Episode 153 – The Tinker Phase of Entrepreneurship, with Jeff Smith

Episode 153 – The Tinker Phase of Entrepreneurship, with Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith is the owner of Cannon CrossFit, a real estate investor, and leader of the TwoBrain Tinker program.
In this episode, Jeff talks about his story, what it means to be a mentor, and what it means to help those in the Tinker Phase.

Contact Jeff:Jeff.smith@twobrainbusiness.com
2:39 – Introduction with Jeff Smith
11:30 – Joining Two Brain as a mentor
13:09 – Joining the military, the motivation behind the decision
15:31 – Jeff’s other business, real estate.
17:14 – The importance of being a lifelong learner
21:27 – The benefits of splitting up your day with a workout
22:39 – How has a real estate investing led to becoming a better mentor
26:12 – The importance of learning while mentoring someone else 
​29:53 – How to contact Jeff

“For this reason, they must believe in the cause for which they are fighting. They must believe in the plan they are asked to execute, and most important, they must believe in and trust the leader they are asked to follow.”

—Jocko Willink, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win

Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief

In the Great Information Age, we all have access to more knowledge than we can absorb, let alone act upon. And action is the only thing that matters. So what knowledge should entrepreneurs have? What action should they take? When?

The modern problem for business owners isn’t lack of knowledge: it’s too much knowledge. It’s paralysis by analysis. It’s overwhelm.

Entrepreneurs pass through four distinct phases as they first grow their business, and then their leadership. These phases are Founder, Farmer, Tinker and Thief.

In the Founder Phase, the entrepreneur leaps off the cliff with his big idea. His goal is simple: to survive.

His big idea might leverage a better life, but his labor is the fulcrum. And that’s understood by the Founder, who embraces the romantic ideal of the entrepreneur: poring over the books at midnight, a trace smear of flour on his tired face, pondering the next step up the ladder to success. Hashtag #hustle, hashtag #grind.

The Founder Phase takes a heavy toll — physically exhausting, financially terrifying, and the largest strain on every personal relationship the Founder has. My job as mentor is to get the Founder out of the Founder Phase as quickly as possible. Many never survive this phase.

The Farmer Phase starts when the entrepreneur begins the shift from self-employed to business owner. He’s hired his first employee, even if it’s a low-level role. He’s begun paying himself a little. But he’s probably still the face of the company. He’s probably still baking the donuts at 4am, then answering emails and making sales calls “when he can”. He’s still working in the business instead of working on the business. He’s busy being busy.

In the Farmer Phase, the entrepreneur is susceptible to the Martyrdom. “No one can do it like I can!” he thinks, whether about sweeping the floors or mixing the secret recipe. And he’s right: no one else would do it that cheaply, that tired, or at the expense of their kids’ baseball games. No one else would work for a boss so demanding, so cheap, so ruthless — but in buying himself a job, the Farmer is beholden to his own self-worth.

My role as mentor to the Farmer is to replace him in low-value roles, and fill his time with high-value roles. It’s to systemize his batter-mixing, replace him at the front counter, and teach him to grow his reach. Eventually, it’s to get him home by dinnertime.

The Farmer Phase is where 90% of entrepreneurs spend the entirety of their careers. They call themselves “owner-operators”, and most will never even retire from their business, let alone become wealthy.

But some do. These are the Tinkers.

A Tinker has built a business that runs itself. Now she’s trying to build another; or to duplicate her first success; or to take her first idea to a new market; or to start over with a new idea. If she’s not given new challenges, the Tinker will probably stick her hands in the machine, constantly “tweaking” her original business until it’s broken.

My role as mentor to Tinkers is to help them identify the Next Big Project, and then keep them focused on it. I’ve never met a Tinker who didn’t have at least three Big Projects in mind. Free from their original business — and still making passive income from it — the Tinker’s greatest risk is killing the golden goose.

