The Zero-Sum Error

The Zero-Sum Error

In late 2005, I opened my first gym. I made my first business mistake before I trained my first client.


I was painting my new gym space with one of my new partners. He asked my goals for Year One while we rolled a bright chartreuse over the wallpaper in our tiny second-floor space.


“I’m going to put these other guys out of business,” I said.


I’d been coaching for nearly a decade at that point. The last 2.5 years had been spent training people 1:1 in a tiny, windowless studio gym. I needed the money–and that’s why I opened my own gym–but I also needed acknowledgment: I was positive I was the best trainer in town, and I wanted people to know it.


In 2005–barely 14 years ago!–the sum of fitness business knowledge was: “Be the best coach and you’ll be the most successful.” I was eager to believe it, because I was the best coach.


My partner, Norm–you’ll meet him at Summit!–asked me, “Why?”


I said, “Well, I’m going to take all of their clients.” Not because I was confident in my business skills, but because I thought I would have to take their clients to survive.


I made the classic mistake of believing the market for personal training was limited. I thought, “Only a few dozen people in town can afford personal training, and they’re already doing it somewhere else!”


This is called “zero-sum thinking”: the belief that the number of potential opportunities for your business has a limit, and that every opportunity comes at the cost of someone else.


Here’s how it almost killed me:


When I opened my doors on October 25, 2005, I really did take clients from elsewhere. I had 25 sign up the first week. True, I was honoring packages they’d purchased elsewhere and making very little new money, but they came with me. I owned them! Right?


But my zero-sum thinking actually turned some of them off. I was already writing blog posts almost every day. I had fitness columns in two out of three local newspapers, and my website was live before my first barbell arrived. Even then, I knew the power of publication. But I didn’t know it was a double-edged sword.


Because I was broke; because I was scared; because I was thinking zero-sum, I wrote about how wrong other trainers were. I told readers to ask their trainer for their credentials; then to check their own results; and then to call me to get better results. I told them that if their trainer couldn’t tell them what workout they’d be doing in two weeks, the trainer was lazy. And on and on.


After two weeks of this, the newspapers both backed out on the same day. Then clients began giving me the “don’t call me, I’ll call you” brush-off. My bookings went down. And worst of all: some of my new clients went back to their old trainers!


Why? Because I’d shown them all the worst parts of me: my desperation, my willingness to blast the other guy just to get clients. Hell, the clients who left were embarrassed to do business with me. It didn’t matter that I was trying to feed my family or terrified of failure. All that mattered was how I handled myself.


I should have listened to Norm when he told me “You can’t build your business by tearing another down.”


Unfortunately, I thought building blocks were in limited supply, and I had to smash their tower to build my own.


Today, Catalyst is doing great. It survived my early mistakes (though it took years to correct them, even after finding my first mentor.) All of the other gyms in town are also doing great. More people are exercising in our city than ever. People who go to X gym wouldn’t be a great fit at Catalyst, and vise versa. It’s not an all-or-nothing, zero-sum game at all.


What’s holding you back?

TwoBrain Marketing Episode 8: Jenn Markwardt

TwoBrain Marketing Episode 8: Jenn Markwardt

 Two Brain Marketing Episode 8: Jenn Markwardt


Today we are joined by Jenn Markwardt from CrossFit Sandpoint, in Sandpoint Idaho. Jenn started the incubator with over 100 clients already, but she and husband Kenny weren’t making enough money. They were doing all the work, and Jenn was working outside the business.

Today, Jenn and Kenny both work at CrossFit Sandpoint full time. They’ve expanded, bought out two partners, and have dialed their systems enough to open a second location. Here’s how they did it, how they get new leads, and their sales process for new clients.

Don’t Forget about the 2019 Two Brain Summit, June 8-9 in Chicago! This year we have some amazing topics and guests for both yourself and your coaches. Click hereto register and sign up now!





2:20 – Introduction to Jenn Markwardt

6:23 – Working a fulltime job while starting a gym

10:07 – What was the impetus for looking into Two Brain and starting the Incubator

12:02 – What to do when you want more out of your business?

15:07 – What is it that CrossFit Sandpoint Sells and how do you sell a new client

18:15 – The sales process and sales funnels at CrossFit Sandpoint

24:52 – The key to success in owning a gym: playing the long game


Greg:                                          00:02                       Welcome everyone to Two-Brain radio. It is our mission at Two-Brain to provide 1 million entrepreneurs the freedom to live the life that they choose. Join us every week as we discover the very best practices to achieve perfect day and move you closer to wealth.

Announcer:                            00:26                       Everybody hates their insurance company until they need their insurance company. My insurance recommendation is Vaughn Vernon of affiliate guard. Before I get into this story, I want to make it clear here that I don’t get any kickback for recommending Vaughn, but I’ve done it so many times. Whenever anybody online asks the question about insurance companies, I always say affiliate guard. Here’s why. Years ago when we affiliated with crossfit, my insurance company dumped me citing, quote unquote tractor pulls that we were going to be doing, whatever the hell that is. I’ve never pulled a tractor in my life. Um, I’ve driven lots of tractors and I can tell you, I don’t think I could pull one if I wanted it to. But that’s besides the point. At that time, the person who swooped in and saved crossfit gyms in Canada was Joanne Legal. And if you’re in Canada, I recommend talking to her period.

Announcer:                            01:16                       You don’t have to talk to her first. You don’t have to talk to her last. Just talk to her period. If you’re in the states though, I recommend affiliate guard because the program that I get through Joanne and Canada is really, really awesome and all inclusive. Joanne’s personality though is what keeps me with their company in the states. Affiliate guard is run by Vaughn Vernon, a massive personality, a crossfitter, a Jujitsu guy. He drives dirt bikes, he has good looking kids, all that stuff and his policy is the best. It’s really, really tough to tell when you’re reading your policy if the benefits are the same as someone else’s because they obscure stuff on purpose. It’s just like taxes. However, when I’m looking at my policy, I ask myself, will that guy get up in the middle of the night and help me out and this weekend was a great example of Vaughn’s personality.

Announcer:                            02:08                       One of my friends and clients down in Florida had their garage door smashed open, by a Mustang that was doing donuts in the parking lot and they texted me at 6:00 AM on a Sunday and I wanted to help so I texted Vaughn, he’s two hours behind me and he responded right away. Your insurance company is not going to do that. As I said at the start of this, everybody hates their insurance company until they need insurance and when you do need insurance, you want them to answer the damn phone on a Sunday morning and you want to talk to the head man and you just want to know everything’s going to be okay with affiliate guard. It is.

Mateo:                                      02:43                       Hello and welcome to the Two-Brain marketing podcast. I’m your host Mateo Lopez. I’m one of the digital marketing mentors at Two-Brain business. Thank you for joining us and this is going to be your weekly dose of digital marketing magic where every week we’re going to go over marketing campaign strategies, useful tips, updates, keep in the loop and we’ll go over stories from some of our current clients. So you can hopefully learn from them and their experience in navigating the ever changing landscape of advertising on the Internet for Your Business. And in today’s episode we have very special guests, Jen from crossfit Sandpoint and we’re going to learn about her and her business and how she was able to really utilize some of the strategies we, we teach in the course to generate over $7,000 in front end revenue from just a little over 400 bucks in advertising spend. So hello, welcome. Thanks for jumping on. So first question for you, who are you, where you’re from, what’s your business and tell us a little bit about it.

Jen:                                             03:49                       My name is Jen and we opened the gym about seven years ago. Moved here from California. We live in northern Idaho. So almost to Canada.

Mateo:                                      04:02                       I think it’s a pretty big difference.

Jen:                                             04:04                       Uh, yeah, it was a huge difference. We went to school in southern California and then really wanted to start a gym. And doing that in Santa Barbara was just incredibly cost prohibitive. And so we’ve been coming up to northern Idaho for summers and skiing and decided that we wanted to make it our home and seven years later we never left. We love it here and we’ve got a pretty successful business. So I run, my husband runs the programming, the operations, that side of it, and I do the marketing and business development because that’s what my background is.

Mateo:                                      04:38                       That’s awesome. Yeah. What was it? What was it like starting up the gym? It kind of sounds like you upgraded your life and moved to, I mean you had some familiarity with the area since you’ve been going there for vacations and whatnot, but you know, what was that? What was that process like?

Jen:                                             04:54                       It was crazy. We actually didn’t even think we were going to stay in this town. We just hung out at the lake. We’ll just take some time off and then we’ll figure out what our plan is going to be. We’re here. The more we just felt like this is where it’d be drawn to stay. There wasn’t a crossfit gym in town, you know, it’s a tiny town. It’s growing. But when we moved here, there were 7,000 people. So we started looking into, is there another crossfit gym? There wasn’t, but there were these two guys that had like a tiny garage space and it was basically like you press in a key code. They had some, you know, they had a small rigs and some bars, some weights and barbells. And so they were from the community and we said, hey, we’re going to start a crossfit gym and like, what’re you guys like?

Jen:                                             05:39                       We’re going to start a legit gym with coaches and all of those things. Like would you guys be interested in partnering with us? And they said yes. And you know, partnership is tricky and difficult and all those things. But um, it was great because they knew the community and the connections. And so that really helped us get our foot in the door, started a tiny little space and then we moved to a bigger space. And then that was next door. And then we took over the small space again. And, and then three years later I ended up buying them out. And now just on the business, the two of us. So

Mateo:                                      06:09                       Oh, so you moved in next door to them.

Jen:                                             06:12                       So we moved in with them. So we all started the business together and then there was an open space next door that was larger. So as we grew we took that over and moved out of the small space and then like three months later took the small space over it again.

Mateo:                                      06:25                       Wow. That’s awesome. What was it like in those early days trying to run the run the ops yourselves and trying to grow and trying to also live?

Jen:                                             06:36                       It was crazy because, so I obviously we couldn’t both with having two partners also, like it wasn’t going to be possible. So I had a full time corporate job, while Kenny was running the gym. And in those early days he did everything. I mean he was the janitor. She coached 30 classes a week. We did no personal training, no nutrition, nothing. There was nothing extra. It was just him coaching and you know, I would help, I would pop in and help as I could and the nights and the weekends and things like that. I mean we painted every wall in this place. We hung every rig, we put every piece of flooring in, you know all those, all those things. That’s the true blood, sweat and tears. Right. I mean that’s how you build something. Literally six months after we started the gym I got pregnant. So we were also raising our newborn son during all of this too, which is an adventure. But look back on that and see how far we’ve come now.

