Mohamed Elzomor is a former celebrity personal trainer who worked with CEOs, billionaires, Victoria’s Secret models, and royal families. He’s now Cofounder and Senior Vice President of Nines – a private membership service modernizing household staffing and management, specializing in recruiting, placing and managing top-tier service professionals in every category: childcare providers, housekeepers, chefs, drivers, tutors, personal assistants, and more.
Mohamed talks about working with celebrities and ultra high net worth individuals, what his company looks for when hiring household staff for executive’s, that time he rode on the elevator with Hugh Jackman, how to be more confident by changing your mindset, and more. Be sure to check out Nines Living if your executive is looking for quality household staff, and a professional team to manage the entire HR and training processes.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
– John Quincy Adams
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Mohamed is a former Celebrity Personal Trainer (worked with CEOs, Billionaires, Royal Families). He’s now Cofounder and Senior Vice President of Nines – a private membership service modernizing household staffing and management, specializing in recruiting, placing and managing top-tier service professionals in every category: childcare providers, housekeepers, chefs, drivers, tutors, personal assistants, and more.
Mohamed has been one of the most sought out celebrity fitness trainers in the world. Having worked at the CORE: Club, The Four Seasons, The Peninsula Hotel, and directly with high-net-worth individuals, Mohamed has been involved in the day to day needs of some of the most notable figures.
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Mohamed Elzomor 0:00
I’m Mohamed Elzomor and today’s leadership quote comes from John Quincy Adams. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. You are a leader.
Podcast Intro 0:14
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident game changing leader assistants.
Jeremy Burrows 0:24
In here’s your host, my dad. Hey friends, thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast. Just a reminder to check out my book The leader assistant four pillars of a confident game changing assistant, you can get it on Amazon, just hop on Amazon leaderassistant.com. Or you can listen to the audiobook on Audible or on Apple iBooks. To get to straight to the audible book, just type in audio.leaderassistant.com. And you can add that to your audible library and listen to the audiobook. So hope hope you can check it out if you haven’t already. If you have, maybe leave a review on Amazon if you enjoyed it, and really appreciate that. But yeah, it’s been a really fun launch year, sold a few copies gotten a lot of feedback, mostly positive from people who have really benefited from the book and I’m currently working on a discussion guide so that you can lead your own book club and kind of have extra questions to go deeper and guide the discussion time for a book club with the book. So hopefully that is helpful to you as well. Stay tuned on that early in the project so probably won’t be till 2021 But be sure to join my email list to get updates leaderassistant.com/signup to get updates on that. Alright, let’s jump into today’s interview. Hey everyone. Thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast at your host Jeremy Burrows and I’m excited to be speaking with Mohamed Elzomor. Mohamed is a former personal trainer to celebrities, CEOs, billionaires, royal families. He’s now co founder and Senior Vice President of Nines, which is a personalized solution for sourcing training and management of housekeepers, nannies, chauffeurs, private chefs and more. Mohamed, how’s it going?
Mohamed Elzomor 2:27
It’s going pretty well. How are you Jeremy?
Jeremy Burrows 2:30
Doing well, what a part of the country are you in right now.
Mohamed Elzomor 2:33
I’m in New York City. I’ve been here for a while well, for many years, but in terms of you know, for the last few months, is this is my this is my home for the story goes.
Jeremy Burrows 2:43
Nice. So let’s jump in and get to know you a little bit. We’ll I want to kind of talk about your story and how you got into personal training, and even specifically how you got into supporting training celebrities and CEOs. So tell us a little bit about your story. And then I’m sure the listeners will kind of wonder how we tie this all into assistant world. But we will so yeah, just jump right in.
