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How This Navy Veteran Turned Gym Anxiety Into A Global Wellness Movement

Luc-Rikardo Fils, Navy Veteran & Founder of DomumGym

Tell us about you and your military background:

My name is Luc-Rikardo Fils, and I’m from the Seattle area. I was in the military for 8 years in the Navy and was honorably discharged in 2021. My highest rank was a Petty Officer, 2nd class, and deployed to USS John C Stennis (CVN 74), and LCS Squadron 1 in San Diego.

Tell us about your business:

The name of the company is called DomumGym. It's a fitness health and wellness company that is physically located at Olympia Headquarters in Washington, but since it is a virtual Marketplace, it is located worldwide.

I first started it on September the 23rd,2021. It's a marketplace that virtually focuses on fitness, health, and wellness. We live in an era where everything is moving so fast, which leads to people not having time for themselves which can also affect their mental health. So our mission at DomumGym is to bridge that gap by combining mental health, physical fitness, and nutrition to help our clients live and opt for a more healthier lifestyle.

We sorely target young women aged between 25-45. Women who are moms and young professionals, who suffer from gym anxiety and time constraints to go to the gym. I came up with this idea after I realized that my wife wanted and needed something like this during COVID, also not to mention how we have a young family that has these pain points.

Describe how you got the business started:

It took me about six months to conceptualize the business idea and it cost me about $11,000 of which I raised with the help of family and friends. I did my research methodology by conducting both Qualitative and Quantitative research through the Internet, libraries and speaking with potential clients and trainers. I had a mentor and an advisor for additional training. It took me about six months to get my first client and I found them online.

Tell us why you wanted to become an entrepreneur:

Entrepreneurship is not a casual easy walk in the park, but I had a vision and a passion of who I want to become, what difference I would bring into the community. luckily I had the biggest support system which is my family, it had to be the biggest influence and inspiration to follow my passion and focusing on a mission. With that being said, my passion and family drove me to this journey of entrepreneurship.

I would like to think that corporate is not such a bad job, but I had in the past been happier to do something on my own with a lasting impact on the world. I had no family members nor friends or fellow veterans I served with who are entrepreneurs today, aside from folks I met on YCombinator.

Describe how your military background prepared you for entrepreneurship:

I have both a soft and hard skill set I learned in the military which is Leadership, bringing a group of people together, Resilience, determination, and public affairs. I also had Yeoman training (clerical work) and Public Affairs. So my experience is mostly in Public Affairs.

I joined the Navy a year after college and it was the best decision of my life because it taught me about growth. It unleashed the strength that I, as a man, didn't think I possessed. I think that as we grow, we tend to underestimate our potential, we never really realize our capabilities, so joining the Navy taught me a lot about determination. I became fearless and more open to taking risks. It's part of the reason why as I grew, I looked into starting something of my own without a doubt.

The funny part about this whole experience is that I really thought I knew how to swim, I thought I was a good swimmer, in fact, I thought I was as good as they come until I joined the Navy. I went to a boot camp and failed dismally about 26 times and passed on the 27th attempt.

“The amount of times I failed rooted a very vital life lesson inside of me and that was, never giving up no matter how much you fail in life.”

It taught me that you're always going to get to where you're going in life no matter how much or how many rocks you stumble upon.

I finally got passed bootcamp and eventually got deployed. As you know, when you get deployed time can feel like it's moving too fast, getting past you, or moving ahead of you. You get lonely and miss your loved ones. Before I got deployed, I decided to settle down and proposed to my saintly wife and she pretty much planned our entire wedding while I was away.

The communication with my wife was quite challenging because of the obvious security protocols at sea, but thankfully we always found ways and that's why we're soon about to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary! I would not be the kind of man I am today if it weren't because of her love and support. She is an incredible partner, mother, and the most beautiful woman I've ever laid eyes on and she holds everything with such effortless grace.

I moved and lived in San Diego, this is where I jumped into a new role where I assisted in starting a Public Affairs business. I was fortunate to work with big brands like ESPN and other Hollywood productions that consisted of covering the military and telling the story of the Navy. Learning that I had to be industrious very early was one other push that helped me start my own company. It sort of taught me to start things out of nowhere because, in as much as DomumGym was motivated by my wife, this felt more like a passion startup which is an advantage for avoiding procrastination. The time was and still is now.

Tell us about some of your obstacles and challenges, and how you overcame them:

One of the most challenging things I came across or something I felt was an obstacle, had to be the financial muscle that wasn't as strong but thinking outside of the box and leaning on others helped. There was a lack of money, yes, but I had no issues with location, production or distribution, I didn't have to deal with things like that. I did not have proper education regarding business or experience but I have learned from a lot of people that a degree is not the only gateway to succeed in starting a business. With the help of friends and family, there isn't any time that I would say support is something that I have lacked.

Describe how you’re doing today and what the future looks like:

I can't really predict what tomorrow brings but the future of DomumGym looks bright so far. Across the platforms, we have acquired 1,000 people as beta testers. A team Is led by four co-founders and 40 interns and we are launching a new app on October the 25th 2023.

Speaking of the new app, our top goals and priorities have been: working on launching the new app and making sure that it is the best available fitness app in the market, one that people will absolutely love, and servicing our customers with wellness professionals (trainers, therapists, and nutritionists) well.

We're open to growth, that's why we're always looking for new people to bring on board (wellness professionals, employees, interns, and advisors). The vision for our brand is to be viewed by our customers as an essential morning cup of coffee.

Share some advice with your fellow veteran entrepreneurs:

My advice to my fellow veteran entrepreneurs out there is to create, have and maintain a good relationship with your team. A team is your most valuable asset. Finding the right people to work with is the most important thing.

If you haven't gotten your degree, it helps to have a business degree. If you already have one, go and make sure that you have someone on your team who has that strength. For tech startups, it helps a little bit to know about coding, and research till the cows come home!

“Always seek a network, community or mentorship.”

If you're into research development, finance, hiring sales and marketing etc, especially for tech, make sure that you look for growth hackers to help you grow your brand. Famous brands like (Airbnb) for instance, used this to help them grow. As for hiring, look for doers, not talkers.

 Where can we go to learn more: