Chris Cooper is a name many of you have heard before in the fitness space. He's a business mentor, the founder of Two-Brain Business, and the author of four industry-changing books (his first book, Two Brain Business, has become the bestselling fitness business book of all time).
Chris believes his superpower is the ability to make mistakes faster than anyone else, and he uses these lessons to help OTHER gym owners build happier lives.
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Welcome to the gym OS podcast. Helping fitness professionals become better business owners. One episode at a time. Hey, what's up, everybody? Dan, we Murray here CEO pushed for us. I think we did it again. We got another good episode of GMOs podcast coming at you, Um, where we're working on making you a better business owner. One episode at a time. In today's episode, we've got Chris Cooper. Here he is a long standing rock in our community, both as a gym owner and now as a mentor to gym owners. He's out there on the front lines alongside us and some other good folk working on helping Jim's become better businesses, um, helping them understand what they need to work on and pushing them across the finish line in that quest. Um, Chris is like I said, Chris has been around forever. Um, he's pretty much coined the term help first in our community. Um, and it is a philosophy in a motto that we follow here. It push press largely due to the influence that Chris has had on us, and some of the other team members here push press ourselves. He has published a book or two. Ah, he's also built a framework, Um, around running a business that I've had the pleasure of looking at this morning is pretty dope. Um, kind of gives you is a gym owner a step by step instruction on how to improve your business. It's game ified, so you kind of have incentive to get things done. And it's kind of simplified in a way that at least makes sense to me. I think it's pretty cool. Um, he is the developer of a concept called founder Farmer Tinker Thief, which is kind of the different stages that you go on as an entrepreneur. Um, and he's writing a book about that one as well. Um, so much good stuff that Chris has brought to this community and so many good things that he's thinking about and working on that I I am very pleased and honored to have him as a guest on the podcast today. So without any further ado, we're gonna let Chris take it away, okay? All right, guys. And we're live. Welcome to another episode of the gym OS podcast with Chris Cooper. We're doing something a little differently. This time is kind of crazy. We're actually recording this on Chris Cooper's line, so this is a little weird for me. I'm trying a little new tech. Um, I normally use 11 text back, and Chris is like, Mine's better and I'm like, Prove it. And so far, he's winning. He's winning this battle. Um, I can actually see him. All my other podcasts don't get to see the people, and this makes it much more interesting to be able to see. Ah, you know, I have make someone make a sour face or something. I can react to it myself. So anyway, we got Chris Cooper here. For those of you don't know Chris Cooper, I don't know what rock you just crawled out from underneath, but, um, he is one of the foremost business mentors in the gym space, and I wouldn't even say the cross. The space definitely probably works outside across the bottoms of them. Speak to that. Um, and Chris is here to talk about ah, lot of things key key to your business. I mean, this is his world that he lives in. This is the world that we live in, and this no, no better or more perfect guests and Chris to be on the podcast today. So let me just give Chris a few minutes here, toe, introduce himself in what he does.
Thanks, Dan. You set the bar kind of high here. So, um, number one I'm not better attack than anybody. Especially you. Um, usually my mentors air giving me tips on Like what? What technical terms mean? Like, I didn't know what slide into D EMS meant until about a week ago when one of the mentors on the two brain team told me, you know a good thing. Yeah, Exactly. Exactly. Um, anyway, yeah. My name is Chris Cooper. A, uh, own. I've owned a few gems. I own one Jim now on the founder of two brain business and the author of two brain business To Brand Does a Super I know Help first. And my new book is founder Farmer Tinker Thief. I started doing this. I opened a gym in 2005. By 2008 it was practically bankrupt. Um, that's kind of a story unto itself. But as I was fixing that I had a mentor. I was recording everything that he was teaching me online for other gym owners who might want help. Um, I wrote a blogger for about three and 1/2 years called Don't Buy ads dot com that turned into AA book, which is the bestselling fitness business book of all time to Bring business. And several years later, I found it a mentorship practice. After trying to sell courses or, like individual mentoring calls, I realized, like the only thing that actually works is mentorship, and we do build courses. We do build a lot of learning materials. We spent about $20,000 every single month building media that we give away for free to gym owners to help them grow. But what? We saw his mentorship right. That's it. Yeah.
No. Yeah, I was I was actually joining down some notes. There's quite a bit of quite a few things I want to dig into here. Um, one of one of the interesting things that you just talked about that that I I find fascinating is this arc of learning. Um, you just kind of went through your ark for us. But what I what? I feel like a lot of people out there don't realize is like, you always have to be pushing the boundaries in and putting yourself out there. And in my opinion, I think producing content makes you learn faster, right? And what you basically just told me is you just produced a ton of content from from a blawg to a book too. You know, all this content you're producing, like, what is your What is your advice to a gym owner in terms of like, you know, do you believe in fake it till you make it. Do you think, um, you think gym owners need to be putting out content? What is your thoughts
on that? Yeah, 100%. And I mean, this is one of the hardest lessons to get across to gym owners is that you are on stage the second you open a business. And so number one, everybody's going to see everything that you do. But number two, what you do up on that stage is up to you. And if you don't do anything, then you're still on the stage. You're just doing nothing. In my case, I learned the technique of teaching toe learn it when I was studying for my CS CS exam back in college. I think a teacher told me, like, if you're having trouble not falling asleep over this textbook, what you should do is take a study break every hour and teach back what you've just learned to an imaginary audience. And I took that into, um when I got my first mentor, I started writing down everything that he was telling me, but it wasn't sticking. And so I said, Well, I'm gonna pretend that I'm teaching it to somebody else. And I was Seth Godin fan already in 2008. Ah, and he had a type pad blawg. And that's what I did. And I still do
that vlog almost every day. I don't have it still tight bad, but I just read this morning. In fact,
