How COVID Is Making You a Better Gym Owner

Woman standing in empty gym with hands on hips

If there’s one thing I know about leaders, it’s that they have the ability to turn their darkest days into their finest hours.
None of us asked for the COVID crisis. But thousands of gym owners have already successfully pivoted to retain their clients and their revenue. Most have found themselves in a position of leadership they’ve never had before. And some have told me something amazing:
“I actually love this s–t.”
Whether you’re struggling right now or you’re eager for the challenge, the COVID crisis has already made you a better gym owner. Here’s how.

Lessons Learned


You’re gaining perspective. 

You don’t own a gym. You own a coaching business. The gym was your biggest tool, but it wasn’t your only tool. And it’s now clear that it wasn’t your true platform.

You’re becoming less fragile.

The next time the world is shut down—by a pandemic, a depression or an alien invasion—”shelter in place” will be the default move of every government on the planet. And you’ll be ready for it.

You’re looking at your expenses hard.

Maybe for the first time ever, you’re reviewing your financials and asking, “What do I truly need?” Then you’re taking steps to minimize where you can. Two weeks ago, you probably wouldn’t have had the nerve to ask your landlord for rent abatement. But now you’ve probably already done it.

You’re pivoting one half of your business (your operations) without losing your other side (your audience).

My mentor, Todd Herman, told me this: “If you know how to build an audience, you’ll never go hungry.” You’ve just proven that you have an audience that will follow you.

You’re learning the value of daily contact with your clients.

Personal trainers always had a retention advantage over group class coaches because they understood that most of coaching is accountability. It’s not the programming or the fist bumps; it’s the daily question, “Are you doing the thing that will make you successful?”

You’re getting a better ROI out of mentorship.

We’re all leaning on our mentors more than ever. I’ve always been lazy about reaching out to my mentors. I leave things too long. I don’t fully leverage their guidance and support. But not anymore.

You’re demonstrating leadership to your family, your staff and your clients.

People now know you, like you and trust you more than they did two weeks ago. And for good reason: You’ve earned it. Hopefully, you know yourself, like yourself and trust yourself more than you did two weeks ago, too.

You’ve identified who your “seed clients” truly are.

If there was ever any doubt, you now know who your best clients are. You’ll tailor your future business to serve their needs.

You’re saving their lives. More than ever.

Fitness’ role in health has never been more clear. Sickness has gone from a chronic problem (no urgency) to an acute one (high urgency). People want to be physically and mentally well, they want their children to stay active, and they want help creating structure in this new world. You’re the key.

New Knowledge, New Successes

Now that you’ve unlocked these secrets, you’ll take them back to your bricks-and-mortar business when you reopen. You’ll always have them.
In the last pages of “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief,” I wrote that leadership came down to two words: “Follow me.” More than ever before, you’re a person worth following.
Lead on.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.