The Gym Owners Blog/Podcast/You Don‘t Need More Members, You Need More $$$$$

You Don‘t Need More Members, You Need More $$$$$

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

noname png


members, gym, people, membership, business, classes, owners, money, hear, coaches, leads, offer, math, point, talk, close, scale, hack, thought


  • When was the first time you ever heard someone say, “If you don’t have enough members your gym is going to close? - 0:00
  • ​The only math when you think about opening your gym is the only math - 1:35
  • ​What is the goal of a gym? - 6:00
  • ​Get your offer straight, figure out what you’re offering these people - 9:06
  • ​What would it look like to you if you had a 50% increase in membership tomorrow? - 11:23
  • ​The 100 member model can’t get you to 200 members - 14:24
  • ​Do your people even have a clue what you offer in your gym? - 19:05
  • ​The goal is that you will only see us really talking and just on points that we get fired up enough to be able to jump on - 22:15
  • ​A unified front and taking the burden on yourself - 24:40


John Fairbanks 00:00

Things that I felt like we were hearing a lot of. And it was from a really good place, especially from coaches that became members or members that became coaches. And then those coaches became owners at their gym. And I think that this was certainly at the time, it felt like a nuanced conversation. That was important that was getting talked about, like in our circles of people. So kind of this, this larger, or I guess it's small, right, the small niche down community of primarily what CrossFit gym owners at the time. But it was like this conversation where it's like, Are you sure? Like, what's the goal, or you're sure that more members is what you really need in your gym right now. And that was kind of maybe the first time that I'd ever heard anything, like, if you don't have enough members, like your gym is gonna fucking close. Like, the fact is, you know what I mean. And that was kind of one of those things where I think it was the first time I had heard someone kind of challenge that status quo, at least for me, personally, I'd never heard somebody be like, maybe we should rethink like, what the actual goal is here, when it comes to like, how many members because I think there was such a race, we were talking, we've talked about before, you talked about maybe gym owner soft math. And I think that that's worth mentioning, again, kind of go into that. But like that soft math that's really only tied into how many members can I get

Tyler 01:35

in the early stages, or at least in our more like naive stages, that's that is the only math when you think about opening your gym, that soft math is the only math, if I can only hit 50 people, I can afford to go ahead and make this jump. You know, that's the that is the thing that we do. But yeah, that's not necessarily tethered to money in your pocket. And that doesn't scale infinitely, either. If you go from 50 to 100, you don't you don't get twice as much money. You know, if you go from 100 to 200 members, you don't I learned that one the hard way, because we had thought going in when I started my first gym, was it was like, what were we at maybe around 50 members in the very beginning. So I was still working my day job. And then I was go coach five and 6am classes, then my other partner would coach the eight noon while I would work my day job, I would knock off at four. And then I would come back in and coach all the evening classes and then do all the business stuff and social media and all that it was it was a long, long, long road. But I thought God, we just need more members, but get more members I can I can quit the day job because then I'll be able to pay myself more money. So that was the big thing. Like I get more members, I can start to pay myself if I can pay myself I don't need the day job that frees me up. That was the sequence I thought I needed to run. And that wasn't quite the case. Because I was selling too cheap. I wasn't selling enough out there where there wasn't like enough opportunities. There wasn't very well stacked offer that was just purely membership, monthly membership. But we did a really good job communicating outwardly kind of getting leads and drawing getting attractions and closing those leads. So we go from within a few weeks from 50 members to I think like 105

John Fairbanks 03:13

Yeah, that's a ton. Like that's the way that's closed, right? That's like close this

Tyler 03:20

is this is all my books, these are these are signed up, these are under contract. And I thought I thought I cracked the code. I've got it. I'm some sort of some sort of savant did this, whatever this is, I got it. But then what do you do when all your classes have twice as many people? And more people and all of them now have more people than you can coach? Well,

