By Gracen Kostelecky, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship
This story is part of a series featuring each of the fifteen startups in the CYstarters 2018 summer cohort. Each team has the opportunity to focus on their startup or business idea while receiving $6,500 or up to $13,000, along with mentorship, accountability, and educational sessions on how to build a business.
Get to Know: Ryan True
School: Senior at Iowa State University, studying kinesiology and health
Hometown: Gowrie, Iowa
When most college students pursue degrees in kinesiology, athletics is usually the end goal. Whether that is on the sidelines of NFL games, on the floor of their favorite college basketball team, most students want to train the best athletes in the world. Why wouldn’t they? Working with incredibly talented individuals who are at their peak physical performance is a dream for many people.
Ryan True, a senior studying kinesiology does not fit that mold, but will likely have a far greater impact on our community wellness, and it all starts with aging adults. True was sitting in a lecture when he was a freshman, learning about all the different opportunities there are in kinesiology. His gerontologist lecturer, Dr. Frankie, talked about pursuing careers working with the aging population, and the benefits of working with older adults. True found it fascinating and wanted to know more. He began to learn about the eight areas of wellness, which includes emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual. He thought, “what if there was a place where individuals could improve in all aspects of wellness, all in one location?”
True has a passion for helping others achieve their wellness goals. He is a personal trainer for Iowa State University Recreation Services and is involved with a number of clubs and activities including ExerCYse is Medicine, CYde Kicks Health Coach, Healthiest Ames Senior Fitness Project. In addition, he also chaired the Human Sciences Week committee this year.
After being inspired by Dr. Frankie, he decided to combine his love for helping others achieve their wellness goals, and his newfound passion for working with aging adults. Today, he has started his own wellness business called Full Circle Living.
What is Full Circle Living?
Full Circle Living is focused on independent personal training and health coaching. I am still finishing my undergraduate degree, and I am looking to pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology. Although I am still a student, I am looking to build my personal brand as a full wellness coach, and I will continue to explore ways I can take Full Circle Living to the next level. This could include a physical center, partnering with existing health organizations, or even creating a more comprehensive network of in-home care.
Who are your customers?
I am looking to work with anyone who is motivated by healthy aging. I have worked with individuals of all ages, but motivations change throughout one’s life. Generally, around the age of 50, my clients are more interested in healthy lifestyles and aging, instead of worrying about physique and appearance. Those are the clients with whom I want to work with.
Why have you had success thus far?
A large majority of kinesiology students have a goal to work with athletes when they complete their education. I have gone a different route, and that excites a lot of people. I have found a passion for working with an older population, and it is refreshing for my community of supporters. To know a college student has an interest in overall wellness for a community has opened up doors with many impactful advisors and mentors that will be key to my success.
What has been your favorite resource?
The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship has been my greatest resource. The individuals who work there genuinely care and are interested in what we are doing as student entrepreneurs. I would not be as far as I am today without the support of the Pappajohn Center staff and resources.
What has been the most beneficial aspect of CYstarters?
Julie Wright was one of my favorite mentors and presenters for the program. She really pushed business and entrepreneur confidence and instilled in me that I need to offer quality services. I should price myself based on quality and expect my customers to value the services I bring.
Advice for aspiring Iowa State entrepreneurs?
The biggest thing you can do is be an opportunist. If something is presented to you, think it over, contemplate the costs and benefits, and pursue it if it will benefit you. For example, I heard about CYstarters pretty late last year, looked into the program, weighed the pros and cons, and decided to pursue it. If I would have let this opportunity pass, Full Circle Living would not be anywhere near where it is today.
Has Iowa State University had any influence on your entrepreneurial venture?
From former President Leath to President Wintersteen, there has been a greater intention to support entrepreneurs. We can literally see entrepreneurship growing at Iowa State. It seems like pitch competitions are always happening on campus, the new Student Innovation Center will be huge, and the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship is becoming a more household name.
In addition, the CYstarters cohort members and Ames entrepreneurship community have been invaluable to my success. They will continue to support, push, and hold me accountable as I continue to pursue this venture.
How can others help you?
I am looking for assistance in marketing and promotions. I have been lucky enough to have many articles written about my business, but I am always looking to gain more exposure to the right clients. Also, if you are looking for a healthier lifestyle in all areas of wellness, I would love to see how we can work together to achieve your goals.
How should others find and connect with you?
You can find my newly designed website at fcliving.us, or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.