Mateo:                                      07:37                       cause there are a lot of people who are thinking about opening a business or buying out an existing business. It sounds like you kind of did a hybrid where you, you partnered up with an existing business and then, but also kind of bought them out down the line. So do you have any advice for people who are considering taking on a financial partner or maybe they’re the, they’re the money behind it and they want to take on an operating partner. You have any advice for people who are thinking about doing something like that when starting their business or or maybe even halfway through their businesses lifecycle?

Jen:                                             08:11                       First call us cause we can tell you all the things we did wrong. I don’t think we really didn’t have super clear roles and tasks. So what that meant is that they were making money and Kenny was, we were also making money but we were also doing all the work and things that got tricky where like they wanted him to clock in and out for vacation time and like all these things that you would like going in with good faith in you’re thinking that everybody has each other’s best interests at heart and who really wants to think through like what your day to day is going to look like, what everybody’s piece of that puzzle is going to be. You know, all the things that we do in Two-Brain from like a regular business perspective, you know, apply that to your partnership as well. And I would actually say if you don’t have to take money, don’t like, if you can do it on your own, do it on your own. Takes longer. That’s okay. You know, we ended up spending a lot of money to buy them out, which now it’s totally worth it. We have freedom to run our business, but if we were to look back. I would have probably said we could have probably done it on our own. It would have saved ourselves a lot of hassle and a lot of,

Mateo:                                      09:24                       yeah, I think that those are all great points. I think you take on a partner when you think it’s going to buy you a little bit of speed a little bit faster. But yeah, you definitely have to do the math because you know if you’re going to end up spending that money down the line anyway.

Jen:                                             09:40                       And I will say we had a particularly difficult partner, you know, so know who you’re getting into bed with and I, this sounds so pessimistic, but expect the worst and create a plan based on the worst. And if it goes better than that, then you’re prepared.

Mateo:                                      09:55                       I think that’s good advice. Okay, awesome. So it sounds like Kenny was, was grinding, you had your hands full with your full time job in the newborn. So what was the impetus for looking into Two-Brain and Chris and signing up with the incubator?

Jen:                                             10:19                       Right. We had 150 members. You know, we weren’t making enough money to run the gym, support a full time income and you know, put money away and do all those things. And I think Kenny started to feel like, well this is great but I don’t want to build myself a job. I want to build a company. Right. And so he looked into a couple of different, business mentorship program then settled on Two-Brain with, he actually started the incubator process before I came on board in any real capacity. So Dani was our mentor, she was fantastic. And he actually went through the incubator and then we took a couple months off before we started the growth stage. Cause it’s a lot like he, we didn’t have any extra help at that point. Like, so he was trying to do the whole incubator while still coaching a ton of classes and not having any coaches that were working more than like five shifts a week.

Mateo:                                      11:12                       Yeah, I mean it takes a lot out of the incubator when I went through was just figuring out roles and tasks and hiring people and learning how to delegate. But that takes time. You know, you’re not going to find someone you know right away to start helping you. And even if you do, you know there’s training involved, there’s development and that can take time and everyone’s different where they are in their journey. You know sometimes people already have a staff of five and it’s just re re shifting the mindset of your team or you have no one like it sounds like Kenny and you didn’t have anyone. And so finding that, finding those people who can help and training them up, that all takes time. So it totally makes, especially if you’re the solo operator, to going to take a little while to get through the important work that needs to get done to get you to the next level. So, so it sounds like what, what, what was the next level Kenny was trying to get to? It sounds like you, you know, he felt this kind of dissatisfaction. I know you said that you wanted to build a business, you know, what was he trying to, what next level was he trying to get to?

Jen:                                             12:16                       Yeah, I think all of a sudden it became clear I was working outside of the business. I know, jump in and do the work. Really wanted that guidance of like, let’s just not, let’s not waste our time. Which I think is really the incredible value of what Two-Brain gives, right? From whether it’s marketing or whether it’s the, um, growth program. It’s like, here are the steps. Like, yes, you could figure this out on your own. You could do all this, you could toil away for years. You’re gonna waste a lot more money. Um, and you’re going to get really frustrated. And what do we do? We coach people so we should hire a coach, you know? And it just became really clear that that was the best way to get there the most expeditiously.

Mateo:                                      13:19                       And then what were the changes? I mean it sounds like you were able to grow the business to where you were able to quit your full time job eventually, but what else did you see? What were the changes you saw after going through the process?

Jen:                                             13:30                       Really just our mindset right, of like, and we’re still working on it. Like we’re not 100% there yet. I will say that we are still in the process of giving tasks and roles away, but it was really like what is our time best spent doing and who else can do these other things. And really it comes clear like coaching classes is not the best use of your CEO or your owners time or whatever term you’re using. So really getting a staff with people that could help us with that. Figuring out how to empower people to do their jobs and then step back, right. Processes and procedures and really having, you know, we say like if we get hit by it, both of us get hit by a bus. Like is this business going to run? Is it going to support our child? Like, now I feel confident.

Jen:                                             14:16                       I used to have, I was telling Kenny this the other day, I would have nightmares when I wasn’t involved in the business because I knew nothing. And I would think like, what happened? Like what happens if Kenny gets sick? You know? I mean, his dad died young. So that’s just a reality for us. We think about it all the time. It was like, I know nothing. Like I don’t know the books, I don’t know how to coach. I don’t know how to write programming. You know? I, it was like this business, if you were to go like would not, it would be dead. So I think that was the impetus for us to really say like, we got to create something that is beyond us.

Mateo:                                      14:51                       Yeah. That’s amazing. And I think that’s the true test, right? It’s like, can you, can you leave, can you step away from your business totally for two weeks and it not burn down. Um, and it sounds like you were able to really get to that point, which is awesome. And so I want to talk a little bit about your growth after having done some of the work in the marketing section of the incubator. Before I do that, in your own words, what is, what is it that you sell and how do you sell it?

Jen:                                             15:23                       stronger and live the best life that you can and we do that through personal training, nutrition and group classes. But what we really provided,

Mateo:                                      15:34                       wow, that might be the most concise, most thought out answer yet.

Jen:                                             15:41                       Yeah, no, it was pretty. That was pretty on point there. I love it. Okay, now, yeah, but let’s talk about that. Let’s get into the nitty gritty. So how you generate the interest to sell that, right. How do you, how do you get people in the door and then once they are coming through, once they have inquired, how do you end up selling them?

Jen:                                             16:02                       So, I mean, I think before taking the marketing course, it was basically affinity marketing. I mean we did Facebook posts every once in a while it’d be like, oh we did. I’ve always been super interested in the digital market. It felt like I remember talking to you. And so I was always like really overwhelmed and I didn’t know where to start. Um, so when we started the Two-Brain course I feel like it just gave us this really actionable roadmap of exactly what to do. And then it went from being like, oh we get a no sweat intro here and then no sweat intro there to like a consistent stream of leads and people in the door. I will say that they are not all quality, right? Yeah. Some of them suck. But I think it really helped hone my skills and learn how to handle objections, which it always like I can talk to anybody, but when it, when it came to like making the sale and asking for that, I let in Kenny too, we’d let so many people walk out the door, you know? And I think going through that course really helped me understand like how important it is. Like if someone’s taking that step to get in the door, like they want to change, you have to show them how to get there. And I think when we started taking the approach of like it’s prescriptive rather than salesy, it feels so much better. I know I kind of hopped around there, I’m not sure if that’s the answer.

Mateo:                                      17:34                       No, that’s great. And so I think you’re bringing up some good points. You know, when you pay traffic and generating leads in that way can be totally different than someone who’s referred, right? If someone who’s referred that you’re a current member who referred their friend, they, they’ve done half the selling for you already, right? When you have, when you put an ad out, it’s going to take a little bit more work on our end. But we can’t control referrals like this paid ads. Like we can control that. So I think that that’s the trade off. And uh, and I think it’s ultimately worth it. And I think you’ve, you’ve seen that too with your campaigns. And so when someone inquires, what happens?

Jen:                                             18:27                       Actually we didn’t really have, and so we actually made the decision because we were so busy, we just signed up with UpLaunch because they’ve got that dialed. It got it. We don’t, I don’t have to set up a text messaging and Zapier and all that. I can just have them do the whole thing. So, um, when someone inquires they get a text message and an email. Initially, you know, I’ve been working with like a little bit, so we’ve been playing around with how involved I am in that initial process. Usually I’ll, if they respond to a text message, then that’s when I will start to engage in the process. We don’t have a sales manager yet, so when we do, I’ll probably have that person reach out via phone. Then it would be a phone call. Right now we just don’t have the capacity to do that.

Jen:                                             19:14                       So they get text message, uh, usually, you know, if they don’t sign up for a no sweat, then I will reach out to them and try and get them to do that. But the automation helps just make that happen, which is really nice. And then they book a no sweat intro and then they will, then we’ll send them, we send a confirmation text message 24 hours before where they have to reply. Yes. That has helped. You know, there’s been a lot of talk in the group about no shows and I cannot recommend that enough. It’s like cut our no shows down by like 75% probably.

Mateo:                                      19:49                       Wow. It’s like the simplest.

Jen:                                             19:55                       thanks. You know, and we’re at a speed where the spot right now, while we’re getting pretty full, so I’m at a spot where it’s like I just want somebody that really wants to be in here and if they don’t, that’s okay. Maybe they’ll be ready down the road and we’ll continue to foster that relationship through emails and texts and all those things. I’m not, I don’t have the time to chase down 25 people a week, you know? So I want them to take that, like if they’re going to take the step to get in here, they’re more likely to show up to classes and they’re more likely to stay longer.

Mateo:                                      20:29                       Totally. And so let’s say they come in through the door. What happens?

Jen:                                             20:34                       Uh, so generally I talk with them and then I will give them a tour of the gym.

Mateo:                                      20:43                       Wow. Fancy.

