It usually happens on a Friday.
Driving to the gym in the dark, first coffee steaming in the cupholder, you look at the clock and think, “In less than an hour, I have to be in front of people.” You haven’t showered yet. Your mind races through your morning checklist, and you know you won’t have time to do it all before the first client arrives.
On less than six hours’ sleep, you’re tired. These days, you’re drinking too much coffee. Your training loads and intensity are going down. You react negatively to clients’ mistakes, and you KNOW it; you see yourself on a downward spiral. And you think, “What if I just quit?”
Others do. Gyms close. Owners “retire” to other jobs. Some give up on gym growth and start side businesses: t-shirt companies, website design, or even consulting. But they don’t have to.
It’s tempting to think, “I could just walk away. Get a real job. Be home on weekends.” Here’s how to break out of that rut:
- First, recognize the behavior as an emotional response to a logical problem. Some gyms are faring poorly, but others are faring VERY well. It’s possible.
- Second, don’t wait until you’ve hit rock bottom to make changes. If you’re breaking even, you might think profitability is right around the corner. But the systems that got you HERE won’t get you THERE. You’re a coach; you know this to be true everywhere else. You’ll probably have to take a step backward to move three steps forward. I hear from many gyms with 100 clients that aren’t profitable. On the other hand, one of my mentoring clients did $26,000 gross on 70 clients last month.
- Third, the answer to anxiety is service to others. Who can you help? Sherman Merricks (Dynasty CrossFit) invites all other local box owners to his gym once every month to share what he’s learned in the 321GoAcademy. Last week, I sent him a dozen copies of “Help First” to share with them.
- Fourth, the gravity of your situation can be overcome with momentum. You need a WIN. Motivation depends on success, not the other way around.
Start building momentum by taking a very small first step. Identify your target markets (download the sheet below.)
Break up your target markets by what THEY want: fat loss, stronger back, more energy, etc. Some want novelty, some want convenience.
Focus on ONE of those target markets this month. How can you help them? Folks seeking fat loss want food plans; can you write them one? Can you send them a downloadable food guide? Can you build a group on Facebook where you give advice for free? Can you host a seminar? There are 100 other ideas I’ve heard.
Action is all that matters. A busy mind doesn’t think about quitting.
Random trivia about the image at the top of this picture: I took it at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in 2013. I was sitting in the little apartment shared by Kate Foster and her mom, Barb. With me were Jimi Letchford, Marty Cej, Josh Murphy and Greg Amundson. While Kate was telling us about her successes in cancer therapy and rehabilitation, I turned to look at the tiny kitchen. These were the magnets on her refrigerator.