The Startup Story – Episode 3: Dr. Jen Esquer, Instagram Influencer DocJenFit & founder of The Mobility Method
You can listen to DocJenFit's Episode in it's entirety here: https://www.thestartupstory.co/docjenfit
Dr. Jen Esquer: I am DocJenFit, and this is my startup story.
James McKinney: Every wildfire began with a spark. Every superhero has an origin story. And every single startup has a moment that they point to as their beginning. And every founder has a purpose that drove them in the midst of all obstacles. THAT is The Startup Story.
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James McKinney: As you are listening to this podcast, the chances are pretty high that you are sitting. Maybe you're sitting at your desk at work, or sitting in your car. Well, if you're in Southern California you're definitely sitting in your car. Or maybe you're sitting at home with pen and paper, ready to take an incredible amount of notes. This episode of Startup Story features Dr. Jen Esquer, or as she as known by her hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, DocJenFit, founder of The Mobility Method.
After spending some time with Jen, I realized that there is so much about what our bodies are capable of and how little most of us, including myself, truly don't understand about it, especially in the arena of mobility. Yet, Jen's Startup Story is not one that is centered on health and fitness. It's actually a story of an entrepreneur that never had a vision to be an entrepreneur. It's a story of someone that had all but convinced herself that running her own business was not for her. In fact, for years people around her knew what she was capable of and kept telling her that she will eventually start her own venture.
Yet, Jen was so convinced that she was not an entrepreneur and was completely unable to receive the affirmation that everyone around her was giving her. You see, Jen's story is so compelling because despite being surrounded by people encouraging her to step out in confidence and start her own business, what actually got her to move forward on her dream was her genuine passion to help people. DocJenFit and The Mobility Method is the amalgamation of her unwavering passion to help people, and her acceptance that the only way to have the impact that she wanted to make in people's lives was to step outside her fear and move forward on her own.
In this episode, you will learn how incredibly powerful the narrative we allow to take residence in our mind is. Whether it's positive or negative, our potential is impacted by it. You will also see how important it is to surround yourself by people that are like minded, not just in interests, but in their desire for more. You will hear how DocJenFit grew an Instagram audience of over 500,000 by simply being of service to others. As we stand here today, we can clearly see the success DocJenFit is experiencing. Yet, for most of her life, the signs of what were to come were nowhere to be found.
DocJenFit: No signs I was going to be an entrepreneur. Like zero. My parents are not entrepreneurs. That was not the mindset that I grew up in.
James McKinney: What do they do?
DocJenFit: My dad is manager of a company, and so he manages several different plants that they have. And then my mom's always been a teacher. So she's taught from Home Ec to Spanish, which I'm not fluent. I should be. It's really sad. Then my sister is a teacher. My brother also works for the same company my dad does.
James McKinney: So you're just surrounded by stability, really. That was your upbringing.
DocJenFit: Exactly, yes.
James McKinney: So I can see why entrepreneurship was never on your radar.
DocJenFit: It never was. The thing was we were taught you go to school and you work really hard, and you get the job that you need to so you have the security. So you don't have to depend on anyone. I mean, they did teach me you don't have to depend on anyone. I want you to work hard so you depend on yourself.
James McKinney: Okay.
DocJenFit: Which was great, and that's also because they had kind of rough childhoods growing up, where they saw parents struggle. They saw parents have to work really hard to be able to provide. And so what they knew was go to school, get a degree, and work hard. And that's all they knew.
James McKinney: Yeah.
DocJenFit: So I appreciate where they've come from. My dad doesn't have a college degree, and yet is almost like an owner at the company that he's at. He worked from being janitor at that company, to being a manager of like the entire thing.
James McKinney: I love that.
DocJenFit: So it's really amazing how much he's put in hard work, time after time, and where it's gotten him. Then my mom, she went to school. She ended up studying aboard and got her bachelor's, got her master's. But she fell in love with teaching and that's where she found that stability, and worked really hard again to get what most people would want as a base salary, for a teacher.
James McKinney: Yeah. So what was your mindset growing up?
DocJenFit: I guess I always knew that I was going to go to college and do something, but I was so focused around sports because they also pushed be in a sport, and have an activity. We actually had to be in a sport growing up from elementary school all the way through high school.
James McKinney: Oh, really? Okay.
DocJenFit: Yeah. So mine happened to be gymnastics. I stumbled upon gymnastics, and that was-
James McKinney: Is that a pun right there, because I love puns. "I stumbled upon gymnastics." That was so good. I love puns.
DocJenFit: That was an accidental pun. That's so funny. Yeah, so like I fell in love with that, and that was my mindset. I didn't know… I knew okay, I'm going to go to college. My parents were going to pay for Cal State, so that's where Cal State Fullerton came into play.
James McKinney: Tusks up for the titans listening.
DocJenFit: Exactly. But again, I didn't know even what I was going to do with that. I was like oh, I love movement, I love anatomy. So I'm going to go into kinesiology, which is the study of human movement. But I didn't know where I wanted to go after that.
James McKinney: Okay. So your upbringing set the foundation for obviously hard work and diligence.
James McKinney: And consistency, right, because you said you were in gymnastics from a young age through high school. Did you do that in college as well?
DocJenFit: I didn't. I quit when I was in high school because I knew gymnastics is life, and I knew I didn't want to be hustling in college as well and not have a life. Like I never went to a football game in high school. Gymnastics was everything, and I came to a point where I was okay saying, "I don't want to do this in college." My mom wanted me to do it in college so I could get the scholarship.
James McKinney: Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure.
DocJenFit: But you know, it just, it wasn't in my heart. It wasn't in my desire.
James McKinney: Yeah. Was that hard, having that conversation with your parents?
DocJenFit: I wrote a letter to my mom to tell her that I was ready to quit because I was so afraid to tell her in person.
James McKinney: Really? And how did she respond?
DocJenFit: She wrote a letter back, and told my coaches so that they would try to talk me into staying and everything. It ended up being fine, but I did get to that point where I felt like I was doing it because my mom wanted me to, and because my coaches wanted me to, but not really because I wanted to.
