What Happens on a Call With a Gym Mentor?

Podcast-1 (13)

Mike Warkentin: (00:01)
What does a gym owner talk about with a mentor? Feelings? The big game, perhaps? I’m Mike Warkentin and this is Run a Profitable Gym. And today you’re gonna find out exactly how a call with a mentor goes and why it’s so helpful. If you’ve ever wondered what one-on-one mentorship is all about, you’ll find out today, but you won’t find out from me. With me today is Nate Boley. He is the owner of Strength Warehouse in Bend, Oregon. In our private Facebook group, Nate’s been posting all kinds of great bright spots like this one. We are on top of our game when it comes to taking action. As we all know, action is the only thing that gets results. So Nate’s here to explain what he gets out of his talks with his mentor, how his mentor helps take action, and how he grows his gym. So Nate, welcome from Oregon. How you doing today?

Nate Boley: (00:46)
Mike, thanks a lot for having me on the show. I’m doing great. It’s a beautiful day here in Bend.

Mike Warkentin: (00:52)
I’m sure. I’m on the verge of a snowstorm that’s gonna start, I think as soon as this podcast ends. We’ll try and get through it before it comes down.

Nate Boley: (01:00)
. Nice. We had a little snowstorm and then it became like perfect blue skies with cold snow on the ground, so it was just awesome.

Mike Warkentin: (01:07)
I’m gonna drop in at your gym tomorrow then.

Nate Boley: (01:09)

Mike Warkentin: (01:10)
Let’s start with the result. I like to ask the big questions to get right to the meat of the bone right away. After a call with a mentor, how do you feel and what do you do when that ends?

Nate Boley: (01:19)
Yeah, that’s a great question. So, depending on what’s going on in the call, I can feel anywhere from just like super inspired to maybe a little bit overwhelmed. And this last call that I had, I was a little uncomfortable and I’ll kinda go into a little bit more of that stuff. But basically the biggest thing that I like to take away from this question is, I just feel like there’s somebody that has my back and that’s gonna hold me accountable to the things that we talked about, the action items that we’ve got.

Mike Warkentin: (01:51)
So action items are a big deal. So you leave a call and you’ve got stuff to do. Homework, as it were.

Nate Boley: (01:56)
Absolutely. Yeah.

Mike Warkentin: (01:57)
Okay. So let’s dig in a little bit to what you said there. So talk to me about some of the feelings that you have there saying, okay, overwhelmed. So what’s going on there and how does a mentor help you work through that?

Nate Boley: (02:06)
Yeah, so basically, like the first one, some of the calls we’ve had feeling overwhelmed is a lot of things to do, and a short period of time to get them all done. So, they try not to overwhelm you too much. They go, okay, if this is too much, I could set these action items into like a, we need to take care of this first, second, third, fourth. But sometimes you can leave the call just being like, oh no, I’ve got a bunch of things to do on top of everything else that I’m supposed to do. . Right? So, as we know, being a gym owner, you do a lot of things. And then they add that on top of it.

Mike Warkentin: (02:44)
Would it be accurate to say that that’s challenged? Do you feel challenged?

Nate Boley: (02:47)

Mike Warkentin: (02:48)
Yeah. So here’s the question, because some people listening will say, okay, so if I feel overwhelmed already, am I gonna feel more overwhelmed after a call? Let me ask you this, is it a specific list of things that you need to work on or is it just this giant pile of jumbled stuff where you kind of have to figure it out on your own? Where do you go from there?

Nate Boley: (03:06)
Yeah, totally. So it’s actually a very formulated action plan of the things that we need to take care of. And specifically the mentor I have right now, we call ’em the Nate Blinders, so I don’t focus on anything else except for what we’ve listed out in the order that we’ve listed them out in. So we try not to get super overwhelmed. It’s like one step at a time and if we are overwhelmed, like I said, they can take those steps and put ’em into categories. Like we need to take care of this one first, second. And then if they have any other questions or whatever, we can always email them or message them or whatever.

Mike Warkentin: (03:44)
Who’s your current mentor? Who are you working with right now?

Nate Boley: (03:47)
I’m gonna mess her name up cause I always do it. Taryn.

Mike Warkentin: (03:50)
Yep, we gotcha. So this is great. So she works specifically with you and she’s got Nate Blinders for you. So I’m guessing you’re a guy that tends to, much like me, are you a person who tends to just like look at all the stuff you could do and just get frazzled and kinda spin the tires a little bit?

Nate Boley: (04:05)
Yes, yes. That’s definitely like “paralysis by analysis” type thing. You look at the big picture and then you can’t take any action because you don’t know which way to go.

