Whatsup gang – Kaiser here.
Sure I’m a fitness business owner. You could even so I’m an entrepreneur (even though I’m not crazy about the word). Hustler is something that describes me better, although it has negative connotations. Sometimes I like to call myself a store owner just to make it clear how much this business is about first impressions, customer experience, making sales, and selling a product.
But in reality, when someone asks me what I am, I tell them I’m a trainer. Not a personal trainer, not a bootcamp trainer, but a trainer. My job is to motivate people. My job is to get people in shape, whether it’s directly, meaning that I’m in front of them yelling at them to work out; or indirectly, meaning that another trainer is using my methods to do the same job.
Training is what I do. What’s interesting is now with my second camp location up and running, I’ve finally outsourced the training here as well. I technically do not need to do any training here at my second location anymore, just the same way that I outsourced all of the training and consulting to my team at my first location months ago.
Now that I don’t have to be in the grind day after day, I can sit back and reflect on my feelings when it comes to being a trainer. One thing I’ve realized is that being a trainer and a business owner in some ways contradict themselves.
As a business owner, you probably already know you have to be about the marketing, the systems, and the hard numbers for your business to grow. If you’re caught in the daily grind of the training, then the other areas that make your business successful start to suffer. In some ways, you can’t be a trainer and business owner at the same time. It’s like being a restaurant owner and being a cook. There’s just too much other stuff to do.
But on the other hand, you are the product, and you can’t take yourself out of the business all together. Once you do, the program may start to become generic, and not differentiated from everything else out there.
That’s why I did the training for so, so long. When I opened my first location, I hired trainers but they didn’t know the level of outstanding service it took to make this business stand out and succeed. And I didn’t have time to waste in getting my business running and super-profitable. After one month, I had to fire those guys, jump in, and do all of the training myself.
I did that for four months, running every single session at my boot camp. I think most of the gurus in this business wold shit their pants if they ever had to step in front of a client. They don’t have the balls to do it, so in many ways they don’t have the right to advise those of us that do. In fact, they try to sell off their grossly unprofitable businesses so they can spend time talking about the business rather than doing it. That’s why most of the information that they spit out is total and utter useless bullshit. Sam, of course, is the only guy still in the trenches, working every day out of the office in his studio, and that’s why he’s the only guy in this business worth paying attention to.
Now, back to what I was saying. I ran every single session for four months until I added the superstar I have now to take over. I showed him all of the nuts and bolts of what it means to run great boot camp sessions. Unlike me with all my other responsibilities, running bootcamps sessions are all he has to focus on and specialize in. He doesn’t not have to worry about any other part of the business except also making sales.
With him doing the training, me doing the marketing, and later on also bringing on a manager to do all of the phone work and other day to day tasks, things totally took off at that first location.
While a lot of guys would take this level of efficiency as an opportunity to write an ebook, for me it was time to start hustling even harder. I wanted to open another one, and that’s what I did.
This one was twice as big. And guess what, I rolled up my sleeves and again, did every single boot camp hour at that location. Sure, I tried out a couple of guys in the beginning that sucked and had to be let go, and I hired a girl that shadowed me and gave me a day off once in while if I needed it. But I needed to do the job myself and get this place super profitable, which I did.
Now, after a very, very long search, I found another super-star to run the training here at my second location. I can now get out of the way, start to optimize the systems at both locations, perfect the marketing, find new lead sources, and develop more ways to take care better care of my members.
All of my team members can now specialize on their specific tasks, and we can look forward to a strong spring season, one of the biggest of the year in the fitness business.
As you figured out from the story that I told you, over the past year, I’ve gone about seven or eight months straight solid of mornings and nights full-time of running training sessions. It’s all been worth it to establish a fitness business that’s on pace for over $700,000 in the coming year and growing. Because of this experience of being non-stop in the grind, I have a lot of feelings, beliefs and ideas about being a trainer and a fitness business owner at the same. I’m going to talk about them now.