Jen:                                             20:45                       A little Keurig machine. It’s not bad. I like it. But you could see it’s not fancy at all. Um, but it’s, I think that’s just like a nice step of like, Hey, can I get you a cup of coffee? I’ve had two people say yes over the years, but it’s just a way of kind of breaking the tension and then we just take a quick tour of the gym and I literally just stand in one of the rooms and kind of see, I don’t get too fancy about it. I just, that’s not really what they care about. I just want them to, yeah, I wasn’t showing people the gym and then I’d like get ready to sign somebody up and they’d be like, well, can I see the gym? And then we do that and it was weird to get them back to the desk. So I’ve just started doing that.

Mateo:                                      21:24                       Yeah, I love that. If that’s, if that’s an objection, the objection that’s overcome that at the beginning. So I like that.

Jen:                                             21:33                       Yeah, this is the gym. If you think it’s too like raw or whatever, then then it’s not going to work anyway. So and then we just sit down and we’d go through the No Sweat Intro form, you know? And I really think that’s one thing that I changed a lot is I go through every single one of those. If I think somebody who’s like kind of a halfway sold, you know, if somebody is like they walk in the door, I have crossed that experience and ready to get this done. I’ll still go through some of them, but I might not ask all the questions about like envision your life in five years or you know, those ones. So I tailor it a little bit, but for the most part I stick to that form because it opens up so much opportunity to sell and to create a plan that’s right for that person. Someone may walk in the door saying they want group classes and then have that conversation and actually their goals won’t work at all with group classes. And they definitely need to do personal training to make it work.

Mateo:                                      22:27                       Oh you guys have a private office for this too?

Jen:                                             22:29                       Well I have a private office. We have two private offices, which is great actually. So one is on the floor, but no one can walk in and out of the office. So it’s like not our front office. So I’ll use that like during a really busy times. Cause I know some of these going to walk in the front door or if it’s kind of on our off hours and I’ll use our bigger office. So the flexibility.

Mateo:                                      22:48                       Nice. So what I love about that, that first part is that you’ve given them something. And I think people, people can do that even if it’s just a bottle of water or something small. But giving them something that, it kind of establishes that reciprocity principle where you know you’re setting the stage and setting the tone, you’re offering them something. And now there may be, you know, it just, it’s kind of like sales one oh one. You know, you want to get that reciprocity thing going so that they’re feeling more inclined to offer something else in return, which I think is awesome. And I love how you have a separate place that’s quiet and you don’t have loud music and clanging and banging going on or you can have a conversation cause that’s really what it is. You’re having a conversation, which I think the prescriptive model helps you do and taking the No Sweat Intro approach helps you do?

Jen:                                             23:37                       Yeah, a lot of clients are really anxious about coming into a gym. Intimidated, intimidated by dropping weights. If they see somebody, like my 4:30 class is really athletes, right? Like if a 70 year old comes in and wants to get started, they’re probably not going to be in that class anyways. But they see that they’re going to feel like this is not the right spot for them. So I just think just being really cognizant about like how much you’re showing people, not in a bad way, just like you want to make them, you know that you’re going to create a good environment for them once they’re in the door, and I’m not going to suggest that 4:30 class to that person, but they might see it and think, well, every class is that way.

Mateo:                                      24:21                       Yeah. Regardless of how amazing your community is, the sleeve tattoos and jacked people are still like, it’s an intimidating experience regardless, you know? So you’ve come a long way, right? You went from this point where Kenny was doing wearing all the hats and the business was really only supporting him to this point where you’re able to take over multiple locations, expand your space, expand your business, pave the way to have and support a larger staff yourself included and buy out your old partners. What do you think has been the key to your success so far?

Jen:                                             24:55                       It sounds so cliche, but playing the long game and it’s so hard as a business owner, I want to be able to do the things that I think it’s really easy to take shortcuts, but for us it’s just been like one step at a time, play the long game, I know what the year looks like and I’m in a plan that something’s going to take a year. So kind of always over planning and then hoping that it goes a little bit and then taking risks. You know like when I left my job I made a great salary, big chunk of what we were living off of and so it was really scary and I just kind of had it and said, we’re just going to quit my job, actually let me go part time and then transition out. And that was really scary. But it also lit fire under us to say, this has to happen, like we have to do this. And so I think putting yourself in a little bit of an uncomfortable position and knowing that that is going to, to do the work and make the change.

Mateo:                                      26:04                       I think we’re done. Thank you so much for coming on. And then, uh, hopefully are you going to the summit? The summit.

Jen:                                             26:12                       We have a wedding to go to our former business partner is getting married. Next year for sure.

Mateo:                                      26:19                       Awesome. Well thanks for hopping on and uh, we’ll, we’re looking forward to seeing what the next year holds for you.

Jen:                                             26:25                       Thanks for all your help.

Speaker 5:                               26:28                       No worries. Hey everyone. Chris Cooper here on really thrilled to see you this year in June in Chicago at the 2019 Two-Brain summit. Every year we have two separate speaking tracks. There’s one for you, the business owner and there’s one for coaches that will help them make better, longer, more meaningful careers under the umbrella of your business. This year we’ve got some pretty amazing topics like the client success manager, how to change your life, organizational culture of the business owner’s life cycle, how to have breaks, how to have vacations, how to help your marriage survive, owning a business and motivation and leadership. How to convert more clients, how to create a GM position that runs your gym for you and leaves you free to grow your business. How to start a business owner’s group in your community and more point here is to do the right thing that will help gym owners create better businesses that will last them for the long term, get them to tinker phase, help them be more successful, create meaningful careers with their coaches and give their clients a meaningful path to longterm health. We only do one big seminar every year and that’s the Two-Brain summit and the reason that we do that is because a big part of the benefit is getting the Two-Brain community together and welcoming strangers into our midst and showing them how amazing gym ownership really can be. We’ll have a link to the Two-Brain summit including a full list of all speakers and topics on both the owners and the coaches side in the show notes. I really hope to see you there.

Greg:                                          27:57                       As always, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. We greatly appreciate you and everyone that has subscribed to us. If you haven’t done that, please make sure you do drop a link to that episode. Share with a friend and if you haven’t already, please write us a review and rate us on how what you think. If you hated it, let us know if you loved it, even better. See you guys later.



This is our NEW podcast, Two-Brain Marketing, where we’ll focus on sales and digital marketing. Your host is Mateo Lopez!

Greg Strauch will be back on Thursday with the Two-Brain Radio Podcast.

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Bridge Fund

We don’t want The Mission to suffer when the weather goes bad.

When active members of the TwoBrain family are forced to close because of hurricanes, flooding or tornadoes we’re going to help.

This isn’t a replacement for insurance; it’s cash that we can deploy FAST to help box owners bridge the gap. We can get it to you within 24 hours, usually. And you can take 3 months to pay it back, at zero interest; usually when the insurance money arrives.

The Bridge Fund will deploy supplies to help you clean up and mobilize your membership; guidance from owners who have been there; and/or up to $10,000 to cover expenses until the insurance money arrives.


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Episode 166: Protecting Yourself from Lawsuits, with Rachel Brenke

Episode 166: Protecting Yourself from Lawsuits, with Rachel Brenke

You just got THE LETTER.

You found a great picture on Google and used it on your website. And now you’re getting sued.

Or maybe you’re the one who wants to litigate: a coach left your box, she’s emailing all your members, and you want to drop the hammer.

What’s your first step? Rachel has the answers in this episode.

Don’t Forget about the 2019 Two Brain Summit, June 8-9 in Chicago! This year we have some amazing topics and guests for both yourself and your coaches. Click hereto register and sign up now!





3:00 – Introduction to Rachel Brenke

7:44 – How Rachel manages life, business, and fitness

9:20 – The legal specialties that fitness professionals need help with. 

11:24 – How can business owners protect their CrossFit gym’s brand?

19:44 – Should you be trademarking everything you make?

29:22 – How to handle with other employees and clients taking photos

35:10 – Dealing with copyright transfers within your business

37:20 – Using pictures from the internet on your website and in your business

41:50 – How to handle someone pursuing legal action against you?

45:10 – What to do if a former employee steals your intellectual property?

54:40 – How to reach Rachel?

Announcer:                            00:02                       Welcome everyone to Two-Brain Radio. It is our mission at Two-Brain to provide 1 million entrepreneurs the freedom to live the life that they choose. Join us every week as we discover the very best practices to achieve perfect day and move you closer to wealth.

Announcer:                            00:26                       Debt is a tricky subject in our world. We’ve been taught by HQ to avoid debt, to accumulate cash and then when we’ve got enough money to spend it, but in the business world, the reality is that there’s good debt and there’s bad debt. Good debt creates an asset. There’s also something called opportunity cost. Meaning if you wait until you can afford something, it probably never will be able to afford it and you’ll be missing a ton of opportunity. In the meantime, let’s say for example that you were bursting at the seams and your clients couldn’t attend the 6:00 PM class anymore because there was a waiting list, so they started canceling their memberships. You’re missing an opportunity cost here. The opportunity to keep your current clients because if they’re paying for a membership and they can’t attend, they’re not going to keep that membership for law, so you’re looking to expand and so you’re going to have to take on some debt or you’re going to wait until you have the $10,000 or whatever that amount is to buy the new equipment.

Announcer:                            01:23                       You can keep turning new clients away while you wait and try and accumulate this money or you can leverage the capital through guys like Rigquipment. Rigquipment is a partner that we chose at Two-Brain business because their commitment to crossfit and their commitment to helping first has been proven over several years. I got to admit, I shy away a lot from money people. It’s intimidating to work with people who understand money and finance better than I do. I’m sure you feel the same way, but these guys have shown up time and time again. They’ve offered free help. They’ve turned down business a lot of times because they aren’t sure if the person has a good working business model and to be honest, they’ve sent people to us and let us turn them down for them because they wanted to know if this person’s plan was going to work before they expanded, before you start out.

Announcer:                            02:15                       It’s super important that you know what you’re getting into, that you have a plan to pay back the debt. You must have a plan to increase cash flow that you’re going to do based on new purchase. Rigquipment has a great tool. If you go to their site you can figure out if you can afford that expansion, should you be buying that new rig or should you be investing in something else like mentorship. These guys will even finance the Two-Brain business incubator phase if you purchase it with your equipment because they understand that the incubator makes your business more viable, it’s less of a risk for them. I love working with clay and Joe from Rigquipment because these guys understand what our service in life is and that matches their service.

