Behind the Curtain: Biz Secrets of High-Earning Gym Owner

Behind the Curtain: Biz Secrets of High-Earning Gym Owner

Mike Warkentin (00:00):
Some gym owners make more than $16,000 a month at their businesses. That’s not profit. That’s what they actually take home to their families. Get this: all 15 gyms on Two-Brain’s January leaderboard hit $16,000 or more. Some of them, five of them, were over $20,000, if you can believe that. Here’s the kicker: these numbers are three-month averages, not one-hit wonders. So these owners are sustaining this level of income. Enough with the what. We’re going to get to the how. This is “Run a Profitable Gym,” and my name is Mike Warkentin. I firmly believe you can listen to this show and earn more from your fitness business. So please be sure to subscribe on whatever platform you’re watching or listening. Here today is Jodi Butler of Pittsburgh FIT. What a great name that is. I bet she could sell the domain name for many thousands of dollars. She made our leaderboard, and she’s going to tell you how she did it. So, Jodi, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here.

Jodi Butler (00:50):
Thanks for having me.

Mike Warkentin (00:51):
It is my pleasure. I’m excited to dig into this because this is such a cool concept. For many years, my net owner benefit from my gym was zero. I took nothing out of it. I didn’t pay myself. It was a huge mistake. So I’m inspired when I see gym owners who are making, you know, 10, 15, $20,000. I wanna talk about how you did it. So if you don’t mind, tell me first, how has this number changed for you over time? Because mine started at zero. Where did you go? Like how did this work for you?

Jodi Butler (01:14):
Well, we started Pittsburgh FIT in 2012 as a boot camp in a park, charging people $10 per session. Now we are, you know, 11 and 12 years past that. And so where I was not paying myself in the first couple of years, I am now 15, 16, 18 times what, when I began paying myself, what I paid myself.

Mike Warkentin (01:38):
Okay, so you were like me. I did the same thing. It wasn’t a park because it’s too cold where I’m at. But we started with a boot camp, and I paid myself $0. I invested all my money in kettlebells and equipment and things like that. So you did the same kind of thing, started paying yourself not at all. And now you’re in two-figure multiples of that. That is very impressive. So gimme the 60 second rundown now of your current business. What are you doing? Like, is it personal training, group classes, big facility, small facility? What have you got going on?

Jodi Butler (02:06):
We are located in Pittsburgh. We have 9,000 square feet. We are personal training, group fitness, nutrition coaching, and what we call “lifestyle design,” often called remote coaching. We do a little bit of kids programs. And we also do events.

Mike Warkentin (02:23):
Okay. So tell me a little bit about that lifestyle coaching. What goes into that one? Cause that sounds like super interesting revenue stream.

Jodi Butler (02:28):
So what we do in lifestyle coaching, it really is program design, but it’s also “nutrition coaching light.” And it’s really looking at lifestyle habits. How are you sleeping? How are you eating? How are you socializing? And then how are you working out?

Mike Warkentin (02:46):
Okay. Now you said that’s remote?

Jodi Butler (02:49):
Actually most of the people come into the gym to do this. We call it lifestyle design, but in our industry it can often be called remote.

Mike Warkentin (02:57):
Okay. And it, that sounds to, to me like a high value service. Am I guessing right on that?

Jodi Butler (03:01):

Mike Warkentin (03:02):
Okay. So that’s great. So it’s a cliché in the fitness world, but lifestyle transformation, you know, you could say like, you’re coming in, I’m giving you everything. I’m giving you programs, I’m giving you coaching, I’m giving you nutrition habits based—whatever it is that you guys do. You’re giving them a —I’m sniffing that this might be a big part of your revenue stream. That’s a big one. Am I right?

Jodi Butler (03:22):
Well, it’s a good piece of the revenue stream, but the idea for us behind our lifestyle-design model was “how do we make more money for our coaches?” So the way it works is that where we have a lifestyle-design client, we have particular hours during the day where they can come in and be coached with the programming that they’re working on. And in this way our coaches can make, you know, two to three times what they generally make with these clients based on the number of hours that they have to work to support them.

