Gym Owner Makes $290 an Hour (and Tells You How to Do It, Too)


Mike (00:02):

What’s your hourly rate? When I started running my gym back in 2009, it was definitely below minimum wage. I was putting in huge hours for little financial reward. Last month, some of the top Two-Brain gym owners posted hourly rates from $200 to over $300. One of our leaders will tell us how she makes more money in less time, right after this. It’s Chris

Chris (00:29):

It’s Chris Cooper here. Your gym’s programming won’t attract new clients, but it can help you keep your clients longer. Good programming includes benchmarks, novelty, skills, progressions, leaderboards, you know all that stuff. But great programming contains something more: a link between each client’s fitness goals and the workout of the day. Your coaches need to tell your clients more than what they’re doing every day. They need to explain why they’re doing it. Gym’s whose coaches could explain the why connection had a 25% better retention rate during lockdowns. Imagine how that translates into better retention when things are back to normal. Now, I want to solve this problem for gym owners. Programming is the service you deliver to your clients. So I partnered with Brooks DiFiore, who had one of the highest adherence rates in the world for his group classes at his gym to build We built this for Two-Brain gyms and we give them free access in our mentorship program. But I’m now making this available to the public. Programming proven to improve retention and cashflow in your gym. Visit Two-Brain to get it.

Mike (01:29):

It’s Two-Brain Radio and I’m Mike Warkentin. Effective hourly rate, or EHR for short: divide your pay from your business by the hours you worked to earn it. You can drive this number up by working fewer hours or by increasing your income from your business. In the early stages, many gym owners have hourly rates around minimum wage as they work big hours, and don’t collect a lot of pay. Two-Brain’s programs are set up to help. Gym owners raise their hourly rates quickly first to $50 an hour, then well beyond it as their businesses generate more and more revenue without the owners’ direct effort. Today, Joleen Bingham of 13 Stripes Fitness is on the air to explain how she drove her hourly rate up and became one of our top gym owners for July. Joleen. Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. Thank you for being here.

Joleen (02:11):

Thank you for having me.

Mike (02:12):

I’m excited about this one. This is such an important topic for gym owners. So I’m going to get right in. I’m going to ask you, how has your effective hourly rate evolved over the years as you’ve improved your business? Like, do you recall what it was the first time you ran the number and how has it gone from there?

Joleen (02:26):

Right. So I actually am, I was curious and I looked back at this and admittedly, it was probably much lower because I was one of those mentees early on that didn’t do my metrics. So it’s one of the reasons why I kind of drill it home for people. But I went back to when I had numbers and it was $10 an hour the first time I ran it. And that was probably spring of 2017.

Mike (02:48):

I have to ask the question now, was it $10 because you were working like 300 hours a week or was it a combination of low revenue and high hours? What was it?

Joleen (02:57):

I think it was, I was working a full-time job, at the same time. So I was a teacher, a full-time teacher at that time. And I had just had a baby 17 days before we purchased our first gym. It might’ve been a combination of low revenue and not having a whole lot of bandwidth to run it the way I should have been running it. OK.

Mike (03:19):

That’s interesting. So starting at $10 an hour, and now we’re up, you’ve driven it all the way up to 290 that, which is, you know, an incredible, incredible rise. What are some of the main milestones along the way, like what we’re going to get to dig into this detail, but right off the top of your head, is there something that stands out as like the major milestone that really got this thing moving on this upward trajectory?

Joleen (03:40):

I might be somebody different than what other people are gonna say. I really think COVID, and that might be something strange that not a lot of people are going to hear or believe, but it made me step up as a leader, into a role that I wasn’t a hundred percent comfortable with prior to that.

Mike (03:59):

  1. That’s interesting. We’re going to dig in a little bit later in the show on that one, but let’s go back to the beginning. So founder farmer transition, from like the first stage of entrepreneurship to the second one. What really helped you get from $10 to $50 an hour, which is kind of one of those benchmark numbers. 50 is a good one for people to target in the early stages. What got you there?

