This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” Today, Coop answers your questions about mentorship. Please hit subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. Now, here’s Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper.
Chris Cooper (00:09):
We get a lot of questions about the nuances of the Two-Brain Business mentorship program. We’ve worked with over 1,700 gyms around the world. There are currently 868 gyms in our mentorship practice. We’re the largest in the world, and we sometimes get questions about the specifics. So I want to answer those, and I’m gonna go through them step by step. These are the top questions that people ask me about mentorship programs with Two-Brain. The first one is “I don’t have a CrossFit gym. How will your model work for me?” The answer is that we’re a one-on-one mentorship practice. And so while we build similar systems for every gym—like systems for marketing, systems for sales, retention—everyone is tailored. And so that means that we give you a course with curriculum and templates, and then we also assign a mentor to work directly with you and make the changes.
Chris Cooper (01:00):
The hard part about turning your gym around or taking it to the next level isn’t knowing what to do. It’s really filtering all the information, creating time and space to actually get the work done, avoiding the overwhelm, and then taking the information and translating it to your specific gym. So before Two-Brain, there really was no model for CrossFit affiliates or even microgyms. And so we built this model that allows us to be a little bit flexible. Think of it as kind of a paint by numbers, where your mentor can show you “here are the lines. Here’s what we’re trying to build” and then help you paint your own work of art in your gym. For example, we might give you a staff playbook, and we’ll say, “Here’s the template. Here are all the parts that you need. Here’s some text from my gym or from Chris’s gym or from another mentor’s gym, and let’s go through it and tailor it. And our goal is to have it done by Friday so we can deliver it to your staff at the staff meeting on Saturday. Here’s how we’re going to deliver it. Here’s how we’re gonna have that conversation.” Et cetera. You can go back and forth with the mentor about setting up your policies, but the point is just to get your business out of your head and onto paper. Now, when I did this exercise on my own, it filled up an entire weekend, and I had to revise it, revise it, revise it for years. You are going to be able to do this in about two hours because you’re starting with a template, but it’ll still be your own. So it doesn’t matter what kind of microgym you own or what kind of coaching business you own. That’s your method. Your business model can be built one on one with a mentor regardless of what your method is.
Chris Cooper (02:32):
And, of course, you know about half the gyms that we work with are CrossFit gyms. Over 30 of our mentor team members are CrossFit affiliates, but we also work a lot with boot-camp gyms, strength-and-conditioning gyms, even franchises like 9Round, F45, stuff like that. And the key is that we can tailor your systems to your business, but we want you to build systems so that you have a business. The next question is “what if I don’t like my mentor or it doesn’t work out; it’s not a perfect fit?” We’ve been doing this for a very long time, and our mentor-match process is really amazing. That said, about one time in a hundred, situations change or maybe you find like, “I don’t really sync with this mentor,” or, “Hey, the time zones are making it tough to work with this person.” Or, you know, “Is there somebody that can just hold me more accountable or teach a different way” or something like that.
Chris Cooper (03:27):
When that happens, we’re happy to make a mentor switch. Now keep in mind that your mentor is not your virtual assistant. Your mentor is a successful entrepreneur in the fitness business who has dedicated some of their time, usually about five or 10 hours a week, to mentoring other gym owners. So this has to be a perfect fit for them, too, because they’re not just in this to get paid. They’re really in this to serve and to help you. They’re not here to do the work for you, but they are here to lend their expertise, their story, their experience to the systems that you’re going to build through Two-Brain. So that’s why it’s okay to change mentors—because they’re still going to be working through the systems with you. They’re still gonna be using the same tools, but their personality might be different, and we can always work to optimize that.
