Are you so busy you can’t seem to get anything done? Chris Cooper is here with the fix. He’ll tell you exactly how to take action and move your business forward every single day. Stay tuned for Coop on Two-Brain Radio.
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`Hey, it’s Chris Cooper and we have all had these days. You get up at 4:30 in the morning, you grab a coffee, you head to the gym, you coach the 5:00 AM or the 6:00 AM class. Maybe you coach a couple in a row and then you start to get down to work, but your brain is tired. And so you grab another coffee and you check social media. And before you know it it’s time for the lunchtime class. And after the lunchtime class, you need to work out. So you hammer it hard and then it’s three or four o’clock and you gotta pick up your kids. You gotta be home in time for dinner. Maybe you’ve got some personal training clients coming in, and then the next time you check your watch, it’s like 9:00 PM.
You’re mopping the floors. You’re headed home. And on the drive home, you say to yourself, what did I actually accomplish today? Is my business better than it was last night at this time? Or did I just fill up another day of my life? I had this same recurring feeling for years and years and years that I had my head down, that I was working hard, that I was providing the best service that I possibly could, but I wasn’t actually doing any better. And it took me about four years to look back and say, Hey, I’m not earning any more than I was back then. I’m not any happier. In fact, I’m more tired. I’m more in debt. I’m fighting more with my wife. I’m, you know, I’m just as stressed as I was back then. Things are not getting better. I’m just repeating the same days over and over and over.
And the phrase disposable days entered my mind because time is a non-renewable resource. Money is a renewable resource. That’s fine, but time is not. And every day that you spend working in your business without moving that business forward, it’s hard to see that as a productive day. Yes, you’re out there changing lives and that’s your mission. And that’s the impact that you’re going to have. But if your business isn’t going forward, it’s going backward, just like your fitness. So today I’m going to tell you how to have no more disposable days, how to create time for yourself to do things that will grow your business, move your business forward even a little bit. So that at the end of the day, you can say, yeah, this is a little bit better than it was yesterday. That doesn’t mean getting a new client every day. But it does mean doing one thing, putting one brick in the wall so that you know that you’re moving forward.
You’re not sliding backward and you’re not wasting time. Now, way back in 2015, I was writing two books at one time. One was called “Help First,” which is my overarching marketing philosophy. And there was a lot of strategy and tactics in that book too. But as I was writing it, what I realized was if you don’t have time to walk down the street and meet your neighbors, you don’t have time to do goal reviews with your current clients to get referrals. You don’t have time to set up Facebook ad campaigns. Then you’re kind of screwed. You can’t take these steps that will actually grow your business. So, and these are just marketing steps. A lot of people were saying, Chris, I’m working a 12 hour, day, 14 hours a day already. I know you’re telling me exactly what to do. I don’t have time to take action on any of it.
And this is still a problem that’s true to this day. People enter our RampUp program and we say, OK, here’s exactly the first step you have to do. Here’s exactly how to do it. Here’s a template. Fill it out. And two weeks later they say I haven’t done it because I don’t have time. And so we realized a couple of years ago that the first step that entrepreneurs need to take is to create time in their day, to do the things that will grow their business. And now this is the first part of our RampUp program. But I want to share with you a strategy called the 10 hour CEO. And I published this in Two-Brain Business 2.0, that’s a book that I wrote while I was writing Help First, because I realized if I don’t help you get the time to do this stuff, you can’t do it.
And then you can’t grow your business. And then every day just looks like a carbon copy of the one before it, and you don’t get anywhere. So here’s what I want you to do over the next 10 weeks. You can pull out your calendar and you can block off here’s one hour next week when I’m going to work on this one thing that Chris is telling me. Now I’ve updated this process. If you’ve read “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief,” I gave you the strategy that I currently use, which is to create two windows of time during your day in which you work on focus tasks, like operational tasks, things that maybe you’re not super passionate about, but move the business forward. That’s your focus window. And then your ship window is working on more creative tasks, getting stuff done that’s more advertising or just creative or improving yourself as an entrepreneur.