it still is. Yep, it's still is. He's still type pad. Um, and so you know, he's been a He's been a guide for me. I wouldn't call him a mentor because I've only ever had one email problem in my entire life. But, um, yeah, I do publish content every day, and that lesson has been reinforced through, um, you know, I used to write for a testosterone dot net. Now it's called T Nation. I got hired by CrossFit Inc in 2012 to write for them, and I met 20 butting in San Diego, and the first thing he said to us was we published every day, no matter what CrossFit Ink used to call himself a, um wasn't content creation company, but a media company, right? Not a fitness company back when they had a Facebook page and recently, actually, when they pivoted to cut almost there Media Team, we hired a bunch of them, including all the top ones, because I still believe in the mission of producing content. Um, we all start to help first eat those. And so that's it's really effective for building trust in our audience, And that trust is actually what leads to growth in sales for us. And so every single month we publish a block post. Every day, we publish a podcast twice a week, and we publish a new downloadable guide every single month. Um, you know, the sum total of that is about 20 grand. That's what it costs me to do it. And there's never Ah, there's never a promise of a reward But over time, like this is the only thing that works. If you look at it, if you look at like Facebook Now, when they bring in the people who spend over a $1,000,000 a year in Facebook ads, what they'll tell them is you need to be producing content, you know? In other words, the number one thing that you could do on Facebook is get people to hell off Facebook and onto your website. Yeah,
you mentioned that concept teach to learn that in my in my life, I've always said fake it to make it and I'm actually gonna read. I'm gonna I'm gonna use yours because it's a little more positive. A little less Ah, teacher to learn that same same concept. When I first opened l a x crossfit I remember every I did. I had the same concept where every night I would write a blogger and I don't even know why I just did it. Because my last year, moaner the one that I came from, did it every night. So, you know, I just do what? Do what I knew and every night I would spend an hour and 1/2 researching things to make sure I don't look stupid and what I was writing because I didn't really know it all yet. And within a year I felt like I learned so much just because I forced myself to write blog's every night. So it was an interesting paradigm. So a lot of times I meet people when they're like, I don't know enough to write and I'm like, Well, then you need to write, right? That's the whole point. Um, another. Another crazy concept you just mentioned was like You say, Seth Second wasn't your mentor. I say maybe he is because, you know, like in a lot of ways, like for you, for instance, I don't We don't talk maybe once a year, twice here three times a year. But in some ways you are my mentor because I pay attention. Everything you say everything you do help first has become an e close quarters here. Yeah, like you might not realize. Like Set doesn't realize it, but he is the mentor of probably thousands of people. So wrapped us all back in. Like if you're a gym owner and you're afraid of blogging, do it because there's people in your community you're gonna you're gonna become a mentor to without even knowing it, you know, like whether they see it as a guide or mental whatever. Like you're helping them. Um, helping them in their quest. Let's let's dive in to help first cause it's one of I still remember I went to a, um, a two brain or no, it was a different. A different seminar that you did back is near San Diego. I can't rember the city. I went with my co founder here, push press Chris, and we kind of weeks we're opening a gym and tow learn and that the biggest sticking point I had was help first, right? And it kind of just resonated with me. Um, let's talk about that. Why is that so important for a gym to to worry about their customers and their customers needs before there's Well, there's a
couple reasons Number one. Nobody opens a GM or any service bit business because they want to sell things right. They want to help people, absolutely, and they want to just be the best coach, right? And so a lot of us we have this belief, which is erroneous that if we're the best coach, we're going to have the biggest, best business. That belief gets reinforced by certifying bodies. Mostly, they'll say, like if you are the best coach than clients will refer to you and you'll just grow. That's not true. Um, so you actually have to sell the term help first put selling for a lot of gym owners in the proper light and makes it palatable. It's also, um, it's my ethos, because is the question that I asked whenever I encounter somebody on the street who obviously needs some help with their health and fitness, right? My question is not how am I gonna sell this guy gym membership or a diet? It's How can I help this person? And so when I approached a conversation, I don't have to think, like, what's my sales pitch gonna be? You know, I don't build it up in my mind and said, What I do is I just asked them like, How can I help you get healthier or, you know, what's the one thing that I can do today that will help you, and often that does lead to like a gym membership or maybe down the line. It does, you know, right?
It's such a session easy and approachable concept. Because even if right now I said, Hey, Chris, how can I help you? You're gonna internalize that to what you need and what your look, How you see the lens of, you know, your your current needs and you're gonna reply back in that way, it might be you can, you know, e. I don't know anything right now, but it's so non obtrusive instead of like, let's get you in the gym and let me let me get you training That becomes you immediately put a wall up when that comes up. So like, if you're listening to this right now and you have kind of a weirdness about selling like literally that, that's all you have to ask this such great advice. Just how can I help you? You know, it could be a number of things, and it might not have anything to with your gym. But if you ask that enough times you're gonna make connections and it will, it will help your business.
It's really it's an important question asked today and because a lot of gym owners are first time entrepreneurs, and they don't really know what they're selling or what they could be selling. And so when you ask, How can I help you Enough times and you hear the same answers over and over. I need to lose weight. I need Thio. Oh, I need to clean up my diet. Oh, I need to just get active. You start to think a little bit more about like, Wait a minute. Do people want to buy? You know a coach is going to take them to the CrossFit games, and I really believe that, you know, it's that resounding echo of we want to lose weight. We want, you know, save our bad back. That's led to this move away from focusing on the CrossFit games by H Q. It's like, Yeah, when we listen to our clients, they tell us that's not what they want, you know. And
you know, You know what? It was even more interesting about this, which again you just sparked my You connected the dots for me. I have a mentor, which I think you have the same mentor, Dan Dan Martin. Absolutely. I love him. Canadian. Um But what I realize is he asked us all the time, like, How can I help and what? What I realize he's doing now that you've made this connection in my brain just made the connections, is he's actually already clients of his right. But he's like, What pain points You have outdone help because some other person like me has the same pain points, and now he starts generating content around that. So if you're wondering, like, OK, great, I need to write this content I need, I need to fake it till you make it or teacher to learn it. But I don't want to write about if you go out in the community and you start asking people, How can I help you? And you take the eight answers, you get back and there's your pillars of things that you start writing about writing, making videos about and talking about because most people are gonna have the same problems and you're going to the same answers over
and over again, right? That's right, And it's also a great check for you to make sure that you're aligned with your real audience. Instead of thinking that your audience is like you. So, for example, if you go on cora dot com and you look for like, one of the 31 top questions that people ask about CrossFit, you will not find How do I lift more weight over Ed? I know I cycle the bar bell faster. What you'll find is, well, CrossFit make me bulky, and that's the content that you need to produce. Or
will I get injured doing?
