I want to wind back the clock and take you back to when I was thirteen years old.
Growing up I thought I had a pretty normal life. I was a little shy. Played lots of videos games, normal stuff really. Like most, I just wanted to have fun and play.
Do you ever remember that move from ‘little school’ to ‘big school’?
It’s all new. New people, new teachers, and you’re trying super hard to fit in.
I wasn’t a massive fan of sports and I spent a lot of time being picked last, so that made me want to go less and less.
One afternoon, we had just finished playing on the large school field and all the boys went to the changing rooms to get showered and clean the mud covering our arms and legs.
There was a handful of more popular kids, and of course a lot of the girls wanted to be with them, they were the captains and they always had a crowd of other ‘groupies’.
Sadly that wasn’t me. I was the shy one. Lacking in confidence and kept myself to myself.
We finished the game and it was time for me to get showered so I walked into the shower and past the most popular boy in the school at the time. His name was Phil.
It was at this moment that my life was about to take a very dramatic turn.
He decided to shout from the top of his voice ‘he touched me‘, ‘get your butt to the wall lads‘.
My heart started to race faster and faster, I could feel my body temperature starting to rise, my hands became sweaty.
Like a wave across the ocean, I turned around and people started to move away from me, boys started standing against the wall with their hands’ behinds their backs protecting themselves.
As I shuffled my way through to where my clothes hung, it just got worse and worse. I was completely helpless.
I was now not Simon Lovell, I was ‘gay boy Lovell’.
I left that evening hoping that everything would be okay.
But as I walked to my first class the following day, it started again. Boys would have their backs to the wall. Some would say nothing and just put their head down, others would whisper, others would get in my face.
My school life from the age of 13-16 was pretty much hell. I was punched kicked and heavily bullied inside and outside of school. This took a toll on the classes that I wanted to attend, and I ended up spending a lot of my time on my own with a handful of friends.
I can remember in one class, someone throwing a pen so fast at me, I looked down and it was sticking out of my leg.
I wasn’t the angel boy… I would get in trouble myself… I had a lot of anger, and whenever I was angry, I would take it out on others. It was a constant battle.
My Safe Place
A couple of things I loved to do were to act and play video games. So I took this drive and started to write a fanzine for the Commodore 64 called MegaByte. We sold it in local shops and I would get free video games from the companies who produced them. I was starting to become an Entrepreneur.
The bullying got so bad that one day I decided to start to look in how to defend myself. I found a local Kung Fu class and spent a few weeks plucking up the courage to walk into the class which was situated down a small side street where I had bought my video games in Exeter, UK.
Eventually, I walked in, extremely scared and anxious, but I was made to feel welcome quickly by the instructor, his name was Tim.
In the months that passed, little by little Tim helped me grow my confidence, and eventually would invite me to the gym. He passed me books from people like Bill Philips (Body for Life), took me shopping to buy healthier food and I was noticing my confidence shift.
I spent the ages of 16-21 working on national video games magazines in the south west of England and then ended up back in my home city attempting to grow my own publishing company which ended up going bust.
At the time, I lost my girlfriend, my home and my business in the space of about a month.
Devastated and embarrassed, I was back home with my parents, wondering what my next steps would be. I knew I was pretty ‘unemployable’ since I loved working for myself and going back to being an employee was not an option…
Then my mum uttered the words “what about becoming a personal trainer?”. She knew I was passionate about the gym now, and she figured it would be a good new career.
I loved the idea and hadn’t even thought of it.
I didn’t have any money at the time, so they kindly loaned me the money to head to Cyprus to spend three months learning and shifting my focus.
This was my chance to restart my life and get my shit together.
It was a fun few months. I was young so I went partying pretty much every weekend and my confidence was growing more and more as I learned about myself and trained harder and harder than I had before.
Returning from Cyprus I was super motivated to start my new business. I remember picking up seven clients in my first week, being super excited about marketing myself and had little fear. I just wanted to help people. The more people I took around the gym, the more people I would sign up as personal training clients.
The Idea That Turned into a Six-Figure Book Deal
It was about a year after I started to train my clients and I would always have them fill in a food diary so that I could give them suggestions on how to improve their nutrition.
In around 2007, one of my clients asked me if I had a plan they could follow.
At the time, I used to fill a plastic container full of healthy foods and graze on it throughout the day. It worked well for me since I had clients back-to-back.
When a new client would arrive, I would get them to warm up on the rower or treadmill and in that small five-minute window I would eat from my lunch box after my healthy breakfast. My last ‘munch’ would be at around 4-5pm and then I would eat after my last client.
So, I gave them my ‘formula’ on a three-page word document that I printed out. It was super simple, but it worked for me.
