Sunday, July 14, 2024

5 questions for Ian Phillips

Ian Phillips is a co-founder of Chapel Hill-based startup Localfit, a fitness network designed for business travelers. Ian graduated from UNC Greensboro with a degree in business administration and earned a law degree from Elon University. Before joining the founding team at Localfit, Ian was director of development and acquisition at Greensboro-based real-estate development firm The Carroll Companies. In late 2017, Ian left the Carroll Companies to devote full-time efforts to Localfit with longtime friend and college roommate Rob Gilliam. Localfit provides nationwide access to more than 5,000 premier health clubs and gyms for a monthly fee.

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What do you like best about your job?

Our team is building something that hasn’t been built before. Coming from real-estate development, there is certain level of comfort knowing that what you are building has been built before and, while it can always be done more efficiently, there is somewhat of a formula to it.

At Localfit, we are changing the way people exercise when they travel by creating the most affordable and robust network of premier gyms nationwide. What I enjoy most about my job is the adrenaline rush that comes when we take small, and large, steps forward as we grow Localfit. Our team makes a conscious effort to celebrate the small victories, which in turn make each day fulfilling.

What inspires you?

Early mornings inspire me. There is a certain calmness that occurs in the early morning that I think many people don’t appreciate. I believe in hitting the floor as early as possible and creating a morning routine that energizes you for the day. For me, that means getting out of bed at 5 a.m. (or as close as possible) to spend time with the dogs, read, reflect, exercise, and plan my goals for the day.

What also inspires me is anyone with grit. I think [writer] Sarah Lewis says it really well: “Grit is not just a simple elbow-grease term for rugged persistence. It is an often invisible display of endurance that lets you stay in an uncomfortable place, work hard to improve upon a given interest, and do it again and again.” I am encouraged and inspired by people who focus on a vision and do subtle things day in and day out to make that vision reality.

Who should we be paying attention to?

Anyone creating jobs in North Carolina.

What was your biggest challenge this week?

My biggest challenge this week revolves around the general struggles of running a startup without a prior track record. Specifically, making projections, budgets and strategic growth decisions that will dictate where we are going in the coming year.

Favorite N.C. vacation spot?

Carova … The ultimate Outer Banks experience. I am a water bug and avid waterfowl hunter. There are not many beaches as rural as the northern portion of the Outer Banks. It is a wonderful place to unwind.

Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney is publisher of Business North Carolina magazine. You can reach him at

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