Mohamed Elzomor 3:12
Great. So I’ve got a long one. So I’ll kind of put it in a nutshell for you. i For the last 10 years, longer. 12 years, I’ve been working with CEOs, billionaires, you know, very high profile individuals. And obviously, I didn’t start my career like that. I started by working at a Lucile Roberts, and a New York sports club, you know, making like 11 bucks an hour. But I got fired from my job in New York sports club, I got kicked out of college. I was going to Baruch University at the time, in New York City. And I was depressed, I had no direction didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, no motivation whatsoever. And then I changed my mindset. You know, I came across a book called The Secret, I read it, I applied it. Most importantly, I believed it. And and I set new goals for myself. And I created a new reality for myself. So basically, the the idea behind the book is if you work hard, you believe in yourself, you obviously put the work in but you do you know you work hard, but you work smart. And you see it in your mind on a regular basis, you have to be able to see taste, feel your success in your mind before it actually happens in your reality. So I actively did that on a daily basis. And then I would find myself in the situations that I literally imagined, you know, weeks prior or months prior years prior, you know, at some point you can you can’t exactly figure out you know when it’s gonna happen, but you have to believe it’s gonna happen when the time is right. So I remember not having a job. I was sorry, I was out of work for about two years. And I read the book and I said okay, I want to become a trainer. Again. I want to train you know, four categories of people, billionaire CEOs, celebrities, royalty. I want to become One of the top trainers in the country. And I remember my friends thinking I was on crack or something. They’re like, Dude, you don’t even have a job right now. They’re high aspirations. But I believed it. And I started small, right? So I eventually got to where, you know, I said I would be, it took years, not six months I initially set out to do. But it worked, you know, and I worked my way up, I got a job in the Upper East Side, I became a top trainer and my club there. I then became number two in the country out of my out of my company, sports come away. And then I literally Googled, where do all the billionaires hang out, I found a bunch of clubs in Manhattan. I researched every single one of them. I thought the best one was the core club. So I got a job there within two weeks of knowing that it existed. I then became the top trainer there, I applied to all the five star hotels, one by one, I got a job at each one I proved my worth. And then you know, I became the go to guy whenever, you know, had a state came in, or princess was in town, they would call me first. So thank god, I’ve been very blessed. I literally got paid to hang out with really important and fascinating people. So you couldn’t you couldn’t write it up any better. Very, very blessed, very grateful. So I’m in a good place. Now. I’ve done it for a few years and I’ve transitioned into a new chapter of my life.
Jeremy Burrows 6:22
That’s great. So what types of clients did you have any telephony fun stories?
Mohamed Elzomor 6:28
Oh, I have a lot of fun stories, most of which I can’t. I found some really cool guys. Just I guess just to name a few. I’ve trained Jamie Foxx Jeremy Piven. I’ve trained over 25 Different Victoria’s Secret models. That’s actually what kind of gave me my spark. I guess once you train Victoria supermodels, everybody else wants to train with you. As you mentioned, I’ve trained over five royal families in terms of CEOs I’ve trained the CEOs of Christian Dior, LVMH, T Mobile, sprint Softbank, Walmart, ecommerce. I’ve trained the owners for several teams like Milwaukee Bucks, the Oakland Raiders, sorry, the Las Vegas Raiders now, gotta get used to that. The New York Times and New York Knicks. That also helps when it comes to getting really good seats, and games, history front row, so you get your perks working with these people. Awesome. So
Jeremy Burrows 7:25
most of those people have personal executive assistants. And I’m assuming you had to coordinate with them. So tell us about your experience working with their assistants? And what did you see or hear from your clients? As they refer to their assistants or talked about their assistants?
Mohamed Elzomor 7:46
Sure. So I have all my clients cell phone numbers, obviously, because you communicate with them on a regular basis. That being said, even if let’s say I’m in the middle of a training session with one of them, and I say okay, great, you know, like, when should we train next, they never know, they have no idea what’s going on, you know, an hour from now. It’s always talk to my assistant, you know, talk to so and so. And it makes you realize how important these systems are, to these movers and shakers. Like they, they seem invincible, they seem like they’re on top of everything, they know exactly what’s going on. They’re so incredibly intelligent, but they cannot run their own lives. Without the help of their assistants, their assistants, their assistants are the superheroes behind the superhero. It’s, it’s actually incredible to see and, and I give them a lot of credit, because I need an assistant. It’s hard enough to manage my own life. And I’m sure they have families they have things going on. And yet they still have to be able to manage, you know, a CEO of a company with like 50,000 employees and not make any mistakes. And if they make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes, to fix it, you know, on a die. Like it’s incredible. It’s a lot of pressure, I give it to them. They’re incredible people very personable. I’ve had have great relationships with a lot of the assistance of my my clients because I communicate with them on such a regular basis. So I definitely appreciate the position for sure. Just firsthand seeing how, how incredibly hardworking and organized they are. It’s very impressive.
