Tinker Phase: When You Don’t Have to Coach at 5 A.M.

A closeup of a paper with the words "next level" and a large arrow going upward.

“I have too much money and time,” said no gym owner ever.

If you’re in the early stages of gym ownership, or if you’re a long-term owner who’s stuck in a rut, you might think the line above is true.

But it’s not.

When a gym owner builds a solid business, it’s not uncommon for that entrepreneur to have a surplus of money and time.

So what to do with it?

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

Owning and running a gym is great. But it’s not as good as owning and running a sound fitness business that rewards you with income and freedom.

When you reach that point, your business is accomplishing its mission to help people, it’s creating careers for staff members, and you get to spend more time with your family—perhaps in Disneyland, if you like.

You, as owner, also get to look “up and out” instead of “down and in.” You no longer have to order toilet paper and coach the 5-a.m. class, so you can ask other questions:

How can I have a greater impact?

How can I improve my city?

How can I create a legacy for my family?

How and when can I retire?

And so on.

At Two-Brain, this is referred to as the Tinker Phase—it follows Founder Phaser and Farmer Phase. The very short summary:

  • As a founder, you work in your business.
  • As a farmer you work on your business.
  • As a Tinker, you work on yourself and new projects that interest and reward you.

Click here for a quiz to find out what phase you’re in.

If Tinker Phase sounds like a myth to you, I assure you it’s not. With mentorship, gym owners can reach it very quickly. It took Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper about a decade to get there because knowledge and data were scarce in 2012. But we’re now seeing owners reach this level in two or three years when they receive the right guidance and take action.

So what happens when you reach the next level? You get more guidance so you can keep ascending.

Tinkers: The Next Level

After you successfully build a gym, you’ll have more time and freedom and money. You can certainly choose to keep building that gym, but you’ll need to acquire new skills to take it further. Or maybe you want to diversify into real estate, get into crypto or start another business. You’ll need new skills for all of that, too.

So where do you get them? Two-Brain’s Tinker program.

This growing group of entrepreneurs is working on “what’s next,” and they’re turbocharging these new ventures by learning from their peers and business experts. They’re diversifying, expanding, growing, writing books, launching new projects and creating legacies—doing the kinds of things you can do when you know your general manager has the gym running like a top.

The group is full of inspiring people who support and motivate each other, and Two-Brain offers a host of resources to help these entrepreneurs succeed at the next level—when the stakes are higher and the rewards are greater.

Dream Big

If your gym is stable and you want to know what’s next, the Tinker program is for you.

And if your gym is on its way to becoming a cash-flow asset, the Tinker program can help you take the last steps. Surrounding yourself with people who’ve done what you want to do will help you sprint to the finish, then look up and out.

If you’re still in the early stages of gym ownership, you have some work to do. But put your nose to the stone after you take a look at the horizon to see what’s out there.

When I started a gym in 2011, I never thought “more” was possible. I thought coaching and cleaning were part of the game forever, and I never considered what else I could do if I built a gym that would run itself with just a little oversight from me.

Don’t make that mistake. Dream big. And then get the guidance that will help you get where you want to go.

To find out more about Two-Brain mentorship or the Tinker program, click here.


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.