Mike Warkentin (03:54):
Okay. We’re probably going to dig into that a little bit more because net owner benefit is one thing, but building careers for staff members is another thing entirely. And it sounds like you’ve got both going on. So tell me a little bit about your net owner benefit strategy. And the reason I ask about that is for listeners who don’t know, net owner benefit can be a salary that you take from the gym, but it can also be dividends if you’ve got that corporate structure set up. It can also be, like, you know, Chris Cooper, for example, his gym or his business pays for his truck, cell-phone bills, other things like that. So we add up all these different things and that is the benefit that your family gets from the gym. So tell me what is your strategy?

Jodi Butler (04:26):
So my strategy is a couple things. One, it is a salary. The other is it the gym pays for my phone. The gym pays for my vehicle. I use an office in my house as a tax write-off. And I also participate in the 401(k) plan that my coaches participate in.

Mike Warkentin (04:45):
Okay, excellent. So gym owners, if you are just doing one of those things, that’s totally cool. As you start to figure things out and grow your business, maybe you incorporate different things like that. There are other avenues available to you. Talk to someone who knows. Your accountant can help with that and figure it out. Incite Tax and Accounting, that’s something that we always recommend. John Briggs will tell you all about different ways to do this if that’s something that you’re interested in. So when you look at this, you’ve got salary, dividends, you’re definitely some benefits. Was this something that you put in place all at once, one big strategy, or did you kind of tack things on over the years as you figured it out? How did you do it?

Jodi Butler (05:23):
That’s a really good question. So we have figured this out as we’ve gone along. That’s really the short answer of this. And as we have become more successful, we’ve had more opportunity to figure out, so we offered a 401(k) match in 2022. This year, we’re offering paid time off next. I mean, I hope if we can keep this growth going and stabilize, then we would be offering health insurance to our coaches as well.

Mike Warkentin (05:51):
Okay. So you’ve gone I’ll say above and beyond generally what happens in the fitness industry, and you’ve put some—I’ll call it “career-level benefits”—in place for staff members. That sounds incredible.

Jodi Butler (06:03):
Right. And for us, Mike, I am willing to give up net over owner benefit in order to have staff stability. So I pay my coaches a bit more than the four-ninths that’s recommended by Two-Brain. But I will tell you that it relieves my stress because the single biggest thing that creates stress for me is staffing issues and staffing turnover. And we have had very little over the last two years or 10 years.

Mike Warkentin (06:33):
Okay. And that’s, that’s a really important thing. Staffing is difficult. It’s something that was always, always a problem for me. Many gym owners have the exact same problem, and some will go further to retain excellent, excellent coaches. But you did mention the 4/9ths Model. And is your staff pay tied to revenue at least in some ways?

Jodi Butler (06:52):
No. Okay. Well, yes and no. Both.

Mike Warkentin (06:55):
Tell me about it.

Jodi Butler (06:57):
So when they are coaching personal training or classes, they are paid an hourly amount. They are also incentivized every single month a percentage of their revenue that they bring in. So yes, they are incentivized on revenue. And so, for example, if they run a clinic, you know, they are paid a percentage of that clinic, like the 4/9ths Model, for example, although it’s a bit more than that. And then of course we do a 401(k) match. We’re offering paid time off. So it’s not as clean as four-ninths. And when we, when I aggregate all of it, it looks more like 55 to 60 percent.

Mike Warkentin (07:39):
Okay. But you obviously track that very carefully and you make sure that your business is showing a profit because what we’ve seen sometimes is with business owners, and I did this, they don’t check that their wages are balanced against their profit and revenue. They can get into some nasty situations, which I did. I’m guessing you keep a very close eye on this work with your mentor to make sure everything’s balanced and you’re able to derive a good income yourself.

Jodi Butler (08:00):
Exactly. I mean, and we learned something in COIVD because, luckily for us, our members were very loyal, and almost none of them stopped paying their membership even though we were closed for four months. And we had at the time coaches on salary. And so what I learned was that if we don’t have a corresponding revenue, it’s very difficult to pay coaches a salary. So we shifted our model up a bit, and, honestly, the coaches do better under the current model than they did under the previous model.