Joleen (04:22):

I started listening to my mentor. And I stopped being stubborn. And thinking that I knew everything myself. No, I did realize, I didn’t know everything, which is why we had reached out to Two-Brain for help. And why I had taken that original call with Chris Cooper is cause we knew we needed help, but you know, you have that little piece of you that’s like, oh man, do I really need to do that? So I did. And that started working. We really worked on things like increasing our revenue, realizing that I didn’t need to micromanage things like cleaning or emails. So taking some of those lower value roles, which my mentor had told me, and finding people to help me do the ones that I needed to pay somebody 10 to $15 an hour for, and actually focus on the things I was good at, which I’m good at sales. I love sales. I love operations. Those are things I really like.

Mike (05:12):

Sales is a great skill to have. Was it hard for you to offload those roles? Because as gym owners, when we wear all those hats at the beginning, sometimes it’s really easy to latch on to things like I have to do the cleaning because no one else does it properly. And other things of that nature. Was that you, was it hard to get rid of that stuff or was it very easy for you to just get rid of it and move on?

Joleen (05:32):

It was hard. And I’ll be honest, letting go of things is still hard. I’ve just learned how to do it. So I honestly, for me, it’s looking at finances and realizing that I can create a great career for somebody who’s really good at that and probably does a better job than me at it, honestly. And then I can focus on things that provide for my family better. So for me, it comes down to does this do more for my family?

Mike (06:01):

You’ve hit on a couple of really interesting things and for listeners who aren’t familiar with the Two-Brain program, we call this climbing the value ladder and there actually is a formula to doing it where you calculate your rates. And you look at the rates of the jobs that you’re doing. Like, you know, you pay yourself four hours of cleaning a week at $12 an hour, and you have about $50 there. And if you could hire someone for that 50 hours or sorry for that $50, you’d have four hours that you could spend on a different task that would make more money. And then it’s on you as the entrepreneur to make more than $50 in that new task. So it becomes very dollars and cents metrics driven calculation, and then offloading that stuff. Like you said, the other key point is having someone do it to your standards or even better than you could do it. And that’s where you start being a true entrepreneur where you’re hiring people who are better at certain things than you are so that you can grow the business. So that’s a really cool, like when you first saw that structure, was it easy for you to start working through it or did it take you a little bit of work to start handing those jobs off?

Joleen (06:58):

I think that’s where it goes back to where I finally started to listen to my mentor. So when we talked about that, the value ladder at first, I was like, no, I’m just going to do it all. You know, I have that mentality. I work really rarely well under pressure and I thrive under stressful situations, but when they got me to sit down and look at it from a dollars and cents standpoint, like, look what you can provide for your family if you give up this role. And that really is what drove it home to me is kind of tying it. And they did a really good job tying it to something that mattered a lot to me.

Mike (07:32):

So you’re anchoring it. Not to just, you know, you obviously have the data in front of you with dollars and cents, but you’re anchoring it to something that’s even more important, which for you is your family, you know, which is a really cool thing where it motivates you. And I think the same thing when there’s hard things that I have to do, I sometimes don’t want to do it. I procrastinate. But then when I look at the reason that I would do it, then I’m pushed through because you find those anchors and it’s up to a mentor to help you see those things and then take the action. And that’s why, you know, you’re obviously worked well as a mentee, but you’re also now one of the mentors who now does that with clients. When you started doing this, did you see that rate? I mean, maybe you didn’t calculate it right away, but did you start seeing financial numbers that right away showed you you were on the right track?

Joleen (08:11):

I did. And then COVID happened. So we started to make a lot of progress. I would say we probably have had about a year of making progress, maybe a year and a half, the dates kind of all run together for me a little bit right now after the last year to half. And then that started, I will say it has exponentially grown because I knew what to do the next time around.

Mike (08:35):

And that’s just it, I mean, Chris has always said, like, you know, if you run a business, learn all the stuff, you could be able to open another business very quickly because you will know all this stuff and you don’t have to make all the same mistakes. So you can definitely, experience counts a lot in the entrepreneurship game. Would you agree?

