WTF Gym Talk is a no BS resource for owners looking to own an actual business instead of just the gym. The rise of CrossFit gave way to a surge of entrepreneurs who wanted to open their own microgym. However, opening a business and staying in business are two completely different things.
Today, at 10:30 AM Eastern, a new video drops on my YouTube channel. This podcast is the precursor to my discovery that an individual had completely stolen my gym concept. You are not gonna want to miss this.
But when you really analyze it and when/where it pops up...it can be very telling as to what you NEED to be doing. Fear is more of an indicator sometimes in business than it is a chemical process.
Give this one a listen and let me know...
What are you afraid of in your business right now???
CrossFit Tuff sent over a great series of questions a while back and I completely blanked on getting back to them....so here it is.
"How do I maximize my space/efficiency when running multiple programs at once?"
Brand new, weekly, long form content will now be available only on YouTube. It can be cut into podcast audio because of the over the top visual nature of those videos, so get over to YouTube and subscribe!
the WHY and WHAT behind your business is directly influenced by WHO you are as a business...
your belief system
your core values
got em' or nah?
taken from this years Iron + Mortar Summit (2018)
Dan Bond, owner of CrossFit Fort-Ashton in the UK, came through with some questions that I'm sure some of you are currently dealing with as well..
"Classes are getting to capacity...how do I handle that?
"I need more coaches for certain classes, but they are hard to come by!"
"Should I make a price raise video vs. sending an email?
One of my favorite interactions with microgym owners is having them on-site at Urban MVMNT. I get a chance to share what we've created here and then I get to learn about where that gym came from, where it is now and where it wants to go.
Recently, Sean Eaton, owner of Crossfit Core Fitness, came through and we got to jam on the entire spectrum of scaling a gym, implementing PT First, continuing ed for coaches and more.
During my time at the 2nd annual Iron+Mortar Summit, I had the pleasure to speak alongside James Fitzgerald + Jim Crowell with OPEX.
In our small group intensives with the participants, I was asked my thoughts on the OPEX model and the delivery vehicle of fitness that is Individual Design.
I have gone through the CCP courses, I've had Jim + James on my podcast and I've had the immense pleasure of watching their network grow into what it is today.
That being said - I am NOT a representative for OPEX, nor do I speak on their behalf. This is merely just one man's opinion.
For more information, straight from these guys, please visit www.opexfit.com
And I think one of the biggest internal Mark Kane plays we will see you in 2019 our gym is creating internal podcasts for their current membership. In this episode, I layout my thoughts and strategies as how to best execute this.
Are feather flags effective outdoor marketing?
What are the downsides to only paying employees hourly?
Do I have any thoughts on the MadLab Group's performance based compensation belief?
...watch the video. it's all in there.
The amazing crew over at Sweatnet Charlotte + I have been working on bringing together studio and gym owners in our city.
Creating a venue where we can all collab, commiserate, share best practices and work together to build better businesses.
This is a lengthy one, but I gurantee it's worth the watch. It's also uploaded on the podcast as well if you don't have 40 minutes stare at a screen.
Here's the biggest takeaway: Do this in your city. Be a leader. Start a movement. Build something bigger than you.
It's worked well for me.
Rachele is a badass.
Team USA Aquathlon.
Mother of 5.
The list goes on.
But what I'm mostly interested in with Rachele is her knowledge in helping gym owners understand the type of IP (trademarks vs. copyright vs. patent), understanding non-competes and creating membership agreements that won't leave you holding the bag.
You'll enjoy this one.
My dude Mike Archangel from Archangel CrossFit in AZ came through with a question regarding head coaches -
What are the duties/responsibilities of a head coach?
How many hours should your leadership team players be working/week?
Sure, Mike. I'll give it a go.
I'm all for stealing. All for it. What I think is fucking lazy is plagiarizing word for word or play by play something. I don't even care that you took something from someone else.
That's not what bothers me.
What bothers me is this is a huge tell that you are going to get crushed in this game if you can't spark your own design + creative part of the brain. Steal to spark inspiration, but then make it your own.
Sit down in a quiet place where you can think uninterrupted.
Write down all the things in your business you wish you would have done differently.
Circle all the items that are still possible to change.
