Two-Brain Radio: Jesse Topp

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Mateo: 00:00 – Hey, it’s Mateo of Two-Brain Marketing. On this edition of the Two-Brain Marketing podcast, I’m talking with Jesse Topp from Topp Performance. You’ll learn about his experience transitioning from being a competitive Brazilian Jujitsu fighter to a personal trainer and then to a martial arts and CrossFit gym owner. You’ll also learn about his paid advertising system and how last month he spent $180 on ads and made $5,000 in front-end sales. 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: 00:41 – 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

Greg: 01:00 – We would like to thank another one of our amazing sponsors, UpLaunch. Over the amount of time that you’ve had your business, how many people have come through your doors and never signed up for a membership? When I first opened, I remember getting everybody’s name and emails because that’s what I was told was the best way to start the conversation with potential new members. The big problem was I never knew what to say. Over many years, I spent countless hours developing plenty of emails to send to these new members or people that are thinking about signing up for a membership. This took a lot of time, probably way too long, and could have been spent on more productive things. If you’re in the same situation I was, don’t waste any more time and book a free session with UpLaunch. UpLaunch has over a hundred prebuilt emails to convert new leads into members and when your members decide to take a break, they have a whole campaign to get them back through the doors. You have the ability to text message members right from the app and with integrations like Google Calendar, Facebook and over a hundred more via Zapier, UpLaunch has you covered. UpLaunch was created by gym owners for gym owners. Head over to today to get the conversation started with your future and past clients.

Mateo: 02:11 – Hello. Welcome to the Two-Brain Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Mateo. I’m one of the digital marketing mentors at Two-Brain Business. Thanks for joining us. This is your weekly dose of digital marketing magic, and in today’s episode, special guest Jesse Topp, owner of Topp Performance. You’ll learn more about his experience and how last month, he spent $180 on ads and he was able to generate $5,000 in front-end sales. So we want to hear all about that. Jesse, how are you?

Jesse: 02:36 – I’m good, I’m good. Thanks for having me.

Mateo: 02:38 – Topp with two P’s, huh?

Jesse: 02:40 – That’s my last name. Yeah, Topp Performance, two P’s made the name. If I had to do it again, I would not use my name in the business but—

Mateo: 02:46 – Oh really, why?

Jesse: 02:48 – Well just for the long run.

Mateo: 02:50 – Yeah, I gotcha. You don’t want to have that icon problem. Probably having your name in the brand is tough for that. So tell us a little bit about, you know, who you are, where you’re from and a little bit about your business.

Jesse: 03:06 – I’m 37 I live in Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada. I have a martial arts business. Jiu-Jitsu’s my total 100% passion. And then in the midst I used to compete a lot. I’m 37 now. In the midst of competing, I was trying to find the right strength and conditioning regimen. I’d obviously trained on the weights for years, but the bodybuilding wasn’t working much for me anymore. When I was on the mats, I was putting on too much size. So I was fighting at a heavier weight. And so a friend introduced me to CrossFit. I was not an advocate of it at the time. And then once I trained for about three months in CrossFit, I went back to the competition scene in Jujitsu around Ontario, Canada, and it was like I had a secret weapon. Just like with the explosiveness of my hips and my cardiovascular system, my recovery time was better. And then I just totally bought in. So I had the martial arts gym and then I started a strength and conditioning center, affiliated with CrossFit, which is a amazing brand, and here we are.

Mateo: 03:55 – Wow. So is it Brazilian Jujitsu or just normal—.

Jesse: 03:59 – Brazilian jujitsu. We’re under another affiliation, Mestre Sylvio Behring from Brazil. Heavy in self-defense, awareness, self-awareness and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for sport.

Mateo: 04:09 – Wow, that’s pretty hardcore, man. So when you were competing, I imagine yeah, CrossFit probably helped a lot with the power and getting mobile, too, and yeah, it’s great. Awesome. So you have two gyms then? They’re connected, physically or—

Jesse: 04:24 – They’re connected; I have martial arts on the top floor. It’s like a 7,000-square-foot facility. Martial arts on the top floor. And then underneath is CrossFit and personal training.

Mateo: 04:34 – Nice. And so how long has the—maybe you already said, how long has the facility been open?

Jesse: 04:39 – So I’ve had the brand or I’ve had my business, you know, we scaled up accordingly in the last three years. I started out in like a 450-square-foot spot. I was renting off another martial arts club in a town over. I built up a personal training client list and then opened another location. I had a trainer running that for me and then I decided—it was doing quite well, so I decided to go all in on the second location and I closed the first one. I hope to go back there in the near future. And then, yeah, we started the personal training, martial arts, and then it took right off with the CrossFit and strength-and-conditioning program.

