Two-Brain Radio: CrossFit Memes With John Wooley

Two-Brain Radio: CrossFit Memes With John Wooley

Sean: 00:03 – Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. Today I talk with the man behind the most popular CrossFit meme page on Instagram, John Wooley. But first, are you a stressed business owner who’s working too much and still struggling to make a profit? Do you want to grow your venture and reach the next level? Two-Brain Business is here to help with a free 60-minute call. This is not a sales pitch. It’s just an opportunity for you to get real, actionable advice from an expert who’s built a successful business. For one-on-one guidance on how to take your business to the next level, book your Free Help Call today at John Wooley is the man who created and runs the CrossFit meme page “Make WODs Great Again.” We talk about how he got started, what makes a good CrossFit meme and what it’s like to meet the targets of some of his good-natured humor in person. Thanks for listening everyone. John, thanks so much for joining me, man. How you doing?

John: 01:04 – I’m good. How about you?

Sean: 01:05 – I’m doing well. People know your work, I think, better than they know you. So let’s get to know John Wooley just for a second. What do you do for a living?

John: 01:13 – I’m a banker, so I’ve been in retail banking now for, oh gosh, probably 15 years or so. I’m an executive vice president though, so I manage 17 branches here on the east side of Cleveland. A hundred employees. It’s roughly like one and a quarter billion dollars under assets, give or take changes any given day, but it’s a little over a billion.

Sean: 01:35 – How did you find CrossFit?

John: 01:36 – I got dragged into it like everybody else. So I was kinda freshly divorced, wanted to get in shape. I found P90x like a lot of people and was, you know, doing the pull-ups and push-ups in my living room and, you know, lost a bunch of weight, didn’t put on much muscle. And a buddy of mine had actually started a gym here in Cleveland, CrossFit Distinction. And I just ran into him at our kids’ soccer game and he’s like, “Hey, you should come try this. It’s just like P90x but harder.” And I’m like, yeah, OK, whatever pal, I thought I was like pinnacle of fitness, you know? And, so I went in for this intro WOD and it literally destroyed me. Like, it was the most humbling, horrible moment of my life. Like literally the coach is yelling at me, I’m standing in the door like trying not to puke, she’s shouting, “don’t go home,” you know? And you know, I’m just one of those people that I don’t believe in letting things beat you. So I’m like, well, I’ll just keep going back until I master this. And you know, nine years later I figured out it’s impossible to master, but I keep going back.

Sean: 02:39 – Yeah. I tell people it doesn’t get easier. You just get to do more stuff.

John: 02:42 – Yeah, exactly.

Sean: 02:43 – How did it help you, you know, not only in the fitness realm, but also, you know, personally?

John: 02:48 – Ah, well, I mean, the community is huge. You know, I’ve built so many friendships over the years through it. I mean, that’s probably the biggest piece. And, you know, the other thing, I don’t talk about it much. I reference it some on the page, but you know, just like kind of emotionally and you know, physically it helps me work through— it’s the only hour of the day that I don’t worry about work. I don’t worry about my kids. I don’t worry about anxiety or depression or anything. Like the world goes black and all I’m focusing on is not dying during that WOD, like that’s it. And so for me it really is, it’s an outlet. Like it allows me to escape from all of that. And then, you know, there’s always the, you know, the benefit of the friendships you pick up over the years, kind of mutual suffering. You know, I compare it to the military, you know, like you go to war with somebody, you have a bond for the rest of your life and that’s kinda what it feels like.

Sean: 03:40 – How did a guy who is in professional banking start the most popular CrossFit meme page?

John: 03:49 – Who the hell knows? You know, it was weird. You know, I’ve always had a sense of humor. I had a blog for a while that I was writing and it was moderately funny, but, you know, there weren’t a lot of people reading it. My daughters have always said I should be viral. The think I’m hysterical for whatever that’s worth. Right after the election I had started this Twitter feed called CrossFit Trump. I thought it’d be really funny to do CrossFit tweets in the voice of Trump, for a number of reasons, number one, you can say some really horrible things and get away with it and blame it on Trump. And, you know, I just thought it’d be funny, you know, so, you know, my plan was I’d talk about, you know, building a wall and doing wall balls on them, you know, stuff like that. And, so I did that for a little while, picked up six, 700 followers. I started trolling my coaches, which I thought was funny, but you know, again, I wasn’t picking up followers. And then, around Christmas time a year ago, my daughter’s like, you know, Dad, you need an Instagram page. Like memes are funny. You could do memes. And so I handed her my phone and said, all right, have at it. And so she created this Instagram page, still called CrossFit Trump. And I didn’t do anything with it. It picked up two or 300 followers, but I barely used it. And then Regionals came around and Kayla Banfield, do the hashtag Update Show and we’ll post your meme. Well, it was during Regionals, it was a the Australian one, the Pacific, is that right? And so I did one of oh, who was it? Rob Forte and Jay Crouch. They had this picture where Jay had his hands behind Rob’s chest and it looked like that Janet Jackson photo from the Rolling Stone cover from years ago. And so I did a side by side and said, “Who wore it better?”

John: 05:38 – Next thing I know it’s on the Update Show and I picked up like six or 700 followers, like overnight from that one, you know, repost on the Update Show and then, you know, Jay and Rob both reposted it and I figured out very quickly, man, if you can get, you know, kind of notable people to repost you, you pick up followers. So for a few weeks there I started just tagging every athlete known to man and making memes about them, and you know, they all kept reposting them cause I guess they thought they were funny. I went from zero to 10,000 followers in like a month. And from there it was just kinda game on. I don’t know, I just kept doing it. And for me it was really always about the community. Like, you know, getting messages from people all over the world. And that was a lot of fun. And you know, the more it grew, the more I had an opportunity to do something with it. So it was kind of a crazy ride and just keeps going.

Sean: 06:32 – What do the people that you work with think about your little side gig here?

John: 06:36 – Not all of them know. I mean, they know, you know, like I had to tell my boss once I was going to Santa Cruz to interview Greg and he’s like, “All right, who’s Greg? Why are you doing a podcast?” You know, trying to explain it to him was like trying to explain to an Alaskan what a pineapple looks like, you know, it was just hard. They think it’s, you know, just kind of a fun hobby I guess. They don’t pay it much attention and I’m glad they don’t, to be honest. I try to separate, you know, my CrossFit life and my work life as much as I can.

Sean: 07:07 – Where do you think that your talent for putting together such funny memes comes from?

John: 07:15 – Well, I have an exceptionally funny father. My grandfather was really funny. I told someone the other day, it’s a weird super power, man. I can just look at a photo and just like think of a caption. You know, I’ve always been creative. I was a musician in college, studied music in Nashville for a number of years and, you know, music was kind of always my outlet, you know, playing guitar and writing songs and all of that. And so I think I’ve got a creative streak that’s kind of never-ending, for whatever that’s worth. This is a good outlet for that because you know, I just consume a lot of media anyway. And so as I see things that I think they’re funny, you know, if they’re relatable to me, I just assume they’re relatable to everyone. And you know, it tends to work out that way. I don’t know where it comes from, though. It just kinda happens, like it’s all day, every day. I tell everyone it’s ADD and coffee. That’s all it is.

Sean: 08:13 – You sort of touched on this a little bit, but what makes a good meme?

John: 08:16 – Well there’s a number of things. Typically you have to have like a funny picture, you know, and it’s really interesting to me how people will get triggered just by a photo. I was actually looking at a different meme page today, Fluffy Duck, who’s a buddy of mine and he had a picture of Trump on there and people were going all in about, you know, don’t be political; well there was literally nothing political about the post, nothing except that Trump was the subject, you know? And so I think you have to have a photo that’s either funny or edgy or creates some sort of thought. So that helps. And then I think the biggest piece, so it has to be relatable, like something that people either universally do or they see, you know, just something that they have done or experienced. I think those are the things that I typically look for. And you know, having done CrossFit now for nine years, I’ve kind of seen it all, you know, like a good example is getting a rash from doing AbMat sit-ups too fast. You know know, I’ve done so many of those, AbMat actually created an AbMat for me and put my logo on it, I swear to God.

John: 09:24 – But that’s a relatable thing. Like, you know, how many times have you gotten in the shower, not even thought about it, and all of a sudden it feels like you got a bee sting, you know, that’s just relatable stuff. And so I think those are two elements. The third one though, I think you have to be willing to piss off part of your audience. I think that’s a very important piece though. You have to—the best humor to me is humor that makes you think. It might be offensive, it might not be offensive. Or you’re not really sure, but it makes you think, and that’s all I’m trying to do is just, you know, create some conversation.

Sean: 10:01 – So along those lines of being willing to upset your audience, we live in a world of social-justice warriors and people who are easily triggered. How do you deal with that and avoid that kind of controversy?

John: 10:11 – I don’t avoid it. It is hard though because people are offended by almost anything. So I look at the page as a gift, like it’s a real gift to create conversations. So I’m not trying to steer someone to believe the way I believe. Like I don’t think that’s my mission for the page, but I do think I have an obligation to throw topics out there and have people talk about it. You know, a really good example of that would be, you know, the whole uproar that happened at a Holmberg’s gym a month or two back. I created that. Unintentionally, I might add, you know, I got a message from a follower that said, hey, our gym is outlawed booty shorts for women and men have to wear shirts now. And you know, they sent me the whole post that the gym had sent in and it really kind of was slanted against women. And I have two daughters and you know, so I felt kind of an obligation to women just put this out there. And so I did a couple of memes about it. I didn’t look to see who the gym was. It didn’t look to see who the gym owner was, which in retrospect maybe was a mistake. But next thing I know I’m getting, you know, messages from Morning Chalk-Up that they want to write an article on this. And you know, you go into the comments of the memes themselves, I mean, and there were literally thousands of people talking about it. And so it wasn’t my opinion whether they should or shouldn’t. It was, you know, really sparking that dialogue in the community around whether they should or shouldn’t. And that for me, that’s the real obligation of the page. Can I create that conversation that’ll help us all come together or at least talk about some of the issues that are out there.

Sean: 11:45 – How do you decide where the line is as far as poking fun at something is concerned?

John: 11:49 – Well, so I have rules for the page, they’re self-imposed. I never sexualize athletes ever. That’s a hard rule for me. I try not to make jokes about race, religion, sexual orientation, creed, national origin. Like, you know, those don’t typically go over well. It’s hard to understand sarcasm through written texts without hearing it, you know, so like I’ll say things on the podcast that are way edgier than I would ever put on my page because they can hear the inflection in my voice and they can tell I’m joking, you know, and so I think that’s important. I don’t know. I mean, it’s, you know, my line and your line may be different, you know, like I’ve routinely—like I’ve got these patches I sell that say “make WODS gay again,” as an example. And I cleared those through OutWOD, like I reached out to Will, who’s the founder of OutWOD, and said, hey, here’s the slogan I’m thinking of. What do you think? He actually changed the slogan for me and gave it the stamp of approval. But every time I post it, I get a message from somebody telling me they’re unfollowing or what a jerk I am. You know, so there’s a line everywhere for someone, you know, and so I don’t worry about that much anymore. I just, you know, I just want to stay true to my values and truthfully, I just want to make people laugh, so I’m not trying to, you know, drum up a lot of controversy, although I do that some, I’m really just trying to bring people together, have some fun, you know.

John: 13:14 – The other thing that I do is when I’m making fun directly of an athlete, I try my best in the comments to talk about how much I respect them. Cause I think that’s important. Like, you know, I make fun of Vellner a lot as an example, you know, I’ve probably made about a million ginger jokes. What people don’t know is I come from a long line of gingers, like I’m pasty as the day is long. Right? And I got nothing but respect for this guy. I mean, you know, he’s been putting himself through college and competing and he’s just an absolute beast. And by the way, one of the funniest humans on the planet, like just a genuinely good dude. Right? So there’s no world in which I would want anyone to think I think less of him. So when I do those memes, I try to put something in the commentary of, you know, what a great athlete he is or, you know, how he’s extra good at putting on sunscreen. I don’t know, it could be anything, but, you know, I just try to make it appears as if, you know, I respect them because I do.

Sean: 14:05 – So along those lines, what’s it like meeting the athletes who are often the objects of your memes?

John: 14:11 – Oh, they’re great. They’ve all been great. You know, I ran into Fraser. Fraser is the funniest one. He’s my favorite story actually. So, I knew I was going to see him at the Arnold in Columbus, you know, big bodybuilding event, but he was there with Rogue and you were there, I remember that. And so I did a meme, you know, prior to going there and I tagged him in it. And the meme was a wrestling meme where one guy’s body slamming the other one. And the caption was, you know, when Fraser meets me at the Arnold or something, and he straight up DM’d me. Like I’d never talked to him before. He DM’d me and he’s like “Absolutely not, I love your page,” it’s all it said. So I run into him there and he was signing autographs and his time had wrapped up and so he was leaving, but he saw me, and to his credit, the guy’s a real gentleman. He was like walking down kind of the rope line, like taking as many pictures as he could before his time was up and he saw me, like pointed at my shirt and he came over and I’m like “Hi, I’m John with Make WODs Great Again,” he’s like, “I know who you are, F-ing love your page, man,” and then took a photo with me, you know, and that’s a pretty common reaction from the athletes. I mean they all seem to have a really good sense of humor of it. And truthfully, I think there’s a part of them, a significant portion of them that appreciate the press that I’m giving them. I mean, they’re all trying to build their own brand. They’re trying to get sponsors. I’m trying to help them with that, of getting their names out there and giving them that recognition and I think they understand that.

Sean: 15:41 – We’ll be right back with more from John Wooley, the man behind Make WODs Great Again, after this.

Chris: 15:46 – Hello my friends. It is Chris Cooper here. Since 2009 I have been writing daily blog posts, producing podcasts, videos, all kinds of stuff on social media with one mission in mind: to make gyms profitable. I came to that mission because I was an unprofitable gym owner. It almost ruined my finances and almost ruined my career, my marriage, everything. And since that day, since I made my recovery, I have wanted to help other gym owners become profitable, too. It’s part of my mission to the world because if you’re profitable, you’ll be here changing lives of thousands of your clients for the next 30 years. I think together we can have a tremendous impact. When we started mentorship, I did every single call myself. I was doing up to a thousand free calls a year and I was doing 10 calls with people who signed up for our early mentorship program, but the Incubator has been updated and improved a dozen times since then. Now the Incubator is really the sum of all of our experiences with over 800 gyms worldwide. In the Two-Brain mentorship program, we can now learn from everybody. We can collate data, we can see what’s working where and when and what the new gold standards are as they emerge. When somebody has a great idea, we can test it objectively and say, “Will this work for everyone or will it work for people on the West Coast or on the East Coast?” We can do that with little things like Facebook ads. We can also do that with operations and opening times and playbooks. All the questions that you have about the gym, we can answer them with data and with proof now. That’s the Incubator. It’s more than what I wrote about. It’s more than my experience. It is the best standard in the fitness industry, period. And I hope to see you in there.

Sean: 17:29 – What’s it like kind of being a CrossFit celebrity now?

John: 17:32 – It’s so weird. I just tell people I’m you. They’re like, are you that guy? I’m like, yeah, I’m Sean Woodland. Nice to meet you. I get my voice as deep as possible. It’s weird. So here’s the best thing ever. So I’ve been telling these stories to my daughters that I go to these events and usually like the Games, I took a couple of hundred photos at the Games, like any Sanctional I go to, I’m kind of getting harassed by people and I love it. Like that’s not a complaint. It’s super fun meeting people and hearing their stories. But we had a local competition here at my gym a week ago and I wasn’t competing, but I had a buddy that was working out there and so I wanted to go see it and I had my daughters with me. And they’re 17 and 15. And so we go rolling into Cliffside. I’m only going to be there for a minute, I walk in the back door, place is packed. It’s like shoulder to shoulder and we’re keep in mind this tiny little gym, this is not a big place. And so I come walking in and I hear this girl go, oh my God, you’re that guy. And both of my daughters’ eyes turned into like saucers and this girl comes over. She’s like, can I please get a photo with you? I love your page, you’re the best. She’s got her arm around me. She’s handing her camera to her friend. Both my daughters are like, what the hell is going on right now? I just turned to my youngest. I’m like, I told you I was cool, baby girl. She’s just shaking her head like, I can’t believe this is actually happening in real life.

John: 18:52 – So, you know, that part’s pretty funny. But for the most part. It’s great man. I love meeting people. I love hearing what they’re doing and you hear so many inspirational stories about how CrossFit has changed their life. You know, and truthfully like, it’s really humbling to have people tell you that, you know, they stand around and look at your stuff and like you’ve made a difference in their day and you know, so that part is, you know, it’s humbling and fun and exciting and, you know, I don’t know. It’s great.

Sean: 19:22 – What does a typical day of working on your page look like?

John: 19:25 – Depends on the day, but really, it’s not that hard. I get up in the morning, I spend about an hour in the morning, me and my cat Bean, we sit on the couch, I drink a coffee, he hangs out. And I just kind of scour, you know, social media or you know, photos or whatever I maybe have an idea for that day and just put together kind of the daily content. I can, you know, put out eight to 10 within that hour pretty easily. And then I’m kind of set for the day and then, you know, followers will send me stuff. And a lot of that’s funny. A lot of it’s not, but a lot of it is. They’ll send me photos. And then I dunno, as things happen I’ll create things as well, you know, so like when there’s notable news, you know, things coming out of CrossFit or whatever, I’ll create and it either posted immediately or save it for later, just, you know, kind of however the spirit moves me. I’m, I don’t want to say cursed, but I’m going to go with blessed to have one of one of those minds where I’m just like, when I see something, I can remember it and I’m almost always like creating in my mind, whether I’m physically doing something or not, I’m like kind of always creating. I did one the other day on like literally on my drive to Cliffside I was going to work out, and it was right after Jeff Cain had resigned. And so I had in my mind I was going to do a meme about Hunter getting a wildcard CEO spot. And so I’m working it out in my brain and I’m driving so I can’t photoshop while I drive, you know. But I had that thing completely worked out in my mind by the time I got there and you know, so I skipped the warm-up and put together a meme, which was awesome on double fronts.