Jeremy Burrows 9:24
Yeah, so speaking of kind of the high pressure roles they have. A lot of assistants get intimidated when they have a big you know, when maybe the top exec or board member comes into the office and they have to welcome them or maybe they they dream of working for high net worth individuals or celebrities, but they’re just like, you know, what do I say what do I do? How do I treat them? So any tips for working with people who, you know, a lot of you know people People who look up to these celebrities just have just kind of freeze when they meet or when they see them. Sure.
Mohamed Elzomor 10:08
I guess there’s a two pronged answer to that. And before I even get to that, I’ll give a quick example. I don’t freeze up when I speak to billionaires and celebrities, obviously, because, you know, I’m used to it now. But I remember there was one time that I did. Hugh Jackman Overeem was at my club. And I kind of purposely waited for him to come out of the room. And so I could ride the elevator with him so I can pitch him to become a trainer. And I felt my face get read. I mean, like, be read. And I’m sure he saw it. He was super friendly. He’s like, Oh, what’s your name? Muhammad. Okay, great. Next time I’m here, I’m gonna give you a call. So waiting for that call here. Right. But, you know, I got I got incredibly nervous and, and right there, you know, you lost it. Like, they don’t want to work with people who, who feel like they don’t belong in the same room. Right. So that being said, you have to work your way up, you know, you have to kind of fake the funk, but you can’t fake the funk, they’re gonna see right through you, if you’re not confident, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, if you don’t feel like you belong. So, and I’m sure your audience has heard this several times. But you gotta, you gotta remember, they’re human beings just like you. Right? You can’t look at yourself. And just generally speaking in life, you can’t look at yourself as being any lesser or more than anybody else, we’re all equal. And if you remember that, and you’re confident in your abilities, you’re speaking to just another person, as long as you treat them with respect. As long as you know what you’re talking about, you’re going to get a good response out of them. Now, that being said, and obviously easier said than done. When I wanted to train celebrities, and I’ve never even seen a celebrity in person before, you know, that’s where the law of attraction, that’s where like that book, The Secret comes into play. I literally pictured myself training these people, for years, before it actually happened. And I know it sounds silly, I know sounds crazy, especially to people, you know, they’re more you know, I’m not a religious person, I’m spiritual. So I really think that you know, you connect to the universe, the universe, life has your back and wants the best for you. But you can’t stop sabotage your own success, you can doubt yourself, you can’t think negatively, you can’t be upset, you can’t take take things personally. And if you can kind of filter your thoughts and change your attitude towards life and towards people, good things tend to happen to you. So as long as you remember those things, and you actively engage in the proper type of thinking, when it comes to attracting these high net worth, or very high profile people into your life, you know, you’ll you’re gonna find yourself in a situation where it’s like, Oh, my God, I’m in front of the CEO that I wanted to work for, now’s your opportunity, you need to be prepared for it. Alright, so obviously prepare for opportunity for when it comes. Because if you have the right thoughts, and you do the right kind of work, and you put the work in, the opportunity will come. That being said, you have to work for the opportunity. I like like I mentioned, I didn’t just start training CEOs on day two, I started by working at Lucile Roberts, you know, and then when I learned the secret, and I said, Okay, I want to train these people, I didn’t start working at a billionaire’s club, I got a job in the Upper East Side, where I knew I was, you know, amongst a certain type of net worth of individuals, where I’m getting a little closer to my goal, you know, when it came to finding celebrities in particular, this may sound a little terrible, but it’s true. You know, my Instagram page is actually brought me a lot of a lot of success and clients and I use it to I definitely leverage it to my advantage, I would find that, okay, let’s say I want to train this celebrity celebrity X, I’m going to find out who his or her friends are, who their makeup artists are, who their stylists are, who their agents are, and I’m gonna reach out to every single one. And obviously, it’s a little different as a trainer than then it would be as an executive assistant. But you know, you could you could just sub in the title, it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, you