CrossFit. It's one of them. 31. Definitely dandy. Yeah. I mean, that's that's actually a secret. We're gonna talk about the two rain road map later, but that's a secret on that map. Is, um, once you've created the first easy pieces of content, the first client, you know, driven content that you create are those 31 questions that are asked on Cora. Um, you know, it's great, ASIO, but it's also just amazing content, right?
What? What? I really dig about the stuff that you do. Having been a to bring client at one point and having just been around your your world for a while is like you take. This is a great example. You take this concept of coral which probably a lot of people don't know about you figured out a framework of figuring out what people are looking for and you take all the work out of it. I remember like the one the first things we did. One became two brains like Who? Your best clients and what do you think about you? And it's just, like come up with a list of your top revenue generating clients and then talk to them. And I was like, Well, that's so obvious. I feel stupid for not thinking about that, but okay, there we go. So it's like one of the cool things you're doing is you're putting these. I'm a big framework guy. You're putting these frameworks in front of people and be like we don't have to reinvent the wheel and ask 100 people 31 questions. You can just go to court and get 31 31 questions, right? Super cool. Um, let's switch gears real quick and talk about founder Farmer Tinker thief. This is this is something admittedly, um, I haven't read, but the title is genius because every time I hear it, I'm like, I need to know what this means Can you tell me this is strictly for my own? My own? My own engagement right now. Can you tend explain, bounder farmer Tinker thief to me.
Yeah. So, um, I am all about stories in math, Dan. So, um, I use math to determine, like, here's what we should help. You know, here's the right answer. And then I use stories to explain the answer so that the story that we're trying to tell with founder Farmer, ticket thief is that, um there's a lot of information out there for entrepreneurs in the gym space, especially. There's a lot of advice. Um, can I swear on this podcast or not? Hell, yeah. Okay. A lot of advice for gym owners is bullshit, and it's it's put out there by people who haven't tested it. They've never become successful themselves. They've never done anything wrong. You know, they haven't made any mistakes. They haven't actually learned anything. Um, and that's unfortunate. That doesn't happen in most other industries yet, But fitness, that's just how it goes. So, um, founder, farmer tinker thief was my attempt to sort all of the big ideas all of the steps through the lens of data and say this works. That doesn't. What I found when I've been doing that for the last decade is like some stuff works when you're a founder and it doesn't work later or vice versa. You know, this is great advice, but you're not ready for it yet because you don't have the bandwidth to be producing content every single day. So, you know, as we started to amass more and more data, we started to ask ourselves, like, you know, when is this idea most relevant? We discovered that there were really four phases to the entrepreneurs journey. There's the founder face, which is Start up. You're working all the hours. You're doing everything by yourself and you're just trying to break even. Then there's the farmer face, which is where most businesses actually get stuck and you have a couple of employees. But like you know, they don't do what you need them to do, and you still don't have any more time, and you're not really more profitable even though your business is growing on in the third stage is the tinker phase, which is like your business is successful enoughto give you financial freedom and now you have 50 other ideas. And suddenly you're like managing people. And, you know, you need leadership skills now that you've never needed before. And you can really screw up your life because you have a bit of money to screw it up with. You know, you can chase bad ideas now, um, and then the thief phase, which is basically, how do you transition from owning these successful businesses into leaving a meaningful legacy for your community? That's
very good explanation. Let me ask. Let me ask you something here because now that I understand this framework, Um, what I see personally is like you said, a lot of Jim's gets stuck in farmers phase. Yeah, but they don't want to be right. Absolutely don't want to be. But they dio What do you think is the biggest challenge that stopping people from getting past farmer into
tinker? Yes. So it's It's basically like the inability to break down everything that they possibly could be doing right. So, like farmer phase, you've got this gym. You know, probably you've been open for about a year. You're a break even. You've got two years left on your lease you've got some staff, whatever you pay them or if they're volunteer, that doesn't matter. You've got to be a manager for the first time. And all you wanted to do was buy yourself a job as a CrossFit coach. That's all you want to D'oh! And so you're like throwing your hands up in the air and you're like, God, I wish somebody would just make the money problems go away so I could just coach or I wish I could just take a vacation or like, you know, how come we're making way more money. But the only person is profiting from this is like the government in my landlord. Yeah, the problem is that nobody is looking at your business objectively and breaking the problems down into steps for you. And, you know, that's where I spent my career doing as a mentor. And, um, that's what most people lack. So, for example, when I went to a mentor for the first time, I was in the farmer face and he said, Chris, you gotta hire some staff like you're working literally from 5 a.m. until nine at night. You're driving home. You don't see your kids, you're exhausted and you're broke. Like you gotta hire some staff. I said, Dennis, I can't hire staff. Okay? There, you know there's no money. And so what he said was, Well, here's we're gonna do, we're gonna first, you're gonna break down all the roles in your business. All the hats that you wear. Then you're gonna sign a dollar value to each one, and you're gonna pick the cheapest role, and we're gonna hire that. So in my case, that was the cleaner, And at the time I could hire a cleaner for about 8 50 an hour. And so he said, Okay, now you hire this cleaner. What you're gonna do while that cleaner is mopping is you're gonna stay at the gym and you're gonna work on something that drives revenue or whatever. The next step was for me 10 years ago. And so, you know, under his mentorship, that's what we did. We hired a cleaner. I worked on retention system. I think it was we sold more. I made more money, but then that wasn't enough. He said, OK, well, now you've got to replace yourself at this next role. And so the next lowest value roll on my list. Waas. I figured it was maybe his group class coach. That's terrified me because it's like if I put another coach in front of my clients, they're not going to see me is the big expert anymore. But that's what I did. And guess what? At 6 a.m. She was a hell of a lot friendlier than I was. People loved her, and that class started to grow. But I still showed up at the gym at 6 a.m. And I worked on sales now and then, you know, and you started climbing that ladder. Um and we teach this process, but it really requires mentorship. But the whole key Dando is like there's so much overwhelming farmer phase. There's so many things that you could do. There's so many ideas that are actually good. Somebody has to break them down and say this thing first, this thing second and this thing three months from now.