The Tinker’s attention must shift from developing their first business to developing themselves as a leader. That means a plan for physical activity, mental acuity, and mental training. It means peer support: “It’s lonely at the top” describes the Tinker to a capital T. It means mentorship from someone who has successfully navigated the “valley of death” created by hiring a management layer for the first time.

If they can, the Tinker becomes a Thief.

A Thief moves resources from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. Think Robin Hood, not The Hamburglar. With new resources, the Thief seeks to build a legacy business, providing multi-generational wealth or service to his community.

Many Thieves turn to mentorship. Others create bursaries or endowments, or found charities. Some continue to build, forging partnerships and taking their expertise to new markets.

My role as mentor to the Thief is — well, I don’t mentor Thieves. They mentor me. They inspire me, educate me, and ask me: “Who did you serve this week?”

The path from Founder to Thief is the path to self-actualization. The Founder builds a Foundation of service; the Farmer cultivates success; the Tinker builds on his invention. The Thief spreads the wealth.

Success isn’t guaranteed in any Phase. But it can be strongly aided through mentorship, and that’s why I’ve chosen to mentor other entrepreneurs.

Which phase are you in? Take my test: www.twobrainbusiness.com/test

Contact Jeff:

2:39 – Introduction with Jeff Smith
11:30 – Joining Two Brain as a mentor
13:09 – Joining the military, the motivation behind the decision
15:31 – Jeff’s other business, real estate.
17:14 – The importance of being a lifelong learner
21:27 – The benefits of splitting up your day with a workout
22:39 – How has a real estate investing led to becoming a better mentor
26:12 – The importance of learning while mentoring someone else 
29:53 – How to contact Jeff


Flipping The Script on Value

Flipping The Script on Value

“My clients would never pay $250 for a gym membership!”


Well, they’ll pay $250 for something. What?


If you asked, “What’s the worst way to price my service?” I’d give you one of these answers:

  1. Copy everyone else, and then drop your price by $5
  2. Take the average of everyone selling “CrossFit” in your area
  3. Guess at “what feels right”
  4. Decide what you can afford to pay, and charge that.

I know, because I’ve done all four of them. Here’s why they’re wrong:


1 + 2: other local CrossFit gyms probably have no idea how to price their service, so they did the same thing. Every new generation of gyms in your town now sells an identical service for $5 less per month. Guess what will happen two years from now? Yep: someone will do what you’re doing for less.


3 + 4: you’ll guess wrong. We all project our budget onto our clients. When we’re in the Founder phase, we have less money than our clients do. Stop projecting your own poverty and fear onto everyone else; it stinks!


The right way to set your rates is mathematical: you calculate your desired income and your projected expenses. Then you figure out how much money you need to break even. You should be able to reach breakeven on 50 clients or less; 30 is better. At 150 clients, you should be paying yourself and at least one solid coach.


“But…30 clients?!? I’d have to charge $250 per month! No one will ever pay that, when every gym around me charges $95!”


Maybe you’re right. Flip the script: instead of asking, “What will people pay for CrossFit?” ask, “What service can I sell that’s worth $250 per month?”


Maybe that’s a 1:1 package. Maybe that’s a small-group session. Maybe that’s a nutrition + group plan.


Sell it, and LIVE UP TO IT. Deliver $250 in value every single month. Signal value in everything you do: look professional, speak professionally, and give them exactly what they’re buying.


It’s probably something that no one nearby is selling. Don’t be surprised. If every gym understood value and its relationship to price, the average CrossFit gym would be charging more than their 2010 rates, not less.


Episode 151: Two-Brain Business for Clinics

Episode 151: Two-Brain Business for Clinics

Episode 151 – Two Brain For Clinics

This week we have a special episode introducing a new service being offered by Two-Brain Business called TwoBrain For Clinics. Dr. Brian Strump, a practicing chiropractor joins us to discuss exactly what is Two Brain For Clinics and how this new service can be leveraged along with a CrossFit gym or simply on its own to help chiropractors push their practice to the next level.


