Two-Brain Radio. We’re talking to Two-Brain award winners Andy and Mary Boimila of CrossFit Tradewinds. They clinched the sought-after Owner Lifestyle award by building a business that supports the perfect day. If you’re a slave to your business, this is the show for you. Here’s Two-Brain founder, Chris Cooper, with a word about the special award.
The 2020 Owner Lifestyle award goes to the entrepreneur or entrepreneurs, in this case, who demonstrate what it’s all about, why we went into entrepreneurship. Why we didn’t just go get a job where we could punch a clock until we’re 60 years old, collect our gold watch and then just watch Jeopardy reruns on TV all day. We became entrepreneurs to create a lifestyle that included freedom of finances and time. A lot of people would call that wealth. This couple who wins the Owner Lifestyle award for the year 2020, actually personifies the owner lifestyle that we all seek to attain, but I’ll tell you something. The owner lifestyle is not just the winning lottery ticket. You don’t just kind of cross a finish line. Oh, I’m a millionaire now. And I’m just going to go to the beach and that’s it. I’m done. It actually takes a lot of work to practice this lifestyle because you know how it is.
You’re an entrepreneur if you’re listening to this podcast, you get caught up in the grind and work always expands to just fill your entire brain. And you tell yourself I’m going to take a vacation next month. And then next month, I’m going to take it in the summer. And then I’ll try and do something on the kids’ spring break. And that vacation never happens. It takes as much discipline to take time off as it does to work on the weekends when you’re starting out, to not track your hours to not calculate what you’re actually earning. Like all of our awards, we calculate the Owner Lifestyle through a couple of different ways. Number one, the winners have to demonstrate that they can take time away and the business runs itself. That’s no mean feat. Second. They have to be able to take time away and still get paid.
They have to have earnings while they’re taking time away. Third, they have to have a clear definition of what they’re trying to achieve and then achieve that goal. It can’t just be enough to measure who takes the most vacation time or who makes the most money or who is retired at age 45. What matters is that your business is delivering on what you want it to deliver. And when that happens, you have achieved an Owner Lifestyle. And when you demonstrate repeatedly that you are great at maintaining that lifestyle, even when the pressures of family, even when the pressures of COVID tell you that you should sit in your office and work, well, you’re a model to the rest of us. So to the winner of this award, congratulations, thank you for modeling success of the perfect day of what we’re all in this about. More on that topic in just a second. Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by AGuard, providing elite insurance for fitness and sport. AGuard offers coverage for functional fitness facilities, mixed martial arts gyms and even events and competitions. You can also get access to healthcare insurance, discounted AEDs and discounted background checks. AGuard’s coverage options are designed to keep you safe. To find out more, visit affiliateguard.info.
Mary and Andy, welcome.
Thanks for having us.
Congratulations on receiving this sweet award. I’m guessing the lifestyle is the actual reward in itself. How has your business evolved since you started working with Two-Brain and how has your lifestyle specifically improved?
Since we started working with Two-Brain, we’ve basically been able to put systems in place that allow the business to run more smoothly, which has allowed us to start building a team, which I mean, without that team, we definitely wouldn’t have won the lifestyle award. So that’s definitely something that’s helped. And I mean, even still by building that team it allows us to provide them with the careers that they want, it’s been quite a journey, quite a ride.
Was it tricky for you initially to kind of put that team in place and then kind of step away? Orwhat was the biggest sort of challenge when you were doing that?
I think the biggest challenge was just first, all the information, all the things that we could be working on, other things that we should be working on, all the things that we could do. So like when we decided to focus on our team, when we worked with our mentor and we realized that’s where we needed to focus, it was like trying to figure out who the right people were. Because initially when we did start, when we joined Two-Brain, we did already have a team in place. But it was like, are these the right people? So we had to kind of like take a step back and really figure out who we are at Tradewinds and kind of where we’re going before we could really figure out who our team needed to be. And then from there we did a lot more work.
Yes. So, well, how long ago was that when you first started working with Two-Brain?
About three years ago now.
And when you, when you first did the perfect day exercises, what were you sort of envisioning for yourself? Maybe Mary go first. And then Andy, I don’t know if you had the same idea or.