Joleen (08:51):

Yes. For sure.

Mike (08:53):

So to get above $50 an hour, you generally need to do less yourself and develop team members. And you’ve talked a little bit about that with offloading things and climbing the value ladder, but how did you make that transition to like, you know, you said you like to do everything you like to be under pressure. You’ve got high standards. How did you start to make that transition in your brain to become what we call a tinker, which is that upper-level entrepreneur, who’s now developing like your role as a tinker and a gym owner is often more about developing staff than actually coaching, which is a weird transition for a lot of people in the gym industry.

Joleen (09:24):

I might be a little bit different than some other gym owners in that I’m not the coach. Coaching is definitely not my thing. My husband is our head coach. And so just for the sake of everybody listening, when we did the hours, the effective hours are on mine, but he also gets paid too. So yeah, we actually, as a family make even more.

Mike (09:50):

Who wins between you?

Joleen (09:50):

I do.

Mike (09:50):

Nice, congratulations!

Joleen (09:50):

We do what we’re good at. And he is really good at that. But from a standpoint of developing my general manager and my personal training director, it was realizing that I had to model a lot of things. So I actually went back to my role when I was a teacher, many, many years ago, what we taught our kids to do. You know, you do it, you model it, you do it with them and then you let them do it themselves. And that’s how I looked at developing my staff. I also found a really good general manager who is very motivated, very driven, very much my personality, from operating as a standpoint of, you know, how she interacts and handles things with people. So it was very easy to trust her and trust her with running portions of my business.

Mike (10:42):

  1. So it comes down to, you know, finding the right staff people. And, you know, I won’t say that your husband is your staff member necessarily, but he fills a key role in your business. And if he wasn’t there, you could find a head coach or whatever you want to call it that would be an excellent person, that position you could do that if you’re not working with a partner. When you’re working with mentees, maybe who really love coaching and that was why they got into it, how do you get them to take that tinker step to move maybe from a coaching role into that developmental role that helps them get to the higher EHR?

Joleen (11:13):

Right. So we really sit down and talk about what their goals outside of the gym are. Why are they in the gym? Why do they have this business in the first place? Does it exist for them just to have a job? Does it exist to serve their family? Like, does it exist to create a legacy in the future for their kids to grow up and run the business? What’s that reason for and it really, for a lot of them, it makes them think about it. And it usually comes back to family. And so we talk about, OK, if for some, maybe it means they stay on the coaching schedule once, twice a week, just because they get to do something they love and it continues to fill their cup up and make them happy, but then show them what they actually can do for their family if they take some of those coaching hours and they apply it to sales or marketing, or, you know, finding corporate sponsorships or whatever it is that their next step is, it’s different for everybody. And once they can actually see that, it kind of opens up their eyes to how they make that step.

Mike (12:08):

It really comes down to kind of like a version of motivational interviewing, which we talk about often with gym owners and prospective clients, where you’re asking this gym owner as a mentee, why, why, why, why do you want to do this? Why, why, why? And you get to the deep whys, and then you help them take the steps based on those reasons. And the cool part about being in the tinker stage is that you can kind of do whatever you want. You could choose. And I don’t know if anybody does this, but you could certainly choose to coach, you know, seven classes a day in your gym, because as a tinker, you kind of have that freedom. I think it’s more common that tinkers, maybe coach, like you said, one or two hours a week or something like that, just because they love it so much, but you have the freedom to choose. As Chris has often said, at that stage, you can choose to work in your business if you want, you can offload tasks, you can build another business, you can do all sorts of different stuff. So really that tinker stage is about freedom. And you have the freedom obviously now to delegate roles to your GM and then do other things. That must be an incredible feeling to be able to do that and have that for you.