James McKinney: It wasn't your passion anymore.
DocJenFit: Right, exactly. So it was a really hard… I mean, I'm 16 having to decide whether I'm continuing with a sport that I've known my whole life. Four hours a day, every day, and during summers you did two a days. It was literally life, which I appreciate and there's so many lessons I've taken away from gymnastics, but it wasn't my heart.
James McKinney: That's awesome. And I think, knowing a little bit about your story that I do and that we'll talk about, that pursuing your passion has played out well for you, and we'll talk about that.
DocJenFit: Yeah. Just amazing.
James McKinney: So you're at Cal State Fullerton, and how do you become fascinated with movement? It's one thing to be a gymnast, but you said the phrase, "I became fascinated with movement." That's an interesting phrase. So what was it that kind of steered you in that direction?
DocJenFit: I would say it's a lot of little things, also. From being a gymnast and understanding how you're working through fear, how you're working through with the body, just in everyday practice time to time. One thing that I did appreciate that my coach would say is we're like abnormal humans, pushing the body beyond limits that normal humans would.
James McKinney: I love that.
DocJenFit: I appreciate that he instilled that in us too, that this is how you're overcoming fears because you're doing something extraordinary with your body. Then, as I studied biology and anatomy, it just came easy to me. Those classes I absolutely loved. I loved my teachers. I loved cutting open. I think in high school it was a cat, which I had cats all growing up but I had no problems skinning that thing and taking it apart, because it was so fascinating to me.
James McKinney: That's awesome. That is awesome.
DocJenFit: So I knew just… and then I started to coach gymnastics since I quit and I loved again working with the kids, seeing how even from the time of three to four years old, how are they picking up cues? How are they transforming their bodies in these little ways? So I loved learning how to manipulate movement. Why am I taping an ankle? Why am I working with the body? How? And then I started interning at a physical therapy clinic, and seeing how a therapist would watch movement, feel movement in their hands. I was just so fascinated with it and I continued to say okay, but why? What's happening?
Started to teach Pilates, and again started to say okay, I can manipulate around an injury. I can modify the movement so that they don't get hurt, or they're not in more pain if they already had pain. But why? It was that continued search of but what else is going on, what is happening that really was like, okay, from kinesiology I'm going to go into physical therapy school. Around me, a lot of people were not getting into school the first time around, or not getting good GRE grades, or having to do tests over again, and all these different things. I said, "No matter what, this is what I'm doing," and I just committed to it.
Luckily got in my first try, and then even at that school I remember I wanted to take clinical abroad. I wanted to go to New York. Not abroad, sorry. Within the US, but I wanted to go to New York City and I wanted to specifically be in the city, and we didn't have a contract with our school at Loma Linda to be in the city. So I had them set that whole thing up and I was committed, like this is where I'm going. I know it's going to take a long time. It's out of my hands, and it's rough when it's out of my hands and I can't like rush the process along, but this is where I'm going to go. It's just always been when I commit to something, and that's like what it's going to be, I think I realize it later too, of how much yes, this is what's happening and this is what I'm going to do and it just happens.
James McKinney: How much of that do you attribute to your upbringing? I see a lot of threads in there, but how much do you, if you were to pause for a second and look back at your upbringing, how much of that plays a role in how you approached your goals of studying in New York, and getting that program set up? How much of that do you point to, to your upbringing?
DocJenFit: I guess I can point to a lot. I always saw my parents work hard, so what they set out to do, what was going to happen happened. That was just naturally what I saw. I don't even know if I realized that, and I see that in my sister and my brother. It's not yes, we work hard, but what we commit to that's going to happen. That is just what it is. I think it's that deep knowing and that deep understanding of this is what I'm committing to, this is what's going to happen, and we make it happen. No excuses, no nothing getting in the way. That is what gets to be.
James McKinney: So now, having a little bit of perspective that you have, and the people that you've met throughout your life, how thankful are you for that skill or that discipline that your parents gave you?
DocJenFit: Beyond grateful. Beyond grateful. I'm even grateful that I was in gymnastics and it was as hard as it was, because again getting that consistency with hard work, and knowing that I have to do it for me, my coaches can't do it for me. I have to count my own reps and be true and in integrity so that I know it's going to play out in the long run at the competition. So there's just so many little takeaways, there's so many little things that I've learned along the way from growing up and from being a gymnast, and all these things that have just pushed me in the direction that I have no come in that I didn't even realize.
I used to say business, that's over my head. I'll never be an entrepreneur. It's so funny how it's just… and I have been told by other people too. When I was in grad school and I was teaching Pilates, one of my clients, they would always say… it was like a family and I would work with the husband privately and I would work with the wife. They would always say, "I'm going to see you on billboards. You're going to have a book. I see your face on a book." I'd be like, "What are you guys talking about? I'm in grad school right now. I'm just trying to pass classes. What are you guys talking about?" and I couldn't see it. I had no idea why they were saying this. Just teaching Pilates, just in grad school. I don't know how you see this in me, because I had no idea and I didn't see that.
James McKinney: I want to leave that moment hanging for a second. So you're in grad school. You're trying to pass your tests. You're coaching or training Pilates, not even on the side but your job. That's your job, right? So now, I assume in that moment you pass all your classes, you get your degree, you pass your certification, your tests. Are you still working for that Pilates studio?
DocJenFit: No, that was just to get me through grad school, and it was really just to have some extra income coming in on the side, and it was such a flexible job that I could change my hours when I needed to, I could just do a couple classes. A lot of my friends that were in grad school with me did not have other jobs. They did not work other places because it was too much to handle. But it was like, I also realized after my first year of grinding so hard to get straight A's, that I was like, "Why am I getting straight A's? I'm in grad school, I'm going to pass. At the end of the day, as long as I come out, as long as I pass my boards, I passed." So who cares if I got an A or a B? As long as I did well and I know the information, I'm good.