Mike Warkentin: (04:16)
So how does she help you? You said she gives you a plan. How does she help you? Like, ’cause there’s a million things that you could do as a gym owner, right? You could work on your marketing, you could improve your coaches, you could hire a general manager, you could do your retention, a billion things that you could do. How does she figure out exactly what Nate needs to work on today, this month?

Nate Boley: (04:34)
Yeah, that’s a great question again. She really is a data driven mentor, which is, I’m totally a data driven person as well. So she looks at the data and through the metrics that we’ve provided them and then we talk through what’s going on, like currently this last month we had a lot of cancellations going on and a lot of No-Sweats going on. So basically, she uses the data to really hone in on the exact items that we should take care of in the next 30 days.

Mike Warkentin: (05:05)
So looking at your numbers, so it’s based around metrics and you enter those monthly, are you a guy who does that religiously for the app?

Nate Boley: (05:13)
I have mine done on the first. Yeah. Of every single month.

Mike Warkentin: (05:16)
Okay. Cause I know some people don’t do that and it challenges the mentors because we are based on metrics, right? If we don’t know what the metrics are, we can’t figure things out. So she looks at what you’ve got going on, figures out which areas you need to work on, and then gives you a plan based on exactly where your greatest challenges or opportunities are.

Nate Boley: (05:35)

Mike Warkentin: (05:36)
Okay. So do you ever bring problems to her and sometimes it’s like, holy crap, I am just freaking out here about something , do you do that or is it always the other way around with metrics and figuring it out?

Nate Boley: (05:47)
So currently, we’ve had a couple different mentors. And one I remember specifically we called actually had a, we were seeming to be losing a bunch of clients right away and I was freaking out and so we just messaged our mentor and said, Hey, can we move our mentor call up? Because we have a pressing issue that needs to be taken care of right now. And they said, yes, here’s my schedule. And then right away, we didn’t even go into anything else. It’s like, what’s on your mind? I was like, this is a problem. I don’t even remember what it was. That’s how significant it was. Right. ,

Mike Warkentin: (06:23)
Must have been solved, then.

Nate Boley: (06:23)
It was solved. Yes, it was solved right away. But yeah, I was like, this is my problem, I’m freaking out about it. And then they just go, okay, hold on, step back, let’s look at the big picture. You’re not gonna go bankrupt overnight, let’s find out where the hole is or the procedure breakdowns or what’s going on. And we worked through it for sure.

Mike Warkentin: (06:45)
Okay. So it’s a combination of having the mentor analyze data and say, here are some things that we wanna work on or things that we could do. Big opportunities or things where you’re lagging behind, like say retention isn’t great, we wanna focus on that to grow the business. In other cases you’re bringing problems in and saying, Hey, I’ve got this thing I’m freaking out about, or it’s just like, ah, this is bugging me. And then you get a plan, right?

Nate Boley: (07:05)
Sure. Yep.

Mike Warkentin: (07:05)
So after a call, what happens then? So you said you feel like, okay, I got some stuff to do in addition to all the other things going on in my business. Yeah. But why do you choose to take action on those things when you could work on all the other stuff that’s going on?

Nate Boley: (07:20)
Well, just because, I don’t know. So in my fitness history and business history, I’ve always just kind of done it my own way. And so when I joined Two-Brain, I sat down with my wife, cause my wife and I were both running the gym, and we just looked at each other and we were like, we’re gonna do exactly what they tell us to do. And that is it. and that has worked. Yeah. Like, I mean it has worked. We were literally on the verge of closing the gym before we started with Two-Brain, really. And yeah, we were about one month away from locking the door up, and it wasn’t because we were not making any money, it was just ’cause it was so stressful and I was both working a full time career and coaching and taking care of our two daughters. And of course my wife was doing a lot of that as well, but we were just like, we’ve had our hands up, we don’t know what to do. And so, yeah.

Mike Warkentin: (08:16)
So tell me about those early stages, what happened? How did you go from 30 days away from closing your gym to where you are now and saying things have turned around? How did you do that? How did a mentor help you do that?

Nate Boley: (08:29)
So basically ,our first mentor, we went through the Onramp process or the Rampup process. And we weren’t in financial dire need to close, but it wasn’t making any money, it was just sustaining. And so it was like, ok. It was taking up our time and I was just like, literally working from five in the morning till 9 at night. I was so burned out and I was just like, we’ve done this for three years, we actually started post-Covid, I guess. February of 21. But, so we basically just set up a ton. We had no policies and procedures, no SOPs, we had nothing, we had no structure of the gym at all. And so that’s where we basically started out. And then once we got those, it just kind of snowball effect. Then we were like, okay, now we can hire our first coach. And then it just snowballed from there. Just having that foundation you could actually build upon. And if we didn’t have the foundation, it was like building on quicksand, ’cause nobody knew what was going on.

