Your First Small Step to Earning More as a Gym Owner

Increasingly large green leaves sprout from increasingly large stacks of coins.

I’ve showcased some huge gym owner earnings this month.

The numbers in our Top 10 for monthly owner income are impressive—from $16,215 to $37,935—and they can be intimidating if you’re nowhere near them.

So I’m going to give you a simple secret to help you start earning more from your business. It’s a surefire, do-it-today, works-every-time piece of advice:

Start paying yourself for every job you do in your business.

“But I already pay myself,” you might say.

And I’m sure you do. But many gym owners don’t pay themselves for all the jobs they do.

Here’s what’s common:

  • A gym owner takes a highly variable “salary” that’s determined by the balance in the bank account after staff and bills are paid.
  • An owner takes a regular salary but just keeps adding jobs without increasing pay.
  • An owner simply works for free at times because of a noble but unsustainable desire to help clients get healthier no matter what.

Here’s what I want you to do:

  • Write down every job you do—include owner tasks, manager tasks and things like coaching, programming and cleaning.
  • From there, note the number of hours you spend in each role, and multiply by a fair hourly value. For example, if you coach 20 classes a month and pay your other coaches $25 an hour, multiply 20 x $25 to get $500.
  • Add up the amounts attached to every role to get a total that covers everything you do.
  • Pay yourself that much each month.

I know—“There isn’t enough money!”

I’ll get to that in a minute.

First, I’ll tell you what happens if you don’t pay yourself:

1. You are admitting that you are donating your time and not running a real business.

2. You are ensuring that you can never offload the unpaid tasks you do. If the business can’t pay you, it can’t pay someone else, right?

This stuff is really bad. It’s what drives gym owners to become firefighters or real-estate agents.

The problem is that it’s very easy for hard-working gym owners to just absorb work, grind it out and hope things will improve.

But they rarely do. Things will only change if you change your behavior.

Show Me the Money!

So here’s where the money comes from:

When you assign yourself fair compensation for the work you do, you must start thinking like an entrepreneur. That means you figure out how to generate the revenue you need to cover expenses and turn a profit.

That might require you to do something hard—like raising rates—but CEOs must do hard things.

Or you might have to get creative—CEOs do that, too. Maybe you create a specialty program for older adults as a test to see if an ongoing membership might create a new revenue stream and fill the gym during dead hours.

Or you might “climb the value ladder” and make a brilliant investment as CEO:

Pay a cleaner the $100 a week that you pay yourself to mop floors. With the 20 hours you reclaim each month, work on the business to generate $600, which will cover the cost of the cleaner and more (20 one-hour PT sessions at $75 generate $1,500 in gross revenue, by the way). Then repeat this process with another role.

That’s where the money comes from: You create it. And not in that ethereal, “if you build it, they will come” way.

You create money by doing hard things and investing—by behaving like a CEO.

Get Some Momentum

I understand that this process can be terrifying if your business is barely breaking even on the strength of your unpaid labor.

So just make one small move today: Give yourself a $25 raise.

It might be a drop in the bucket, but it will be symbolic. Just pay yourself for one class you used to coach for free. Or add $25 to your too-low salary.

Your gym can afford $25, right?

So take that cash. You deserve it.

And if you want to take one more step, do this: Sell one PT session to a current group member at $75. Just say this: “I can help you with that skill in a one-on-one session on Thursday. What do you say?” Then add one PT session to the member’s bill.

You just more than covered the $25 raise, and you’ve created a hybrid membership option—group plus one PT session a month. Start telling your members about it.

These tactics work. They’ve been rigorously tested, and we have dirt-under-your-nails proof of success from gyms around the world.

I’d encourage you to take a small step like this today. (And give yourself a raise even if you’re not a struggling gym owner—you deserve it.)

Get a small win. Build momentum. Smile.

And when you’re ready for more wins, bigger wins and a precise plan of action to help you earn what you deserve, let’s talk about that, too.


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.