Sean: 21:09 – Sounds like time well spent. What memes do people seem to enjoy the most?

John: 21:13 – You know, it depends on—it’s funny, you know, the things that I find really funny tend to bomb and the things that I think are just like totally dumb, they just blow up. You know, I think they find the relatable stuff, the things that they can tag their friends or coaches in, they really like, like that’s the thing. Like, if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times from followers, they’re like, oh, we stand around after the workout and we all look at your stuff together. And I think it’s that together piece that’s most important. Like they want to be able to say, oh, you do that and you do that and oh, this is me, you know, and so it’s just the things that they see themselves. Now, there’s also a mean streak. Those work too. You know, I did a whole bunch about the Garard brothers when that went down, and people tend to really like those kind of in the moment, but they’re not funny long term. The other thing they really like, like when the Open comes, I was joking with my daughter yesterday, she was like, are you gonna get busier during the Open? I’m like, the Open’s like free candy. Like everyone’s watching, you know, it’s like you’ll see, you know, everyone’s YouTube hits go up. I’m sure your stuff lifts, like, you know, more than it normally is. I just kind of happens, you know, so you could do anything during the Open and typically get a good response.

Sean: 22:34 – What kinds of things have you been able to do thanks to the popularity of your page?

John: 22:38 – Oh, I’m really excited about the future. So you know, I’ve been, number one, kind of the initial stuff I’ve been able to do is give back to charities. And so that part I’m really excited about. You know, I’ve got several patches and some things that I’m selling that I’m donating the money to. I’ve got a Wounded Warriors group that I donate money to, OutWOD, I donate money to them. I’ve got a new one that we’re going to launch here shortly, all the money’s going to go to Barbells for Boobs, so breast cancer research. And so being able to do some of that is really cool for me. And then, you know, like, I’ll give you an example. Like a follower reached out to me. I think you guys might’ve done something too. There was a woman who had, if I remember right, like cervical cancer and they were putting together a video for her and they were like, hey, could you help us? Would you mind doing a video? I’m like, not only would I not mind doing a video, I’ll start reaching out to my followers and get videos for you. And I bet I got a dozen Games athletes to send in, you know, like a 30-second to a minute clip. And, you know, I don’t want credit for that. I think the beautiful part of that is the community coming together. And so being able to like kind of wrangle the community together to help this woman who’s got cervical cancer have a brighter spot in her day. It’s like, you know, it’s just, it’s really, it’s humbling. It’s hard to put into words. Like it’s just, it’s also a responsibility, you know? And so it’s just given me a lot more avenues to have a bigger voice. And then now, you know, I’m starting to, you know, launch into the—I’ve got my own podcast I’m doing, you know, some YouTube stuff that’s coming up, you know, down the road. So, just continue to grow and hopefully, you know, keep the community informed.

Sean: 24:21 – Why did you venture into the podcast realm?

John: 24:24 – People were asking me to, that was the kind of the first thing. People were like, you know, they were almost harassing me. Like they wanted to hear my voice to some degree, which it was a little scary for me, but it’s been a lot of fun. Again, I love listening to people’s stories and I wanted to do something different that on all these fronts that isn’t being addressed. Like, you know, I’ve said forever, you’ve got, you know, you and Tommy that have the news cornered, like nobody’s beating that. My opinion. You know, you’ve got the YouTube channel, you’ve got the Buttery Bros, like nobody’s going to beat what those guys do or what Team Richey does. I don’t want to do any of that. Like I wanted to talk to the people on the podcast that weren’t getting covered, like the affiliate owners, and you know, people that are helping solve Type 2 diabetes and you know, I want to talk to athletes but I want to hear their normal stories. Not hey, you know, I can do a triple back flip while doing a 200-pound thruster. Like, I don’t care about that. I know you’re strong. Like how did you overcome injury? Like how do you balance work and raising kids. Like that’s the stuff that’s interesting to me and having those conversations. That’s really why I wanted to do it. It’s just to, you know, get that voice out there and you know, have some normal conversation with people.

Sean: 25:42 – You mentioned earlier that as part of your podcast you got to interview Greg Glassman. What was that whole experience like for you?

John: 25:48 – I could talk about that for an hour. Well, you know, it’s funny looking back on it, I don’t know how you guys feel about your own, but for me, like I look back on mine and go, man, the episodes now are so much better than that first one. I think I asked the guy like four questions and he talked for an hour and a half, but also I’ve come to understand that’s pretty common for Greg. So I don’t feel bad about my poor interviewing skills. It was, you know, he’s very dynamic. He has a almost like a cult of personality about him. Like, and I love the guy, so none of this is a complaint. You know, I think he was super nice to me and you know, outgoing and just gave us nothing but time. And you know, I can’t complain at all. But he just has a way about him, like almost like an aura that you know, you just get drawn into. And so it was really interesting to see that. It was interesting to see kind of the inner workings of headquarters and how other people respond to him. And you know, I’m also one of those people though, like, you’ve got to prove to me what you’re doing. So he’s, you know, talking to me about keto, and, you know, carb restriction and all the things he’s talking about and my brain just going a million miles an hour of like, yeah, well I’m going to go see if I can prove you wrong, buddy, or at least see if you’re right. Like, you know, I don’t just buy into everything you tell me. But it was great. I mean, you know, he was great, super nice to us. You know, I’m not sure I’d change a thing.

Sean: 27:11 – You’ve mentioned to me before that people ask you all the time about, oh, how much money you make off the off the page and that this is sort of a labor of love for you. First off, do you have plans to change that? And if so, what are they?

John: 27:22 – Oh, I’m raking in the millions. Yeah. So, you know, I’m really fortunate, I’m fortunate to have a really good job that allows me to build this the right way. I would love to go full time and make this an actual career maybe 24 to 36 months from now. But what I don’t want to do is do it at the expense of, you know, hawking products that my, you know, followers and the people that trust me don’t have any interest in. You know, I want to build content, I want to build a community, you know, that takes followers to do that. And so I’m really, right now I’m just investing time to find the content that’s important to people and get that out and just continue to bring on more followers. So I, you know, I sell some merch here and there, I’ve got a few T-shirts and some patches and stuff that I do. I honestly don’t take it very seriously. It’s, you know, the only thing I’m trying to get it to do is fund the money I’ve spent to trademark the logo, pay the lawyer, build the website, like all that takes money and it takes a lot of money, come to find out. And then, you know, I want to go to the Games and Sanctionals and whatever. So, you know, if I can break even and get all that done for a couple of years, I’m totally fine with that. I don’t, you know, money doesn’t mean anything to me right now. I just want to build a community. But, you know, at some point I’ll flip that switch and find ways to monetize and take it full time. But, you know, I’m a banker, like, I know how to do the math. It’s gonna take a few years, you know?

Sean: 28:47 – Final question. What keeps you going on this every day, day in and day out and being able to keep it fresh?

John: 28:53 – Honestly, it’s the followers. I mean, you know, I get anywhere from 200 to 400 DMs a day easily. You know, it’s kind of a ridiculous number. I try to answer all of them if I can. You can’t get to all of them, but you try to. I love talking to people and hearing about what they’re doing and their struggles and what makes them tick, and you know, I want to give back to them and truthfully, like CrossFit has done so much for me. I tell everyone, CrossFit saved my life. Like I truly believe that. Like it took me out of a divorce. It made me healthier. It helps me fight anxiety and depression. It’s helped me be a better dad. It’s helped me with any number of things. And so I feel an obligation to give back to that. Like, you know, I know Greg doesn’t care about that at all. He doesn’t want that, that recognition. But truth is like, I feel like I need to give back to this community that has given me everything. And it’s fun. I mean, that’s the biggest piece, is it’s a hoot man. Like, and I get to talk to you and seriously, like, you know, I’ve seen all these people for years. All you guys, you, Tommy, whoever, for years, listened to shows and now I’m getting to hang out and talk to people and make friendships and you know, it’s really a blast. So it just keeps me going.

Sean: 30:12 – Well, I will tell you this, and I think I’ve told you this before, but so everyone knows it, when we kind of all found out that we were getting fired from HQ, your memes and this was back in the CrossFit Trump days, kinda got us through a lot of that. So we certainly appreciated that. And it was always nice to have someone that we felt that was, you know, kinda on our side a little bit. So thank you for that.

John: 30:32 – Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny, you know, I’ve heard that a couple of times from other people and I hear that on other memes that I do and I think that may be part of what keeps me going is that, you know, you start to find out that your impact on people is far bigger than just being a smart ass, you know, it actually means something to someone and you know, that’s really touching.

Sean: 30:51 – Yeah. Well John, thanks a lot, man. I appreciate you taking the time to do this. Best of luck with the page and can’t wait to see what you’re putting out today, tomorrow and the weeks to come.

John: 30:58 – All right. Thanks so much.

Sean: 31:02 – Big thanks to John Wooley for joining me today. And just in case you’re wondering, yes, we do kind of look alike. His page on Instagram can be found at @makewodsgreatagain. He also has a podcast, he talked about that. It’s called Make Pods Great Again, you can find that on Apple podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” by Chris Cooper will show you what to do and how to avoid mistakes that can sink a business. Reader and gym owner Brendan Collins says, quote, “If you’re a business owner in the service industry, you must read this book.” Get your copy of the bestseller “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” on Amazon today. See you next time, everybody.


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

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Two-Brain Radio: CrossFit Memes With John Wooley

Two Brain Radio: How Jill Glasenapp Turned $650 Into $8,400 Through Advertising

Mateo: 00:00 – Hey, it’s Mateo Lopez of Two-Brain Marketing. On this edition of the Two-Brain Marketing podcast, I’m talking with Jill Glasenapp of Cobra Command CrossFit. You’ll learn about her transition from being a coach to buying in as a full-fledged partner in the business. You’ll also learn about her advertising system and how in the last eight weeks, she spent $650 on ads and generated $8,400 in front-end revenue, so you don’t want to miss this. Make sure to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio for more marketing tips and secrets each week.

Greg: 00:32 – Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics, interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

Chris: 00:48 – What makes a good gym website? The answer to that question keeps changing. Five years ago I would’ve said that you need this rotating banner image. Three years ago I would’ve said you have to have one splash page highlighting the benefits of your service. That’s true. The problem is that the benefits of your service change by the client you’re trying to target and so you need to be able to adapt. You need to be able to add your own landing pages. Your main cover page should reflect what your most important clients want. That’s going to be different from what my most important clients want. So a website that’s based on a template with the same kind of rotating image is not going to work anymore. I use For Time Design for the and Catalyst gym websites because those are the most important websites I own. I want responsive design that’s going to work well on mobile. About 60% of your clients are going to come through mobile and more in the future. I want a responsive designer, which means I can contact them to make changes and I want to know how to change my own oil. I want to know how to get in there and add my own posts. I talk a lot about content marketing and that means I have to know the medium through which I’m delivering my content. Using For Time Design has been my choice now for about three years because Theresa and her team are super responsive. She can answer questions for me, she can show me how to do it myself if I want to or she can do it for me if I don’t have time. She’s created a big series of videos for Two-Brain clients in our Incubator and Growth stages to watch so that they can do stuff like build landing pages themselves. A lot of website companies try to pull the curtain in front of their knowledge. They try to hold a lot of stuff secret so that they can charge you to do the basic things. Just like in car maintenance, changing your oil, rotating your tires. If you want to do that stuff, awesome. If you don’t have time to do that stuff, take it to the garage. Theresa at For Time Design gives you both options and she’ll even teach you how to do it yourself if you want to. I use that’s what’s made them an official Two-Brain partner is our firm belief in their commitment to helping first and a strong sense of service value.

Mateo: 03:02 – Hello and welcome to the Two-Brain Marketing podcast. This is Mateo Lopez, Two-Brain Marketing mentor, and I am here with Jill Glasenapp from Kansas City. Jill, how are ya?

Jill: 03:15 – I’m doing great. Thanks for having me today.

Mateo: 03:17 – Thanks for taking the time. We’re gonna talk with Jill. I’m really excited because she’s got an awesome campaign up and running right now. She’s spent a little close to, well, $650, a little bit more than that on her ads and she’s brought in 56 new members; almost $8,500 in front-end revenues. It’s pretty exciting stuff. I want to hear all about that. Before we get into that, Jill, for those listening, if you don’t mind, tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, and a little bit about your business.

Jill: 03:50 – I’m from Kansas City, Kansas. Not to be confused with Kansas City, Missouri. Actually it’s one in the same, but I actually have been CrossFitting for like 10 years. I was in the military and fell in love with CrossFit there and had this awesome opportunity when I moved to Kansas City to join the Cobra Command CrossFit team, which resulted in me kind of taking over business ops and then becoming a partner and co-owner and it’s awesome.

Mateo: 04:18 – Wow, that’s amazing. Cobra Command. I know you said your partner came up with the name. But do you know what the origin is?

Jill: 04:25 – Jacob Heppner, CrossFit Games athletes, goes to my gym and is kind of a comic book nerd as is my partner Vince. And together they were like, what’s a really awesome comic-book style name? And after looking at trademarks and all that kind of stuff, they settled on Cobra Command. And everyone here is absolutely in love. It’s like the best name ever.

Mateo: 04:49 – I could not agree more actually. It’s an amazing name. So how long has the business been open?

Jill: 04:56 – We opened our doors for Cobra Command in May of 2015. So we passed up our fourth anniversary here not that long ago.

Mateo: 05:04 – That’s awesome. And then were you a part of the staff in the beginning or when did you come into the picture?

Jill: 05:10 – So I joined the team in May of 2017 so right at their two-year mark. And I came in to coach and it did not take long before I was helping general manage and then literally within six months I was on as a partner. So it was a good fit. When something’s right, you just roll with it.

Mateo: 05:25 – Awesome. That’s great. What was that like, that transition for you from being on the staff side and then being rolled in as a partnership? Cause a lot of people end up forming partnerships or buy into existing businesses or buy existing businesses outright. So what was that process like for you?

Jill: 05:45 – So when I came on, my partner Vince, had a full-time job and Cobra Command was growing exponentially. We’ve been really blessed with organic growth for a long time. When I came on board, we were already at almost 150 members and now we’re a 200-plus member gym But, it was obvious that with the amount of members we had, we needed a more full-time staff. So initially when we did not have Two-Brain, we did not have the systems that we needed in place, because of my background, I knew that we needed to start moving in those directions. So I kind of naturally started doing those things. And then we started to formalize roles a little bit. And then when it actually came time for the partnership, I had just kind of been helping in the gym enough that it just was like a no brainer to kind of pursue that.

Jill: 06:36 – Vince and I went through the books together. We inventoried everything together. We negotiated, actually formally negotiated, a buy-in price, talked about sweat equity. That’s always a hard conversation for people when you’re going into a partnership. And both of us had sweat equity cause I did a lot of volunteer work to help get the business kind of up and running and obviously Vince did all the build-out to start the business. And thankfully we were able to come to a compromise that works well for both of us. And honestly like from the get-go, there was no change in how the gym operated because I had worked my way into the system at that point, which was awesome for the team. It was very seamless. What we did learn when we came on with Two-Brain is that me and Vince were way too nested in the business and weren’t working enough on the business. And that’s kind of the blessing that Two-Brain has brought us.

Mateo: 07:32 – So what was the impetus then for signing up for mentorship?

Jill: 07:35 – I had been on for about six months and knew that I had decent systems in place, but there had to have been more streamlined systems and I needed help with growing the business. So I knew that what we were doing in house was great, but I didn’t know how to get us to the next level. So we started researching and we looked at a number of different companies, but the values and the Help First mentality of Two-Brain is what led us there.

Mateo: 08:05 – Awesome. So you kind of spoke a little bit about it just now, but what was the real first change you saw after you started going through the Incubator and started—like what was the first big kind of lesson that you took away and were able to implement and see some changes?

Jill: 08:21 – So the very first thing that we did, roles and responsibilities. Like hands down the best—I would say that that’s the best part of Incubator period because it makes you break that out. That coupled with realizing that if I could not be cleaning and I could hire somebody else to clean and I outlined what I wanted that to be, I could make more money in that moment than if I was actually cleaning myself. That was huge.

Mateo: 08:49 – Yeah. The king-maker equation and figuring that out like, hey, like this is a $15 whatever-an-hour role that I’m filling, that if I outsource, I could be doing work that’s 20 an hour, 30 an hour, 50 an hour. I think is a really impactful lesson for a lot of people go through it. So that makes a lot of sense. That’s awesome. So tell me a little bit about the marketing for you. Prior to Two-Brain, you said you’ve seen a lot of organic growth. What was the outreach strategy before?

Jill: 09:20 – So I would say we did mainly affinity marketing, but didn’t know it was affinity marketing. So we did a lot of families. We’ve always had a really good kids program and that helped bring both parents kind of in the door. And then just, you know, word of mouth, like, people who liked us bringing their friends really was our organic growth. We did do some digital and social-media style marketing. But all we did was target interests. We didn’t really understand how to target our audience appropriately and get them in the door. So we would have people from like Washington, and we’re in Kansas, you know what I mean? Like react to our ads and we are like, OK, we need to get this more localized, we need to get this better targeted. And that was the very first thing that you guys helped us with for sure.