Mike Warkentin: (09:31)
So listeners, RampUp is the introductory mentorship program, and it is a targeted program that is designed to get your business in tip top shape with foundations exactly what Nate said. Roles, responsibilities, procedures and so forth. You’re gonna put out a few fires, but there is a curriculum you can move through quite quickly. A lot of people do that, and find that on the other side, they add a ton of revenue to the business. And then after that you can enter into the Growth stage. The Growth stage is less of a curriculum. It’s got a big giant toolkit where a mentor will look specifically at your exact metrics, figure out where your opportunities and challenges are, talk to you about your problems, and then prescribe targeted tools from that toolkit that you can use to take action between calls. So you are in that stage now, Nate. So what is something you talked about with your mentor on your last call? What are you working on right now?

Nate Boley: (10:17)
So currently right now, we are working on retention and figuring out, yeah, it’s a big one. We’ve had a bunch of people we worked on, the previous one we worked on advertising and that kinda stuff. And we got just a ton of new leads and a ton of new members. And then they started falling off. And so we’re figuring out, at what points are these members leaving? And what can we do to implement new touchpoints and systems to try to prohibit that or curtail that a little bit? And the next action item really is mentoring our staff to be able to have them do more and be better.

Mike Warkentin: (10:57)
So what stuff in the toolkit has Taryn pointed you towards? Are there any resources that you’re working through in there?

Nate Boley: (11:02)
Yeah, actually. So last time, our last meeting, we worked on the annual plan. So we’re really digging deep into that and I’m making a bunch of spreadsheets and stuff like that, which I’m not super good at either. So now I’m learning a new skill set, and really diving deep into, how do we know or how can we plan for the revenue that we want in our gym throughout the year? And that really, you have to have a plan. If you are trying to drive to Chicago and you just get in your car and start going down the road versus having your Google maps up, you know? How fast are you gonna get there if you don’t have the map?

Mike Warkentin: (11:42)
I literally put Chicago in Google Maps this year for the Two-Brain Summit and I’ll do it again next year. If you’re listening guys, and you are heading to Chicago, make sure you program that in properly. Don’t want to end up in the wrong spot. And hope to see all you guys there at the Summit. 2023 is gonna be an amazing one. So we have this huge pile of stuff. Like, no one except for Chris Cooper himself knows exactly what is in the toolkit because there’s just piles of stuff all over the place. And so the mentors figure out where it is and so forth. The idea is that every possible resource that a gym owner could need is in there, but if we dump all of them on you, it would be exactly what Nate said. Total and complete overwhelm, and you would not get anything done. So what the idea is, is targeted stuff where the mentor figures out exactly what you need right now. And this is a one-on-one conversation. You said Nate, that you worked with different mentors through your process with Two-Brain. Talk to me about some of the different styles. Maybe compare Taryn to your previous mentor.

Nate Boley: (12:36)
Yeah, so, my previous mentor was great. We actually didn’t pick him. One of our mentors had left for I guess some medical leave or something like that. So we got put onto his plate. Yep. And his approach, we didn’t get a ton of different calls with him. There were some scheduling issues and stuff, but he was super great at getting me to think about my mindset and think about different things differently. And he was really good about that and he also gave Megan and I some books to read that were gonna help us just have that. He’s worked with us a lot on sales and he also worked with us a lot on creating a Dream Team staff, which-I have now an onboarding process that he helped me build that is working very well.

Mike Warkentin: (13:28)
Yeah, so the idea, again, we have this whole team of mentors, you can work with different ones and there are different specialists in different areas. It helps to have a different perspective from time to time. At our gym, my wife handles all of the business and so forth. She’s worked with four or five different mentors. The reason we’re working with our current one, Ashley Mak, is that he knows online business pretty well and he’s helping us really well dig through that stuff because he does a similar thing. Previously, we’ve worked with other people who have had different areas of specialty and there are times when our mentor will say, I want you to book a call with this person because he or she has this special skill that you’re gonna get some benefit from. So it’s like having a new PT session with a different trainer once in a while. Between calls- no, go ahead.

Nate Boley: (14:06)
We’re actually doing that currently. We’re working with not only Taryn, but four other mentors in specific areas that we want to grow in. So just like you said, it’s like a small skill session, one hour coaching thing, and they provide you with emails and email support and stuff like that. So that’s been absolutely huge.

