This is Super-Trainer Jana “Coach Jana” Holland, coming at you after an inspiring weekend with “Sam and Friends” in Chino Hills, CA.

Many of you who have been in the industry for a while probably know what to do to take your business to the next level. ESPECIALLY if you tune in to Super-Trainer, and go to fitness events and conferences where you leave with pages of notes and tasks on your to-do list.

When Sam asked me to share with you some of my Top Lessons of Success, I paused. With Sam and these other Super-Trainers as resources, what on earth could I contribute that hasn’t been covered?

One thing is for sure, though. Although I don’t have a checklist of a million awesome things that promise to propel you to greatness, I CERTAINLY have a list of a million things to avoid; mostly lessons I’ve learned by making a lot of mistakes, forging new territory, and not being afraid to try new things – sometimes with less-than-stellar results.

When we started SWAT Fitness in 1996, there were no fitness business summits. No boot camps. No trainer-networking opportunities. No business models to copy, and no coaches in the field who understood what we did.

To make matters worse, Ron and I knew NOTHING about business. Didn’t even KNOW anyone who knew anything about business. We had come from the public service field – he from a life of military service and law enforcement as a SWAT Commander, and I from a life of teaching, Counseling, and working with Juvenile Delinquents. In retrospect, it’s probably good that we knew nothing about business. We didn’t follow any “gurus” and we didn’t get misled by coaches or advisors. We didn’t rely on others to tell us what would work. We just asked clients what they wanted, provided it, did that really well, and got results. And upon that, a business was built.

So years later, with boot camps on every corner, studios opening up all around you, fierce competition, unskilled trainers, gurus and experts – how on earth could you know who to believe, or what advice to follow? You can’t. The ONLY person that knows your business is you. The ONLY person that can tell you something will work is YOU – after you’ve tried it. NO ONE cares for you or your clients more than you, and no one can want your success more than you do yourself.

With that said – I’m gonna save you a lot of time, a boatload of money, and hopefully some heartache and disappointment along the way.


fitness-marketing-lesson-1fitness-marketing-counting-moneyNothing will sway you from performance and focus on your business like spending time adding up how much you can, should, or will make. What a lousy way to spend your time anyway. Yes, you have to have enough in the bank to cover your costs. You have to know what your fixed expenses are, and what it is costing you to keep the doors open. And you need to be prepared with enough to cover 6 months of operating expenses – just in case. Anything beyond that should be nothing more than a pleasant surprise. It’s nothing to brag about, it will go back into your business anyway, and if you have any sense at all, it’s really irrelevant if you like what you’re doing, you’re doing a good job at it, and you’re making the lives of others better. If you are fearful about money, it will elude you.


fitness-marketing-lesson-2fitness-marketing-ScoreboardWhen we first started in business, we talked ad nauseum about all the things we were gonna do. Could do. Should do. Quite honestly – the BIG IDEAS were fun to come up with, and fun to talk about. And we were excited about them and wanted to shout them out to the world. And we did. HOWEVER – something we’ve learned since is that talking too much about the things you WANT to do, sets expectations in the heads of others that you may (or may not) ever fulfill or deliver on. The more we talked, the less we did, the less excited we got, the more we realized some things were impractical and didn’t fit who we were, and the more we disappointed others who would ask, “Hey, when are you guys going to do X?” or “I can’t wait for you to offer Y!” or “What ever happened to your plan to Z?” Remember – people only hear what they want to hear, that will benefit them directly.

What You Say: “I have this really great idea to buy a building, hire 4 new trainers and offer 40 classes a week!”

What they hear: “Starting next week, we will have 40 classes a week to choose from, and will be moving to a huge fabulous building with all the equipment and best trainers in the world, and for you it will be offered at a huge discount!”

Remember: The second you’ve spat out your ‘brainstorming,’ people expect it to happen – yesterday. And if it doesn’t, cuz it was a crummy idea, or you didn’t know how to make it happen, you’ve just let a lot of people down. So DON’T talk about what you will do, or want to do, or should do in the future. Just show and tell people what you DO. Show them the scoreboard, not your playbook. Nobody cares about the great stuff you have planned, until they get to experience it, see it, and benefit from it. So keep your mouth shut, and focus on scoring for your team.


Jana Beutler Holland