MIAMI, FL – Manoli Lagos is a wellness consultant and entrepreneur, certified through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. He founded The Living Fuel with Nicole Aivazoglou for the sole purpose of improving lives. According to the wellness consultancy’s website, they have already helped over 9,300 people transform their health. Lagos spoke with The National Herald about his work and his Greek heritage.
TNH: When did you decide to start The Living Fuel?
Manoli Lagos: Three years ago after deciding that I needed to take my health into my own hands. I was sick, tired, and burned out at the end of my previous career as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and my illness became my driving force.
TNH: How long did it take from idea to realization?
ML: I had the idea on the plane ride back from my promotional weekend at PwC, it was a huge promotion, but my mind was still set on creating a career that I was more passionate about. I read a passion finder book, The 8 Cylinders of Success, on the plane ride back and the exercise on the last page gave me the idea and I wrote down the words “wellness consultant.” At the time, I had no idea what that really meant, but I liked the sound because it tied two things together; consulting which I was good at and wellness which I was passionate about. From there, I decided to go back to school to study nutrition and halfway through my education I started coaching people. Once I had enough momentum and clientele, I left the corporate world and dedicated all of my time to The Living Fuel. The entire process from idea to LLC, website and clients took about one year.
TNH: What was the most challenging aspect of starting the business?
ML: The hardest part was the uncertainty. Uncertainty of my future, the uncertainty of how others would look at me, including my family and the uncertainty in myself. I had to dig deep those first few months and barely made enough to pay my rent. I went from a high-flying six-figure salary to barely making ends meet, which took a toll on my ego and social life. I had to cut back on luxuries and really start finding out what I was made of. Those first 12 months were hard until I began to carve out my niche, build my clientele and start tapping into working with corporations and schools, things were really tough and I had to think about money constantly for the first time in my life. I stopped partying on the weekends and became much more intentional about who I surrounded myself with and what I spent my time doing, which paid off big time. I also assessed my habits and routines and started to create a daily structure that enabled me to get a lot more done. That initial process was the hardest, shedding my ego and doing what I felt was right even though I had no idea what that could become.
TNH: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your work?
ML: Hands down it’s the day-to-day of helping people transform their lives. From clients who I helped get off decades of medications to my clients who have lost 50 pounds and completely turned their lives around, those stories keep me going and wanting to serve more and more people. Now we are fortunate enough to work with big corporations like Slack, Peloton, and schools like the University of Southern California- so we can now help thousands of people at the same time and make a larger impact. The second most rewarding element is the connection to my work, I never stop reading, learning, listening about things in the wellness space. Before it was a side passion, now it’s my day to day and I’m truly blessed to be able to do something I’m so deeply connected to.
TNH: What’s the most important thing TNH readers should know about The Living Fuel?
ML: Our mission is to empower people and corporations to take their health into their own hands. Your quality of life is in your power, genetics play a very small role in our health and our environment and the way we care for our body have the largest impact. When people realize this, they unlock their true potential! That’s what we aim to do with everyone who chooses to work with us and we’ve found that in the first 90 days of working with us, the average person feels a 27% increase in energy and productivity. Whether you are an individual looking to feel and perform better or a business looking to make a big impact on your bottom line, we can help!
TNH: Where in Greece are your roots?
ML: Fifty percent Chios, 25% Crete, 25% Kalymnos. When asked, I say I’m a Chioti! TNH: How does your Greek heritage influence your life and work?
ML: My father came to the United States from Chios when he was 11 years old. He is a truly perfect example of a self-made success and has created an amazing life for my family and I as an entrepreneur and investor. He instilled a work ethic and confidence in me from a young age, I believe that gave me the courage to take the leap. I saw that he was able to provide for our family while being a present father with the ability to make his own hours, and that’s something I’ve wanted from day one. My Pappou was a tailor and a farmer before he moved to the States. The things he taught me about connecting with my food have always stuck. Nowadays, it’s very rare to actually know where our food is coming from, under what conditions it was farmed, and how it was grown. My Pappou showed me that this connection with nature and our food is one of the most important to have if you truly want to be healthy and live as our ancestors did. Those lessons have stuck with me and I have carried both into my everyday life. I am now fortunate enough to be on a path of entrepreneurship and freedom while also being deeply connected with my food and health. I recently started getting my produce from a local organic farm in weekly deliveries, until I have the space for my own farm one day!