So this is an excellent Segway into the roadmap, which you've just released recently. And let me tell you so, I mean, I've been in this fate in this personal. I've worn these shoes a couple times a gym owner and now with push breasts, there comes a point. And this is probably exactly kind of what, while you're laying this out, what you're talking about, where you look at everything in your life, I've got 84 things I need to work on, and there's one of me and and I need to change. I needed to end all of this and hire everybody and you look at that, you get overwhelmed and you just like, go, go play a video game or something. It was me. But, um, the point is like Like you're saying you can't do everything at once. You have to systematically pick things off one by one. But I I believe, like one of the things that stops people from becoming a better Jim is they look at everything has to do to get overwhelmed. Yeah, you just showed me this road map and I've seen it, um, in passing, but I just had it explained to me, and I had it. I got a peek in on the curtains and I'm blown away like this solves that problem, in my opinion, because it's like you don't even get to see what you have to do later on down the road until you do what you have to do now and it breaks it all down into here. We go with the word again framework so that you can systematically and like, um, objectively just go through these things and get things done and not feel overwhelmed by the I mean, what is the grid 13 by 1030 40. Their demon. Okay, so there's, like, 500 things, 520 things or something. I've taught my head, uh, that you got to do like that super overwhelming. But if you could only see one at a time or 13 at a time, I don't know how it works. I want it yet only one time. Can you Can you see one in every? Call him at a time, Raises one.
Call him. Yeah, technically, you could. It's really up to the mentor to say Dan needs more focus. You know, it's up to one of the first things that we do is we do an exercise to determine what your band with ISS. You know, everybody's a little bit different here for me. If I'm focusing on one thing. I get bored. If I'm focusing on two things. I'm optimized. If I'm focusing on three things undistracted. I mean, you're the same. Yeah. Okay, So I like I need a side project to say creative and energized. But I don't need three things, and that's different for everyone. So, you know, when somebody's in the incubator or like, our first stage of mentorship, they're getting exposed to one thing at a time. Do this thing today. Tomorrow will build on this later when they get into the second stage of mentorship. You know, the mental will probably reveal 3 to 5 things that they should be working on and then check in with them to make sure that they're getting those things done. But, no, we never reveal all 500 things at once because it's just overwhelmed. Yeah, we actually even tell people. Quit all of your other Facebook groups when you start with two brain now, because you're gonna hear this thing, and it's a great idea, and you're gonna want to go do that where you need to be focused on the steps, right?
Don't tell him to quit the push press user group. Please,
Never. I have never done that.
I was kidding. Um Okay, cool. So So, um, do you think included with this podcast episode we like to do downloads in, like, show notes and all that kind of stuff? Will there be any? Can I Can I offer any type of downloads of people? Could get a peek at what this looks like. A pdf even are of J. Peg.
Yeah, I could give you a little video or something. I mean, it's a very visual. Uh, it's something to look at on purpose, eh? So here's the truth, Dan. Like we created this visual game, it really does game. If I the entrepreneurial journey, we created it because we were trying to trick people into giving us data. I don't mean trick people. What I mean is, um, encourage people to give us data. So I just showed you one of the highways on the road map. There are 13 different milestones on the highway, but the 1st 1 is track your expenses for the last three months. Well, that's boring as hell. Nobody ever wants to do that. So even when they're paying a mentor in the men tresses track expenses for the last three months. They don't always do it. But if you make it a game and you say as soon as you're done, click approve and you unlocked the next level. And at level four, we're gonna send you this cool prize. Then you do it. Yep. And so what that means is that now I'm rapidly building the biggest data set in the fitness industry, and people are enthusiastic about providing it.
And with that data, you have the opportunity of improving your product and helping more gym owners. Obviously,
Yeah, 1000%. So, for example, until recently, we had a strong empirical belief that an on ramp program increased the overall lifetime that you keep a client, their leg length of engagement and also there a r m right there. Average revenue per month. And we had data scattered around, but it wasn't comprehensive. We couldn't point at it and say, You know, this increases your average length of engagement from nine months. The 13. Now we can say that, and so we can say like running an on ramp program increases the average client value to your gym by about you know 18 hundreds of $2100. We can also say, Like if you have to raise rates from XTO. Why you can expect to drop up of this? You know, here's what you should plan for. Therefore, your new rate should be this we could get really mathematical. The key is, if you want to collect that data, you have to wrap it in a really amazing story. And so that's why the road map is the best story I've ever told. I
think you touched on it earlier. You love data and stories,
right? Yeah. Stories and math, man with two brains, right? The left hemisphere of your brain is analytical. The right hemisphere is creative.
Mmm. You know, I knew that. But you so often in this broadcast, people explained things to me, and I'm like, I need that. But you just made it clear that that's cool. Yeah, well and artistic cool. Um, so kind of you started touching upon this in the road map in getting data is important for you. It helps you really analyze the industry. The people you're helping and howto make them better based on their results of what they're doing? I see that it's super important. I actually posed it to our faith. Our user group, um, about, you know, like I am talking to Chris today, anyone who want to ask me questions. I got a few that people have asked me to to bring along the kind of stories into this. Um Nick. Nick. Hey, bitch. Yeah, fantastic guy. I love him. Um, had a bunch of questions. I'm gonna try and kind of wrap them. They're all kind of kind of the same concept. First question is, why would gym owners want the client management system to have a client facing scheduler? I think he's teaming you up, probably for some answers He knows you want to
tell. Oh, yeah. I mean, your business has to revolve around your client and not yourself. Right? So, um, if if there's a client facing scheduler, that means that the client can choose to pick an appointment to come and talk to you. That's really important. Because, you know, a couple of years ago, what we were trying to do is encourage clients to meet our schedule, come in and book a class time, But we weren't doing a lot of one on one. Now, I think hopefully everybody is, uh and so what that means is like, the client can determine when they want to come in. They can pick the appointment time they can actually commit. They could make that mental commitment of I have an appointment instead of my attendance is required at this class. If you think about you know, what do you show up for in life and what do you Not when you have an appointment, you show up, right? I have a dental appointment next Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Like I will be there. If I had a class, I would be less like are more likely to skip if I had something else going on.
