The 5 Tiers of Gym Owner Activity

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All while working 5 hours LESS in your business.

We’re going to grow your business bigly af.

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In today’s missive, I’d like to discuss a piece of one of the frameworks we’ll cover.

You see, part of the whole Income-Impact-Freedom game is learning how to spend your time effectively.

Most gym owners spend too much time on $10-dollar-an-hour tasks; mopping the floor, running errands, simple data entry, etc.

But at a certain point, you have to move up to $30 or $50… or $100 dollar-an-hour-tasks.

So here’s a simple way to think about this…

There are essentially 5 tiers of gym owner activities. We call it the Gym Owner Task Hierarchy.

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Working from the bottom up, you can see the lowest rung is Tier 5: Manual Work

This is the easiest to outsource. There’s no special skill required, though in some cases, you do need a bit of training and clear SOPs and/or checklists. Examples include cleaning the gym, opening up mail and boxes, light handyman work, and running to Office Depot. 

In most cases, you want to pay someone else an appropriately modest hourly rate to handle on your behalf. Even for a young gym with modest revenues, your time will be better spent training sessions and on business-generating activities.

One step up is Tier 4: Administrative Work. This is “white collar” mostly computer work like responding to member queries, tasks inside your booking and billing platform, handling liability insurance, sorting receipts, etc. This may require a bit more specialized knowledge and a slightly higher hourly rate. But these tasks are still prime candidates for delegation.

PRO TIP: Both of these tiers can often be delegated to eager clients who are short on cash and willing to work for barter. Just be sure you run them through a vetting process first to make sure they’re up to snuff!

From there, we step up to Tier 3: Fulfilling Services. This is when you’re doing the actual thing you sell: coaching in-person classes, doing personal training, nutrition coaching, etc. At the beginning of your career, you’ll want to free up more time to do these tasks, because they’re way more valuable to the business than the lower tiers. And as a bonus, most gym owners would prefer to coach a deadlift than mop a bathroom floor. 🙂  

As we transcend Tier 3, we make a quantum leap. 

Now we’re working ON the business and not just fulfilling services.

In Tier 2 we are Marketing & Selling

 Examples include:

  • Creating content for Instagram with CTAs
  • Sending DMs to new followers
  • Email marketing
  • Building digital ads
  • Networking and building joint ventures
  • Following up with leads
  • Doing sales appointments

The challenge with Tier 2 is that many of these skills require effort to learn. 

And at first, they will feel — and in many cases will BE -– less valuable than training sessions. Because in the beginning, you suck at them. In fact, many-a-gym owner will procrastinate on business-building activities by doing even lower level work like administrivia. Afterall, that’s relatively lower skill work. You know what “done” looks like, and it’s more comfortable to check tasks off the list.

This is pernicious. Because it can create the illusion of getting shit done, even though it’s not moving the business forward.

Here’s what many gym owners miss: you must spend the time and effort to actually develop the Tier 2 skills OR you will never see consistent growth in your business. 

And this requires being willing to suck before you’re good.

Once you have your arms around Tier 2, you can start to spend some time in Tier 1: Leadership.

Into this category, we have all the activities that allow you to leverage other people to handle Tiers 2-5. Examples include building SOPs, training your team, reviewing scorecards of your team’s behaviors and results, etc.

And if you want something to REALLY aspire to? The final step to true gym owner freedom is having at least one other staff member, usually a GM, who can ALSO operate in Tier 1. This means you’re not the only person responsible for training, managing, and developing your team to improve their performance at Tiers 2-5. 

Even a smaller gym with modest ambitions can bear at least one team member who can handle some Tier 1 and 2 responsibilities on your behalf. Once this happens, things like vacations become possible. But in order to get here, you’ll need to have enough total revenue to afford this position, AND you’ll need to understand management enough to teach them how to effectively lead and manage other people.

Now here’s the cool part: once you’re here, you’ll spend little time in Tiers 4 and 5, and you get to choose how much time you want to spend in Tiers 1, 2, and 3. 

If you like to train a lot? Great. Doable. Go train.

Want more help with follow-up and sales? While this will likely always be part of your role, you’ll now have help and can scale back so it’s not all on you personally.

Find you don’t love managing your staff? So long as you master the basics and can effectively manage a GM, you can even pare back here.

In closing, let’s remind ourselves what our friends the statisticians say:

All models are wrong, some are useful.

This model is most certainly incomplete. Your gym will have nuance not captured here.

But overall, it’s damn useful to think about your role(s) this way.

So my questions for you are as follows:

Based on this framework…

What do you need to spend less time doing? 

And what do you need to spend more time doing?

That’s what you have to answer to keep moving towards more income, more impact, and more freedom.

Make games you can win,


mark sign

PS: Want to grow your gym BIG by April 1st while working less?

Join me for a free training on Dec 16th or Dec 18th to get an exact step-by-step plan. 

I’ll show you how to WIN in 2024 and burst into the New Year like a total boss.

Reserve your spot HERE.