So I kind of decided after my first year, listen, I'm not going to grind as hard. I got involved with calisthenics. I started competing in calisthenics. I would drive down from Loma Linda to Venice every other week so that I could train with people on the beach and have fun, and just enjoy life even though I was in grad school. And continue to learn outside of what I was learning.
James McKinney: That's what I was going to say. It sounded like instead of being full tilt in academic learning, you said, "I'm going to have a balance here between academic and tactical, and real learning," and that's where you started competing you said. That's awesome.
DocJenFit: Yeah. For me, it was play. That's when also my Instagram started to grow. Zero intention of that happening.
James McKinney: So let's put some years on that. So when did you jump on the gram? What year was this?
DocJenFit: 2014 I started just because all my friends were getting on it and that's… I just wanted to be on Instagram. So my handle was Jen_ES_Care, because that's how you said my name, Jen Esquer.
James McKinney: I like that. Again, another pun for those listening.
DocJenFit: It was so funny because I found calisthenics through Instagram. One of the big callisthenic pages ended up reaching out, telling me I should go down to Venice and train with them, so I did. Then he naturally just started posting me within the community. That's how I started to gain followers. Then I started to meet other movers.
James McKinney: So, just for those that aren't fully aware, what is calisthenics versus any other movement science or art that's out there? Can you unpack that a bit?
DocJenFit: Calisthenics in general, it's been around for ages. It's just body weight movement, but they kind of created a sport where it is now what you do… it's like ugly gymnastics I've got to say. It's what you do on the bars. It's what you do on the parallel bars. Everything outside that you can find at a park.
James McKinney: Interesting, okay.
DocJenFit: and it's just playing on that, whether it's rings, whether it's a single metal bar or the parallel metal bars, or whatever you find just outside at a park. So it was also very accessible to everyone.
James McKinney: So is it a precursor to parkour?
DocJenFit: It's different than parkour because you're not jumping off buildings. You're more so putting your body around a bar or doing flips on the floor, or doing things… people do crazy, crazy stuff in calisthenics. It's not about where I came from, gymnastics where everything is about perfect form, where in calisthenics everything is just how crazy can you make something look. So legs are flying everywhere. Yeah. But it challenged me to continue learning different cool, new schools. It challenged my body, it challenged my mind, challenged my fear, and it was just fun. And it was, what I found was an amazing community of people who were all open to helping each other grow.
James McKinney: Oh, I love that. That's awesome. So you're in part of this calisthenics community. On Instagram, your Instagram started following because this community was supporting you, posting you, promoting you if you will. Just out of amazement or awe and respect for what you were doing. And this was not your job, though.
James McKinney: So what were you at income wise? Were you working for someone at this time? Were you freelancing?
DocJenFit: This is when I was teaching Pilates and going to grad school.
James McKinney: Teaching Pilates, okay. So after you finished grad school, what was the plan? What'd you do?
DocJenFit: After I finished grad school, the plan was get a job as a physical therapist.
James McKinney: So still, entrepreneurship was nowhere on your mind.
James McKinney: Not even, other than that one family you were training, dropping these little comments about what they saw in you, you didn't see it and you were like, "No, I'm going to go work for the man somehow."
DocJenFit: Yeah. And I was like I don't even know where that would happen. My face somewhere, what? I didn't see that happening at all. My purpose and my passion was I want to help and I want to be a good physical therapist. Unfortunately, a lot of people come out of physical therapy school still feeling like, okay cool, now how do I help someone?
James McKinney: Oh, wow.
James McKinney: Why is that do you think?
DocJenFit: You learn what you need to for boards, to pass boards. You learn how not to kill someone.
James McKinney: That's a good skill.
DocJenFit: Yeah. You learn how to look for red flags. You learn how to test diagnoses and confirm diagnoses, especially for insurance purposes. You learn very little… you learn how to very much treat an area, but when you step back and you look at a whole person, treating one area is not connecting to treating a whole person because shoulders connected to the entire rest of your body. So if something's happening at the foot that is falling down and then causing all these issues along the body, well then we didn't even address what's the real cause. I didn't learn that.
I started to kind of, because my Instagram was following and I was starting to see other people, I started to gravitate toward people who were doing things differently. What I saw at the time, my friend Vinnie Rehab, his following was really growing quite well from doing educational type rehab posting. He was doing things that were very different than what I was learning in school, so I was fascinated, and I loved it. Him and I connected before I actually graduated, and then once I graduated and I got a job at the clinic. I got a job in Santa Monica because I wanted to be close to my callisthenic community.
He ended up flying me out to Toronto, because he was based in Canada, and learning his techniques. Learning what he was doing. We really just hit it off and he was like, "Would you want to run LA?" I was like, "Yeah, please." So that was almost my first taste into doing something different outside of the norm. Oh, and also, when I was my last year of physical therapy school, that's when I met this person named Lewis Howes.
James McKinney: For those that don't know Lewis, he's got an incredible podcast, The School of Greatness, so a little shout out there.
DocJenFit: Yeah, for those who live under a rock and don't know him. And he was getting worked on by a chiropractor at the time, and she was coming to his house, bringing her own tools, brining her own table. I was like, "What?" She was doing a full hour treatment where it was zero manipulation and adjustment, and it was more like soft tissue work, movement work, breath work. I was like, "Um, you have my job. What? How is this possible? I thought chiropractors just adjusted and were out?"
So I had a very different mindset of chiropractic work and everything, and she told me how she runs her business, how she got started on her business, what she did, and I remember being in our "business" class in physical therapy school and saying, "Well, now that we have direct access where a client doesn't have to go to an MD first, can't we treat like this chiropractor is? Can't we take on our own clients?" and they were like, "No, no, that would never happen." I was like oh my God, you just told the class of 60 something people that this is not possible. So Trish really was the first person to get me to open my mindset of what is possible, because you were taught in school you can open your own clinic, but the people who came to talk about opening a clinic, it was you won't make money for five years. I've had a relationship on and off, it just doesn’t work. It was awful. Or, you work for a hospital, you work for a skilled nursing facility. It just, you're not taught to… what the possibility is of actually being successful and doing something out of the norm.