Brian is the owner of Live Active Charlotte, home of both CrossFit Steele Creek and Premier Health and Rehab Solutions. Brian’s passion for health and fitness led him to Chiropractic School and later to become a certified CrossFit coach. Since diving into the world of CrossFit, Brian has combined these two services together and is doing better than ever. Join us as we discuss these two businesses and much more!


Don’t Forget! Find out what stage of entrepreneurship you are in by taking the exclusive Two Brain test here: https://twobrain.com/test/or schedule your free mentoring call by clicking here!



Contact Brian:




1:42 – Introduction to Two-Brain for Clinics

3:18 – What are the differences and similarities between a gym and a clinic?

5:40 – The unique problems faced by practicing chiropractors

9:05 – What is Two-Brain For Clinics

13:21 – Marketing for chiropractor clinics

14:20 – How it can be helpful for a chiropractor clinic to partner with a local gym

19:05 – Ways that a chiropractor can level up their business

22:10 – How to contact Brian

Episode 150: The Wodify Affiliate Survey

Episode 150: The Wodify Affiliate Survey

Episode 150 – The Wodify Affiliate Trend Report

A few months ago, Wodify released the results of its “CrossFit Industry Report” survey. The numbers caused a stir.

There are plenty of these surveys out there. Most are subjective: they ask gym owners what they think, or to self-report numbers. But this one is different: it’s an objective look at data pulled directly from 4500 users’ dashboards. And some of that data is downright scary.

Wodify has build their new Business Metrics Dashboard using TwoBrain metrics: ARM, LEG, and LTV. They’re not an official TwoBrain partner, but TwoBrain gyms using Wodify do report a much easier time getting the metrics that matter every month.

So when the report showed an average LEG of 18 months, we were thrilled. Most of our data points to a lower number (around 13.4 months). While our data overlaps Wodify’s, neither encompasses the entire affiliate spectrum. That data doesn’t exist. The truth is probably a little higher than 13.4 months. While there are hundreds of very successful gyms in TwoBrain, gyms who start with us are often looking for help because they’re in trouble. That means clients aren’t sticking around long enough–a lower LEG score–and we work to fix that right away. So Wodify’s LEG report was interesting. But it’s ARM report was shocking.

According to the report, the Average Revenue per Member per Month is $84 at the gyms in the Wodify survey. That’s extremely low. Most TwoBrain gyms are nearer the $200 mark, with some over $250. A gym with $84 would have to recruit and keep THREE TIMES as many clients as a gym with an ARM of $250…and do it with the same number of coaches. Obviously, that’s a recipe for disaster.

So I indulged my curiosity and asked Olivia DiGiorgio about them. Olivia got her start by studying mathematics in college and began a career as a data scientist in the healthcare industry.  After falling in love with CrossFit, Olivia has since shifted to a more action-oriented application of mathematics and is using these skills at Wodify to help CrossFit gym owners better their business, customers, and athletes.  

Don’t Forget! Find out what stage of entrepreneurship you are in by taking the exclusive Two Brain test here: https://twobrainbusiness.com/test or schedule your free mentoring call by clicking here!






Episode 149: Lessons Learned, with Vaughn Vernon

Episode 149: Lessons Learned, with Vaughn Vernon

Episode 149 – Vaughn Vernon – Lessons Learned

Today we are joined by Vaughn Vernon, owner of Affiliate Guard. Affiliate Guard is an industry-specific company that provides insurance coverage for affiliates. Founded by Vaughn in 1999, Affiliate Guard insures 2,500 gyms across the world today. Join us as we talk about Vaughn’s growth as a business and as an entrepreneur.

This episode is NOT about insurance. But Affiliate Guard is an official TwoBrain partner, which means they uphold the TwoBrain standard of excellence and care.

Don’t Forget! Find out what stage of entrepreneurship you are in by taking the exclusive Two Brain test here: https://twobrain.com/test/or schedule your free mentoring call by clicking here!