do, find out how you can break into that circle and doesn’t have to be the immediate circle and give me the fifth ring of circles around that individual. And work your way into that intimate circle, where people will refer you to your ultimate goal. Now, it took me two years to get my first celebrity when I first set out with this with the strategy. And you know, there are a lot of moments where it’s like, what am I doing, I’m wasting my time and I was literally, like, let’s just use the Victoria’s Secret models, for example, I would find out like like I said, the celebrity stylist, the hairstylist, the makeup artists, I’d bring them in for workouts. I’d invite them in for free workouts. And you know, if they liked me, I’d have them refer me and they don’t necessarily have to refer me immediately to the celebrity or maybe refer To me to somebody else at this level that the celebrity knows or somebody else that know the different celebrity, and you start to build your network, and that is, by far the most important part, if you’re not building your network, you’re not gonna get anywhere, you know, because it’s obviously it’s what you know, you have to be good at what you do, but it’s definitely who you know, because it’s who you know, who’s gonna refer you to the ultimate person you want to work for. And then, you know, at some point, you just, you keep doing it, and you keep doing it, I literally, I literally gave like, close to 1000, free sessions, over a three year period, wow. And then it comes to a point where you don’t have to do that anymore. Now, all your sessions are paid, and you have all the clients you want. So it’s a struggle, but you have to do it with a smile on your face. And you have to do it every second of the way, knowing that it’s going to be worthwhile in the end. Because if you doubt that you don’t end up accomplishing your goal, and you just waste your time, you cannot doubt. And when when those doubts start to creep into your mind, because you’ve been putting in so much work. That’s when you know, you’re getting close. That’s when you know that you’re you’re almost being tested, your resilience is being tested, you just gotta keep pushing, good things are always bound to happen as long as you keep working, and you believe in yourself along the way.
Jeremy Burrows 16:12
So to segue from that you, you’ve now started a company co founded a company called nines living. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and what your team is passionate about?
Mohamed Elzomor 16:26
Yeah, absolutely. So the beauty of what came out of COVID, you know, COVID was not a very good thing for many people. For my, my wife, for example, owns a gym, she’s holding on by a thread. So you know, there’s a lot of unfortunate things that came out of that bend that pandemic, but thankfully, including my own business, which crashed by like 85% of everyone just picked up and left. But you know, something beautiful came out of it. And one of my clients, you’re the co founder of jet.com and diapers.com. We were doing a training session. And we had an idea, he actually started with one joke that he made, and that kind of blossomed into nines. So, myself and my partner Jaco, we, we have a team of 11 people now beautiful, intelligent, incredible souls. And we’re here to disrupt the industry. And the industry is household staffing, where, because of COVID, a lot of people and it’s a very antiquated industry, a lot of people get paid in cash, they’re not getting paid legally, especially nannies and housekeepers are not getting paid on time and are getting over time. They’re being mistreated. You know, at a time of social injustice and social awareness, are you talking about one of the largest working classes in the country and domestic workers, and they have the least amount of rights, you know, and even when they do have rights, it’s happening behind closed doors, so no one’s enforcing it. So we’re trying to create more value, and a higher level of service for our members for the principles, while creating a better quality of life for the staff. And like what I was mentioning earlier, you know, these people work for cash a lot of times, and then COVID hit, and they couldn’t enroll for unemployment. And they literally couldn’t feed their families. And they had to pray to God that their principles were generous enough to pay them while they were in working, you know, some did for a couple of weeks, maybe for a couple of months. But you know, five months in, chances are it’s not happening anymore. So what do you do? I think the industry is has hit a tipping point where maybe people wanted to get paid in cash before, but that’s no longer the case, assuming that there are legal residents and they can actually, you know, get paid on the books, they’re going to prefer that, because you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and you haven’t protect yourself and your future and your