'I was getting paid £24k a year and working 70 hour weeks. One decision changed everything'

-Credit: (Image: Ste McGrath)
-Credit: (Image: Ste McGrath)

Growing up in a deprived area of north Manchester, Ste McGrath was no stranger to hard work and resilience.

His parents worked tirelessly to provide for the family, his father laying driveways and playgrounds and his mother juggling jobs as a factory worker and teaching assistant.

Despite their efforts, the family was far from affluent – but Ste was determined to forge a path that would change his fortunes forever.

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Today, he stands as a testament to grit and determination as a two-time business owner whose current business turned over £2.2million in its second year of business and is projected to hit £5 million in its third.

Ste’s journey to success began with an educational milestone as the first in his family to attend university.

Initially enrolled in chemistry, Ste switched to sport science, driven by a newfound passion for fitness and personal training. Throughout university, he worked as a lifeguard and personal trainer, earning £9.50 an hour.

However, upon graduating, Ste found himself in a less rewarding position as a physics teacher. Despite the promise of good benefits and a pension, the reality of teaching left him overworked and underpaid.

“I took a pay cut my first year,” he recalls. “I think I was getting £24,000 a year, which for the hours I was putting in was ridiculous.”

Ste’s career took an unexpected turn when his father was diagnosed with bowel cancer, forcing him into early retirement.

Ste McGrath -Credit:Ste McGrath
Ste McGrath -Credit:Ste McGrath

Ste, from Failsworth, began picking up personal training clients to support his family, but his dual commitments soon led to an ultimatum from his school – give up personal training or leave teaching.

Ste chose the latter, diving headfirst into his personal training business, Get Results Training. But tragedy struck once more when Ste suffered a severe injury in a freak accident while working out at the gym.

Snapping both patella tendons, which attach to the bottom of the kneecap, Ste was told he might never walk again at the age of 26.

Facing a gruelling recovery, he recounts: “I had to drag myself in the back of my dad’s truck to drive to Pure Gym so I could use the disabled showers there.”

This period not only left Ste heavily in debt, relying on loans and credit cards to make ends meet, but also led to a dependence on prescription pain medication.

“I fell into a prescription pain medication addiction,” he admits. “It was a dark time, but I knew I had to overcome it to turn my life around.”

Desperate to turn his situation around, Ste secured a £5,000 loan and invested it into a business course, despite already being £15,000 in debt.

The gamble paid off, and soon enough, Get Results Training was thriving. “Within the first two weeks, I had made that £5,000 back,” Ste added.

Ste worked tirelessly, often from 4 a.m. to late at night, determined to succeed. “I grafted through that course, and we managed to go from zero to £50k in the first six months.”

Ste’s relentless effort paid off, enabling him to pay off his debts and reinvest in his personal training business.

Ste -Credit:Ste McGrath
Ste -Credit:Ste McGrath

By the end of his first year, the company had turned over £150,000. “It was mad for me because as a teacher, head teacher is like the top job and you get a hundred grand a year for that,” he said.

“That is 10 years of hard work, working 70 hour weeks. And I’d just done it in less than six months.”

With initial success under his belt, Ste knew he needed to scale his business. He rebranded his personal training venture and started mentoring other PTs.

His investment in branding and team development paid off, and when the pandemic hit, his business was ready.

While many personal training businesses struggled, Ste’s online coaching model continued to flourish, adding £350,000 in revenue during the second year.

Ste’s hard work allowed him to improve his lifestyle significantly. From humble beginnings, he now enjoyed luxuries like international travel and high-end cars.

“We moved to a nicer area from North Manchester to Cheshire, and that’s where life really changed for me,” Ste reflects.

But despite his success, he remained grounded, continuously pushing to expand his business.

Ste’s journey inspired him to help others. As his business grew, he noticed an influx of personal trainers seeking his advice. This led him to establish a business agency in January 2022, aimed at helping other trainers achieve similar success.

Ste's business is now worth millions -Credit:Ste McGrath
Ste's business is now worth millions -Credit:Ste McGrath

“I built what I needed when I was running my business - all of the different factors that I had to learn from different programs and pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for” Ste explains. “I wanted to create something that helped them in all of those different areas within one program.”

Ste rebranded his business to Fitness Business University in 2023 and has since helped more than 1,000 clients take their businesses to new levels, with some even hitting seven figures.

With a trusted team of business professionals at his side, Ste allows other likeminded business owners to install the systems needed to grow their business.

He now works one on one with his clients on CEO management, allowing them to build their skills, while helping to hire and train staff to run the systems needed for success.

As he projects a £5 million turnover in his third year, Ste continues to set new goals and push the boundaries of his success. Giving advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs, he said: “You just have to make it work, alright? And I did everything under the sun to ensure that I did.”