Get off your ass and change them.
Craig is my kinda guy.
Loud. Honest. And actually knows his shit when it comes to the fitness industry.
As someone who started exploring the business model of CrossFit back in 2005, it's really awesome to talk shop with a guy I looked up to since his infamous CrossFit Journal video dropped back in the day where he started explaining the business side of this microgym explosion.
So sit your ass down and take notes. This one is solid.
Detour Athletics and Frazier Fitness LLC dropped a few questions, so I figured I'd make time during lunch to answer them.
"Do you outsource your marketing for Urban MVMNT?"
"Should I puruse a garage gym or go straight for brick + mortar?"
Thanks for the questions fellas.
I used to think that vacations were for 9-5ers and people who hated their work.
I used to think that taking a vacation was a sign of weakness as a business owner.
But that perspective has changed.
And my hope for you is that you get your business to a place where vacations become testaments to the awesome job you've done building an actual business.
Mike is the author of some of my favorite biz books:
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur
His newest book, Clockwork, dropped on Aug 21st and he was gracious enough to come on the podcast and discuss how to remove yourself from the DOING of the business and get into the mode of DESIGNING.
Take a moment to thank anyone who has ever given you an inch during your journey as a business owner.
Regardless if that's financially, emotionally or mentally...anyone who has given you that extra little something that allowed you to turn an inch into a mile.
Tell them you love them. Tell them you appreciate them. Tell them you hope to return the favor to someone else who needs an inch.
Do it now. Cause tomorrow ain't promised today.
If is underperforming and it’s causing you to sacrifice happiness or creating grief in your life...but you still find time to spend 5 days at the CrossFit Games or take another vacation with your fellow yogis...then you my friend are full of shit. Let’s talk about.
Recently I was requested to elaborate more as to why I still pay $3000/annually for my CrossFit affiliation, but I refuse to use the name in any marketing language, signage, etc.
I had done this once, but sure...I'll dig into it deeper. Hope this helps clarify.
***I apologize for the poor audio....but shit happens***
It's the current celebrity status that brands are searching for and they generally don't know where to start.
In the fitness industry, if you look hot in yoga pants, you can have a pretty descent following and make some good money posting for various brands.
But what if you used those powers to create something bigger? Something that created collaboration amongst all the fitness brands in a city vs. competition?
That's what Erin, Grace and Tom have done. And as a SweatNET supporter...I'm beyond impressed with what they've already done and very optimistic about their future.
We all need it to start our business. When we get some, we typically spend it. Which means we need more.
Clayton Ferrer, owner of Rigquipment Finance flew down to Charlotte, NC to kick it with me at Urban MVMNT and jam on the financial side of the microgym industry.
His company lends money to gyms + studios who need it...who can show they are going to use it wisely and pay it back. Equipment, interior design upfits, etc.
I highly recommend taking a listen as we jam on the typical boring aspect of business (the math) in a very non-boring way.
The longer I’m in this game the more I realize how much of both ends of the spectrum with design and math we need to have.
The math is what helps us run a great business, know our numbers, plan for the future, logistics, etc.
The design allows us to make emotional connection with others, create the infrastructure to our organizations, build amazing spaces, etc...
My thoughts these days reside around the design more than the math. Here's why.
Brad went to dental school to become...a dentist.
Brad gained 30lbs while in dental school.
Brad finds a local CrossFit gym, falls in love with it and takes the Level 1 certification.
Brand opens up his own CrossFit Affiliate, starts coaching people for money, giving exercise instruction + nutritional coaching.
Brad, by appearance, is now a "fitness professional".
Brad, is full of fucking shit.
You may have some of the best, most technical instructors in your studio. They are masters of their craft.
But if they are boring AF, can't carry a conversation or make someone smile or laugh....what fucking good are they?
When the business seems to be on fire - when chaos is at an all time high...owner typically try to move faster to handle the volume of shit being poured on them.
I'm gonna recommend we do the opposite.
Don't let me or anyone else tell you that your concept or idea won't work. Fuck me and everyone who talks about "how it should be done". While I pride myself on having a firm grasp on what works and doesn't in this market, I also realize that pushing the edge is what makes what once seemed like a dumb idea into genius.
want to hear from a microgym owner who has a full grasp on branding and how her brand stands out in a saturated market - listen to Olivia Young from Box + Flow on today's podcast.
by far one of my favorite conversations with an owner who truly understands her brand and has made it resonate in everything her business does.