Mateo: 05:08 – Tell me a little bit more about that if you can. Cause I didn’t experience that where, you know, I’m kinda subleasing my own space or an existing space trying to build my own PT book, I never did any of that. But I know there are a lot of people who listen to this who are or were in a similar boat. Right, where you’re kind of trying to build up a book within an existing business and then hoping to at one point off shoot on your own. What was that experience like and do you have like any advice for people who are trying to build up that book enough so that you can go and open your own practice?

Jesse: 05:40 – Great question. I really just did it because I was passionate. And like I said, I was competing, I was a broke fighter, so you know, people would ask me, hey, can you strength and condition me or can you do privates with me? So I was doing that just to basically get by and compete. It’s expensive, the decision to compete. And then it just kind of blossomed something more. I like helping people, my passion shined through, I think, so I’m told. If I had any advice it would be 100% the game-changing thing for me was I hired a mentor. It was my first mentor I hired, it was about three years ago and it totally just—it opened my eyes to another level and then since I joined with Two-Brain Business, it’s like blowing up.

Mateo: 06:17 – Wow. And how would you approach, like how do you get your first couple of sales and your first couple of PT clients when you’re just starting off like that?

Jesse: 06:24 – I just used awareness on Facebook, so I made like these just kind of shoddy-looking ads on Canva. Actually I don’t think I was using Canva, I think it was just like some app on my Samsung, and it looked okay to me at the time and now I look back at these ads and I’m like oh man, they were weren’t ads. They were just like, they were just graphics with my name and a phone number on it. But you know, people—I learned since what I did was I solved a problem, right? So people want to lose weight and feel great. I would write that in there because that’s what I knew I could offer. And before—it didn’t take me very long. Within a year I had a pretty full client list and had to bring on another trainer.

Mateo: 06:58 – And are you just approaching people who walking around or you just have these images and you’re putting them out and people are just kind of finding out about you or?

Jesse: 07:05 – I’ll be transparent. So now I really target market with the help of Two-Brain and past people. But at the time it was just basically like picking up a can of paint and throwing it at the wall and seeing what would stick. And it worked for that situation. I could never do that now, but it worked for that situation.

Mateo: 07:22 – Gotcha. You had a little less responsibilities and so you could kind of hustle a bit more and just kind of ride off the—I got you. I totally got you. All right. Awesome.

Jesse: 07:35 – One other piece of advice starting out, would be sales. So a lot of—I know for me like as a personal trainer, I help people, I teach them how to defend themselves. I didn’t know how to sell. I read a few sales books, “Sales First,” and that was a game changer to realize like sales, if you look at it the right way, you’re helping people, you’re not being like that used-car salesman, you know, for lack of a better term.

Mateo: 07:55 – Well and you have no choice, too, at that point, right? You’ve got no one, if you’re trying to build up a book of private clients. You have to be able to sell. And I think you’re totally right. Like you just approach it with you’re helping first, that’s it. You know you’re painting that picture. You’re helping first and that’s all it is.

Chris: 08:13 – 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, it 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 the 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.

Chris: 09:08 – 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: 09:56 – OK. So it sounds like you’ve had some mentors in the past. It sounds like you’ve gone to a lot of changes just in the physical space and adding on these different services. What was life kind of like pre-Two-Brain for you?

Jesse: 10:12 – No systems, to sum it up perfectly. It was me in the business, not really wanting to spend money on staffing, no systems. You know, we always use that thing like if I was gonna get hit tomorrow, or I was gone, my business would collapse, 100% it would collapse at that time. Now, it wouldn’t. Now I have systems, you know, we talked about the marketing stuff. I don’t just like throw the thing at the wall, it’s all targeted. I know exactly how much ad spend I’m putting in and what I’m going to get in ROI or hopefully get in ROI. As far as managing people, my timetable, how I allocate my funding, the list goes on and on. It’s calculated.

Mateo: 10:44 – Nice. And what was kind of like the biggest struggle you were facing, kind of leading up to saying, “Hey, you know what, I’m gonna try this Chris Cooper guy out,” you know?

Jesse: 10:52 – Yeah. I started reading, actually I started hearing this podcast and I ordered all of his books. I’m an all-or-nothing person. I ordered them all, I read them all, I listened to the audiobook, and I just liked the way Chris like, you know, presented it, about helping people first. You know, like you have something to offer the community, we just have to realize it. So the mindset shift.

Mateo: 11:07 – What made you decide to finally pulled the trigger, what was the biggest problem you were kind of facing? What was the pain point for you?