Joleen (13:03):

It is. And I’ll tie it right back to my why, which is my family. So when I was teaching in the early stages of my business, you know, we’ll go by now, three kids, but this is even prior to my third child. I couldn’t make my daughter’s things, right. I couldn’t go to her school parties. And she was in elementary school because I’d have to take off of work. And I didn’t have the sick days. So having the freedom now, now she’s in high school. She doesn’t necessarily want me at everything, but I am there whether she wants to be there or not. You know, if a kid is sick, I can be there for them. If I wanted to in the summer, I basically worked every other week so that I could spend the weeks that my daughter was home, and not at her father’s house, my oldest daughter, with her and not be working. So that freedom has allowed me to be much more present with my family. And to me, that’s my why.

Mike (13:52):

So, I mean, I’ll draw this line, but it may not be the direct line, but if you’re saying, OK, I’m really, I’m hesitant to give away my cleaning role, but if I do, I can make my daughter’s piano recital. I mean, that becomes a no brainer at that point, right? So your hourly rate is now incredible, creeping up on $300, which is fantastic. And you said your husband has a nice one as well. Give us, give me an idea of like how much work you put in to hit that rate and like, what are the main financial contributors, like, I think I’ve talked to you about this a little bit before, but, and COVID definitely changed things. How has your focus as a gym owner changed in the last month and produced that EHR number?

Joleen (14:34):

So I think, and I briefly alluded to it before some of the work that has gone into getting that was realizing that when COVID hit, we had to adapt and we couldn’t necessarily go back to the way that we were before. Right. So I’ve spoken of this, you know, on some of my calls and I’ve spoken of this in some of the posts I’ve written that my revenue since COVID is now two and a half times what it was before. So we actually shifted the vision of our business more in line with what I wanted, and we really dialed in our avatar, right? So I talk about those hard hours of work. It was really going back and reworking our systems and processes to truly 100% fit in with our avatar. I also, after COVID, I realized that we needed a little bit more leadership.

Joleen (15:24):

People were kind of struggling. They didn’t necessarily know what was going on. I stepped back into the business and I took on a lot of different roles that, you know, maybe a gym owner might have removed themselves from, for a time being, to retrain my staff, right. To show them exactly the way it needed to be done. And I’m guessing my effective hourly rate might’ve taken a little dip, but you can see that from that, where it’s gone, because I wasn’t afraid to step back in and rebuild things and then step back out again.

Mike (15:53):

It’s an investment.

Joleen (15:53):

It is, and I actually think there was something recent, a recent blog post about the difference between abdicate and delegate. I think that was even, you know, a week or two ago, about training your staff, that you’re delegating topics to them. You’re teaching them, you’re being a leader and showing them how to do it. You’re not just handing it to them and saying, here, go do it.

Mike (16:14):

That’s a huge one, because a lot of people are guilty of just like washing their hands of a job and saying, do this, and then walking out. And I certainly was guilty of this. And Chris has written about that. We’ll put that blog post in the show notes, the idea of, you know, teaching someone and mentoring someone in a new role. So you give them this job. And then there’s a feedback loop where you say, OK, this was great. We need to improve this and keep them on the page so that they get to be good at this job, as opposed to you just walking every day and saying, oh, they’re not doing it properly because that’s really, that’s the abdiction. It doesn’t actually work. You know, whether you’re stubborn or not. You’ll learn that eventually. Cause I sure did. And you know, you Joleen you learned it for yourself as well. I got to ask, just as an aside, what is your avatar right now?

Chris (16:58):

Chris Cooper here to talk about Level Method. When it comes to owning a gym, it can be really tough to show your members their progress and keep them engaged long term. Level Method provides experienced gym owners with a visual step-by-step fitness progression system that’s fun, engaging and easy to use. With Level Method, your clients can reach their fitness goals faster and safer than ever before and become raving fans of your gym. Go to to find out more. I use this product in my gym, it helped with my conversion from my on-ramp program into ongoing group coaching, and it’s also boosted my retention over time.

Joleen (17:32):

So my avatar is middle-age, primarily women, but we do work with men, who are busy, either working or they run their household and don’t have a lot of time to focus on themselves.