Right? Got it. That makes total sense. Okay. And then the other question he had he had three, but one we'll touch on later has already see that we're going with it. But another question you had was, um why would gym owners want accurate member retention lifespan
data? Oh, because life span is a multiplier of a client value. Okay, So, like, let's say that even if you're all you're selling is a group class and you charge $150 per month. Um, it's it's probably cost you something to get that client either in ad spend or in your time. So if you can keep a client for about three months longer, then you don't have to recruit as many more clients, right, because you start to get this snowballing and overlapping effect. And, you know, in our data, this was really key for us is if the average Jim kept every member for three more months, their profit would be an extra $40,000 a year. And that's based off a gym with 100 50 members charging 100 and 50 a month, many to brain gyms charge like three, twice as much as that now. And so the average client, if you can keep in three months longer, is worth like another $80,000 a year to you. That 80,000 doesn't come with the acquisition costs. It doesn't come with further equipment costs. It doesn't come with, like time and energy costs of filtering out the right people. They are the right people. You should try and keep them right
one. I think one thing that's cool and maybe you might do. I haven't seen, But what? Definitely what I feel like. What we should do better is like putting these numbers in calculators in front of people a little faster. Um, because that's really like That's obviously eye opening. That's why you've calculated that stat. 40 grand, 80 grand a year. Additional rep. He'd come in for three months longer and really, how hard is to keep someone through much longer, engaged them, talk to them, know what's going on in their lives like make their make, make them happy when they come in, make him smile, make him laugh like there's a lot of things you can do to make someone stay a little bit longer. It's not that much long, right? That's right, so that that's huge, because when you actually tell a gym owner like, Oh, you'd like to get paid well this year, how would you like to make $40,000 more? That could go right in your pocket that you're not seeing? We'll just do this right. Do this. This and this for everyone. Your clients every month, and you'll probably make $40,000 here more big. I love it. Let's kind of skip into a few more things. Is there anything about the roadmap else that you want to talk about? It's a very complicated topic. I think you have to see it like Chris said, to really appreciate what's going on here, Um,
well, I think I think like what it does best. And this is something that I've had to learn after mentoring gym owners for a decade is like everybody gets the concepts right? Oh, if your clients are happy, they will stay longer. Everybody gets that. The key, though, is what exactly makes your clients happy. And that's where the data comes in. And that's what we've done in the road map, you know? So Step one is have somebody that's, you know, specifically in charge of retention. Step two is build these systems. Send this card, you know, text this often. Call them every you know, do a goal review This often, like here are the actual steps that you need to do to capitalize on this concept that everybody understands. And I can't remember where I read that Dan, but like that is the hallmark of genius. Is thehe bility to simplify something so that everybody says, Oh, I kind of knew that, you know, But make it actionable. Right?
Um, something that I see in a lot of gym owners. And it was in my gym when we first started as well is ah, reactionary nature versus a proactive nature. Oh, yeah, You and what I'm seeing in this road map is like, if you're laying out the framework to handle people ahead of time in the ways that you want to handle them again, like the framework, you're not like reacting all the time like Oh, no, it's Christmas is coming up and I need I need a holiday. I need a holiday party and I forgot about it. But if you've got it on a road map and you got it on a you know, a calendar once, like November's November's hitting, you're already getting people geared up for it because you know it's coming. Um, what has some really quick tips that you can give people outside of implementing your roadmap becoming a two brain mentor client like to start like like like if you're listening right now and you're a gym owner like raise your hand. I can't see it, but raise your hand if you feel like you're just putting out fires all the time, right? That's a reactionary business. Like what is what is some quick tip that somebody can do to, like, start to systematize and like, be more proactive as opposed to reactive? Because a reactive kills
you? Oh, yeah. Yeah. You. Nobody can survive in a reactive state for long. Um, you know, and we know that it's fitness coaches, right? Uh, not what is that? A. An organism placed under stress enters a period of decline until that stress is removed and then they super compensate. Okay, so what we do every January with everybody is we draw an annual plan. And so we look back at last year's revenues and profits and stuff and like, big occurrences. And we say what happened and wet what worked. And so you could do this yourself without the benefit of a mental with road map? Absolutely. You pull up your financials from last year and you look at each month individually, you say, What did I do in that month? Why did we have a great month that month? What could I have done? Better? What could I have done to prepare for that better? Okay, so for example, back in 2013 we published a guide called The Intramural Open and everybody loved it. It was way more fun than the CrossFit open, but it kind of like piggybacked on it. And then we said, You know what? If we had If we had thought of this and published it in January instead of March, everybody could have said to their members the CrossFit Open is coming. We have a specialty clinic coming up for six weeks where you can work on the skills that you're going to see in the open. And so the second year that we published that guide we included, Here's how to make money at this. You don't need to charge for the open. What you need to do is say we have a muscle up clinic. We have a double under clinic. We have this in that coming up. If you want to do extra work, it's available. And suddenly every Jim made an extra $2000 that's what you're doing with an annual plan is you're saying like what of the peak moments in the year. Where should I be taking my holidays? Where should I not where? So I'd be putting my foot on the gas pedal. So, for example, the first time that I did this was right after we had had the worst month of my life. It was August, probably 8 4009 I can't remember. And we couldn't pay the rent and we couldn't pay me. And we couldn't pay the lab, you know, like our taxes and stuff. And I said, I'm never doing this again. Um, you know, so either next next year, either I'm gonna have a plan to make revenue in August or we're gonna close. And so right then I started planning for the next August, and our plan was to start the catalyst games, which, you know, was an event that made us some money. And it got people training harder, and it kept him in the gym through the hot month of August. Um, so that's the key is you gotta build this annual plan and I do with a big circle. There's a huge white board in my office. I can look at it right now and see Catalyst annual plan for the year. It looks like a clock face. The first thing that you're gonna draw the big key events in your gym. So, you know, the intramural open or whatever. That's October now. Used to be Marge, you know what else is gonna happen in March? Well, maybe there's a nutrition challenge or something. You're it back from that t say okay. You know, how do I sell a program that optimizes people's effect? Or how do I, uh, get personal training clients around this? You know, how do I use this? And then you break down by roll. Who's gonna do it? And then you finally say, How do I sell it or how do I market it? And so you've got these plans of overlap basically your operations for the year.