OK? But for right now, whichever strategy works for you blocking one hour a day, blocking one hour a week, blocking one hour a month. I don’t care, but block some time to work on your business instead of in your business. So I’m going to do this week by week. If you can do this daily, that’s even better. Week one, take one hour to write down your perfect day. So start thinking about what kind of lifestyle you’re trying to create here. For most people listening to this podcast, the central question to the lifestyle is how much money do I need to earn? Now, this is super crazy important because if you don’t have this target, you won’t head anywhere. You have to have a specific goal and you have to anchor that goal. So let’s say for example, that you said, OK, well, you know, 70,000 a year, I’d be happy.
Now you have to anchor that goal emotionally in your psyche. So you have to ask yourself, what will a $70,000 a year income mean to my family? Or you might ask it a different way. What would another $20,000 a year mean to my family? Or you might break it down. What would an extra thousand dollars a month mean to my kids? Wow. That’s a really great anchor. And you need to take some time alone to do this. So don’t do it while you’re driving in your car to church on Sunday with your family, don’t do it while you’re working out. Don’t do it while you’re sitting in your office in your gym, take an hour somewhere by yourself in week one, and think about exactly what do I want this gym to give me? Now, this might be a painful exercise because you might say, geez, I’ve had this same goal to make a hundred thousand dollars a year for four years, and I’m no closer to it.
And that’s OK. In fact, that line of thought is what led me to find a mentor in the first place to accept that, Hey, what I’m doing isn’t actually getting me there. So I need to do something different. In the second week, you need to create two hours for yourself. OK? And what you’re going to do here is think about the services that you offer and your audience, your market, the people who want to buy your service and do those things align. So for example, you might do that seed client exercise from Mike Michalowicz, which you might find your three best clients. You might take them for coffee individually and say, you know, what was your goal when you came to my gym? And what you’ll probably find is that you are trying to sell a method instead of trying sell a result.
I’ll give you a great example from my own life. When I was a CrossFit gym, I was the most evangelical local CrossFit trainer, coach, gym owner in the world. I told everybody how amazing CrossFit was. The problem was I didn’t tell them, oh yeah, CrossFit can help you lose weight. Oh yeah. CrossFit can help you run faster. Oh yeah. CrossFit will probably fix that lower back pain. Their goal was what they cared about. My method was what I cared about, but there was no connection between them. And so what you want to start with is learning about what goals your best clients have and are the services you’re offering in line with getting them to those goals. So my best clients all had weight loss or feel better performance goals. And really they would have done better to do personal training in almost every case than a group class.
They could still do my method, CrossFit, but they should have been doing it one-on-one. And most of my best clients had figured that out on their own, but I wasn’t getting more people like them because I was focused on the CrossFit way, which was like group classes, which I had wrong anyway. So when I learned like here is my actual audience, here is what they benefit most from, I started talking about coaching. I started talking about accountability and having an appointment every week and routines and habits. And eventually some of those people chose to do it with a partner or a trio or go into a group class. But what I didn’t do was try to force people into my method or my perception of what CrossFit was at the time. And I see people making this exact same mistake in yoga, in Pilates, you know, in every gym type you can think of, you need to understand who your market is and what they want.
And once you have that, it’s like, you’ve got the first foothold on the base of the mountain. But until you understand that, you know, you’re just throwing yourself against a brick wall. The second hour in the second week, you’re going to have a staff meeting. So you need to meet one-on-one with your staff, ask them, what do you want? Just like you just asked your clients. And then say, OK, well, here’s how we can do that. And maybe you talk about intrapreneurial opportunities. Maybe you talk about best practices. Maybe you deliver your staff handbook. If you already have one. In the third week, what you’re going to do is start getting your business out of your head. You’re going to break down the roles and tasks in your business. So that means break down all the different hats that you wear into individual roles. So one hat that you wear is like cleaner.
So let’s take out a blank sheet of paper and let’s write cleaner at the top and let’s write down exactly like how you clean things, the order, what soap you use, what time of day you do it, every single detail. So if you were hit by a bus tonight, you could hand somebody this slip of paper and they would do it exactly the way you do it. OK. Get it out of your head. The cleaner’s the really easy one, but you want to do this with group coach, personal trainer and nutrition coach, get all these things out of your head. It’s tough. It takes time. And we give people templates to do this in our RampUp and Growth programs, because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. But if you are following a DIY path for now, I understand, use a blank sheet of paper and get every single thing out of your head.