family. So with our business model, we are providing, as you mentioned, housekeepers, nannies, private chefs, etc, to to high net worth individuals, and we are taking all the legwork off of their plate. And when I say off of their plate, I’m actually saying the executive assistant and the personal assistant, because they’re the ones that are doing the work anyways, it’s like you have 1,000,001 things to do as a PA or as an EA, but go find me a housekeeper, you know, that’s not easy. And, and even just finding the housekeeper let’s say they go to an agency, a traditional agency. That’s the literally just step one of the process. Because once you’ve found that person, then what you have to figure out, okay, how am I going to pay this person? Am I going to do it legally? What does that look like? What does the HR component look like? who’s taken care of payroll? The liability as a household employer is through the roof? How do we lessen my liability? who’s managing all of this? And these are all very basic questions that almost represent different phases in the journey that is staffing your home, and agencies literally just take care of step one. All right. And then you know, obviously, some agencies are fantastic, some are better than others. But they’re just incentivized to place the person make a commission move on to the next household without So we’re a membership model. So we’re completely changing the face of the industry because we’re involved every step of the way. And we handle all of the above for you. Not only do we recruit, we vet them, we put them through incredible vetting process, I can speak for hours on that literally. Because you know, our names on the line the entire way through, we have to make sure that we did a proper matching, because if you’re not happy with that a year down the road, unlike agencies where you have to fire the person depend on the 15k, to replace them, you know, we will make their replacement for free, you put our money where our mouth is, we obviously so not obviously, one of the crazy things we do is we actually hire all the staffs our W two employees. And this is where us taking care of our employees come into play. We hire them as w two employees, we provide short term disability long term disability, medical, dental and vision benefits per month, 401k, 15 days paid time off, we track their hours, obviously, they’re our employees. So we’re we’re taking care of payroll for the principal, we’re also making sure that they’re getting paid overtime, when they should be getting paid, they’re getting the days off that they should be getting, you know, we’re not just here to make sure the principal is happy, we got to make sure the staff is happy as well. Because if both sides aren’t happy and satisfied with the service, it’s not going to work out in the end. And that’s why turnover is so high in this industry. And unfortunately, a lot of times, the HR components missing, you know, you’ll have these high net worth individuals who have family offices, you know, they can take care of payroll, but they’re also being tasked to take care of HR, they don’t know what’s happening in the household. They don’t understand the intimate intricacies that happened between the staff, between the staff and the principal. So we actually offer our executive chief of staff that manages the staff from afar creates a very personal bond with with the member and with the PA or the EAA, because a lot of times, they’re the ones who are calling the shots, constantly checking in on a weekly basis, the first couple months. And then on a monthly basis after that doing quarterly assessments, you know, we use an app to communicate with our staff to see if there are any concerns or issues that are being swept under the rug, because a lot of times, that’s what happens, and then they become actual problems down the road, voila, you know, turnover. And the way it normally works, you gotta go drop another 20% and find yourself somebody else. So we’re really addressing every step of the process, so that the principal and the people that work for them, they’re their immediate team, the PA, the EA, the state manager, they don’t have to think about this, make you worry about the other stuff, that’s actually you know, a little more important, the stuff that they’re actually hired to do. So it’s a very new model doesn’t exist. But I think we’ll be able to make a lot of people’s lives easier. So I’m really excited to provide more value than ever before, for principals, and to create a better quality of life for our staff in the process.
Jeremy Burrows 22:50
So what what qualities because a lot of these assistants listening, they’ve gotten that call from their executive that says, hey, I need a nanny, can you find a nanny? What qualities? Do your team, you know, look for in these private household staff that they could maybe use, as they’re keeping their eye out for a new nanny or a personal chef or whatever?