Mike (17:46):

And are you focusing on them in a one-on-one setting or a group setting or both?

Joleen (17:49):

So we do have group and one-on-one, we are about this month, I just ran the numbers, 76% one-on-one and then we have nutrition, which is about 4% and then the rest would be group or our youth program.

Mike (18:05):

Wow. So has that percentage changed, like are one-on-one clients a higher percentage now than they were say pre-COVID?

Joleen (18:11):

Yeah. Pre-COVID, I would say it was almost flipped. Maybe not quite to that extent, but we were definitely over 60% group pre-COVID.

Mike (18:21):

You’ve adapted. So this is interesting. You hit, you know, the worst period of the all time, you know, in all of all time in the fitness industry, with the pandemic where people literally couldn’t work out and open their businesses in a lot of places, you completely changed your model. Got it in line with your vision, put in the systems, reinvested yourself in the systems, procedures, staffing, and all the little nitty-gritty parts of the business, created a brand-new avatar, or maybe a variation of your old avatar, but made it more specific and tailored it. And then you’ve driven your revenue up two and a half times.

Joleen (18:51):

Right. And the flip, I would say in the percentages came from dialing in the revenue, or dialing in the avatar. Sorry, because those, what we found is that avatar client, once we were talking about busy people, they might not necessarily have time to make it to our group. And now some do. Like, I think group classes are great. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to like bash group classes at all because I love them. I love being in them. But our avatar, we realized their focus was on getting in and getting out at the times that they want it to be. So instead of expanding our group classes and having seven group classes a day, eight group classes a day, we kind of dialed it in and focused on, OK, well, we’ll do one-on-one during that time.

Mike (19:34):

  1. So this is actually huge. And, you know, listeners don’t gloss over this one because you might not see the link between your effective hourly rate, which is very mechanical and numbers, right. And dialing in your avatar. There is a couple of steps that go into that to connect those two things. But it’s easy to just say, ah, you know, I’m casting a wide net. I want everyone. Joleen on the other hand has dialed in a very specific avatar that she could name for me and describe for me on the spot. And with that avatar in place, she was able to drive up her EHR by speaking, you know, I’m guessing in your marketing or in your organic posts, to a very specific segment of your audience that wanted exactly what you are selling and you’ve created programs for that person, is that how it went?

Joleen (20:20):

Yeah. That’s exactly how it goes. And I would hope people see it on our social media. I’ve been told that it has, if you look at it, you could probably look at it and say, oh, you’re speaking to, you know, a middle-aged woman or man who wants to lose weight, wants to be healthy. And doesn’t have very much time.

Mike (20:38):

So my question here on this is it seems so counterintuitive to narrow your market right, to say, oh, there’s a huge pool of fish out here, but I only want to catch bass. Like, it seems counterintuitive because as a newer gym owner, or as someone who’s struggling, you’re like, I want to take everyone. I need every single client. So you put out this broad net and then you don’t catch the things that you want. Was it scary for you to dial that thing in and start talking to a specific segment that was much smaller than the broad whole?

Joleen (21:06):

Yes. If I’m being totally honest, it was. But I also realized that our vision was to, when I kind of distilled it down, that was our vision and anything else was just noise. And that noise was what was causing all the stress and causing me to lose sleep and causing all the problems, and getting rid of some of that noise, it was almost like a breath of fresh air. Like we can finally help the people that we want to help.

Mike (21:31):

Wow. I mean, like, I don’t want to beat this to death with a hammer here, but a lot of people still haven’t made that transition. And when you did and narrowed your audience, you literally saw, you know, clear financial success. That must have been like such a relief for you, but also such a, you know, a reward for taking a scary step.