If you're familiar with the Birmingham, AL based franchise, Iron Tribe - then you'll know they came onto the scene strongly in the post 2008 CrossFit era and have grown impressively to ~36 locations, mostly franchised.
Recently I saw a local Iron Tribe running one of Alex Hormozi's Gym Launch ads....and it got me thinking...
Shawn Rider is the owner of Shenandoah.Fit and most recently has created an opportunity for gym owners to convene onsite at his facility and learn how to create more consistent, effective and branded coaching experience.
Shawn and his head coach Jerod have put together a 1 day immersive coaching development seminar on July 28th. For more information, check out www.opequon.co
Thought I'd share with you guys the scenario of being removed from the technician role in your gym/studio...and then all of sudden being thrusted back into it.
The in the dirt work is something we want to get you out of doing 90%+ of the time...but I think there's a good lesson to be learned from my story:
every now and then...it's good to get your hands dirty
Here's how life works...and coincidentally, also business.
If you're hot AF, you can get away with having the personality of a fork (for a little while).
But when you're busted AF, you better be funny, charming, witty or have some other positive personality trait.
Your business is very similar. Watch n' learn.
Stealing is a unique verb in the fitness industry.
Another studio "stealing" your ideas.
Another trainer "stealing" your clients.
Another competitor "stealing" your workouts.
Do me a favor.
watch this video...might change your fucked up perspective on "stealing"
Starting to record all the podcasts on the roof with video content...so if you're into looking at good looking ginger guys talk shop on owning a business in the fitness industry, then take your ass over to the WTF Gym Talk Facebook page and take it all in...otherwise, sit back and enjoy the podcast.
Just wanted to take a few minutes to spit on what an amazing weekend that transpired at CrossFit 908 Central in NJ. Amazing gym owners, incredible people and I'm beyond humbled to have your attention.
Spring Training 2019 is going to be fucking nuts. DM me to get on the waiting list.
Steve is the fucking man.
Besides being one of the honestly, nicest guys I've ever encountered...he's done things with his business that would give me blood in my urine and and problematic drinking habit.
This guy doesn't just own his own building - be constructed a 50,000 sqft behemoth from the ground up. Literally.
Steve also created a hyper-successful program to introduce his product to the market - EvoFit.
We jam on all this and more. Listen & learn.
This is Brandon Cullen.
Brandon grew up an athlete. Became a fitness coach. Encounter CrossFit and started his journey in the microgym space.
However, Brandon decided to zig whenever one else was zagging.
Brandon didn't align himself with all the core values of CrossFit and had his own recipe for group strength & conditioning.
This is his story and it's a damn fucking good one. Enjoy.
How many of you think this when doing payroll each month:
"Where the fuck is this money going!?!"
"I still have to constantly follow up on these guys, re-do their jobs, always micromanaging, etc".
Many times, we have swelled our payroll costs with nothing but part-time employees + energy exchange individuals.
Both have huge merit and can play awesome utility roles in your fitness business. But ultimately, we need to find a way to bring on people in a full time capacity to ever really have them bought into the business.
I think most of you guys are spending enough money in payroll for someone to come on full time, you just don't realize it yet.
If you know someone in the fitness industry that claims to be closing 90% of his/her prospective customers on their service....then one of the following statements is true:
1. They are full of shit.
2. Their price is too low.
Give this a listen and let me break it down for you.
I think there are two types of prospects looking for fitness - those looking for "starter fitness" and those looking to "enhance their fitness".
I dive into what these two avatars look like, how to appeal to both and why it's important that you realize that each subgroup needs it's own special marketing message.
Recently a gym owner made a comment to me that prompted this podcast.
He asked me, "Why do you come off like such a dick?"
My style. My delivery. My voice...is mine.
It's me. It's not contrived. It's not created to razz you or create a "shock jock" type persona. It's who I am. It's authentic to me and my story.
Use this a nod. Use this as a suggestion: ESTABLISH YOUR OWN VOICE.
