What Do I Talk to My Gym Business Mentor About?

Image of Chris Cooper.

Mike (00:02):

If your gym is sinking fast, you know what to ask a mentor, but what happens when you don’t have any emergencies? Chris Cooper has spent thousands of hours talking to gym owners and he’ll tell you what happens in those conversations on this edition of Two-Brain Radio.

Chris (00:14):

What do you talk to your mentor about? For every five gyms who start in our mentorship practice called Two-Brain business, four of them have a very specific problem that once they solve it, they could double or even triple the size of their gym. There’s one big thing holding them back. A lot of them have two things or maybe even three things that are slowing them down, but fixing the problem is just step one. And even though some of us made so many mistakes at startup, that it can take a long time to solve all the problems and they have to be solved in a specific order. And it takes a while for us to see the results of solving that problems. Eventually we’re going to run out of problems to solve. And that’s good. That doesn’t mean we don’t need a mentor anymore. It doesn’t mean that we can’t benefit from coaching.

Chris (01:01):

In fact, when my gym started doing well, I upgraded the mentorship that I was receiving. And then when Two-Brain started to grow, I upgraded the number of mentors that I had. And now I like to surround myself with people who are caring and compassionate and understand my journey, who can help me forecast the next steps and yes, solve problems. So what do you talk to your mentor about? That’s what we’re gonna talk about today. This is relevant for everybody who is thinking about having a business coach, for everybody who already has a business mentor, for the business coaches who listen to this podcast. That’s a great growing segment now, thank you. But also for people who don’t even own a business, and they’re doing some kind of coaching in their life like fitness coaching, maybe it’s yoga, coaching, nutrition, coaching, or you’re just coaching other people to do better.

Chris (01:53):

Or you’re thinking about getting a coach to do better. Once you’ve solved your problems in business or in life, what you’re really buying is speed. Now, when you’re solving problems, you need a lot of support. You need one-on-one mentorship. And that’s why we provide one-on-one mentorship in our startup, rampup and growth programs. It’s all one-on-one because you need somebody who really knows your case who can guide you carefully through the steps to fix your problems. But when you get into our higher level programs, at that point, what you’re buying is really speed. So having a mentor or a coach at that level helps you see, not just like what the opportunities are for the next step for you, but also how to make the most use of those opportunities. How to capitalize on them faster without trial and error or making mistakes. The interesting thing is that as you mature as an entrepreneur, you quickly understand the value of not figuring it out for yourself.

Chris (02:54):

And one of the top lessons that most people eventually learn is that if I have the ability to just buy the solution or buy the path or buy somebody else’s mistakes or their experience, then that is the best ROI that I can possibly get. Right? What I’m really buying there is speed. So if you’re a fitness coach and you’re listening to this and you are trying to improve somebody’s fitness, you already know that you can’t just fix their movement faults forever. Right? People usually come in and they’ve got some movement faults, their knees cave in in the squat, their back rounds on the deadlift, and you’re fixing their technique. And for six months, a year, maybe even two years, that’s what they need the most to make the most progress is the removal of obstacles. But eventually they need something more. And maybe that is different programming.

Chris (03:44):

Maybe that’s different coaching from you. Maybe that’s just a clear picture of what the next level is, but maybe that’s also speed. Getting there faster. For coaches who are selling a quote unquote high ticket offering, what they’re actually is speed, right? They’re not selling knowledge. If knowledge was the problem, we would all be billionaires with six pack abs. If knowledge solved the problem, then all these PhDs in nutrition would be shreded and outliving us all by 30 years. Knowledge is not the problem. So how do we create speed? Well, that’s the mentor or the coach’s job. So after you’ve solved your problems, which is step one, and that’s what one-on-one mentorship is for, at least in our program. You wanna talk to your mentor about some other things. So the first thing that you wanna do is you wanna start off usually with like, what’s bugging you right now.

Chris (04:36):

You know, what is the thing that’s gonna distract you from focusing. So if your business is running perfectly well, you know, everything’s going great. You’re coasting along, you’re growing. The first thing that you want to ask yourself is like, what is aggravating me? Because that is the thing that’s gonna distract you from focusing on the most important things. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about next. So if you got a bee in your bonnet, because somebody looked at you the wrong way, they made a weird comment on Facebook, your government’s really pissing you off. Like that’s what you want to talk to your mentor about even when your gym is doing OK, because that is the thing that’s gonna stop you now is your emotional state. The next thing that you need to do is get focused on the most important thing. And so a really good experienced coach or mentor can suss out this most important thing pretty quickly.