- We’re still on week three. So the second hour that you’re going to do is take these roles and tasks and create job descriptions with them. So all you’re really doing is saying like a cleaner, does these things, a coach does these things. And what this is going to help you do is avoid the future problem, where you just hire all your friends to give them a job, or you hire your best clients. And you know, you count on them to be like volunteers or a host of other staffing mistakes. If you want to solve staff problems in advance and staff problems are the number one problems in any business, you have to get them on paper first. OK. Then turn them into evaluations. So all you do is you say like, OK, here’s the cleaning checklist, add a scale of one to 10 to each item.
Did you put soap in the pail? Did you spray down the bathroom shower stalls? Did you mop the floor? Scale of one to 10 on each thing. OK. Session three. I want you to go off by yourself and think about the top market or service opportunity that you’re not currently doing. So some people will say, oh yeah, well, we offer personal training at my gym, but nobody takes me up on it. OK. So think about that. Like, if nobody’s taking you up on it, then that’s a massive opportunity for you. About 20% of your revenue should be coming from personal training and/or nutrition coaching. So if your revenue went up by 20%, what difference would that make to you and your family? Would that solve the perfect day problem? Would that fill the gap for the revenue that you need to have your perfect day?
And if so, then let’s really get focused on that. OK. And make that our priority. In week four, I want you to spend four hours. And the first thing you’re going to do is consolidate the best practices at your gym. So these are your standard operating procedures. You know, what time does the group class start? What radio station do you listen to? Wwhen do you use the Bulldog or Viper scrubber or whatever, how often do you clean your external walls and sign, write down all this stuff. Now, again, this is a huge playbook, but it has to completely replace you. You have to get everything out of your head. If you think that your staff will do things exactly the way that you do it, because of common sense or something else, you’re telling yourself a fairy tale, nobody can read your mind.
You need to create a playbook as if you were about to franchise your business. So that’s your first hour, start thinking about that. Second, write staff contracts. So now you’ve got these job descriptions, you’ve got this task list. You’ve got sample evaluations. You can write contracts with your staff, including the breakdowns of all the roles that they’re hired for. Now. You’ve got staff who are probably wearing a couple of different hats. They’re a group class coach. They’re a personal trainer and they’re doing your social media. Well, that’s three different hats and you should be paying three different rates for those things. And they cobbled together these different hats to make a career because you don’t need to pay somebody a salary. In fact, what usually happens is if you pay somebody a salary at this stage in gym ownership, they will spend 40 hours a week doing something, but you’ll have very little to show for it.
You’re better to pay them by task and put that into a contract. The next thing is, you’re going to, after you’ve decided like, OK, the personal training is my biggest missed opportunity. You’re going to invite two to three clients to try that out. Just say, Hey, you know, test this. What did you think? Fill out this evaluation form on me. Was this a valuable service? Would you like to continue? OK. And then finally start evaluating your staff. So in this fourth week, staff evaluation is great. Not because you want to criticize or condemn them, not because you’re trying to punish them or yell at them, but because you need a standard, right? You need a baseline, a starting point, ask them if they agree with the evaluation, take notes by all means. But when you leave that evaluation meeting, you should both be settled on opportunities for improvement and opportunities for growth.
In the fifth week, I want you to get five hours. So five hours to work on your business over the course of the week, it could be an hour a day. Whatever. The first thing that you’re going to do is get a spreadsheet. So download a cashflow forecast or tool, or start pulling metrics out of your gym management software. The metrics that you want, you want total revenue, total clients. You want ARM, average revenue per member. You want LEG, length of engagement. That’s your retention metric. You want to know what your profit is. OK. And how much of your revenue goes to payroll and how much goes to expenses. If that’s all you get, then that’s awesome. If you have time, pull out your set rate, how many appointments for new clients get set every month, your show rate, what percentage of those people actually show up and your close rate,
what percentage of people who show up actually sign up for your service. These are great diagnostic numbers that will help us later on.