John Fairbanks 03:39

as you only have, it was just you and your partner? Were the only two owners

Tyler 03:43

just the two owners. Yeah. And because we again, in a lot of these places, you're developing new coaches, your upcoming your next generation of coaches, you should be developing the whole time. So we didn't have them. We're in a small town you no we don't, there is nobody else to coach. So, but what I found was then, not only did I got to quit my day job because of it, but I had to because I had to cover we had to start double staffing his classes, we had to start splitting things up. And not only that, that I have to quit my day job but I couldn't pay myself yet twice as much membership revenue coming in, but I don't have enough equipment to like actually offer these classes this way. So we're like order in every like six months of constantly turning every single penny that we pulled out of all these new people into RE equipping the gym right back I don't have enough kettlebells I don't have enough like we just we opened for 50 and wanted to go gradually we grew quickly. But in the end there's still nothing we're selling for too cheap. We didn't have it just was not worth all of it. You know? And then you only get these opportunities with people you know limit you get a limited amount of opportunities with these people. So people come in and often class are too crowded, you're not doing a good job. This is you may not get those people back. And that's and that's a very tough pill to swallow. So how I mean, realize that that came, that's when we came to the close. Like we had to do something different. Because this, I see how poorly it scales already, it didn't scale worth a shit from 50 to 100 members and 100 115 members is not a bad place to be. You can make a lot of damn money with that. I didn't. Yeah, not then. And so that's when we started to rethink this stuff. And then having unplugged and went over to Europe for doing all this other stuff, working with coaches on the coaching side of things, is that's when you and I started finding out like, Oh, everybody has this problem. And I was hearing everybody say, I just need more members, how can I get more members were fighting over this, they're scrambling over the same stuff and its members, members, members members is like, all members are going all more than doubling your membership is going to do is make your classes less effective. It's going to take more of your time create more headaches, for an exponentially decreasing amount of money. If you just keep stacking them on top of each other. Can you scale to 100? Yeah, can you scale to eight? Probably not.

John Fairbanks 06:00

Well, that's where it like, there is the right like diminishing returns. Yeah, like you said, the idea of like, there's at some point where it's like, like, you start like it's impossible, like, Okay, now you need what a new building? What now you're gonna open up to Jim's like, what's the goal? Like it's at some point. And it is it is an interesting thing. The one thing that I thought was interesting, too, that I heard you guys talk a lot about was the idea that a lot of the pain points you experienced five years, 10 years ago in the States. Europe was having like now? Yeah, like in real time. So it was almost like it was this wave of information that was everybody was dealing with? It was kind of like, oh, no, like, we dealt with this five years ago, seven years ago, 10 years ago. You I know, this feels like you're having a happen right now. But like, whoa, like pump the brakes. We know what this looks like.

Tyler 06:57

You everybody's swimming in this pond. We all know, we all know what it's like now. Yeah, and it definitely took a while to pet to spread. And but everybody opens these gyms. You know, everybody gets into this at a different time and for different reasons. So I think that's why it is extremely valuable to learn from these other people's experiences. Because heaven forbid, you get exactly what you want. And that's the thing, we're gonna you're gonna hear this a lot. But again, you don't have a member problem, you have a money problem, you need more money, you don't need more members, get more money, then get more members, and all of a sudden, all those members are more valuable to you.

John Fairbanks 07:32

Yeah, it is an interesting thing we can talk about something we'll talk about often and we talk about often is the idea of the order of things matters so much. And you really, like we've talked again, it's there are some lessons that just You're everyone's damn determined to learn on their own. Yeah, but boy, if you can cut some of the pain out of there, like, I don't need to do math. To know it's not good. It's probably not super solid, right? It's like I have a bunch of examples or reasons. And right, this is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. That's one reason but a probably a really solid reason are the people that do meth that go, yeah, you probably shouldn't get into that, like I do that. But it's probably it's not a thing. Or it's like, it's I did it and it's like it was this, it's like, it's like, okay, you know what I got you like, I'm gonna take your word for it. And it is definitely like the pain of like, alright, was meth really that bad? And he's like, the idea of, well, I'm just gonna test it out, or I'm gonna see what it is. It doesn't need to be math, it can be where it's like it's Yeah, but I mean, more members, like we're a 50 members, like if I can get 30 or 40 more members, right? It's going to be like this could solve a lot of problems for us.