Joleen (21:51):

Right. And, I know a lot of people listening to this might be working with a partner and sometimes your vision clashes with your partner a little bit. So this was very much my vision and my husband was gracious enough to go along and say, all right, you know what? You’re leading the ship right now. This is your vision. And even he is, he from the beginning was a little hesitant, same reasons, but even he now sees like, look, this is the right step. So it can be scary, no matter if it’s your vision or if you’re the partner of the person. But once you truly realize what it is that helped people. And for some people, it might not be my avatar, maybe it’s athletes. And when they hone in on athletes, they can show the success. That becomes a marketing strategy, more people like them come because they see they’re being successful and they feel comfortable being around people like them.

Mike (22:42):

What a cool marital moment to have, you know, your partner maybe not agree with you, but say, you know what, let’s do this thing and support you. That must have been great.

Joleen (22:49):

It was. And, now we’re kind of circling it back and seeing the benefits of it.

Mike (22:55):

And with good reason, because you’ve done the work and that’s the cool part is that you’ve actually done the work. And I love what you said about reinvesting yourself into the business and finding the you know, the weak spots or the things that need upgraded doing the work, then not abdicating, but delegating it out and making it better. So these are really important steps for people. I’m going to ask you this one. So we’re gonna go in the time machine. So like you just opened your gym. Imagine, or you just opened a gym. Someone out there is in this stage who has just opened a gym or is even thinking about opening a gym. What are the three things, or two or three things that you would focus on right off the bat to reach $50 an hour first when your EHR might be like $1 an hour when you opened your gym?

Joleen (23:37):

  1. So number one, hire a mentor and listen to them. It’s kind of a two-part answer, hire a mentor that resonates with you, but listen to what they tell you and don’t be stubborn. So I’ll kind of tell a quick story with that. Jeff Smith is my mentor and he’s my mentor in tinker. And, you know, I can be very stubborn and I can be very hard to like, believe things at first. And he gave me some tough love on the one call, which was much needed, very, very much needed. And I listened to him. And from that, my leadership has increased dramatically. And you’re seeing some of the results of this now, too, because I am much, much stronger as a leader, just even from one little tiny, you know, phone call where I got a little bit of tough love. So don’t be afraid to listen to what your mentor says.

Mike (24:26):

I’m just going to highlight what you said. Listen and act because there’s so many programs out there, knowledge and information, you know, Two-Brain doesn’t have a trademark on knowledge and information. What we specialize in is getting people to take action. That’s what our mentors are trained to do. Obviously we have knowledge, but we’re getting people to act. And it’s funny, you know, Jeff is an old retired soldier that, I’m sure he had no problem handing out a bit of tough love for you when you needed it.

Joleen (24:49):

None at all, and never does, which is exactly the type of mentor I need. And that’s one of the things I love about Two-Brain too, is the ability to match someone up with a mentor that very much works with them.

Mike (25:00):

Hit me with number two, that’s a great point for the first one.

Joleen (25:02):

Number two, don’t be afraid to step back in and fix things. Sometimes we get so caught up in moving up to higher levels or higher, that I can’t even think the word rungs on the value ladder, terminology is alluding me today. So don’t be afraid that sometimes you might have to step back into a role that you might not have done for a year or two. Maybe you need to step back in and coach that class because you had to fire a coach who wasn’t getting results, or wasn’t acting in a way that you felt your business needed to portray themselves as. I read a really good story about one time, it’s actually a book, “The Dichotomy of Leadership.” In it, there was a military training exercise, and this really stuck with me, which I think it will with some other gym owners, they’re in a military training exercise and they killed the leader of the team, to see what would happen.

Joleen (25:52):

And the team entirely fell apart. Like, didn’t know what to do, people weren’t in the right place. So what they did to show the team what needed to happen, they brought the leader back to life, basically to show the rest of the team how to function and how to do the tasks, and then they could remove the leader again, and the team the second time learned how to do it. So I think sometimes my number two point would be being a leader requires you to get in there and helping guide and train. And don’t be afraid to do the kind of the dirty work sometimes to make that happen.