Kind of a little bit of the same. And I think it’s hard to say what it was originally because, for me, at least I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I joined Two-Brain. Andy’s the researcher, does his digging before. But I think like, I think at the heart of it, for me was like, my priority was always to help people. But in a way that, like I felt passionate about, but also while allowing myself to preserve like what my passions are. So like for me, it was like being able to control my schedule, being able to continue traveling because traveling is very important to me. So I guess that’s kind of how I envision my perfect day, like finding a way to balance work with my life. And not like just be overly focused on one area.
Have that freedom of time.
And so mine wasn’t that much different. I mean, I would definitely say that my focus was freedom of time. Exactly. So I wanted the ability to be able to say, well, I want to coach the 5:00 PM class, not, I need to coach the 5:00 PM class, or I want to spend the next three hours working on the business instead of being like, well, I have to take PT clients for the next three hours. And that’s what was really important for me. And my perfect day has changed over the course of the last three years. But at the end of the day, it really does come down to no matter what the actual outline of the day is. It’s always about that freedom of time.
What do you think CrossFit Tradewinds does differently than other gyms?
So, I mean, for us, I would have to say that we put our clients first first, like front and center, we dig real deep to try to figure out like what their why is, what their values are and to try to make sure that they first and foremost align with Tradewinds, like we are a small facility, so we can only take so many clients and we want to make sure that we’re going to be helping the clients that actually want and can benefit from our help.
What were the biggest sort of challenges you faced when you were growing your business and coming to this realization that you needed to install a team to carry out the work while you were able to step back and have that freedom of time?
I think initially it was taking something that we had already created and like trying to mold or move beyond that to be more and to be better. So like in 2017, or I guess the end of 2016, we established like a real solid foundation of our core values and our vision and where we were planning on heading over the next three to five years. And so it was trying to figure out a way to preserve the good qualities our business already had while also shifting in the direction of where we were going. So like that whole saying, like, you know, the people who got you to here aren’t necessarily the people who are going to get you to there. So trying to find like a positive balance with all of that.
Yeah. At the end of the day, what it really comes down to is trying to find the people, really defining what that core purpose and those core values are. If you don’t have that, then it makes it really, really hard to move forward and to build a team because you’re going to bring people on that do not align with that. And then there’s going to be friction and there’s going to be fights. And there’s just going to be a lot of animosity that shouldn’t be there.
Or tension. I don’t know if it’s necessarily animosity, but like tension. Cause like you need to have, you need to have a team that’s built on trust. And if there isn’t cohesive trust and not just for us, but for other members of the team then it’s like hard to move forward together with a singular vision.
What do you think is the secret to your success?
I don’t think it’s a secret. I think it’s pretty straight forward. I think it’s hard work. It’s perseverance, it’s you know, seeking out advice and mentorship. It’s being vulnerable. It’s being willing to take risks, even if it means failing or even if it means it’s hard and it’s pushing us outside our comfort zone. I don’t think it’s a secret, but I also think it’s like knowing what success actually means to us, I think a lot of people sometimes think of success as like these very specific like attributes. Like they want to make a certain amount of money. They want a certain amount of time off. They want a certain title. So like we did a lot of work on ourselves to figure out like what we really value personally and professionally. And that allowed us to start to figure out like, well, what really is important to us? What does success really mean to us? Is it how many hours we work? Is it, you know, the type of people we get to help? Is it how much money we make? Is it how much time off we can take? So it was just figuring out like who we were and what we wanted and what success meant to us. And then just working hard. As Chris said, get angry and work hard.
Yes. This past year has been really challenging for most people. What do you think sort of kept you going and what did you really try to focus on during this arguably turbulent year?
Our main focus this entire year was building our team. Was taking the team that we had, figuring out if the team that we had, if the people that were on that team were the right people. And if they weren’t, we had to do the hard things and some of them are no longer on the team. And then we had to find people that fit the team, that fit the core values, fit the core purpose, that aligned with the vision of Tradewinds and wanted to make a career inside of our business. Not necessarily, you know, outside of it or anything like that. And so our main focus for this entire year has literally been to, I guess, weed our team and rebuild it into a bigger, better.
More joyous, happy team. I think it was like, this has obviously been a big discussion for a lot of people. Like how hard the year has been, and how our business is doing, how are they making it through it? And like, for us like Andy and I, we’re very optimistic people. We’re not naive, but we’re optimistic. And for us, like we knew from day one, like January 1st, 2020, like our goal was to really build our team. Cause if we wanted to take Tradewinds to the next level, if we wanted to really push ourselves forward and the direction of our vision, we had to have a solid team. There was no more excuses. So we looked at the challenges that we’ve been faced as like opportunities. So like instead of it being an obstacle, we said, OK, you know, global pandemic is out of our control, but we can still control what we do and the work that we do and how we move forward with our purpose of building a solid team.