Mike Warkentin: (14:28)
Ah, you anticipated my next question. It was gonna be, what happens between calls? Are you on your own, lost in the wilderness, being overwhelmed for 30 days?

Nate Boley: (14:35)
No, definitely not. Never. So, most of the time we email back and forth. Sometimes a mentor will give you access to their cell phone or something, but I try not to overuse that, you know? Yeah. So unless it’s an extreme emergency, I’m like, please read my email right away, . But yeah, you just email ’em like, currently we got through one of the action items for the next 30 days and I just sent it over to Taryn and I said, Hey, can you take a look at this and make sure that I’m at least on the right track so we don’t have to go 30 days before we can revisit that same thing? And she’s more than happy to look at it. But yeah, if there’s anything that needs to be taken care of right away, you can just email them and they’ll get back to you with some type of action plan. Or maybe they just need to calm you down and tell you to put on your Nate Blinders , just continue to do what you’re doing .

Mike Warkentin: (15:26)
Yeah. Just take your earphones, headphones, put ’em over your eyes and you’re good.

Nate Boley: (15:29)
Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Mike Warkentin: (15:30)
How valuable is that hour to you? Do you look forward to it? Is it something that you’re like, wow, I’m gonna make some progress today?

Nate Boley: (15:35)
Absolutely, man, I can’t even imagine going back and not having it. We look forward to it. I get fired up just going into the week knowing that that call’s gonna happen and all the cool things that we’re gonna accomplish after the next call. So I would say yeah, it’s probably the best day of the month for sure.

Mike Warkentin: (15:56)
Would you take as much action as you’re taking right now without the accountability of someone checking in on you and giving you tasks?

Nate Boley: (16:02)
Nope. I definitely would not. 

Mike Warkentin: (16:04)
Yeah, me neither. 

Nate Boley: (16:05)
I would not. Yeah. That’s why I also hired myself a fitness coach because I think coaches need coaches, right? Yeah. It’s like I don’t do the stuff I need to do, mobility-wise or whatever. And it’s the same thing with your gym. Like you could easily forget or just put it away because you got something more pressing right away. And a lot of times it’s like, hey, those little pressing things will still be here, but you have to do the stuff that you don’t wanna do to grow forward.

Mike Warkentin: (16:32)
Do you feel like the mentorship is tailored toward exactly your business? And this is a question I ask because a lot of people say, oh, you know, all gyms are the same or whatever, or my gym’s different, some people will think it is a special snowflake and so forth. Do you feel like the mentorship is tailored to exactly what you need at the time?

Nate Boley: (16:48)
So I guess I think the mentorship program as a whole is just catered to all different types of specialty-type gyms. I think when you really start working with individual mentors, the first call is like, Hey, what do you guys do? What are you about? And how do you guys run your business? And they try to learn, like the No-Sweat Intro process, right? It’s like they try to get to know you and what you’re about, and what you’re really needing. So then it can be catered more towards you. I think, if that answers your question correctly.

Mike Warkentin: (17:19)
Yeah, absolutely. There’s a learning curve there for sure because for example, some gyms will come in to Rampup and they’re very new, right? So there’s someone who’s like three months gym owner, three months. May have no systems, may have no procedures, may have no experience, and it’s kind of a different path than, say, a gym owner who comes in after eight years and 12 staff members in two locations or something like that. Yeah. That second gym owner may still have exactly the same problems sometimes, but you get the idea. So it’s a little bit different. So you’re right, feeling-out process and then making sure there’s a giant foundation for this base in the pyramid. And then targeted sniping here and there and picking, like, retention this month, client acquisition next month, sales and marketing, all that kind of stuff.

Nate Boley: (17:59)

Mike Warkentin: (18:00)
What’s next for you? What do you go to work? You said retention is the big deal right now. Yeah. Have you got some notes on a pad there for the call, like coming up in however many days it is, that you’re gonna throw at Taryn next?

Nate Boley: (18:09)
Yeah, so I was just gonna say that my wife and I both are tasked to do different things. So that’s another thing that a mentor can do. It’s not only like, so if you have a single gym owner versus double, like my wife and I are two gym owners, basically. But coming up, we have notepads in our phone and if something comes up during the month, and it’s not pressing, we just write it down. We wanna talk about this next time. So we go into our hour with the maximum ROI on it. It’s not like, Hey, what’s going on? Oh yeah, I forgot about that thing that I thought about three weeks ago or whatever. We have the actual list that we wanna talk about. And most of the time, we get through all of it. This last time we didn’t, because we found one that was really pressing and where it’s like, okay, we’re gonna put the blinders on, we’re gonna just attack this. At least until you get that task done and then we can revisit the other stuff.