Mike (26:22):

Yeah. And my addition to that excellent point is to fix it as best you can so you don’t have to go back because you only want to fix things once. So if you lay the groundwork, you might not have to go back to that role, but if you do a crummy job of fixing and just offload it and move on, you might find yourself right back in the role. And one of the things that Chris has talked about, he actually has a process for this, is setting up all your systems, delegating them and then stress testing them. So like leave your gym for three days and be out of contact, just like quote unquote, you know, killing the leader in the military exercise, see what happens and come back and see what problems are and what problems needed to be solved. What couldn’t be solved, then solve them, put that stuff in your SOPa and in your staff playbook. And hopefully you’ll never have to deal with them again. And then constantly do these stress tests at increasing times. So to the point where we have some gym owners that won’t even check in with their gyms for like 30 days or something like that. So follow the process that Chris has for you guys. Number three, what do you got?

Joleen (27:17):

Number three. I kind of debated back and forth, but I think the most important thing for a new gym owner is identify your vision early on, who you want to help, who you want to be as a gym owner and as a gym. And then don’t let other things distract you. Take action on only the things that fit in with your vision. There are so many things that we see on the internet and we’re like, I don’t know many other people are, but I’m like, oh, that’s great! Wait. Focus. And even now I still have to draw myself back to the vision, which is why I kind of repeated over and over to myself and our avatar clients so that I do stick to it.

Mike (27:55):

I love that. And I’ll give you a ridiculous example is like, if you have your avatar in mind and your vision in mind, you’re probably not going to buy, you know, the 80 foot monkey bars rig, right. You’re just like, unless you know, OCR training is your avatar, but that’s just a simple example of how vision and avatar will make decisions for you. And it will take a lot of stress away. OK. So that’s a great one. So we’ll take the time machine just a little bit further forward. You’ve just hit $50 EHR as a gym owner. What are the three things that you’re going to focus on to reach the hundred dollar mark after that?

Joleen (28:29):

  1. One would be developing yourself as a leader, really spending time on that. And for me, that meant joining tinker. For other people that meant doing other leadership development roles. But that would be number one. For me.

Mike (28:43):

That’s such a weird one, right? Because normally you’re working on your business and systems and SOPs and coaching and teaching the squat and all this stuff. And then all of a sudden to reach this next stage, you suddenly have to not stop, but like delegate all that stuff. And then look at yourself and say, how can I lead people better? That’s a tough one.

Joleen (29:00):

Yup. Number two for me would be really make sure any person I hire is 100% bought into the vision of the gym.

Mike (29:09):

So that means you can’t just hire the person who happens to be most convenient. You’ve actually got to start working to find the right people.

Joleen (29:15):

Right. And sometimes that means you have to keep your roles a little bit longer than you want to, to find that person. But it definitely pays off in the long run.

Mike (29:23):

That is a good one, because if you delegate, even if you, you know, you don’t abdicate, but you delegate something to the wrong person, you’re still gonna have a problem.

Joleen (29:30):

Yes. And actually you probably will have more problems.

Mike (29:34):

I agree. All right. Number three.

Joleen (29:36):

Number three is delete everything that doesn’t make sense in your business. Right? So, and I’ll kind of explain that a little bit more. You’ve developed your vision to get yourself to $50 an hour, right. But to get yourself to that next level, we all have these little pieces of our business that we hang onto for whatever reason, sentimental, because it’s always been done like that, whatever it is, but it doesn’t make us that much money and it’s not profitable. It just causes drama usually. So deleting those things out, and those can be hard to let go of.

Mike (30:09):

I’ll call that addition by subtraction. And Chris has written about this so many times, getting to advanced stages of business requires more focus and more narrow focus rather than broader stuff, because it’s so easy to get distracted as you get higher up on the rungs of the ladder. There’s so many opportunities are so many things you can do. You need to do the most profitable thing or the best thing, not a combination of things that are mediocre, you know, and I’ll give you a role that I think is probably it might hit home for a lot of people. Here’s one that people, I think generally hang onto too long: social media. I think that was one where it’s like, it’s a personal thing. There’s also that like, you get that real kick in the ego when you put up a post and get a bunch of likes and stuff, but it’s, and, you need social media, but do you need to do social media? Probably not yourself, you know, would you read agree that might be a good one to offload?