Mike Warkentin (08:37):
Okay. That’s interesting. And I don’t wanna get too off topic, but I did wanna kind of cover the things that you do for your coaches because it’s great to say, as a gym owner, “I generate a lot of income for myself.” But to do that and care for your coaches and create long-term employees, that’s a really interesting thing. So it’s not just you. You’ve got a team of people who are benefiting from this great business. So digging into your number a little bit more, what are the things that go into this? Like what are the things that you’ve tacked on as a gym owner to make this business so successful that you can pay yourself more?

Jodi Butler (09:08):
So the big thing that happened for me, when it really transitioned and Pittsburgh FIT started to become a very vital business, was I hired a general manager. And hiring that person allowed me to work on the business and not in the business. And then we spent a fair—what felt to me at the time to be a fair—amount of money learning how to help people. We had people coming to us for help, and we didn’t necessarily know how to talk about ourselves and how to talk about helping them or selling, for example, what can often be called marketing and sales. So we spent some money learning how to do that. And then as a necessity through COVID, we started to really focus most of our efforts on building our PT business, where that really accelerated our revenue. And then working to maintain still the group fitness piece of what we do.

Mike Warkentin (10:07):
Okay. I actually, and then, pardon me. Go ahead. Finish that off.

Jodi Butler (10:11):
I’m sorry. Also, during COVID we added a nutrition business.

Mike Warkentin (10:16):
Okay. Now, do you happen to know offhand—and you don’t have to if you don’t have this number, that’s fine—the percentage of re gross revenue that your nutrition business kicks in? Do you happen to know that by any chance?

Jodi Butler (10:26):
Yeah, it’s about 7%. Nutrition is about seven.

Mike Warkentin (10:30):
So that’s not bad. In our “State of the Industry” guide, we look at that number every year, and it’s one of those things that’s such a natural complement to fitness training. Nutrition—it’s obvious, right? So many gyms don’t have that number or don’t even have a program, and then their number is small. And I’m guessing that yours, is it increasing now that you’ve added it? Are you working to grow that?

Jodi Butler (10:49):
You know, it’s actually ebbed and flowed. And so this is a piece of what we really wanna focus on in 2023 is “how do we grow this business and have it sustain itself?” Of course, when people do nutrition coaching, the expectation is they’ll do it three to six months, transition off, then come back in.

Mike Warkentin (11:11):
Okay. And it’s interesting, I did interview a gym owner here, Clark Hibbs of Yellow Rose Fitness down in Texas, I believe, if I’m not mistaken, and his percentage is up around 20% of his gross revenue. That comes from a simple, habits-based but very effective nutrition-coaching business. So there is the opportunity in many gym businesses to add a new nutrition program, start with a small percentage of revenue, and then grow that to a large percentage. I’m guessing PT is a very strong revenue stream for you now that you put that in and focused on it.

Jodi Butler (11:38):
Yeah, it’s about 52%.

Mike Warkentin (11:41):
Okay. So that is a big deal. And you didn’t do that originally. It was just boot camp, right?

Jodi Butler (11:44):
No, no. Right. So we were at about 20% originally on PT. And again, when COVID happened, we really needed to pivot and figure out ways to bring revenue in the door.

Mike Warkentin (11:59):
52%—so that’s a big one because when I was running my bricks-and-mortar business back in the day, our PT revenue was 0%. And you can imagine the struggles of trying to keep things open on a group-class model only. Luckily, we did. But then when we started adding PT, things changed significantly. I wanna go back a little bit. You said that you hired a general manager and focused on working on the business, not in it. Do you remember the first things you did when you had that freedom to work on the business? What did you do?

Jodi Butler (12:29):
Right. I wanted us to focus exclusively on business development. How were we going to get more people in the door? And at that time, we weren’t thinking about personal training. What we were thinking about is “how do we create”—and actually we did it, we created another brand. So we had Pittsburgh FIT, and then we added another brand that was going to be strength-based conditioning that we could compete with, say the Orangetheories or F45s, and we could draw that type of avatar client. And it was actually really working for us. And then of course, COVID happened, and the group model really collapsed.