James McKinney: Wow.
DocJenFit: So that was really crazy, but I appreciated meeting Trish and really having her open my mindset in that way. So I knew, even when I got my first job, I went and I talked to cross fit and I asked if they had a physical therapist on staff, and if I could come by a couple days out of the week and work on some of their clients. So that's how I started to see what the possibility was of building my own clientele outside of my job.
James McKinney: That's awesome. But again, even as we're telling this story, I can see all these little moments, little flashes of entrepreneurship. You still didn't see it that way.
DocJenFit: I still didn't see it.
James McKinney: This is unbelievable. Unbelievable.
DocJenFit: Exactly. Even when we first met, Lewis would ask me what I wanted, and I'd be like yeah. At the time, I was teaching Pilates so I was like, "Oh, I want to be a Pilates rehab instructor." The person I was also teaching Pilates for, she was thinking of maybe opening up her own place and having physical therapy in there. I was like, "Oh, I'll work for her and this will be great." Or like I even talked about, "Oh, well my brother's good at business so maybe he'll open a clinic and I'll work for him." It was just, I was so not in a space of I can do my own thing.
James McKinney: You know what's funny, and this is why the Startup Story exists, because here we are reflecting on your story and there are people listening right now that are building enterprises. They're building companies. They're creating things probably for other people, but they are starting from nothing and doing it. They just can't see it in themselves yet. So my hope is that as people are listening to your story, they're able to process it internally, like wait a second, I can do that, or I can do this on my own. I love hearing this journey and this story because there are so many people out there that are of the same mindset you were.
James McKinney: I think that they are, they have the ability for so much more and I just want to see them embrace it completely.
James McKinney: So you still don't see it in yourself. You're working on clients at the cross fit. Lewis had asked you the question of what is it you want for yourself. You talked about your brother starting a place and running it for you. Let's keep going at what point do you stop believing the lie that entrepreneurship is not for you and you do it?
DocJenFit: When I first went up to Toronto, this was only a few months after I had graduated physical therapy school. At the time, I did have 100,000 followers on Instagram, but it was built up solely through my calisthenics journey, learning acroyoga. It was so much fun during grad school because it was my opportunity to meet other movers in different spaces, and continue to grow in that way. It was like a fitness platform.
So when I went up and I saw Vinnie and he was like, "Well, what are you doing with Instagram?" and I was like, "Nothing. Now I care only about being a good physical therapist, I don't care about this Instagram thing. That was a hobby." He was like, "Well, what if you started to post educational stuff?" Because, and also people just see me as a fitness person, no one knows I'm a Doctor of Physical Therapy. No one knows I actually have information to share. He was like, "Why don't you just start doing what I've been doing?" Which is posting that anatomy photo and posting the video right next to it.
So he got me to model his framework of what was working for him. I said, "Oh, I don't know. Everyone sees me as fitness. I don't know how that will translate. I already have this audience, so I don't know that people would like that, but let me give it a shot." I remember the first video I did that had that anatomy photo and the video, which I thought was very basic. This was also a very scary thing. I just graduated physical therapy school.
James McKinney: So let's put a year on this real quick. So when was-
DocJenFit: This was going into 2016.
James McKinney: Okay. All right.
DocJenFit: I just graduated physical therapy school like four months prior and felt I'm new. Who am I to put out information? I'm following all these other therapists and chiropractors that I admire. Who am I to have any information to be able to help people? So I was also in that mindset of a fear of judgment.
James McKinney: Just tremendous self doubt.
DocJenFit: Yeah. So I put out my first video and it ended up getting more views than any of my fitness ones. I was like what? People actually, one they don't know this already, and what? I was just so confused. So that was my first face into oh, okay. Then I pushed a little bit more educator, pushed a little bit more, and people really gravitated. All the sudden my Instagram started to blow up.
James McKinney: Oh wow.
DocJenFit: Which also made me happy. I was like okay, now I get to push down my fear of what if someone judges me for it. Whatever. Maybe I learn, maybe I grow. And also, I'm just happy that people are actually coming to this page because they want to learn. Screw all the handstands and fitness stuff now. People actually want to learn something, so that made me so happy.
So I continued with that, and it was when I was getting so many people reaching out to me personally to work with me one on one, even outside of the cross fit. I started getting other opportunities, like shooting for magazines and doing other things. I had this one shoot, and it happened to be on a Saturday, but I said what if this wasn't on a Saturday? What if this was during the week and I couldn't take off work? That was like… it was like this perspective shift of what am I doing in the clinic still? I had been working in there for almost a year and a half, and I just decided this is it, I'm done.
I emailed my bosses right then and I said, "We need to talk Monday." I got a text back right away from one of them saying, "Please don't leave."
James McKinney: That's awesome. That is awesome.
DocJenFit: So they kind of knew. It's funny, there were three main bosses, owners of that clinic. I talked to two of them. They were trying everything to try and get me to stay. One was like, "We'll pay you now for posting," which I had been offering for a long time, and I had been offering to work their social media. Never took me up until the day I was quitting.
Then the other one went to the office with me and he was like, "All right, listen. They're going to want me to tell you to stay, but you've always been good. You're going to go out, you're going to do your thing, you're going to be fine." I was like, "Yeah, well they were so nice. They told me if I ever need a job again I can come back." He was like, "You won't need to." He was like, "You've always… you are good to do your own thing, and that's what I always saw."
I was like wow, another person. Another person who saw this in me and I didn't see it. So it was just like such a cool thing to know okay, when I'm working as hard as I am and I'm committed to helping other people and following what I want to do, it's happening.
James McKinney: Yeah.