Joleen (31:01):

I agree. And I’m guilty of that one. I do it because I love it. So for me, that’s one of my passion things, but could I get rid of that? Yes, but I could. So social media, I think coaching’s and other one for people. Programming is definitely one. And even like membership adjustments, sometimes I think we get so caught up in wanting to see what memberships are coming in and out of our business every day and not just getting a report at the end of the month. And that’s one I think that’s really hard to let go of for most people.

Mike (31:37):

And I think one of the keys to doing it is what you said earlier is hiring the right people and then training them. Because if you hire the wrong people and don’t train them, all your reports and everything, you’re going to get to the end of the month. And it’s just, you’re going to look into a disaster and then you’ve got to go fix it. Right. But if you get the right people and systems in place, you can be comfortable that that report comes in, you get the numbers you need, everything is going well. There’s no wrenches in the machine and life is beautiful, right?

Joleen (32:01):

Yes, exactly. And I think that’s probably one of the reasons I haven’t given up the few things that I do, first of all, I like to do them. But second of all, I haven’t found that person who will do them to my standard yet. Doesn’t mean I’m not looking. It just means I haven’t found them yet.

Mike (32:14):

Yeah. It’s all according, the thing that I’m getting from you here is it’s all according to a progression and a plan, and guys, if you’re out there and you’re thinking like, oh my goodness, this is overwhelming. Know that like the plans that Joleen is talking about are laid out for you in the Two-Brain program. We absolutely have the steps in there and your mentor’s job is going to be to find the exact step you need to take at this exact time and then make you do it. And I don’t mean force you to do it, but help you find a way to take action by knowing what is your why, why do you need to do this and then do it. And then you move on to the next step, the next step, the next step. And it’s always finding the thing that’s going to move your business forward. So it’s not a question of, I have to figure this stuff out. It’s actually all documented according to a Growth ToolKit and plan. Joleen, when you went through that plan and when you help people go through that plan, you know, how does it work for people? Like, do they understand that this progression, like, are they stubborn like you at the beginning or do they jump in right away and realize that this is like literally a slippery slope of easy buttons and shortcuts to gym ownership? Like, how does it go mostly?

Joleen (33:12):

Actually I think it’s kind of a mixed bag and I think that’s what’s great is that mentorship is about you and your business. Not what everybody else’s business looks like. So your action steps and what you’re taking action on might be different than what somebody else needs to take action on. Yes, we all go through, you know, our ramp up where we get certain things in line in our business so that we all have kind of a, I guess I I’m trying to think of the right word, but the same starting place. Right? So that we have a really good foundation. That’s probably the best way to say it so that we have a good foundation to build on. But then the way I might take action is different than the way somebody else does it. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It just means that my mentor sees this as the way for me to get there. Whereas somebody else might have a different path or thing that they should be focusing on.

Mike (34:00):

Listeners. If you’re out there and you want to hear more about this exact process, book a free call at You’ll get 60 minutes on our dime to talk about exactly how this process would work for you and your unique business. And you might be lucky enough down the line to work with Joleen. Joleen. Thanks so much for being here and sharing your plan essentially for how you got to be on our leaderboard for EHR. Congratulations on that. And thank you so much.

Joleen (34:23):

Thanks for having me.

Mike (34:24):

That was Joleen Bingham, Two-Brain EHR leader for July. I’m your host Mike Warkentin. And I’d like to invite you to subscribe for more episodes. Now here’s Two-Brain founder, Chris Cooper, with a final word.

Chris (34:35):

Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. If you aren’t in the Gym Owners United group on Facebook, this is my personal invitation to join. It’s the only public Facebook group that I participate in. And I’m in there all the time with tips, tactics, and free resources. I’d love to network with you and help you grow your business. Join Gym Owners United on Facebook.


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