5 Lessons Learned From Opening My Fitness Studio
In July 2016, the studio I had built my business in for 3 1/2 years decided to move locations. At that time, I decided it was time to venture out on my own and open a small fitness and yoga studio! After about 8 months, I realized that I was more passionate about working with trainers beginning their careers than I was about running four walls and a ceiling.
I have thought long and hard about the lessons I learned by taking a leap of faith in myself and my business in order to open that first studio. Here are the top five lessons I learned over the last year and a half of operating a private personal training studio in Denver, Co!
- I finally discovered What Energizes Me. This was a critical moment in my career as a self-employed personal trainer. I have always been energized by helping people make great strides in their fitness journey. I have always been motivated by autonomy and time freedom, which I have always had as a benefit of being self-employed. I could set my own hours and my own hourly rate based on experience, quality of service, and education. However, when I opened the studio, I found that I wore too many hats that actually prevented me from doing what energizes me most. I was the head janitor, head trainer, chief financial officer, head of marketing, sales, and human resources. None of this gave me the energy I needed in order to push my business, Fit Life Champions, forward to reach my goals. What I found that energizes me most is developing personal trainers into the best business owners they can be through simple systems that can be implemented from day one to earn more income in less time. I now have the energy to leap out of bed every morning to race off to work to help develop a number of personal trainers that want to impact lives no matter where they are at in their business journey.
- The hard realization that I came to after the first six months on my own was I Wasn’t the Leader I Thought I Was. Imagine that. I was owner and operator of a thriving personal training business in the heart of Denver and yet I felt so alone. I spent 12-14 hours a day working IN my business as opposed to ON my business. I couldn’t meet new clients if I was training 10 sessions per day, and the lack of contact with peers that could challenge me was disheartening. How this helped me realize I wasn’t leading the way I knew I could was when I laid out the vision for the business, shared it with 100s of people, and yet I felt like I was on this journey alone. As John C. Maxwell says, “He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk.” I took this on as a personal reminder to refresh my ideas, learn more about my own path, and decide to share it in a different way. I have been called a “Mack truck full of marshmallows”, and that is best explained by how I come off in a first impression. Intense, overbearing, and conceited are words that have been used to describe me. As soon as I realized this by attending an Enneagram workshop, I made a distinct effort to soften my approach to sales, marketing, and my purpose.
- The turning point came when I admitted that I Can’t-Do Everything Myself. Cleaning my studio’s bathroom drained my energy. Training from 5 am until 7:30 pm each day wore on me over the first six months of doing too much all at once. Writing email campaigns drained me more than anything else I tried to accomplish each week. I decided that I needed to get a few of these things off my plate so I hired a friend of a friend that enjoyed cleaning my space twice per week, and did a phenomenal job too! I recruited a personal trainer that was looking for space to train, developed him through weekly mentorship (that eventually became your 8-week online course), and delegated my evening clients and group classes to him. That was the moment I began to see the future of my career. I felt energized for the first time in months because I was able to leave the keys to the business with someone I trusted. I could make the time in the evenings for the things that energized me and led to future business development such as networking and building relationships with like-minded business owners. When I made this choice, my business moved forward quickly because I changed my mindset that I HAD TO DO IT ALL MYSELF. There are qualified trainers in Denver that can bring a lot of value to our studio that are also looking for mentorship in their own businesses!
- It’s About the People. I love working with people. I absolutely enjoy watching them develop into the best version of themselves. Whether that is clients reaching their goals quickly and safely or a personal trainer that takes our simple systems to make an impact in their own clients’ lives! I moved from a large studio with 7-8 personal trainers running their businesses and hundreds of clients streaming in each week to 12-14 hours per day of solitude. That’s what I missed most, was the interaction with peers that challenged me to be my best. I missed the large group training (although it wasn’t financially rewarding) because I met some of the most amazing clients that have become close friends since. No matter how much our gross revenue grows, if we don’t build relationships with people, there will always be a piece of the puzzle missing.
- No One Cares as much as You Will about your business. I thought to myself, “If I build it, they will come.” Sadly, that wasn’t as true as I thought it would be. People are extremely busy and as fitness professionals, we need to speak to our ideal clients in their language. We need to meet them where they are at, at the point in their journey that they currently sit. Otherwise, they won’t hear your message. I kept shouting at the top of my lungs, “We are doing great things here! Why aren’t you flocking to us to see the benefits of fitness and nutrition?!” The lesson learned from this was that you can’t shove fitness and nutrition down peoples’ throats and expect them to believe in it as much as I do. Again, had I not taken a long, hard look at myself through books like The Big Leap, 10x Rule, and Start with Why I would not have been brave enough to keep moving forward.
Fast forward to today, I have the energy for my business again. I moved from the small studio space that felt claustrophobic and empty to my Jiu-Jitsu gym with more space and more people. Fit Life Champions has two trainers and an intern with boundless energy to train our clients better than I could have imagined! Their invaluable service to our clients allows me to be reenergized to produce your online mentorship course and launch it nationally in 2017.
My mindset shift allows me to set new larger goals for 2018 such as gross revenue in Fit Life Inc. of $200k as well as coaching 30 trainers to be their best so that our legacy in fitness and nutrtion can grow exponentially!
Want to learn how you can be more involved with Dave Glaser or the team at Fit Life Champions? Set up a quick phone call with Dave by viewing his online calendar here https://calendly.com/riseup/