Mike Warkentin (13:09):
Okay. So when did you hire the general manager? Do you remember the year?

Jodi Butler (13:13):
Yep. 2018. Okay. December of 2018.

Mike Warkentin (13:16):
Okay. Were you working with Two-Brain at that time, or when did you start with us?

Jodi Butler (13:19):
We started with Two-Brain a couple of years ago. And I’ll tell you that that has without question really streamlined our focus in our business.

Mike Warkentin (13:34):
Yeah, dig into that. Tell me what you were going to say there. What happened when you started working with a mentor? Because you had, you did this great step where you bought yourself some free time, quote unquote, to focus on the business. You’re not coaching classes as much and so forth. Then you start working with a mentor on targeted stuff to grow the business. What were you doing with that?

Jodi Butler (13:52):
So what I was most interested in is how do we, how do I think about my business in a deeper, more rich way? So how was I thinking about average revenue per member? Actually, at the time, I hadn’t been thinking about that. How was I thinking about my distribution of revenue among those four buckets that I had talked about, and how was I thinking about how we were charging people? We had people that were—some people were discounted, some people weren’t discounted. I mean, so Two-Brain, I mean, and our mentor really helped us to focus and have some discipline around what it is we do. We created standard operating procedures for virtually everything. And another big thing that we learned in our mentorship—and we still work with our mentor monthly—was around a client success manager.

Jodi Butler (14:48):
And so last year we hired actually two of them. And what we learned there was in our business that Pittsburgh FIT, we actually, they’re not part-time positions for us. This needs to be a full-time position. You know, we have 175 group members, 75 personal-training members, you know, X number of lifestyle design. So we need somebody committed to this. And so we are right now in the process of really dialing down what this’ll look like. And we reached out to Jake Fields, who you had talked to about client success. You know, I heard the podcast, I called him, and he gave us great ideas, which is what really changed our thinking about “how do we hold this client’s success in a way that we can really be successful.” So that’s a big piece that we’re working on now.

Mike Warkentin (15:38):
That is cool. I’m going to circle back to that because that was a very interesting show, and he was the first gym owner that I had spoken to that had two client success managers, whereas most gyms don’t have any. So I’m going to circle back to that, but listeners, I’m just going to give you a quick rundown here. So you had a very successful gym owner. Jodi hired herself a general manager, which not a lot of people have thought to do, and she ends up working with a mentor, and the things that she started to do—these are things that we hear relentlessly from great gym owners, successful gym owners. Average revenue per member is a huge one. Meaning a lot of people are charging too little. Driving up average revenue per member is not about gouging clients; it’s about offering more value that they want to pay for. “I want to get to my goals faster, and I will pay more for that.” And it’s helping clients get success faster, not just jacking up the rates and bleeding ’em out of every penny. It’s about helping them faster. Speed is valuable. So you’ve got average revenue per member. Then, sound business systems. We’re not going to deep-dive into that, but every gym owner I speak to who has a successful business has business systems. They’re not just making it up as they go. They have systems in place. It’s a huge one. Next, revenue streams, if you just have group training, let me tell you, the world out there is going to get better for you. If you look at different revenue streams, not “all the revenue streams,” just a few really strong ones. Jodi’s laid out four. You could do it on two to start: group training and PT, group training and nutrition. As you scale up, there’s a lot more things that you can do to drive up that average revenue per member. And again, we know if you offer fitness coaching and nutrition coaching, your clients are going to get better results. It’s a win for everyone. And it’s worth not $150 a month; it’s worth closer to $300 or more. Many Two-Brain gyms are charging on average $300 or more per member per month. Okay. Final thing I’ll say before we circle back to the client success manager is discounts and variable rates. If you are struggling right now to pay yourself more and you have a ton of discounts, know that standardizing your rates, making it consistently fair for everyone and charging the rates that you need to live the life that you want is going to help. And we have a plan for that. You can’t just do it and hope it works out. There’s actually a specific plan Two-Brain has developed. We’ve done it hundreds of times with gym owners. The plan limits risk, maximizes reward, increases fairness for everyone and helps the gym owner live a great life. So if you’re not paying yourself enough and you have a lot of discounts in place, you wanna talk to us and we can help you do this on a specific plan. So Jodi, let’s get back to client success managers. Because this is huge. Retention is the key. More members are great, but retention is better because you have these great people, and if you hold onto them, they’ll keep paying you, and they’ll keep having success. How do you divide up the client manager client success manager role? You’ve got a bunch of ’em now—what do they do?