Greg:                                          02:59                       All right. I’m here with Rachel Brenke. She is an IP lawyer and has many, many amazing things to talk about and I can’t wait to dig in to them. Welcome to Two-Brain radio, Rachel,

Rachel:                                      03:10                       Thanks for having me.

Greg:                                          03:12                       Happy to. So let’s kind of start from the beginning. What kind of led you into wanting, I guess, wanting to become a lawyer and an attorney and kind of what has led you into the crossfit realm or the gym realm of, of, of legal work.

Rachel:                                      03:26                       Yeah, so I always cringe when people start off calling me a lawyer because I’m afraid, you know, the audience is gonna be like, ah, boring, don’t want to listen to this. But, uh, cause I didn’t come into entrepreneurship intending to be a lawyer. In fact, it was really interesting how it’s all taken a turn. Uh, but well there is a long story that I’ll give you. The short version of it is that I kind of always knew that I didn’t fit into a box. Um, as many entrepreneurs probably look back and go, ah, make sense, how I never really enjoyed x job or this in school or not. And so when I ended up being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28, it really revealed to me and I was in the midst of beginning entrepreneurship then, but it really was revealed to me that I didn’t want to work in, do my life to fill someone else’s pockets and fulfill somebody else’s dreams.

Rachel:                                      04:16                       And so, um, I had made some goals two major goals that came out of having the cancer. And the first one wants to be as present for my family if I survived, right. Um, to be as present for my family as much as I could. And then the other was to fulfill my own goals and dreams and not somebody else’s. And so during that time I was doing a little bit of kind of business consulting on the side, if you will. Let me give you a little context. So I came in doing a online apparel store, which is so funny cause I’m not fashionable whatsoever, but it was kind of one of these print on demand companies. I knew enough of graphic design type work and it was something I could do from home while I was recovering from the cancer and that sort of stuff.

Rachel:                                      04:59                       And, but people were asking me questions all the time about how do you set up a business? How do you do this? How do x, Y and z? Because at the time that this was occurring, it’s going to date me a little bit. I’m not even sure that my space was really even fully off the ground. Um, there was not this freemium model of information like we have these days. You know, you really, you had to pay to play, you had to pay to get information. And so as I threw myself into research, because it wasn’t readily available, people were starting to ask me questions and I thought, Huh, there’s something here that I could also help others obtain the same goals as to what I’m doing, being able to fulfill my own goals and be around for their families, you know, be as present as possible.

Rachel:                                      05:38                       And so we just kind of evolved from there into working with other people, learning, you know, doing business consulting as my apparel store took off. Um, I ended up moving into owning coworking spaces and a photography studio. And just through that whole process I realized, you know, I really enjoy the business side of things. I really enjoy helping people with their businesses and I guess going to law school, it’d be a great way to add some value. And I came out the other side and that’s why I’ve created these legal niche blogs that I have now. They, I have a general podcast that talks to general entrepreneurs on legal marketing and business stuff. But I have found that there’s some very specific industries such as crossfit or just, um, fitness professionals. And gyms that really needs specific niche info help. And so that’s kind of how I have developed multiple very successful legal niche blogs in these very kind of, um, I won’t say small industries because the fitness industry is massive, but a very narrowed focus.

Rachel:                                      06:44                       So it’s not just like general legal information, it’s out there. It’s very tailored to what you guys need to know. Full disclosure, I don’t own a gym. I go to a gym and I’m an athlete myself. I also compete with team USA for triathlons and I am big into lifting weights as well. So I don’t necessarily have the perspective of the crossfit gym, but I all, I can combine my entrepreneurial approach. I know what entrepreneurs are going through. I can combine my business consulting and lawyers skills and also tell you kind of what the push backs or objections, the actions that you may take that you think are protecting your business, but kind of how they’d be perceived or how they would impact the athletes that are in your gym. And so I kind of combine all of that into a brand called fitlegally. And here we are.

Greg:                                          07:31                       Wow. I mean, I knew the end piece. I, uh, never got to dig in with you about, I mean the whole beginning. So I mean starting so many different businesses or, or owning so many different businesses and deciding that, hey, you want to go the legal route and, and start actually pursuing education side of that. What was that like? I mean, I can only imagine I’m not only dealing with, with cancer and dealing with all these businesses and business decisions on top of that, but then after getting through all of that and it doesn’t even seem like you took a break.

Rachel:                                      08:05                       No. Well, you know what’s interesting is I, it sounds very overwhelming, but you have to consider this is like 14, 15 years in the making, right? I didn’t just wake up and have all of this one day. It’s been very incremental and I really, especially if you’re one of those that are listening, you’re thinking, oh, I would love to have multiple gyms, or maybe I also want to delve into other entrepreneurship. The only way that I’ve been able to do multiple things is to really nail down efficient and good workflows and automate them as much as possible. And then recreating that again when you build the next business that you’re doing, you know, no need to start all over. And I think that is one of the things that once you kind of figure out your business style, what you need to do, um, the, the uphill climb, right? The what you’re learning, what you need to do is a shorter trip. I’m trying to think what the, what the phrase, and I’m, I’m trying to think of that. You essentially can take the same information and apply it across different types of businesses. And so learning curve, that’s where I’m looking for it. So your learning curve is relatively small and you can get new businesses and new ventures set up very quickly.

Greg:                                          09:13                       That makes sense. That makes complete sense. So it just allows you to streamline basically, like you said, with the learning curve for streamlining it. So, I mean you have so many different things going on right now in, and let’s kind of tailor this more towards the legal aspects of businesses and is there any kind of specialties that you really kind of dive into? For businesses are gym owners. from a legal point of view.

Rachel:                                      09:36                       Yeah. One of the fears that I had myself, and I still have this as an entrepreneur, what if I spend all my time and energy? Because you do take time away from yourself. You take time away from your family and just away from life to build a business. But what if I spend all this time, energy doing that only for it to be ripped out from under me. Maybe one day I wake up and I don’t have customers or somebody else comes in and they monopolize, you know, they capitalize the market and take it away from me. Or, and this is how I really determined the type of business law that I wanted to go into was what happens if someone comes in and they steal my ideas, they take my brand or they ride on my coattails. And so for me, intellectual property is the area of law that every single business owner has.

Rachel:                                      10:21                       If you have a business name, you have intellectual property, right? So if you’re sitting there thinking, Oh I don’t know what IP or intellectual property is, you got a business name, you probably have a logo, you have marketing materials, all of that is your brand that you’re putting out. That is all intellectual property. It is property in your business that you want to be yours, that you are creating connections with your potential members through other businesses through. And so protecting that is super important. Knowing the differences between copyrights, trademarks. And then we can even drill that down into things such as how do I safeguard employees or coaches taking my ideas or customer list when they leave? You know, cause it’s not necessarily if they leave, it’s when they leave. Nothing is forever. And so it’s putting all these safeguards in place. Cause again, what’s the point in building at all if you’re not even going to protect it?

Greg:                                          11:13                       Agreed. And let’s, let’s kind of go down this road a little bit with, I mean I like what you said with that, that IP is really, I mean if you have a business, if you have a logo and those kinds of things. Now with that, I mean how can people protect themselves if they do? If they do say, let’s say I have unknown element or crossfit unknown element in Clovis, New Mexico and somebody decides to open up another fitness chain, even in the same city or maybe a different city with the same name of unknown element in it. What are the things that I should probably take advantage of or take leverage on a if that happens?

Rachel:                                      11:48                       Yeah, so before I dig into that, let me just say the analogy that I’m going to use and the recommendations not taken into consideration. The license of use for the name crossfit that you guys have, right? That’s IP, right? Their licensing IP that HQ crossfit headquarters is licensing, licensing that to you guys to use, but it’s those other parts of what you’re talking about here. If you have a name that’s appended to that so you can differentiate yourself from other crossfit gyms, you know, drilling down into business names can be overwhelming and I hate when I see, and I, I use the word hate because I do have such a visceral reaction to the fear that someone may lose their brand simply because they used the wrong name. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you just pick a random name that you want to append to the end of the crossfit.

Rachel:                                      12:37                       You set up a gym, you invest all this money into marketing a logo, et cetera. Well, if you haven’t taken the proper steps or anything to check to see if someone else has a same or substantially similar name, so it’s same or substantially similar, then you’re looking at potential trademark issues. Trademarks are typically business names, logos and slogans. It’s things like, when I say the phrase, just do it. What do you think of Nike? It’s identifying a source indicator, which is why it’s really important that we check to make sure that we’re not using someone else’s name. If you’re riding on their coattails or confusing consumers or when you, like the example you gave me, if somebody moves into an area and he’s using something same or similar, you want to take the steps that you need to do, which I’ll walk through here in a second, but you want to take the steps to preserve your name that you’re using.

Rachel:                                      13:28                       So if you’re on the end where you’re looking at getting yourself set up, make sure you do the proper searches. Trademarks, that’s the key word here for a business name. These are typically done at the federal level. There is state level. I’m searching, but I always recommend that if you have a business name, you’re looking and moving into the area, you want to go do a search. I almost always recommend that you start with going to, it’s the US patent and trademark office, USPTO.Gov and searching there for anything same or similar, right? That they’re also offering the same or similar products or services as you. So if someone moves into town with a similar name but they are, they offer something completely different than you do, it’s probably not going to be an infringing issue cause it’s not causing confusion.

Rachel:                                      14:11                       Let’s take for example like United Airlines, they provide airline services. Then you have United moving vans, they provide moving services. The consumer’s typically not going to get confused by those, so they both can use the term or the name United without there being a problem. Now, like in your example, well let me get back to that in a second. I kind of want to give you guys a couple of steps. If you’re on this set up, start with the also just start googling and check social media handles because where’s the first place that we go when we think, oh, I’ve gotta have a great business name I want to use. You got to look to see if the social media handles or the URL are available. Right, right. So that’s a good place and actually maybe that should be number one here on the list.

Rachel:                                      14:55                       Go there first because if somebody has been using it, even if they don’t have a trademark, they may have rights in that which in this situation you didn’t define to me whether or not this crossfit gym has a trademark or not. The good thing is even if they haven’t taken the steps to trademark, they may still have rights to stop that other gym from using the same or similar name. So checking social media and Google, but don’t rely on Google because not every one’s search engine optimization is good. A lot of people suck at it, right? So don’t rely on that. Check the USPTO. Then also check your local business formation systems are typically through like secretary of state or something. You’re going to see like what their LLC or the corporation name is, but don’t rely upon that because those are only state specific.