Tyler 08:47

Well, let's talk about that sequence, John a little bit, because that is interesting. That piece you just mentioned, it doesn't when we say you don't need more members, you absolutely need more members. By the way, we are saying we do mean that you need you need more members, that may not be the first thing that you need to do. It doesn't mean you stop acquiring new members. But it just means get your offer straight. Figure out what you're offering these people figure out what exactly how to present it, how it needs to be put in front of them, and not just how it works for them and their buying habits and their buying patterns. But how it works for you and your business. Because most people as soon as we start looking at their business, what's the first thing we notice? Their pricing, their class structure. All of these things are set up in a way that can't support. Like literally the business's current needs, let alone

John Fairbanks 09:35

more I will tell you what's most common is that we see that they are their systems that are in place are acting like they have 200 more members than they actually have. Yeah, and what I mean by is like they've put certain things in place because I would say probably most of the time it's because it was already in place before they got there. Or they talked to some One, right, it's like, well, how many coaches do you have? How many classes do you coach is this that the other week? We were I was talking to somebody that's in our, that we work with now. And they were saying, like, well, they had this guy who was really into business, you know, reached out and said, you know, he knows when he sees a successful gym, because how many classes they offer per day. So when he goes on their website, like he wants to be able to see their schedule, and if he sees though, you know, they got a lot of, they got a lot of classes that are available. This is a gym that I want to be able to like, maybe I'll drop in and check this out. And I'm like, That's fucking insane. Yeah. Because in so it's like, oh, well, don't this guy knows what he's talking about. Right? He's really into business, which is like, yeah. What does that mean? Like, what are you talking about? Like,

Tyler 10:48

it's really cool.

John Fairbanks 10:50

It But see, there's LinkedIn. Yeah, exactly. Business really into business. And it's, but the thing is, there's so we've taught, it's, we're gonna sound like a broken record where it's, there are so many voices that are in this space, that are going to want to give advice, unsolicited advice, or they're gonna have products if we know, right, if that's not revolutionary for people where it's like that members are not your issue. Like, if you guys know, it's like, well, no, like, if I scale, I can't scale from 50 to 150. Like, I'm not built for it. I don't have the equipment. I don't have the coaches. Like what would happen if I got 100 new members this month?

Tyler 11:36

Mentally? That's the main one, you don't have the coaches. What are you going to do run these people ragged? Pay them the same amount per hour, but demand twice as much time from them? How does this how is this sustainable for you for two years, let alone? You know, this quick push? I think that's so important thing, I think everybody should ask yourself out there. If your gym has been operating for a little bit, you know what I mean? And you're, you're at least somewhere and not just stuck in that initial scramble for Jim has been rolling for a little bit? What would it look like to you, if you had a 50% increase in membership, tomorrow, like literally 50% more if you had 50. Now you got 75, if you have 100, and I have 150, what happens if all those leads come in this week, and then a week from now, you have to fulfill on that some, it may take six to eight months before you're capable of actually fulfilling it, right? Because you don't have the people or you're going to deliver such subpar work that these members that you just acquired are going to now be a, they'll quit many. And then they will be essentially a force against you in the community that you live in. Because they're going to say I went there and it sucked. I went there's like 40 people in the classes and nobody paid any attention to me, I got hurt. If you can't deliver don't I mean, and so that's the thing is I want you to like maybe that's a good thought exercise to think about what it would look like if you had How would you maneuver that? Does that sound easy? Does that sound hard? Does that sound like the only way that you envision a solution? What if instead, you had the same amount of members, and you had a 50% increase in revenue in the next year. But no new members, or at least not this dramatic increase? That creates a problem. Now what can you do with your business? Now you have the means to acquire new members on purpose, at a pace that you can understand you can understand the things as they're happening instead of just throwing money at complexity. You know, yeah, that becomes that becomes that becomes a much more enticing opportunity for me as a gym owner, right? As a person who owns a business, I don't want to do twice as much, I want to do the same and make twice as much money is that reasonable? Well, there's a there's a fundamental principle we go through and this isn't what we're doing with these businesses, by the way. But in any business, if you doubled your price, and ended up losing half your clients, it might be the best move you ever could make. Because you're doing half the work for the same amount of money. And in the end, you might even be taking home more money because of the cost of doing business with each client. So those principles really, really, really matter. And I think that's an important thought exercise to say what would my next year look like if I had 50% more members? Versus what would it look like if I had 50% More money? And which one of those foundations Do you want to build your next five years? Two years? Three years? Four years? 510 years on?