DocJenFit: I took a leap of faith. I gave them a weeks' notice, because I said I had a lot to figure out, which ended up being okay. I all the sudden, my first week out had nine patients on my own, and then all the sudden I was up to like six days a week with so many patients, and I was like, "What is happening?" it built up so fast and I had no idea. I was working out of a gym. Had my own table, had my own tools so I didn't have to go to other people's houses too, because that was my concern with being a female. Was committed to working for Myodetox so coming back to the Canadian clinic that was going to open in LA.
Then as my own thing started to take off so much, I was like do I need to work for them? I love them, they're doing something different within the rehab community, and I love their vision and what they're up to, and my own thing is taking off. Then I started to say how else can I help people besides just working one on one? And is my Instagram really helping people, a one minute video that maybe people see or don't see? So that's when I was born The Mobility Method.
James McKinney: So what year is this? Let's put a stamp on that real quick.
DocJenFit: This was 2017.
McKinney: 2017. So 2015 towards the end of it, you start having these moments of processing where maybe there's something more. 2017, so a year plus later depending on what the month you put it on, is when you leave general employment we'll say.
DocJenFit: Yep, yep.
James McKinney: To do your own thing.
James McKinney: In those stages of executing, there's something that sparked this I'm going to say an idea where right now what I'm doing is one on one, and therefore I'm limited in scale. That's when The Mobility Method came to be.
James McKinney: So let's talk about The Mobility Method. What is The Mobility Method? What is it you're doing and let's just unpack that a little bit for our listeners.
DocJenFit: Yeah. That was, it was summer of 2017 that I'm like, "I’m going to launch a program." Obviously, I'm around people who were launching program like Lewis Howes and other people within our friend group, but I was still like yes, I can do social media and I'm doing social media well. It was growing like crazy.
James McKinney: You just hit 500,000 followers this last week if I'm not mistaken.
DocJenFit: I know.
James McKinney: That's incredible. In two years, if we dated it right, you went from 100,000 to 500,000.
James McKinney: That's awesome. So it took you two years to go 100K and two years to go 300K to 500K. That's rad. I love it.
DocJenFit: It's been an amazing journey, again to see how people are so committed to learning and education, and so that's what just has always filled my cup and has made me continue to go forward, and say how more can I help. That's when I kind of knew my audience by then as well. I'd been posting for a year and a half of educational stuff and said okay, what can I give my audience that they're going to want? I realized as well the posts that did really well were mobility type posts. Because I usually, if I focused on an injury, I always started with like gaining your range of motion, gaining your mobility back, then working on corrective exercises, then working on more skill type work and strength.
So I'd always kind of progressed in this way, but the videos that people gravitated more toward were mobility, and maybe that's because I am a very mobile person myself, coming from a gymnastics background. That stuff coming easier for me. But still, that's where people wanted to see a lot of stuff. So I knew that, and I knew what could I practically give someone, anyone, that would be a good foundation for them to start? So for me, it was like this makes sense. This makes sense on so many different levels.
I'm just lucky that people gravitated toward my mobility videos more because it was organically something that I could be like, "Here is your foundational tool that is probably missing, and we're always trying to pack on strength. We're always trying to pack on the cool corrective exercises. But what is the underlying issue that you could be missing, and that you could assess within your own body to find what you need?" Because my other thing was I want people to get out of the mindset of every diagnosis needs the same treatment plan. Every MRI needs the same treatment plan. Your body is different and unique based on how you've grown up, what exercises you've been doing, what hobbies you've been doing. And your restrictions are going to be different from another person, so you're going to need to find what is most restricting your body that could be causing this pain, causing this injury, and really diving into your own body.
So I also was creating a program that I believed, well that I believed in. I couldn't create something that would be like the 12 weeks to a mobile body, because I don't believe in that. I don't believe in a one size fits all. I don't believe in just like an easy step by step program. I believe you've got to go in and do the work, and the consistency that you create over time is what's going to be the best for your body. So that's what I decided to create.
James McKinney: That is awesome. That is awesome. So how is it now scalable to reach more people? What does a process look like for someone, and again what's the URL, TheMobilityMethod.com or what is it?
James McKinney: Perfect. So someone goes to that URL, DocJenFit.com/mobility, and what is that process look like for them? First time visitor. They have constant issues with their knees. I'm 41, I'm telling you I have constant issues with my knees. So I go on DocJenFit.com/mobility, what is that process? What am I doing?
DocJenFit: So once you get the program, the first that I like people to go into is the self assessment. So there's a 26 movement self assessment, and you just get to see based on what should be "normal" range of motion, where is your body? You get to see all these different movement patterns and assess it within your own body. So now you get to see, oh my gosh, I didn't even realize my hip was restricted in this way, or my ankle was restricted in this way that could be leading to my knee pain.
Often, when I'm teaching is that especially when it comes for mobility, it's not usually the pain area itself is not usually the area that needs to be addressed. It's usually above or below that area. The same way of where's the most pain problems that people have would be the foot, the knee, the lower back, and the neck. Those are the places, if we go down the body joint by joint, quick stable in the neck, mobile through the upper back and shoulders, stable in the low back, mobile in the hips, stable at the knee, mobile at the ankle, stable at the foot. The places that most people have the problems are the stability issues. Neck, low back, knee, foot. So what happens on top of that is then people say, "Oh, I need core work. Oh, I need to strengthen my knee. I need to strengthen my neck." We think of stability as strengthening rather than-
James McKinney: You're saying all the things that I've said, by the way. You're saying all the things I've said to myself. I need to strengthen.
DocJenFit: Exactly, rather than saying, "Wait, what is happening around that area?" so if my upper back isn't moving very well, is my neck taking over more pressure? If my hips aren't moving very well, is my back taking more pressure? If my hips aren't moving well, is my knee taking more pressure than it needs, too. All the sudden, we find these areas above and below the area that is actually in pain, that actually needs to be addressed.