Jodi Butler (18:22):
Right. So right now, so actually like I said, we hired two part time, and what I’ve come to realize is we actually need full time. So I personally am in the process of working on this myself for a couple of months to dial it down and then pass it off. But the way that we think about it at Pittsburgh FIT is we have 75 personal-training clients. I expect that those coaches are keeping those people happy. And it’s true. I mean, I can look at that by the numbers. So those are people I don’t have to spend a whole lot of time thinking about. Also, in our lifestyle-design business, those coaches have real one-on-one relationships, and they are keeping those folks. They’re helping them, and they’re getting better. So it’s not a piece that I need to worry about. What I wanna really focus on is our group members. We have 175 of them. So when I, when we look at the numbers on where we’re losing people, it’s really in the first one to six months. And so I have focused on, in the first 30 days, I do a goal-setting session with everyone. And interestingly, they’re all showing up for it. And then at that goal-setting session, we set up another goal-setting session for the three-month mark. Some people asked for it a little bit earlier. And what I have found just in the past six weeks is I’ll do a goal-setting session with people, and the first thing I do is look at when they joined, and then also look at how many classes have they attended. And when their attendance says “low,” that is a piece I know I need to dive right into because “how can I help you be more accountable?” And then I stay in touch with those people. It is a lot of work, which is why I say this role actually is a full-time role, and it needs to be somebody that really cares about the outcome for our clients. Because the truth of the matter is, Mike, is that people come to us because they want something for themselves. They want something for their life. And I think it is our job to help them get there.

Mike Warkentin (20:30):
I agree with you 100% on that. So, listeners, a client success manager does not have to be full time to start. If you don’t have the revenue for that, that’s okay. You can start with four hours per week, right? And if you pay someone four hours per week just to send out a text that says “I haven’t seen you in a bit. Where you at?” to absent members or “congrats on the PR” or “happy birthday” or any of this stuff, four hours a week might cost you 60, $80—whatever. If you save one member, you’ve paid for the position. Okay? Now that’s just the basics. So if you’re intimidated by “holy cow, full-time staff member who’s not coaching,” I get it. But there is a way to dip a toe in and get this thing working. Retention is such a huge deal. Upper-level gym owners like Jodi are investing in it as a full-time position. And I love that what you’re doing is that you are digging into this yourself. You’re taking this role, digging into it, breaking it down, making it perfect, analyzing stuff, with the intention of passing it off eventually to someone that you’re hiring, right? So that you’re leaving, as Chris Cooper said, deep tracks for someone to follow. So you’re not stuck in this role forever, you pass it off. Is that right?

Jodi Butler (21:35):
That’s right. And so two more things. I mean actually we’re doing quite a bit of things, but another thing we do is we have a leader of our group training, and he reaches out to every person that’s on our at-risk list, right? So they haven’t been here for two weeks—we are in contact with you trying to figure out what’s happening and how can we help you. And then another thing we do: I’m glad you talked about the PRS because we have people write their name on the PR board every month, and these can be 30, 40, 50 names. And so in the past three months we sent a postcard to every person that’s on that PR board. But we write a personal note the last couple of months I’ve done it. Now what we’re going to do is every coach is going to take a different month. But we wanna really recognize people, you know, high-five ’em—”you’re doing great” and “thank you for trusting us with your health and fitness.”