John Fairbanks 14:24

Yeah, cuz if right now, right? If you're using your, let's say, 100. If you're using your 100 member model, right now, if you've been successful, and you've gotten to an only reason I'm using 100 is I'm not good at math. Right? So 100 easiest number, so you have 100 You've been successful, that 100 member model cannot get you to 200 members. Because if you're working 40 hours a week, which you're probably more realistically working 60 Are you saying that now it's what the answer is 80 hours Wheat is what you need to be working.

Tyler 15:02

Yeah, have you and have you gotten your tasks as the owner, your owners specific tasks are those organized in a way where you can actually give yourself the space to develop that to that. And through that point, very often, that's not the case either very often where the bottlenecks, you know, right, so now these things come through, like, well, now you're there, not only are you the reason it's you're failing, you're the reason you can't get more of these members, because too many of these things stop on you. And that becomes a whole nother thing and how we structure you know, the rest of the business, the flow, but as far as like this main piece, I mean, I think that's the main thing takeaway, and was we'll repeat it ad nauseam. But you don't have a member problem, you have a money problem.

John Fairbanks 15:43

That's it. And it doesn't stop people, though. From what shiny? What's super easy to sell? Yeah, man, you know how easy it is to sell being like, well, you're going to pay me some money. And I'm going to help you generate leads, lead generating machines, lead, generate marketing, the all the shiny things, all those shiny object syndrome type items that distract you and be like, well, this is what you need. And this is what you need. And you need these leads, it's not going to stop people from saying, This is what you need. And what ends up happening is that you're like, oh, yeah, you're right, this is what I need. But you have to be willing to stop and be like, I'm in pain. Right now I'm in pain, because I need more members, because everyone is falsely equating membership and dollars. And the fact of the matter is, is that you cannot have the core part of your business be reliant upon membership alone. I mean, I can't there's it depends on who you talk to. But the idea of like, different revenue streams, we've all heard, don't put all of your fucking eggs in one basket. And it's almost as though we completely ignore the shit out of that advice. When it's like, well, yeah, but like, How many members do you have? It's like, how big is your dick? It's like, that's not big enough. Like it's, we handle it just fine. Thankfully,

Tyler 17:03

we're okay with it.

John Fairbanks 17:05

There's more than measurement of length. Thank you very much. Like it's, it's all these things.

Tyler 17:08

Let's not talk numbers, I have enough members.

John Fairbanks 17:14

But all of those things that we know to be true, almost fall by the wayside? Because the it's like that 1% That voice is so loud of being like, How many members do you have? How big is your gym? Bla bla bla bla bla bla, it's like, what's the lifetime value of your members? How long do your people stay? What's your attrition rate? Right? What's your average ticket sale? What's your average close rate? How much does it cost for you do acquire a new customer?

