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Who’s Boss?

2019-09-30T11:20:44-05:00 September 30th, 2019|Business, Gym Owner|0 Comments

We had some family in over the weekend, and as we all know, there’s nothing like having people visit to inspire an annual house cleaning!

Our guest bathroom had been a work in progress for over a year.

Different shades of paint were splattered on the wall…

The hot water didn’t work…

There was blue paint tape all over the bathroom, slowly collecting dust.

Then, two days before our family came to visit, we painted the bathroom, fixed the hot water issue, and ripped up the paint tape. Nothing to it.

Lot like running a business, if you think about it.

As gym owners, many of us dreamed of the day we could finally be our own boss.

No one to report to.

No one to control our schedule.

No one to tell us we were missing the mark.

This is the pinnacle for those who aspire to leave their day jobs for a life of entrepreneurship.

Then we do it. We become our OWN boss. And just to remind ourselves its true, we see how much fun we can have with it.

We sleep in. We do two-a-days. We crack open a few beers or White Claws at 2 pm. All because we can.

Then we get tired of the White Claw fueled two-a-days. The “be your own boss” thing becomes a novelty when we realize that when we lost having a boss, we also lost having someone other than ourselves who cared about what we were doing. How much, how little, how right, how wrong.

It was kinda nice to have a standard.

It was even nicer to have someone tell you when you were meeting it.

Now, not only is there no one to tell you when you’re meeting the standard… there’s also no one to tell you when you’re not.

You could be royally screwing things up.

Or you could just be… not growing. Wading in a stagnant pool of mediocrity.

And there’s no one around to say a damn peep about it.

What do entrepreneurs do when they need someone to hold them accountable?

Maybe they find like-minded people to talk to, like another gym owner who doubles as an accountability buddy.

Then there’s what I like to call “circumstantial accountability.” In other words, letting your current circumstances (or modifying them) in your life to generate a sense of desperation that can only be solved by you being successful in your gym.

A big one for us over the past couple years was leaving our 9-to-5 jobs and running the gym full time. In doing so, we created a void (and a healthy amount of panic :)) in our sense of purpose and our financial situations where we needed to figure it out, quickly.

For many entrepreneurs, the circumstantial accountability of having a family and needing to provide for them lights a fire to get them to do whatever it takes.


We have a cat, so, you know. An hourly job at the local coffee shop would easily cover those expenses, so the provider approach doesn’t work for us.

The most common way to get immediate accountability is to hire a business coach or mentor who will provide the accountability gym owners need. I’ve been down this path a handful of times, and undeniably, I’ve always come out of the experience with more. More knowledge, more experience, more wisdom, more clarity.

But I’ve found that the most effective, long-term way to hold yourself accountable to the success of your business is by hiring a full-time employee.

We brought on a General Manager at the beginning of July, and since then, we’ve:

  1. Had our best month, by far
  2. Grew our membership by 30 people
  3. Finally finished projects at the gym we’ve been pushing off for years

And that’s just the start of the list.

The way we figure it was: if we were going to give our GM a gym to manage, the least we could do was give her something good to manage. Something that would inspire her to take it and run with it… not throw up her hands at its inefficiencies and trudge through her new role.

So we commenced Operation Put-a-Bow-On-It with our gym, and it was only because “family was coming to town” that we were able to put the needed expectation on ourselves to do so.

Good Stress… or Bad Stress?

That said, commitments can be risky and stressful. As we transition to working more “on” the business, we balance the pressure and stress we feel to rise to the occasion with the fulfillment that comes from knowing we are on the path to growth.

Taking a step back to look at our journey as entrepreneurs, it’s interesting to see how we come full circle, much like the hero who starts by leaving home for an adventure, only to return with newfound wisdom and appreciation for home.

We initially venture out as entrepreneurs, most excited about our newfound independence and having “no one to tell me what to do.”

Over time, we come to understand the role of having a boss, and more poignantly, we see, with clarity, our complete inability to be our own bosses.

It’s at this point that we strive for the middle way (or the golden mean).

Humbled by our weaknesses and bolstered by stubborn grit, we seek ways to include the right sources of accountability in our businesses, understanding that it is only through our sense to responsibility to others that we finally show up for our businesses and allow ourselves to succeed in the long run.

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I run CrossFit Lobo with my boyfriend Lee in San Antonio, TX. Writing about my journey as a gym owner and entrepreneur helps me to: appreciate where I am today, gain objectivity on my past experience and future decisions, and hopefully provide others with some perspective.

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