Even in a dress shirt, I still look like a derelict.
As the original writer of this site, I’ve got to say I love what Sam’s done with it. I’m big enough to admit it’s way better than when I was running the show. He’s got some real world fitness industry heavy hitters on it, is giving away priceless content, and is sharing some of his style, flair, and attitude in the process. This has always been one of the more popular sites in the business, and I’m sure that it will without a doubt become the biggest now for sure.
I’m glad to still be a part of it and you can expect to hear a lot more from me. Now that I’ve gone through a baptism of fire figuring out fitness bootcamps for the first time in my career, making every single mistake in the book, working way more hours than I wanted, and even having to dust off my trainer uniform and make a comeback into the hands on aspect of the business, my studio is at consistent 6 figure pace now after 6 weeks, growing by the day, and I finally have some time to catch my breath and start to contribute to this site in a meaningful way.
What I tried to do for the most part when I was writing it was to keep it clean and free of the usual regurgitated mind control garbage (I said for the most part – I of course had some of that in there) and keep it to the real world of the fitness business. So since we’re keeping it real, and since I am back heavey and hard “in the trenches” as they say, I want to talk about something that doesn’t get talked about enough in this business, especially in the online space.
It’s about the role HARD WORK plays in all of it.
I’m talking about the roll-up your sleeves and dirt under your finger nails kind of hard work that it takes to actually get a business off the ground. And the other forms of WORK that it takes to keep it running smoothly.
In the online personal training space, which in many ways is an off-shoot of the get-rich-quick internet marketing space led by Frank Kern, Yanik Silver, Dan Kennedy before them, and all their related ilk, getting rich is made to look easy. It just takes buying one product to have the cash start coming in.
And then you can just plug in some systems, get other people to run them while you sip pina coladas, and you’re set.What gets lost in all of that is that you’ve got to WORK. Show me anyone that is putting up big dollar figures or getting things done at a high level, and they are WORKING, day in and day out. If you have goals of any substance and are determined to hit them, you’re going to need to work your ass off.
So if you’ve ever invested in one of my products, I must confess that in the sales process I tried to make success look easy. But in the product itself, I did my best to prepare you for the reality. And the reality is that it’s all far from easy. Even if you have the perfect success blueprint from an absolute master in the industry, it will still take a massive amount of work and determination to execute it.
There is where most people in fitness screw it all up – they just don’t work. They don’t realize how hard you’ve got to work to get things done. They actually fall for the hype in the sales letters, and then get bitter afterwards, as if their failure is someone else’s fault. Suckers.
Then there are all the hard things you’ve got to do that aren’t necessarily WORK in that they don’t take time and effort. They just take balls – making tough calls, hard decisions, difficult conversations, selling your ass off, hiring, firing, setting boundaries, managing relationships and expectations, and discipline yourself. This again is a different kind of hard work which most people aren’t willing to do, and the rest are incapable of doing.
You should definitely outsource as much as possible in your business. But even if nearly everything is outsourced to employees, admins, and partners, it will still require your constant INSPECTION. Otherwise things will quickly fall short of your standards and start to fall apart. On that note here’s some of the stuff you always need to work at and inspect in your business, or you’ll very soon not have a business to speak of:
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION – I’ve said it before, that we’re very lucky to be in a business where we can sell something that comes very easy and second nature to us, which is fitness. But the downside is that with fitness services, you need to constantly prove yourself every day. Your product is only good as your last bootcamp session in the client’s eyes. The minute your studio stops delivering a WOW experience is the minute your clients are looking at another option in today’s over-crowded fitness marketplace.
The greatest, richest, and most ruthless business man of all time was a detailed number cruncher from the time he made his very first dollar. Any questions?
COST MANAGEMENT – I have to admit this is where I’m weakest at in my business. I’m more of a work your ass off, fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy by nature (I think most entrepreneurs are). My philosophy has always been you can spend as much as you want because you can always just work harder to make it back. But in my past life in this business, my fit biz was built to serve my lifestyle. Not anymore. Now I have my eye on continued growth, my profit margin, and already am on the lookout for my second location, while I’m only less than two months into my first. This all hinges on keeping a keen eye on what you are making, spending, profits, projected expenses, and sales goals. Again, when it comes to my business, this is where I am the absolute weakest. In the past, my week ending bank balance would determine how much I could spend on a hotel in Miami, or how much I could bet in Atlantic City. And shit, if I fell a little short, I could just put it on a credit card. Now I’ve made it my mission to become a number cruncher. Not just my financial numbers, but also every possible measureable area in my business – bootcamp attendance, referrals per client, lead sources, dollar value per lead per source, and a hundred other parameters that are giving me a constantly updated dashboard with which to guide and grow my business.
COMPETITION – Like I mentioned a little while ago, the fitness business is as crowded as ever with one hundred and one competitors out there that want to ear your lunch. The only way to ensure you stay ahead of the pack is to constantly grow, get better, and refine. You can never really stop fighting because the minute you stagnate is the minute there’s an opening for someone to take what you’ve got.
