Your gym exists to serve.
It also exists to pay you.
This is an uncomfortable topic for many of us because we’ve been raised to associate money with greed, with taking from others, with fraud and trickery.
Especially in our industry, making money from your gym seems like asking too much: We already love our jobs, and we’re already solving the biggest problems in the lives of our clients. Making money seems “extra”—or even too much to ask. Right?
I’ve certainly thought that way.
But that thinking holds us back. It stops the growth of our gym, limits the opportunities we’re able to offer our team, diminishes the experience of our clients, and, of course, reduces our family’s reward.
You need to make money. Here’s why:
1. Your Family
Every job is a trade-off: You have to exchange time with your family for money.
Entrepreneurship carries the promise of trading a lot of time up front for more free time (and money) later. Work harder than most to start, work less than most later. Earn less than most at startup, earn more than most later.
Money creates opportunities for your family. That’s what your gym should provide.
If your gym has you working more than average and earning less than average, then it’s not rewarding your family.
In fact, I remember some very dark days when my gym had me working from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m., earning half what my friends earned at their jobs, and fighting with my wife over the grocery bills.
Money doesn’t solve every problem, but it solves the money problems and most of the time problems.
If you think earning more money is somehow “greedy,” ask your spouse what they’d do with an extra $1,000 per week.
2. Your Team
Your team members want to do their best work. To do that, they have to earn good incomes.
They might absolutely love their careers, love their clients and love your gym—but they’re facing the same time and financial pressures at home.
If your gym isn’t successful, you can’t pay people what they’re worth.
For the last 100 years, personal trainers and fitness coaches earned low wages. The industry was mostly transient. Though the average salary is still low, some gym owners are now actually changing things by making “fitness coach” a real career.
It’s up to you to make these opportunities happen. The more successful your gym is, the more successful your staff can be.
3. Your clients.
Your clients are best served if you (and your staff) are well rested, well fed and happy.
Your martyrdom isn’t helping them—it’s an obstacle.
If you’re broke, hungry and tired, they’ll see it. They won’t enjoy the experience in your gym because they’ll know you’re stressed and distracted.
And you’re vulnerable. If any little problem arises, their beloved gym could be taken away from them.
Remember the gyms that were forced to close after the first month of COVID lockdowns? Those gyms had no buffer. They were fragile. Their owners weren’t making enough to carry the gym through a tough time. When they went under, their clients lost key parts of their support systems.
Making more money to help your clients isn’t about buying more equipment or taking more risk on a larger space. It’s about being able to afford “thank you” cards, being undistracted when you’re serving clients, having your staff members dressed sharply, and being able to provide all the little niceties that make you proud of your business.
If you’re proud of your gym, your clients will be, too.
And if you’re financially successful, they’ll receive exactly what they deserve for years: devoted, A+ service that will change their lives.
4. The Gym Itself
If you’re really going to make an impact in your community, your gym has to last for a few decades.
People don’t try one class and change their lives. Clients need to stick around for a couple of years, build lasting habits and create the physiological adaptations that will increase their healthspan.
New clients need to be welcomed by long-term clients. Groups need to have happy veterans to model the movements and new kids to bring the energy.
Gyms that just break even don’t last long enough to create community impact because the owner is still trading time to run it. At some point, they’re going to stop volunteering.
Real Data From Real Gyms
Here are what the top gym owners in Two-Brain made in June (we use a rolling three-month average to come up with these numbers):
Do you think these people are greedy or do you think that these people are creating opportunities for their team members, income for their families and great outcomes for their clients?
Of course they’re not greedy—they’re exactly like you are.
You’re not running a nonprofit. If you can’t make more income from owning a gym than you would as a trainer, it’s time to upgrade your skills as a CEO.
The goal of our Growth Program is to generate income: to make you $100,000 per year, an appropriate reward for owning a single-location microgym.
Click here to talk with our team about getting there.