So that was like my goal for people to find in their own body, is to do the self assessment, find what's restricted. You'll probably be blown away by what is restricted, and work on those areas and see how that takes pressure off of that problem area, that knee. Because once your hip is able to open, your knee doesn't need to take as much pressure. It's basic physics too with ground reaction force, the way we squat, the way we bend, the way we move. If we don't have as much motion in the hip, the knee is going to take it. But if the hip can take more pressure, you have a lot more muscle mass around that hip area that is able to handle a lot more pressure. So again, taking the pressure off of the knee, taking the pressure off the low back, putting into those more mobile areas, key.
James McKinney: So in episode one, I had a chance to speak with Jason McCann, the founder of Varidesk, the standing desk solution. Varidesk was founded out of solving a lower back problem that one of his partners had, where the, again typical type of medical care that I got when I was a kid was oh, if it hurts when you do that, don't do that.
DocJenFit: Yeah, exactly.
James McKinney: His founder, it hurt when he sat down, but didn't hurt when he stood up so he had all these boxes to create. That was where Varidesk came from was to solve his partner's sitting situation. How much do you think, now again, only because I'm making a link because we're just a few episodes from our episode one, how much do you attribute our sitting culture to a lot of the mobility challenges that we're having now?
DocJenFit: Oh my God, like everything. Seriously. It's like one of my friend's had found this article that said, or not article but research paper, and they found that in cultures where they need to, or they don't need to but they get down on the floor at various times throughout the day so that they pray, so they kneel all the way down on the floor and get all the way back up, they have less chance of osteoarthritis within their hips. It's just basic. They're putting their bodies in their full range of motion and getting right back up, so not only are they working on full mobility of where the body is able to bend in two, but they're also working on full strength, getting down, getting back up. How often in our culture are we getting down on the ground? Like never. Unless you're in yoga every day or Pilates, or doing maybe like your workout has you get down on the floor. But a lot of times that's not even sitting.
James McKinney: My kids are older now. When they were toddlers, I'd be on the floor.
DocJenFit: Yes, which is great.
James McKinney: But now they're older, I'm not on the floor with them anymore.
DocJenFit: Exactly. So it's great when we do have these little humans running around and we have to take care of them, and you're more apt to get down on the floor. But even that sometimes is hard for people because you haven't been doing it before. So we go from sitting crisscross applesauce in school, to sitting in chairs, and then desks, and cars, and couches. Making ourselves as comfortable as possible rather than as functional as possible. So it really, I think the standing desk solved a huge issue in terms of being able to take us from one range of motion to another.
But I still think the missing link is can that desk lower all the way to the ground so we have the option to sit on pillows and work at a desk? Now, who's going to… I think my friend, he also wanted to come up with the sit down desk, and I've wanted to as well, but I'm like who's actually going to buy that, because now you're telling the person to do more work. No one wants to do more work. That's actually probably not going to market very well. But that's what we need. We need to be putting our joints and our muscles and everything in our full range of motion, because your body gets very complacent and very good at finding that new range of motion and staying there.
So that's how we get a lot of injuries in weekend warriors, who go work all throughout the week, go do a heavy workout. Of course you're going to get injured, or you're required in cross fit to squat below parallel, but yet you're never sitting below parallel. How are you feeling like that's going to work out very well? Unless we're putting our bodies in these positions more times throughout the day, you're going to be more apt for pain, problems, and injury down the road.
James McKinney: I hope, again this is by far not a fitness podcast, but I hope if anything that people are listening to just the simplicity of mobility, and the massive impact it can have. Because from an entrepreneurship perspective, you know we talk about it, and there's been so many times when an entrepreneur reaches out, "Hey can we get together?" And the conversation falls through, and when I reach back out, it's, "Oh, sorry, I'm just in the grind. Sitting here pounding away."
It's like okay, we can get caught up in the stationary part of our hustle. That can be to our detriment long term. So I love hearing more about The Mobility Method. So what do you see for The Mobility Method in three years? If we're having this conversation in three years from now, what do you see for The Mobility Method? What will you be able to hang your hat, like the last three years were an incredible success. What would that be?
DocJenFit: If I can reach people just in greater and bigger ways. That, so many people are like, "Oh, can you come do a workshop at our gym, at our thing?" I'm like, "I can, but I don't want to. You guys are already moving. Honestly, I'm proud of you. You guys are good. Just teaching you how to do mobility, you can learn that anywhere. Buy my program, learn some mobility moves, your coaches can do it. You don't need me for that."
What I want to do, and where I think I can have the biggest impact is if I can get on stages where people don't know these things, and just talk to you, just like I am now with you, and get you to open your mindset around these kinds of things. So I want to talk to the everyday person, the person who's not even thinking about this. The person who hasn't yet gotten started into their body and understand why it's so important to start moving into their body. The person who just, that just isn't in their mindset right now or they're starting to dive into health and wellness on a bigger scale, but don't know about these things.
We, I think functional medicine has done so well in terms of changing mindset around people and they're getting on big stages in health and wellness, or even basic stages that aren't talking about health and wellness. That's where I want to be. I want to be that physical therapist who is getting people to think in a different way about their body, and get out of the quick fix, get out of the passive treatment that someone else is fixing you because no one else fixes you. I mean, same way we don't start a business unless we go in and we do it ourselves. Nothing is going to change in your body if someone is just massaging you or manipulating you. It has to come within you as well.
James McKinney: So you're saying we cannot outsource our health.
DocJenFit: I think we can temporarily, and we can to make the pain temporarily go away. So will passive treatments work? Yes. Do I do them? Yes. No one, all my clients, they have to do the work themselves or else they're never going to get better. This is why The Mobility Method does work, because when someone does take the time to self assess, to dive into what their body needs, and they do it on a consistent basis, they're able to open up and get out of pain without needing me to touch them. Which is also like I'm a physical therapist who can help people without touching you. That's amazing.
James McKinney: That is awesome. That's your super power.
DocJenFit: That's my superpower.
James McKinney: As we are talking, what I hear, I 100% attribute to the success you've had so far is your passion. You are truly authentically passionate about helping people in this, and I thank you for being so passionate about it. You said the phrase "luck" a few times, and the luck that I will allow, if you will, like my chance to allow, but allow you didn't create Instagram. That's the luck. Someone created Instagram that gave many of us an opportunity to have influence.
