February 1 of 2015 marked the fifteen month anniversary as a fitness entrepreneur. In that brief time period many lessons were learned about the business side of fitness. The first several years of my coaching career were spent coaching boot camp style classes at a local karate studio. My class was scheduled two nights a week and Saturday morning.
Throughout that experience I learned some things about marketing, but focused mainly on the coaching side of things. Learning new exercises, utilizing them myself, then incorporating them into a workout. A challenge I had working in a karate studio was lack of equipment. Most exercises were body weight with some dumbbell work as well.
However, the time came for me to move on, and open my own facility. With this decision came a host of new responsibilities and commitment. I learned a lot of lessons over the past fifteen months about running your own Hybrid Training Facility, in my case The Superhuman Barbell Club.
Here are five things I learned as a new fitness entrepreneur.
1. WORD IS NOT BOND
My first deal in real estate went horribly south. I rented a small garage to start out and the landlord and I agreed in words to a X amount of dollars for rent to be paid every three months. However, when the time came to sign the lease two days later, he changed the monthly arrangements from tri monthly to bi monthly payments. This totally fucked me, as I set up my six month business plan based on a three month rental agreement. Get everything in writing immediately especially in real estate. This brings me to number two.
One reason I got screwed on my rental was because I had zero leverage. I was in a position where time was not on my side and had to take the best deal at the moment. I wasn’t happy about the situation, but I had no leverage. Sometimes you need to do what’s necessary to achieve your goals. Create as much leverage as possible for yourself.
3. THERES ALWAYS A CATCH
When you open the doors on your own garage gym or fitness center, it’s not long before the landslide of offers flood your inbox. Demos of shakes, new gadgets, massages, free OCR race offers and more. Everybody has something they want to sell to your clients, 99.5% of these offers are shit. Nothing is free and all these offers will end up benefitting the third party. Avoid them.
4. IT WONT GO AS PLANNED
Nothing will go as planned. The key is to be flexible and roll with the punches. Goals will evolve and change. A brick and mortar business is a living thing. All businesses are. They change, grow, mature and evolve. However, they can also become stale and stagnant and need some reinvention. Be peprapared for chaos at any time.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT THE ANSWER
So much emphasis is placed on being visible on social media to grow your business. Facebook pages, Twitter, YouTube, it goes on and on. Bottom line, and this has been my biggest struggle, going out to meet new people. Be visible in your community. The best way to grow your business is by being a name in your community. Participate in sports, be active in local government or other activities in your area. This, will help you more than social media. The more people you meet and speak to you about your work, the better.
Going from fitness coach to fitness entrepreneur has been a rich yet painful experience. Not only do you coach your team, but you now are in control of many more aspects of fitness. Everything rests on your shoulders. One thing I can suggest, find a mentor to help you achieve your goals. Do your research and make a plan!
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