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The next hour in week five, you’re going to spend finishing your staff evaluations. Session three will be trialing a client on your new service and session four will be starting to put your staff handbook together. So all these SOPs you’ve been writing, put them into one spot, a binder, get an incident report form from Affiliate Guard. Write a table of contents, shoot videos, take pictures, make sure that people can understand it or see things through your eyes if you want them to deliver on your business. Session five, a staff meeting, you’ve done evaluations. Now what you want to do is bring people together into a room, your staff and give them inspiration, OK? Clarity. Here’s where we’re going. Assurance. Here’s why I’m so confident that we’re going to get there. Leadership. We’re going to have to do this hard thing, but I am going to do it first, and movement.
We’ve already done this thing successfully. And now the next step is X. OK. In the sixth week, you’re going to spend six hours. And the first thing you’re going to do is finalize your staff handbook and then print it out. Now I’ll tell you this, your staff handbook is never done, but most of my staff handbook hasn’t changed since about 2010. There are some things that have changed. Like when we switched software, we put SOPs for using that software in it. But by and large, we run off the exact same playbook that I developed when I got my first mentor in 2010. And we’ve been running off that playbook now for over a decade. And that playbook is what allows me to do podcasts like this instead of coaching classes at my gym. Session two, you’re going to promote your new service. Session three.
You’re going to forecast future ARM, LEG, revenue, client, head count, et cetera, session four. You’re going to start looking at your intake process. So if most of your clients have this goal, then what do you need for them to do in your intake process to get them ready for success in your gym? Your on-ramp program is not like a money grab. It’s not an upsell. Your on-ramp program is the way that you quickly prepare people for long-term success. So you have to balance that. Like how fast can you get somebody ready? And what do they actually need to know to be successful in your gym later? It’s this is not an access gym. You’re a coaching business. So if somebody is going to be prepared to go into group classes, for example, they probably don’t need a step-by-step instructional technique, breakdown, analysis, audit of their burpee.
But they do need to know how to deadlift safely and consistently. And you should be able to say, yeah, you can do this nine times out of 10, you have a perfect deadlift. You are ready for class. They need to know how to do an air squat. And they need to be able to demonstrate that they can do that safely and consistently because when they get in a group class and you’ve got 12 others to worry about, you can’t be doing like squat therapy with every single person, right? So that’s what your on ramp should really entail is like what is required to get somebody ready. Now, the other thing that this might require is what habits do they need to form to set them up for long-term success? And that’s why a lot of gyms now have an on-ramp period that’ll last up to 90 days.
And we have a step-by-step planning guide for this in our RampUp program called the first 90. Session six. Get one more role off your plate. So either hire a cleaner or a client success manager, client success manager is the person who’s going to do the things that are important that you keep forgetting to do. It’s birthday cards. It’s calling a person when they don’t show up, it’s orienting a person on your gym when they start, it’s sending a welcome package, all that stuff, all the stuff that seems nice. Seems awesome. You’d love to do it. And you never do, but you should because it counts. A CSM will pay for themselves when you calculate retention. And that’s why I had you calculating. Now week seven. I want you to dedicate seven hours to growing your business. I want you to identify your mavens.
So these might be your seed clients, but now I want you to tell their story. So while they’re sitting in front of you say, wow, what would you tell yourself if you could talk to the person you used to be, what advice would you give yourself? Hold up the camera. Record them. Use that on social media and your website. Session two, identify a PR board and start introducing bright spots into your groups. Session three, look through your revenue history for the last 12 months and identify the lowest point. OK? When is that for me? That’s August because everybody goes to their cottage. So I need to build something in that will allow me to generate more revenue in August. That’s why we created the Catalyst Games in September, because if people are training for that goal, September 7th, they’re going to keep coming to the gym in August.
They’re also going to pay for that event, which is going to generate a little bit more revenue in August. OK? The fourth thing you’re going to do in week seven is write a corporate intro letter, create a gift certificate for one free personal training session, leave a blank spot for the expiry date, et cetera. Session five is try and figure out the next big revenue opportunity to help your clients get their goals. So that’s probably nutrition. You can sign up at twobraincoaching.com to get somebody in your staff certified. It could be you or somebody else. When they’re certified they’re insurable. And as the first step to launching a nutrition program. Session six, start putting together a newsletter. You need to start having conversation with your clients and your future clients. You can do this through sell by chat, but an email newsletter is what got me here.
