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Love + Letters

It’s been incredible to watch the TwoBrain family embrace the philosophy of “Love Letters” over the last few months. They’re getting new members, higher affinity from their current members, and more joy from entrepreneurship.   You can’t get people into your business if you won’t let people into your life.   If you haven’t heard the term “love letters” before, that’s okay. You’re already familiar with them (you’re reading one now.) Love letters are simply notes to your audience about the things THEY care about. They’re helpful tips, answers to questions and intimate details of YOUR story.   They’re not “newsletters”.   They’re definitely not “sales letters”.   I write my love letters to YOU as answers to questions I receive from other gym owners. Every week, 10 of you book a free consultation to the TwoBrainBusiness site. We chat for half an hour. Sometimes I invite you to join our mentorship family, and sometimes I don’t. But the questions are always good, and I always know that OTHERS have the same questions.   So I answer them here. The best love letters I’ve written came from the best questions I was asked.   For example:   “Why I’m Headed to CrossFit HQ” “How Many ‘Likes’ Do You Need?” “How to Say ‘No’ To Discounts” “Why You’ll Never Need 300 Members” “How To Optimize Your Day” …and literally hundreds more.   Last week on a podcast interview, I was asked, “What’s the most important piece of content you’ve produced? Which one made the biggest impact?”   A better question would have been: “What YEAR of writing was your best?”   I wrote over 390 blog posts on Then I wrote Two-Brain Business.   I had over 300 posts on 321GoProject. They’re gone. But most of them came from Two-Brain Business 2.0 and Help First.   I have over 400 blog posts on (and just over 20 on the ...
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What is Excellence in Coaching?

Yesterday, I wrote, What IS Excellence?  and promised to follow up with a specific example of measuring excellence in the gym business. Below, you’ll find a sample Coach Evaluation Form from UpCoach. This isn’t a simple “scale of 1 to 10”, but part of a larger conversation. The first part of the conversation with your coach should be: “What’s your perfect day?” Then follow with, “If you could coach one thing all day, what would it be?” Finally, help the coach draw a road map from their perfect coaching day to where they are NOW. That’s where the evaluation comes in: it’s a snapshot of their starting line. Quarterly Evaluation Form UpCoach Coach Evaluation The first two are followed by a “Coaching Inventory” and then a specific assessment of the coaches’ strengths and weaknesses in weightlifting, gymnastics, endurance etc. It’s important to understand that Professionalism, Group Management, and Attitude all come before specific knowledge. These are GENERAL skills, which are more important than SPECIFIC skills. Specific skills can be taught over a weekend; general skills take years (maybe a lifetime) to develop. The traditional 1-10 scale is less relevant for general skills, because a coach can sit at a 7/10 in “Presence” forever, and be satisfied. It’s better to rate them as “Excellent”, “Good” or “Satisfactory” because these subjective skills don’t easily lend themselves to objective measurement. The key question: why be anything LESS than excellent? Usually, a coach is less than excellent simply because they don’t have a clear picture of excellence. Their idea of “excellent” is different from your own, and probably for good reason: you’ve been coaching longer, you’ve seen REAL excellence, and you know what clients expect. They don’t. The first sheet clearly spells out the expectations associated with an excellent coach. The second sheet is a simple ratings scale. Use it for followup evaluations if you like. But always make sure you’ve clearly defined “excellence” ...
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What IS Excellence?

