Guest Post by Cabel McElderry
Ok, this is not the economy version or knock off of Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Week, in fact in a weird sort of way it’s kind of a tribute or salute to that book (which happens to be one of my favorites of all time.)
What this is is a story of how I came to be a 7-figure fitness entrepreneur set to launch multiple new projects and facilities all while spending no more than 6 hours a week managing home base.
My home base is a 4500 square foot private training facility that completes nearly 1000 workouts a week, produces 7 figures a year and has 15 employees.
Our team has fun at work every day, they’re committed to see our clients succeed and if they see me outside of Wednesday or Thursday they’re constantly wondering what’s up.
But this isn’t really about me, it’s about you, I’m just going to share my story with you in an effort to inspire you and provide a road map for your own personal success in the fitness industry.
Where do you fit in this picture?
From 1998-2007 I was a struggling personal trainer, I was good at what I did, I cared about my clients and I was fully committed to their results. I survived on referrals mainly.
I didn’t know anything about marketing, Facebook didn’t exist and I tried to advertise the way ‘real companies’ did. I wasted money on print ads, on oodles of business cards, posters and brochures. My only early win was one of my clients insisted I should have my own website, that one piece of virtual reality that gave me a big company identity on a budget.
Things were so unstable I tried to leave the industry 3 times (oil & gas, life insurance, and electronic sales) my clients were in control, I sold sessions not solutions and I smiled when they “forgot their checkbook” not knowing how I’d make rent.
This is how my world changed…
Step 1: Get a mentor and/or surround yourself with people more successful than you.
Seriously you teach your clients the importance of ‘working smarter not harder’ that by eating right and exercising the right way they can accomplish much more in much less time. Take your own advice.
I don’t care what you have to do surround yourself with people more successful than you, or at least stalk them on Facebook, the internet and in any educational capacity they might offer.
All of these people will give you the simple steps you need to take, they see your situation objectively where you’re blinded and stressed by emotion. If you want to be successful in a hurry then limiting emotional decisions is key and you can’t do this alone.
It took me way too long to learn that the more simple tasks I can delegate to others the sooner I can narrow my field of tasks and thus the better I can perform them.
Even if you just trained your first client today I want you to already begin the process of thinking about hiring an assistant and/or a trainer.
I’m not saying you have to hire someone tomorrow but trust me it’s way easier to say no to someone good then it is to scramble to find them when you need them.
Why do you need an assistant?
Because you shouldn’t be distracted by preparing invoices for clients.
You shouldn’t be distracted by posting regularly on Facebook (but you should be doing it, Facebook now creates an average of 15-25 qualified leads for my coaching clients every month with almost zero dollars invested and you can do the same starting today with the help of a mentor.)
You shouldn’t be going to the print shop, or buying supplies, or addressing birthday cards, or entering emails in software.
You’ll notice that all of these tasks are likely things that you probably have on your plate even if you’re brand new (or should) and you could trade services (even one-on-one) and cut your time doing these tasks from hours per week to 90 min (assuming you trade 3X30 min sessions for someone to fill this role.)
It’s truly my assistant that has allowed me to reduce and then reduce some more my involvement in piloting our 7-figure business, it took me way to long to learn this.
You owe it to your soon to be developed team to do this.
Step 3: Become a leader not a trainer.
Do you think about your dream home? Do you long to travel? Own a sports car?
From 1998-2007 not only did I nearly leave the industry 3 times I was even at one point 30 days from bankruptcy.
In 2005 I married to my beautiful wife and we scraped together enough money to by a small town home (financing approved only because of her stable income.)
My studio (One-to-1 Fitness) opened May of 2007.
Since then I’ve built two new homes, the second (our current home) is over 3000 square feet in one of the city’s nicest neighborhoods and valued at over $700,000 (no problems with financing), I climbed Kilimanjaro in 2008, bought 3 new vehicles, spent last January hiking in Peru, traveled throughout North America on business and pleasure.
It’s safe to say it’s been a little different lifestyle that has grown very, very quickly.
Now you might be thinking, “he’s just lucky.” How does that saying go? “Luck favors the prepared?”
As you narrow your tasks by delegating to others make sure you are truly delegating (not abdicating).
I did this all wrong at first, as I passed off duties to people I didn’t always know how to support, develop them or hold them accountable. This is now where I spend all 6 hours each week.
I meet with my assistant, my program manager and administrative assistant, and our lead trainer every week. I meet with all of my trainers once a month and our lead trainer meets with every new trainer weekly for their first 4-6 months.
Yes it may seem like a lot of meetings but in those 6 hours each week I deal with what would otherwise be 60 hours of issues. But even more importantly I have strong relationships with everyone, I’ve got to know each of them better, I get to hear what’s important to them and together we decide on action plans that not only help the company but specifically help them.
And that leads me to my final point.
We get hung up on changing the lives of our clients and saving the world, and we should.
But now recognize that your specific job description is going to change when you become a leader. Help your team become inspired, pay per performance and identify the action steps for them to create their own dream life.
In my trainer meetings we talk about they’re top performing clients, and how to capture those moments to create more referrals which leads to personal financial reward. We set goals and break it down how to achieve them for review at our next meeting. We talk about struggling clients and determine the steps to get the resources or help we need to ensure we do everything we can for that client, and in a mere 30 minutes we efficiently prepare to change many lives until we meet again in the next 30 days.
I know that if you’re reading this no matter where you are in your own journey somewhere in this guide you might get hung up thinking, “this doesn’t apply to me, I’m not there yet.” You have to trust me, read the step again or step back to the step before it and be persistent no matter what.
I made so many mistakes and took way too long, with these words I know you can do it and do it faster than I did.
The Profitable Personal Trainer
So what do I do outside of those 6 hours you ask?
Along with Bedros I coach 40 other fitness professionals world wide to repeat and exceed my success, I’m creating and testing a blueprint on how to launch a boot camp business with next to no investment (this location launches in 9 days of writing this), negotiating and recruiting for 2-4 more locations that will open in 2014, co-writing an info product to launch this fall, playing with my dog, spending time with my wife and I read a lot.
Step 5: Embrace that the true role of en entrepreneur is to create new opportunity for others. (Complete the other steps and you’ll know what I mean.)
PS. By the way, if you’d like to learn more about the coaching and mentorship program that I run with Bedros, then email Frankie at [email protected] and ask him for details about the 7 Figure Formula Mastermind.