Number seven, publish your first client story. Now what you’ve got going on here is a foundational grasp of your business. You started with the triage tasks of replacing yourself, right? Giving yourself like a safety net. Then you started standardizing your service. So clients will know that they get the same amazing experience when they come in the gym, whether you’re there or not. Then you started looking at low-hanging fruit for increasing revenue. Then you improved your retention. Now you’re looking at how do I improve my sales? Which means usually how can I offer more value to the clients in my gym? So, Hey, you’re doing group classes. What about a personal training session once a month? You’re doing group classes, but your weight’s not dropping. I recommend a nutrition plan. OK. Increasing value. But in week eight, we’re going to start thinking more like a CEO.
We’re going to think longer term, we’re going to start planning so that we’re not constantly in this triage state. So by this point you stopped backsliding. You’re actually making some progress. You’re becoming a CEO and you’re planning ahead to grow your gym. It usually takes about eight weeks. And honestly, our ramp up program is 12 weeks for a reason. It takes 12 weeks to do these steps and to have them start compounding, to build the habits of real entrepreneurship and real gym growth. This is why we start and operate in this order, in our RampUp program. Other programs are going to start you with marketing. But the problem with marketing is it’s a loop. You do something with marketing, it works, you get some new clients. And then six months later that marketing technique no longer works. Those clients are already gone and sometimes they’ve taken your best clients with them and you’re still working crazy hard.
And you’re still having high staff turnover. And all of your original problems. Money is transient, but time is a non-renewable resource. And so you have to fix the holes in the bucket before you start pouring water into it. So week 8, what you’re going to do is start getting reports from your bookkeeper, right? Reading a P&L. You’re also going to publish your second maven story and set up the third one to publish. You’re going to break down some other numbers. Like how much revenue do you get from people per visit? A lot of gym owners are shocked to find out that that person coming to my 7:00 AM class is only paying me like $5 to be there. That is crazy low. And they create a mess that I have to clean up and et cetera. All right. Then from there you can determine like, should I cancel that class?
Because once you know what the average person is paying to attend the average class, you can say, well, how many people are usually in that class? And what am I getting paid per hour? And then you can say, is there a better use of my time? All right. So now you’re going to start booking goal reviews. So you’ve had your seed clients or your mavens and you’ve asked them what they like best about your gym. You’ve bragged them up. You told their story. It’s time to meet with them again and say, you’re such an amazing influencer. I’m so proud of you. How can I help your husband? How can I help your coworkers? How can I help that woman that you jog with? How can I help your golfing buddies? OK. You’re not even looking to them to tell you the answer. What you’re doing is you’re saying, I really think that I can help your husband.
Can you bring him in for a session with you? I know that I can help your coworkers. What if I showed up at lunchtime and gave a seminar on battling stress? OK. You also want to identify three of your clients who work in the service industry like real estate agents, accountants, hairdressers, salespeople, and offer to post their business card in your gym somewhere as like a referral board or even better, offer to let them come in and give a seminar on their service. This is how you start sharing overlapping pools of clients. The seventh hour in this week eight, you’re going to build your first newsletter. Start getting that email going, building that email list. This email list is crazy valuable because I mean, on one side you can create retargeting audiences on Facebook and Instagram, et cetera. On the other side, your emails are conversations with your clients.
If you let that conversation die, they will start pulling away from you. You need to keep that conversation going, even when they’re not right in front of you. Session eight, you’re reviewing your staff handbook at a staff meeting. All right, week nine, I’m going to go through these ones quickly, set up a referral board, send your newsletter one to everybody on your email list for now, find three more mavens, get them up for an interview, get their story and start working through referrals with them, hire a replacement for yourself in the lowest value use of your time. That could be cleaning, but it could also be like three classes a week. You need to buy yourself time to grow your business. And if you’re constantly delivering your service, that’s not going to do it. I’m sorry. Then you want to start training a replacement in higher-value roles like coaching.
And there’s ways that you can do this. We have an advanced theory course that we give to people in RampUp so they can do it in house. But Two-Brain Coaching also has certification and training programs for coaches, both one-on-one and group. Then approach three service industry professionals and offer them a reward coupon for their clients. So this isn’t like a discount. It’s like, Hey, I’m going to give you a pack of three personal training sessions, give it to your best client as a reward. So thank them for buying that great new house that’s close to our gym. And as a special, thank you. Here’s three personal training sessions at your favorite gym. This is one that actually worked really well with me because we had a real estate agent named Troy who was really big on rewards. And we worked this program for about a year and a half.