Mike Warkentin: (18:59)
Do you feel like, well, I mean it’s funny ’cause some people need blinders exactly like that. Other people need a kick in the pants to say, you know, do something. Like fired up motivation. Different styles for different people. For you, is it always a focusing kind of thing or do you ever need that motivation kick in the pants? Or what else do you need from a mentor that’s maybe not just focus?

Nate Boley: (19:21)
Yeah, definitely I do, I definitely need motivation and accountability I think is my biggest problem. Because like I said, things start going on. I mean, you’re doing something in the computer and maybe a staff employee comes in and starts talking to me or something like, ah, I gotta get this done. So I think those are the biggest things, you know, the accountability, the motivation to keep going. And then the focus part is fairly recent just because I’m starting to get to the point where I feel like I’m really close to the Tinker level. And so I’m starting to look at different things and all of a sudden, now I’m in a business group and we’re talking about doing Airbnb’s, we’re talking about doing this, I’m like, now my focusers on because it’s too general, too broad.

Mike Warkentin: (20:08)
That’s great. I didn’t actually realize that you were that close to the Tinker level, which for listeners, that is when you’ve got a stable business and you might be looking to do something else. And that could be expand that business to a second location. It could be get into something completely different like start a beverage company. We have a guy who’s doing that. You could start a distillery, someone else is doing that. You could rent Airbnbs, you could get into crypto investing, all these other things. We have a group that will help you do that. Most of them are gym owners, not all of them are. All of them are entrepreneurs who are willing to support each other. And it’s led by Chris Cooper, Jeff Smith, and a lot of experts from outside the fitness industry. So you’ve got the whole progression here. You’ve got Rampup, Growth and Tinker. The whole thing is tailored mentorship one-on-one at every stage. And in that Tinker group you’ve got the freedom and finance to do in-person meetups regularly, hang out with some cool people in a room full of people and learn about upper-level entrepreneur stuff. Is that an aspiration of yours, Nate?

Nate Boley: (20:59)
Absolutely, yeah. It’s been, since we got out of the RampUp program into the Growth and I started, I mean I knew there was Tinker ’cause I read the book, so I knew that was a level. But once I got kind of into probably three or four months into Growth, we really started to just take off. And I was like, that’s the goal right there. So that’s the next step for me, I think. And I’ve already had a discovery call with Jeff and Chris and they’re both just like, yeah man, you’re there. So if you wanna do it, go for it. You know, if you don’t, you gotta think about it, that’s fine too.

Mike Warkentin: (21:35)
So it’s a cool story. So you told me at the beginning, 30 days away from shutting down your gym, leaving the fitness industry and doing whatever else, and obviously not being able to serve the people that you serve now, to being at the stage where your gym is almost at that level where you can now start thinking about what else can I do? Pretty cool.

Nate Boley: (21:51)
Yeah, absolutely. No, I’m super stoked.

Mike Warkentin: (21:54)
What do you think, I’ll ask you to take the Nate Blinders off for my last question. What do you think that next thing might be when you’re out in the Tinker program? What do you think you’re looking at?

Nate Boley: (22:01)
Yeah, so currently right now, I’d really like to do some Airbnb type stuff. Also would really love to own our own commercial building for our gym. And so, those are the two things that I’m trying to, I’d love to do, but I don’t wanna do too much if that makes sense. But those two things are definitely in our scope.

Mike Warkentin: (22:21)
We’ll put the blinders back on now. You finish off your last Growth work and then we’ll head on to Tinker and we’ll find a way. We’ll catch up with you again. Nate, thanks so much for sharing your story. I really appreciate it.

Nate Boley: (22:29)
Absolutely, man. Thank you for having me on.

Mike Warkentin: (22:33)
When Nate runs his Airbnb in Oregon, you should be sure to book a night there and visit the place. That was Nate Boley and this is Run a Profitable Gym. That is what we teach you how to do on this podcast. So please subscribe on the way out. I’m your host, Mike Warkentin. We’re gonna help you out here. Hit subscribe. And now here’s a final note from Chris Cooper, Two-Brain founder.

Chris Cooper: (22:51)
Hey, it’s Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper with a quick note. The Gym Owners United Facebook group has more than 5,600 members, and it’s growing daily. If you aren’t benefiting from the free tips and tactics and resources that I post daily in that group, what are you waiting for? Get in there and grow your business. That’s Gym Owners United on Facebook, or Join today.

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