Chris (05:31):

And they can do it a lot better than you can do it. It’s not really therapy. Although therapists use a lot of the same techniques that a good mentor does what they’re actually doing is sifting through all the things that you’re thinking about, the opportunities that you see, the ideas that you have. And they’re saying, that’s the one. Go all in on that. So for example, I was talking to somebody yesterday, who’s in a tinker phase program, and he’s got a few gyms. They’re all doing OK. You know, one of them, he just bought, so it’s coming along, but I have no doubt that he’s gonna be able to fix this. He’s also got a really high level corporate program for a local corporation. Let’s just say. That’s paying him a lot per hour and he’s making so much money on that, that he can afford to make mistakes in other places, right.

Chris (06:22):

He can be underpriced on his CrossFit classes. He can, overpay his trainers, whatever, like he’s doing so well in this one area that that covers a lot of mistakes somewhere else. So there’s no need for him to improve those other things. So instead of saying like, well, here’s your problems with your business, what we did was spent the hour focusing hard on duplicating the thing that was paying him so much that the other stuff almost didn’t even matter. Instead, what a lot of entrepreneurs do is they have five ideas and they act on all of them instead of prioritizing the one that’s really making the difference. So for example, if you’ve got an idea to, you’ve got your gym, it’s doing pretty well, and now you’re gonna start a t-shirt company. You’re gonna run this new line of supplements. You’re also gonna buy this second gym.

Chris (07:09):

And, you know, you’re going to create a brand of programming, maybe. OK, well, you can look at those opportunities and let’s face it. If you’re a good entrepreneur, you can make money at any of those things. What a mentor’s job is to do is to say like, here are the four, here’s what the return on your time would be financially. Here’s what the return on your energy would be emotionally, which one should be focused on. And then it’s their job to hold you accountable to that one thing for the next quarter or the next year, even, or two years or whatever that is. And that’s really the value. So for example, when Two-Brain was just a fledgling company, we were doing about 250 K a year, my mentor was Dan Martel and we would get together on these meetings and I would say, OK, Dan, you know, I got an idea for a coaching company.

Chris (08:01):

I got an idea for a t-shirt company. I think that we could probably start a bookkeeping company. There’s so many opportunities to help gym owners more. And I’m the one that sees all these things and I wanna kind of get going on them. I wanna start them before anybody else has this great idea, too. And so Dan and I would talk for a few minutes, and then finally, he’d say, you can only pick one, which one are you gonna do? And I’d say, but Dan, I’m worried. Like why don’t I just start this t-shirt company to solve the apparel problem? I’ll just get it going. And then like, I’ll really focus on it later and he’d say, no, don’t do it. And then I’d say something like, oh, OK, Dan, I’ve got this great idea to maybe start a bookkeeping company or start a white label supplement company.

Chris (08:49):

And he’d say, no, don’t do it. And the job of the mentor there was to keep me focused on the thing that would help gym owners the most, which was actually building the mentorship program of Two-Brain Business. And so in the next year, the business quadrupled, and then it doubled again the year after that, by maintaining my focus. And when I stopped doing one-on-one mentorship, I had this one year kind of lapse there. I started five other projects. And guess what? My core project, the thing that was actually helping gym owners the most didn’t grow as fast. It just kind of coasted along and it grew, but not at the rate that it was growing before. And we were helping people less. And so what I did that year was I started a bunch of other projects. I had great ideas and I kicked them off.

Chris (09:35):

And now I see that if I had just said, somebody else go start this, you know, just handed the idea off to them. They could have probably grown those projects bigger. I could have grown my own projects bigger by maintaining focus. Another thing that the mentor’s job is to do is to be the connector. And this is more important the more successful you are. So for example, in our tinker program, there are a lot of people who are interested in expanding their platform with the acquisition of cryptocurrency. I know nothing about cryptocurrency. I have a strategy for growth. It includes real estate and index funds. I’m not too excited about cryptocurrency. On the other hand, I’m 46 years old, and a lot of people are. So my job is to be the connector, to find, filter and bring in a great expert who will take people in Two-Brain from where they are with their knowledge of crypto, to having enough knowledge to be able to make an informed decision and actually take action.

