I was on a call with a gym owner yesterday.
For 6 years, his gym had gone nowhere.
Despite his efforts, ‘trying’ wasn’t bringing home the bread.
His business stagnation had nothing to do with his character — he’s an incredible guy. Salt of the earth, trustworthy, respectable & kind… all the qualities you’d want from someone who dedicates his life to the service of others.
But despite his character and his ‘trying’ attitude, nothing he did was moving the needle.
And while this isn’t a great story, it’s a common story.
Because my guess is that most gym owners never turn a real profit.
The only reason that they stay alive for so long is the life support they’re on…
And no, I’m not talking about government handouts, although they help. Life support is when the owners pay themselves next to nothing. Their business provides enough oxygen to survive but if you were to ask any more from it, it would collapse.
I was exactly like that in 2016. I didn’t take a wage. The business paid for my baked beans and it paid for my rent. It was so dire that I didn’t even have a use for a personal bank account.
So fair to say I know what it’s like…
But I also know how to get out of that situation, too.
So during this conversation, I explained what to do in a way that seemed to resonate. By the end of the call, it made a lot more sense to him.
So I thought I’d re-share it with you, in the event you’re banging your head up against the wall getting nowhere.
Note: This isn’t verbatim. I don’t remember exactly what I said but it was something like this:
“Think of it this way.
There are two gym owners.
Both of them open gyms in an up-market part of their town.
In this hypothetical, both towns have the exact same population and the same amount of wealth.
Besides being different towns by name, they are identical in every other way.
Each town has the same people, with the same desires, and the same needs.
Everything is identical.
Except for the gym owners.
One owner has run a wildly successful gym before in a town far away… he’s a veteran of the gym-ownership game.
But to keep things fair, he’s unable to leverage his networks, reputation, or brand.
In this hypothetical, he can’t leverage any of the wealth that he acquired either.
All he has is his ideas, experience and decision making.
The other gym owner is a rookie. He is new to the game. This is his first attempt at running a gym after spending many years as a Personal Trainer.
The rookie, on face value, is in the same situation as the veteran. He is in a new town, and his networks are of no use to him.
As the doors open, we must all take bets on who will be the first to get to 7 figures.
Who do you think gets there first?
Would you vote for the new guy?
It should be a 1 in 2 chance right? 50/50? Same town, same facility, same opportunity to succeed.
But of course, it’s not.
No one in their right mind votes for the rookie.
This hypothetical is so one-sided that the outcome is already known… well before the doors ever open for the first time.
The veteran has an unbeatable advantage because he knows what to look for and already has a picture of the ideal scenario.
He already knows what he is going to do, how he is going to do it, and who he needs on his team to make it happen.
He already has a crystal-clear picture in his mind.
Things are very different for the rookie. He cannot visualise what his ideal scene looks like. He can’t see what processes he needs, what systems he will require, and what personnel he’ll rely on…
His picture is a blur.
The rookie has to make every mistake in the book (like the seasoned veteran owner did the first time) before he can grow a profitable business that pays the founder for his blood, sweat and tears.
The veteran bypasses all that the second time around from day one.
No excess spending.
No wasted time.
No unnecessary ideas that lead to nowhere.
While the veteran business owner B-lines it from the get-go…
The rookie goes round and round in circles, making many mistakes along the way… and potentially never getting ahead.
Because in the real world, the wealthiest asset you have is what’s between your ears.
On a level playing field, the gym owner who has a clearer picture of their ideal scene wins.
Because the real wealth is in the asset he built through experience.
- Decision making…
- Know-how, and
- Insider secrets.
See, the only difference between me and you is I know what to do, and you’re still trying to figure that out.
6 years straight and you are still scratching your head.
If you want the next 6 years to look different, then what you do will need to be different, too… otherwise, it’ll be a sorry repeat of the same tune.
What you need is mentorship.”
This way to think about it made a lot of sense for my friend on the call.
Perhaps it was the best argument for mentorship I’ve ever made.
Hopefully, this helps someone the way it helped my friend.
Because I don’t want my pain to be in vain. I also don’t want you to spin your wheels year on year, either… because there is no joy in that.
– Karl Goodman