5 Things I've Learned Running a Fitness Business
1. Extremely Hard
Ever think you want to open a fitness business? It is no walk in the park and most will fail. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do and couldn't imagine doing anything else with my career. But as a fitness business owner you have to be prepared for just how grueling this job can be.
One thing our founder, Lyndsey Simmons, drilled into me from the very beginning was that if you want to be successful in this industry you have to put in the same type of dedication and work ethic into your job as you did to achieve your athletic goals. Most of us would have given anything to play at the professional level; your career is no different. It takes every ounce of energy you have.
Starting out you will wear every hat imaginable. From CEO, accountant, Head Trainer, receptionist, to the janitor- I've cleaned my share of toilets. You will work 15-16 hour days, go home and write training programs until you fall asleep, only to wake up and write more before you head in to work. You will work while others play; sacrificing time away from friends and family.
Redline Athletics has been the hardest and yet most satisfying thing I've done in my life. The hard is what makes it so great.
2. Show Your Clients that You Care
Success in this industry happens when you are doing it for the right reasons. If you're just trying to make a quick buck....good luck.
Your clients "Don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." An athlete can sense when you genuinely care about their success. When you show them that you care, only then will they buy in and trust in you.
One of the things I'm most proud of about my business is that every member of our staff was at one point a client at Redline, including myself. Our founders, Lyndsey and Erik, gave each one of us an unbelievable experience, and helped us achieve our goals. We all just want to make sure that this current generation of our Redline family gets the same experience that we had.
The hash tag #Redlinefamily is not just lip service to us. I can speak for all of our staff when I say that nothing compares to having the privilege of witnessing many of our longest tenured clients mature into great people, and see their hard work and dedication pay off. Whether it is Preston Miller going from a chubby 8th grader to a leader of his team at a top high school program, or Gigi Hernandez competing for Division 1 National championships. We want everyone that comes through our doors to feel like they are a part of something special.
3. Be Unapologetically Good at What You do
The barrier to entry is very low in this is industry. This can be frustrating because competition pops up from seemingly everywhere, but it also allows for quality trainers to really differentiate themselves from the crowd. There's purely transactional trainers out there, who only see their clients as a number, that scurry around from gym to gym taking people's money, but if you are good at what you do these people are easy to separate yourself from.
Sports performance training evolves extremely fast. We are constantly tweaking things to improve the performance of our athletes and their overall experience. There are things we did with our athletes 10 years ago that we would never do today. Sometimes I will look back at training programs I wrote and say to myself, "What was I thinking?" Had we not been adamant about continuing our education and relentlessly trying to get the very best for our clients we would have been left behind.
In this social media age, we all have great information at our finger tips, and if you're not doing all those things to learn and improve for your clients they will know it. The best coaches in the country at Cressey Sports Performance, Driveline Baseball, Mike Reinold, and countless others are constantly putting out great content, for free. Don't be naive and think that your clients aren't paying attention.
That being said, with the ease of access to great information there is no excuse not to be constantly improving and providing your athletes with your absolute best. For example, If you still think having your pitchers run poles is a good idea then I don't know what to tell ya.
4. Have a Niche
It doesn't help your business to be a mile wide, but only an inch deep. If you try to be the trainer to everybody you won't be great at anything.
When I took over in 2016 my first goal was to get us back to what we do great. We welcome all athletes at Redline, but what we do best is train baseball players. This is what makes us truly experts in our field. Being honest about who we are and what our expertise is helps us gain our clients trust.
So far we have seen great results from this. Our gym culture is better than ever. It's amazing how much of an impact your training environment can have. Surrounding yourself with those on the same mission as you keeps you accountable. We have a great group of hard working kids that push each other, compete, talk trash, and have a great time working towards achieving their goals.
5. Everything Happens for a Reason
I came to Redline 10 years ago because I had torn my rotator cuff and was cut from the junior college team. What could have ended my baseball career, and been a huge let down for me ended up being one of the biggest blessings of my life. Redline taught me the work ethic it takes to get to the next level, and to be successful in life. Who knows where I'd be today had I made that junior college team and never came to Redline.
I still remember my eval with Lyndsey 10 years ago...he had told me that one day after my baseball career I'd be able to run my own Redline facility. He hardly knew me at the time, and I'm sure he was just trying to motivate me, but yet here I am, owner of the original Redline Athletics.