About one month to six weeks later, after distributing my formula to most of my clients, I started getting comments like…
“my skin has cleared up”
“I have loads of energy”
“I don’t feel like I’m on a diet”
At this point, I knew I was onto something. So I took my huge three-page document, turned in into a 13 page downloadable PDF with a (semi-fancy cover I designed), and put it on my website…
It was priced at 4.95.
It started to get some traction. I sold a few downloads (this was back in 2007) and even got a client into the local newspaper because it helped clear up her eczema.
But then I got a phone call I really wasn’t expecting. I was from Elle Magazine. A researcher (her name was Sophie, I remember), called me up and said she wanted to review my ‘diet’.
This wasn’t a printed book, it was a 13-page download.
Of course, I agreed and gave her access. I was over the moon, but super anxious about what they would say, especially up against other ‘real books’.
The review came out and in the little black dress edition of Elle Magazine UK, ‘the lunch box diet’ got a flawless 5/5 star review calling it ‘the best diet’.
It snowballed from there. Soon my diet was featured on the cover of numerous magazines in the UK and was linked to celebrities like Cameron Diaz. It was also the main diet featured on Woman’s World in the US which, at the time, had three million readers per edition.
As soon as the review came out, I went home and doubled the price on my website from 4.95 to 9.95 and in the space of a month made about 15,000 from that one review. I banked all the money because it was a digital download.
My life was starting to change. I had massive ‘ah-ha’ moments about producing products, selling information and how to leverage my time.
I was now becoming a local and national authority. I would get into the local media every week and I would appear on my local TV from my success story.
Then I got another phone call I wasn’t expecting.
It was Penguin Books UK. They wanted to talk to me about buying the rights to publish The Lunch Box Diet.
To cut a long story short, they didn’t end up wanting the book and then I got super frustrated.
So much so I started to call other publishers….
I told them that I was already featured on TV and in Elle Magazine and that got me direct interviews.
My first offer was 25,000 then I managed to get an interview with Harper Collins and they offered me 50,000.
At this point, the numbers were starting to get serious, so I approached a book agent and signed him to secure me a bigger deal.
I can remember the day clearly.
I was training my client Nigel in his afternoon session when the call came through.
It was my publisher…. he had created a ‘bidding war’ with other publishers and Harper Collins REALLY wanted the book, so they offered to ‘take the deal off the table’ for 100,000.
Holy SHIT! I HAD JUST BEEN OFFERED A SIX FIGURE BOOK DEAL FOR MY 13 PAGE DOWNLOAD!
I’m not sure what came over me, but I had a massive urge which was to refuse the offer and ask for 20,000 more. So I did.
I figured if they would invest 100,000, they would be happy to go to 20,000 more.
They agreed, and I signed a deal for The Lunch Box Diet which would be released in 2009 ready for the new year diet surge.
Zero Financial Intelligence & the Big Night…
Now you would have thought that this book deal would have put me on a path to success and riches. Sadly not. In fact, the opposite happened.
In the months that passed after the Lunch Box Diet’s released, I stopped taking on new clients and my mindset was that of a ‘big shot’.
In all honesty, my ego took over and I started to live off the book money. My first instalment was 13,000, and then I would get further instalments through the book’s development.
My money went down and down and, at the time, I had a bit of an addiction to internet gambling. My ‘games’ were roulette and blackjack and despite bringing in the book deal money, I decided not to pay it off.
I was never good with money. I had lived pay check to pay check previously and my cycle was earning money, work through the week hard, and go heavy for fun on the weekend.
There were weekend binges, bars, clubs…
If I’m honest, while I enjoyed going out, much of the time I didn’t really fit in very well and alcohol took me to a place where I could forget everything.
On one Friday night, I went around to another personal trainers house and we starting to knock back a few drinks. It was then that I was offered some white power on the kitchen table.
It was cocaine.
I had already had a few drinks so I said the words that shifted everything…
“Okay… why not”.
20 minutes later I was a different Simon.
Super confident, cocky… and chatting A LOT!
I was instantly hooked.
My club nights changed. I attracted more women… and because of that, I would repeat the process each week.
After a few months, I noticed that I wanted more and more.
My cravings for it got more and more intense.
As Friday night would come I would ‘hunt down’ whatever I could get. And then, of course, I started to enter a crowd of very different people. From that, I got introduced to ecstasy and other drugs like ketamine.
I then started to DJ.
In the week I was a personal trainer, teaching health and fitness, and come Friday night I would turn into a party animal; smoking, drinking, gambling, sex, casinos… and the money… would just keep going down.
On some weekends I would average 250 pounds UK ($300 dollars) on drugs alone.