Jesse: 11:13 – Scale. Scaling. I want to scale the business, I wanted to grow bigger, I wanted to help more people. I wanted to grow my martial-arts team. I had targets in my mind. I wanted to hit like long-term goals and I knew that I needed some sort of scalability, systems being the biggest one.

Mateo: 11:26 – Nice. And I know you said you work with Brian and then Kaleda; since then, what were kind of biggest changes you started to see after the first couple months in mentorship?

Jesse: 11:36 – An increase in revenue, for sure. I lowered my stress; the stress is just allocated differently. Now I’m able to spend my time doing other things. My staffing, how to manage my staff a lot better.

Mateo: 11:47 – Yeah. How many people do you have on staff?

Jesse: 11:49 – Now I have four full time. And between the CrossFit and martial arts, 15 contracts coaches.

Mateo: 11:56 – Right. I imagine with the two kind of facilities or the two levels, you probably have a good amount of staff. What was that process like trying to get people on board with the new vision once you started to try to implement some of these new systems, what was that process like trying to get everyone on board and on the same page with so many bodies?

Jesse: 12:15 – It was difficult. So I started bringing it in, you know, one piece at a time. Next piece, next piece. I was met with some resistance. Some of those people are no longer with us and that’s okay. I wish them well, but I know I just had to keep on like, clarity, like pinpoint focus. This is where we’re going. If I can bring my staff with me too, I always make sure I always refer to it like our business runs with me behind the scenes where some companies and corporations run with like the CEO up front. I like to stay in the back because without people beside me or in front of me, there really is no me, I’m back to personal training, you know, subleasing space.

Mateo: 12:48 – Right. So you had some tough conversations, but it sounds like you were able to eventually get everyone—the right seats on the bus filled.

Jesse: 12:57 – Yup. For sure.

Mateo: 12:58 – And I’m curious about this next question because I know you have these two kind of pieces to your business. So in your own words, what do you sell and then how do you sell it?

Jesse: 13:07 – I sell lifestyle change. So I myself had under—I went through a large lifestyle change about six years ago. I quit drinking. I gave up that whole party lifestyle at the end of my twenties. I’ve been sober now just over five years. And I never knew how good I would be able to feel, so I to pass that on to other people. Now the people that come into the gym, they find their lifestyle change through health, fitness, martial arts, body awareness, confidence, you know, feeling good in their skin. That’s what I sell.

Mateo: 13:34 – That’s awesome, man, that’s beautiful. Let’s get into the weeds a little bit now with the work you did with Kaleda. Walk us through, if you don’t mind, your paid advertising system. How do you structure it ? Is this just for the strength-and-conditioning folks downstairs?

Jesse: 13:48 – Yes, so we just started it with—I had done it before for a little bit of martial arts, but nothing in real like targeted manner. And then Kalita guided me through with the Two-Brain system, how to set up my ad account, how to set up my campaigns, my ad sets, create ads, my copy, how important the image was, and then how to track that. So just like having the spreadsheet to track it and knowing exactly where my money’s going, not just, you know, again, not just throwing money out the window and seeing what comes back. That’s what I did for a while and it adds up quickly. Like if you’re putting in money into Google Adwords and Facebook marketing, you know, before you know you’re into a thousand, two thousand, three thousand dollars, so just the structured, the way it’s laid out, like the structured videos and you know, the explanations. And then the mentorship to follow-up with.

Mateo: 14:31 – Awesome, man. So a lead comes in for you guys. Lead comes in. What happens?

Jesse: 14:36 – Oh, I love this system. Lead comes in, it instantly gets zapped in my Google Sheet. Once it goes to Google Sheets, Google Sheets zaps it to my phone, so I get a text on my phone saying, you’ve got a new lead. It’s this person. This is the phone number. I used to call them right away, but now I have my front desk. I send a screenshot to my front desk once a day. When she gets in or if she wants to do it from home, she bills me the hours. She calls the person, hey, let’s get you booked in for the No-Sweat Intro. Usually eight times out of 10 we find, 7-8 times out of 10 they already book in through the funnel software and then it books right into my Google calendar and I get a notification every day, these are the people you need to meet, this is what they’re coming for. They come down and sit down and sit with me and I sit at my desk and I lay the paperwork out, what I can do for them, if I can help them. If I can’t, then I tell them I can’t. I’m completely transparent about it, but if I can then we go from there.

Mateo: 15:26 – Yeah. Walk me through that a little bit more. I’m curious your perspective on this, coming from the personal-training background and coming from the martial arts background, that person walks in to meet you. What happens? Walk me through.