0:25 – Introduction to Vaughn Vernon

1:55 – Vaughn’s experience growing a major insurance company 

6:11 – Growing a business within a niche

8:29 – What is the structure of Affiliate Guard? What can we learn about the structure of other businesses from AG?

9:40 – Keeping communication open while running a family business

10:52 – Realizing that you cannot be everything to everybody

12:48 – Determining the seed clients necessary to start an insurance company

15:27 – How complacency can cause problems in your business

16:05 – What does a typical day look like for Vaughn?

18:15 – Insight into the Affiliate Guard hiring process

23:57 – Two Brain Stories with Matt Koym



How To Hit Your Service Goal in 2019

How To Hit Your Service Goal in 2019

Members of the TwoBrain family spent November and December setting goals and making their 2019 Annual Plans.

We set goals in 5 categories: travel, education, lifestyle and service first; and then we add the cost of those goals to our cost of living expenses to determine our profit goal for the year.

Surprisingly, the “service” goal is sometimes hardest to define.

The question we try to answer is, “How will you serve your community outside of work in 2019?”

Service is a necessary step to happiness. And since we want you to build a legacy in your community, we want you to serve outside the thing that pays you.

Service can mean money or time. Sounds simple, right?

The problem is that most of us have dedicated our entire LIVES to service already. We left higher-paying careers to start a gym. We use the gym for fundraisers (sometimes we even raise more money for charities than we pay ourselves!) We take calls and texts at all hours. We put our clients first, coaches second and ourselves third. So why is it hard for the 500 entrepreneurs in TwoBrain to set a “service” goal for next year? It should be easy!

It’s hard because most people think too big.

I’ve been lucky enough to jump on a bunch of goal-setting calls with entrepreneurs and their mentors, and the service goals I hear are amazing:

“I want to volunteer at the animal shelter every Friday.”
“I want to donate $10,000 to the Vision Fund.”
“I want to sponsor 70 families for Christmas.”

Those are all very worthy goals. But what do you tell your clients when they say, “I need to lose 50 pounds this year”?


You say, “Let’s lose one pound first.”


Take a kid fishing.

Walk your neighbor’s dog.

Buy coffee for the woman behind you in line.

Drive a kid to their basketball game.

Double-tip your waiter.


These small acts of service might not be grand gestures. You might even forget about them five minutes later. But the recipient won’t. It will matter to THEM.


Over a decade ago, I was working a client through a private session, and he mentioned that his foster kids were a real handful. I said, “How do you DO it?”

He said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “How do you take these kids in, usually in the middle of the night during some traumatic event? How do you embrace them like your own and get attached to them, knowing they’re going to be sent back?”

He said, “Oh, it’s hard as hell. But you have to hope that the day you have them is the day that makes the difference.”

He knew he couldn’t rescue every kid. But their month with his family might be just enough to show them how things COULD be. It might not matter to all of them. But it might matter to one.


Years later, I was working on the CrossFit for Hope committee. We’d just done our third year of fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and our second for Kenya. I’d been to both places. The CrossFit community did great work. But we thought our impact could be more if we skipped the bureaucracy of charity. Greg said, “Look for opportunities where $5000 or $10,000 will make a meaningful and lasting difference in one person’s life, and do that.”


Back then, I couldn’t afford $10,000, but I understood: I began to look for ways where a little bit would mean a lot.


I bought hockey equipment for one kid who needed it.


The next year, one family on our hockey team couldn’t afford to travel to a tournament. So we anonymously paid for their hotel rooms.


This year, we donated over $30,000 to local kids who needed help to play sports, and another $10,000 to families in crisis. I volunteer to coach two hockey teams. But in 2014, I didn’t have the money or the time. If my goal was higher, I wouldn’t have done it. Imagine setting a goal to serve others and failing: that’s demoralizing.


But imagine succeeding, even in a small way. That’s fulfillment of your life’s mission.


Your service doesn’t have to matter to everyone. If it matters to anyone, that’s enough.