Rachel:                                      15:37                       Not everyone even takes the steps, become an LLC or a corporation, but those are quick steps to make sure that you are not going to be infringing on someone else’s. Now in this case, obviously this, gym didn’t take those steps right or they just said whatever, we’re going to move into town with the same or similar name offer also crossfit, and then you’re going, ah, what do I do now you, it’s kind of like a choose your own path here. If you have a trademark, you are forced, not really forced, but you should want to do it anyways. You’re required to do what’s called policing. So you would want to send a cease and desist and take the steps that you need to stop this person. But the way I look at is even if you haven’t taken the steps to trademark, which I know a lot of businesses haven’t done, and if we want to hear in a bit, we can talk about at what point should someone consider doing that.

Rachel:                                      16:25                       But if you haven’t taken the steps to get a federal trademark, that’s okay. Don’t freak out. If you run into this problem where somebody comes into your town, you still can do a cease and desist because you may have priority rights. They are still priority common law rights that exist. You just don’t have the full backing of the trademark system behind you because you don’t have a registered trademark. So for me, now, this is where I’m probably a little different than most lawyers, is that I wouldn’t necessarily rush to all of a sudden getting a formal cease and desist. I would stop for a second, do so once called evidence gathering, you know, screenshots, take a look at what’s confusing people. What’s the deal? Right? Are they really the same or similar name? Are they really offering the same or similar products and services or people being confused?

Rachel:                                      17:09                       What is the status in the situation? That sounds like common sense, right? But I’ll have people who come to me and go, oh, I got hit. Someone said I was infringing, and then it’s an issue like what the, between United Airlines, United moving pants, they’re not actually providing the same type of products or services. And that doesn’t really, there’s no sense in even going down that path. So do that evidence gathering and then you can determine not an, if you still probably should go talk to a lawyer. The reason I’m kind of tripping over my words here is because I’m not one of those lawyers that rushes to let’s send a strong cease and desist, beat them over the head. And I think this is where my entrepreneur role comes in, is that I know there’s so many of you out there, they don’t understand this. Some of are probably listening to this going, oh my God, I don’t know anything she just said she talks really fast, which you guys can slow this down and relisten to it.

Rachel:                                      17:57                       So don’t freak out if you don’t know what to do or you don’t know. You know what we’re talking about here. And so because I have that mindset that really might make a difference on how I would approach that other businesses in town, maybe you can approach them and say, hey, didn’t you know that I’m already in town? It really would be good for you to change. So we’re not confused by consumers, blah, blah blah. Or You could just take the path of hiring a lawyer. I do think it’s always best to have a lawyer evaluate the situation and determine which is the best course of action. Because if someone comes out guns blazing, you know they’re gunning for your brand, you know, they’re gunning for your people, you’re probably gonna want to use a lawyer to be, you know, because once we get involved, people listen, right?

Rachel:                                      18:38                       Um, it’s easier for someone to brush just a local business owner off. But I also don’t want you guys to jumping and hiring a lawyer, spending all the money and sending a letter. Cause once lawyers get involved, it puts gas on the fire and maybe you’ve potentially closed off a potential business network in town. Um, maybe you could end up being a mentor to this other gym. So bottom line with that is always step back and see, okay, am I registered then yes I have to do something about this here. I definitely need to talk to a lawyer. Actually talk to a lawyer. Either path, even if you’re registered or not with your trademark and then talk to a lawyer and determine how do we want to approach this. Do we want to be total hard ass and send them a letter or do we want to take more of an education approach and that will just be a conversation needed to have with your attorney and just inwardly kind of consider what do I want to do for my business? Because also your brands on the line as well here, even when you are defending your brand, you also your brands on the line with how you interact with local business owners

Greg:                                          19:36                       and that makes sense. I mean not trying to burn bridges prior to unless it’s necessary. Basically it unless it’s, it’s something that, as you said, if your trademark now is, should I be trademarking everything? I mean I make, I mean my not only my logo, but I mean what are the things that as a gym owner, as a business owner, I should be trademarking? And what’s kind of the process? What are the costs behind it? If you know of any of those. So that people out there that are listening that are like, you know what, I’m going to trademark my logo and my name. What are the things that are the they’re going to need to know?

Rachel:                                      20:09                       So I jumped the gun a little bit here and we kind of fell down into this path of talking about trademarks before we really define intellectual property. And the two main types of intellectual property that are applicable to almost everyone that’s going to listen here are copyrights and trademarks. Copyrights protect the actual item itself. So if you guys are taking photographs to promote your gym, the blog posts and social media posts, your writing, even your logo is can protect the actual creative expression that is fixed in a fixed, tangible, medium, medium that I think, well, I’ll come back to that. That’s one type. What we’ve been talking about so far is really protection of the brand itself as a source indicator. Term of art. Don’t really need to worry about that, but kind of think of it this way. When I gave you the example of just do it, I want you to mentally imagine that I tied a string around the Nike swoosh or the just do it phrase and take the string.

Rachel:                                      21:01                       What are you connecting it to? Nike, because that’s a source indicator. It’s letting consumers know when they see your logo or your business name or your slogan, and those are the typically the three types, what it’s connected to. So the difference between the copyright and trademark is that trademark is connecting the connection between your logo and your gym or Your Business Name and your gym. Whereas copyright, you’re protecting the actual design, the actual creative expression. Here’s total brain exploding. You could have copyright and trademark both on your logo. Again, it would be the protection of the actual logo design. And then the other one is the source indicators. So to answer your questions, I gave that little crash course in IP that actually, you know what, you guys know more than most lawyers that are out there because unless you really seek out intellectual property in law school, you’re not really taught it.

Rachel:                                      21:52                       Um, it’s not one of the general core legal things that we’re required to learn because it’s not on any of the state bars that I’m aware of. Um, so when should you be mindful of this? You guys should be mindful of knowing that you have all these things. Everything that I’ve listed, you have a logo, you have a business name, you have photographs, you have blog posts, you have all this stuff, right? And so what my suggestion would be on the trademark side of things, that is the source indicator that your business name and your logos, I would pursue it fairly quickly in your business, at least within the first year, if not sooner, because we want to be able to have the full protection of the law that’s available to us. Now. Trademarks themselves can be very costly. As you heard me use the terms of art throughout it’s same or substantially similar business name connected to a same or similar products or services?

Rachel:                                      22:49                       The threshold, again, like we mentioned before, is that we just want to make sure that consumers are not confused. Just like United moving vans, United Airlines, you’re not confused. I don’t think United Airlines is providing any moving services. Um, maybe, I mean I guess you could make the argument they put stuff under the plane, but they’re not going to be driving an airplane down I 95. I just know that they’re not moving my household goods that way. All right. Right now we’re going to see it on the news. But um, so, so my suggestion would be as quick as possible into your business to see about getting a trademark because you want to like in the example you gave, you gave, I kind of the second you gave me that example, I thought visually in my mind about the gym or in the box and I had a radius in my mind. I don’t want somebody within a certain radius of me competing with me when I offered the same or similar products or services, especially if consumers

Rachel:                                      23:46                       are going to get confused by the name. Why is that? I don’t want to waste my time on marketing. I don’t want them to have a bad reputation and they get imparted upon me because maybe they’re unprofessional or their gym sucks or you know, you just, you want to be you, you want to focus on you in the marketing cause then you can control the narrative. Well if you don’t have a trademark in place, it becomes a lot harder to control that narrative. So let’s take that mental image that I just gave a pin in the map. Here’s your gym right here. We have a radius. If I don’t take a step to get a federal trademark registered, I really only have, and this is a gray area in the law right now, but I really only have common law rights within maybe that city.

Rachel:                                      24:29                       So that might work for the example that you gave me. I might be able to stop somebody from use of the same name, but let’s say that they’re in New Mexico and I’m up here in Virginia. I open up a gym, I’m offering the same products or services. I have a very similar logo, I the exact same business name. What’s going to happen, let’s circle back to what we talked about before. Where’s the number one place that people go when they’re looking to set up their business, social media and Google. So let’s ask the question. Where’s the number one place that your potential numbers are going to go? Social media or a website and you just like the example that you don’t want somebody in town, their reputation being imparted on you or consumers getting confused, thinking that you’re, you’re owned by the same business and so no big deal.

Rachel:                                      25:15                       We’ll go to this other one. You don’t want the same thing from my Virginia one to your New Mexico, gym, maybe I’m up here doing some shady stuff. You don’t want it imparted upon you. So if you had a federal trademark, you can preserve your reputation, preserve your brand in New Mexico. But if you haven’t taken the steps to register it, you don’t really have much of any force in the law to stop me up in Virginia from tarnishing your reputation. And is that because I’m running around talking about you, I just may be using the same or similar name and I run a really bad business. Right? And that’s going to creep out onto the web. So that’s just one example of many that why I find it really important that taking the steps to be federally registered and doing it as soon as possible because the benefits to that, just like I showed you, you can reach all across the United States.

Rachel:                                      26:02                       You also, when you have to take the steps to stop someone from infringing, you can potentially receive damages, which could be the amount of money that I made and memberships in the time that I used your mark. Right? Cause I’m riding on your coattail. I’m benefiting from it. So why should I as the infringing party benefit monetarily benefit from that? One of the damages could be if you have a federal registered mark that I have to pay you any profits that I major in that time. You also can get injunctions to stop me. And also if it’s registered then there’s a high chance for attorney’s fees so you’re not going at it. Whereas if you don’t have a registration, you’re kind of on your own, you to pay for attorneys. And I’m going to tell you right now IP attorneys, because there’s not very many of us, we know it when you charge a pretty penny for it.

Rachel:                                      26:51                       So there’s so many benefits to federally registering that you should do it in the first year. Now I’m going to give you the numbers. I wanted to share all the benefits first before I gave the numbers on it because it can be a little bit of a sticker shock. But also I don’t want you guys to necessarily run out iandn DIY this simply because I’ve convinced you that this is a good step to take doing a federal mark. They do it by classifications. So like the example I just gave you, let’s take my business name and I want to connect it to fitness gym. That would be one classification and other classification you can even narrow that down is to like yoga specific classes, weight training classes, you know they have a whole plethora of things that you can choose from. When you go to register, you have to pay per class.

