If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time in the industry, it’s a confirmation of a well-known psychological principle:
Humans are bad at anticipating what will actually make us happy.
The fancy term for this is “affective forecasting.”
Here’s how it shows up with gym owners and trainers.
If you’re a 28-year-old hot shot trainer with no kids, it’s easy to imagine you will ALWAYS love training 30-40 hours per week.
After all, you can make pretty decent money if you charge decent rates. Your overhead is low, in part because you work all the time anyway. Plus you’re doing what you love! You get to eat, breathe, and sleep training. You love learning more and more about training, you get to work out consistently, and you wear sweatpants to work.
Are the hours long? Sure.
Are the hours weird? Yup.
Does some of your family low key judge you on the holidays? Sure. But Uncle Bob has always been an asshole, no skin off your back.
But flash forward to the same trainer at age 42.
Maybe you’ve settled down and gotten married. Maybe you have a kid or two. Maybe you’ve stopped renting and bought a home, or are aspiring to do so.
In order to upgrade your quality of life, you need to make more income. But there’s a ceiling to how much you can make trading dollars for hours. PLUS the whole “working before and after other people are at work and on weekends” is starting to be a real drag for your family life. Not only that, but if you want to take some time off, it always kicks you right in the wallet.
In theory, gym ownership can be a way forward.
But here’s the problem; a lot of gym owners don’t really have a “business.”
Even if you get a lease and hire some part time help, you can’t figure out how to get your clients to train with the other coaches. So you’re still responsible for servicing most of the sessions.
Since you’re still on the floor 30 or more hours per week, you don’t really have the time to do the things necessary to grow your business and generate leads. Or spend the time necessary to build out SOPs and develop your team.
Furthermore, you’ve accidentally signed up for a new job that requires a lot of new skills that you don’t yet have. And you don’t have the time – and in some cases, the interest – to actually develop those skills.
And if we’re being honest? 42 feels a wee bit different than 28. You just don’t have the energy you did a third of your life ago.
So while you have the status of a “business owner,” you’re not really making much more than you made as a trainer. AND you have the additional stresses of monthly expenses that can’t be pared back: a lease, CAM charges, supplies, utilities, equipment, insurance, etc.
If any of this is stinging, I have good news for you.
1) This is very, very, VERY normal. Gym owners that don’t go through this are the outliers.
2) There IS a solution. You CAN fix this situation. All is not lost.
But it will require getting serious about investing the time, energy, and money necessary to grow the skills of a successful gym owner.
You can totally do it the long way.
You can read lots of books, you can go to conferences, and you can stumble around and figure it out on your own.
This might work if you’re willing to give it several years. Then again, it may not work at all, and you may be in the exact same place 3, 5, or even 10 years from now.
I’m not trying to hard sell you into signing up for a mentorship of some kind, though I think that is often the best solution.
I AM trying to hard sell you into taking action.
If you’ve read this email this far, I’m going to assume some of this resonates.
And if it does, here’s the magic question:
“How would you like your situation to be different?”
The second magic question:
“Why haven’t you already achieved the results you want?”
The latter question isn’t always something you can answer on your own. Sometimes we just don’t know and need an outside eye. It’s even better when that outside eye has walked the path you want to tread and can show you the way by identifying the single, most important next step.
A massive list of all the things that you could do is unhelpful. That’s a one-way ticket to overwhelm. This is why reading tons of books or listening to tons of podcasts doesn’t usually work. Binging a bunch of content in a scattershot manner with no context for what’s currently going on with your business can leave you busy as hell, but not actually seeing new and better results.
You need to identify your current rate limiting factor and make a plan to fix it.
Or stated differently:
“What’s the next action that, if prioritized, will have the biggest positive impact on your business?”
If you’re feeling stuck, it’s ok. But keep in mind, you and you alone are the one who can get you some momentum.
There are lots of options for support out there. I’m obviously biased towards the Unicorn Society, because I think it’s hands-down the highest touch and highest value option.
But even if it’s not working with us, if this email has you thinking hard about what you really want in life, I hope you take some action.
And if you DO want to find out more about the Unicorn Society?
You can learn more HERE.
We don’t make you get on a call to find out what we offer and hard sell you into signing up. We’re transparent about what you get and the pricing. It’s all there.
And if it looks like a fit AND you meet the criteria to apply?
We’re technically on a waitlist, but we’re always looking to meet great gym owners. This isn’t a sales call. The US isn’t even on sale right now. It would just be a chance to get to know more about your business and see if we can point you in the right direction.
No matter what you decide is the next best step for you and your business, I’m rooting for you with every ounce of my being.
A fellow gym owner,
PS: Early bird pricing ends for our upcoming course on Management & Leadership for Gym Owners this coming Sunday.
The course is being held on Friday May 5th and Saturday May 6th from 10am est to 4pm est. We’re hosting it on Zoom, so you can attend from anywhere in the world. And if you can’t attend live, we’ll give you video access after the fact.
Click the link below and lock in the best pricing.