Chris Cooper (04:15):
Personally, I like to work one on one with a mentor for about two years, and at that point we’re almost like friends, and I’m not really feeling as accountable to them as I did when I started. So two years for me is kind of like my limit with one mentor. The beautiful part about Two-Brain is that with over 60 mentors worldwide, you can shift mentors, and your new mentor will know all about your business, all about your progress, what you’ve done, what you haven’t done, all of your metrics, and you’re not starting from scratch. You know, you’re 80% of the way there already, and now they’re just gonna have a different approach in delivery and accountability and stuff like that. The next question is “what if I don’t see an ROI?” The average return on investment in mentorship at Two-Brain depends on which program you’re in, but even in our most basic program—called RampUp—the average ROI is 2.4 times what you invest.
Chris Cooper (05:06):
So for every dollar you put into RampUp, you get about $2.40 back. The average ROI on Growth Phase is about 13X. So the average person in Growth puts a dollar in and gets about 13 back. The real difference here isn’t that one program is better than the other. It’s that results compound from mentorship. And so what that means is that when you start building the systems in RampUp, you start to see some gains right away, but those gains get bigger and bigger and bigger the longer you run those systems, the longer you run that marketing, the longer you use that sales strategy, the longer you’re employing those retention systems. And so in Growth Phase, while you’re working on new stuff for marketing, sales and staff ascension, the stuff that you built in RampUp is actually continuing to work for you and compound.
Chris Cooper (05:49):
And that’s the beautiful part about this program: those things can keep working for you, keep compounding for many, many, many years. Really the only people in the history of Two-Brain who haven’t had a positive ROI on mentorship—and I’m only talking within the narrow window that they’re within Two-Brain; everybody has a positive ROI on mentorship if given enough time. There’s maybe one or two people who have said like, “I’m not getting a good ROI here.” That is always because they didn’t have time to actually do the work. In one case, the person came in skeptical and really just wasn’t convinced before they started. They shouldn’t have started; we shouldn’t have let them in. In the other cases it’s always been “I just don’t have time to execute on this.” And so that’s why in the intake process now we ask, “Do you have 30 minutes a day to actually work on your business or can you find that 30 minutes?”
Chris Cooper (06:40):
So that’s basically how ROI works on mentorship. Any mentor that I’ve always had has always given me an amazing ROI. What’s changed is not the amount of ROI; it’s the time window required to reach that ROI. And that has always depended on how much work focus and dedication I can put into the program. Next question: “How long will it take to turn my business around?” We get this a lot. Honestly, about 10% of the people who come into Two-Brain haven’t started a gym yet. They wanna start on the right foot, they want to get clients in the door, and they wanna be cash-flow positive on opening day. But most gyms coming into Two-Brain have been open for a while. Like me, the founder said, “I’m just gonna figure it out on my own.” And you know, now they, they want some help.
Chris Cooper (07:24):
Maybe they’re doing really well and they want to take it to the next level. Maybe they’re struggling and they need to fix it. In general, a good rule of thumb is that every mistake that you make when you open takes about six months to fix. So if you’re off on your pricing, it’s gonna take about six months to completely fix that. If you’re off and you don’t have an on-ramp process, you know, we can fix that in under a week. But in general, people come in with about three big problems. They have a staff problem, they have a pricing problem, or they have a marketing problem—or I guess a retention problem, too. And when we’re fixing those things, these are big changes. But again, we’re fixing something that’s been broken for several years, and we’re gonna try and fix it for decades so that we don’t have to fix it again.
Chris Cooper (08:05):
So that can sometimes take a couple of months. If your business comes in and you’re struggling with marketing and with sales and with retention and with systems and with staff, then, yeah, it’s gonna take a little bit longer to fix those things. But you can rest assured knowing that those things are getting fixed. If you’re not actively fixing those things, they never just fix themselves. They always just get worse. The next question is “my business is running well. I don’t think I need a mentor. Is that correct?” You know, the concept of what “well” means in this industry is really undefined. You know, if things are going okay and you’re breaking even, some people will say that they’re doing “well.” If you’re getting paid a little bit, but it’s not enough to sustain your lifestyle, some people will say they’re doing “well.” I even know gym owners who will say that they’re “crushing it” and they’re not even taking a paycheck home or they’re making less than $50,000 a year.