Rachel:                                      27:34                       So the government themselves, right now it’s 2019 march, just in case you guys are listening to this later, I believe it’s $225 per class, which really is a nominal investment. Be able to stop someone else from riding on your brand right now. Obviously it will cost more than that to have an attorney do it, but I definitely don’t recommend DIY and trademark applications because if you screw it up, they can reject you. They being the USPTO and you either have to start all over or you can be stopped from ever getting a registration for it in the future. And all of these benefits I just mentioned, we don’t want to lose that. You guys have put the time and energy and effort into building a reputation. So, um, bottom line on that, do it as soon as you guys can, when you get into business, even if, and this is the big objection, even if you don’t know if you’re going to make it right, because here’s the thing I’m going to tell you, I fell into that in the very beginning. I was like, oh, I don’t have a lot of money. I’d rather put that towards more marketing or Facebook ads and I just don’t know if I’m going to hack into this thing. Guys. 10 years goes by like that and then all of a sudden you have somebody’s infringing. Well, you’re back to having to enforce it without any of those federal protections, it’s not worth it. The minimal investment is well, well worth the steps to get protected.

Greg:                                          28:52                       Oh, completely. And I’ll tell you right now, that is exactly what I’m going to do now for, uh, for my business and brand because I’ve yet to a trademark. It’s so by the time this comes out here, everyone will see that mine is definitely trademarked.

Rachel:                                      29:04                       So the process takes a while. So it’s not like you just go and register and you get it today. It can take up to nine months for them to approve it depending, while I say nine months, it depends on at the time that you listen to this because it’s the government they take forever.

Greg:                                          29:18                       Very true. Very true. Now let’s say I, I’m, I’m running classes and I decide, hey, one of my members is a photographer or videographer. I have them come in and I have them take pictures. Is there any kind of legal documentation I should probably have now? Not from the member side because anyone listening that has their members sign a waiver should definitely have a photo release and video release in there and always ask for them either way, say, hey, we’re going to do this and make sure people feel comfortable with it because I do have, I have a full class that doesn’t and it’s our full program better yet that a, they just prefer not to. There’s only a few of them in it right now, but they just don’t want their pictures taken so it’s okay. But let’s say I bring somebody in. What kind of legal documentation or what, what kind of things should I hash out prior to them coming in and taking video or pictures to make sure that when I use them I’m in the free and clear.

Rachel:                                      30:09                       Yeah, so I’m glad you differentiated that. So the model release is what Greg was talking about and that’s just going to be the permission from your members giving permission to utilize their face is their publicity rights and marketing. Now Greg’s asking me about, you either hire someone to come in or it can be members that take photographs while they’re in the gym themselves. Neither of those individuals probably works for the gym on a full time or a W2 employee basis. Right? So and that’s really important. Anytime you guys had intellectual property, like we’re talking about here, Greg is getting at photographs, it can be photographs, it can be your logo created, anything like that. Any time someone creates something for your business, you have to first ask yourself or are they an independent contractor or do they work For me as an employee, and we can go down the path of talking about the differences that here in a minute, but the reason the status is important is because let’s say Greg works for me.

Rachel:                                      31:01                       You know he runs my front desk. Yeah, I have them on W2. He is my employee by default. Anything that he creates, I own. My Gym owns it so I don’t have to worry about getting in trouble for a copyright infringement, which we touched on a little bit ago. I don’t have to worry about that. But if I just hire Greg to come in, he’s a photographer down the street and he’s coming in to photograph for me. He would then be an independent contractor to my business. By default, he retains the copyright ownership to the images that he photographs. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the photograph, it doesn’t matter if it’s in my gym. He by under the law as it stands now owns the copyright to those. So what do I need as the gym owner, one of two things, you either need to buy out the copyrights, which is have a copyright transfer from Greg to you, the business, which I can talk about the benefits to that here in a minute, but I’m going to tell you now one of my niche blogs in the photography industry, and you may run into a little resistance, which I’ll explain the second document and you don’t need both of these.

Rachel:                                      32:07                       You need one or the other. So the first one is either a copyright transfer from Greg or the photographer to your gym, or the second one is a commercial license or a license of use and it’s Greg licensing to my gym how I can utilize those photographs while he retains the ownership in them. Now, photography industry commercial, commercial photography, which is what we’re talking about here because the end result is going to be used commercially. You’re going to be using on your Instagram, your Facebook, Twitter, blah, blah, blah cause you’re trying to gain new members, right? It’s in your marketing. The photography industry as a whole is relatively resistant to selling of copyright. And they’re creatives. They love their work. And remember, copyright protects the creative expression in this fixed tangible medium, right? So they really are tied into it. Commercial photography, um, it’s not unheard of that you transfer over copyright because the benefits to having Greg as the photographer transfer of the copyrights to me is that I don’t have to worry about checking the license every single time.

Rachel:                                      33:05                       How I want to use it, I don’t have to worry about, and this is the big one a lot of people don’t think about, is that if somebody else takes that image, that’s just say, all right, let’s say we set up a whole session. Greg comes in, take some killer photographs, transfers the cop, or does not transfer the copyright to me. And those images have become the prime branding images. They completely encapsulate what my gym’s about. You know, potential members can feel the sweat, they can feel everything they want to be connected, they want to be part of my, this family. They’re recognizable images. Let’s say somebody, another gym, even in another state or down the road, decides to start utilizing those images. I’m beholden to Greg if he is still the copyright owner and has not transferred it to me, I only have a license at this time.

Rachel:                                      33:53                       I have to wait and hope the Greg, will pursue that other gym for copyright infringement and if he doesn’t he could still potentially ruin my brand. Yes. If there’s any lawyers listening, I am aware we can put into the contract and documentation that Greg would be forced to to help me if there’s ever an issue like that, but the, if there’s ever a copyright infringement claim that comes up, but I can’t force Greg to file a copyright infringement suit or pursue that other third party from wrongfully using the images. And what can it do? Just like we talked about with the brand name earlier, if they’re utilizing the images and maybe it’s an unsavory sites, I’ve seen it happen if they’re utilizing it for their gym and their gym is just really crappy and how can be imparted upon my brands. So for me, you guys are probably thinking all right, bottom line, what do you recommend? It’s going to depend. I do think a full copyright transfer from photographer to the gym is the best course of action. For me personally, even it had been in my nonlegal businesses, that’s what I always negotiate and I paid for you’re going to pay more for it. But in the end I want to know that my brand is preserved and that I own my brand and not some other photographer or somebody else.

Greg:                                          35:06                       So in those terms, is there, um, is there anything out there that people, I mean maybe like a template or something like that that people would have to work off of if they were doing that copyright transfer because I know, I mean if, if I’ve had many members that are amateur photographers and they’ve asked, hey, can I come in and I say, okay, well we need actually signed something that basically states that if I’m paying for you to come in and take these photos that you are giving me like a conditions of release, basically saying I can use these for my advertising. And I can basically monetarily gain from this, from these photos. Is there anything out there that uh, like you said this, the license of, of user or how I’ve done it with a conditional release or the copyright transfer that people can actually download or, or take up to contact you or whoever so that they could actually have these documents ready if, if something like this comes to them within their business or gym.

Rachel:                                      36:00                       Yeah, I know a really fabulous business attorney who has contract templates on her website. Um, so I do have these at Um, I also, if you want to peruse on there’s some similar documents. They’re not fitness specific. I recommend. So here, here’s, here’s why I am in a very peculiar position is that there’s not many lawyers out there. There’s good IP lawyers, but there’s not many lawyers out there that truly understand the needs of entrepreneurs and like push back. So you guys might get, so that’s kind of where I come in and help to bridge the gap. So my, I have these templates, you can use them as is. I always recommend though they’re taken to a local lawyer too at least. And then to make sure it’s good for within your state, which is very important, but it’s good because it can save you time because then they don’t have to draft from scratch. And also many of these lawyers don’t know these nuances of what we’re talking about. And so I’m gona help fill the gap there for them. And you guys now, since you are fricking IP rockstars from listening to this can go in and school, you’re a lawyer a little bit too. Exactly.

Greg:                                          37:09                       Perfect. And we’ll make sure that we link fitlegally in the show notes along with um, your, uh, your services and stuff like that. If people want to jump on your website, we’ll make sure we link all of that in there. Now let’s look at it from the other point of view. So, not only are we saying, hey, if you’re having somebody else come in, you’re using them for years, or if you’re a photographer and then somebody’s taking those same photos or, or whatever, that is what happens when I jump onto Google and, or better yet one of my coaches decide to jump onto Google, pull a photo. Uh, and then we use that on social media. What, what are the legal, I guess, uh, worries behind that and a, how can a lot of people out there protect them from that? I remember when I first originally talked with you, I, uh, contacted one of my coaches that does a lot of our social media. I said, make sure you pull all photos that you’ve ever taken. That we’re not having written, actual written consent from them from any reason. But anyone out there that is listening, that has not done that, um, or don’t know if they’re coaches are doing it or not, what should they be looking out for?

Rachel:                                      38:09                       Yeah. So my heart starts beating really fast when you start talking about pulling from Google because you don’t know. That’s, that’s the fundamental thing. You don’t know who owns that image in the fundamental question, you have to ask yourself whether your coach has photographed it, whether a photographer has come in or you’ve pulled it off of Google or you’re buying a stock image. You have to ask yourself, do I really have permission to utilize this image? And this is huge. Copyright infringement is the number one thing that we do at the law firm because it’s so rampant for reasons that you’re talking about. People will just go and they’ll pull it off the Instagram and they’ll use it. They will just go to Google and will not get permission. They’ll use it and they’ll think, oh well if I credit the person that got it from, that’s enough and it’s not, and there are defenses to copyright infringement, but I just want you guys to understand bottom line and relatively does not matter.

Rachel:                                      39:03                       You can still be liable and it’s strict liability. So if a coach gives it to you, you can still be on the hook. Yeah. Maybe you could go after that coach later to help. You have to pay off the damages to the person that you infringed upon, the person you stole the image from, but you’re still going to be on the hook. Even if a coach is the one that gave it to you or your assistant just snagged it off of Google. And here’s another thing, I’m just gonna throw out some numbers. Even if, let’s say that you think you’re in the right, this is where our justice system kind of sucks a little bit. You still have to show up in court to say you’re, I didn’t do anything wrong, but in order to do that, you have to spend a lot of money in intellectual property cases.