So if you're listening to this and you feel like you, you've been putting out fires, all the timing, and then you're listening to Chris explain how he's proactively planning his next year, putting things in order and then not only just figuring out what he wants to do, but who's gonna be involved, how he's gonna market it, how much it's gonna cost, who he's gonna sell it to and does. I mean, does that feel comforting to feel that way? Like when I hear him explain that I feel comfort for a lot of gym owners out there, and I assume you're probably feeling the same. If if you feel like that's a transition you need to make it's kind of again this fake it till you make it, teach it to learn it. I guess concept is you got to just start doing it right. And even if you, my belief is even if you screw up even if you don't have the money to pay a mentor, you know you gotta go it alone for a while. Just do it. And if you do it wrong, learn from it and do it again tomorrow, right? Just keep doing it. It will make you better in the long run in. I mean, we tell our clients all the time, just come in and put yourself under stress, and you're gonna get stronger and you're gonna learn new things, and you're gonna become better, like you've got to follow that model to you can't just keep doing the same stuff and expecting different outcomes. Cool.
Yeah, I think, Like went one thing that most gym owners from get Dan is that they're really good at solving problems, right? And so when a client comes in and says I need to lose £30 the first thing that you do is you say you weigh them. How much do you weigh now? And then you say, OK, well, if we you know, you minus £30 this point B, let's work backward from there. Okay? What are you gonna have to do to get to point B? And that's the exact same thing that we do with business. What are the steps that you need to take from point B backward to where you are right now and what's made me good it at, like breaking those steps down into do exactly This thing is not all the business books that I've read. It's 25 years as a fitness coach. All right, all
right. All right. Cool. Um, let's kind of shift gears here. We're gonna go back and forth and kind of wrap this up. This has been super, um, mind blowing, which probably should do it again because I don't want to give people too much. Stuff. Gets a little overwhelming. Um, let's talk quickly. Kind of like a lightning round, I guess. What do you feel your favorite business model in the gym is or is it completely variant on the gym itself? Favorite business model
in the gym, um, is hard to define, but its client centric. Which means you're constantly, uh, you have a one on one relationship with a client, even if they're a class member. So that means you meet with the client at least every quarter. How are you doing? What are your goals now? What do you want now? How can I help you? And then you make a new prescription and we call that the prescriptive model. It's not an up cell, but it generally leads to a lot more revenue for a gym and a lot better. Attention and clients getting better results. Got
it. Um, favorite Booker podcast or book and podcasts you're into right now.
Um, I'm listening to all of novels podcast a lot because my my legacy project as I get ready to enter the thief phase of my entrepreneurial journey is helping kids find an entrepreneurial path. I think that all of our kids are gonna have six or seven different quote unquote careers, and the things that they can learn from entrepreneurship will benefit them, even if they never on the business. Yes, I own the website. Business is good dot com, and that's part of my mission. Vallis podcast Really, As I said earlier, like genius is simplifying a concept to the point where the listener says, Oh, I knew that already. And he's really good at that. Um, my favorite book at the moment, man. I usually have five or six on the go. I try to listen to John Maxwell book every single year about leadership. I was to travel. I'm skiing. Um, I've also got, ah, a whole stack of Jim Collins books. This is kind of a crazy story, but the people of the tinker phase of our mentorship program, we bring speakers to them. So, like instead of me just talking to them all the time this year, they're gonna meet with Mike McAlary. It's They've already met with Todd Herman, the author of the Alter Ego effect. Chris Voss is coming to talk to them and, like, have dinner with them. Yeah, and, um, Linda Kaplan, Taylor. We're all going to New York to have breakfast with her next month, but one of the guys who was on that roster is Jim Collins, and I'm a huge Jim Collins fan like, Good to grade is a must read for everybody. Great, by choice, is amazing. Um, and he's actually writing a new book. And so, in the way that Jim Collins is when I requested from his agent that he come and talk to our group, he's like, I want to talk to Chris So he gets on the call with me, talks for an hour. We wind up doing that a couple more times, and finally, he's like, I can't do it. I need to be buried in monk mode. He calls it, and I need to finish this book. Um, but I'll tell you what, I'm gonna send you, like, signed copies of all my stuff because he knows that I had his book out all the time. So I'd say Jim Collins, good to great. That's a good one. Yeah, that's cool
story. Um, I'm not pick your brain on that. I would love to get some. Really? That my mission on this podcast is introduced like bigger business concepts to gym owner. I'm learning from, like, the SAS academy and great man. Yeah. These are all business concepts that people are solving an $100 million businesses. And as I'm listening to them, I'm like, this totally works for a gym. 100%. Yeah, that's kind of the direction I'm going here. We, Todd Herman, actually just came to the last ah Dan Dan Martel event, and it was pretty cool Washington speak to, uh, he's
my personal mentor, So, um, he and I will work one on one, and, uh, this'll is a crazy story. So I was in New York with him a few weeks ago and we're talking about, like, this hierarchy of business knowledge, and you've got these, like, nerds. Okay, um, Jim Collins and you've got these researchers like Chip and Dan Heath and they'll they'll do research for 10 years, and they'll come up with this concept and they'll publish the concept, and the book will do. OK, and then somebody also come along and they'll wrap an amazing story around that concept and make $20 million right? Like, um, so I was saying, like, Who are these top guys who have these concepts? And uh so he was talking about these different names, and then and then, you know, the guy's beneath them are the guys who can really wrap a story around it. And so he said one of these top guys for him would be Jim Collins. Jim Collins is not a good storyteller, but he's an amazing researcher and I said, That's funny. I've got a voicemail from Jim Collins on my phone right now, and Todd was like, Fuck off, There's no way. And I pull out my phone and I shared it with him, and it was It was just awesome. It's really hard to impress your mentor, right? And when you couldn't do that, it's an amazing feeling. Yeah, yeah,
I think it just goes to show that each one of us has something in us that's, like, worthwhile, Like we're all working for towards something that's so big in Hon percent like yeah, like like I look up to the people above me and I'm like, Wow, one day I'll be there one day I'd like to be there, but like, in some ways, like we're doing amazing things to everyone's doing their own amazing things in their own ways. Absolutely. Yeah. I had in my show notes to talk to you about a flywheel. But what I realized is a lot of people don't know what a flywheel is. You you you want to give us a quick definition of a flywheel and how it apply how it could apply in a gym and why it's
so important. Yeah, so flywheel is just a big giant disk. And, ah, if you've been around fitness for awhile, the place you've most likely seen a flywheel would be like in the old monarch spin bikes. You know, they had, like, a £40 heavy heavy wheel in the front. And as you peddled the flywheel would be really hard to turn it first. And then, as you got it going, it would gain its own momentum. And so when you when you watch, like hockey dressing rooms or any other sport where people actually warm up before the game, they're riding these bikes that have a heavy flywheel in the front. If you think about a flywheel in non engineering terms. It helps to think about like a big stone, and you know it's in your path. You've got to move it at first to move the stone. It takes all the effort that you can. It's like a max effort left. But once it's moving a little bit, you know, the second pushes slightly less hard, and and then, you know, you keep pushing on and it starts to gain its own momentum and roll itself. And that's the flywheel concept. The thing is like, you can't ever stop pushing on the flywheel. But when the flywheel is moving by itself, then you're not using all of your energy to just get it going. You're using it to move it faster and faster. Um, hopefully that helps.