Chris Cooper (08:57):
It’s time that we redefine what “good” means in this industry. And to me, you’re doing well if you’re making $100,000 a year or more and you’re not working a 60-hour work week at your gym. So if we start with that definition, some people will still say, “Ah, I think I’m doing pretty well, but there’s always a next level.” So, for example, if you’re making less than a $100,000 net owner benefit per year, you can use a mentor to get there faster. So if you’re not making any ground, then you’re probably never gonna get there. But, you know, you can use a mentor to start that process, start building momentum and get there faster than you would on your own. If you’re already making $50K a year, then the jump from $50,000 to $100,000 is much faster with a mentor’s help.
Chris Cooper (09:39):
Because when you buy a mentor, you’re buying speed. If you’re already over $100,000 net owner benefit per year, you still should be thinking about what happens when you can’t make income anymore. So that’s all income. But what you actually want is wealth, because even if you’re doing well right now, making a good income, you can’t work forever. Time is actually the more valuable asset. And so it’s really hard to leverage. Like, “What can I do right now that will set me up for the time when I’m not gonna want to train anymore?” So for me there’s always another level, and it’s just a matter of being coachable enough to ask like, “What comes next for me?” That’s why I’m always hiring mentors. You know, I have a pretty massive worldwide business right now, and I invest more in mentorship now than I ever have because I need to. I see opportunities to grow myself as a leader, as a marketer, as somebody who can get better results.
Chris Cooper (10:34):
You know, as a husband and father—all these things. The more you look for ways to improve yourself, the more you’ll find, and the faster you and your business will grow, too. So there’s never a point where I think anybody says, “I don’t need a mentor.” The most successful people in life generally have more than one. The next question that we get a lot is “what makes Two-Brain different from all the biz coaches out there?” You know, I’m sure you’ve heard of this before or you’ve seen like 50 million ads about “I will flood your gym with 30 leads,” “I’ll get you 30 clients” and stuff. So Two-Brain was really founded on “here’s what I need to fix my gym.” You know, the early blog Don’tbuyads.com, which I ran for three and a half years, was just letters to myself.
Chris Cooper (11:20):
Like, “Here’s how I screwed this up, here’s how I’m fixing it, here’s how it’s working.” And it was almost like tracking a science experiment where, you know, I wanted to make sure that I was doing things right and, you know, changing one little thing at a time. So what Two-Brain does is it brings a decade of experience into filtering data and knowledge. And instead of just hyping and selling the next greatest thing, we actually test everything and make sure that something is working, and we figure out the best practices before we give it to our clients. And that empirical approach is really rare. Like in business coaching, we certify and train our mentors. So the way that it works is a client enters Two-Brain, they go through RampUp, they work on their growth, they get to $100,000 net owner benefit a year.
Chris Cooper (12:07):
They get into our Tinker program and start building their wealth. And at that point they might decide that part of their legacy is to help other gym owners. And so they apply for our mentorship program, and then the mentorship program takes about six months to complete. They are trained on how to actually mentor people, they’re certified, and then they’re trained on our model. So there’s a lot that goes into it. And every single mentor that comes through the Two-Brain Mentor Certification Program is highly skilled. They’re tested. They, you know, work with people so they’re not just being thrown live to clients, and they’re drawing off a massive data set. You know, the old days a decade ago where you could say “do this, it worked for me,” those days are gone. And now we need to know like, does this tactic or does this specific strategy work for everybody?