Mohamed Elzomor 23:17
Or integrity? Honesty, right off the bat, we’re very keen on red flags. And the beauty of our model is, if you’re a member, you’re a member, you know, we’re not racing against other agencies trying to play somebody. We’re just trying to find someone who’s good enough. Like, yeah, we saw a couple of red flags, though, whatever, let’s get them in there. And you know, we get the keep our commission, if they last at least two months. With us, you know, this is a long term fit that we’re looking for. So any little red flags, and you kind of have to really dig for them. They’re, they’re big to us. So we do incredible amounts of reference checks. We try to find reference checks that aren’t even provided to us. Because obviously, you’re you’re going to put the people you know, you’re going to put people down at the references that you’re not going to speak highly of you. What about the ones that you’re not putting down as references? We want to see, if they worked for several families and only lasted a year or two in each place. That could be a red flag. You know, obviously, you do your research and you understand why it is that they’re switching around. One one tip that I like to use when I interview, find out how they got each job. You know, were they recommended by someone or did they constantly have to go online and go to Craigslist doesn’t have to be a red flag. But if you’re really good, you’re probably getting recommended, or getting asked to work by a family or by a friend of the family you’re currently working for. If you have to keep going back to the internet to find your jobs, sometimes that could be you know, that could be a sign of sorts. We clearly and this is what I recommend if there So sourcing themselves, you got to do your background checks, you know, and a very in depth one, do a credit check, find out these people have had issues with money in the past. And again, like I’m not putting everyone in a bucket, but a lot of times, and we’ve seen with experience, if people have had issues in the past and money, you know, if something goes missing in the household, who do you think they’re gonna look at first, you know, and they ended up being great. People who are not in a good financial place, sometimes they can be the ones who are doing something that they shouldn’t be doing. And again, every situation is its own and is unique. But that’s something we look for, you know, we do 10 panel drug screens, we’re always trying to find out their personality, we actually do a personality test, we use predictive index to try to match that with our principles. So I think trying to understand how they communicate. during your interview is big, finding out what makes them tick. I like to know and this is personally speaking, and I make my team do the same I cannot positive they are. This may sound silly, but as you know, I’m all about positivity. I think that that determines your life, just generally speaking. So if someone tends to have a negative outlook on life, do you really want them in your household? You know, they’re gonna attract negative things, to them and to you, since they’re, they’re now part of your home, you know, like an extended family member. And so that’s big to me, you know, do they smile, like, the energy that they bring into the home is very, very big. Like I said, you can be a fantastic housekeeper. But if you’re not a happy person, that’s, again, that’s a red flag for me. So there are obviously things that different executive assistant are going to look for, based on the personality of their executive. But generally speaking, those are all pretty important things I look for.
Jeremy Burrows 26:54
Yeah, those are great. It’s, it’s amazing how simple some of them are, but yet how people overlook them because they’re desperate to fill a spot.
Mohamed Elzomor 27:02
Exactly, exactly. It’s a time crunch. And if you’re an EA or a PA, you know, you don’t have do not have time to go to the bathroom throughout the day, sometimes, for you to now, throw in like five, six interviews a day, and do the reference checks and do the background checks. You know, that’s why I have a team of 11 people. It’s almost impossible. And you know, you might get lucky, you might find someone great, and maybe it’s a recommendation. But it’s a full time job.
Jeremy Burrows 27:30
Yeah. Awesome, Muhammad. Well, this is great, great tips love to hear about your story. How can people find out about nines in connect with you on Instagram and such so that if they have questions or want to explore the service that you all provide for their principal, their executives? How can they get ahold of you?
Speaker 1 27:55
Sure. So our website is ninesliving.com. Same for Instagram nines living. And my personal Instagram handle is fit life by Mo. Instagram won’t let me change the FitLife part. So I get them, I’m guessing to stick with it. But yeah, absolutely looking forward to working with anyone who who needs help with this kind of stuff, I think we could definitely make a very big difference in essentially giving peace of mind to the principal into the household. So feel free to reach out to me directly or go on the website and reach out to us and we’d love to work with you.
Jeremy Burrows 28:30
Awesome. Well, I’ll put the links on the show notes so people can find you. And yeah, thanks again. And good luck with everything. And we’ll talk soon.
Mohamed Elzomor 28:37
Thank you, Jeremy. Thanks for having me.
Jeremy Burrows 28:40
Thanks, again to Mohamed for being on the show. I know I’ve personally been asked by both of my last couple of exept it is to find a nanny or find a personal chef. Or I get the call saying hey, we need to find a new nanny and it’s a it’s just a lot of work to find someone trustworthy and skilled for that role. So I’m really excited to see what nines living does to support the assistants who are looking for household staff for their executives. So thanks again Mohamed. Check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/88 And be sure to check out nines living that calm as well. Talk soon.
Podcast Intro 29:39
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