Why do I love it? It puts me in front of people. I’m constantly interacting, hitting hot buttons, making jokes, meeting people, selling, influencing, persuading, motivating, being a leader, and all those other little things that lead to being socialized and operating at your full potential. As human beings this is what we were born to-do, and there’s really nothing like it. Even though I achieved “the deam” of the online gurus and had an online business, I was miserable. No matter how glamorous those guys try to make it seem, there’s a reason why they all look like scruffy fucks. For them it might work, but it wasn’t for me. Nitin, when he visited my studio after I first opened, told me that I was built for the offline world, and he couldn’t have been more right.
But that time in the online game wasn’t wasted. I used those skills and applied them to having a high earning training business that works on my terms. Between all the hype and bullshit, there’s some very, very solid information and business practices that can be learned.
Now back to my point, on the one hand, training is fun.
But on the other side, I hate it with a passion.
Why do I hate it when I consider myself a trainer? Because I’m smart enough to know it’s NOT the deciding factor in a fitness business’s success. Being a great trainer isn’t enough these days.
Sure, you’ll get referrals and have a cute business, but if you want to hit the big leagues you’ve got to play at a different level. I don’t know what your income goals are, but mine are up there. Being so-so and getting so-so results isn’t an option. Every hour I spent training is an hour taken away from either learning or perfecting my craft as a business owner and marketer. Those are the keys to achieving success, not only in your current fitness business, but in your life-time business career.
In that sense I hated it. Having to wake up really early to run morning classes and running a full day of training left me wiped not only the day-of, but also the following day. Trying to fit in a personal life and day-to-day business upkeep left little time for marketing and growth. I was always in fog, with my marketing and business activities as something that were handled part-time, maybe every other day if at all.
So what do you do when you hate being your trainer? My opinion is that if you hate something, give it 10 times the energy. Like Don Corleone said, keep your friends close and enemies closer. That’s my philosophy. If I don’t like to train that means I’m going to-do it 10 times as good. I’m not going to slack on it for a second. I’m going to make my training outstanding.
You know why, because I’m going to make sure that if this thing is taking away time from my marketing, it’s going to be totally bad ass. Then my marketing time won’t possibly be wasted because the product so over delivers that sales and referrals become automatic. That’s really been the key behind the success of my business until now.
My marketing game has been entirely sloppy, my systems sucked, and web-game has been a joke. I’m nowhere on Google and have only recently started daily deals. All the success has been because of how aggressively I’ve attacked the training and customer experience part.
Also, as a business owner, you’re the leader, whether you’re ready for that role or not. Everyone else is looking up to you and following the example you set. So when I attack the training with so much intensity, the people that I bring on are compelled to do the same thing.
In fact, the kind of people on my team are type-A competitive alphas just like me. They try to out-do me, which is what both of my head trainers try to do every single day. They’re like hey, if Kaiser can do it, in addition to doing everything else, then I can do it twice as good as him.
That’s why the product is so good, even when I’m not delivering it. I’ve set the bar high, and now these guys seek to out-do me in creating an even better experience, telling better jokes, establishing more rapport, and delivering a better client experience. Everyone in the business from my sales girl to my general manager all seek to top the level of intensity and passion that I bring to those specific tasks in the business.
So that’s one way that attacking the training so aggressively has paid off. Also, at the end of the day, you will be judged on the workout, and that’s one thing over which you’ll have complete control. That’s why what I do is make sure that this is the best training product out there on the market. And that’s why I consider myself a trainer.
Because when people go to train in one of the many other fitness business we have in this area, I want my product to outshine them all. That comes down to the nuts and bolts training aspects of it, and that’s how I define myself. That’s what I’ve taught myself to excel at.
When I took over the reigns at location number one, I sucked at it. I forced myself to get very good. When I stopped doing it for three months, and had to do it at location two, I sucked at it again, until I attacked it with gusto and forced myself again to get very good at it, constantly seeking feedback from the members and from my team on how to get better.
So if you hate the training, here’s my advice: do more of it. Become the best at it. Make it exceptional. All the while, keep an eye on your eventual exit from it. But if you hate it, then attack it with even more passion, because that’s what’s going to help you grow the business, and eventually make sure you don’t have to do it anymore.
Kaiser “Super” Serajuddin
Original Super Trainer