So it was just like staying in the right mindset and saying like, this is still what we’re doing. We had to let a lot of other things go. We had to sacrifice growth at the cost of like focusing on our core mission for this year core purpose for this year. So we may not be exactly where we want to be as a business, but we are much farther along because we stayed true to our goal of building our team. That mindset piece is really key, I think.
And it’s when working with your clients as well, I’m guessing because that sort of vibe rubs off on people.
The mindset of our clients has definitely been something that we’ve tried to work with them with and help them with. Especially during these turbulent times, pushing out content and talking to them personally, and even just doing our check-in sessions and sitting down and saying, how are you doing today? Like, are you OK? And then just listening. And sometimes that’s all people need, right?
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Were you shut down? Was your physical location shut down at any time or is it still?
Oh yes, we were physically shut down. We actually shut down physically, prior to being forced to be shut down. Mary and I made the call. We felt that it was no longer safe and therefore we wanted to physically close the location. We were physically closed for four months. I think it was about four months, three months, three months.
Three months from our group service. Or four months for group and then about three months for personal training. But we like any obstacle we said all right, this obstacle is out of our control right now. How can we create an opportunity while still allowing ourselves to help our clients? Because at the end of the day, like people’s health and wellness, w’re not going to be put on hold because of a global pandemic. So thankfully being a part of Two-Brain, we were already making plans with our mentor. We were already seeing things unfolding and how other gyms were evolving in these turbulent times. So we used the experiences that we were seeing and learning from to create a plan and to implement that plan very fast. We acted very fast, but very efficient with our team. We got our team immediately on a Zoom team meeting that night that we closed with a whole plan in place. And you know, we had a great discussion with our team at the time and implemented that plan within, within 48 hours. And almost never skipped a beat. Our clients immediately started receiving at home workouts within a week of closing, we did an equipment share program with all of our clients. And we just each week continued to transition and continue to research and add value to our clients in these very strange and uncertain times. And you know, a lot of our clients stayed very successful and committed to their wellness and like, it wasn’t easy, the first month or so, it just felt like something new is happening every day. But it was exciting and it was challenging and it was hard and we learned a lot. And it really, in my opinion makes me feel like we can literally go through anything and be successful.
Providing rockstar customer service is part of your mission. So how did you sustain that and improve on that when you were distanced from your clients?
So, we took all of our clients and we divided them up to each coach. So every single client was assigned a personal coach. So actually I’m the chief joy officer. So traditionally I’m responsible for maintaining the relationship with clients and making sure they’re, you know, celebrated and making sure that they’re coming and they’re reaching their goals. But being out of theg ym, we needed some additional touch points. So we, like I said, divided all the clients up. For the first several months, our coaching team were checking with the clients every day and providing them personalized coaching for their at home workouts based on their space and the equipment they had. We created several challenges throughout quarantine, to try and keep everyone focused and engaged and motivated something other than what is going on and out of their control, we did several events.
We were still moving forward, the creating powerful moments for our clients. So celebrating them through our social media, celebrating them on our athlete page. We continue to practice bright spots. So nothing really stopped as far as that service we are trying to provide. We were just doing it in different ways. We were trying to get creative concerning the circumstances.
It sounds like opening up the communication was really key to that. Did content creation play into any of this or did you focus on that aspect of it?
Our content creation has been pretty steady over the past year and a half now. And during COVID the content creation didn’t turn down or didn’t turn up. It just changed what we focused on. Right? So instead of focusing on things—we started to focus more on things that were prevalent to people being stuck at home, right? Like how to manage stress, how to create your own workspace so you can divide your work life balance. Things that our clients were facing on a daily basis that they had never faced before, how to, you know, find time for themselves when all of a sudden kids are home with them all day long. And so that’s really where our content should be. And so through our literally daily touch points with our clients, we were able to keep our thumb on the pulse of what they were going through right, talk to them on a personal level, but then also turn that around and turn it into content, because if you can help one person, it’s going to help multiple people.
Totally. Like you’ve gone through a lot this year. What are you sort of hopeful for when you’re looking towards the future for CrossFit Tradewinds? Like, what are your long-term and short-term goals.