Tyler 17:44

How frequent are your resale points with this person throughout the year? How many services are you offering them? By the way that you can fulfill? Not just things that you're doing? How many services are you offering them that don't even involve you fulfilling them, by the way, which is another great thing we'll get into later in the stuff. There was a lot more ways to do this than just getting leads, and getting new people who maybe by the way, aren't your people this is when we chase leads. That's a big problem that we have when we chase leads a gym. We're not trying to build 1000 member gyms here. We're just not, not at this rally. So I don't, I don't know how that model works. There'd be a lot of money if we were doing it this way. But I don't know to scale how that would work. But I do know that I think that there's there's ways of, of doing this that you haven't thought of yet. And I think that we do no matter what we say, oh, you should do this, we should do these, you know, a lot of people get told, like you said different revenue streams. But we all lean on the membership stuff for what 90% of it 80% of it. Yeah, your recurring monthly revenue. Like you're like, Oh, well, what maybe we should sell some T shirts. Or maybe we'll have supplements on a shelf. Less, none of that is a plan. And none of that is none of that is an offer. Right? Those are just just stuff you got laying around. And I think we really need to make sure that we get that stuff together. And in getting it together, just the things that you have and the things that you do. You can really, really change the way your business works for you right away.

John Fairbanks 19:05

And talk about simple baby steps. Do your people even have a clue what you offer in your gym, I'm going to tell you that there's a scary percentage of you that are out there that 100% cannot say with confidence that your members know all the shit that you have to offer. And why it's not because you suck at life. It's because life happens. I have an idea over here and then we have an idea over here and then we grab this and this is something we should do. And the next thing you know, you have probably 15 different things that you guys do. That's fucking just scattered all over the goddamn place because it's just you and your business partner, or you and your best friend or fill in the blank that's doing all the fucking things.

Tyler 19:55

Yeah, well, and the reason you're doing all those things and let's put it this this should produce actly why the membership thing is not the solution? Why are you too busy to communicate all that stuff? Why? Because you're busy tending to and fulfilling and operating a business with this already fixed number of members, you're already busy, quit giving yourself more work. It's crazy to me. Like, you don't need more work, if you're already if you're working 70 hours a week, you're gonna work, 90, you're gonna work 200 We're gonna run out hours. You know. So I think that but I think that that is that that's the big eye opener. And that's the big point where people people reach a turning point when they reach like, whatever the bottom of this moment is, whatever the bottom of shit, this doesn't fix. Either you get a bunch of members and realize it doesn't fix, or you realize it's not as easy or valuable as you thought at all. Or that you can't afford that you're just being sold and spending money for complex marketing things that are bells and whistles that you don't understand. And that's we're trying to make sure that you avoid all of that. But if you get into there, you get to that point and you start leaning towards members. Maybe that's not the way maybe there's another way. And I think that's what we're here to help you with. With where do they go from here, John?

John Fairbanks 21:07

At this point, you either want to if you're not part of the community, if you're not part of a group, where we are having these types of conversations weekly, inside of the Facebook group, right, so you have the gym owners podcast, this is the group that comes off of the podcast that's over on Facebook. So there'll be a link right in our bio and in the description. But this is where this type of conversations being had where we start kind of challenging the narrative, there's lots of voices that we have in there. And the idea is to start having folks start thinking outside of that box or outside of what's typical. Yeah. And so that's where that would be the first place is that's where to go, because that's

Tyler 21:49

the way to get in the gym owners, the gym owners Facebook group that should be in the description stuff we've got, right, the center link tree as well. And that's also a spot guys where you can find all of our like, if you're new, and you're just stumbling across us and stumbling across this thing, and this stuff like that gives us that'll give you the opportunity to kind of see and hear from some people that have worked with us on projects as well in the past, and people that we've helped before over the years. And that so, so that way, we're not just a couple of bearded bald guys on the internet telling you how to do your business.