Mike Warkentin (22:27):
So what I’m hearing here is like systems, right? So like my system, quote-unquote, back in the day was you’d put your PR on the corner of the whiteboard, and you know, at the end of the month we’d wipe them off and start again. Not a great system, right? That’s just cleaning, essentially. If you have a system, you are recording PRs, you are documenting them, and then you are doing something to celebrate them and put your clients on podiums. The difference is night and day. And it’s the difference between paying yourself $0 a month and paying yourself $20,000 a month, right? So it’s a huge, huge difference. I also love that you’ve mentioned stuff like digging into the client journey, noticing when people are leaving your business. Because I knew people left my business, but I didn’t know when and why. You’ve actually targeted exactly when they’re leaving, when they’re most likely to leave—and how can we fix that? And that’s that Goal Review Session or goal-setting session. And then the coolest thing that you’ve said is that you actually set that next Goal Review Session, and some of them wanted earlier. I had trouble putting Goal Review Sessions in place. You’ve actually got people asking for them earlier. What does that do for your business when people actually set a goal and then come back and review it? How does that help the business?

Jodi Butler (23:35):
Well it helps because they are a invested in their goal, but they’re also invested in the relationship, right? I mean, we are really in a relationship business here. I mean, anybody can de deliver training, but can we be in relationship with folks? You know, another thing we do, too, this will be the final big thing we do around client success, is every month I print out who has an anniversary this month and who has a birthday. And so I reach out to every one of those people either on their birthday or on their anniversary, and, you know, say, “thank you for trusting us with your health and fitness and this is a great time to do a goal-setting session. Let’s talk about your goals. Like how do you want your health and fitness to be after you do this spin around the sun?”

Mike Warkentin (24:19):
Would it be a mistake to say that retention is one of the greatest things that goes into your wages or salary or net owner benefit? Is that a mistake?

Jodi Butler (24:30):
It’s, yes. I mean, and I think it’s only going to get better for us and the coaches because I really believe that retention is an acquisition strategy.

Mike Warkentin (24:38):
Tell me about that. What does that mean?

Jodi Butler (24:40):
So I think if we can retain, I mean, let’s say last year, let me just throw a number out: if we lost 50 clients last year, if we can keep half of those clients, then we don’t have to spend money—so much money on lead generation and set-show-close rates. And we can really focus on “how do we deepen our coaching skill? How do we deepen our relationships, deepen our community, and help people get better?”

Mike Warkentin (25:12):

So you said, I think back in the early part of the show, that you originally focused on getting more members, but now your focus seems to be a huge, huge investment on retaining members. Was that a big mindset shift for you?

Jodi Butler (25:23):
Exactly. It was a big mindset shift. So when I think about, you know, the leadership that is Pittsburgh FIT, so this is my focus right now: “How do we retain the people?” We have the GM. His focus is on set, show, close. So we are coming at it from every angle that we can to really stabilize, and we have 9,000 square feet. So how do we fill this space? How do we enrich the coaches? How do we enrich the community, and how do we continue to help people get better and healthier?

Mike Warkentin (25:57):
Okay, so if you are out there and you have successful gym, lots of members, great rates and so forth, that is the Tinker-level gym owner. What that means is that you are a gym owner now who is not working to get to breakeven. You are not a gym owner who is trying to grow your business so that you can make about a hundred grand a year. You are now a gym owner who can tinker with things and make them amazing. Okay? We have a program for that. It’s called the Tinker Program. And if you are interested in something like that, take a look. We’ll put a link in the show notes for you so that you can look at it. If you are a gym owner who’s just starting out, and you’re trying to get to breakeven, that’s a great first goal. And the second goal is to pay yourself a hundred thousand dollars a year so that you can live well and continue. There are some simple things that you can do. Jodi’s laid out a bunch of ’em, but Jodi, I wanna put you on the spot here and ask you if you were talking to gym owners out there who are maybe struggling with the idea of paying themselves more, what’s the one thing that you would recommend? Like what would you tell ’em to take action on today so that they can pay themselves a little bit more?