You want to standout in a crowded marketplace? ESTABLISH YOUR OWN VOICE.
You want you clients to rally behind your brand. ESTABLISH YOUR OWN VOICE.
You get the idea. Listen to the rest.
Brian Strump is probably one of my favorite gym owners. Honest as hell, blunt as fuck...but he's a Michigan fan, so he's dead to me during college football season.
But that aside, awesome guy, wise business owner and is constantly providing practical, valuable advice to gym owners.
Best part? Brian is technically a competitor of mine. We own competing businesses in the same city. Yet, we share idea, equipment and even employees.
See. We play nice. Why can't you and your surrounding competition?
Have you created the appropriate proven process and educated your members as to how they can get their friend introduced to your service?
Or is that structure loosely established and not well known?
Why don't more members refer their clients? I've got some answers on that.
If you are looking at something from afar - another gym..another concept...something that you watch with admiration for what they've built. Get up and go fuck with them.
Travel. Send an email. Make a phone call.
Let that person know that you admire what they've done and you'd like to come check out the machine up, close and in person.
The abundance mindset is flourishing in most successful entrepreneurs. Go fuck with them. You won't be disappointed.
Finally brought Joe Tebaldi, my biz coach for all things marketing + branding related.
In this completely unstructured podcast, we literally sit in my office and shoot the shit on marketing, growing your biz in the microgym industry, how fucking up will help grow your business and more.
Enjoy...oh and sign up for Spring Training 2018 ;)
"I HAVE to go open up the gym in the morning."
"I HAVE to fill in for my coach who called in sick."
"I HAVE to fire one of my employees".
Don't forget where you came from. Where owning a business was a just a dream. Now you actually own it - and all the headaches that come with it.
So think twice before you start bitching about the day-to-day headaches that comes hand in hand with GETTING to create your own destiny with your business.
One of the biggest issues with profitability in the microgym model (especially the CrossFit sector) is the issue of creating enough operational capacity to be appropriately profitable.
Operational capacity is your ability to generate enough profit out of your space via your workout service logistics.
My guess...you are def. not optimizing your operational capacity.
Creating allies + colleagues within your competitive marketplace is a play that most gym owners are hesitant or even openly against.
I can't get behind it or understand why. Here's my breakdown as to why I've always created a strong network with my "competition" and how the ROI is 10x.
Jacob W. from BearFitness sent me a request to jam on focus and how should biz owners organize their focus with so many items that require their attention.
Great question Jacob. This is one of those - it depends- type situations, but I do my best to layout an avatar for you guys to align yourself with and then pick the best route for you and your biz.
I'm obsessed with the concept of creating rituals in your business and for the group fitness industry - in your classes.
Take 10 min out of your day to get a better idea as to how you can start using rituals to create a consistent CX, different naming conventions to distinguish your offering and how the combination of the two allow you to stand apart.
In a sea of microgyms looking to differentiate themselves - many are turning to rebranding efforts, adding in new features and services and including more technology into their training.
With the rise of Orangetheory Fitness, heart rate monitor technology has made it's way from the exercise phys. lab class to prime time once again.
Does adding this piece of tech help your gym gain an advantage in the market?
In order to give you guys some context as to where my experience comes from, where my background and mindset comes from...I summarized my journey that has lead me through the fitness spectrum to where I sit today.
Hopefully this will give you some context as to where some of my thoughts on the fitness industry come from...
Not many players in the supplement industry that I respect, but this guy is the exception to that.
I really don't give a shit if you order his product, but def. learn from the wisdom that he brings to the table in terms of retail, selling any product and organizing the the tug of war between supply & demand.
How much thought do you give to the actual appearance & design of your business?
Do you take time to research retail design and figure out how the apparel should hang, look, cost, interact with customers, etc.
Your bathrooms, are they there for necessity or to create an experience? Yes...taking a piss in the gym is an experience. It's either gross AF or surprising clean, fresh and impressive.
Bottom line: much of what you offer is a commodity...what can you do to make yourself stand out compared to your competitors?
One too many emails & DMs asking me to recreate another client's success prompted this one.
A great biz coach who has had great success with a certain client, can't guarantee you the same success.
You are the X factor. You are the independent variable.
