“Escape competition through authenticity” is a credo printed on my wall.
The phrase comes from Naval Ravikant (watch his short video on the topic here), but I learned it far earlier.
I first built up a client base in Sault Ste. Marie by publishing content. Even when I took a job as a trainer under someone else, I still published under my name. I just submitted articles about health and fitness to every local news site I could find. And I quickly got a few dozen clients from it.
Then I kept publishing and grew Catalyst to the dominant gym in our city. We’ve never run a Facebook ad—we don’t have to. Clients at other gyms “graduate up” to Catalyst when they’re ready. Globo-gyms feed us clients; other personal trainers are preparing and filtering clients for Catalyst. They’re not my competition.
I don’t have any because no one else can be Catalyst.
From the Gym Business to Mentorship
I started writing about the gym business in 2009. A few other people were doing it then, but they’re all gone now. The difference was that I was authentic: I told real stories about struggles and failures instead of trying to sell something.
I kept writing and grew Two-Brain Business to the largest mentorship company in the fitness industry. Clients of other business consultants “graduate up” to Two-Brain when they’re ready. Facebook groups feed us clients.
We even have critics. While I write about stuff to help gym owners, the critics write about us. Then they copy us. All the while, they’re filtering and feeding us the best gym owners on the planet. They’re not my competition. I don’t have any—because no one else can be Two-Brain Business.
Tell Your Story
In the next article, I’ll write about the mindset shared by all successful gym owners. But today, I want to give you some directive advice:
Publish your story.
Tell people why you started the gym.
Tell people why you continue to run it instead of going back to the secure nine-to-five salary (because I know you’re tempted sometimes).
Tell people about the best client stories that happened yesterday.
Tell them how you solve the weight-loss problem, the strength problem, the aching-back problem.
Don’t parrot what I say or what Greg says or even what Naval says. Tell them how you do it.
No one can compete with that.
Critics and Visionaries
Some people might disagree with you. They might argue. They might post ridiculous rants or Instagram videos about how wrong you are. And—keep this between us—every time they do, their smartest clients will see your content. The smart people are drawn to the authentic voice and away from the critic.
Yes, Facebook ads can push people across the finish line. Yes, social media might speed up the sales cycle. But eventually everyone is going to ask:
“Who are you?”
“What do you do?”
Eventually, they’ll ask this:
“What do you stand for?”
If you don’t tell them the answer, then the answer is “nothing.”