The 2018 TwoBrain Summit is 90% SOLD OUT! June 2-3 in Niles, IL!

Episode 120 – Farmer Phase  

After years of mentoring entrepreneurs, I can tell you there are four distinct phases of entrepreneurship: the Founder Phase; the Farmer Phase; the Tinker Phase; and the Thief Phase.

The Farmer phase is the most important for a gym owner. Some gyms struggle to ever leave the Founder phase, even after years in business. But after a year, most have achieved at least a nucleus of success; they have a small cadre of very loyal members, a backup coach or two, and they’re taking home a paycheck. These are the Farmers: the entrepreneurs who seek to make meaningful careers for their staff; who want to work more ON their business and less IN their business; who want to work toward a 33% profit margin and build a cash flow asset and someday retire.

In this episode, I’ll walk through the Farmer Phase, what it takes to make it through this phase successfully–and what comes next.


Then I’ll share our first TwoBrain story: Nick Willi, a carpenter turned gym owner.


The key to the Farmer phase is cultivation. At this point, you have planted the seeds and the focus should be on feeding and watering your crop and helping it grow. This phase has many goals and some of these include: improving your gross profit margin to 33 percent, creating a cash flow asset that can run itself, and limiting yourself to no more than 40 hours per week within the business. It is at this stage that you, as the business owner, should start to replace yourself in the lower value roles.


The first challenge of the Farmer Phase is to replace yourself in the lower value roles within the business. When I first started out, I was doing everything: I thought that it was important to be the mopper of floors and the coach of my clients.. However, I soon found out that I couldn’t spend my time on low value roles if I wanted to grow my business into a self-sustaining asset long-term.  At TwoBrain, we teach our clients to assign a dollar value to each role in their business and work on replacing these roles from bottom to top.


The next challenge within the Farmer Phase is client retention. Keeping clients for a longer period of time can vastly improve the profitability of your business. We did a study at TwoBrain on this subject and found that most gyms could add $45,000 of income to your business each year simply by increasing the average retention of their clients by three months.


The third challenge of the Farmer Phase is marketing. Affinity marketing is what we focus on here at TwoBrain because it is so much easier and efficient as opposed to targeting cold leads. If you have not every listened to the Two-Brain Radio episode on Affinity Marketing, you should definitely go back and give it a listen. Only after completely exhausting the potential warm leads in and around your community should you move on to lead generation on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms. Of course, this presumes that you have a high retention rate and don’t run a “flow-through” operation, where new clients stay only as long as your “six-week challenge.”


The last challenge of the Farmers Phase is to build meaningful careers for your staff. The staff within your business are extremely important and as a result it is important that they feel they are making meaningful contributions. At TwoBrain we are big fans of intrapreneurship, where employees take ownership of portions of the business and help lead the business and act upon their own ideas. The incubator  program  dives into this concept in depth and if you have not been a part of this yet, I highly recommend you sign up!


Don’t forget, the Two-Brain Summit is coming up June 2ndand 3rd . This is going to be the most interactive summit yet where you will have the opportunity to improve your business while you are there!  In addition, there is an entire component devoted just to CrossFit coaches so be sure to bring them too. Be sure to register here before time runs out!



3:57 – A brief recap to the four phases of entrepreneurship

5:08 – The keys to the Farmer Phase

8:53 – The First Challenge of the Founder Phase: Replacing Yourself

13:01 – Defining the “Gold Standard” for each role within your business

16:02 – Do not be afraid to work with powerful people

19:35 – Client retention within the Farmer Phase

21:50 – Affinity marketing for the Farmer Phase

25:33 – How to build meaningful careers for your staff

32:50 – Two-Brain Story with Nick Willi

Listen to Stitcher