And eventually he said, this is working so well for you. I want to give your clients a massive prize so that they think of me when they’re buying a new home. And what he did is he bought and paid for a cruise for two people and gave it away as like the top prize at catalyst games. I’m going to say 2010 or 2011. This has been an amazing relationship for us over the years. And if you can find other service industry professionals, you know, it’s great. Session seven, start your new on-ramp program with all new clients coming in, you know, make up your prices, set up your sales binder, session nine, start planning a larger scale event. Like a WOD and wine is a great one or a corporate team building challenge or like catalyst games. And now finally, week 10. You’re going to spend 10 hours growing your business this week.
You’re going to remove yourself from another lower value role, like maybe personal training or nutrition coaching, something you don’t enjoy. You’re going to start getting equipment to film each movement so you can back up your on-ramp program, but you can also start creating and publishing content to grow your gym. By week 10, you should be there. Session three, film has many movement demos and the why as possible in 60 minutes, take an hour. Just shoot, shoot, shoot.Ssession four, send three corporate intro letters, introducing yourself and offering to give some free help. OK, help first. Session six, do some video editing, run a staff meeting launch your on-ramp create a Facebook group for your gym, celebrate your bright spots in there. And then start working on forecasting. So work backward from your target revenue to determine how many new clients, how much PT, how much nutrition you have to sell, make that plan, work backward from that goal to determine what marketing you need to do, what sales numbers you need to hit.
That kind of thing. OK. And of course we do all this with a mentor. We break it down, we attach it to emotional goals and then we execute month after month. And that’s how you grow. That’s how things snowball instead of these fits and starts that you usually get with marketing. So my goal here was to show you that you don’t have to have like 40 hours a week to grow your business. When you start, all you have to do is take one action for one hour per week to start moving forward. And you’ll start creating momentum for yourself instead of just doing the same thing day after day. And then finally a year goes by and you look back and your gym hasn’t improved at all. You can create this kind of momentum through knowledge, discipline, but most of all, mentorship. The reason the mentorship is most effective instead of just knowledge or reading more books is because you already have too many ideas.
I doubt I said anything here that was super, super unique that made you pull the car to the side of the road and start taking notes, right? But what mentorship gives you is a sense of discipline. Like you have to do the things, but also permission to only do one thing at a time and not do everything all at once. You know, we used to sell RampUp years ago as like a course and people would blast through this course. They’d get through it in like a week. And at the end of the course, they’d say, OK, now I know it all. How come my business hasn’t changed? The reality is that more knowledge won’t fix anything. It’s the action that you have to build. And just like you need to build habits and actions slowly in your clients, you need to build habits and actions slowly in your gym.
But if you do it the right way, you’ll get traction. Why am I sharing this? Because today on my drive into the office, I got a call from a gym owner who really needed help. And, you know, she was talking to my sales team and I said, Hey, you know, I’m going to jump in here and I’m just going to offer to help. And she said to me, Chris, I’ve got 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. I don’t know why my gym isn’t really any better than it was 10 years ago. I’ve been on this roller coaster of one great month followed by a horrible month of, oh, I’ve got a weekend off, followed by my best staff member just quit. You know, three months of I’ve got 150 members to boom 20 just quit because another gym opened down the street.
I’m moving, I’m working, but I’m not getting anywhere. And what I told her was something that a mentor told me years ago. You think you have 10 years of experience and 10 years have gone by, but really you have one year of experience repeated 10 times. And unless you change what you’re doing, nothing is going to change for you. That’s harsh. And it kind of hurt my feelings when I heard it the first time. But hearing that is what forced me to say, you know what? He’s right. I made the change. I started doing things differently, even though it didn’t feel natural, even though it was uncomfortable, I started making the change because I couldn’t just keep repeating that one year of experience for another 10 years. Hope this helps.
Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. If this episode helped you out, don’t forget to subscribe for more shows. And if you want more tips and tricks from Chris Cooper, join the Gym Owners United group on Facebook. Chris is constantly posting articles, instructional videos, and advice. That’s Gym Owners United on Facebook. Join today and be sure to send Chris a message to say hi when you join.