Mateo: 10:15 – That’s awesome. I want to talk more about that and what you worked on with Blake. But before I do, I just thought of something. So at your gym, you know, in your words, what is it that you sell and how do you sell it and who do you sell it to? Cause I don’t know much about the culture, but it sounds like if you have some pretty high-caliber athletes there, you know who is your market, who do you service and how do you form that culture and balance it with these high performers, with maybe the people who are not at that level.

Jill: 10:43 – So our mission is to bring health and fitness to as many people as possible. And that’s what we live and breathe. We don’t care what level athlete you are. And honestly, our main audience and who we mainly serve is women in their mid-thirties and forties range. And then, we use that to our advantage and try to get their husbands in and try to get their kids in. And it’s worked really well. We are very family centric facility. We offer childcare which helps draw a lot of people in that age range in. We also have a large military population here, with Fort Leavenworth, it’s literally about 10 minutes up the road from us. So that family kind of centric service is what we really, really focus on.

Mateo: 11:34 – That’s awesome. And the childcare that’s pretty clutch there. Not everyone has that. And I imagine that’s a big strategic advantage for you guys and your business. That’s great. OK. So then walk us through your paid advertising system. I mean, you sound like you really dialed it in. You’re getting, you know, three-dollar leads. So when the lead comes in, what happens?

Jill: 11:56 – So when a lead comes in, through our click funnel, they’re automatically sent to our UpLaunch system and UpLaunch has been absolutely amazing for us to help with lead management. So they’ll instantly get a text message, they’ll instantly get an email, even if they’re just a basic lead and they haven’t scheduled with us. Then within—well during the day, during our normal operating hours, somebody within hopefully an hour is our goal, will reach out, we will follow up with a text and then every day we make calls. We’ve had so many leads come in that I can’t call people immediately. I wish I could, that would be the game changer, I think. But we try to make calls once a day and call people. And actually that’s kind of been the game changer, I think. The people who are gonna come in our doors anyway schedule a No-Sweat right away.

Jill: 12:47 – The people who are on the fringe and answer their phone, we have a pretty high conversion rate of getting them in the door. Obviously we get a lot who don’t answer them.

Mateo: 12:59 – What’s your approach? Why do you think that is? What’s your approach once you get them on the phone?

Jill: 13:03 – So honestly our approach is that we follow the Two-Brain script for a No Sweat, like scheduling a No Sweat if somebody calls to schedule one. But we just tell people that we have numerous options and that we can work with any budget and that we can work with any goal. And that’s what I think really brings people in. And it’s the truth. Maybe our transformation, which is what we sell through our advertising isn’t right for you. If I can get you in the door, I can tell you what’s going to be right for you and I can point you in the right direction.

Mateo: 13:33 – Are you on the phone or do you have other staff on the phone?

Jill: 13:35 – Other staff on the phone.

Mateo: 13:37 – And how did you get people trained up to do that?

Jill: 13:39 – Role playing. Role playing is the best way to do that. And then obviously just telling people to jump in because like you just, the only way to really get over it is to do it. So me and my head coach do role playing with the coaches to train them up. We have two coaches that make most of our phone calls and we just pay them admin hours to do that. We role play them, bless them off, taught them a little bit about objectives, but not even—objections, not objectives. We didn’t even go super in depth with it. Just the normal stuff you’d hear on a phone call trying to set an appointment. And we’ve been doing great with that sense.

Mateo: 14:15 – That’s awesome. So, to clarify, you have coaches on staff who, to make a little bit extra, you pay them the admin rate to do these phone calls and lead nurture, correct?

Jill: 14:28 – Yup.

Chris: 14:29 – Hey guys, it’s Chris Cooper. If you’ve ever run out of money, you know that it affects every single corner of your life, all of your relationships, your business, even your self-worth. And so when I found a mentor in 2009, I said, I want to share this gift with everyone. Since then, I’ve been building and refining and improving a mentorship practice that we now call Two-Brain Business. We break our mentorship into several stages. The first stage is the Incubator, which is a 12-week sprint to get your foundation built, to get you started on retention and employee programs and finding the best staff, putting them in the best roles, training them up to be successful, and then recruiting more clients. It’s an amazing program. It is the culmination of over a decade of work. It’s also the sum of best practices from over 800 gyms around the world. These aren’t just my ideas anymore. What we do is track with data what’s working for whom and when, and we test new ideas against that data to say, is this actually better? Then when ideas have proven themselves conclusively, then we put it in our Incubator or Growth or Tinker programs. I just wrote “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” to define who should be doing what in what stage of entrepreneurship. But no matter where you are, the Incubator is your first 12-week sprint to get as far as possible in your business. We’re a mentorship practice for one reason: Mentorship is what works. We work with gym owners for one reason: Because you have the potential to change the world with us, and I hope you do.

Mateo: 15:57 – That is awesome. That’s great. OK, so the coaches are making these calls once they’re booked. I know you use UpLaunch, there’s a whole automated follow-up system there, but then what happens when they walk in the door?

Jill: 16:15 – So when they walk in the door, I have a team of three, myself, Vince, my partner, and then our head coach. Those are the only people right now who I have take No Sweats. And we greet them at the door. We ask them, you know, what do you know about Cobra? What do you know about CrossFit? Just kind of get a feel for that. And then we start a walking tour of the facility, but really it’s not a walking tour at all. It’s really us having an opportunity to walk and talk and learn about that person’s goals. So we have little touch points on our floor as you go through the building and certain cues that we want to ask people, you know, like what kind of goals do you have? If it’s weight loss then we always stop by the barbells and talk about resistance training and how great of a tool it is to help with weight loss. We ask about kids and family, what kind of job they have, what kind of hours they work just to get to know them, so by the time we actually hit the office, we have a pretty good idea of what their goals are, what’s going to be the best program for them and what other services in our facility they might be interested in.

Mateo: 17:19 – I think that’s really interesting and awesome because there’s a little bit of debate kind of in the sphere that we’re in where it’s like tour the facility, don’t tour the facility. Don’t waste your time, no one cares about your equipment, especially if you’re a CrossFit gym, you gotta like just sit them down. But I like how your approach, it’s part of the overall sales script where you have these identified points like, OK, when we reach the mats, we can ask them this icebreaker. OK, when we pass this squat rack, you know, you sprinkle in, you know, like you just said, you tie it into some of their goals. If it’s weight loss, well, strength training helps with weight loss. If it’s muscle gain, great. This rack will help you gain muscle, you know, you can kind of tweak it depending on what they’ve told you so far. And the walk and talk part, what you said was really, really awesome because yeah, it’s a way to break the ice and start to sell a little bit, but they don’t feel like it cause you’re not sitting down in that consultative setting. So I think that’s really, really, really cool. All right, so you get them into the office then and what happens there?

Jill: 18:26 – So once we’re in the office, we have our actual No Sweat sheet, which we’ve actually gone through about 90% of the questions at that point. So we just, if there’s anything that we lacked, we go in and make up that question. But it’s very conversation based. Then at that point we tell them like, hey, based on everything you kind of told me, here’s what I took away to kind of reaffirm that we have the right objective of the client. But then we tell them what we think, like, here’s what I think would be the best for you. And kind of start a two-way conversation with that. Cause some people, like sometimes people will tell me they have mobility issues and I’ll be like, hey, I think we should throw on yoga and just throw it out there.

Jill: 19:09 – And they’re like, no, nope. Not interested in yoga at all. OK, great. That’s a good conversation piece. But then we bust out our binder and start taking people through. But we only present what we think is a good fit for them. I know some gyms will take them through all the options. I don’t believe in that. I only present exactly what I want them to be interested in. And then I straight up ask, what do you think? Are we ready to sign up? And I pose it just like that. And most of the time we are able to close it.

Mateo: 19:41 – That’s amazing. That’s awesome. And obviously that process looks dialed in, I mean, 56 new members in the last, you know, less than eight weeks is pretty awesome. So that’s great. And how long did it take to develop that sales process? You know, and it sounds like you have three people who do it, you know, how long did it take to develop that and practice that and refine it?

Jill: 20:02 – So I would say that we obviously started developing the process when we went through the Incubator, which was a year ago, this September, we’re right at a year with Two-Brain. Honestly, we had a pretty decent system that was pretty close to Two-Brain’s prior to that, we just weren’t very good at asking for the sale. Right. And that was what we needed. I would say it took about six months to get where we knew exactly what talking points we wanted at what positions in the gym. And then, now, so probably January, February is when I think we hit our stride, but we only had two or three, No Sweats a week maybe back then. So now that we’re putting through 18, 20 a week, we’re very refined. I feel like we’re very—we can very much tell who we’re going to sell and what very early now. Which is awesome because it helps you just use that whole interaction to kind of shape everything.

Mateo: 21:02 – That’s awesome. And $3 leads, I want to circle back to that. So is your town small? Is it big? Where are you at? Do you have a lot of CrossFit gyms? I imagine you would. Kansas City is a pretty well-known place. What’s the deal there? What’s the story?

Jill: 21:16 – So we are actually in Basehor, Kansas. We are literally on the urban edge of Kansas City, Kansas. And in the area that we are in, we are the only CrossFit gym. We do have a CrossFit gym about 20 minutes to the north and about 20 minutes to the south. But we have about 200,000 in our area directly that are within a 10-minute radius of us. And that’s the game changer right there.

Mateo: 21:45 – Yeah. That explains it. If your CrossFit competitors are 20 minutes away and within your 10-minute radius, there’s already the population density of 200,000, that checks out. That makes sense.

Jill: 22:02 – We are also at the higher end, so we’re in the burbs of Kansas City. So we’re in an area where the residential area is a little bit higher income, which also helps us. Some of our competitors are not in that area. And obviously that changes their game a bit.

Mateo: 22:21 – Yeah. If they can’t charge as much as you are, whatever offer the one-on-ones and things like that. That yeah, if you’re able to charge, you can afford to spend more. And so it just, yeah, totally checks out there. Awesome. Well, maybe we have to cut this part out. We don’t want anyone moving into Kansas City thinking it’s a good idea to open a box. All right. Yeah. No one do that who’s listening. No one move over where Jill is. Awesome. So this is great. You’ve been able to come on as a part of an existing business, really help it grow, really, you know, take the reins and make some changes that have enabled you guys to grow rapidly. And the business has been around for four years already. So you’ve already got a lot of experience under your belt. What do you think has been the key to your success and the success of the team so far?

Jill: 23:16 – I would say that a big part of it is the team. It took us a while and we’ve had some transition finding the right team, people who understand our value, people who understand the importance of the client experience and helping clients. Not every trainer, not every coach out there has that in mind first. So it took us a little bit to build our team, but that is definitely what has set us apart and made us successful as we go. That coupled with, like I talked about earlier, our kind of family approach where it’s whole family fitness. We try to get everyone in and then honestly just developing tried and true systems that are efficient and keep the flow rapid, right. Like that keep it unimpinged so that they can, people can get through our system. They feel like they’re valued and feel like they’re getting what they deserve every day. Best hour of their day, right?

Mateo: 24:15 – I think that’s it. The happy place. That’s awesome. Thank you so much for coming on and taking the time. If people want to talk to you more, talk about Cobra Command, talk about comic books, talk about fitness. Where can they find you?

Jill: 24:34 – Yes. You can find us at or you can reach out to me directly at

Mateo: 24:43 – Awesome. Thank you.

Jill: 24:44 – Yeah, thank you. It was a pleasure to be with ya.

Mateo: 24:47 – Yeah, it was fun.

Greg: 24:52 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at


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.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.
Two-Brain Radio: CrossFit Memes With John Wooley

Two-Brain Radio: Converting More Clients With John Franklin and Mateo Lopez

Greg: 00:00 – It’s Greg Strauch of Two-Brain Media and on this week’s episode we get to hear from John Franklin and Mateo Lopez. You guys have heard Mateo on here on Marketing Mondays, but this is talking about converting more clients. This was originally recorded at the Two-Brain Summit of 2019. They dive into topics of lifetime value of a client, true cost of getting a new client and the true secret to getting rich quick. Make sure to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio to hear the very best tips, ideas and topics to move you and your business closer to wealth. Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics, interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

Chris: 00:55 – One of my favorite finds has been I linked up with Matt several months ago at Forever Fierce and he had some fantastic ideas, and so he and I have put together a couple of packages that we think are really going to help CrossFit affiliates everywhere. Two-Brain mentoring clients use Matt almost exclusively. He’s got fantastic designs and he takes all the work out of it. All that time that you spend searching the internet and Pinterest and junk like that for great CrossFit T-shirts? You don’t have to do that anymore. Matt has designs for you. You can put your logo on one of his templates, which are fantastic, and your clients will never know the difference. It saves you so much time that you could be using on other things like real marketing. He’ll also go so far as to remind you when it’s time to reorder. He’ll give you suggested order sizes, he’ll help you set up pre-orders so you’re not even fronting the cash for the inventory. It’s all amazing stuff built to help affiliates and that’s why I love this guy and this company,; they do all the Catalyst shirts, all the Two-Brain shirts, all the Ignite gym shirts. They do everything for every business that I own.

Mateo: 02:02 – Today we’re gonna walk you through a few things. The first is how to take control of your growth through marketing. The next thing, a key component of that is you need to know your numbers, right? How to calculate a marketing budget, how much is it going to cost you to acquire a customer, we’re gonna walk you through how to actually do that today. So you can do that for yourselves and your business when you go home. And the last thing we’re going to talk about is, John, the one weird trick to making more money in the fitness business. But before we get into all of that, I wanted to just share with you this quote from Henry Ford. Part of me just wants to leave this up here for the next 45 minutes and just have everyone meditate on this for a second.

Mateo: 02:41 – But, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” And the reason why I want to just leave it up here for 45 minutes and not say anything else is because, yeah, if you’re here, you’re looking for a way to grow your business. And we talk to gym owners every single day, we’ve talked to over 500 at this point. And when people want to learn from us and inquire about Two-Brain, it’s cause they’re in some trouble, they’ve hit a plateau, they’re looking to grow, they can’t figure out why or when finances are tight, right, they need additional revenue. And when finances are tight, usually the first thing to go when they’re cutting expenses is their advertising, is their marketing. I’ll talk to people that say, “Hey, I want to, you know, learn more about marketing. I wanna talk to you, learn more about ads, but I just lost five members. So like I gotta wait.” And it’s like, what? How are you going to get them? So, but I’ve been there, right? I understand the mindset. But hopefully today through the math and through some of the exercises, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable about all this. So what is good marketing, right? What is good marketing? Well for us, good marketing is anything that convinces your target client to make a purchase, to buy something from you. And the way the human brain works when you’re making a purchase is through this model, we call it the model, and we’re going to run through this very quickly and then I’ll share a personal story that’ll make this make more sense.

Mateo: 04:07 – First thing that has to happen before someone makes a purchase from you is awareness, right? So I can’t buy anything from you if I’m not aware that you or your business exists. So that’s the first thing is I got to know that you exist. The next step is interest, right? Once you’re aware of something or a gym or service, you have to develop some kind of interest in that service or that product. Something needs to happen to turn that interest and cultivate it into a burning desire or a need and eventually get to a point where you need it so badly that you buy it, right? You take action and you buy something.

John: 04:36 – Who was here last year? All right, cool. So the crux of our presentation last year was that you should spend your time and your effort developing a good service and delivering that service consistently, whether you’re delivering it or somebody else, and taking that service and turning it into a strong brand and taking that good service and turning it into a brand promise to your customers and not breaking that promise. And we think that’s the key to long-term business success. But the reality is figuring that out takes a really, really long time. Years. And is anybody here venture backed? No? Nobody. So we don’t have other people’s money, like years of other people’s money to figure this out. We need to make money now, and good sales and marketing buys you the runway and buys you the time to deliver effective service over and over again. Does that make sense? With me? All right, cool.

Mateo: 05:30 – So we’ll take you through what good marketing is now in more like a real-world example. This happened to me pretty recently, actually. I was talking with John and he said, “Teo, if money were no object, what would you be doing? What would you want to be doing with your free time and all the money in the world?” And I said, “John, you know what? I think we should buy some cool shirts and I think we should learn to become DJs. Let’s just travel the world playing fat beats for amazing parties and that’ll be that.” And he said, “That’s a great idea, Teo, let’s do it.”

John: 06:04 – We’re halfway there.

Mateo: 06:04 – Halfway there was the shirts. Later on, as fate would have it, I got served an ad on YouTube for this thing called MasterClass, and for those of you don’t know what it is, it’s an online course where you can learn things like crafts and cool art forms from celebrities, actors, chefs. I got served this ad on YouTube. It’s for Deadmau5, he has a class there on MasterClass, and for those of you who don’t know, he’s an electronic DJ. Said, oh this is pretty cool. And kind of timely. We were just thinking about becoming electronic DJs. So awareness; I got served the ad, I was aware that this thing called MasterClass actually exists. I opted in to learn more and I got served some emails. I was on their newsletter and my interest grew, right? Later on, I got this email, right? An automated email talking about a new course they had added from Timberland, who if you don’t know that is, all Jay Z songs, He’s amazing. I was like, I want to make hip-hop beats like him. And I bought the course. So that was a real-life example of my brain going through all of those phases.