Long term and short term? That’s a lot. You know, long term, our goal is to turn Tradewinds into an all inclusive health and wellness facility. And you know, we took a step towards that in the last couple of weeks by bringing on a physical therapist. And so eventually we will create, the vision of Tradewinds is to create a facility that is holistic health and wellness. That if you want nutrition, you come to Tradewinds. You need soft tissue work, you come to Tradewinds. You want a yoga class, you come to Tradewinds. For us it’s more than just getting a hard workout in. It includes literally every concept of life. And that’s what we’re striving towards in the short term, continuing to solidify our team and make sure that they can lead the lives that they want to lead and have the career that they want to have, continue to provide excellent service to our clients, continue to put them on the podium, put them front and center. We want to make them the hero of their story on a daily basis. We want people to come in and have the best hour of their day and we even feel invigorated. And the next step is growing, adding more services, adding more clients, adding more coaches and adding more classes.
Did you ever think that you would be in this position, you know, back when you got started with this whole thing, or did you ever imagine it would grow to this level?
Yes. I think Andy and I are big dreamers. Both personally and professionally. And I think that we never, we never set a ceiling. We never put a ceiling on what our dreams were for how Tradewinds was going to grow. I don’t know. That’s a tough one. It’s tough in a good way.
Do I think that we had the same vision that we have now, you know, five years ago when we started? No, I don’t think it’s the same vision. But I don’t think we’ve ever put a limit on what we thought Tradewinds would be capable of. Right. I would say probably within the last two years, it’s really become our goal to create something that will outlive us, something that will continue to change the lives of people for years and years and years to come. That was one of the reasons we never wanted to like name Tradewinds after one of us, because we knew the goal was always for it to outlive us, to create that legacy of just health and wellness in our community and pass it down to whoever comes next.
That’s so awesome. What would you tell an owner who’s currently a slave to their business?
I would say that you’re not alone, that there are people who have been where you are. There are people currently where you’re at and there are people out there who can help you get through what you’re going through. I think it’s always important to remember why you started something and to never let go of the things that bring you joy. Because if you can’t find joy in yourself, it’s hard to help other people. So you really need to just stay true to what’s important to you and to know that like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, like, you know, hard times make hard, strong, courageous, brave, powerful people. So to keep that head up and keep trying to move one foot forward, and to seek out other people who have been through what they’re going through and to not be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help. I think that’s something that a lot of small business owners really, really struggle with. It’s something we continue to struggle with and we try to work on from day to day. But like help is fundamental. Help is essential. And it’s important. It’s important to ask for help.
I’m only going to echo what Mary just said, learn to ask for help. Nobody can do this alone. Believe me, we tried. And there’s two of us. And we tried and still learned that you need to learn to ask for help. And that asking for help is not you failing. And I think that’s what a lot of people struggle with. They think that just because they’re asking for help, they failed at something. And that’s not the case. There are people out there that have gone through what you are currently going through and have come up the other side. They have experience that they can give you. And that is invaluable. Believe me, Mary and I made way, way too many mistakes before seeking help. That’s not to say that we don’t make mistakes now because we definitely do.
We just rebound from them quicker. We make less of them. We learn a little bit more from each one of them. And I think for me, the last thing that I would say is like, take that trip, buy that, you know, that TV like do something for yourself because you can’t continue to self sacrifice for nothing. Like this is your life and you only get one life to live. So go on that adventure, like, you know, find out what really makes you happy. And what’s going to bring you joy and don’t sacrifice it. Chase after it. Just as hard as you are willing to chase after starting a business. Because at the end of the day, like businesses come and go, relationships come and go. But like your happiness, your joy, you’re going to carry that out through your life through any hard times. So do something for yourself.
It’s the same thing. It’s the same things we tell our clients, right? When clients come in and they’re like, well, I don’t have the time. And you’re like, well, if you don’t make the time, you’re not going to take care of yourself. And if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, you’re not gonna able to help anybody else. As owners, we need to do the same thing. You need to take care of yourself because if you don’t, your business will suffer. And when you do start taking care of yourself, it’s amazing how much your business will thrive because of it.
It really is.
Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to chat with me. It’s been a pleasure meeting you.
That was Tiffy Thompson on Two-Brain Radio. If you currently work with Two-Brain, ask yourself, what would it take to win this award next year, then take action. And if you don’t work with us yet, be sure to join the Facebook group, Gym Owners United, where you’ll find advice from Two-Brain founder, Chris Cooper, every day. He’ll tell you how to improve your business for free. Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Subscribe for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.