Everyone is looking for a button to be able to push to make the leads pour in, to fix their staffing issue, to give them all the marketing answers.
That's not how this works my friends.
A quick tactic that I use in sales training with my gym owners and I have them utilize during their consultations. If you want more of this - get signed up for Spring Training 2018. wtfgymtalk.com/springtraining
Too much caffeine plus I listened to an entire Logic album and I just decided to turn on the recorder and jam on the daily struggles we experience as gym owners, but that it's all part of the game, and if you want to play you have to be ready to take this shit on every.damn.day.
Another early morning rant where I use the success of companies like Silk & NETFLIX to tell a very important story for any business owner - you have to be unique in order to standout in the marketplace.
What are the consistent practices of your business?
Does your company utilize a reliable, enduring set of lexicon, rituals and business flow that creates a consistent customer experience?
If you don't know EXACTLY how and why a client has an amazing experience, it means you can re-create it.
And if you can't figure out how to re-create it...it won't be long till someone moves into town that has it figured out.
When was the last time you had an Ah-Ha! moment???
Do you have your own "Ah-Ha!" moments, or are you just implementing someone else's?
IMO, successful businesses will have "Ah-Ha!" moments. Whether they are as profound as sliced bread, CrossFit or something as internal and unique re-developing the training program for staff.
I think most business owners are having their own "Ah-Ha!" moments. They just aren't recognizing them and giving them the energy needed to fully unleash their potential.
Recorded this one while walking Jameo (figures) and I had just come off a call with one of my gym owners who shared with me one of his good ideas and then how he executed.
It fired me up so I decided to spit on that topic:
Ideas are shit. Execution is everything.
Inspired from Traction by Wickman, what are your 3 Uniques.
What are the 3 things that separate you from your competitors?
You should have 3. And if you can't identify them or if you think that your coaching, community and programming are your 3 uniques...you need to listen to this.
Owning a business is all about fucking up and taking a loss, an "L".
Show me someone who has 0 marks in the L category and I'll show you someone who is full of shit or someone who is about to crash and burn.
Fucking up is REQUIRED to be great.
Winning isn't endearing. Success is endearing.
This is a follow up to Sales Psychology Pt. 1 that I published several weeks ago.
For most of my gym owners, the biggest issue with sales is simply asking for the money, or even addressing it during the consultation.
This is where I typically go in the opposite direction of other sales training gurus. Take a listen and see if this doesn't change your mindset during the sales process.
Not a big fan of the term consultant, mentor, business coach, etc.
I resonate better with "problem solver".
And while I do this for a living, there are several other ways you can help solve your business problems without hiring a coach.
Regardless of how you choose to get help, take a listen and let me tell you about my problem solvers and how they've helped me create the businesses I have now.
In the past year I've coached over 30 gyms through effective price raises. Cancellation rates b/t 3-7%, avg. revenue growth 26% and 100% growth in experience and maturity for the business owner who had a hard time seperating the emotional and rational side of owning a business.
This past week - I raised prices on my clients. Not at my gym, but my consulting clients. It sucks. But I realize that even though I'm extremely emotionally attached to them (more than you could imagine), I owe it to my business to put the business in a position to succeed.
One of my all time favorite interviews...and I barely spoke (weird). Mike has built 3 successful CrossFit affiliates in MN and then, at the peak of his success, realized there was a gap in the market and created Alchemy 365. This one you don't want to miss.
I don't like the term marketing or advertising. I prefer Story Telling. I believe with the social media platforms we have access to today, it is a true representation with how we turn prospects into customers and customers into raving fans.
If you haven't ready StoryBrand by Donald Miller, I highly recommend it. This podcast was inspired by his book. Hope you find it helpful.
"It's the magician, not the wand."
This is a phrase I've used all throughout my coaching career and it rings true especially for business owners. It's not your equipment, location, marketing tactic, fancy this or that....it's you. You are the difference maker, you are rainmaker. Start betting on yourself vs. the auxiliary items that you may be associating with success.
Knowing the mindset of your prospect when you are engaging with them for the first time is a must. If you can't get understand thought process of someone looking to buy from you, then I highly doubt you'll be able to solve their problem and sell them your services.
