I had so much success. I booked out a whole month worth of events! I was simply trying to give away free healthy food at events! That's a totally different conversation than if you're calling someone really trying to sell them. When you're calling someone saying, hey, you know, I want to give free food to your people. Are you interested? As a fitness professional, you're like, absolutely I love eating! Everyone loves food. So they let me set up and I had a lot of success. This job and role with the company really grew so much.
I ended up being part of an amazing team and having amazing success. I watched so much growth happen with me in front of my eyes. As a young guy trying to figure out his life this was huge. It was the best experience career wise. I was making good money at this point, my network and my connections expanded beyond my wildest imagination, and I ended up establishing a book of contacts of over 1000 different fitness, health, wellness & corporate professionals. A combination of people who wanted to do business or turned me down. I got to set up & work out of these gym's and I got to meet people. Now those same connections are a valuable asset to me to this day as I grow my business.
That job experience allowed me to see hundreds of different gym setups. I got to do business in all shapes and sizes with so many people. Those experiences are helping me today with my business. It gives me a tremendous advantage over my competition. This experience has given me a lot of confidence and awareness of what's going on in my industry.
Had I gone back to the northeast, my life would be completely different. Not necessarily in a bad way, but who knows what I would be doing. Right now I do what I love and fits my dreams as a kid. I have a long way to go but I am in the right direction.
Now my network in Southern California is big, and I'm not even from here. The lesson here is you really just gotta stick it out and not quit on something to soon.
Sometimes it is necessary to leave or quit something, but not always. You need to really evaluate the situation short term & long term. You've got to tough it out sometimes.
If you quit on something too early it can it can change the whole course of your life. You know, you have to be able to recognize a fork in the road moment and take it seriously because that decision can lead you down one path or the other.
And thats a wrap! I cant believe I just finished recording my first episode of my podcast with you guys (Blog). This has been such a good time. Another dream come true. Thank you again for tuning to The Jamin Show!