August
22
2018

Why The Incubator Is Hard

By Chris 1

Taking the leap into entrepreneurship is easier than ever before.

 

CrossFit gives fitness coaches a chance to own a real business for a tiny barrier to entry. $3000 per year to use the strongest brand in fitness, with virtually zero restrictions on its use? C’mon. Regular play on television, Reebok branding in every mall, and the protected use of a household term: it’s still the best investment you can make in the fitness business.

 

It’s very easy to open a gym. But it’s very hard to keep a gym open.

 

That’s because owning a gym is very different from having a coaching job. It’s a larger skillset that can’t be taught in a weekend seminar. And while “great care and great hair” can make a coaching career if you’re working for someone else, neither can build a business.

 

We break the entrepreneurial journey into four phases: Founder, Farmer, Tinker and Thief. Take the test here if you like. But no matter where you are in the journey, our mentorship starts with a period of intense focus that we call The Incubator.

 

And The Incubator is hard.

 

Our mentors are there to guide you step by step, through live in-person calls. Each discussion builds on the one before it. There are video modules to help with your homework, and templates from the best in the industry that we update every couple of months. When you reach Farmer Phase, we introduce peer support in private groups (real support, not just random ideas and arguments). You’re surrounded by mentorship at every step, because it’s our mission to see gyms succeed.

 

But some still don’t complete the Incubator.

 

Despite having skin in the game, despite simple daily action steps, despite 1:1 mentorship that’s scheduled and available anytime, some gym owners don’t make it through. Or some simply go dark halfway through, and stop responding to emails and text messages.

 

These don’t happen because of confusion. The next steps are always clear. It happens because some of the steps are hard.

 

People with MBAs sign up for the Incubator, and tell me they learn a ton from it. Successful gyms with over $20,000 per month NET sign up for the Incubator and tell me they’ve stopped worrying that it will all just collapse on them. Ten-year owners go through the Incubator so they can take time off, and not-quite-open future owners sign up to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential mistakes. Gyms in crisis sign up, and so do thriving gyms. Everyone who finishes says it was worth it. But NO ONE has ever said, “That was easy.”

 

Over 420 gyms have been through the Incubator now. Most of them made it out the other side with changes that will benefit them for the next 30 years. Over 85% of those graduates choose to continue mentorship, and over 95% of those stick with TwoBrain for years. Because mentorship is better than everything else put together.

 

WHY is it so hard?

 

Well,

  • You’re building a business that will last longer than your career. That’s a big deal.
  • You’re building systems that will replace your constant presence. That’s not easy.
  • If you’ve been open for awhile, you’re probably fixing painful mistakes you made before you knew better.
  • If you’re new, you’re trying to rein in your enthusiasm for all!the!ideas! and do things the right way instead.
  • You’re challenging what you *think* others want with data and client conversations.
  • You’re learning how to DO stuff instead of paying someone else to guess.
  • You’re building important systems to maximize your marketing before you jump into Facebook ads. Roles and tasks aren’t sexy, but you need to define them before you can build career maps, which happens before you add services, which must exist before you create a pricing structure, which must be simple and appealing before you can sell it, which must be practiced before you meet a potential client.
  • You’re maximizing your retention and conversion skills–the stuff that makes you most uncomfortable, but shouldn’t–before you maximize your marketing skills. Adding great marketing to a weak gym is like dating a supermodel when you’re 11 years old. You think you’re cool, your buddies think you’re cool…but you’re not going to experience the full depth of your opportunity in that relationship.

 

Here’s the call template for the Incubator (now including specific mentorship on digital ads):

 

 

But the REAL reason the Incubator is hard is because of DISTRACTION.

 

We now ask new Incubators to take a break from other Facebook groups, because we want them doing their homework instead of asking about floor scrubbers or pre workout drinks. We want them making playbooks, not memes. We want them talking 1:1 to a certified mentor instead of polling internet “experts” who can lead them astray.

 

When one of our entrepreneurs goes missing, our mentors shepherd them back to the work.

 

The Incubator isn’t easy.

It’s necessary.

And worth it.

You got this,

Coop

 

Comment
1
Dominic

I needed to read this today!

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