Not really. I obviously don’t want you to stop doing the things you love. However, I do want you to realize that your job as a business owner is to replace yourself. Even within the roles that you absolutely love, it may be critical for you to find a replacement.
Alex Hormozi, owner of Gym Launch - a company known for their 6 week challenges & client acquisition services. Highly discussed and debated with affiliate owners as everyone is digging for leads in a world of FB marketing ,Click Funnels and landing pages.
I drop in to as many gyms as I can when I travel. Not cause I really care about improving my fitness, but because I like seeing how we are all doing our thing. Here are some of the things I’ve seen in my visits that I hope none of you guys are guilty of...and if so, no worries - good news is you have the power to change it.
So an Instagram video that Blue Ridge CF posted got some serious blowback within the past 12 hours and thought I’d comment on it. Here’s the link if you’re unaware http://wlos.com/news/local/gym-owner-apologizes-after-controversial-instagram-video
How are you communicating with your prospects before meeting them face-to-face? Most of us are using some combination (hopefully) Of email, text message and video message, phone call, Facebook, etc. Here’s the rundown as to how I recommend you conduct these touchpoints with your prospect before ever meeting them in person.
Developing your coaches is quite broad topic but I try to break down my favorite practices in creating a team of coaches that truly represent your brand and that you’re proud to leave your clients in their hands.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it..” Is a saying I use quite often, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. There are aspects of your business right now that are currently working, they are allowing you to survive… But they are not allowing you to thrive. They may not necessarily be broken, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be improved.
Do you have a “less expensive” program that you use to draw in membership? While these LBO offers can drive high traffic, make sure you don’t act disappointed when they don’t convert to your higher priced membership.
Instead of venturing through the CrossFit Affiliate Owners Facebook groups, asking the same exact question that’s been asked a hundred times, answered the same way by the same 30 individuals - why don’t you try something new? Like this - get out of your fucking gym and see what else the microgym world has to offer. You’d be surprised what you can learn from others.
When I hear the following from the gym owner, “there’s no way anyone will pay that in my market”. “These people can’t afford that high of a price point”. I collectively lose my shit and rightfully so. Give this a listen and tell me if you truly think it’s the prospect that doesn’t value your service or is it you?
There’s a lot of basic math that gets missed by gym owners when opening their business. They base their membership and service prices and what the rest of the market is doing and sometimes their past experiences as a client. When really the math is much easier than that. I’m gonna walk you through how to take the square footage of your building and reverse engineer your pricing structure.
A great conversation with CrossFit Merle Hay, as we discuss
⁃how to handle those times of the year where you KNOW you’ve got large expenses due (affiliate fees, taxes, insurance, etc)
⁃utilizing Quickbooks Online as a huge bookkeeping hack for small biz owners
⁃creating a higher barrier to entry by requiring Personal Training before entry to group class
With Black Friday steadily upon us, gym owners are going to be tempted to make equipment purchases that are relatively awesome deals. And for those of you in a profitable situation - go for it. For those of you not in a great profit scenario...then I advise against the attractive expense that is increased equipment inventory. The other item to take into consideration when purchasing equipment is operational capacity which I hit on here as well.
In part two of the series we’re gonna talk about how to set up your consultation for the ultimate success in selling the prospect of personal training. The key here is making sure that you make the prospect aware of the final that requires personal training before group class. This is an easy explanation when the common association with CrossFit in the market is injury.
Selling PT @ Point of Sale (POS). When evaluating a gyms financial health, one of the metrics I look at is what is their POS cash vs POS EFT ( electronic funds transfer). This tells me if the gym is only selling a monthly membership or if they are also selling PT on the front end. This 4 part series will cover 1. WHY YOU NEED TO SELL PT AT POS. 2. HOW TO CONDUCT A CONSULTATION 3. HOW TO CREATE A GREAT FIRST WORKOUT (THAT SELLS THE PT FOR YOU!). 4. HOW TO CLOSE AND HANDLE OBJECTIONS
Running gimmicky 6 week challenges is the latest marketing effort that we see domination the microgym space. While none of this is new to other businesses, it definitely has been showing the light to many gym owners who may not have the business acumen in comparison to their coaching skills. So here are my thoughts on these different companies and what I think we can all learn from them.