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Why We're A Mentorship Practice

I found my first mentor in 2009. I had struggled for YEARS to “figure it out on my own”. I thought real entrepreneurs cut their own path. I was wrong.   I was invited to mentor another gym owner in 2012. I’d already been writing for years. I already had my first book, Two-Brain Business; it had sold a few hundred copies.   A website company decided to help gym owners with education. They invited me to fill that role. At the time, I understood “mentorship” to mean “tell them what to do.” I quickly learned that “mentor” and “teacher” were overlapping roles, but they weren’t the same thing.   Later, we decided to augment the mentoring calls with an online video library. I’d been selling an online course for years through the IgniteGym platform, so I knew the process. I also knew its value. I spent a Christmas season alone in my basement, filming against a black backdrop, and then editing while my kids went to visit their grandparents.   We sold the course. We made a bunch of money. But I soon realized it wasn’t working. Gyms weren’t having dramatic turnarounds, like they were with mentorship.   It took me awhile–and a tough conversation with my friends, Jay Rhodes–but I realized that in-person mentorship was critical to success in any business. After all, it had been in mine: I was reading books, listening to others, absorbing more education than anyone else–and STILL failing until I found a mentor.   As soon as I realized that selling video modules wasn’t saving gyms, I wanted to stop. The website company wanted to continue. It took a few months to untangle things, but when I launched in 2016, I had a clear vision: we are a mentorship practice.   Your gym is not Catalyst. My staff handbook can form the base template for yours, and save you hours of work, ...
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"I'd Farm 'Til It's Gone"

I spent New Year’s Eve with a friend named Matt. Matt’s a farmer.   We sat at his handmade kitchen table drinking Mad Jack, both of us stifling yawns: I’d been up since 4am. Matt had been up all night, fixing power lines in -30 weather for his “real job”. Matt works for the power company, but he’s still a farmer.   Our wives were talking about a mutual friend who’d won the lottery in 2017. Half a million isn’t enough to retire on, but it pays a lot of bills, and I asked Matt what he’d do with it.   “I’d farm until it was gone,” he said.   Most farms lose money. If you calculated the value of a farmer’s time, each hour worked would be worth pennies or less. And yet Matt wears a shirt with a tractor on it. His kids’ toys are all tractors. Look out any window in his two-story house, and you’ll see farm.   Matt doesn’t farm to make money. Matt makes money so he can be a farmer.   I know a lot of coaches like Matt: if they won the lottery today, they’d still show up to coach the 6am class tomorrow. In fact, it’s one of the questions on our Gym Checkup, and almost everyone gives the same answer.   All of us receive something greater than money from coaching. And many of us take “day jobs” to support our coaching habit. But that’s where the similarities end.   We NEED our businesses to thrive. Our clients depend on our ability to make the business work. Our coaches deserve success. Our kids deserve to see us at bedtime.   We need to balance our “right brain” (emotion and care) with our “left brain” (systems and processes) to provide the best gym. Being excellent doesn’t mean “just caring more”–it means being excellent at business, and providing an excellent service. It ...
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Episode 102: How To Change Your Clients' Behavior

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Episode 101: The Level Method

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The Trade Deadline

What if you could trade your five worst clients for five more of your BEST clients?   If you’ve been listening in 2017, you’ve heard me talk about your “SEED” clients: how to identify and serve the best clients best.   Mike Michalowicz’ book on the topic, The Pumpkin Plan, formed the strategy we teach in the Incubator. We tailor it for gyms, of course. But when Michalowicz was on our podcast,  he also talked about what do with your WORST clients.   If you’re like me, that phrase (“worst clients”) sent a shiver up your spine.   The client is always right–aren’t they? Don’t we need to latch onto every client we can possibly get?   What if you could trade your worst clients for better ones? Who would you swap?   There’s value in knowing who your best clients are–and who they’re not. Because when we identify where best clients come from, what they want, and why they stay, we attract more like them. And when we identify the same characteristics of our worst clients, we avoid painful mistakes in the future.   Let’s start our top secret list with this exercise (the inverse of the “Seed Client” exercise, so let’s call these “Weed clients”.   Make two lists: List #1 – the people who pay the least for your coaching. Calculate this by dividing their monthly rate by their average visits. No judgment here; we just want to know who pays the least per visit. List #2 – who complains most? Who makes your energy drop when they walk through the door?   Now compare the two lists. Which names appear on both?   Michalowicz would have you fire those people immediately. (Here’s how to do it.) But if that’s uncomfortable for you, no problem; when you start improving your gym, they’ll probably leave anyway.   Ask yourself what these “weed” clients have in common. Where did ...
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How To Kill Your King

(The wrong way to open a gym) When I’m in Manhattan, I go to Union Square for a chess lesson.   This is roughneck chess: you sit on a folding chair or overturned bucket. You take the first seat available, no matter who the opponent (don’t worry, they’re all better than you are.) And you don’t put money on the game–but you’ll pay. Oh, yes.   My last lesson, in June, was against a street player named Mike. His wool cap was pulled down almost to his flat nose, and his heavy leather jacket would have made me sweat. I was wearing a t-shirt, but sweating plenty as we started anyway.   Mike leaned over to the guy beside him and said, “Gimme a coupla your pawns.” Our board was missing a few pieces. His neighbor handed over some mismatched pieces, and we began. Mike let me go first.   I was finished in under three minutes.   “Ever played before?” he asked.   I had. In fact, I’m not a bad chess player. I’m scrappy. I like changing my game plan on the fly. But Mike hammered me from the beginning. And so the lesson began.   “You have no opening,” he said. “You gotta have an opening.”   In chess, your first five moves largely determine your ultimate success. You can set up a defensive position and do battle, or just make random attacks that expose your King. I hustled hard in the first few minutes. But you don’t out-hustle a hustler.   When you open a gym, you can set yourself up for long-term success by doing a few things right: Running a Founders’ Club focusing on value Choosing the best location for your clients’ convenience Setting your rates using a formula to determine what you need Identifying your ideal clientele and focusing on what they want Planning your revenue streams to be diverse Inviting your neighborhood ...
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