We’ve all heard it before.
No discounts…. create systems… take care of your members… retention plan…
We all know what we’re going to hear at a gym owner seminar. We’ve stalked enough threads in the Facebook Affiliate Owners group to know what works and what doesn’t. There are varying opinions and approaches, but fundamentally, all seminars catered to affiliate owners have the same goal of finding and delivering the best practices in our industry.
So what makes a seminar stand out?
It’s just like running a gym. You and the 30 other gyms in town all groan when you see “Karen” on the whiteboard, and all of you have coaches that care deeply about the members.
It’s just what we do. But the intangible difference between your gym and the other 30 is your culture. The feel of your gym and your community when people walk in. The product for the most part is the same, but the delivery and packaging varies widely.
This thought ran through my head as I sat in an affiliate owner seminar two weeks ago in Toronto, hosted by the CEO of Affiliate Solution, Tye Arnett.
From 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, for two days straight, Tye gave us as much information pertaining to running a gym as we could mentally handle. We certainly got our money’s worth.
But there were a few things about the seminar that I personally loved, mostly in the delivery of information, which made it worth the 1700 mile trip we made from Texas to Toronto.
Now, this is just me. What resonated with me may be the exact thing that turns you off.
And that’s okay.
This isn’t a pitch for you to go to Affiliate Solution’s seminars and sign up for a lifetime of business coaching. You can (and should) decide for yourself which seminar you’d like to attend and whose coaching you want to receive.
But this is what I appreciated about the seminar:
It resonated with the dreamer in me.
Look, I’m not one of those gym owners that coached people for years before I decided to use my life savings to open up a gym of my own. If anything, I’m more a “gym owner by accident,” having fell into this opportunity with my boyfriend and partner over 2 years ago.
But I’m kind of a geek about business. I left multiple well-paying jobs, including a 6 year stint in the Navy, in pursuit of a life I hoped was possible.
Tye latched onto that hope within the first half hour of the day, and he didn’t let go.
From sharing anecdotes about gym owners who are making over 50k a month to gym owners who run their gyms from different time zones, I realized for the first time that the seemingly impossible was possible.
We could find true wealth from running this one gym.
For the rest of our lives.
We could run the gym in a way that allowed us to take a step back and live elsewhere, if we wanted to.
The point is, we could have the choice.
But only once we created a business that could stand on its own two feet.
Although I’m no stranger to hard work, I’m admittedly on the “lazy” end of the entrepreneur spectrum. I’m a sucker for challenge, but in many ways I can be like a cat on a leash.
The seminar was the first time I didn’t feel guilty about that.
I’ve always seen the value in working smarter and not harder, but Tye had no qualms confirming that repeatedly.
On day one, he said, point blank, if you’re working 80 hours a week, you’re bad at managing your time.
He then delved into the hours it really took to maintain a gym (at least 20) or grow a gym (40-50), slashing any gym owner’s aspiration to go grey from the gym. He reminded us that running a gym is not easy, but it is simple. Nowhere near as complex as we make it out to be.
He didn’t glamorize #hustle for hustle’s sake. In fact, to counterbalance our addiction to endless busy work, in one drill, Tye had us figure out what hobbies we wanted to explore on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis.
He told us the first thing we needed to do when we went home was to do that weekly hobby, then let him know that we had done so.
Accountability for our hobbies: what a novel idea.
In fact when I talked to Tye during a break about how much time I could spend diving into the business’s systems, he said, “You need to watch more TV.”
For someone who would proudly read a book than watch TV, this advice stopped me in my tracks. On one hand it was funny, but this bit of “anti-advice” was also profound, hitting at the heart of what I and many other gym owners fail to do: take time to waste time.
The professional in me knew it was going to be a good seminar when Tye said he was only “interested in being honest,” but the ex-Sailor in me knew it, too, when one of the six guarantees he made at the start of the seminar was that he would, “swear occasionally.”
This is always contentious when it comes to communication in a public or professional setting. Some people hate swearing and find it pointless, some people love it.
I’m in the latter category. Here’s why.
Gym ownership is plain shitty sometimes.
You can say that for running any business, but as I wrote about last week, running a CrossFit affiliate has its unique pain points.
Using stuffy, textbook language to navigate burn out doesn’t work.
And that’s what many CrossFit gym owners are dealing with: burn out. For gym owners who are struggling to even keep their doors open, they are emotionally and mentally drained on almost a daily basis.
These aren’t the gym owners who are trying to figure out how to go from “profitable” to “super profitable.” They don’t live in the realm of self-actualization. Most gym owners are just trying to figure out this mess that is their love for helping people, all the while putting food on the table that evening.
It’s messy. It’s heartbreaking. But it’s real.
And you can only touch on ROI, ACV, and conversion rate for so long before you lose your audience. Even if you’re answering their questions, you’re not helping them see how or why.
But using a healthy dose of profanity can sometimes help you communicate more effectively and with hard-hitting candor.
Tye gets this.
That all being said, is the Affiliate Solution seminar for you? Maybe.
There’s no doubt you’ll get the information you’re looking for if you want actionable steps to grow your gym today. However, there are many companies out there who can help you succeed in their own way.
So what should you be looking for?
Ultimately, you want to find a brand out there that speaks to you personally. As Tye mentioned in the seminar, it doesn’t matter what you teach people, what matters is what they retain.
To get the most out of a seminar or a coaching program, you need to research the different brands out there that can help, and determine which one resonates with you most because it speaks your language.
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