Chris Cooper (12:57):
And what are the limit cases where it doesn’t work? So I like talking with data and I like talking with science. Two-Brain is an empirical program, which means that we’re always improving, we’re always auditing, we’re always making sure that we’re putting just the best out, and we’re also filtering. So the other value of a good mentor is that they filter out the stuff that you don’t need. So you don’t have to sort through this massive pile of ideas, options and pick out what’s gonna work or like test it yourself. What the mentor’s gonna do is say like, “Just do this exact thing right now. You can worry about that later.” Or “that one’s not a good fit for you.” So that’s really like how we’re different. I have a lot of skepticism about business coaches and mentors, and I’ve hired many, many over the years. I’ve spent well over $2 million on business mentorship and coaching. And my skepticism is always grounded in the fact that they’re telling you how great everything is in their life, but they never actually tell you what their mistakes are. And so something that we’re very particular about is sharing what are the biggest mistakes that I’ve made, that the mentors have made. Because I want you to know these are real people who’ve had to go through the struggle themselves and come out the other side, and now they’re successful so that they can actually help you, too. So over time, because this is an empirical, scientific process, the program just keeps getting better and better and better. When I started off, I was just teaching half a dozen other gym owners what I did. And then out of that half a dozen, you know, one or two emerged who took what I had built and just refined it a little bit, did it better and got a better outcome.
Chris Cooper (14:32):
And then they taught the next generation, which was about 50 gym owners, and that generation you know, one or two rows above everybody else, took the systems, improved them even further, and got better results. And so now, you know, 10 years, 10 generations into this, the results that our clients are getting are results that either took me 10 years or they’re so great that I could never have even dreamed they were possible when I started my gm. You know, we’re producing millionaires—two to three every single month now. There were no millionaires in fitness when we started. And so it’s really this process of constant improvement, constant evaluation, proof, data and empathetic mentoring that keeps producing better and better and better gyms that are really on the cutting edge of success. So here’s maybe the biggest question or the one we get most often.
Chris Cooper (15:19):
“You publish all this stuff for free. If I took all of your books and all the free materials and all the emails and just did them, I would be successful, right? Like there’s no secrets out there?” And we do try to make our free guides even clearer and clearer and clearer so you have action steps. You know, “Follow this checklist and go.” But the reality is that without that objective viewpoint, that person who’s our friend, like they’re close to us, they care about us, but they’re not us,. and they’re not in our gym, without that person helping us, it is very hard to take action on stuff. It’s easy to procrastinate on doing the hard things, or it’s easy to delay because “I don’t know how to set up Facebook ads. I don’t have time to learn it. I’m not gonna do it.”
Chris Cooper (16:02):
That’s where really having a mentor helps. And you know, earlier I said like, I’ve got this massive company. I still have mentors. I work with some mentors one on one. I work with some mentors who are specialists or coaches like for a very short period of time. And I’m always trying to improve because what’s holding me back is the same thing that holds every entrepreneur back. It’s me, right? It’s themselves. It’s like what they don’t do. So it’s really common in entrepreneurs right now to try and read 50 books a year. But after reading those 50 books, most of them couldn’t tell you how their business is better or how they’re actually making any more money. And that’s the difference. A mentor forces you to take action, holds you accountable, removes roadblocks, and kind of shows you the next level, right? Their inspiration, their empathy, their knowledge, their experience.
Chris Cooper (16:54):
And quite often, you know, when you’re faced with like, “okay, I don’t really know what to do today,” or you find a week has gone by and you haven’t done anything to grow your gym, it’s not lack of knowledge. It’s overwhelm. And so a mentor cuts right through that. And that’s why we say “when you buy mentorship you’re buying speed.” Ultimately. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. You know, my lowest point in gym ownership came at a point where I said, “Okay, look: I think I’m smart enough to figure this out, right? I’m hardworking enough but my gym is still not growing. There must be some other element.” And that element is mentorship. In fact, it’s possible to be too smart and second-guess every single thing, you know, become really cynical as you’re trying to find fault with all the potential mentors out there, and you eventually never get anywhere.