Beyond that, it's your passion. That's not luck. That is your passion. It is the training and upbringing that you had as a kid to just be diligent and to pursue, and hard work, and love. And love what you do. It is the influence of people around you that believed in you before you believed in yourself. None of that is luck. The only luck is that you didn't create Instagram, and you get to benefit from it. Let's talk about mentorship. You mentioned Vinnie Rehab. You mentioned some people that have just spoken kind words into your life, throughout your entrepreneurship journey.
If you were to look back at just we'll say the last two years, we'll go last two years, who do you point to with just tremendous gratitude? I'm here because of what you did or said.
DocJenFit: Yeah. I can't say one person.
James McKinney: I'm cool with a few of them if you want to list a few of them.
DocJenFit: I've got to say a few of them. So Vinnie Rehab really pointing me in the direction of… and believing in me. Without even knowing too much about me, coming up and spending a week in Toronto, and then saying, "You're going to run LA. You're going to run the clinic and be the clinic owner." So that belief that he had in me, and allowing me to model what he has done, and him and his business partner Scott. So Scott as well has always believed in me, and even when I told them like, "Hey guys, listen, my own thing is taking off. I want to focus on this. I'm not going to be able to run LA," and they were like, "Great." Now I'm an investor in their company and continuing to watch them grow and just support each other.
James McKinney: That's awesome.
DocJenFit: So that support that I've had from both of them has been tremendous.
James McKinney: I love it.
DocJenFit: I've got to say Lewis Howes, because I had zero idea of what the possibility of what I could create, and he has opened up the possibility of what I can create in my life anytime, anything I want to do. He is the peer example for that. And then Doc Trish, I've got to give a little shout out to her, because her too even when I was in grad school and still learning, and her showing me what's possible as a physical therapist, and what I could do with clients one on one, and how I can treat the way I want to treat not the way the clinic tells me how to treat.
Then, Lori Harder. So when I first decided that I was going to launch an online program, and I was like, "I have no idea what I'm doing. Yes I know how to grow Instagram now at this point, but I don't know how… that doesn’t mean I know how to be an online marketer or launch a program." I had gone to this conference and Jesse Itzler talked.
James McKinney: Is he the train with a Seal?
James McKinney: Oh I love… that book changed my life. We'll talk about books in a second.
DocJenFit: Yeah, he's amazing, and his talk was incredible. The one thing that I really took away was just ask. Just do it and see what's possible. So I was like I know Lori, but not like that well. She kind of scares me. Let me just ask. So I just asked. After that conference, that was the one thing I took away that was the most meaningful, which was just ask, just do, just see what happens. So I asked her, and I was like, "No pressure, but I'm going to launch. I would love your feedback. I'd love your support," and she was like, "Yeah, let's sit down." She sat down with me for four hours.
James McKinney: Oh, that's so awesome.
DocJenFit: Going over what I should do, how she sets her up, and continued to ask, "Do you need more support? Do you need more support? What do you need?" within those four hours, and it was everything. Everything.
James McKinney: That's awesome.
DocJenFit: I mean that just meant so much to me. Then through my whole launch, I was like I think my first launch I was up until three or four in the morning every day, because realizing how much little things you've got to connect along the way with this page, and this page, and then this email. This was all things I was learning on the spot, but then also to have Lewis be like, "Okay, now do this, and now do this." And being like, "Okay, I don't know how to implement that so let me research it. Let me figure it out. Let me find out."
These people that have really taken the time to believe in me, to push me and to support me like no other. It means so much to me, so any physical therapist that reaches out, a student that reaches out, I most often if they're in the area, I get coffee with them or lunch with them. How can I help? How can I give back as well?
James McKinney: What I love, and the reason I ask that question is the entrepreneur journey is a lonely journey, but it doesn't have to be.
DocJenFit: No, it doesn't.
James McKinney: People they get in this focus of execution, but I really consider it short term execution, like you have got to stay connected with people. The best entrepreneurs are connecting with mentors who are farther down the road than them, and just gleaning information. I love that your one takeaway from Jessie's conference was just ask. I have been preaching that for the last 20 years. It's unfortunate that my kids picked up on it, because now they just ask dad all the time. It's a blessing and a curse, but there's power in just asking. The worst thing that's possible is they say no.
James McKinney: But there's so much opportunity on the other side of that question.
DocJenFit: And we feel bad. We feel bad to ask for support like then do I owe this person something? What will happen? Will they judge me? I don't know why, what I've seen at times is that we feel bad to ask for support. People want to support other people. People want to connect with you and see how they can help. People thrive off helping other people, so if you don't ask, they have no way of helping you.
So that was also when I launched, I didn't know how to do ads and I was like let me not dive into another thing that I need to learn on my first launch. I ended up asking so many of my friends who have large Instagram followings as well, like, "Hey, here's the story. Will you post this about my free challenge?" and I asked. I said no pressure. If this doesn't resonate with you, if you don't feel comfortable, no worries. I had people who said, "You know, I don't know," and that's fine. It's no big deal. I said, "Okay, great. No worries. How can I support you?" but because of that, I got so many people promoting my free challenge. That's how I built an email list. I went from zero to 11,000.
James McKinney: Oh, I love it.
DocJenFit: When I was launching my program, the week after my free challenge, Vinnie put… because he was like, "Well, I don't have…" He had like 400,000 followers, and yet he didn't have the swipe up link in his story. I was like oh my God. But he was like, "I don't have the swipe up link, so I'll just put it in my bio." He put my link for my program in his bio, and posted a video of me and said how proud he was in the caption, and to go click the link in his bio and buy the program.
James McKinney: I love it. I love it.
DocJenFit: Meant so much. This was unreal to get this level of support, and this didn’t come overnight. I've been working, and I've been building relationships and I've been building this Instagram thing without even an intention to create a program out of it. I think that's why it's been so successful is because of the amount of value that I've given without asking for anything in return.