Rachel:                                      39:42                       Copyright, specifically our federal, you’re looking at 40 to $50,000 just on attorney’s fees to be able to stand up in court and say, I’m not actually liable for that. And then if you are, you’re looking at damages, you are looking at maybe how much money you made off it, maybe how much you damage the other party or even their statutory damages amounts. And this is, this is the numbers that I want you guys to remember. Ask yourself is this image that I’m pulling from Google without knowing where it’s coming from? Is it worth $150,000 that I could pay to the other side plus my attorney’s fees 45 to 50 so we’re up to let’s say 200,000 plus their attorney’s fees. So let’s just round it up to say 250,000, is this image that amazing that it’s worth 250,000 the answer is no. A, because if you pull it off of Google, other people probably have to see you’re not having anything unique on your website, and again, $250,000 for one image, that’s probably only going to hit your website a few times, run through social media and be gone. Not Worth it. So no, stay away from Google. Stay away from these free stock photography websites because what’s happening is they’re sourcing, right? They’re saying, hey, photographers come up, load your images, we’ll give a creative Commons license and these businesses can use it. Sounds great, but here’s what happens. You’re having people steal images, upload them, saying that they are their images when they’re not, you’re infringing. And what did I say earlier? It doesn’t really matter. I mean it does. I mean in the grand scheme of things, I don’t want to get any hate mail after this episode, but you’re still gonna be on the hook initially. Okay? So just think, ask yourself, and I want you guys to hear it in my voice every single time. Is this image worth $250,000? No. Then go get an image. You do have permission and you know what? Take it a step further. Invest in a local photographer. We’ve already given you guys the steps on what you need to do, whether you do a copyright buyout or a license, own your brand. Make your brand specific to you. Don’t use in something everyone else has, especially with the potential price tag of 250,000

Greg:                                          41:47                       Oh, agreed. Agreed. 100% on that. And what happens now in that same case, if somebody says, I put, I put this photo up there, I get a, um, a letter from somebody basically saying that they’re going to pursue legal action and I remove that so that it’s, it’s not on the site. I mean, it’s not on anything. What kind of happens next? I mean, I’m guessing the lawsuit doesn’t go away usually.

Rachel:                                      42:10                       Nope. You call me. Um, so this kind of goes back around to what we talked about before, like with the trademark infringement stuff, and they depend on that intellectual property owner’s perspective. Maybe they just want to educate you, right? Maybe they just send you a notice on Facebook and say, Hey, I see you’re using my image. Please take it down. And it can all go away. They may send you a letter and say, will you pay for use of the image? And you may pay it and it all goes away. I don’t remember. I don’t recommend taking any steps until you at least have a lawyer look it over for you. Obviously that’s the big thing here. And I’m not saying that to fill lawyers pockets. I’m saying that to make sure that you don’t do something wrong, you don’t make an admission in a message, right?

Rachel:                                      42:49                       You want to really kind of protect yourself and let them walk you through the steps. Um, I do recommend no backing up the train a little bit here. If I get a notice that says that’s my photograph, take it down, take it down. Right. Um, and then, well, backup. Okay. Screenshot evidence gathered like we talked about before. Make sure we have all that documentation, take it down and then reach out to a local attorney. You can try to resolve it with others, but I just don’t want you to guys, like I said, make it an admission or something and up like put throwing gas on the fire. So always have it evaluated because yes, you want to stop the infringing use because the longer it’s up, potentially the more damages you’d have to pay out. And so if you get a notice, take it down.

Greg:                                          43:32                       Okay. And then like you said, if, if, let’s say they decided to still pursue legal action for, for this, um, that’s where calling you right away. Or a lawyer that, that they use already have is definitely the next step from there.

Rachel:                                      43:46                       Yeah. And here’s the thing, like you guys don’t want to ignore it because like the numbers I gave you before, you may think I’m inflating, I’m really not. I’m, one of the big things that I’ve seen that happens with copyright infringement is you’ll get these letters, you ignore ’em then all of a sudden you get a copyright lawsuit filed against you. You call around to some lawyers and you’re like, well, I can’t afford to pay the retainer for them, so I’m just not gonna do anything. Will you get what’s called a default against you? And so you’re still looking at the same numbers even though you didn’t do anything and you had no fight and chance and you just don’t want that against you. It’s just not worth it. And here’s the good news. I’ll tell you the majority of cases when it comes to this federal federal copyright stuff, we hardly actually ever get into court.

Rachel:                                      44:29                       So even though it’s filed, don’t out reach out to me. We’ll talk through it all. Bear the burden. But majority of them actually settle, right? Because everyone does the cost benefit analysis of whether or not it’s really worth going through with it. That’s both sides and so you could relatively get it wrapped up fairly quickly. I do this, he would think this would go with him saying, don’t go start blasting someone who has your legal future in their hands on the Internet. I’ve seen it. Defendants get pissed and they start posting about the other business that sent them the cease and desist. Just don’t just remove the infringing material after you’ve documented it, reach out to a lawyer, get it taken care of because it won’t just go away.

Greg:                                          45:10                       So anybody out there that is, that is facing that, make sure you do that without a doubt. Now let’s, let’s kind of talk about it from another point of view. I have employees, I have contractors and they decided to leave and let’s say they now we can always debate the difference. We, I mean a 1099 and a W2 or a completely separate, but let’s say even if the contractor, I mean in either case they decided to go a mile down the road, open up their own gym and they’re using my same forms and documents and everything like that that I’ve created a, that would be my IP. Is there anything that we can do depending on whether if there were a contractor or in a 10 99 or I’m sorry, a W2 employee, is there any differential between those?

Rachel:                                      45:53                       Yeah. My recommendation is anytime someone’s going to work for you, I don’t care if they fill in for one class, if they are going to fulltime coach for you, if they’re just doing your social media, I don’t care if you’re going, oh they’re just a contractor. Oh they’re just an employee any time. And yes, this may be be overbearing me coming out, but you’ll see why here in a second. Anytime anyone’s going to create or do anything for me in my business, I am going to have them sign a couple of documents. Let’s use the example of coaches cause that’s one of the most common ones here, right? You bring a coach in, whether they’re or W2 or a, 1099 contractor. And like we said earlier, it’s not if they leave, it’s going to be when they leave cause nothing is forever unless you happen to have one.

Rachel:                                      46:38                       Great, good for you. But we can’t put the cat back in the bag, the genie, the lamp, whatever. So anytime anyone comes in, we want them to sign a couple of things. You’re going to have the core document that’s going to control the actual relationships. So let’s um, she didn’t want to use employee here. Sure. Let’s make them an employee. For this example, they’re an employee where they’re going to sign an employment contract. You know, run their things. Like when you’re going to pay them, how many hours do they have to work? Do they have to wear anything specific? What are the responsibilities, what are your responsibilities to them as the employer, blah, blah, blah. That contracts great, but it’s not really what we’re going to talk about right here. There are three other main documents that I want you guys have in play and there’s a reason they’re broken out, which I’ll talk about in a little while now.

Rachel:                                      47:21                       I mentioned it now I don’t want them all folded into one because if one is ever rendered invalid or terminated and there’s not proper language, all of that can be terminated and that’ll make more sense here when I’m talking it through. So the other three main documents that we want to have in play are a non solicitation agreement, an intellectual property acknowledgement and then a noncompete document. Keeping in mind if this example was an independent contractor a noncompete would probably not apply. Okay, so since we’re talking about employees, we’re going to have employment contract, non solicitation, the IPA, which I always think of beer when I say that intellectual property acknowledgement and then the noncompete. The reason we want to have these documents in play is this. Let’s start with the intellectual property acknowledgement. Since we were just talking about IP, that is going to be the acknowledgement that anything that they create in the course of their employment with you is owned by you.


Rachel:                                      48:15                       Now recognizing I said earlier, if they’re an employee, it’s probably going to be owned by your gym anyways. So, uh, but I still always have an employee and contractor sign this IPA document because status can change. Maybe your coach starts phasing out and they quit being such an employee and just start doing one or two classes a week. As they phase themselves out, they can maybe be considered a contractor or vice versa can also work both ways. So IPA, intellectual property acknowledgement, anything that they create in the course of the business is owned by you, your company. All right. The second document, and this is probably one of the most important ones is, well before I prep, let me preface this before I get into this, cause we kind of talked about this with the Facebook live is the end goal is probably to keep your coaches from stealing your members, right?

Rachel:                                      49:08                       Or, and not even that they’re nefarious. This one of my favorite words. Even if they’re not nefarious and taking your members, members just may end up leaving or they just may tell the members, hey, I’m opening up a new gym. Do you want to come with me? And they may not even think about the repercussions of that. Typically many entrepreneurs think, oh, I just need to do a noncompete agreement and coaches can’t take my clients. That’s not actually true. Noncompetes are actually tied to the actual competition which can include your clients, your well in this case your members and also any potential members, anybody in the local community that they may be soliciting to. I’ll talk about it. I’m going to in a second. The non solicitation is actually what is most important here because you’re wanting to preserve your member list, right? You’re wanting to keep your members from being solicited by any coach that may lead to open up their new gym.

Rachel:                                      50:02                       So you want to have them sign a non solicitation agreement. This can be a blanket. You can never solicit any of my members or you guys can narrow it down to say any members that you brought here on your own that that coach can take with them or you can do it on a time that you know you can’t solicit any members for six months. Non Solicitations allow you to be very broad. Noncompetes, they’re, very narrow and I’ll mention that here in a second but so non solicitations are probably getting fast ways that you’re going to be able to protect your gym, I remember last right now I realize I forgot something in this list. Confidentiality, which is really going actually what you were talking about before. We can also put confidentiality and the non solicitation it’s probably most appropriate in like that core employment contract or that core independent contractor contract and that makes sure that they don’t divulge any of the information or use documents like things that had been created, whether it was created by the coach or somebody else in your gym.

Rachel:                                      51:03                       Um, so confidentiality does need to be in here. So people, sometimes we’ll have them sign a full NDA. You can do that too. If you want to do a nondisclosure agreement, you can do that. I don’t know. I feel like sometimes NDAs are a bit open, like this type of relationship that we’re talking about here. It’s all going to be circumstance specific, you know, um, it’s going to depend how long is the, that coach with you? What did you guys develop together? What were they? Those sorts of things. So an NDA can be appropriate. I just don’t necessarily make it one of the standard first documents. Um, I really just do more of like a confidentiality and I guess we’re kind of tit for tat here. It really matters what’s included within that document. And I just typically put the confidentiality with the employment document.