Yeah, yeah, that's a better analogy than the one I try to use. Ah, which is like a concept to rower. Yes, almost the But it's almost the opposite of flywheel because the minute you stop rowing, I think grinds to a halt immediately, like it doesn't keep spinning very fast. Maybe if you put the setting to a one, it'll it'll go for a while. But I wish. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So the key to the flywheel is Yeah, Like like Chris said as your these are business systems in Think of it as a business system. So let's talk about it. Like like maybe a member retention journey. It might be hard to get your members to refer each other and set upset about process so that they have happy moments and they're referring their friends to your gym. But what you can about that process to find them running and people are referring and new members air coming in. They're experiencing happy moments and then the referring members and then it over and over and over again. That's an example. If I were in your gym,
Yeah, that that's a great example, Dan. So, um, okay, so now that's a concept. Everybody agrees. That's probably true, right? So what we say is, here's exactly what you say to get that we'll start it. So a lot of gym owners, they're not doing gold reviews with their clients. They never stop and say, like, Hey, what do you want to accomplish? And are you doing it? But part of that process should be if a client says I'm having an amazing time. I love this place. You should say, How can I help your husband? You know, get fit, are how can I help your coworkers reduce stress or whatever? That is the first time we tell a Jim wanted to do that. It is painful. That's a Max effort thruster, right? Like this socks, and they're probably gonna dump it by the 30th time you've done that. It's so natural that it's easy. And you've got a referral engine that just kind of runs itself now, like people expect to share their spouse his name. Yeah.
And once you go down and once you once you get on this route of creating this referral engine, you're gonna start opening your mind to the concept of like, if I left the goal reviews a perfect one because you're you're actually manufacturing a process so that they get to tell you what they want. You get to get him to where they want to go, which makes them more likely to refer somebody but you. As you're doing this, you could probably put even more things in the process where it's like happy moment. You know, great accomplishments, PR lift or, you know, PR. Look out. You know, they hit their goal then Then it's like, is there anyone that you know that I can help to that would you think would love this gym as much as you do, You tell me you love it, you know, Is there anyone else? So just opening your mind to the concept that these things, these frameworks, can be put in place and they could be structured in such a way that lead to the outcome you want? That's what that's what starts to create these flywheels. So very good. Um, hopefully, hopefully all took took away from that may be in future episodes all refer to fly wheels, just as if you already knew. And I'll refer back to this All right, last question. And honestly, this is probably the most important one. It might lead to a 20 minute discussion. So it's not initially the last one, and we're done. What are your most important Katie Eyes of Jim should be paying attention to and
why? Ow! This actually is simple because we do so much work on this s o arm air M average revenue per member leg L E G. Length of engagement. There are different variations on that. Some people measure turn, but you need to know how long the average person sticks around so that you can figure out howto improve that right profit. A lot of people track gross revenue. They don't actually track how much money they keep. Profit is way more important. Um, so we track arm leg revenue profit. We do an expense audit fairly frequently. But it's not with the intent of what can you cut its? How can you improve the our ally from this thing? So, for example, we just did this with the GM of my gym last month. We went through a launch and said, But we went through everything right. We weren't picking on up launch. I love those guys, but of course, you know, we want to make sure that we're getting a positive our ally out of the service. So, um, we said, how can we improve the r o I on this? And Jamie, my GM said, Oh, well, we could add this one thing tore up launch, and there you go. Boom. You know, we double the ah rely on up lunch. That's really what an expense audit is. Later on a CZ you get into the farmer stage and later you want to track some sales metrics. So that's appointment set set rate appointments showing up for your show rate and appointments closed. Your conversion rate, your clothes rate, sexual clothes. Typically, people want to try Facebook ads, for example, or other advertising they spend a few dollars on. And they say it's not working, but they're not actually doing Is diagnostic to figure out what's not working like, is it? Is it really the ad, or is it that people don't show up for their appointment or you can't convert them once they get in the door? And after we do that diagnostic, the mentor can say, Okay, here's your next step. You need to get better at conversions. You need to get more reps at sales or you need Maybe you do need a better at right, but we don't know unless we break that all down so arm leg profit set so close and then the last one is effective Hourly rate. We need to know what the entrepreneur is actually making for their time and improve. That
sounds good. Um, so if you haven't really been paying attention, your metrics again. This is kind of another one of those snowballs where once you start, put it this way, you need to you need it's just like your lifts or your or if you're trying to lose weight, your weight. If you don't have, like, a certain key set of numbers you're looking at and measuring consistently and then, um, evaluating against your behaviors, you're really flying blind, right? And the goal of all of us. Chris R. Us everyone in this industry is to help you, Jim. Owners improve your businesses, and they now do. That. Someone gave me that really resonated me was like when a plane takes off in L. A. And it's going to New York, it doesn't just said its targets in New York and then just go like every minute. It's checking radar, and it's checking like positioning. And you know, it's checking all of these indicators, which were calling KP eyes, um, to make sure it's on the right path. It's going in the right direction. It's going the right speed like everything's going correctly is to get it to where it needs to go at the right time. Right place, etcetera. We're also might just end up in Kansas City. And what I say is a lot of close enough, right? Yeah, but what a lot of what? I see a lot of gym owners who aren't dialed into, like, tracking their numbers and paying attention to what's going on. Um is they end up in Kansas City when they're trying to go to New York, Or, God forbid, they take off in L. A. And they end up in San Diego and don't even get anywhere, right? And and I'm gonna tell you the truth. As an owner of ah ah, billing and member management system, I don't get asked enough from people to to get data. All right, so we saw everyone in their business has to solve with squeaky wheels, right? My our end goal here is to be completely data driven, but I have people who I have way too many people who want other things right.