PARANOIA – I think a healthy dose of paranoia keeps all entrepreneurs going. It’s what gives you your edge and drives you forward when most others would stop and close up shop. But the flip side to that is your paranoia will keep you working far after the time any sane person would tell you to stop. If anyone has found the cure for this let me know, because I definitely haven’t. It’s your paranoia which you’ll find driving you most of the time. I guess this is good in the sense that it won’t really feel like effort or work.
So there you go. That’s just my rant on something that never gets talked aboute nough, or even talked about at all, and that’s HARD WORK. Again, the two biggest mistakes are most people don’t work hard enough, and the others work too hard on the wrong things, and never make the hard judgement calls to take control of their time and their environment. Do both at a very high level, start to get better at them, and amazing things will happen.
In case you haven’t noticed, the advisory on this site is now a rogues gallery of misfits compared to when I was running it. But you know what? The content is super good.
And speaking of HARD, there are just some days when you want to crawl up in a ball, fold up shop, and find yourself staring yourself in the mirror, wondering if all the work is worth it. It’s these moments that define the entrepreneur, and separate the weak from the strong. There’s a good reason why all of those sheeple sit in traffic every day going to jobs they hate, getting fat, and end up with broken relationships and broken lives. If it was all so easy, everyone would have the fund doing what we do, and make the money we make. They can’t handle the uncertainty and doubt. I don’t know about you, but I’ve become immune to it.
So if you’re already working hard, work smarter too, but also work a little harder still. If you’re not where you want to be yet, you’re probably not working hard enough. And to everyone else, self doubt is part of the fun of all of this – plan, re-evaluate, but whatever you do, don’t stop working.
Nice post, I hope this is a sign that we’re turning the corner from the regurgitated hollow hype that is all too common in the fitness biz. Our clients are sold “quick and easy” for fitness and fat loss. We are sold “quick and easy” for business.
Great post Kaiser, and is very true, especially on the net. Everything is sold so easy without talking about the hard work part and the fact that everyone has bad days, you just have to soldier on and believe in yourself
Kaiser, I think your post is something that had to be said, and you couldn’t have been more on target.
Too many trainers get the idea that once their systems are in place that they can sit back and work a “four-hour work week”…sorry, it doesn’t happen that way in real life.
Hard work and dedication to your craft will go a long way in making you successful.
I look forward to hearing more from you, now that you’ve gotten your new business off and running.
Aron, you are absolutely correct – this post and the new drive of this site indicates a MAJOR turning of the corner in the fitness business. Sam will keep it only 100% real, and I’ll do the same.
Yes Darragh, you are absolutely correct. The quickest way to riches to soldier on as you said, learn, and refine what you are currently doing, not look for the next bright, shiny object and promises of money without work.
Greg, thanks. Yup, even when the systems are completely in place, you’ve still gotta work. And even if you didn’t, wouldn’t that get boring real fast? At that point it’s time to grow or create a new system, which again is work.
I think this is a refreshing article about the realities of building a fitness business. I found building a PT business difficult, but building an online business is more difficult than I could have ever imagined. A 4 hour work week? I just have to laugh when I hear that (even though I love the book). Only after working 80+ hour weeks for the last few years have things started to come together for both my online and PT business, and I already had 10 years of web design experience, was very comfortable with technology, and had 5 years of financial experience working on Wall Street.
One thing that has really helped me along the way is learning how to roll with the punches because I am inevitably going to make some bad decisions that cost me a lot of time and money, but I still need to move forward no matter what. Stressing out over bad mistakes, or worrying about making decisions are a waste of time!
Thanks again for the article.
@Marc: What’s done is done. You can’t go back and change your mistake. Only thing you can do is learn from it and move forward. To err is human but to make the same err over and over again is plain STUPID. Thanks for your input and reading super-trainer.
Marc, second what Sam had to say. While it takes work, pay attention to this site and we’ll surely help you cut back your hours down from 80 per week though. You need a life – it serves your business.
@Sam + @Kaiser Serhuddin – Thanks guys. The hard work has been paying off for me with over 75K visitors per month to my website BuiltLean.com in just over 12 months since I launched it, but I do agree I need to take down the hours a bit. At the same time, I love working hard and I’m proud to have put in the hours. Being in NYC, everyone is working crazy hours, so it feels normal. I hired 8 part time contractors around the world to help me run my business in the last few months, which has made a major difference. Thanks again for the encouragement and the great content.
You’re very welcome Marc. I also have a great source to get a great full time virtual assistant. I think everyone needs a great full time assistant
Great post! Nothing replaces hard work. No matter how smart we are or how well we know what to do, we still have to work. Just like getting ready for a competition, even if we know what to do, we still need to do the work needed to prepare.
Hey Kaiser, great article man. Bring it more often, specially now with first hand experience on the fitness industry at the moment, you have lot to offer.
Hey Sam I would love to hear some tips on source for assistant!
No problem Zack send my assistant an email and I will get you a contact information.
My assistants email is Jowel@super-trainer.com
Thanks for the feedback Zack – will do.