I found my first mentor in 2009. I had struggled for YEARS to “figure it out on my own”. I thought real entrepreneurs cut their own path. I was wrong.
I was invited to mentor another gym owner in 2012. I’d already been writing for years. I already had my first book, Two-Brain Business; it had sold a few hundred copies.
A website company decided to help gym owners with education. They invited me to fill that role. At the time, I understood “mentorship” to mean “tell them what to do.” I quickly learned that “mentor” and “teacher” were overlapping roles, but they weren’t the same thing.
Later, we decided to augment the mentoring calls with an online video library. I’d been selling an online course for years through the IgniteGym platform, so I knew the process. I also knew its value. I spent a Christmas season alone in my basement, filming against a black backdrop, and then editing while my kids went to visit their grandparents.
We sold the course. We made a bunch of money. But I soon realized it wasn’t working.
Gyms weren’t having dramatic turnarounds, like they were with mentorship.
It took me awhile–and a tough conversation with my friends, Jay Rhodes–but I realized that in-person mentorship was critical to success in any business. After all, it had been in mine: I was reading books, listening to others, absorbing more education than anyone else–and STILL failing until I found a mentor.
As soon as I realized that selling video modules wasn’t saving gyms, I wanted to stop. The website company wanted to continue. It took a few months to untangle things, but when I launched TwoBrainBusiness.com in 2016, I had a clear vision: we are a mentorship practice.
Your gym is not Catalyst. My staff handbook can form the base template for yours, and save you hours of work, but it will never BE yours.
Your staff is not my staff. I can’t give you a script to use when a coach forgets to lock up, or sleeps with a member. But I can help you write YOUR script.
Ideas like “emotional bank accounts” and “just be better, period” are inspiring, but they don’t lead to specific action. But I can help you focus your motivation into actions that make a difference.
Video modules won’t get you through hard times. They won’t paint a picture of a brighter future, or help you solve a crisis happening NOW. A mentor will.
CrossFit is the most effective exercise model in the world. It has knockoffs and variations. But it’s not a business model.
Consultants have lots of great ideas. There are knockoffs and variations. But they don’t have a plan to follow.
And selling video courses on business seems like a great idea. There are knockoffs and variations of our old material out there. But they don’t lead anyone, step-by-step, like a mentor does.
Almost 40% of the gym owners who started the Incubator in December had worked with other gym “business” companies before. They almost always found them helpful. But they realized, after awhile, that they really needed mentorship.
Here’s what happens in our mentorship practice:
Incubation stage: first, a short period of internally-focused exercises. These are led by video modules–the ONLY time where videos come before a conversation.
Then, the first conversation about your gym. After an hour of discussion, the mentor assigns your first homework. You work for around an hour each day, following their homework plan, using videos, text, templates and other assignments to help with your work. When you get stuck, you email your mentor, and they help. And the next week, you build on that work on your NEXT mentoring call.
Over the course of the Incubator, you build a real business: you solidify your staff relationships, review the current “gold standards” in the industry, build your playbook, and begin mentoring your coaches. You put people in the right seats, with job descriptions and an evaluation process, and then start moving yourself to higher-value roles. Then you build a retention system and place it in the hands of the BEST person for the job, before learning a better sales process, picking up clients who are already on the fence, and then learning a marketing plan.
It’s a LOT of work. The only way to get this much work done is under the supervision of a mentor.
And we guarantee the ROI. That’s a bet we’re not willing to take on everyone. But I’m willing to bet on CrossFitters before anyone else.
In the Growth Phase, we build additional revenue streams, prioritize your accounting to make the business serve YOU, and then build an annual plan to get there. Every month, you get on a call with your mentor and review your financial goals (as well as other goals.) When you fail to meet a goal, you spend an hour building a plan for the month, and you’re given homework to get you there.
We’ll also immerse you in a VERY tight (and very private) group for TwoBrain gyms in the Growth Stage. Not everyone is invited to join. And we sometimes trim the group when action isn’t taken. But it’s the most powerful group available.
Mentorship, discussion, and constant upgrades to our curriculum–that’s a lot of work for US. And that’s why no one else will do it this way. We choose the path of mentorship not because it’s easy; not because it scales fast; but because it’s the best. That’s why our content is copied, but our practice can’t be. And it’s why I’m so proud of the TwoBrain mentors and members of the TwoBrain family: there are easy ways to be good, but only one way to be best.
I’ve had to make hard, painful choices to pursue this route. Work still happens at 4am most days. I spent most of this Christmas season updating our Incubator and Growth modules, because “best in the world” is a moving target.
But gym owners, and their clients, are worth it. The Movement is worth it. Keep on,
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