Jodi Butler (26:54):
Well, my advice would be, and this is what I wish known in Year 1, I would’ve gotten a mentor right away. And I know they seem like they’re a little bit expensive, but every time I have invested in some type of learning around running this business, it has paid off. So the first thing I would do is get a mentor, and then I would listen to the mentor. You know, not just have one. ‘Cause you can’t really purchase success. You have to really follow through. So I would say, for example, if you’re a Two-Brain client and you’re new, follow the formula to the T. It works. I would say that. And then I would say even though we get into this business because we’re really passionate about health and fitness, you will need to sell, to market and to figure out how you’re going to help people. And again, people come to us, nobody walks into a gym door without wanting something for themselves. No one. And so we just need to orient to their goals and how we might be able to help them.

Mike Warkentin (28:00):
I love it. And I’m going to give gym owners two emergency strategies here, and you tell me what you think of these after I lay them out. This is your hack to do two things today. First one, just give yourself a $50-a-month raise. Doesn’t seem like much, but it is a raise. Give yourself a $50-a-month raise, and then figure out how to generate that $50. Now mad money doesn’t magically appear from anywhere, from nowhere, I get that. But you’re a Type A person if you’re running a gym, right? You probably have some fitness goals, you probably have some business goals. If you need to make an extra $50 or if you wanted to bench press an extra five pounds, I bet you’d find a way to do that. So Jodi, do you think that’s a bad strategy to give yourself $50 raises?

Jodi Butler (28:41):
I do actually think we have to start thinking about how to pay ourselves, and then we’ll find our way into the solution around that. And I think trying to PR a deadlift or a snatch, that’s a great example because there’s a formula for that.

Mike Warkentin (28:59):
So the second step that I’m going to give you, this is your hack as well. So you’re like, “How do I pay for this? How do I find that $50?” I would tell you to spend a little bit more money. What I would tell you to spend that money on would be hire a client success manager for even one hour a week. So let’s say you pay $20 an hour. You hire this person for one hour a week—that’s $80 a month. So you spent another $80. That person’s job is to retain clients. And just by sending out texts saying “how are you? Where have you been? How are you having success? Can you book a goal review session?” I guarantee that you’re going to retain more members, which is going to make your bottom line better, right? ‘Cause they’re going to stay longer, and you are going to have four extra hours. In those four extra hours. You are going to find a way to make the extra $80 you’ve spent. My advice would be to start with something simple. You could sell, for example, a personal-training session that you coach to make that money back. Or you could work on sales and marketing or any of the other things. But that’s the simplest plan that I could lay out for you. Jodi, what do you think of that option?

Jodi Butler (30:01):
I love it. I love it. I think that works.

Mike Warkentin (30:03):
So money doesn’t appear from anywhere, right? It just doesn’t show up in your bank account. But if you follow these plans, and I’ve given you just these two basic ones, this plan goes all the way to the horizon and beyond. Chris Cooper’s laid out at a complete plan that takes you from breakeven, starving gym owner to a hundred thousand dollars a year to the Tinker Program where you’re making, you know, maybe hundreds of thousand dollars a year and you wanna start a second business. You want to, you know, expand your current business—any of these other things where you can then become wealthy and help more clients. The goal obviously for gym owners is not to become a wealthy, you know, moneybags. The goal is to help more people. And you can only do that with a strong, stable business. And let’s be real, you deserve to be compensated for the work you put in. Jodi, thank you so much for sharing your story and some really great practical detail. I really, really appreciate it. That was Jodi Butler. This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” This is where the world’s best gym owners tell you exactly what they’re doing so that you can have the same success. They come on here. They don’t hide their secrets. They share them so that you can be just like them. Now please subscribe for more episodes on your way out. I would love it if you’re on YouTube, please hit the like button and leave us a comment. Now, here’s Chris Cooper, Two-Brain founder, with a final message.

Chris Cooper (31:14):
Hey, it’s Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper with a quick note. We created the Gym Owners United Facebook group to help you run a profitable gym. Thousands of gym owners just like you have already joined in the group. We share sound advice about the business of fitness every day. I answer questions, I run free webinars, and I give away all kinds of great resources to help you grow your gym. I’d love to have you in that group. It’s Gym Owners United on Facebook, or go to to join. Do it today.

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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.