This went on for quite some time and I could feel myself getting worse and worse.
My relationships were a mess, and I was no closer to living my schoolboy dream of impacting the world and changing lives. In fact, I was the complete opposite of what I wanted.
The Xmas that Changed Everything
It was Christmas morning and I had been partying the night before. I can remember it being about 6am in the morning and I was still going… I looked in the mirror and my eyes wide as can be, my face sweaty and my hands trembling. I just wanted more drugs.
But I had to be at my sister’s house for Christmas dinner at 11am.
She just wanted Uncle Simon to be there for the kids. To open the presents and play.
I arrived in a taxi. Completely paranoid that she would be able to tell that I was out of it, but I managed to say a few things, go upstairs and slept in my nephew’s bed.
I was out…. for most of the day. I slept through the present opening and slept through Xmas dinner. I was upstairs, a mess. Every time I woke up, I just went back to sleep again. I felt like I was falling apart.
I left that day ashamed of myself. Depressed, worried, anxious…
I knew something had to change.
The BIGGEST Decision of My Life
About a month later, I got a phone call from one of my friends, Tom, about two hours away from Exeter (in Bristol), and he told me that he had just broken up with his girlfriend and she had moved out.
So I asked him if the spare room was available and I decided I had to move.
There was no question in my mind, if I was to continue in the cycle was in, I wouldn’t reach my mission and I may just end up dead.
My financial situation at the time was pretty bad. Most of the book money was gone and I still had most of my credit card debt which was split across seven cards, all maxed out.
Changing my environment shifted a lot of things for me.
In the time I spent with Tom, I started getting back into working with clients and bringing in some money, even though it was super difficult to go back.
I felt ‘small’ going back to ‘training clients’. My head was messing with me. But I had to do it.
In the months that passed, I started to get into a better space with my life.
But I would still have the habits of binge drinking, smoking and the negative cycles that would play on my mind.
I started to steer away from fitness / personal training and worked on developing an online business. I partnered up with another expert on a product for the Crossfit market called Paleo in a Box.
I took that quickly to six figures, along with the help of mentors and coaches, and got myself in a better financial position.
One of my business partners/mentors at the time introduced me to another mentor but the investment was well above what I could afford. It was $30,000. But I had heard so many amazing things about what he had done for others, and I needed help.
So, I took the jump and put my last $5,000 on one credit card that had some extra space.
It was that relationship that everything changed.
While I learnt a lot from that mentor about business. What I really got, looking back, was an energetic exchange of confidence. I was starting to believe in myself more, so I started charging my worth.
I had done so much for my business and to create revenue streams (even though I wasn’t good with money), but I wasn’t maximizing those skills that I had.
As my revenue started to grow, he would teach me amazing principles about investing in myself, not just into my business, but into me.
I was also aware that if I didn’t change my beliefs and patterns of self-sabotage and drugs, I would only end up with more and more money problems.
So I committed to reinvesting 20% of what I made into ME. Into my own personal development. Into hiring the best in the world that understood behaviour change. I wanted to change. I wanted to be a better man. I wanted to create huge impact but I knew I needed to be an amazing person and I didn’t feel that way.
Everything was about to change.
From 2013 to date, I personally committed myself to changing my life at a much deeper level. My journey has taken me to places like India, deep in meditation with Tony Robbins, to the jungles of Peru to grow both emotionally and spiritually.
I’ve had energy work, mind-set shifts, spent entire weeks in intensive, soul-searching processes and, as a result, not only have I grown, but my business and impact have shifted dramatically.
I paid off all my debt, stopped drugs and alcohol completely, grew Fitpreneurs to a level I never thought possible and have an amazing team supporting me and my clients. Every year I personally connect with clients all over the world and I can say that life is different. I recorded a detailed video and created a blog post on the exact timeline of what I did which you can check out here.
Just like everyone, I still have things I’m working on. I still have work to do, and it’s a never-ending journey.
This blog post was to share my journey so you can understand the work and shifts that happened to take my life into a whole new dimension and I’m excited by what the future holds.
I’m more excited by YOUR possibility. Just like you, my fuel is helping people. Because when you grow, naturally you want to give back and help others.
It really doesn’t matter where you are now, everything can shift.
I wasted so many years of my life on autopilot, and when you start to work on yourself, everything shifts and you start to see things from a very different perspective. The impact and lasting change work you can have on people becomes far deeper, far more significant and more fulfilling.
While myself and the team help business owners to get more leads, generate sales and create more leverage, the truth is, the massive growth comes from the confidence, leadership and self-growth of the person running the business.
If you are interested in hearing my raw story in full, I recently presented in front of a group of very successful fitness business owners in Texas.
You can watch the full keynote here…