John: 07:15 – And all this is to say that the three top parts of the funnel are necessary to get people to take action on the bottom of the funnel. So if any of you have ever gone up to a random person and asked them to sleep with you, chances are you know that sometimes the most direct way is not the most effective way. All right? There are other steps that need to be taken in order to get to the bottom of the funnel. And I’d argue if you took that approach and were successful, they probably had some interest or desire already. Somebody else did a good job of building that up.

Mateo: 07:48 – Someone was nurturing that lead.

John: 07:51 – Somebody did the groundwork for you. All right? Somebody automated that. All right. And so let’s go back to CrossFit before Chris fires us. Who affiliated before a 2012? Oh wow. How many of you were active on the forums like the CrossFit—do you guys remember Brian Strump? I remember being like, “Oh my God, that’s Brian Strump.” Two years ago at the Summit it was like, oh, that guy’s so smart. And then I found out he’s like the type of guy who has his assistant print out his email so he can like read them and write back. The mentality back then was kind of, if you build it, they will come, right? The forum was filled with these stories of people opening boxes and like they’d have a hundred members and they didn’t do any marketing. So you just kind of open up and then the members come, right? Do you guys remember that era? It was sweet. It cool. It was a good time.

Mateo: 08:56 – Affiliation was a sweet deal.

John: 08:58 – And the idea, again, the idea was if you build it they will come. But the reality, the mindset kind of like we talked about in the last slide is like if you build it and Greg Glassman does the marketing for you for 10 years and then he builds these pools of people who are interested in trying CrossFit and there’s no CrossFits in the city for them to try and then you open up a gym there, they will come, right? Like somebody did the legwork for you and present day, it’s a lot more saturated. Right? Like 10 years ago it was like try CrossFit. That was all you had to do. You had to get them to try CrossFit. And now it’s very much like try my CrossFit. In 2019, 2020 it’s even more competitive now, right? It’s no longer just like CrossFit, yoga, P90x or do nothing, right. In the U.S. alone, there’s 40,000 gyms. All right? And that doesn’t include boutique gyms, which like most of us classify as like a micro gym. And that doesn’t count single-member personal trainers. So these are guys running out of globo gyms. It doesn’t count Class Pass, it doesn’t count Peloton, it doesn’t count whatever the program Oscar uses to grow his calves on the internet. There’s just a lot more choices. And the reality is you need to speak to different people and deliver them compelling messaging if you’re going to stand out. And each part of the funnel. So each piece, the messaging is different than any other, right? So go back to the example of the action phase, asking somebody to sleep with you, again, like maybe asking them their name first is a little more appropriate.

Mateo: 10:33 – So what I want to do now is, you know, ask yourselves—I have a couple of questions I want you to ask yourselves while you’re sitting here, right? So do you plan out your marketing for the entire year? Do you have a plan mapped out or do you follow a more hit-and-miss strategy? Right? Try giving out some free trial classes here, maybe do a new year, New Year offer there. Maybe I’ll do some buy one get one, maybe I’ll do a Facebook ad over here or a Google ad over there. And then when you try all these methods, is your messaging consistent across all of them or are you speaking to your audience in a different way every single time? Are you communicating with your audience every single day? If you don’t have great answers to these questions, but you’re looking for a way forward, we want to do next is provide some context around that. Look at some other industries and how they market and maybe we’ll be able to find the way.

Mateo: 11:29 – So this is a study done, this is a CMO study done by Deloitte. And basically what they found was that across all these different industries, they will be spending anywhere between 4% to 25% of their total revenue on marketing. The lowest one is the energy system, energy industry.

John: 11:52 – You, sir. You sir. What’s your name?

Corey: 11:54 – My name is Corey.

John: 11:55 – Corey, where are you from?

Corey: 11:56 – Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

John: 11:58 – All right. Can you name for me the top five energy companies in Murfreesboro, Tennessee?

Corey: 12:03 – Yes. So starting at the bottom number—no, I have no idea.

John: 12:08 – All right, so Murfressboro, Tennessee. Can you name one? Yeah. Got it.

Mateo: 12:14 – Yeah. And so that’s the reason, right? Everyone needs power, so they don’t really need to say that message in a creative way. Everyone needs it. So there’s lots of people in the desire stage. There’s not a whole lot of options, right? There’s not a whole lot of competition.

John: 12:25 – Not a ton of options.

Mateo: 12:27 – For us in the fitness industry, we’re in the second highest spending category. Right? 15% consumer services.

John: 12:35 – You sir, what’s your name?

Andrew: 12:36 – Andrew.

John: 12:37 – And where are you from?

Andrew: 12:39 – Boston, Mass.

John: 12:40 – Boston. All right. Can you tell me four gyms in your area?

Andrew: 12:44 – Yeah. Mine.

John: 12:46 – Good start. Good start.

Andrew: 12:48 – And then three other CrossFit gyms in neighboring towns.

Mateo: 12:51 – Yeah. So there you go.

John: 12:51 – Way better than the electric.

Mateo: 12:53 – We need to spend a lot more to compete and to get our message out because, well, one, there’s just so many options and two, what we offer in a lot of cases is so undifferentiated. You got another question for them? I already said that. Expenditure on marketing and advertising is expected to rise, especially in social media. That same study found that social-media spending is expected rise over 75% over the next five years, right? The United States Small Business Administration, they recommend that for small businesses, you should be spending anywhere between 7%, 8% of your total revenue on marketing and advertising, right? And for them, a small business is any business that’s making less than $5 million in sales. So I think that’s probably most of us in this room. And if not, let’s talk some more, but I think that’s most of us in this room. So if you are making a $30,000 in revenue a month at your gym, Rob, that means that if it you should be spending somewhere around $2,400 on your ads according to just this, this metric. And why? Like that’s a lot of money. I know for a lot of us, you know, we’d rather you know, spend it on our members or maybe pay ourselves or you know, why spend all this money on ads, and if we are going to, what’s the best way to do that? Well, if you think about your business in a new way, that might help answer that question, right? If you think of your business as a subscription-based business, because that’s what it is, right? A gym membership is a subscription. If you think about it that way, then it’s going to be a little bit easier for us to walk through the numbers and explain how best use that marketing budget. So what we wanna do now is walk you through a couple examples of some of the fastest growing and some of the largest subscription-based companies in the world. And then if there’s anything we can learn and take from them.

john: 14:54 – It’s my turn, Rob. All right, so you ever hear of a company called Netflix? All right. How much does Netflix spend on marketing?

Rob: 15:04 – 98.9 per new subscriber.

John: 15:06 – Yeah, that’s a great job, Rob. So guys, Netflix does about 15 billion in revenue and of that 15 billion,

Mateo: 15:16 – It’s a B, it’s a capital B.

John: 15:16 – They do $2 billion in marketing spending. All right, so pretty substantial amount, much more than the average gym spends on marketing as a percentage of total revenue, and gross, too, for most, you know. And so we know because they’re a publicly traded company that it costs them about a hundred dollars to acquire a new customer. What does it cost for a month of Netflix? You can say it out loud. It’s fine.

Mateo: 15:46 – I think they just raised the price.

John: 15:48 – Let’s assume it’s 10 bucks, because that’s what the math I did. So you screw up the whole thing if they raise the prices, it’s not gonna work. All right, so let’s say it’s about 10 bucks. So why would Netflix spend $100 for a $10 subscription? What’s your name?

Sean: 16:12 – Sean.

John: 16:12 – Any idea? No?

Mateo: 16:17 – Seems like a silly strategy, John, why would they do that?

John: 16:18 – Chris?

Chris: 16:19 – Because their lifetime value is more than that.

John: 16:22 – Yes. All right. So Netflix in that first month, they actually lose $90 for every customer they acquire. But they know the value of a customer over the lifetime is many times that hundred dollar acquisition cost, right? So if they spend $100 and they wait a little bit and they track their metrics, they know that they’re going to get $450 back. So they’ve effectively created a cash machine, right? They put a dollar in marketing and they get $4 and 50 cents back. It’s a pretty good deal.

Mateo: 16:53 – Another great example, who has a Kindle? Anyone have a Kindle here? I don’t have one, but I think maybe they’re cool. Maybe they’re cool. I don’t know. So Amazon uses a similar strategy with their Kindle product, right? They’ll take a $500 million loss on their sales of their Kindle products, but the reason they do that is because they know they’re going to make that money back and much, much more on the back end because once you buy the Kindle, you’re going to use that an purchase ebooks. You’re going to buy movies and TV shows and you’re gonna stream music. You’re going to download some apps. Those apps will have advertisements, and so they’ll take a $500 million loss in order to make 2 billion dollars on the back end from those sales that come from the products associated with the Kindle.

Mateo: 17:37 – Other examples of this, Dollar Shave Club, they’ll take a loss on their handles and the kits, their blades, on the front end because they know that every month you’re needing to subscribe and purchase more new fresh blades. Cell phone companies. You see this all the time, right? You’ll see ads for a free iPhone or super discounted Galaxy new phone because they know they’re going to lock you into a long-term contract for years and years and years. Even milk and eggs, grocery stores—I didn’t know this, I didn’t know this until I researched this for this presentation. Milk and eggs are often sold at a loss at grocery stores, but they’re positioned at the back of a store, right? So you have to actually walk through the isles through more expensive packaged goods and literally adding things to your cart as you go to get the milk and eggs.

Mateo: 18:21 – So what these all are, are examples of what we call loss leaders, right? This is where a business is OK losing some money on the front end of the sale because they know they’re gonna make that money back and much, much more in profits on the back end. So much more. The lifetime value of my gyms is actually pretty high. You can ask Ashley and he’s in the room somewhere. Ryan and Jay and then Ashkan, they’re over here. So I’m perfectly comfortable breaking even on the front end of my introductory offers, like a six-week program or a 12-week program, I’m even okay losing money because I know those members are going to stay and stay and stay and we’ll make all that money back. But here’s the deal. We’re actually living in the golden age of digital advertising where you can actually acquire customers at a price that’s so low that more often than not, you can make a profit on the front end. And that’s amazing. Yeah, it’s amazing. And it’s a lesson that, you know, some of the clients we work with, it takes a little bit of time to learn, right? Who you got there, John?

John: 19:27 – What’s your name sir?

Jay: 19:27 – My name’s Jay.

John: 19:30 – Jay, you won an award yesterday. What’d you win?

Jay: 19:32 – I’m going to the CrossFit Games.

John: 19:35 – What’d you do?

Jay: 19:36 – Courtesy of HSN and Nicole back there, I made a sweet little testimonial video.

John: 19:40 – The presentation is sponsored by UpLaunch, so you’re not allowed—so for those of you that don’t know, Jay was one of the first clients through our program. And like I remember like it’d be like six, 7:00 PM and I would get like a call or like a text message, a panic thing from Jay being like, Oh shit man. The Facebook stuff’s not working. It’s not working. And I’d be like, Jay, Jay, how much did you spend?

Mateo: 20:12 – $400

John: 20:13 – And how much did you make?

Mateo: 20:15 – $3,000.

John: 20:17 – So why is it not working?

Mateo: 20:20 – I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like it.

John: 20:22 – Just stick with it, Jay, a little bit, it’s gonna be OK.

Mateo: 20:27 – So we’ll talk about an example that’s a little bit closer to home, I think. John’ll walk you through. You guys heard of this company, Orange Theory Fitness? Anyone heard of it? Raise your hand if you—

John: 20:40 – Are they in like Europe in Australia and stuff now? No? All right. Well, they do like a boot-campy type class. And we know for a fact that they spent pretty close to $20 million last year getting people to take a free class. So $20 million giving something away for free. And again, we’re beating a dead horse here, but it’s an important concept to get in your head because a lot of people exhibit the same kind of panic and anxiety that my good friend Jay does, where like he will be having a very, very successful campaign. But because it’s not making him like $50,000 every month, like feel a little panicked. So let’s look at why Orange Theory would spend $20 million to give something away for free. So we know that they’re probably getting leads for about 10 bucks a pop. And from that we know that for every 10 leads they get, maybe one will come in and try a free trial class.

John: 21:34 – So it cost them 100 bucks to get somebody to just come in and take a free class. And once they take a free class, we’re guessing about one in every five sign up for a membership. With me so far? So it cost them about 500 bucks to get a new member. And Orange Theory pricing’s about a buck 50. Their retention isn’t as good as most like high-level CrossFit gyms because it’s like the same workout over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. And so their lifetime value is about 900 bucks. And so for them, they know they can spend $20 million giving away something for free because it costs them 500 bucks to get a new customer but they know over the long term their business is going to get $900 of revenue for that customer. So again, just a winning funnel, like a dollar in almost $2 out.

John: 22:19 – And I want to take a minute. How many of you guys know what a ClassPass is? Okay, so yeah, ClassPass is something where like, they’ll bring people into your gym, like you pay a third of what you would normally pay. How many people know what like Groupon is? Okay, cool. And so I want to take a minute because like technically Groupon and ClassPass, those are forms of marketing, right? They bring people into your gym and you probably hope to sell them into long term memberships. Right? But like Teo said earlier—I’m not there yet, you’re spoiling it.

Mateo: 22:55 – I was excited. Sorry.

John: 22:56 – It’s okay. We’re not used to doing presentations with air conditioning. That’s why. So he said good marketing is anything that persuades your target audience. So these are like your Pumpkin-Planned best customer type people to take a desire to action within your business. All right. And we’ve worked with, I don’t know, a lot more now, probably like 500-ish gyms through the marketing program. And we ask every single one of them like, Hey, who’s your target client? Like, who do you want to work with? 30 to 40 years old? Dual-income families. What about you?

Mateo: 23:39 – The whole family.

John: 23:41 – That’s why you guys are dressed so sharp, you’re smart. Okay. So nobody has ever said to us like, hey, the type of people I want in my gym are like gym hoppers, like really transient people that just love chasing novelty. Like something opens up, they got to try it. And not only that, like they want to pay 50% of the actual price. That would be amazing if I could just get those people in hordes to come to my gym. That would be awesome. Like they would ask for the moon, pay for sand and leave a one-star review if the towels aren’t right. Like that’s it. Those are my people. And so like we kind of developed and evolved this idea about marketing kind of playing off of a quote that Charlie Munger said, does anybody know who Charlie Munger is? Who’s Charlie Munger? Yeah, Warren Buffet’s investment partner. And so they created this idea, at the time, like Warren Buffet would buy like failing companies and at like a really cheap price. Right? And then they started investing in better stuff. And the quote is “A great business at a fair price is superior to a fair business at a great price,” and that kind of like echoes, like I have a similar sentiment about marketing. Like a great customer at a fair price is a lot better than a fair customer at a great price. And that’s kinda how I feel about Groupon and ClassPass, right? You’re getting bad people at a good price where I’d much rather pay a higher premium through honest advertising on Facebook or whatever method, you know, works for you guys, nd get the people that work for my gym, my target people. And so all of this to say like, I know we kind of beat a dead horse a little bit with this—.

Mateo: 25:20 – We beat the dead horse.

John: 25:24 – -Get rich by losing money. And it’s a counter-intuitive idea, right? You go back, when I say get rich by losing money, think of Netflix, right? Spend a hundred dollars to get that $10. As long as you know you’re getting the 450 on the back end, right? It takes discipline. But if you know your numbers, you can be resilient throughout this process and develop a huge competitive advantage because I’m here to tell you ads are only going to get more expensive and acquisition cost is only going to get more expensive, and if you’re sophisticated about the way you go about your advertising, like you are going to clean up. All right? But it takes two pieces of data to kind of do this well.

Chris: 26:04  Hello my friends. It is Chris Cooper here. Since 2009 I have been writing daily blog posts, producing podcasts, videos, all kinds of stuff on social media with one mission in mind: to make gyms profitable. I came to that mission because I was an unprofitable gym owner. It almost ruined my finances and almost ruined my career, my marriage, everything. And since that day, since I made my recovery, I have wanted to help other gym owners become profitable, too. It’s part of my mission to the world because if you’re profitable, you’ll be here changing lives of thousands of your clients for the next 30 years. I think together we can have a tremendous impact. When we started mentorship, I did every single call myself. I was doing up to a thousand free calls a year and I was doing 10 calls with people who signed up for our early mentorship program, but the Incubator has been updated and improved a dozen times since then. Now the Incubator is really the sum of all of our experiences with over 800 gyms worldwide. In the Two-Brain mentorship program, we can now learn from everybody. We can collate data, we can see what’s working where and when and what the new gold standards are as they emerge. When somebody has a great idea, we can test it objectively and say, “Will this work for everyone or will it work for people on the West Coast or on the East Coast?” We can do that with little things like Facebook ads. We can also do that with operations and opening times and playbooks. All the questions that you have about the gym, we can answer them with data and with proof now. That’s the Incubator. It’s more than what I wrote about. It’s more than my experience. It is the best standard in the fitness industry, period. And I hope to see you in there.

John: 27:46 – The first piece is just lifetime value. So what is a customer worth to you, and your target acquisition cost. So what can you pay to get a new customer? And every example we just went through like that was all we were talking about is like, cost them this much, they got that much back, right? Simple enough when I’m on here, like onstage saying it, much harder when you’re in your gym trying to actually like figure it out. So we’re going to go through some examples to show you how to do this for yourself.

Mateo: 28:13 – So you guys get a little notebook in your little baggy? Or something to take notes with? Pen and paper? Get those out right now we’re gonna do a little bit of math. So bring those out. We’re gonna do it together.

John: 28:25 – You may get called on.

Mateo: 28:25 – You may get called on, so have the pen and paper. So let’s say that you wanted to add 10 new members to your gym next month. Let’s find someone, John.

