Against All Odds Owner Tyrek Pratt spoke with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price about what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur.

NAN PRICE: Tell us a little about your entrepreneurial evolution.

TYREK PRATT: The first business I started in 2011 was the fitness aspect, which was Against All Odds CrossFit. At the time, I was a CrossFit athlete who loved the CrossFit community and promoting everything CrossFit was the only thing I wanted to do.

But the other side of me, the scientific part, was thinking I need to know why things work the way they do, and I can’t commit to just one thing.

As I quieted down the athlete in me, the other side of me emerged over time. People used to call me Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde due to my split personality of the athlete and the doctor! Most of the time, the doctor took over. I felt the need to know things like: Why people can’t commit to an exercise regime and why do they want to work out?

NAN: How did you harness that curiosity?

TYREK: I went back to school to get my bachelor’s degree with minors in Early Childhood Development and Neuroplasticity and my Master of Science in Behavioral Studies. What emerged from that process is the current business, which launched in 2014.

NAN: You developed your niche by adding mental wellness to physical fitness. How are you finding clientele who want those services?

TYREK: It’s challenging because a lot of people are used to a traditional way of thinking. I work on encouraging them to think for themselves. A lot of people don’t have the entrepreneurial mindset, where they can create something themselves. They want something to be handed to them so they can build from it. They don’t want to do the hard labor first and then live off the fruits of their labor.

I try to teach people there’s a different way of thinking by bridging the gap between the physical and the mental. So, I market as a Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) trainer, but also provide the mental component. I’m upfront with clients. I let them know this is not a personal training studio. If you’re looking for personal training, I do offer that, but there’s so much more to what I offer.

NAN: Have you always been entrepreneurial?

TYREK: At an early age, I knew I didn’t have that mentality to follow somebody else’s dream. I knew I had to create my own.

I come from an entrepreneurial family. I watched how my mother built her empire and I saw my brother’s struggles as an entrepreneur, too. So, I had an idea about what I was getting myself into. There’s so much to being an entrepreneur that people don’t see. And, I think we do a great job of hiding that part from the world because, if everybody really knew what really takes to be an entrepreneur, I don’t think anybody would really want to do it!

NAN: So, what does it take to be an entrepreneur?

TYREK: I will say, it’s a different mentality. It’s in your DNA, the way you think, the way you look at the world, it’s all different. And, as an entrepreneur, you’re defiant. You listen but, in your head, you’re thinking: Okay, I hear you, but I’m still going to try this other avenue.

I don’t believe you can be taught to be an entrepreneur. You just are an entrepreneur. It’s a different mindset. If you don’t have it, you can’t be taught. You can be taught to run a business, that’s something different. But a business owner is not an entrepreneur. It’s something totally different. A lot of people think being an entrepreneur, you’re a business owner, but an entrepreneur is just a creator.

Entrepreneurs like to create our dreams. We want to see ideas we have in our minds come to life—whether it succeeds or fails, whether it make us money or not, we just enjoy the process.

But there’s a lot of hard work. You’re putting in so much of your time and money. You’re sacrificing so much to make your idea come to life. And, when everybody tells you it can’t be done, you’re sometimes the only person saying: Yes, it can, because I see it.

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