James McKinney: Yeah. I think too, I think what's interesting and just hearing these stories of support and encouragement, one of the things that we don't talk about as entrepreneurs is sometimes that little bit of encouragement is enough to get us through the next big push. It means so much. To hear your position of gratitude on that, I love it because it's so powerful. Entrepreneurs listening, if you're not pouring into someone right now, you've got to find someone.
There's so much that comes from you personally when you pour into someone else's journey. It comes back tenfold, but it's not about getting back. You made a comment, why are people hesitant to ask for things because they fear do I owe them. I say all the time, the only thing you owe is gratitude.
James McKinney: And if you can't do that naturally, then there are other things to work on besides your business.
DocJenFit: Yes, exactly. It's not a one for one thing, and all the people that I've surrounded myself with, it's not about what I give to you you're going to give to me. Does it sometimes end up working that way? Yes, but it's not… that's not the intention. The intention is just how can I support you? How can I give value? Everything I've had has grown out of collaboration, and support from other people. So the one, the biggest thing is support, collaboration. Not networking to get to the next level. Not networking to get something, but truly wanting to just learn to collaborate, to come into likeminded people, and be able to just continue to grow.
James McKinney: Let's talk about the person who's listening right now who might be, may not have that belief that you have now but that you didn't have four years ago we'll say. What do you say to that person who is passionate like you are about something but they just don't think it's their thing to do? It's just not for me. What do you say to that person?
DocJenFit: I say start paying attention to how you're talking to yourself, because that was the one thing that I was blind to until someone pointed it out for me. I was so negative about myself. So of course, I could pour into other people, I could be nice, I could be what I thought was humble. Didn't accept compliments. Like I never received anything, and I talked to myself in such a negative way. So of course I wasn't going to believe what other people were saying, because there was not even… I couldn't see anything within myself.
I had no idea how bad it was, and how much of an impact that was having on me. So just starting to increase the awareness when you're getting ready in the morning. How are you talking to yourself? How are you looking at yourself in the mirror? When you're around friends, when you take a photo, what's the first thing that you look at in the photo? Are you looking at how you look or are you appreciating the moment with people around you?
James McKinney: Oh, God, I love that.
DocJenFit: So just starting to increase our awareness around those things, and then ask for support. One of the things I did when I realized that I was creating a negative space within me and around me was I asked for support. I said, "Hey, if you say anything negative about yourself, I'm going to catch you and reverse that. If I say anything negative about myself, please make me reverse what I say." I asked for support from even my mom. She had to reverse things that she said was negative about herself, and my friends. So really getting that accountability and that support to start to change my inner dialogue so that-
James McKinney: Oh man, so powerful.
DocJenFit: … things could start to change around me. When you really start to change that inner dialogue, you'll realize how much more opportunity you have around you.
James McKinney: Thank you, thank you for being willing to share your story with our listeners. I hope that the listeners gleaned incredibly valuable information from it. So thank you for being willing to join this journey to tell your story.
DocJenFit: Thank you for letting me dive in and really go fully into the full story. I don't think I've done that in like so long.
James McKinney: Oh, I love it. It's been awesome. So thank you for that.
Where are you in your entrepreneurial journey? Are you the frustrated entrepreneur that has an operational business but it isn't achieving the level of success you had hoped it would when you began? Are you the reluctant entrepreneur that has a great idea and a deep rooted desire to do something more than just build someone else's dream by punching a clock from 9 to 5? Yet the responsibilities of life, like kids and a mortgage, or maybe even your age have convinced you that you can't do it? Or maybe you're the defeated entrepreneur that has moved with confidence on a startup venture but it failed miserably. Or maybe you failed numerous times and now you completely doubt that you can ever pull anything off.
Wherever you are at in your journey, you must understand that this state you are in right now is not your final destination. You must keep moving forward. DocJenFit's story is the perfect example of how powerful personal belief can be. But let me be very clear. Belief does not pay the bills. Belief does not acquire paying customers. You must execute on that belief. You have to move forward thoughtfully and strategically, but you have to move forward. You cannot stay put where you are.
But let me give you one huge bit of advice, and one that Jen shared in her story. Do not move forward alone. Surround yourself by others that have dreams bigger than yours. If you're an entrepreneur or have ambitions to be one, but have no idea how to find likeminded people, please DM me on Instagram at StartupStory.co and I will send you a few resources. There's no catch. There's no fee. There's no email list to sign up for. Just DM me and I will give you a few incredible resources that have helped millions of entrepreneurs worldwide. Connect with other entrepreneurs. Don't believe the false narrative that wherever you are right now is all you were meant to be. Now is the time to move on your idea.
Speaking of moving, DocJenFit has built quite an enterprise on providing free information and I hope you will visit DocJenFit.com/challenge to get your free mobility assessment. It will blow your mind how restricted your range of motion is. Not only is the assessment free, but she has free solutions for you and you can do them in your office or at random moments in your day. You need your body to function well in order to move on your dreams so please visit DocJenFit/challenge for your own good but also to support fellow entrepreneurs. You will hear me say it often. Entrepreneurs help other entrepreneurs and DocJenFit wants to help you.
Here's my personal ask from one founder to another. The Startup Story itself is a startup., and we would love to hear your story and possibly even share your startup story. Please connect with us on Facebook or Instagram at TheStartupStory.co. Mention us, comment on a post or DM us. Or visit our website at TheStartupStory.co to connect with us. Make sure to subscribe on Apple Podcast, Google Play Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcast. Please leave a review. They really do help with being discovered by others. But what also helps is that you share The Startup Story with a friend.
The Startup Story is for entrepreneurs, so please do not underestimate the power of sharing The Startup Story on your LinkedIn profile so other entrepreneurs can discover us. Every single founder has a story, and the startup stories we bring to you every week can encourage and inspire another founder. It might just be what they need to hear to keep moving forward on their dreams. I look forward to sharing these stories every Tuesday with hopes to inspire you to start your story.