Rachel:                                      51:50                       So Employment Document IPA, we talked about the non solicitation and then the last document is going to be like the noncompete. I’m going to tell you straight up courts don’t like noncompetes. They don’t like anything that’s going to infringe or cramp the style. They want. Free Flow of commerce. And what does noncompete do? It stops competition. And so in order for a noncompete, and this is all going to vary by state, so you guys need to check in your specific state and he’s narrowed in focus. So like a non solicitation agreement we talked about, you could say you can never solicited any of our members for the next 50 years. Then I’d probably be maybe watch now I’m going to get an email from someone who like in most big that’s not in and out, but for the most part that’s okay and noncompete that would mirror that and say you can’t work in a gym for the next 20 years.

Rachel:                                      52:43                       Anywhere in the u s that ain’t going to hold up. I don’t know. In any state it’s so over broad. It has to be very specific. If things like zip code, the radius, how long it’s going to be. So you would want to do something like John Smith will not compete in a zip code two two four oh six for six months after specific to x, Y, Z services. Right? You want to be very specific in order for it to be enforceable. And the reason we want to have all these documents in place, I don’t want to sit back and while something feels wrong, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong under the law. Right? In our mind we’re thinking, oh coach is taking our stuff instead of their own gym on their own, including members. Feels wrong. The points to something in the law, right? You know there are conspiracy business conspiracy acts out there and there is, there’s a whole bunch of things but you don’t want to rely on any existing laws to be applied with us having these documents in place.

Rachel:                                      53:41                       You’re going to set the expectations and you’re also going to be able to have a breach of contract claim against a party that may break the contracts and give you some recourse and stop their behavior there. So I know that was probably a bit more than what you were asking then your initial question, but I felt like giving the full view of that one. An Nda alone is not enough. And IPA, which is the transfer of the intellectual property rights is not enough. They all have their own place and they all need to be used.

Greg:                                          54:11                       No, and honestly that was perfect because we wanted to have enough information out there so that you wouldn’t know exactly what they were getting themselves into and kind of what they needed to protect themselves. So that was perfect and I think we could go on and on about everything. I’m pretty sure I could ask you about a hundred different questions about legal advice and then eventually you’d probably just send me a bill instead.

Rachel:                                      54:35                       You guys have my permission

Greg:                                          54:39                       so if um, if somebody is trying to reach out, like if they’re listening this podcast and go, you know what I really, I really liked the way Rachel does business. I think I want to get some legal advice from her. What’s the best way they can contract?

Rachel:                                      54:52                       Yeah, you guys can reach out to me at will take you to all of my websites. So fitlegally is the law firm and if tou want to bypass that Connorsand I think we’ll link all of this with the episode as well. But if anything else, just Google, Rachel Brenke. I’m the only one. It’s not hard to get ahold of it.

Greg:                                          55:12                       Yes, for sure. We’ll definitely make sure that we put everything in the show notes, all the links so that anybody out there can can easily access the link in and get to you. So Rachel, thank you for giving us all this. We really appreciate it and uh, I hope in the future I can definitely get you back on here for a whole other series of questions. I’m sure I can come up with to kind of help our viewers there’s and help anybody in this industry.

Rachel:                                      55:38                       Sounds good. I look forward to it.

Speaker 6:                               55:40                       Hey everyone. Chris Cooper here on really thrilled to see you this year in June in Chicago at the 2019 Two-Brain summit. Every year we have two separate speaking tracks is one for you, the business owner and there’s one for coaches that will help them make better, longer, more meaningful careers under the umbrella of your business. This year we’ve got some pretty amazing topics like the client success manager, how to change your life organizational culture or the business owner’s life cycle, how to have breaks, how to have vacations, how to help your marriage survive. Owning a business and motivation and leadership. How to convert more clients, how to create a GM position that runs your gym for you and leaves you free to grow your business. How to start a business owner’s group, your community and more point here is to do the right thing that will help gym owners create better businesses that will last them for the long term.

Speaker 6:                               56:31                       Get them to tinker phase, help them be more successful, create meaningful careers of their coaches and give their clients a meaningful path to longterm health. We only do one big seminar every year and that’s the Two-Brain summit and the reason that we do that is because a big part of the benefit is getting the Two-Brain community together and and welcoming strangers into our midst and showing them how amazing gym ownership really can be. We’ll have a link to the Two-Brain summit, including a full list of all speakers and topics on both the owners and the coaches side in the show notes. I really hope to see you there.

Speaker 7:                               57:09                       As always, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. We greatly appreciate you and everyone that has subscribed to us. If you haven’t done that, please make sure you do drop a light to that episode. Share with a friend, and if you haven’t already, please write us a review and rate us on how what you think. If you hated it, let us know if you loved it even better.



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How To Be A Bad Entrepreneur

How To Be A Bad Entrepreneur

“I know I can be a millionaire…I just need one good idea.”


New entrepreneurs often think they’re inventors. They have an idea for a new app, or a new service, or a new spin on something old. They want to “try it their way” first. Or “tweak” a working model to “make it their own”. This is a deadly trap. I know, because I was in it.


You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. And you’re delaying your progress by doing so.


CrossFit affiliation is a great example: affiliated gyms pay a licensing fee to use the brand, but receive no business guidance at all. On one hand, this is a massive opportunity to use a huge global brand any way they want. But on the other hand, it means that new affiliates are prone to making the same mistakes old affiliates did. It means the sometimes-fatal errors of 2012 are doomed to be repeated forever. And the errors of 2019 that haven’t been fatal yet? Someone will repeat them in 2024.


Great entrepreneurs aren’t inventors. They don’t try to navigate their way out of the desert themselves. Instead, they ask “Who has already solved this problem?” and then pay for the solution, saving themselves years and millions of dollars. When I learned this trick, I went from $45,000 per year–not including missed paychecks!–to a platform 100x the size.


The truth that most new entrepreneurs don’t know is this: inventors rarely make money. Inventors make mistakes. Eventually, inventors make a product. Then they make new mistakes introducing their product to a market that doesn’t want it. Then they have to make a new market for their product, which takes years. Then they have to make apologies to their family. Then they “make it work” by spending more hours at the drawing board. But they never make money.


Real entrepreneurs take the inventors’ work to a market. Real entrepreneurs make money.


Why is this SO important today?


Because new gym owners are still repeating the mistakes we  made in 2015.


“I’m going to set my prices low, get 250 members, coach them all myself, and remember all of their names!” – no veteran gym owner thinks that’s a good idea. We all learned the hard way that it’s a recipe for high turnover, low income and no sleep. But if no one is collecting these stories, or tracking these data points, every new owner will have to figure it out on their own. That means they’re starting out with a 3-year deficit. Instead of moving the Movement forward with their passion and care, they’re falling into the same tiger pits that almost killed us.


It means that the folks who floundered in 2012 might still be floundering today, because no guiding authority is keeping score.


It means that the mistakes that killed early Affiliates are still out there, waiting. Because no one is shining a light on them.


Bad entrepreneurs are forced to repeat the mistakes of others, because they want to invent their own solution.


Good entrepreneurs are quick to ask the question:


“Who has already solved this problem before me?”


And then they shave years off their journey to success by copying that model instead of inventing their own.




If The Rx Fits, They Will Commit

If The Rx Fits, They Will Commit

“Will CrossFit help me lose weight?”


That’s the question you’re trying to answer.


Every potential client works their way through a series of questions to find you. They sound like this:

“I need to lose weight. But do I need to do it now?”

If the answer is YES, they move on to the next question.

“What’s the easiest way to do it?”

If they select “exercise” over “diet”–a big IF–they move on to the next question:

“What’s the best exercise plan?”

Now, “best” can mean many things: fastest, easiest, least boring, or something else.

If they decide to join a gym over walking/jogging/buying an exercise bike, they start with a Google search.

What are they searching for?

It’s not “gym with best community in Fort Knox.”

It’s not “the happiest gym in Sault Ste. Marie.” (to my chagrin.)

It’s not “highest-certified coaches in Annapolis.” It’s probably “best gym for weight loss” or “cheapest gym in Boston” or “gym near me.”

They probably won’t find your gym in those searches, will they?

Now let’s say they somehow find your site. They’re greeted by a long list of options: CrossFit, personal training, nutrition programming, Sweat Class, Crossfit Lite, Barbell Club…

…which one will help them lose weight? If they don’t try to figure it out themselves, they’ll probably leave.

If they DO try to figure it out themselves, they might take your offer to try a free class.

But if no one talks to them after class about their goals, they’re left to guess: “this hard thing that I just did–will it help me lose weight?”


Every time you make people guess, you filter them out. Because they don’t know what you know.


Here’s how to talk to the people you want to coach:


  1. Start with media. Don’t explain why you’re the best gym. Tell them how to lose weight. Tell them how to cure low back pain. Tell them how to start jogging safely.
  2. Let your media lead them to your website. Your website should contain the solution to their problem and an easy way to take the next step. Here’s a great example.
  3. Let your website lead them to a No-Sweat Intro (call your consultation whatever you want.) But you need to start with a conversation so you can frame your service. Listen to Coty’s process on our podcast here.
  4. Let your conversation lead to a prescription. “Here’s how we can get you to your goal.”
  5. Let that prescription lead to the next prescription. Never stop meeting 1:1 with your clients, measuring their progress, and asking if they’re happy with their results.


People don’t buy CrossFit or bootcamp. People buy outcomes.


Your future clients aren’t impressed by your equipment list. They don’t care about your coaches’ bios, or how many square feet you have, or even your “community”. They care about finding an answer to their problem, and that’s it. If your media portrays the answer to their problem instead of a toes-to-bar video, they can skip a lot of their questions and come talk to you about it.


Many gym owners struggle to get new clients because they’re telling the wrong story. Others aren’t telling any story at all, so the client is left to guess: “Will this help me solve MY problem?” And no one is going to tell that story for us anymore. New clients will have to work down that decision tree, making bad guesses until they finally make the right one. Unless you tell them the truth.