Chris (10:36):

So, yesterday this is what I did. I got on calls with three crypto experts who were all recommended to me by somebody who’s associated with my mentor, right. He was that first connector. And then I talked to each one, I selected the one who I thought was perfect for our audience. And then I engaged them. I said, you know, how can we bring you in to talk to our tinker group? We set up a deal. And now they’re coming in to make a presentation on crypto to our tinker group. Your mentor has a lot of connections that they’ve formed. Usually they’ve been in the game for a long time. And so that means they might not be the expert on something, but they know somebody who can, and that connection is so valuable. Imagine you’re trying to teach your client crypto and to know that you have to go down deep and you have to learn it for a full year before you’re qualified to teach them anything about it, right?

Chris (11:32):

Because you’re so scared that they’re gonna go find another expert. Well, your mentor can probably just link you to the person that you need who’s already spent that year. Who’s already done that research. Who’s made the mistakes and who can teach that connection. And there’s so many examples of this in our tinker level program, you know, you want to start your second gym as a direct duplicate of your first gym? We have people who’ve done that. You want go buy five more gyms in three months. We’ve got people who’ve done that. You want to build a personal brand. You want to do a high ticket offering that complements your gym or a high value offering outside your gym. We have people in the program who have done that. You wanna start a supplement company. Yeah. We’ve got that. Crypto, Airbnb, self storage businesses, index funds, overfunded, whole life.

Chris (12:21):

There are people in the group who’ve done all of these things. And the mentor’s job is just to kind of connect you to them. So when I’m talking to a mentor and I book a call, I get on the call and the mentor said, what’s distracting you right now. OK. So that could be like, if there is a problem, we might go down that road then. OK. Let’s look at some metrics. And so we usually look at six metrics if you’re in the growth phase of our program or about three metrics if you’re in the tinker phase of our program. Are these things growing? Yes. Now let’s talk about your opportunities. Which thing are you focusing on hardest right now? What will you be focused on for the next month or for the next three months? How can I help you focus on that better?

Chris (13:05):

  1. And so right back to the what’s distracting you. What the mentor doesn’t do is dive deep down the, why do you want to do that? Or how is this a hard lesson for you? That won’t move you forward, right? Digging you back into your history, getting caught up in your current story, that won’t help you progress. The mentor’s job is to get you out of that rumination, out of your own head, focused on what the opportunities are ahead of you and you know, what you should be working on. So when I’m talking to my mentors right now, a lot of that conversation is about finance. I have a very clear goal to make it to 20 million in net worth so that I can give away a million dollars every year. And everything that I do has to be directed toward that goal. So when a mentor says, Hey, Chris, how come you’re doing this thing?

Chris (13:52):

Is that getting you closer toward that goal? That’s actually speeding me up. And this is the kind of thing that a mentor does that people don’t appreciate. So the last thing that I wanna say here is everybody should be in a coaching program. If you are a coach, you should have a coach. Even if you’re a business coach, you should have a business coach. If not, I don’t really know, you know, where you’re getting your information or how you’re improving your skills or how you’re really serving your clients better. When you have a coach, though, your job is to reach out to them, to be a good client, to initiate conversation, not to wait until you have like your monthly appointment or whatever, not to wait until they start to worry that you’re drifting and they reach out to you, not to expect them to call you every two weeks or whatever to check in, but to actually send them updates, not just problems.

Chris (14:52):

Don’t wait till you have problems, because if they’re a good coach, you’re not gonna have a lot of problems for very long, but send them your wins. Hey, I sent this email out and here’s what happened, or, Hey, I’m about to do this thing. How could I make it better? Or I see these two opportunities, which one do I pick? Or, Hey, I would love to learn more about crypto. Who do you know? And that’s what I talk to my coach about. Sometimes I get on a call and I’m like, oh man, maybe I should cancel. I don’t know what we’re gonna talk about today. And the coach will say something like Chris what’s bugging you right now. And that’s usually top of mind. And we start digging into that. And then within 25 to 35 minutes, not only am I moved on to what’s important, but I’ve also got a framework to do it. And probably some connections who are going to really speed up the process. When you’re working with a mentor, you’re buying speed. You’re also buying the avoidance of pain and the solution to your mistakes. But fixing your mistakes is step one. When the mistakes are done, that’s when you need more mentorship. I hope that helps.

Mike (16:00):

Two-Brain Radio airs twice a week and features all the info you need to run a successful fitness business. Subscribe so you don’t miss a show. Now here’s Coop one more time.

Chris (16:10):

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 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.


Thanks for listening!

Thanks for listening! Run a Profitable Gym airs twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. Be sure to subscribe for tips, tactics and insight from Chris Coooper, as well as interviews with the world’s top gym owners.

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help, and we read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.

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.