Action Is Everything (Why We Don’t Sell Courses)

Action is everything - a goldfish leaping from a small to big bowl

“If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy.” —Jim Rohn

I had never made $15,000 in a weekend before. I felt like I’d won the lottery.

There was only one problem—and it was the biggest problem of all:

The thing I was selling didn’t provide results.

Gym Business Courses: The Fatal Flaw

After three years as a mentor to gym owners (and 10 as a gym owner myself), I knew there was a common path to success.

I would meet a new gym owner and learn about the gym. And then our conversation would follow a predictable path: We’d build systems to solidify services. Then we’d build onboarding and retention systems. Then we’d start getting referrals before turning outward in our marketing.

The process was never exactly the same, but the topics were consistent. My schedule was full, and I had a waiting list. I needed to figure out how to help more gym owners without taking more than seven calls per day.

So in late 2013, I said “I’m saying the same stuff a lot here. I should record myself and put everything into a nice course so these gym owners can just hear the lesson, download the template right away and get to work.”

I’d already been selling courses for Ignite! online for a few years. So I knew how to build a course. I set up in my basement, and over a very long December I recorded 24 hours of video footage. I edited everything myself and uploaded videos overnight. My wife would take the kids visiting for hours and hours almost every day so the house would be quiet and the internet would be fast.

By February, I’d tested the course on a few of my clients, and they loved it. So we launched the course as a standalone product.

And we enrolled over 50 gyms right away. It felt like a miracle—like I’d pulled off a software-style scale-up on a personal service. I couldn’t wait to do it again.

Only one little problem: It didn’t work.

Without mentorship, gym owners weren’t getting results.

Gym Business Courses and Inaction

I remember sitting in a car with my friend Jay Rhodes. I had flown to North Carolina to run a seminar at a gym owned by another friend, Brian Strump. Jay had taken the course and finished it without taking any action.

Now, here was a true person of action: Jay had been an athlete for his whole life. He’d missed the CrossFit Games by a single point after making it on a team the year before. He taught high school. He knew how to learn and grind. And he couldn’t get results from that course—not without mentorship.

I immediately stopped selling the course. I even split with the website company that wanted to continue selling it because I don’t ever want to sell something that doesn’t get results.

Knowledge is one thing. It’s not enough.

A mentor’s job is to create action.

Gym Owners and Mentorship (and Action)

In our mentorship program, we teach you everything you need to know—and then you get on a call with a mentor to implement it. Change is hard. You need guidance and help.

It’s one thing for me to say, “Write a playbook!” But I know this: If no one is waiting to see your playbook at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, you won’t write it. It’s also easy for me to say, “Your rate should be $225 per month!” It’s another thing to untangle the complicated history and emotional connections you have with your members. That’s what mentors do: They walk with you.

We don’t sell courses. We are a mentorship practice.

Even our massive Growth ToolKit isn’t a course. It’s a collection of 450 lessons on various topics—but you need a mentor’s help to determine when you need which lesson. Not because it’s a bunch of secrets but because everything on the Growth ToolKit is important.

You’re going to get pitched on marketing courses, sales courses, coaching courses—everything you can imagine. Trust me: Courses don’t create action. And action is the only thing that counts.

Over the last month, in an effort to build a bridge with CrossFit Inc., we applied to be a Preferred Course provider. We ultimately abandoned the application. It was my fault: I should have understood that “course” meant an unguided, self-directed process. That’s the way “courses” are. And we don’t sell courses. So we’re still a recommended provider of CrossFit continuing education units (CEUs), but we won’t be a “preferred course.”

We had the chance to build a self-guided, discount version of our RampUp course. We could have immediately sold hundreds and made lots of money. But I won’t do it because we’re a mentorship practice.

Courses don’t work.

A mentor helps you apply knowledge. Without application, all the knowledge in the world won’t help you.

Other Media in This Series

“What Is Mentorship in the Fitness Business?”
“The Power of Focus”
“Cleaning up the Business of Business”
“Why Our Advice Changes”
“11 Things We Learned From COVID (The Fitness Industry’s New Normal)”


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.