John Fairbanks 22:20

Now, in fact, the goal is that you will only see us really talking and just on points that we get fired up enough to be able to jump on and be like, Hey, let's quickly talk about this thing. Yeah, hopefully, the majority of the content that you can see and consume is going to be us talking to other gym owners that don't have to work with us directly, is that we want to be able to be talking these key points that are vital to to their gyms or systems that they have that are working, not people that are doing weird flexing, or being able to like, it's all the bullshit. That's the social media typical stuff. It's real, genuine conversation with people that either look like you they sound like you, they've been in your position last year. They're They're brand new, or they're like it's we want to be able to have enough voices to have a real live gym owner community. And that's what's in there. But that's why we protect it. That's why we're going to ask you some questions when you come in. That's why there's going to be a delay for you to get access to the group. Because we're just not going to allow shenanigans and bullshit to be going on. It has to be a safe spot for gym owners to feel because it's the reason why I'm so passionate about it and why I felt called served to do this. And I've and I've pushed you on this, to come in and join me like Oh, my God, we got to do something along these lines, is because I watched over the last 1820 months, I watched gyms all over the world, completely close. And there's a couple of folks that it was taken out of your hands, the power was gone. And I had too many I was having too many conversations with people where it was like, Yeah, well, what I don't know, like, I don't know what we're gonna do. And it's like, God damn, like, where's your community? Where's your people, and I realized the gym owners weren't talking to other gym owners are they were they were too. Maybe too proud is a way to look at it where it's like I didn't want to air I don't want to air dirty laundry and, and and it's like me also

Tyler 24:22

don't want your members you also don't want your members knowing. You don't want my members knowing that now we're out here, by the way, because because if your members go, there's like a 5050 chance we make it to the first of the year here. A lot of your members are gonna start making plans. And once people start making plans, otherwise, like like it's kind of already over. So I understand that thing where you want to what's the word you want to communicate a unified front and you want to, you want to take the burden on yourself and I get that so that's where we get into this group. It's kind of it's a safe space. It's a place where you can this is the what's the word this is a rising tide raises all rights, right. That's what we're trying to do here and So you don't have to pay. You don't have to pay us. You don't have to buy any products from us to be in there. But it is a place where you'll be able to go in and kind of learn and see firsthand some of these principles in action that we talked about from people that are doing them. You can learn more about us, you can learn more about other gym owners, you can bounce other questions off unrelated to these types of things in the gym ownership space. And I think that's, that's going to be the centerpiece of a lot of what we do here.

John Fairbanks 25:27

Yeah, I think it's a lonely road. Entrepreneurship, ownership, small business ownership like this can be very lonely because of that, because at the end of the day, there's only people that are just like you that understand what you're going through. And guess what, I don't get to talk to my wife. I don't get to talk to my my spouse, I don't get to talk to my family about the struggles because all I just don't want to hear either. I don't want to hear I told you so. I don't want to they don't understand they don't understand. And the last thing you really want to do is be like, Yo, I'm so fucking stressed that I can't sleep. Because I'm worried fill in the blank. Like, yeah, that's what your spouse wants to hear from you. That's, that's and that's where

Tyler 26:15

that's and that's the reality of it in times at time, so there was times where you just like bite down on it. Like, this is just what life is. And it doesn't have to be this way. So join the Facebook group. What's the follow me on Instagram is Tyler effing stillness Tyler eff ironstone John, where are you at on Instagram?

John Fairbanks 26:30

I'm at J banks NFL so that's f L IS in Florida

Tyler 26:34

Gators and the official Gym hacking Facebook or Instagram page is where

John Fairbanks 26:43

is at so it's it's the it's for the podcast so gym owners podcast this gym owners pockets lots of our content you'll talk we'll talk about we talked about right what is gym hacking, we talked about all sorts of stuff.

Tyler 26:56

And if you will, if you are interested in kind of making the leap or finding out about really like specifically where you can go with this you're like you know what, screw it just sign me up. Just go let's go let's go shoot me and John a message and we can kind of get you right in the mix of things right away. So you can shoot us a message on Instagram. You should what was the email us info at?

John Fairbanks 27:11

At hack your you also can go to hack your and that's where you can land and kind of come right into All right. What are these guys actually doing?

Tyler 27:21

Yeah, yeah, I did. Alright guys. Well, thanks a lot for listening. We'll check it out next time. Yep, see ya peace.

Untitled design (28) png

Gym Owners Revolution © 2023
Gym Owners Revolution is not associated with Facebook Inc.