John: 28:38 – What table do you want?

Mateo: 28:38 – That table. Orange shirt. I like the orange shirt. I saw it. Yeah. Do you know how much money you would need to spend and allocate for your marketing budget in order to get 10 new members?

Orange shirt: 28:51 – No idea.

Mateo: 28:52 – Okay. That’s all right. Maybe mustache?

John: 28:55 – Wow. Those guys best dressed, best mustache over here. Two-Brain Marketing awards.

Mateo: 29:06 – 10 members next month. What’s your marketing budget?

Mustache: 29:08 – No idea.

Mateo: 29:08 – Okay, cool. We’ll try one more time. And don’t ask Jason. He probably knows by now. That table. That right there.

John: 29:19 – Let’s go the back here. Coming right at ya. 10 new members, what does it cost?

Guest: 29:25 – 1500 to 2000.

Mateo: 29:27 – How did you get that number?

Guest: 29:29 – It was fed to me by the gym owner.

John: 29:29 – Oh, Amal.

Mateo: 29:35 – So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re actually gonna calculate it out right now. We’ll walk you through it. As John said, you’re gonna need a couple of numbers here. The thing that we really need to figure out is your target acquisition costs for your client, right? Once you have that number, how much it cost you to get just one new member, just multiply that number by the amount of members you want, and then you have your marketing budget for the month, right? Pretty simple math. So you’re gonna need these three numbers here. First one’s gonna be lifetime value of your clients. Once you have that number, you’re going to subtract it from the amount of profit you want to make. And the last thing you’ve got to subtract out is the expenses, right?

Mateo: 30:09 – So whatever’s left over, that’s your target acquisition costs for new members. So lifetime value was the first one we need to figure it out, right? So how do we do that? This man right here with the glasses.

Ashley: 30:22 – Hello, my name is Ashley.

John: 30:22 – And how do you figure out lifetime value of a customer?

Ashley: 30:31 – Figure out your lifetime value of the customer by getting your average length of engagement. And you multiply it by its average costs. In essence, you get that average lifetime value.

Mateo: 30:41 – Oh, it’s really close.

John: 30:42 – Very close. Very close.

Mateo: 30:44 – He said length of engagement. So we get the LEG. What’s the other thing we need? So you multiply your ARM by your LEG, right? So, let’s not ask Ashley because—actually Brian, what’s the LEG at Bowery CrossFit. Nine months. Okay. And then let’s ask that person right next to you. What’s your ARM? If you don’t want to say it’s fine, but.

Jess: 31:16 – Hi, my name is Jess.

Mateo: 31:17 – Hi Jess. What’s the ARM at your gym?

Jess: 31:21 – $163 and 57 cents.

Mateo: 31:24 – Perfect. That’s the exact math—

John: 31:29 – We actually used $166.

Mateo: 31:32 – Everyone right now write down $166. That’s the ARM. And then nine months is the leg. That was amazing. I’m so happy. All right, so the math on that, if you can’t do the multiplication, it’s going to be approximately, we’re going to round up. Should be, and someone can check me. It should be close to 1500 bucks, right? $1,500.

John: 31:53 – So this is nine months, 166 a month total lifetime value.

Mateo: 31:57 – Next thing we need is target profit, right? How do we figure that out at Two-Brain? What model do we use for that? John Briggs? What model do we use to figure out our profit margins? Oh, what’s his name?

John: 32:11 – I hear some spoilers.

Mateo: 32:12 – -I heard it. 4/9ths. The 4/9ths Model, right? So 4/9ths Model, working from that, that means we like to take home 33—we like to operate at 33% profitability, right? So again, want to make the numbers a little easier. We’re gonna round down 30% so to figure out your target profit, you’re going to take your lifetime value—.

John: 32:31  – Which is what?

Mateo: 32:32 – 1500 bucks, right? And then you’re going to multiply that by 0.3 right? That the math?

John: 32:41 – Yeah. That’s your target profit. So 30%.

Mateo: 32:44 – You should get close to something like—

John: 32:48 – Anybody got it?

Mateo: 32:51 – 450? Someone said it. 450, all right. The last one is expenses. This one’s going to be a little trickier. There’s a lot of different ways you can do this. This is really just to give you a rough estimation here. So for expenses, right? What it costs to fulfill this one client, not your total expenses, right? You’re just one client. So what you’re going to do is you take your overhead for their length of engagement. So what does it cost to operate your gym for those nine months? Right? So let’s say that’s your overhead and your CAM, your rent, your repairs, all that good stuff. Let’s just say to operate your gym for nine months, it’s going to cost you $72,000. You got to divide that by the amount of members you have. So let’s say you have a hundred members at your gym, Ashley, someone, some easy math, right? That means that you’re over—it’s going to be 720. So write that down on your little sheet there. And then you’re going to add in some additional staff expenses. Like if you pay out a fee for on-ramp, let’s say it’s 100 bucks, that means your expenses are 820.

John: 33:51 – When he says like the fee he means like if you do like one-on-one on-ramp, right. So that’s like an incremental cost for a new member. So whatever the 4/9ths of your on-ramp costs, like we just assumed it was a 100 bucks.

Mateo: 34:04 – So we have all our variables, right? We can figure our target acquisition costs, lifetime values, 1500, subtract the profit, subtract your expenses and you’re left with $230. That’s the amount that you can spend to acquire one new member. Let that sink in for a second. $230. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of money.

John: 34:26 – So if you needed 10 members, you have also a very good mustache. A very nice mustache. So if you needed 10 members, what would your marketing budget for that month B.

Guest: 34:38 – I didn’t do all the math yet.

Mateo: 34:40 – That’s okay. The target acquisition cost is 230, we need 10 of those people. What’s the budget?

John: 34:49 – It’s all right. It’s all right. Anybody, someone else. There we go.

Mateo: 34:54 – $2,300. That’s your marketing budget for the month. Amazing. So we got it.

John: 35:00 – And as you get better at acquiring customers and as you do more marketing, this creates a virtuous cycle. All right? So we’re going to do another example that shows by how keeping cost consistent, but having more members or charging more per member creates an even further moat in your marketing. Let’s go ahead. All right. Where are you from? North of Seattle. Okay, perfect. So let’s assume you and I both have a gym in Seattle and our costs are identical. All right? And we both charge the same amount of money, but maybe you’re like a better marketer, a better operator. You have 200 members. I only have a hundred members. All things consistent. Who’s making more money? Me? You. Okay? Yes, that is the correct answer. And as a result of that, who can spend more money to acquire new customers? Yeah, you’re a smart man, smart man. And same thing. Let’s assume that we have the exact same costs and the exact same amount of members, but I charge $100 and maybe your service is a little more refined. You charge $200 again, who’s making more money? Yeah, you’re the rich guy. And so this graph just shows target acquisition cost and over the x axis is your number of members or your cost per member. And we’re just assuming that costs remain constant. And it just shows that as you grow, you can spend more money to market. And again, if you’re able to outspend your competition, you have a huge competitive advantage as ad costs grow.

Mateo: 36:44 – So we’ve been talking a lot about marketing. We talked about how you don’t want to, you know, cripple your mechanism for growth. So maybe you’re—now you know how to calculate your marketing budget. Now you know how much you need to spend, but what’s the best way to deploy and use that budget, right? What’s the best marketing strategy moving forward? And a key component to our overall marketing campaign and our acquisition strategy is digital advertising. We really like digital advertising for a couple of reasons. One, it’s still really, really cost effective for small business owners like us, right? It’s still really, really, amazing how you can get a cheap lead costs through digital advertising no matter if it’s channels like Facebook or Google, Instagram. The other thing we really like about it is it’s easy to track your ROI. So before let’s say, all right, I know that I have a $2,300 set aside for marketing, before your only options really were print ads, maybe a newspaper ad or radio ad. And you’d have to wait a really long time to reap the benefits, if at all, from those marketing efforts. But with digital advertising, you can see the results in real time. You know how much it costs to get your message out, to get someone to come through your door and to sell them.

Mateo: 37:55 – And what’s better is you can also track and quantify how much you spend on leads. We just talked about how much you can spend to acquire a new customer. Now that you’re, let’s say you’re using digital ads, you have all these leads coming through. How much should we spending on leads? Right? Well, there’s a simple formula for that. If you want to figure out your maximum cost per lead, maximum allowable cost for your business, for your leads, you just take your target acquisition costs and you multiply it by your conversion rate. So for our gym Ashley Mak, we won’t put you on the spot. We’ll just talk about you. You don’t have to talk about yourself. At our gym from paid advertising strategies, leads that come in through those pipelines, our sales conversion rate’s about 20% so John, if we get a hundred leads, how many are we selling? 20. Great, awesome. Thank you John. And so you have your 20% conversion rate. We plug in our target acquisition cost that we just did from before with all that math that everyone here was doing, that was 230. So we multiply that by 20%. That means that maximum cost per lead is $46.

John: 38:57 – Anybody here get leads for less than $46?

Mateo: 39:01 – Yeah. It’s amazing. It’s amazing, especially when most of the, like I said before, most of these platforms will allow you to do that. And it’s amazing when you consider lead costs across other industries, right? You know, in the finance sector, in the tech and computer sector, leads are on average 45, $47, right? Marketing and media, $24. And what’s amazing is a lot of the Two-Brain clients that we work with, they’re generating leads for around 20 bucks, even in the most competitive markets like Florida and Colorado.

John: 39:32 – Now the good part. t wouldn’t be a sales and marketing presentation if I did not do at least one section on getting rich quick. Okay? So what we’re going to do is we’re going to teach you, it’s Teo’s, actually, one weird trick for making more money. Who here would like a raise today? Who here would like to make some more money? All right, this is perfect. Should we tell them?

Mateo: 39:54 – Banks hate this guy.

John: 39:55 – Oh they hate—if you ever want like a good time, Google the one weird trick meme. Not now. All right, so let’s get to it. It is pick up the phone. All right? And this is probably pretty upsetting for a lot of you.

Mateo: 40:11 – I’m sorry Rob. I’m sorry dude. I wanted to impress you, but this is—

John: 40:15 – This is the best thing we could come up with. No, guys, a lot of feedback that we get from people within the course is like, oh, lead quality is bad. Or how do I improve my leads? Or how do I change my pictures or my text in order to get my leads down $3. And if there’s one thing we want you guys to take away today is that excellent lead nurture matters so much more than excellent Facebook ads. And as the marketing people, it is tough for us to say that. But the last portion of this presentation, the last exercise, we’re going to prove to you that most people in this room are leaving between five to six figures of annual revenue on the table by doing improper lead nurture. All right. Let’s ask some people some questions. Let’s ask Rob. No, Rob knows the right answers. All right. Hi, what’s your name?

Mason: 41:13 – Mason.

John: 41:14 – Mason. How do you get leads? Do you do any paid advertising? No. Okay. So how do you get a lead? Okay, social media, word of mouth, and they’ll fill out like a form on your website and say, hey, I want to sign up? Okay. And then what do you do?

Mason: 41:34 – And then we talk to them.

John: 41:37 – Like you give them a call? So you don’t—you never call them. Okay.

Mateo: 41:43 – Moving right along.

John: 41:51 – Let’s see. I’m looking right at you. All right. Do you do any paid advertising? You do not. How do you get leads? Okay. And they fill out a form on your website or the—okay. They email you and then what do you do? It’s like you call him and have him schedule a No-Sweat Intro. No. Okay. Email. Got it. And what about you? Okay, so just all organic and then email them. Okay, cool. Cool. All right, we’re ready now.

Mateo: 42:31 – So yeah. I mean the point of this story is, you know, this is going to be important for you, right? Regardless if you do paid ads or not, right.

John: 42:41 – We should preface this, this is not just for paid advertising. Everybody gets leads. If you need to sell memberships to keep your gym open, you need to do lead nurture. You have leads.

Mateo: 42:51 – So this was a study done, Harvard business review. They surveyed over 2,000 businesses and they found that, well I guess before we do that, if someone does inquire right, raise your hand if you call them at least one time?

John: 43:08 – You gave them the answer.

Mateo: 43:09 – Oh, I did?

John: 43:10 – It’s okay.

Mateo: 43:12 – What about two times? Three times? Four times? Okay. Got It. Okay. So here’s the situation, right? A lot of businesses do the same things, like don’t feel bad. But they found that most sales reps give up way too soon, right? If you have a one-call or two-call system, the chances of you making contact with a lead is actually only 35 to 40%. 30 to 30 to 35%. Right? But by the sixth call attempt, by the sixth time you reach out to your prospect or your lead, the chances of you making contact with that person, they jump up to 90%. Right? So if you’re not reaching out to your leads multiple times, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

John: 44:01 – Just think about that. Like a hundred people fill out the form, and if you contact them six times, you’re going to talk to 90 of them. If you do it once, there’s 55 people you never got in contact with. Just gone.

Mateo: 44:16 – On top of that, right? It’s not just the amount of outreach attempts. The other thing that’s really critical is speed response, right? So in that same study, they found that over 74% of companies take more than five minutes to respond to a new lead. Now I know that’s tough for a lot of us, right? We’re one-man bands or two-man shops. You know, you’re coaching class, you’re meeting with members, but this is a huge deal, right? If you can crack this code, if you can respond to your leads in less than five minutes, you’re going to have an advantage over 75% of your competition.

John: 44:51 – You’ll feast. All right. So the odds of qualifying a lead become 21 times greater if you respond in less than five minutes. Versus if you respond 30 minutes, and that’s like a Netflix show, like that’s an inconsequential amount of time. And if you’re responding to leads with a phone call in less than 30 minutes, you’re doing a damn good job like you’re top 1% of the industry. But if you want to feast, if you want to be better than 99.9% of gym owners and you want to set yourself up for the highest likelihood of success, if you want to give yourself a raise, you call them in less than five minutes because think of that, Teo and I have a gym. He calls in 30 minutes. I call in five minutes. He has to spend $21 in ads just to keep up with every dollar I spend because I do a better job of nurturing the leads than he does. So he might have the best freaking pictures and the best freaking copy, but I’m going to be able to make it up on the back end because I have such an advantage in qualifying leads quickly. One hour versus two hours. So lead comes in. Lacey’s really busy. She has to go coach a class. Maybe she’ll come back, call them later, somebody else calls him right then, seven times more likely. You can go to the next one. Saturday I get a lead. I want to wait cause I’m tired. Somebody else, Teo is on the phone, hounding them down, trying to get them to come in for a No-Sweat Intro. He’s 60 times more likely to qualify that lead. So that’s a one to 60 spread. And I would guess most gym owners in the micro, like in the CrossFit space take more than a day to contact leads.

John: 46:21 – All right. And I can tell you that a lot of the big box franchises do not. They call their leads and they call their leads quickly. And a lot of affiliates, a lot of smaller gyms like to hate on that model. But the reason they do that, the reason they invest in front desk people, the reason they invest in call people is because it’s effective. All right? Say what you will about their programming. Say what you will about the results. Like those franchises, those models work because they are good at getting people to come in the door and sign up. And again, like we said last year, if you believe that what you are doing is important, it is your job to call people quickly to give yourself a 60 x advantage over the CrossFit down the street.

John: 47:00 – To further the points, 50% of sales just go to the person who responds first. So it doesn’t—like I’m looking to lose weight. I’m going to fill out a couple contact forums. Again, everybody around you. Raise your hand if you have a CrossFit less than five miles away? Keep them up if there’s more than two, keep them up more than three, more than four like, yeah. So it sounds like most are in the two to three range and chances are I’m a prospective member, I’m going to fill out all of those and if there’s CrossFitty-type things, or even if you’re a yoga studio, I’m going to do multiple, right? And you have a 50% chance of just getting that sale regardless of your business, regardless of your price, if you just get them on the phone and talk to them.

Mateo: 47:45 – What we want to do now is do a little exercise and see if we can try and improve ourselves and our businesses today.

Christophe: 47:56 – Christophe Kettleman

John: 47:56 – Where you from?

Christophe: 47:57 – Boise, Idaho.

John: 47:57 – All right. Solve everybody’s problems. All right, let’s hear what you got to say.

Christophe: 48:02 – So I use the service center of Idaho. They’re a digital call center. There’s a lot of different digital call centers out there. I just use one that’s local to me. But you train them. You can either do it like a Zoom meeting and teach them and that kind of stuff. Do it in person, whatever the case may be. The place I use charges me by the minute, so 70 cents a minute, if they spend three minutes on the phone and I get it a No-Sweat Intro, I call it a win. Additionally, I can talk to them if I have problems like say they’re scheduling and they’re just, the verbiage is not right or whatever the problem is, I can immediately address it and retrain the same way I would if it was my own staff. But because it defers to them, they’re 24, seven. So if at Sunday night at 3:00 AM I get somebody calling or somebody goes onto my Facebook ad ata 10 o’clock and says, you know what, I’m really interested in this, UpLaunch sends them an email, immediately sends them a text message, it defers to my service center who gets the notification and then they call them at 10 o’clock at night or 3:00 AM on a Sunday. So that person who’s interested doesn’t have to wait till the next morning til the next hour to the next minute.