“Money follows excellence.” “Excellence leaves clues.” These are the phrases we repeat to ourselves. We chant them while we’re mopping. We accept them as answers to the question, “How do I run a good gym?” Without a definition, excellence is a moving target. Without objective measurement, excellence will always be a wish. Last month, I asked Greg Glassman for a metric that would define a “successful” gym. He didn’t give me a hard number right away, but when pressed, he agreed that “Profit” is an undeniable part of excellence. I took the question to the Mentoring Team at TwoBrain. The unanimous answer was “profit.” There were dozens of others (like ARM and LEG) that are correlates of profit, and subjective answers like “perfect day.” I agree with all of them. Then one senior mentor said, “The ability to stay profitable long-term.” So profit over TIME might be a better answer. As you and I have both experienced, it’s all too easy to have one amazing month, feel like we’re on top of the world…and then have a terrible month immediately afterward. I think “Excellence” in the fitness business can be measured in 7 different ways: First, numerically–both the most accurate and the most stark. Are you profitable, or not? If you’re not profitable–including paying yourself a wage that supports your lifestyle–the rest doesn’t matter, because it will all go away if you can’t survive. Second, subjectively (owner lifestyle.) This is the owner’s “Perfect Day”. We ask owners to define their “Perfect Day” before we start the Incubator so that we have a clear “Point B” to aim for. It’s simply too easy to say “My life is pretty good…” and accept mediocrity unless you set a clear goal. Third, Coach Education and Opportunity. No matter how great your gym, or how profitable in the short-term, if your key staff continues to leave, you’ll always be fragile. Fourth, Culture. Believing that ...
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Episode 95: Rachel Balkovec

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What is the TwoBrain Workshop?

Last night, CrossFit’s EOD (Email of the Day) mentioned our local mentorship project: the TwoBrain Workshop.   After noticing that many of my seed clients at Catalyst are entrepreneurs, I started offering little seminars to them: Facebook Marketing, Affinity Marketing, and other burning topics.   Since many of the first lessons I shared in Two-Brain Business were taken from books and mentors in the non-fitness realm, it was easy to apply the lessons from my books to other local entrepreneurs. In fact, I was having SO much fun that I bought a 7800sqft building, and opened a coworking space, boardroom, and incubator offices. (   And then something amazing happened.   The local entrepreneurs who come in for coffee, or to use coworking space, or to use our boardroom invariably ask about CrossFit. We’re not just leading CrossFit owners to real entrepreneurship; we’re leading entrepreneurs to CrossFit. That’s a million-watt win.   In fact, we’ve shut off all other marketing at the gym and now just focus on talking to people who come into the Workshop for coffee.   Many of them rent the boardroom for meetings…and ask us to build a short workout into their day! Some, seeking to lease office space, are requesting a gym membership quote as part of their lease. It’s crazy.   But here’s my favorite part:   Years ago, I realized that CrossFit gym owners have to learn good business practices MUCH faster than most other business owners. Because of the low barrier to entry, it’s very easy to open a CrossFit gym…and very hard to keep one open. That means thousands of people have jumped into entrepreneurship with very little preparation, and then SCRAMBLE to learn things as fast as possible. This isn’t the way it’s usually done. CrossFit gym owners are also faster learners for other reasons: we have good networks; we all have to start from scratch, without guidance; and our ...
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How To Paralyze Your Competition

Give them three great ideas.   Does that sound backward, or WHAT?   But if I know anything, after owning a business for 13 years and mentoring other owners for 6, it’s this: people with one great idea get it DONE. People with three great ideas get NOTHING DONE.   The reason the “other guys” took your idea and did it better? Because they’re not working on anything else. YOU are trying to do three things at once…and if you’re like me, not doing any of them very well.   Most CrossFit gym owners already have a big idea or two, but they can’t work on them because they’re coaching all the time. Their stress comes from their inability to act on a great idea. We get them to the Action point by leading them step-by-step in the Incubator.   We believe in a short period of intensive focus (usually 6-8 weeks) where we do things one at a time, in order, with each building on the one before it. Mentors guide owners through it one-on-one. Hundreds of videos and templates are available for homework–and the mentors tell the owners exactly which to watch, what to do, and make sure they DO it. Then they build.   We DON’T believe in selling access to a Facebook group, or selling courses without mentorship, because it’s paralyzing. I tried that with another company in 2015. We sold a lot of courses. Owners saved money on mentoring. And they didn’t get the results I wanted them to have.   If you told someone you’d guarantee their weight loss, how much personal attention would you give them? Probably a lot. You’d want to make SURE it would work. And that’s why we do 1:1 mentorship in the Incubator: I’m making a bet on you, and I want to make sure you’ll succeed.   But enough about that.   The best way to stop someone ...
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