Chris Cooper (17:39):
In fact, if you look at free public Facebook groups, you’ll find there are people in those groups who are very cynical. They’re critical of business mentors and business coaches, and they hate everything. And their own gym isn’t doing well. And that’s not because they’re correct. It’s because they can’t get outta their own way. And they’re usually very smart, very intelligent people who just cannot trust people enough to allow their gym to grow. And that’s really at the root of it. So here’s a common concern: “I don’t wanna raise my rates.” And, you know, it’s really common because in the gym industry, most gyms are charging way too little. You know, there are some outliers who are charging what coaching is actually worth, but more than the average are charging little. And they’re doing that because they found their passion for CrossFit or Pilates or whatever at another studio that was charging too little. And the founder of that studio got their passion for Pilates, CrossFit, jiu-jitsu from somebody else who was charging too little. And so you started this kind of downward cascade of pricing. And really a coaching business should be charging, you know, quite a bit more—it is probably above $250 per month. Now, a lot of you are gonna feel like “whoa, I’m never gonna charge that.” But the reality is, like, that should be your ARM, your average revenue per member. And so the way you boost your average revenue per member up is you give the people who want more more, and you charge for that. So when people come in to RampUp, we never ever tell people to raise their rates. In RampUp, it doesn’t matter what their rates are—even if that’s like the easiest, obvious fix, we don’t tell them to do that because it’s challenging for them.
Chris Cooper (19:23):
Instead, what we wanna do is help them prove to themselves that they’re worth more first. Okay? An investment in mentorship is an investment in your business, but it’s also an investment in yourself. And one of the things that you need to do is understand your worth. We wanna prove that to you. So what we generally start off with is adding a valuable service—maybe it’s to the front end of your business, maybe it’s to your existing clients, whatever, maybe it’s like an upgrade option—and letting you, coaching you, to sell that to five people. So we craft it with you. We make sure that you find a lot of value in it—that you would pay for it yourself if you had the money—and we help you make it a compelling offer. And then you offer it to people. And when you sold five of them, this light bulb goes off like, “Whoa, people actually will pay me for this. They want it. It’s valuable to them.” And once you’ve done that, now you’ve kind of reached a new level of maturity as an entrepreneur, and you’re a couple levels away from actually raising your rates and feeling confident. The last thing that we want you to do is put you in a risky position where you stand to lose something through mentorship. We wanna make some gains first, create some margin, some buffer so that when it is time to make a more drastic change, like a price increase, for example, you have the buffer to do it and withstand it. And it’s not gonna be scary because it could potentially be fatal, right? Eventually, a lot of gym owners do wind up raising their rates, but I don’t want you to do it until you’re comfortable. I don’t want you to do it until you’ve proven that people will pay for a higher rate, for more value, and you’ve proven it to yourself.
Chris Cooper (20:56):
That’s really the key here. Finally, how do we choose your mentor? So when you book a call with our in intake team, Matt or Cody or Ashley will talk to you about your goals, and they’ll ask you about your metrics, and they’ll talk to you about your history. But what they’re really doing is assessing your personality. And these are experts who have gotten really good at this over the years. And so what they’ll do is say “this person will respond best to a high-touch, high-accountability mentor,” or “this person is very smart, but she gets in her own way. And so she’ll respond best to a mentor who simplifies things down to one fine point and says, ‘Just do this and text me by Friday.’” Or whatever. Like, there’s a thousand variations here. And so the intake team, if they invite you to mentorship, will also make recommendations to our success team.
Chris Cooper (21:47):
And so you’ll get through your intake, and the success team will take over from there, and they’ll say, “Okay, you know, based on your preferences, your personality, where your business is and what type of coaching you respond best to, we recommend one of these two mentors.” Or they might have a, a clear and obvious favorite, and they’ll say, “I recommend, you know, Gary or Jolene or whatever.” And then they’ll book you on a call with them. Now, of course, as I said earlier, you can always change, but the client success team knows so well who is gonna get the best results out of you that I would trust their judgment a hundred percent of the time. And it’s very rare that people switch mentors in Two-Brain, but it’s always an option. If somebody wants to, that’s not a problem.
Chris Cooper (22:29):
So those are the most common questions that we get about mentorship. You could apply these questions and these answers to the best mentors in the world. That’s why Two-Brain is the best and largest mentorship practice for gym owners in the world. Because we take these best practices that very few people are doing and apply them to the gym industry like nobody else is. I hope that helps. This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” Do you have other questions? Just go to Gymownersunited.com. That’s our free Facebook group. We deliver value in there every single day, and you can ask us anything. Take care.