John: 49:02 – Thank you Chris. So I know there are a lot of, yeah, round of applause. I know there are a lot of services that deal with inbound calls and that is a great solution. Use them for outbound too. I know outbound’s a little trickier and some states have like rules and regulations around outbound. I mean, the best solution is either you do it or somebody else does it within your gym. This sounds like, you know, we’ve never done that so we can’t advise. But maybe we’ll look into it. Any, any other questions? I hope that helped a little bit. But yeah, like, if you’re doing paid advertising, like, and it’s taking you a day to get, you said, Ryan, you said it takes you about an hour?10 to 30 minutes. Right. So if you can get somebody to coach your classes, and you know, most leads come through at pretty predictable times, right? It’s like pretty early in the morning, pretty late at night and on weekends. And so, again, if you’re running paid advertising, you should have a pretty decent idea. Like, if I spent $100 a day, my leads are 10 bucks, I know I’m gonna get 10 leads a day. Like, you know they’re coming, right. And some of the math we showed you, it was like you could 21 x your qualifying rate by doing better lead nurture. Like does it make sense for you to pay somebody 20, 30 bucks to coach a class so you can be available like to do phone nurture or somebody15 bucks an hour to be by the phone even if they don’t use it? My answer is yes.

John: 50:32 – Especially like no brainer, Saturday, Sunday nights like right. And not everybody, you know, everybody’s going to be at a different part of the journey. Everybody’s going to get a different amount of leads. And again, like if you’re not doing it in less than five minutes, that’s not optimal. Right? But again, like under 30 is great, right? Like most of the people aren’t calling at all. Like most of the people in this room don’t call. So they get a call from you in under 30, give yourself a pat on the back for that. Like that’s a huge advantage, right? But you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. And so that should be your goal. Like your goal should be to get in a position where you’re down to five minutes. But like, you know, don’t cry about 30; 30 is pretty good. Any other questions? Any other questions? If your target acquisition cost is negative, do you recommend doing paid advertising? And the answer was no. I do not recommend doing paid advertising if you can only afford negative dollars to get a new member. There’s differing opinions about this. I would defer to my good friend Teo.

Mateo: 51:35 – There’s different schools of thought. I mean, for us personally it’s a double dial and then a text and then we repeat that process throughout the day.

John: 51:48 – Like a three by two is pretty good. So like two, one of the morning, one immediately, one at night, one in the morning, one at night after and then a text after.

Mateo: 51:55 – And then our automated like email stuff through whatever, you know, whether it’s UpLaunch or whatever automated system you have that on top of all that.

John: 52:04 – Video text is amazing.

Mateo: 52:05 – The caveat with video text is like, you got to be charismatic on camera. If you are not, it will do the opposite effect.

John: 52:14 – Yeah. So if you’re like a total weirdo, don’t do video text, like.

Mateo: 52:17 – But you don’t know until you sent out a couple couple of video texts.

John: 52:22 – Test the waters. Yes. In the back. What was your name? Miles.

Mateo: 52:29 – Yes. Always confirm appointments. Oh, his question was, let’s say someone’s just super gung ho and they go all the way through all of your roadblocks and opts-in and finds a scheduling page and then actually books the intro all on their lonesome. Do you still call them? And I just said, yes, I highly encourage you to confirm your appointments. And it’s also great—like all of that’s part of the client journey, right? That your opportunity to now nurture that. Like your nurture doesn’t stop, right? They still have to make the sale. And even when they are clients, like every month when that renewal comes up, that’s a sales opportunity, right? So you’re never not nurturing. And so to call and confirm, you can use that opportunity to start building those relationships and talking to those people. And you can do that with a video text. Say, hey, like, you know, I saw you booked. I’m super excited. This is my face of the person that you’re going to see when you come in. This is the door of the gym, you know, it’s by the hot pot restaurant underneath in the basement, if you can’t find it, that’s why. And then I’m excited to see you. You know, that those are just some things that you can do to make that experience a little bit more unique and make you stand out.

John: 53:34 – If you’ve ever been to like a super nice restaurant, like they’re going to call you ahead of time and be like, we’re really excited for your appointment to serve you. And like, do you have any dietary restrictions? And like that’s to like reinforce the appointment. You get really excited and you get that extra level of touch point and service. And like, unless your show rate is like 100% and your close rate is pretty close to a hundred percent, in which case you should raise your prices, yeah. Like that’s still bad cause you should raise your prices, you don’t need to do it. I said that wrong. You absolutely need to do it.

Mateo: 54:07 – Unless you’re that person, you need to do it.

Mateo: 54:08 – Thank you Teo.

Mateo: 54:09 – You’re welcome. All right.

John: 54:13 – Any other questions? All right. Thank you.

Greg: 54:24 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

Greg Strauch will be here every Thursday with the Two-Brain Radio Podcast.

Two-Brain Marketing episodes come out Mondays, and host Mateo Lopez focuses on sales and digital marketing. 

On Wednesdays, Sean Woodland tells the best stories in the CrossFit community on Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland.

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Two-Brain Radio: CrossFit Memes With John Wooley

Two-Brain Radio: Steph Chung

Sean: 00:01 – Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode I speak with former CrossFit Games athlete and current coach at Invictus Fenway Steph Chung. First: Are you a stressed business owner who’s working too much and still struggling to make a profit? Do you want to grow your venture and reach the next level? Two-Brain business is here to help with a free 60-minute call. It’s not a sales pitch; it’s just an opportunity for you to get real, actionable advice from an expert who’s built a successful business. For one-on-one guidance on how to take your business to the next level, book your Free Help call today at Steph Chung made her CrossFit Games debut in 2018 when she finished 35th overall. She’s also a three-time Meridian Regional athlete, and Steph has a pretty remarkable CrossFit journey that has taken her to the Middle East and now back home to Boston. We talk about her outstanding achievements attending Cornell University, how she taught pre-medical biology in Qatar and what the CrossFit community is like in the Middle East. Thanks for listening everyone. Steph, how you doing? Thank you so much for being here today.

Steph: 01:16 – I’m so good. Thank you for having me.

Sean: 01:18 – The first question I have for you before we get into anything is how is your dog doing?

Steph: 01:23 – Oh, that’s a great question to open with. She is wonderful. I actually don’t know where she—she’s usually right by my side, but I think she’s sleeping somewhere. She’s doing really well.

Sean: 01:30 – What kind of dog is she?

Steph: 01:30 – She’s an Australian shepherd.

Sean: 01:33 – How long have you had her?

Steph: 01:34 – We got her in March, in the end of March. Yeah, so she is almost a year. Her birthday is next month. We’re gonna get her a little doggie cake.

Sean: 01:47 – I love it. I’m a huge dog person, so anytime I talk to somebody who has a dog, I always have to bring that up. So that’s cool.

Steph: 01:54 – Well she’s doing really well. She loves being at the gym actually. She’s a really good gym dog.

Sean: 01:59 – Good. So let’s go back. You graduated magna cum laude from Cornell. How did you manage to pull that off?

Steph: 02:08 – Well, a lot of hard work. It’s funny cause when you’re in it at the time it doesn’t seem like anything crazy. Everyone’s working their butt off. Everyone’s studying a lot. So that’s kind of just what I did. It was what I was used to doing. And I was studying, I was doing research, and research was always something I was really passionate about. So being able to do it, I had a great mentor at Cornell. So I really enjoyed the research that I did and it seemed like a natural thing to write a thesis and present that.

Sean: 02:40 – What was your thesis on?

Steph: 02:43 – Well, it was based—it was researching the potential effects of magnesium deficiency in pregnant mothers and their fetuses. It is a bit of a sideline topic. The lab that I worked in studies magnesium—rather, they study iron, and kind of more major components. The things that we hear about more mainstream. There had been some interest in studying magnesium since there’s virtually no literature out there regarding what the effects are and yet it’s a vital component in our everyday metabolism, in adults anyways, but there’s almost nothing known about its effects on the development of the fetus. So there was a little bit of interest there. It was brought up in a lab meeting and Dr. Ryan basically said, if anyone wants to take this on, we’re open to it, but know that you’re kind of going into a black hole. There’s just nothing there. So we had the data, we had a lot of data from pregnancy studies. And so I decided to take it on as my thesis.

Sean: 04:00 – What was it about that that intrigued you?

Steph: 04:06 – I was interested in knowing how it affected the fetus because we know that it’s so vital for adults, magnesium. We know that it’s a cofactor for hundreds of enzymes in the adult body, and most people are not getting enough magnesium and particularly the studies that were conducted by this lab were on teen mothers. So we knew from surveys they weren’t eating very healthy, nutritious food, which to me said that they would have many micronutrient deficiencies and one of them would definitely be magnesium since you really only find that in leafy greens in any substantive amount. So I wanted to know if there was just something that was being overlooked when we did kind of math analyses of the data. Something that we weren’t seeing because we weren’t looking specifically for magnesium. We were looking for iron and ferritin and the kind of the bigger micronutrients, if you will.

Sean: 05:12 – You mentioned that everybody at Cornell is doing hard work and everyone’s smart and I’m guessing all of them came from a situation where they were probably top of their classes in their high schools. What was it like being surrounded by that many gifted, smart people?

Steph: 05:24 – It was very cool and very humbling. So it’s a very unique environment in that way. Everyone’s the top of their class, everyone’s smart, everyone is really passionate about what they’re studying. So it was very interesting to talk to people who were on that level. They wanted to study because they wanted to be smarter. And you know, you had just very passionate people who were trying to pursue that in different ways. So every—not every conversation, but a lot of conversations took a turn to be something very educational that I wouldn’t have maybe been able to discuss with other people. But then again, everyone’s very normal. So you can have also a normal interaction with someone who you know is quite intelligent.

Sean: 06:19 – OK. What did you get your degree in there again?

Steph: 06:23 – Biology. It was biological sciences. And I had an a minor in human nutrition.

Sean: 06:29 – OK. So after you graduate, you moved to Doha, Qatar, and why did you make that decision to—I mean, that’s a huge life change.

Steph: 06:40 – Yes. It was. I was set on the track to go to medical school, so all of my undergraduate degree, I hung in there through the freshman warnings of like, we’re going to lose about 75% of you. And then through senior year people saying, well, maybe not medical school, maybe Ph.D.. So I made it through all of that. I took my MCATs and I realized all of a sudden that if I were headed down that path, I would be in school for the next foreseeable future, eight years, 10 years, depending on what I wanted to specialize in. And I wanted some break away from school. I wanted some other experience to enrich my young life essentially. So I knew that I wanted to work. I didn’t want to just travel. But I did want to travel. So I applied to normal jobs; I applied to some in New York, some in Boston, and they were all research positions, very interesting things that I would have loved to do and pursue. But I heard about this opportunity through a blast email at Cornell. They send these emails to undergrads and basically say, if anyone’s interested in moving abroad, it’s in Qatar. We have a sister campus for our medical school there and you’ll be a teaching assistant for the pre-medical students. So I was very interested by it and I had a connection who had come out of the program. And so I talked to her about what it looked like. She was a Ph. D. candidate or a post doc, I can’t remember, at Cornell, so she had gone over and come back, and she raved about it. So I got a little bit more information and I decided that I wanted to apply and there were only a few positions, so I thought it was actually highly unlikely that I would be one of them to get accepted. But I did and it just seemed like too good and too unique of an opportunity to pass on.

Sean: 08:43 – What was it like moving that far away from friends and family and everybody you grew up with?

Steph: 08:49 – It was scary, for sure, but I think that the excitement of it all took away a little bit of the edge. It was only meant to be for nine months. So it wasn’t meant to be for forever. So it was a very temporary thing. The university did a really great job of taking care of us. They handled almost every aspect of our entry and exit. They provided us with a car, an apartment. So there was really not much that I had to find on my own, which was a really great thing to have. It wasn’t like moving abroad and having to work out where you were going to live and how you would get to work and all that. So scary, but also exciting. My parents were so excited for me. They were super supportive.

Sean: 09:37 – You go from being a student to now being a teacher. How did you make that transition so quickly?

Steph: 09:43 – Well, I’ve always really loved to teach and I’ve loved to tutor, so that was somewhat easy for me. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the work. And I was passionate, I mean really passionate, about what I taught. So in a way it felt like an extension of being a student. I got to learn in a different aspect. I got to learn how to bring information together and make it into something that other people wanted to learn and study as well.

Sean: 10:16 – Now, I read that you were part of training the first group of homegrown doctors from Qatar. What was that like for you?

Steph: 10:27 – It was a very cool opportunity. So by the time I was TA-ing there, the program had been running for 10 years, I believe, they were celebrating their 10th anniversary. So they had established certain protocols, certain things in the curriculum that they needed to hit. But in a lot of other ways, there was a lot of flexibility in how can we adapt this to be more relevant? How can we adapt this to something that’s really gonna help the students go into med school? And so it felt like there was a lot of—the professors were really open to us giving feedback, and I actually got to write some new curriculum because I thought it would be interesting. We completely revamped the second semester of biology for them in the second year I was there. So it was very innovative and all the students were so excited because they felt like they were on the edge of something.

Sean: 11:29 – What did you learn about yourself from that whole experience?

Steph: 11:34 – I learned that I really love to teach. I really loved it. I don’t know that I would want to be a professor. So that was one possibility that I was playing with, is academia. I really liked what I did, but I wasn’t certain that I wanted to do that for forever. Some mix of practical application and also teaching was what I steered more towards.

Sean: 12:01 – Why did you decide to now stay beyond, I guess kind of your, I don’t want to say, contract is the wrong word, but after your job there was basically done,

Steph: 12:11 – Right. So I taught for the year that my original contract was for and then I decided to, in that year, essentially, I don’t know if I want to go to medical school, I don’t know if I want to practice medicine in the conventional sense. And at this point I had already applied to medical school and it just—all of a sudden I was questioning that. So when I spoke with the professors I worked for, they actually encouraged me to maybe take another year and think about it and decide if it was something that I wanted to do or if there was another path that I might want to take. And so I re-signed that contract. They were nice enough to bring me back on for a second year. And that’s when I decided that I didn’t want to go to medical school and I wasn’t exactly sure what I did want to do. I’d spent so many years trying, studying, focusing on going to medical school. So, I stayed at that job because I liked the job and I wasn’t exactly sure what I was leaving for, but it’s also a great place to live over there. It surprises a lot of people to hear that, but it’s a very easy place and a nice place to live. So it just caught me.

Sean: 13:27 – What was the thing that you went through in your head that made the determination that you didn’t want to go to med school anymore?

Steph: 13:37 – It was a combination of many things. One was that I was hearing some feedback that working with patients wasn’t quite what it was when we had decided to pursue medicine, in that you don’t get as much time with your patients. You don’t necessarily get to choose your patients, you’re not helping them in the sense of helping them fix the root of the problem. You’re more masking it by trying to give them the quickest fix, which I’ve never believed was the right approach anyways. So imagining doing that every day didn’t seem like it would fulfill my desire to help people and help really impact their health. And at the same time I was starting to become a little bit more dedicated in CrossFit and learn more about what it was teaching people about how to change their health through fitness and nutrition. And that seemed like a very tangible, and it still is a very tangible way of impacting people at the start, you know, from the foundations before they get sick.

Sean: 14:49 – Right. How did you find CrossFit?

Steph: 14:52 – It happened by chance actually. So when I was in college, I came home for a summer and I was on the gymnastics team, the club gymnastics team at Cornell. And by senior year I was just really tired of training by myself over the summers, but I had to stay in shape. And so previously I’d been going to globo gym and it was really boring. I hated it. I would just sit on the treadmill and leave after two hours feeling I did nothing. And so my mom—a CrossFit gym opened in town, it’s Spencer Hendel’s gym, Reebok CrossFit Medfield, five minutes from my house and my mom said like, go try, they have a free trial, if you hate it, you never have to go back. But like maybe just go try a class. So I dragged my brother with me, poor guy, because I didn’t want to go by myself and we did a class and it was really great. I don’t actually remember what was in the class, but I know we did box jumps. It was either AMRAP or EMOM-style, something that was really fast. And I had never picked up a barbell before. I had to ask like how to hold it. And I had never jumped on a box like that before, and it was really cool. I liked the fact that it challenged me in almost every aspect and I had to learn so many different things. So through senior year I kept going. There was a box near Cornell. So, I kept going when I was there and I was a traditional class athlete.

Sean: 16:17 – We’ll be back with more from Steph Chung after this.

Chris: 16:21 – Hey guys, it’s Chris Cooper. If you’ve ever run out of money, you know that it affects every single corner of your life, all of your relationships, your business, even your self-worth. And so when I found a mentor in 2009, I said, I want to share this gift with everyone. Since then, I’ve been building and refining and improving a mentorship practice that we now call Two-Brain Business. We break our mentorship into several stages. The first stage is the Incubator, which is a 12-week sprint to get your foundation built, to get you started on retention and employee programs and finding the best staff, putting them in the best roles, training them up to be successful, and then recruiting more clients. It’s an amazing program. It is the culmination of over a decade of work. It’s also the sum of best practices from over 800 gyms around the world. These aren’t just my ideas anymore. What we do is track with data what’s working for whom and when, and we test new ideas against that data to say, is this actually better? Then when ideas have proven themselves conclusively, then we put it in our Incubator or Growth or Tinker programs. I just wrote “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” to define who should be doing what in what stage of entrepreneurship. But no matter where you are, the Incubator is your first 12-week sprint to get as far as possible in your business. We’re a mentorship practice for one reason: Mentorship is what works. We work with gym owners for one reason: Because you have the potential to change the world with us, and I hope you do.

Sean: 17:50 – When did you figure out, “You know what, I’m actually pretty good at this”?