Jesse: 15:39 – I make it personal right away. I make sure I know their name. They come in and they sit down in my office. My office is a nice office. I put resources into it so that when people come in it’s like, wow, we’re not in the nicest building but this is nice. They sit down, it’s a good feel. I even go to the step of having like a Doterra diffuser on, like just for a scent, you know what I mean? And also because I love them. And then they come in and I say, OK, tell me what’s going on. I take them through the No-Sweat Intro, I’ve kind of customized it a bit myself. You know, like I go through what’s happening in their life, where I can help them, what they want to do, how they can accomplish it. And then I try to tie some sort of emotion to it. And I’m not trying to be like a snake-oil salesman. I’m just like, why is this happening? Like there’s a reason why you’re feeling this way. What is that? Rather than just what a lot of places do and what I used to do is, hey, come in and I’ll take your money, I’ll make you do a bunch of cardio, you’ll burn a bunch of calories and you’ll lose a bunch of weight and then you’ll go on your way. And then three years from now, or a year from now, or two years from now, I’ll see you and the weight will be back on maybe, sometimes. And then it’s not really successful in my eyes. Sure they’ve paid for my services. But at the end of the day, you want to see that person succeed, right?

Mateo: 16:44 – I think when you just said really important is tying it to a why, right? Because especially if objections do come up, you know, whether it’s about price or whatever it is like, or they’re just kinda like, ah, I don’t know. If you haven’t established that why, you’re probably not gonna be able to overcome those objections. The best way to do that is if you have that why, you’re able to tie it back in, bring it back up and say, well, you said, you know, you’ve got this wedding coming up and you’re and doing this other thing, or whatever it is. If you tie it back to the why, I think that’s super, super important for closing the sale, for sure.

Jesse: 17:22 – A hundred percent. A hundred percent.

Mateo: 17:24 – So it sounds like business is growing. It sounds like you’ve got staff on board. I mean, 180 bucks on ads, five grand in sales. That’s pretty awesome. What do you think has been—you kind of highlighted this earlier already, but what do you think has been the key to your growth and your success so far?

Jesse: 17:43 – 100%. Like there’s a lot of key if you want to know the truth.

Mateo: 17:46 – A lot of keys; yeah, I wanna know all of them.

Jesse: 17:49 – I get up at 4:00 a.m. every day. I always try to work my hardest. I make sure I get—one of the hardest things I find is getting myself rest and recovery. I do it for training, but I won’t do it in business. I’ll sit at my desk for hours on end. Now I’m really starting to like—and my wife is good at noticing this, like, hey, we need to take a break. Let’s sit back, let’s reassess this, shut our phones off, unplug. That has really put me into another stage. And then I mentioned it before, mentorship. It’s like I’ve grown this business—or we, sorry, not I. We, my whole team and I, have grown this business very rapidly and you know, a lot of businesses implode when they go that rapidly unless they have the foundation that they need. So how do I get the foundation? One, I either spend a lot of money making a lot of mistakes and it takes me a long time or two, I spend a bit of money in the front end, hire myself a mentor who’s done it in the past. They tell me what to do and how to do it correctly. I make the money back in a week with this one and you know, I’m going to have those systems and that foundation laid out for years to come. So that’d be my advice. Take time for yourself, hire yourself a mentor and just go for it.

Mateo: 18:50 – I haven’t heard that one on before here before and I think that’s awesome. That’s an awesome insight. If you’re serious about your training, you’re also serious about your recovery. And the same should be applied to your business. You know, maybe I need to go unplug now. I don’t know. But you make a great point. And I think especially if you’re coming up against some kind of challenge or hurdle and you’re like not able to break some kind of plateau, take a step back, take a break from it all and allow your brain to kind of breathe and come back a little bit with refreshed eyes. I think that’s really, really important insight. And then getting a mentor, you know, you would probably know better than I, being a top athlete, you need a coach, right? If you want to get to that level. And the same with a business, you know, you need a coach for that too if you really want to succeed. Well dude, it’s been a pleasure having you on. Really enjoyed this chat. If people want to talk to you or if they want to chat with you or if they wanna come grapple with you, where can they find you?

Jesse: 19:53 – They can find me on Facebook, that’s my biggest communicator. So Jesse Topp on Facebook, you’ll see my—I’m there with my arms crossed with my logo on. Or Instagram, Topp Performance or Topp Performance Martial Arts Academy on Facebook as well.

Mateo: 20:05 – Awesome man. Thanks for hopping on.

Jesse: 20:07 – Thank you so much for having me.

Greg: 20:09 – 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

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