You can't You can't
go like for this small minority people who understand data, we're gonna build the data piece because all these other share one other things. So that's the struggle we face because, um, while we understand, that's the most important thing. We also can't build for the minority. So one thing Nick brought up in the group, this is where I was alluding to him Talk to you later. And what I want is to educate gym owners so much that they're demanding this not just of us, but every other management system, cause I don't think any management system, like knocks this out of the park yet, but gives them the data they need to be able to fly this plane correctly to where they want to go. Right. But that starts with the ownership level, in my opinion, Yeah, that's why you're doing important stuff.
Thanks, man. The challenge is the same as what we see in the gym's right. Like people know what they should do. They know that they should eat less. They know that they should cut out sugar. They know that they should touch their toes once in a while. That doesn't make them do it. It's not enough. Um, it's the same thing with tracking metrics. So after you know, my 1st 5 years, is a mentor. I was like, What the hell is it gonna take? And then I realized it's like, Well, if I don't make tracking metrics fun, I don't want to do it. Nobody wants to do it. So now when people give us their metrics, you know, they see a graph and they see a trophy. And we're basically like using all these tools that behavioral sciences ah, have learned and are most commonly applied in games like Candy Crush. You know where you and I are both on strata. How awesome is Strada? That's what we want to build for business. So, um yeah, you know, you need to gamma phi things. You need to have a reward system in place because people are just not going to do meal prep on their own,
which I mean, that could be another podcast in and of itself. Like, how can you gamma phi your gym to get your clients better success? I think that that needs to be talked about too. Yeah, so I mean, one way or another, Push presses. A company is gonna go down this direction. I'm sure every other company house has this concept of direction. What we should do, Chris's. We should sink up and come up with some, like, industry standards. I actually have a list from your clients of stuff they need to see. Actually, I actually have a game plan to get implemented Now. We're gonna We're gonna start working on that soon. Um, you know, like every other business, we all have 100 things online that need to get done.
We're all working on. You gonna
get there? I'm gonna get your clients happy soon. Cool. It's not gonna be the perfect solution upfront, but it's gonna be a solution. And we're gonna keep moving incrementally. Income rental perfection is one of our core values. And that's the direction we're going. That fantastic. All right, well, hey, this has been a great shot. Uhm, I know give you if you as a gym owner have listened this you probably picked up, like with most of my guess. You probably picked up 10 things that have been actionable or very insightful. Um, if you need the show, notes are published. It will be a transcript. A lot of times that helps to read through the transcript to get pieces that that you heard, You know, somewhere in the middle there, read, read through it. If you think this was super enjoyable, make sure you Ah, you give this one a thumbs up or a five star rating. Let us know I would look like like Chris was saying earlier, Let me know who you loved so I can make sure they come back and give you more. Right. Everyone's goal here is to help your business improve. And that's what Chris is here to do and more than welcome to come back any time and share more of his knowledge with you guys. All right, Would you think that I lie? Or was I telling the truth? Good episode or no, I thought it was pretty good. Um, like I said, always stoked to be able to talk to Chris Cooper. Um, his time is always welcome here on the podcast. He's always got good stuff to say, and his genuine help, first attitude and positive attitude is something that is a pure asset to our community. As Jim and fitness studio owners, Um, what do you think? You guys take away anything? Ah, important or actionable from that episode, um, going over a few key concepts here. We talked about flywheels. I think that's one of the most ah, biggest concepts that as a business owner, you need to get your head around, because as yours, it's it's a It's a growth stacking model. As you're building upon the things you've done in the past, you're creating an easier path to success as you keep stacking them. This flywheel concept, um, is a very important concept to get your get your mind around. Um, so you're not continually re creating the wheel. But you're stacking upon things that you've built in the past to make your job easier. Tomorrow we went through KP eyes. I mean, that's a no brainer. Chris has long been, ah, very data driven and KP I focused, um, mentor and gym owner again, as are we here at Bush Press. So I think that was pretty cool, digging into KP eyes with him. And then we journey down the road of ah, founder, Farmer Tinker Thief, which is a really cool framework that he's built around the different stages that you are running as an entrepreneur. Um, bunch of other things we talked about. We talked about this. The framework that he's building in terms of, um, growing your gym. Ah, or your business and the steps you need to take to do. So, um, so much cool stuff we discussed in this episode. I hope you took something away. That was good. Ah, here comes the ask I make at the end of every episode. If you found something actionable or of quality in this episode, I would really appreciate it. If you liked this episode. Make sure you share it with other gym owners that they know that this content is out there. There are people out there to really trying to help them push their business forward and help them through the business ownership experience. We all know you got into this game because you love fitness, and now you're trying to figure out business. And that's where people like Chris Cooper and the team. You're a push breast. Come in. We're here to help Make sure you subscribe to this podcast to We are working very hard here to bring on the best guess who can help you in the most most impactful ways and subscribing the podcast will help. Not only will it validate some of this work that we're doing, um, but it will also give you earlier access to a lot of the content. And you don't have to kind of search for it when it comes out. We're releasing these early for our subscribers. So if you subscribe, you're gonna get access to all the episodes a little bit earlier than the general public. Um, so that's one of the cool perk of subscribing as well. So make sure you subscribe. Give us a thumbs up, review us. Um, if you have the opportunity to do so, Um, but if not, just keep tuning back in. We're always here for you. We're gonna keep making these episodes of the Gym OS podcast, and we're going to keep trying to help you make a better business. So until the next episode again, I'm Dan Uemura, CEO of Bush Press signing off. And you guys keep grinding on your businesses and branding on