In this episode, I was with Ben on his podcast The Strong Coach and broke down the 3 steps a fitness enthusiast that struggles with the business side of owning a gym needs to take in order to be a fitness entrepreneur.
“A lot of coaches we talk to get into it because they love fitness,” Ben tells me, “and then suddenly they realize oh, I have to be a business owner too?”
3 Types of Fitness Entrepreneurs
Running a business isn’t for everyone and unfortunately, we’ve seen that in the aftermath of the pandemic and lockdowns. There are usually 3 types of gym owners:
#1 The owner that was a fitness professional and decided to open their own gym
A lot of times, this owner things they know what to do and that everything around them needs to be fixed in order for you to see how good they really are. They usually take a lot longer to be successful because they go it alone for so long and avoid anything they’re not skilled at.
#2 This owner has other business in other industries
This is the so-called serial entrepreneur but really they’re the serial business owner. They jump into industries they know make money. They’ll own a real estate business, massage envy, etc. They’ll do well but they might not have the same emotional attachment as #1 and #3…
#3 The owner that’s a fitness enthusiast but wants to be a successful fitness entrepreneur
This owner knows what they don’t know and goes all in to learn and grow. They look for mentors, invest in training, and choose to become great business owners in an industry they love.
Once you open a fitness studio you’re no longer a fitness professional. You’re a business owner that happens to offer the services of fitness.
Having a fitness entrepreneur mindset will set you apart.
Understanding the need to invest in yourself, invest in marketing, sales training, retention strategies, and everything in between will grow your business faster and more efficiently.
Step #1: Love Your Business Like You Love Fitness
“How do you bridge the gap between someone’s love for fitness and running a business?” Ben asks me.
People don’t like what they’re not good at and you’re not good at what you don’t train in. So you might have a great fitness trainer that hasn’t trained or practiced being a great fitness entrepreneur.
When I first started teaching my son how to play basketball, he hated it. He didn’t know how to do it, he was learning something new, and it was tough.
Most parents would give up on it and just say, “oh well, he doesn’t like it…” and move on. But I pushed him to improve. If he got good at it and still didn’t like it, THEN it’s not for him.
He got better at dribbling, better at shooting, and one game, he took a pass, shot the ball, and drained it. The crowd cheered and he wanted more of that. He made 6 shots that game!
Suddenly, he’s in 3 leagues, practicing and playing all the time. He loves it… because he’s good at it.
Most fitness studio owners don’t like the business side of things because they don’t understand it… yet.
- They don’t like looking at a financial statement because they don’t know how to look at one.
- Most don’t like being “salesy” because they don’t know how to sell.
- Many don’t like Marketing and getting on Facebook because they don’t know how to run ads.
If you don’t know how to do certain things then you avoid doing them. But, if you take baby steps and you make incremental improvements, you’ll get addicted to it and want to be better and better at it until you wake up and realize “I’m a fitness entrepreneur.”
So that’s Step #1. Train to get better so you love what you do. Training’s not something you did… it’s something you do. Step #2 is a major struggle for a lot of gym owners…
Step #2: You Need To know Your Numbers
You have to look at your business like a business. This can’t just be a hobby that brings in some money once in a while.
What’s coming in each month and how is it coming in?
Memberships, retail, ancillary, etc.
What’s going out each month… what are your expenses?
Costs of goods sold, operating costs, etc.
What’s the bottom line?
The part that everyone cares about: Profit.
What gets measured gets done. Just like with fitness. If you see the workouts, weights, and reps you did last week, you naturally want to do better the next week. Same with being a fitness entrepre
Once you do this, you’ll know what to fix. You’ll know what expenses to cut and how to increase revenue in certain areas to generate more profit.
After that, you can start setting goal numbers to hit.
Step #3: No Fitness Entrepreneur Goes It Alone
Fitness Studio Owner #1 usually thinks they need to go it alone at first sothat they have some sort of “hero’s journey.”
They don’t realize it’ll take them longer to have the same hero’s journey as Fitness Studio Owner #3 .
“There’s a way to do it better… find it.” – Thomas Edison
When you’re hiring a coach or a mentor, you’re basically hiring someone from the future. You’re learning which path to take at the fork in the road from someone who’s already been there.
One of the reasons older, veteran professional athletes can keep up with the newer, younger players is they got really good at anticipation. They’ve seen it all before and they know what the young buck is going to do before the young buck does.
That doesn’t mean you just want advice from a gym owner that’s had some success… you want to find a master that knows what you need to do, when, and how you need to do it.
Great coaches know how a variety of people can be successful, outside of themselves.
It’ll always be more expensive to not spend money on coaching.
What part of your business are you struggling with? Let me know in the comments.
BONUS: 5 Free Fitness Studio Resources
Here are 5 FREE resources for you to jumpstart your drive to be a successful fitness entrepreneur:
- 45 New Gym Members in 30 Days: The Ultimate Sales Transformation
- Matt Kafora: Build a 7-Figure Fitness Studio in 18 Months
- Corbyn May: How His Fitness Studios Turned $12 Into $43,000 Per Year
- [Download] The Membership Sales Guide
- [Join] The #2590 Challenge
Hope you get a lot out of this episode.