The Secret to a Successful Fitness Business

I’m digesting all the sales, marketing, persuasion, influence, self-help stuff only because my personal training client was kind enough to force this on me when I asked him in a condescending manner.

The growth curve, like anybody else, was painful because when you’re running a company that’s doing a million or 5 million or 10 million, all you know is what you know at that time. And all you have is your three or eight or nine or 10 employees. We’ve hit the Inc. 5000 list four times now. This year is the fourth time. The Entrepreneur 500 fastest growing franchises twice, this year is the second time.

Every time we hit a damn list, which is a good thing more people buy our franchise because they go hey look, this is a thriving franchise, they’re getting so many accolades from Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine, and so I know that once the big announcement happens again from Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine in the next two months, we’re going to onboard more franchisees. We’ll probably onboard 30 or 40 a month for a while.

When that happens, I’ve got to beef up my team. Our revenue’s going to go up. What’s going to happen? Well, I’m probably going to hire 10 more people in the next 60 days. I know all 10 of those are not going to be unicorns. I know that I’m going to get some donkeys, and I know that I’ll probably have to fire some of them, and that’s not going to feel good. They’re going to cause a mess and some people might go and complain to the State of California about whatever, that we wrongfully fired them or whatever.

But my point is, I’ll deal with all that kind of adversity because I know the outcome is going to be greatness. The learning curve has always been a challenge, and so now what I do is I surround myself with mentors. I have a speaking mentor because I speak from the stage a lot. I’ve got a speaking mentor, I’ve got a … His name is Cameron Harold. He used to be the CEO of 1-800-GOTJUNK, those trucks that come and take all that junk away from your back yard, right? He grew that thing to a 200 million dollar company.

Now, Fit Body Boot Camp is going to be a 200 million dollar company very soon, so I’ve already hired a coach, Cameron Harold, who’s been where I want to be so that he can tell me what’s coming up for me in the growth trajectory that we have, right? So between taking those risks and just hiring the people knowing that not everyone’s going to work out, but rolling with the punches anyway, and then hiring a mentor who’s already been where I am, and he can guide me along as I go.

For me, I wasn’t that smart. When I was a personal trainer in my mid-twenties, at this point I was around 24, 25 years old. I was a personal trainer in a big box gym, working for the man, and because I didn’t have enough personal training clients, I also worked as a fry cook at Disneyland, and I also worked as a bouncer at a gay bar because the gay bar paid more than the straight bar.

Now, I didn’t want to have those two other side jobs. No one has the ambition of being a fry cook or a bouncer. You have the ambition of being a personal trainer, a cop, a doctor, a nurse, an accountant. So one day I was complaining to one of my personal training clients, and that’s something you should never do. You should never complain. But I was complaining to one of my personal training clients because he asked me, his name is Jim Franco, he said Bedros, why do you look so tired? It was a Monday morning. I go, Jim, I was working all weekend at Disneyland, at the bar, I’ve hardly got any sleep, I’ve hardly done any self-care and workouts, I’m exhausted, man. I’m complaining to him.

He goes, well, the problem is you don’t know how to sell and I actually got into an argument with him. I said, Jim, actually I do know how to sell because if I didn’t know how to sell, how would I have gotten you as a personal training client? He goes oh no, you didn’t sell me. You just took my order. You’re an order taker. I said, what do you mean I’m an order taker? He goes, I knew I wanted to work with a personal trainer, I knew I wanted to work out three days a week, and I came up to you and I said hey, I want to do these things and you just signed me up and took my money.

When I see you let people walk because you refuse to sell them and close them, you just let them walk when you listen to their objections and actually believe it and let them walk, he goes my heart hurts for you. I go well, Jim, then what do I do? And I was kind of being condescending when I asked that. He goes tomorrow I’m going to bring you something and you’re going to read it, and he brought me a Tom Hopkins sales book. Tom Hopkins did real estate sales back in the 80s. He taught people how to sell real estate.

The Tom Hopkins sales book led to a Bryan Tracy cassette tape that he brought me on sales, then that led to a Dan Kennedy and Jay Abraham and Tony Robbins, and before you know it I’m digesting all the sales, marketing, persuasion, influence, self-help stuff only because my personal training client was kind enough to force this on me when I asked him in a condescending manner. It wasn’t until 25, 26 that I started to voluntarily consume books, cassette tapes, CDs on this kind of self-growth and education. I regret not doing that a decade sooner.