My mission as a gym owner is to help people through fitness, not be rich. So why does Two-Brain Radio have shows about making money and why does Chris Cooper make YouTube videos about gym owners who are millionaires? Yo Coop? What’s the deal?
Gym owner, I know you. I’ve been a gym owner myself since 2005. I’ve been a personal trainer since 1996. And like you, I didn’t get in this for the money. I found fitness in high school. I was a skinny nerd and didn’t have a ton of friends. I had a few friends though. I had given up sports for good in the ninth grade when I couldn’t make the hockey teams anymore. Just being too small, frankly, too slow and too weak. And in the 13th grade, which we had back then in Canada, a friend of mine pulled me into the weight room and we just started doing, you know, lifting on the old universal and stuff. But something happened really quick before I gained a pound before I gained any strength at all, I started gaining confidence and I found that I was able to make eye contact with adults and I could have a conversation with my peers.
And sometimes I could even talk to girls and that had a profound impact on me. Now I had already decided what I was going to do as a career. I loved the show CSI. And so I figured I was going to be some kind of pathologist or forensic technician. And so I had already chosen my school based on that. And when I got to school, a couple of my friends were in the chiropractic program and they were always going to classes to learn about anatomy and physiology. And I said, I can’t believe this is a career for you guys. And they said, yeah, you know, here’s what to do. And so I actually changed my major as soon as I figured this out to athletic therapy, they called it back then. And I started getting minors in things like gerontology, but also in business.
And so eventually I knew that I wanted to have a career helping people find the confidence that I had found through fitness. Now everybody starts in a different spot, but I wanted to get them to this spot that I had found. And I kept lifting weights through college. And eventually I became a mountain biker because of a job that I had. And then I turned into a powerlifter because I was tired of being skinny, but fit. And then I spent years doing that. And then I turned to CrossFit and I did CrossFit for a decade. And now I’m back as a cyclist and weightlifter. And the thing is I really still want to give this gift of fitness. And I feel so fulfilled in my ability to do that. That’s why I still own a gym because I wanna share this with everybody else.
And I know you do too. So why are we talking about the money? Why are we doing podcasts and YouTube videos about how to make a million dollars, you don’t care about that? Do you? All you wanna do is make enough to keep your gym going so that you can keep changing lives through CrossFit or through yoga or through whatever your fitness practice is, bungee, dance, Pilates. It doesn’t matter. You just wanna be able to keep doing that for the rest of your life. And I get it because I know you. Here’s the thing. To keep doing this for the rest of your life, to change the lives of a thousand others, instead of just a hundred others or 10 others, you have to make enough money and a little bit more. So first let’s talk about how much money is enough to keep you paid and keep you living the life that you wanna live.
You should be able to make from your gym enough money to cover all of your household bills and reach a certain level of prosperity. We refer back to the happiness index for this a lot. And so the happiness index says that in most places in north America, earning $70,000 a year will lift you up to the level where money can make you happier. But then it tapers off. You know, below $70,000 more money will solve the problems that are making you unhappy. Above $70,000, more money won’t really make you any happier because it won’t significantly change your lifestyle. So we start there. Now, the reality is the happiness index is kind of for one person, but a family can do well with a hundred thousand dollars a year income. And when we do our state of the industry survey, the predominant number that most people give us is I wanna make a hundred thousand dollars a year.
If I was making a hundred thousand dollars a year, that would be enough to pay all of my bills, support my family, and make a living from this gym. Now, as a gym owner, you should be able to do that. You know, the average salaries for a personal trainer are between 27 and $42,000 a year. That’s probably not enough, but as a gym owner, you should be able to leverage your skill, expertise, team and brand and make a hundred thousand thousand per year. But I want you to make a little bit more than that. I actually want you to make at least $105,000 per year. Now our programs are set up in different segments, different targets. Our ramp up and growth program are set up to get you to a hundred thousand. Our tinker program is set up to get you to a million in net worth and beyond. But I actually want you to make a bit more than you need.
So whether that number is $70,000 a year for your family, or it’s a hundred thousand dollars a year, I want you to make a bit more and here is why. You will not be able to do this until you die. Don’t get me wrong. You will be passionate about fitness until you die. I know you, you will never stop working. You’ll never just hang it up. You’ll never retire in the conventional sense that our parents retired and spent the morning watching the price is right on TV and spent the afternoon talking to their golf buddies or whatever. That’s not for you. You’re not going to do that. You will never lose your passion for coaching. You will always be doing something to help other people get healthy and fit. I know it because I am you. However, someday you will not work a 60 hour week. Someday.
You will not get up at 4:00 AM to coach a personal training client or open your gym and work until nine at night. At which point you will want to mop. Someday, your kids’ baseball game is really gonna seem important at 5:00 PM. More important than coaching that class of postmenopausal women, who you love, but do not compare to your kids’ baseball game. Someday your spouse is going to look at you and say, you’re a stranger to me. Unless you take the time to reinforce your relationship because your business will become all-consuming if you let it. Someday, you’re going to want to stop. Maybe for an hour mid-afternoon, maybe for a weekend, maybe for a month, maybe forever. And that is why you need to make a little bit more money than you actually need. What do you do with that money? I’m actually writing a book about that right now called Millionaire Gym Owner.
And in the book, I talk about something called the cascade effect. So most gym owners leave way too much money in their business, right? You have this like piggy bank of funds, maybe five or 10 or 20, or sometimes $60,000 that are just sitting there because you’re scared. You’re scared something catastrophic is gonna happen. That all your clients will leave at once, that competitor will open up down the street and they will just kill your business. You’re saving this 60,000 as a parachute. It’s a just in case. Instead, you should take $5,000 a year off the top from your business, use profit first, pay yourself first, whatever it takes to get that $5,000 out and invest that somewhere else. And when you do that, you’ve taken the first step in creating a cascade toward wealth. Your cup overflows a tiny little bit.
That overflow goes into a new cup and you keep filling that cup until it overflows. And then that overflow goes into another cup. A great example, you’ve got $5,000 in your business. You take that 5,000 out and you put it in something that gives you like a 5% return, OK? Index funds, whatever. Something that’s a long term play that you’re not gonna mess with every day, because you do not have the time, attention or energy to become a professional day trader. If your investment is distracting, like Bitcoin would be for me, put it somewhere else where you don’t need to pay attention, right? Put it in a boring place with a predictable return and let that begin to compound because here is the secret. The money that you leave in your business does not compound. The money that you pay yourself does not compound. The money that you invest compounds.
And the miracle of math is really compounding interest. Money that you use to buy new rowers that you quote unquote reinvest in your business that does not compound. Money that you use to, you know, buy new space that you reinvest by hiring a GM. That money does not compound. You need to be able to and have the discipline to take money out of your business, but first the money has to be there. And that’s why we say we want you to make as much as you need and a little bit more. That little bit more is for your future. That little bit more is the key that unlocks financial freedom for you. That little bit more is not greed. It is opportunity. Hope that helps when you’re thinking about how much to pay yourself and why you want to listen to podcasts about how to make a million dollars. Someday you’re gonna need it.
Ah, now I get it. Thanks, Coop. Want more content like this? Two-Brain Radio airs twice a week with tips, tactics and stories from real gym owners who are building amazing businesses. Make sure you subscribe so you get it all. And now here’s Chris one more time.
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.