What is Almost Elite?
Almost Elite is a blog written by a gym owner who wanted to run a successful business while having the freedom to enjoy her life.
I don’t pretend to provide all the cures to your ailments as gym owners. I like to write about the experiences and lessons we’re learning as gym owners, because I find it gives me a degree of detachment to help me appreciate the journey for what it is. If you find something of value in my posts, I am not to blame. Here are the two things you’ll notice in my writing:
- Sometimes, it plain sucks. Each one of us has, at one point or another, reached a breaking point where we were ready to throw in the towel. Apparently this type of thing is normal, and I can attest to these moments having zero bearing on whether or not you’re ultimately successful.
- You don’t have to choose between “work” and “life.” You can be a successful gym owner and live a life that you love. Refer to point one, again, but it is attainable.
Who runs Almost Elite?
Me! Chelsea. *waves*
I spent most of my adult years in the Navy. I went to the Naval Academy when I was young, idealistic, and driven. Fortunately, they had a cure for that type of affliction there. Afterward, I joined the Navy and spent most of the 6 years I served operating ships in the Pacific Ocean.
I grew a lot from the challenges I experienced both at the Naval Academy and in the Navy, but ultimately, I knew I didn’t want to make the military a life-long career.
Although I learned a lot professionally and I traveled all over the world, I always knew I wanted to live life on my terms, in a world where the rewards or failures were commensurate with the effort I put in and the talents I brought to the table.
I didn’t want a steady paycheck.
I read countless books on personal finance, entrepreneurship, and life design, and I dreamt of a life where three meals a day and payday were no longer the highlights of my life.
I still wanted to travel, but I wanted it to be for work I enjoyed.
I still wanted to earn a paycheck, but I wanted it to reflect the amount of work I put in.
I still wanted to be productive, but I wanted control over my daily schedule.
Well, guess what?
That’s exactly what I got!
“Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.”
After separating from the military, I looked high and low for a job to “cover my expenses” until I figured out what to do next, and that job search turned into a full year of unemployment. With a combination of master budgeting skills, savings from the Navy, and odd jobs, I managed to cover my expenses, which included a CrossFit gym membership.
For anyone who knows about CrossFit, you know a membership at a gym is not cheap.
But for anyone who does CrossFit regularly, you also know that being a member of a CrossFit gym can be the only thing that keeps you sane.
That’s what CrossFit did for me.
During a phase of confusion, transition, and uncertainty, the daily work outs and the community were my bearings in a wild, new world. Although I had no idea what life had in store for me, I knew that every day, I could develop my mental, physical, and spiritual health through a very effective vehicle called a WOD.
At the gym, I met Lee, one of my coaches, and we eventually started dating. Classic story.
Soon into our relationship, he was presented with an opportunity to purchase the gym, and guess what he said?
Lee had a full-time job, for one, and secondly, he had seen firsthand just how hard the previous owner was working to run the gym.
The owner coached most of the classes, hardly took time off, and he was still investing personal capital to keep the gym alive.
You couldn’t have paid Lee enough to take over that gym.
But lucky for him, he was dating an impulsive girl who had a funny idea of what the word “adventure” meant.
So four months into our relationship, I convinced him to purchase CrossFit Lobo with me.
I had no idea what I was getting ourselves into. It just seemed like it would be a total riot.
And it has been.
We had zero background in entrepreneurship. We both had full-time jobs. And we brought a different culture, personality, and leadership to an established group of members that were fiercely tied to the old way of doing things.
Needless to say, our lessons from day one have been steeped in pain, a lot of awkward fumbling, and asking ourselves what the hell we got ourselves into.
But that pain and confusion are normal. They aren’t indicative of you not belonging where you are today. They are simply the speed bumps you’ll hit as you continue to move forth down this path.
Today, we couldn’t be happier with the state of our gym.
We have 10 coaches, outside of ourselves, and on our staff we have a New Member Liaison, a Social Media Assistant, and a small cleaning crew.
We have a membership that has doubled in size since we took over, and our community embodies the same culture and personality we bring to the table.
We travel multiple times a year, to other states and foreign countries alike.
We make a modest income from the gym, and we have the time and energy to devote to new ventures, most especially Almost Elite.
We aren’t a Fortune 500 corporation by any stretch of the imagination, but we have come a LONG way. We continue to refine our processes and product everyday.
This, to us, is success!
We love where we are and more importantly, where we’re heading. If reading our experiences makes you laugh… or cry, then we’ll be doing something right.