Steph: 17:54 – It didn’t happen for a little bit. So it was pretty much after I moved to Doha because I started working with Rob, who’s my husband now, and through college I was really focused on gymnastics. So CrossFit was just a way to keep me interested and conditioned and I really liked it, but I wasn’t really sold on the lifting heavy. I was a terrible class CrossFitter. We joke with the guys who—so Tim Paulson was my coach and Eamon Coyne back then, and we joke that I was everything that I would hate in a class member now. Like I would show up late, I would cherry pick the classes based on what the workout was. I never wanted to add any weight to the bar. So it did take a little bit for me to really buy into constantly varied. You know, I liked the gymnastics movements, I liked the cardio aspect of it, and I wasn’t huge on lifting. I used the excuse of like, I don’t want to get bulky for gymnastics. I need to just like stay little. But then when I moved to Doha, I had nothing else. I didn’t have gymnastics. And there’s really not a whole lot to do there. So the CrossFit gym was walking distance from my apartment. So I would go to work, go straight to the gym and then come back and spend hours there. And when I met Rob, he joked basically that productive. So I think he watched me do one qualifier workout with snatches and toes-to-bar, and the toes-to-bar were like nothing and the snatches were terrible. And so he said, you know, if you actually want to spend some time, we can work on this stuff. And so we did. And he jokes that the first time he really thought like she can be OK at this is when he saw me do kipping pull-ups. Cause back then in Qatar, no one had kipping pull-ups like off the bat. But once we started working together a little bit, I think that’s when I realized like, oh, maybe I could actually compete in this, at least locally within the Middle East community. Seeing the other people who were competing and how we worked out together, it seemed like a possibility to at least stay local.

Sean: 20:17 – What was the CrossFit scene like there?

Steph: 20:22 – It was really new when I moved there. There were two boxes when I first got there, and one had grown out of the other one. So you either trained with one or the other; they were on opposite sides of town and it was really new. So it was mostly ex-pats. I remember a lot of people didn’t know what CrossFit was in general, in the country. It was just kind of coming to the Middle East. Dubai was a little bit ahead of Doha. But it’s grown so much in the past couple of years. I obviously haven’t been there in years, but we have friends who we’ve seen who say it’s now grown into many more boxes and everyone knows what CrossFit is. So it’s really cool to hear that it’s grown like that. But when I got there, it was very small, just at the beginning.

Sean: 21:20 – You go from someone who thought she could just compete locally to now all of a sudden you’re on the Regional stage. What was it like to you to finally you’ll make it to that level?

Steph: 21:30 – So in 2015, 2016, that was all I wanted, was to get to Regionals. So once I did a couple local competitions—I always liked to have a goal, something I trained for. So that was the new goal then. And in 2015 I missed it by one spot. And I actually went, ’cause we had already planned a trip over the summer to go. And so we went and watched and I remember there were two lanes for whatever reason that were open. And I just sat there the whole weekend looking at those lanes saying like, that’s my lane, that’s where I should be. That’s where I belong. And so I worked so hard for the next season, and in 2016 when I made it, I was just happy to be there. I didn’t have any expectations of placement or what was gonna happen. I was just showing up and having fun.

Sean: 22:28 – At what point did you think, you know what? I think I might be able to make the Games.

Steph: 22:33 – I don’t know if I ever really thought that. It was a goal, kind of the same thing as Regionals was where I was saying, I don’t really just want to show up anymore. I want to really compete and really do my best. But I tried not to put it in such a specific goal. I just really wanted to do my best at Regionals, being my third year there. That was—the first year I was there and I was having fun. I was really enjoying it, but there was literally no expectation because the deadlift and the run-GHG-deadlift workout was my 1RM when it was announced. And the snatch ladder went above my 1RM. The workouts were very, very hard for me, in short. So there was no expectation. It was just be on the floor, get the experience. The second year I went in with too much expectation, feeling like now it was my second year, I had to prove something. And that pressure I put on myself wasn’t realistic and it wasn’t productive. So going into the third year I really said like, I want to enjoy this experience, but I also want to come out of it knowing that I did my best and not beating myself up for things that could have been.

Sean: 23:57 – Right. And that year, in 2018, you are able to make it to the Games and you had to pull off a pretty amazing comeback in order to do it. What stands out to you about that whole experience?

Steph: 24:11 – Just believing in myself. I think that was the big thing. The power of positivity. I think that I’ve—I have stated in the past that it was, you know, not looking at the leaderboard, not focusing on my placement and all that, but I think that that was really a surrogate for not having an excuse to be mad at myself for anything. Day One was not a good one for me. And we went in knowing that, I practiced the workouts. I did better in competition than I had in practice on both of them, but it still wasn’t clearly phenomenal. And I think if I had looked at the leaderboard, it would’ve given me an excuse to beat myself up for that. Even though without looking at the leaderboard, I came away thinking, wow, I did so great. I did better than I practiced. So I knew it wasn’t going to be great because of my heat placement, obviously, the next day. But, I took away from that weekend just that positivity really works. And if you just focus on yourself, then it can take you; you kind of trust your own training and it can take you pretty far.

Sean: 25:20 – You wind up, speaking of going pretty far, you wind up in Madison, Wisconsin that year to compete at the CrossFit Games alongside the fittest women on Earth. What did you learn from that experience?

Sean: 25:33 – That was also very humbling. There’s some very fit people in this world. But it was great. Everyone was really nice. They’re all there to compete, but in the end there’s a little bit of solidarity as well, it’s something that you’re going through together. And I loved being able to compare myself to the fittest people in the world. It was a little disappointing because I had a broken ankle, so I was also kind of dealing with that complication and that’s the one thing that I wish had gone differently. It was not in my control, but I wish I had been really able to test myself against that field of women rather than having to accommodate something else.

Sean: 26:22 – Why did you make the decision to move back to the United States?

Steph: 26:27 – It was something that Rob and I had been talking about for a while. We knew that once we got married, we wanted to come back to the US. The Middle East is, like I said, it’s a great place to live and we loved it for the time that we were there, but it never felt permanent for us. Some people, they kind of do get that sense of permanence. They feel like it becomes home in a sense, and it never felt like that for us. So once we had decided, we kind of made a plan, an exit strategy and a plan of when we would want to move and what we’d want to do and come back for, and we finally made that happen.

Sean: 27:07 – So you’re now a coach at Invictus Fenway. What do you enjoy most about that?

Steph: 27:12 – The community. The community’s really cool. The coaches are all awesome. They’re all very passionate about what they do. And I’m learning things from them every day. And the members are really awesome as well. We have some really, really driven members, people who just want to get very fit, who are so willing to learn, which I love. That’s my favorite kind of person to work with, is the one who wants to learn.

Sean: 27:34 – How does your experience teaching in a classroom setting help you when you’re in the gym?

Steph: 27:42 – They’re very similar. I always tell people this. They say you had a big career switch between academia and coaching. And I feel like it’s very similar. It’s teaching, it’s just a different way. Sometimes it’s hard for me not to over-explain, I think that’s part of it too, is I want to explain the mechanics behind everything and like why they should be doing this and that. And sometimes there’s not time and there’s not a need. So that’s a little bit different. But I do find it really similar and I think that’s why I love it so much.

Sean: 28:16 I-  ask this a lot of high-level athletes who become coaches, but oftentimes athletes who are really good at something don’t make the best coaches because it just comes to them naturally. How do you relate to your clients who walk in the door who may not be the best athletes or even the best movers?

Steph: 28:35 – So I have learned—I have to say I’ve learned almost everything I know about coaching from Rob. I feel like I’m a good teacher in that basic aspect, but almost everything I’ve learned from teaching CrossFit and teaching movement in a physical sense, I’ve learned from him. So I actually really love working with new members now. That’s one of my favorite things, because even though some people think it’s really difficult to teach movement to people who don’t know how to move, it’s an interesting challenge for me because you just have to figure out how they think. And some people think proprioceptively, like I need to show them how they move. Some people learn by seeing, so you have to show them. Some people learn when you use analogies. So you have to relate it to something that they maybe know, so for me, that challenge and that aspect of working with new people is really great.

Sean: 29:35 – -What are the main lessons that Rob, your husband, has taught you about being a good coach?

Steph: 29:42  Always make people feel like you’re paying attention to them. And that’s just one thing that I really try. So even in a class of 20 people, you want to make sure that everyone leaves feeling like they got something that made a difference to them. Whether it’s the people who need a lot of help or the people who move so well that no one bothers to even help them. That’s one really important thing that I think makes a huge difference that he’s taught me, is everyone should leave saying that they got something useful out of that hour and that you made them feel like they were seen.

Sean: 30:23 – I know a lot of spouses who wouldn’t work well in sort of a, you know, coaching, sort of teaching relationship or they don’t want to listen to their spouse give them advice. How do the two of you make that work?

Steph: 30:34 – We have a lot of experience with it. He also coaches me. So, I work with Jami from The Training Plan on programming, but the great thing about having Rob around is that he’s there with eyes on every day. So if he sees that I’m doing something weird in my snatches, he’ll always point it out, if I’m having a bad ring muscle-up day, we’ll spend some time and break that down. So for me, it’s really important to have eyes on what I’m doing. That’s a huge aspect of my personal training. So, I respect his professional opinion so much in that aspect. I also really like to know what he has to say about coaching and if I ever have a tough situation where I don’t know how to scale something for someone or it’s a very unique workout, I always ask how, you know, how would he lesson plan it, how would he set up the room? And even when I think I’ve got a really good plan for something, he always has a better one. So I’m always learning.

Sean: 31:37 – I’m glad the two of you can work that out. Cause I know that that might be a—some people might come to blows over stuff like that. What are the things that you do to make sure that when your clients come to the gym that they’re going to have the best hour of their days?

Steph: 31:50 – I think in addition to really helping everyone, no matter what level they’re at, it’s giving them a positive spin and a positive attitude. So, you know, people come in every day, sometimes they had a great day at work, sometimes they had a terrible day at work, things in life bringing them down. Like I think that fitness and exercise should be about bringing something positive back to them. So we can’t rely on endorphins alone to do that. We have to infuse that into their experience. So, whether it’s always, you know, saying hi with a smile when they come into the gym, asking how things are going, if you can sense that they’re not in a good mood, being extra positive with them and their movement. And I think if we can help people leave the gym with that, kind of lifted from where they came in, then that’s going to be the best hour of their day and that’s what’s going to keep them coming back.

Sean: 32:48 – I’m sure you’ve had plenty, but what would you say your proudest moment as a coach is?

Steph: 32:53 – Oh yeah, so many. It’s really hard to choose. I think it’s in general, it’s when things just click with a client. So something you’ve been working on for a long time and you can tell, you know, it’s frustrating. A lot of time maybe with an empty bar or body-weight drills, things like that. And all of a sudden it just comes together as one. I have a client, one specific one that comes to mind is a client Abu Dhabi who still does training with me, and she’s been trying to gain weight for a long time. She’s very thin naturally. And she hasn’t put on a lot of weight, but we just tested her back squat and her back squat is like almost double what her body weight is. So yeah, she just texted that and messaged me. So it’s really exciting to see that happen. I know that, you know, she wants to get stronger, she wants to lift heavier, but the body weight has been keeping her back. So progress.

Sean: 33:50 – What does your competitive future look like in a sport that has changed dramatically over the past two years? Year, I should say.

Steph: 34:00 – It has, it has. I still love to compete, so that I think that has to be the baseline of what we do. I still love to train as well, so I don’t think much will change for me. It definitely takes a little bit more planning, but luckily, I like to plan, so the planning aspect doesn’t scare me so much. I like the opportunity to compete individual and team. It’s not binary, which is nice. And I like the opportunity to pick the competitions that you want to go to. I will miss Regionals. Don’t get me wrong. I loved, loved, loved Regionals. But I think in the coming years there will be competitions that feel a lot like Regionals. We already saw a couple last season and I think it will only continue to get better from there. So I don’t think much will change. I will compete in Sanctionals this coming year. I’ll still train just as hard, and maybe if I get the opportunity to compete on a team, I’ll get that experience.

Sean: 35:07 – What will need to happen for you to look back on this upcoming season and say, you know what, that was a successful venture for me.

Sean: 35:16 – I think if I can come away from each competition saying that I went in as prepared as I could, I performed as well as I could ask myself to and that I had fun. Because I think the worst is having any one of those three feel like it fell short. It feels like not a wasted experience, but something that could have gone better. And they are things that are in your control. So, I’ve definitely gone to competitions where I didn’t go in as prepared as I should have and that felt like a huge lapse in effort in the gym. And I went to ones where I focused too much on what happened in competition, didn’t do my best, and then other ones where I did everything right and just didn’t enjoy the experience. And that also leaves kind of a sour taste in your mouth. So I think if I can hit those three things then then we’ll be good to go.

Sean: 36:12 – Well, Steph, I really appreciate you taking the time doing this and best of luck to you and best of luck to Rob as well, as you continue your CrossFit journeys.

Steph: 36:19 – Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

Sean: 36:21 – Big thanks to Steph Chung for taking the time to talk with me today. If you want to follow her on Instagram, you can find her at @stephchung2, that’s Steph Chung, the number two. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” by Chris Cooper will l show you what to do and how to avoid mistakes that can sink a business. Reader and gym owner Brendon Collins says, quote, “If you’re a business owner in the service industry, you must read this book,” end quote. Get your copy of the bestseller “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” on Amazon today. Thanks for joining us everybody. We’ll see you next time.


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Two-Brain Radio: CrossFit Memes With John Wooley

Two-Brain Radio: Sasha Kone

Mateo: 00:00 – Hey, it’s Mateo Lopez of Two-Brain Marketing. On this edition of the Two-Brain Marketing podcast, I’m talking with Sasha Cohen from Endless Mountains CrossFit in Pennsylvania. You’ll learn about how this mother of two who calls herself “computer illiterate” was able to generate leads for 71 cents, so you don’t want to miss this. Make sure to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio for more marketing tips and secrets each week.

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Chris: 00:48 – One of my favorite finds has been I linked up with Matt several months ago at Forever Fierce and he had some fantastic ideas, and so he and I have put together a couple of packages that we think are really going to help CrossFit affiliates everywhere. Two-Brain mentoring clients use Matt almost exclusively. He’s got fantastic designs and he takes all the work out of it. All that time that you spend searching the internet and Pinterest and junk like that for great CrossFit T-shirts? You don’t have to do that anymore. Matt has designs for you. You can put your logo on one of his templates, which are fantastic, and your clients will never know the difference. It saves you so much time that you could be using on other things like real marketing. He’ll also go so far as to remind you when it’s time to reorder. He’ll give you suggested order sizes, he’ll help you set up pre-orders so you’re not even fronting the cash for the inventory. It’s all amazing stuff built to help affiliates and that’s why I love this guy and this company,; they do all the Catalyst shirts, all the Two-Brain shirts, all the Ignite gym shirts. They do everything for every business that I own.

Mateo: 01:55 – All right, everyone. Welcome to the Two-Brain Marketing podcast. I’m here with Sasha Kone, Kone like the ice-cream cone, even though she spells it differently than that. But it’s easy to remember if you think of ice cream. She’s the owner of Endless Mountains CrossFit and we’re gonna talk to her a little bit now because she was basically getting leads for 71 cents. So we’re going to figure out what went on over there in the mountains of Pennsylvania. So Sasha, how are you?

Sasha: 02:28 – I’m great, thank you. Thanks for having me. How are you?

Mateo: 02:32 – I’m great. Just got back from a lot of travel, so I’m glad to be home. So for those tuned in, tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from. I already said that a little bit, but you can go into more detail. Who you are, where you’re from and a little bit about your business.

Sasha: 02:49 – I’m a 38-year-old mom of two boys. I’ve got a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old. I grew up in Philadelphia. I played field hockey my whole life. I went to college, took a break from that. I decided I was going to be a cowgirl. So I got into barrel racing and rodeo, moved into a barn, bought a horse, a truck and a dog, and I was doing it. So I got an animal science degree and moved to Kentucky after college. I got my degree from Cornell. I switched from French and art history to animal science, natural progression, and I was in the thoroughbred industry for a while.

Mateo: 03:41 – OK, well I have to stop you there. Now I have a lot of questions. I have a lot of questions. When you say you grew up in Philly, Philly proper? Like the city like Philadelphia?

Sasha: 03:54 – In the city limits. Yes. It was in Chestnut Hill, so definitely a residential experience.

Mateo: 04:01 – OK. How do you make the switch from just like living in the city like Philadelphia and then you’re like, you know what, the cowgirl life is for me. How did that happen?

Sasha: 04:12 – I have been riding horses since I was three. My father found like the only stable in Philadelphia that would let a 3-year-old ride and I took lessons at the Academy Riding Club in Roxboro like every week from 3 to 17, and I loved it, but I never thought that I could work with horses professionally. Growing up in Chestnut Hill, I kind of thought liberal arts degree, you know, go be a doctor, Ph. D., something, right?

Mateo: 04:44 – That was my next question. Like how do you go from an Ivy League school to then deciding, “I know what: Animals.”

Sasha: 04:56 – Cornell is awesome because half of Cornell is state college or State University of New York and they have this gigantic ag program and pre-vet, agronomy, it’s really, it’s really intense up there and it’s really fun. And like that was my tribe. These field-hockey girls were friends with the guys in the ag fraternity and I just totally love those guys. Also my dad—my parents bought a place in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, when I was 4, up on the river and we would spend our summers and weekends up here and I would like cry when we had to go back to Philly. So I’ve always love living up here. We don’t have locks on our doors. I shouldn’t say that.

Mateo: 05:43 – OK. Wow. Awesome. All right, so, you switched up your degree to what was it, agriculture? Or, OK. So you switched up your—animal. OK, got it. So you switched up your degree. So then how come you didn’t want to a vet, you just wanted to ride horses, I guess, that was the dream, not take care of them.

Sasha: 06:01 – I wanted to be a vet. And honestly I was in farm business management, so I wanted to go work for Farm Credit. That was like my plan. Right. I think the year before Farm Credit created an equine position, and I have no dairy experience and that was the focus of New York state agriculture. Anyway, I didn’t get that job. So what do you do? You stay in school, right? So I got an internship in Kentucky at a big thoroughbred farm and we moved horses, dogs, boyfriend at the time. Now my husband. So yeah, we survived the move.

Mateo: 06:42 – That’s awesome. All right, so then, you’re in Kentucky, you’re, I guess doing the business side of dealing with horses. And then how did we switch over to fitness? Oh yeah. How did we get there?

Sasha: 07:02 – I became an equine dentist, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years actually. I work on horses’ teeth and I still do that and it’s amazing; being in Kentucky was what opened the door to that. Horses’ teeth keep growing, so somebody has to come in there and keep them even. So at my max, I was working on 2,000 horses every year and traveling a lot. It’s pretty tough on your body. I saw a chiropractor like a lot and I had gotten away from fitness after college field hockey, that kind of turned me off training. It was not fun for me, which is sad because I loved it my whole life.

Mateo: 07:44 – That’s a story I actually hear a lot. A lot of people who like do college sports and are training at that level and when they get out there it’s like, you know what, I’ve spent enough time in the weight room to last me my entire life so I want to do that. And you kind of sometimes associate bad days with that. But yeah, it’s interesting you say that. OK. Horse dentist. All right. Why was it hard on the body?

Sasha: 08:12 – OK, so you’re lifting horses’ heads, right? And it’s almost like that position where your hands are in front of you and you’re doing dishes, you know your back can start to hurt when you’re doing your dishes? You don’t have to do that like all day long with your hands out in front of you. So I was having back issues, seeing a chiropractor. His wife was a personal trainer. So I started six and a half years ago going to personal-training sessions and I felt a lot better. And she introduced me to the CrossFit-style movements and I started getting into it at home with like whatever I could get my hands on. I had a free set of sand weights. It’s terrifying. There’s a joint in the middle of this pipe bar and I was like loading extra ankle weights on the end, like try to like deadlift all the way to I could get my hands on it. My husband’s like, “This has to stop. We’re getting you a better bar. It’s going to break in your face.”

Mateo: 09:07 – That awesome. CrossFitting by any means necessary. I love it. All right, so, OK, so then I guess you made the move back to Pennsylvania, and at one point were you like, “Yeah, now I’m going to open a gym so I don’t have to use sand barbells, I can use a real one”?

Sasha: 09:29 – Yeah, no, I worked out in my horse barn for five years all weather. Buddies would come over and we’d hang out. And they’re involved in this gym now, which is really cool. Last winter I saw an ad for a gym in our town and it was this open space with a row of kettlebells. And I was like, ah, you’re my people. I need to check this out. There’s climate control. And I did a free trial month with them, not real CrossFit-style stuff. So I went on my way, but I was approached about taking over the lease. They were going to consolidate their operations to their central location and it was like, “Oh man, it’s time.” We’ve been thinking about having an affiliate here. There’s no other CrossFit in our whole county. I’d have to drive an hour to drop in somewhere to get an Open workout scored. And the internet is so bad that you can’t upload videos. Like, very stressful. Yeah. So I was like, we’re doing this; we’re jumping into it. And in six weeks we went from idea to open door LLC, all the deliveries in from Rogue, all the painting done. And we opened up January 1st.

Mateo: 10:45 – Wow, that’s amazing. So I want to talk a little bit about what life was like in those early days, which was not that long ago, like eight months ago, and how you’re adjusting now. But I want to ask you, what is your experience been being a mother of two, also having this other full-time job and then balancing this new brand-new baby business? What’s that been like? What’s the experience like? And then, you know, what advice do you have for any other moms who want to do it themselves?

Sasha: 11:21 – I’ve got an incredible team. Like I did not do this alone. I’ve worked 14-hour days before and I don’t want to go back to that. I knew that from the beginning. You know, my time with my kids is very important. They’re old enough here that they could like help out. We spent a lot of time in this space in December, right. A lot of like pizza deliveries to the gym. So they’ve been pretty involved and they’ve been able to see like a business start-up, which is pretty cool. It’s nice to develop an entrepreneurial mindset from a young age, but it’s crazy, you know, to be in my head, there’s like 50 open tabs all the time. And it’s nice when folks come in and they can actually see it on my computer and I’m like, I can’t close any of these right now. Like they’re all important. And that’s where getting to Two-Brain really helped to like organize that and delegate a lot of those jobs because I was doing too much and frying out.

Mateo: 12:26 – So, OK. So yeah. What was it like when you first opened the doors and then what was kind of the—you know, how’d you hear about Two-Brain and what was kind of the, you know, the catalyst for being like, hey, I need to pull the trigger and do this?

Sasha: 12:40 – So our first, like three weeks, we didn’t even charge any money. We just opened the doors because I had gotten with Wodify and that wasn’t even set up yet. You know, I was like, come check it out, you know? See what this is all about. I hope somebody shows up.

Mateo: 12:59 – Maybe you can pay me one day, but I can’t take credit-card payments yet. So just come and work out,.

Sasha: 13:04 – And it was fun. We had a great time. There were three of us coaching. We all went and got our Level 1s last year, kind of in hopes of opening a gym someday. And I was like, OK, now. Go. And I did the morning classes most of the time. And the other two gals did the evening classes. We had three classes a day and it was pretty fun, but it was pretty intense. You know, I had never like written programming before. I’ve followed a lot of other people’s programming, but that’s a lot more work than I realized, right? And well worth hiring out. Yeah. And it grew pretty fast. In the first three months, like I had a goal of only gaining like five new members a month for the first year. So my goal for the first year was 60 people total and we quickly jumped to 15 and then to 30 and that’s when we plateaued. Right? And we dropped some people and there wasn’t really much coming in. At that point I was like, oh gosh, that stresses me out. My rate of growth, you know, has decreased. I need help. And that’s when also I think that the companies that are like marketing these gym development health programs, they know, and I started getting hit hard in advertising from Gym Launch and Two-Brain and a bunch of other companies and it created this like sense of stress, as well, that I’m not growing as fast as I should be or or what have you. But so I started talking to the company and I think Jim Burlingame was the first person I talked to. And I was like, all right, I’m going to check with some other companies. I’ll talk to you later. Right. Got through a bunch of others and called Jim back. And I was like, well you guys kind of seem the most authentic and what you’re doing is coming from the right place. And it sounds like a lot more work, but that’s the work that needs to be done. I have a lot of stuff going, a lot of the same like projects that I got to eventually in the Incubator, but they were so scattered and in the wrong order and there were big holes missing from the process. So it really has put it all together and I have a ton of work left to do.

Chris: 15:26 – Hello my friends. It is Chris Cooper here. Since 2009 I have been writing daily blog posts, producing podcasts, videos, all kinds of stuff on social media with one mission in mind: to make gyms profitable. I came to that mission because I was an unprofitable gym owner. It almost ruined my finances and almost ruined my career, my marriage, everything. And since that day, since I made my recovery, I have wanted to help other gym owners become profitable, too. It’s part of my mission to the world because if you’re profitable, you’ll be here changing lives of thousands of your clients for the next 30 years. I think together we can have a tremendous impact. When we started mentorship, I did every single call myself. I was doing up to a thousand free calls a year and I was doing 10 calls with people who signed up for our early mentorship program, but the Incubator has been updated and improved a dozen times since then. Now the Incubator is really the sum of all of our experiences with over 800 gyms worldwide. In the Two-Brain mentorship program, we can now learn from everybody. We can collate data, we can see what’s working where and when and what the new gold standards are as they emerge. When somebody has a great idea, we can test it objectively and say, “Will this work for everyone or will it work for people on the West Coast or on the East Coast?” We can do that with little things like Facebook ads. We can also do that with operations and opening times and playbooks. All the questions that you have about the gym, we can answer them with data and with proof now. That’s the Incubator. It’s more than what I wrote about. It’s more than my experience. It is the best standard in the fitness industry, period. And I hope to see you in there.

Mateo: 17:08 – Yeah. I mean, your business is not even a year old. So like, yeah, there’s still a lot of obviously growth and things that need to be worked out as you continue to expand. But that’s awesome. So what were the first things you worked on with your mentor that you really saw, you know, the difference? Was it like you unlocked a little bit more free time? Was it that you kind of codified some of the processes that you were doing down somewhere? What was the first thing that really kind of was like, “Oh wow, this is helpful. I’m glad we’re finally doing this”?

Sasha: 17:41 – Yeah. So when I started taking like the seed-client list was fascinating and that’s taking a few clients out to coffee and figuring out why they’re here. Completely not where I was going with how I thought we would be marketing to people and I was like, you want the ultimate fitness experience. Like the ultimate challenge. No, they want balance in their lives. They come in at 5:00 a.m., that’s our busiest class because that’s like the only consistent hour in the day. This is a blue-collar area, this is Appalachia and there are 2,500 people in our town. Yeah. So it’s some hard-working folks and good families involved with their kids after school, work can be crazy, you know? We got a lot of contractors, who knows if you’re going to be done at three or six, you know, and days start early. So figuring out what people were looking for was really important.

Mateo: 18:39 – Wow. Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. You’re in your own head and you know what you think you want, cause you’re coming from your own perspective. Like yeah, I wanted the hardcore CrossFit training, but yeah, most people, they just want to be able to move around and feel a little bit better and not have to derail their whole life to do that. So I think that’s a really good point. All right. So—and I bet that it changed your approach to how you sold, too, I bet it kind of changed the way you presented this when people actually sat down in front of you.

Sasha: 19:13 – Absolutely. Absolutely.

Mateo: 19:15 – Well, let’s talk a little bit more about that now. So you worked with Blake on the marketing side of things, sounds like you were getting really cheap leads, 17 cents in the beginning. That’s pretty outrageous.

Sasha: 19:34 – 71.

Mateo: 19:34 – 71. Oh yeah, I reversed those two numbers. 71, not 70. 71 cents a lead. What was it like when you got all those inquiries flooding in at once?

Sasha: 19:43 – It was wild. I had my second call with Blake, right. Ad went live using the stock videos, OK, not having the right calendar connected yet. Right. My bad. And my phone blew up and it was like immediate. I think I got five text messages, five zaps in the first like 10 minutes. And I was like, what is happening? So fortunately we’ve got lead nurture and sales videos to say, OK, this is what you do next. But I remember, I don’t know if it was Blake or Anastasia, asked me if I was going to be doing the lead nurture and I was like, yeah, of course I am. Having no idea how like intense that would be that first week. I think we had like 40 people pop up on a spreadsheet. First five days.

Mateo: 20:45 – And so what was that experience like once you finally got some people on the phone and started booking appointments? How did that go?

Sasha: 20:54 – Well, it was terrifying for me at first, honestly, because like everybody else has come in through some sort of connection, one or two degrees of separation, right? And these are cold. I felt prepared in that like I had the resources in front of me with the No-Sweat Intro sheets, we’d already done our homework on that, in our prep, which was good. And I’m OK talking to people and listening to them. Both of my parents, my dad is still in psychotherapy and my mom was a psychotherapist so I grew up doing a lot of talking. Our family is pretty good at that.

Mateo: 21:28 – Yeah. That’s probably a really good skill to have coming into sales, I think. Good background to have, for sure. Listening. Yeah.

Sasha: 21:36 – And then I’d been listening to horse owners talk for 15 years while I work, right? But this is different. And I know that first 20, 30 people I didn’t close sales like I should have, but it was a heck of an experience listening to their stories and I have many more ideas now and maybe we’ll go back and touch base with them again. You know, now that I’ve learned a lot more about sales and No-Sweat Intro process and presentation.

Mateo: 22:05 – Yeah. I mean those leads aren’t—they’re not gone forever. Sometimes they’ll just take a minute. And especially when, you know, your gym is still new, you’re still building that kind of trust in the community and that authority in the space. Like yeah, I think that’s the beauty of it. Like you get these people and they come in and you can continue to nurture them for months and months and months afterwards, too. Awesome. And what is your process now that you’ve kind of gone through so many of these leads and intros coming in? What is the process now for you? So someone calls in, they inquire, they book, what happens when they walk up to your door?

Sasha: 22:41 – Yeah, so they don’t book very much, actually, which is interesting. They very, very seldom do book an appointment on their own. But I do double-call. Nobody picks up their phone. So I send them a text. Text has proven to be very effective in this area. We also have terrible cell phone service, so at least half the time people probably can’t even hold a phone call. That’s how it is at my house. It’s tough. The struggle of living in like the mountains is real when it comes to communication and keeping up with technology.

Mateo: 23:19 – Wow. So an added barrier there.

Sasha: 23:22 – Yeah. All right. So I’ll strike up a conversation with them. I’m still doing all of the lead nurture myself. I talked to UpLaunch last week and we’re trying to decide whether to go that route or to hire lead nurture internally here. So I start chatting with them and at first I was like lobbing out numbers right away and quickly like watched your video and you were like “don’t do that!” And a couple of great lines on like how to bypass that conversation until they come through the door, ideas about how to get them booked pretty quickly. They’ll come for an appointment, they’ll come in, there are five of us that coach here, everybody’s trained in the No-Sweat Intro, right? So sometimes it’s during class, sometimes it’s busy, sometimes it’s quiet. Come in and have a conversation, show them our brochure. Usually that ends up being a sale. I’m also not great with statistics. I’m trying to get better with that. So to give you a number of like exactly how many sales we close, a little shaky on that. But the rate of growth has been has been good.

Mateo: 24:28 – Wow, so they come in, you chat them up, you use your psychotherapy background and you show them the sheet and then they sign up. That’s it. Well, great. That’s amazing. Well it’s been awesome having this time to chat, and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year holds for you. For people who want to, you know, for people who do have another job, who have a family and who still want to pursue, you know, something like this where they’re gonna open a new business from scratch, what advice do you have for them?

Sasha: 25:00 – Surround yourself with a team that shares your vision and your values. That’s been the key here and that’s so much good help. We’ve gone on two vacations since we opened this place. That’s incredible.

Mateo: 25:15 – That is.

Sasha: 25:16 – I know. I jumped ahead right from Founder to like some Farmer and like a little bit of Tinker stuff pretty quickly. And the team here, they pulled it off. There was one vacation pre-Two-Brain and one vacation post. Like after I was in the Incubator. Actually we went on vacation a week after we launched the ad.

Mateo: 25:44 – Wow.

Sasha: 25:44 – That’s terrible timing. I would not suggest that to anyone.

Mateo: 25:49 – That’s some good advice there. Yeah. Don’t do that exact route there.

Sasha: 25:54 – But everyone here was trained and they held it together.

Mateo: 25:58 – It didn’t burn down.

Sasha: 25:59 – It worked. Yeah.

Mateo: 26:02 – Awesome. Well thank you so much. If people want to talk to you more about horses’ teeth or about CrossFitting in the mountains, where can they find you?

Sasha: 26:14 – is our website. And if you want to talk about horses’ teeth, my email is myhorse

Mateo: 26:24 – Amazing. Thank you, Sasha.

Sasha: 26:26 – Thank you, Mateo.

Greg: 26:31 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at


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.

Thanks for listening!

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Permission Marketing

Permission Marketing

Email marketing works. Spam doesn’t.

Good emails are part of a conversation. Good emails include things your readers care about (I call mine “love letters”). Good emails actually help your audience.

Bad emails are sales pitches. Bad emails includes lots of “!!!” and “?!?!”. Bad emails are noise. Bad emails are spam.

But the real difference between a great email and spam?



“I’m Listening”

When people give you permission to email them, they’re not necessarily giving you money. They’re giving you something far more valuable: their attention.

We spend almost $20,000 every month building amazing tools. We build them so people in our audience will know they can trust us to be valuable and relevant. Here’s a list of tools we’ve published recently, and here’s the result of all that work:

7,500 people open our emails every. single. day. Because we’re not spamming them. Because we earned their permission to send them a love letter.


No One Likes Spam

Now, I get spammed a lot.

I own a gym. That gym is on a list of CrossFit affiliates. That list gets scraped by hackers and sold to marketers who don’t care about permission. Then those marketers spam my gym. Here’s one from last night:

Title: “New Member”

Body: “Hey Catalyst Fitness, I know cold emails are about as much fun as doing burpees… .”

That’s spam. I didn’t ask for help with whatever they’re selling.

I also still have my email account. That account gets spammed daily.

Here are two from yesterday:

“Chris, does your gym qualify for our free habits course?” (Spoiler: it doesn’t.)

“Ready to teach Pilates?” (I’m not.)

I built a $7 million company on the back of great content. We publish every day. We don’t spam anyone.


How to Use Email to Build Trust With Your Audience

1. Know what they actually care about. I write about gym owners because I am one.

2. Make your emails directive. Rants, attacks and “don’t make this simple mistake!” are noise. Tell people exactly what to do to improve.

3. Give people valuable stuff for free. Here’s our most recent set of tools, again.

4. Ask permission first. And keep earning it every single day.

I learned about Permission Marketing from Seth Godin back in 2009.

If you’re thinking about spamming gym owners, I’ll make you a deal: Don’t send that email.

Let me send you Seth’s book instead. Email me (once) with your address and watch your mail slot. Then take me off your list.

Need more advice on common problems? Click here to book a free call with a certified Two-Brain Business mentor.